If you’re anything like me, there’s always a whole bunch of stuff that you want to do and the only thing stopping you is money, or rather the lack of it.  With the busy lives that we all lead it’s easy to get sloppy with where all that hard- earned money goes, so if you haven’t done it lately, now is a good time to sit down and take a close look at what you’re spending.  Once you’ve got a grip on your finances you are that bit closer to doing those things which are really important to you. So here are some tips for a financial spring-clean, whatever time of year it is.

Take a long hard look at what goes where

There’s no better way to do this than to create a spreadsheet of your income and outgoings.  Divide your outgoings into ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’. If you need to save money, it’s the ‘non-essentials’ that need to go.

Where could you save money?

Are those ‘essentials’ really essential? Could you cycle your commute, instead of spending money on public transport or running a car?  Why not do those gym exercises at home and save on a monthly membership? How much might you save if you stopped buying your daily takeaway, even if it is only a skinny latte?

Shop smart

Don’t just use a supermarket because it’s on the way home, compare food prices on mySupermarket to locate the cheapest deals for your weekly shop.

Reduce your household bills

It’s good for the planet and it’s good for your finances so ditch those bad energy wasting habits and be conscious of what you are using.  Open those curtains and use natural light rather than electric and if you aren’t in the room, switch it off. Chargers and electrical appliances suck energy even when they’re not in use, so wherever you see those little red lights, unplug them.  Switch to LED bulbs and when you buy new appliances, make sure that they are low energy. Shower instead of bath and wear a jumper instead of turning the heating up. Insulate your loft and use lined curtains, not blinds, on your windows. It may sound like small stuff but taken together good energy habits will save you hundreds on your annual energy bill.

Open a Savings Account

Whether you are saving up for a house deposit or you simply want to ring fence some money for your future, keeping your savings in a separate account prevents the temptation to spend it.  Take a careful look at the options, taking note of the interest rate, account access and other requirements.

Let ‘Never pay full price’ be your motto

Spend a little time online and you’ll know exactly where and when to get the best deals in shops and restaurants.

Use cash-back sites

When making online purchases, always take the time to go through a cash-back site such as Quidco.  Once you’ve got into the habit you’ll find that you are making savings every time you spend.