Whilst it’s not easy getting back into the swing of things if you’ve managed a lovely long break over Christmas, there are definitely positives to January. That ‘new start’ feeling can be very motivational, making it a great time to think about what you’re hoping to achieve in the year ahead.
At Mortgage Confidence, January is often a time that people get in touch to say that they’re in the early stages of thinking about buying a house (or moving) and to ask for advice on how they can best prepare themselves for that.
So we thought that the start of 2022 would be a good time to share our financial decluttering tips. Hopefully there’s something of use whether you’re hoping to end the year in your dream house or just want to get a little more control of your finances:
Thank you, it’s lovely..
If you are now the reluctant owner of unwanted Christmas gifts, then return them! Shops will often give credit notes where you can’t provide the card used for the original purchase so there’s no need for hurt feelings. You can either treat yourself to something you’d really like or use the credit next time you have a gift to buy. But don’t stop there – have a peek in the bottom of the wardrobe for any unwanted online purchases that still need returning!
What’s this for?
We all have them – those regular payments that disappear from our bank account every month leaving an unrecognisable description on our bank statement. Go through your regular payments to make sure that you recognise them all and that you still need them. Extended warranties on white goods that have long since been replaced are a frequent culprit. But we also know of one lady who found she was insuring a cat for over a year after it died!
Monthly vs upfront
There is sometimes the option to pay for things such as car insurance as a one-off annual payment. Obviously, this can be a large sum to find in one go but it’s generally cheaper than paying monthly if you are looking to reduce overall outgoings.
Use your borrowing brain
Interest rates change frequently so keep abreast of what’s going on and regularly review whether you’re getting the best deals on any borrowing. That includes mortgages of course, and our Mortgage Advisor, Jo Jingree, is always happy to offer a free 30 minute consultation if you have questions or are considering a change.
Don’t be a stranger to your bank account
Life is busy we know but make time to go through your bank account on a regular basis. It will help you to spot anything untoward but also highlight how often you’re visiting that fancy coffee shop!
Ensure you insure
Review your contents and buildings insurance both to make sure you’re getting the best deal but also to check that your cover is still appropriate to your circumstances. This is something else we can help with at Mortgage Confidence. So don’t be shy about getting in touch.
When it comes to food shopping try to meal plan. If space allows then perhaps you can save a few pennies by buying items such as toilet roll, washing powder and dried goods in bulk. Do also keep an eye out for deals and discounts. It’s generally worth a quick search for a voucher code before you make a big purchase. Some retailers also offer money off a first purchase if you sign up to their mailing list (you can always cancel later!). Cashback websites are also worth investigating. These pay you when you go through them to spend with retailers or providers.
Even the tiniest savings can quickly mount up. A quick Google revealed to us that the average cost of a coffee in London is £3. So even sacrificing one coffee a week will save you £156 by the end of the year. Another option is the 1p saving challenge. On day one you put 1p in a jar, on day 2 you drop in 2p and day three is 3p. You get the idea! Unbelievably, after 365 days (when you’re dropping £3.65 in the jar) you’ll have a whopping £667.95.
Mortgage Advisor, Jo Jingree, said: “It’s a really good idea to get your financial ducks in a row if you’re planning to buy a house or move but actually it’s a good discipline for us all to spend time on a regular financial health check. And the start of a new year seems the ideal time to do that. I’ve just switched to a SIM only mobile deal as it works out cheaper for me.
“And now I’m off to follow my own advice and go through the rest of my regular payments with a fine-tooth comb!”