Spring clean your finances – guest blog from Aspire’s Money Matters service
7 April 2021
After spinal cord injury, money may be a worry. Our partner charity Aspire runs a Money Matters service, offering free financial guidance to people affected by spinal cord injury. Read on for a guest blog from Aspire, and learn how you can spring clean your finances.
Spring is in the air which means it could be time to give your home a thorough clean – so why not your finances too?
When spring cleaning your home, it is said you should start at the top and work your way to the bottom, checking in places you don’t always go and throwing away things you don’t always need. The same rules work for spring cleaning your household finances.
To help you spruce up your day-to-day Money Matters why not start with a few simple actions to blow away the cobwebs and start afresh?
Tidy the Desk
It may not seem the obvious place to start but time spent having a look at your finances and seeing what is coming in and going out will give you a clear picture of where your money is going, what you can keep, cut back on and where you may be able to save.
You can set up a budget plan using a spreadsheet or just write it all down on paper. This simple action will help you clean up your finances and keep them tidy for the year ahead.
Put Things in the Right Place
We all have things that we want to keep that may be gathering dust in a corner when we could be making more use of them somewhere else. So why not give your nest egg a springtime boost and check if you are making the most of your tax-free savings allowance which runs from April to April each year. If you have not used up your Individual Savings Account (ISA) allowance for this year and you have any spare money you could use this to get tax free growth on your savings.
If you already have an ISA, you may not be getting the same interest rate as when you opened the account. Some will have had an ‘introductory bonus period’ which raised the interest rate at the start for a fixed period. The rate could have now dropped down to a low rate so your money is no longer working as hard as it can for you!
Get in touch with your provider to see what interest rate you’re on, see what offers they have or shop around to see if there is a better rate elsewhere.
Take a Feather Duster to Your Credit Cards and Loans
Do you know what interest rate you’re paying on personal loans or credit cards? Check this out and make a list so you can see exactly which is costing you the most in terms of interest rates. If you can afford it, you can then work out a plan to clear the balances, saving you money over the year ahead.
Deep Clean the Sofa
If you’re lucky you might find a spare fiver down the back of the sofa during spring cleaning, but there’s also a chance you might have overpaid income tax, particularly if you or your partner have stopped or reduced work during the last year. So, if you think you’ve paid too much income tax and may be due a rebate, then complete a form P50 and send it to HMRC with your latest P45 or ring the HMRC Income Tax Helpline on 0300 200 3300 (check your call charges before doing this) who will clarify your situation.
Get rid of clutter, that’s the goal of spring cleaning so you can have a nice, tidy, clutter-free home. This could help you spruce up your finances as there may be things you are paying for that you no longer use or need; online film clubs, club memberships, outdated product insurance or premium delivery services can all be highlighted when you complete a Budget Plan helping you to get rid of what you don’t need and freeing up money to either pay off credit or save for the future.
So, good luck with the financial spring clean and remember, if you need any further help Aspire’s Money Matters service offers free impartial guidance to people affected by spinal cord injury to budget effectively, keep control of finances and, where needed, become debt free. Find out more here.