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Spring clean your home finances

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You know that satisfied feeling when you’ve given your home a thorough spring clean and its all spick and span for another year? 

Spring cleaning your finances may give you that same sense of satisfaction that everything is in order once again, doing the job they are intended to do, and probably saving yourself some money along the way. 

It’s round about this time last year that the Metro newspaper listed a number of headings for a financial spring clean and we’d like to add a few of our own as tidying up your home finances gets underway:

Utilities

  • the worst of the winter may soon be over, but you’ll continue to be using electricity – and possibly gas – for the remainder of the year;
  • so, it’s worth reviewing your energy suppliers and considering whether you are on the best tariff on offer and if savings might be made by switching supplier altogether; 
  • the energy regulator, Ofgem, publishes a step by step guide to weighing up your options, comparing the deals available in your area, and, if necessary switching tariffs or suppliers, or both; 

Home insurance

  • it’s not a utility, obviously, but home insurance is no less essential;
  • make your financial spring clean a time to review your policy and ensure that it continues to give you the protection your home needs – and remember that it’s generally unwise simply to automatically renew it when the renewal date comes around;
  • the value of your home and its contents may change from one year to the next – and the different policies on the market do too – so check whether you are getting the most appropriate deal, at a competitive price. For example, in the last year, have you had an extension? In that case, you may need to review the sums insured for your buildings and contents;

Banking

  • monthly subscriptions may be all too easy to set up online, but do you always remember to cancel those you are no longer using;
  • the regular gym sessions you always meant to attend, but never get around to, for example, or the monthly magazines you now rarely read. Maybe you’re still paying insurance on an old and abandoned mobile phone – spring clean all those seemingly innocuous standing orders and direct debits; 
  • while you're about it, check to see whether you might get a better deal on your current account – banks are in a competitive market, and some may pay you to switch, offering attractive introductory interest rates on positive balance or cutting the cost of your overdraft, for instance; 

Credit cards 

  • do you still have credit cards that seemed like a good idea at the time, but which you no longer use? If so, cancel them and cut them up;
  • when you apply for credit, your credit score takes into account the total amount of borrowing available to you, and that includes credit cards which you have no intention of using; 

Broadband and phones

  • your broadband and phone deal is likely to be in an even more competitive market and, if it is more than a year or two old, you are almost certain to be able to find a more attractive deal elsewhere; 
  • although cancellation is simple, make sure to check whether you are going to be paying any penalty charges for quitting and balance these against the savings you might make on the new deal. 

A financial spring clean is not only likely to leave you feeling a whole lot better and in control of your hard earned cash, but may make you real savings into the bargain too.