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With lots going on and busy lives it can be hard to take time to sit down and properly evaluate budgets and finances.
However, knowing where you stand financially is really important, and keeping your finances in good shape doesn’t have to be time consuming.
Eight simple ways to improve your finances in ten minutes or less:
1. Keep Your Budget Up To Date
Take a few minutes each week or month to sit down and make sure your budget is up to date. If you don’t have a budget set up, you can use our handy calculator spreadsheet to get started.
Keeping an eye on your money regularly means you’ll be much more on top of your finances and easily know where you stand if it comes to needing money for an emergency.
Updating your budget weekly makes it quicker, easier and less of a chore.
2. Set Up Automatic Savings (Skimming)
You simply sign up, link your bank account and then clever artificial intelligence will look at your spending and work out small, affordable amounts you can afford to save. It then automatically moves these across into savings.
The best bit about this is that they’re designed to work so that you don’t even notice the money missing, so you don’t ever feel short. Savings build up over time and you are able to pause, stop or withdraw your saved money at any time.
3. Lower Your Bills
Take 10 minutes to try and get a better deal on one of your bills. Do a quick price comparison online, to see what better deals are out there and phone your provider to see if you can adjust your deal for a better price.
They may be willing to negotiate a better deal for you, and if not, you may be able to switch to a different company anyway and save money!
4. Switch Your Bank Account
There are lots of bank accounts available that offer a rewards scheme. For example, I currently use a Halifax Reward Account, which pays £2 per month (it was £5 per month when I switched).
On top of that banks will often offer a monetary incentive for switching – up to £150!
Switching is a lot less hassle than it sounds; you simply apply for your chosen account, choose to use their switching service and everything will be done for you, including moving all your direct debit orders.
You can find a great guide to the best deals for switching on MoneySavingExpert.
5. Check Your Savings
Take a look at the interest rates you’re getting on your savings accounts and have a look to see if there’s anything better available that you may be eligible for.
Sometimes when you have your current account with a specific bank they then allow you to open a savings account with a higher rate of interest.
6. Review Your Subscriptions
Take a look through all your subscriptions to check you’re not paying for anything you don’t use.
Have a gym membership but don’t go to the gym? Start going to get your money’s worth or cancel it. Do you pay for an expensive TV package but don’t really watch much? Consider switching to a cheaper one.
7. Set Up Reminders
To make sure you pay for things on time and avoid being caught out, set reminders on your phone, calendar or computer to alert you when they’re due.
Automating your payments where possible also helps save time and keep you up to date.
8. Talk With Your Partner
If you share finances with a partner, take the time to talk together about your joint budget and your financial goals.
Co-managing your money helps keep you on the same page about your life and finances together, but also means that if you split up, or if anything were to happen to one of you, the other would be clued up on where things stand financially.
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