7 tips for freshening up your finances this Spring

Father And Daughter With Laptop And Paperwork

Spring has sprung. After a long cold winter and many weeks of lockdown we can now look forward to the prospect of longer, warmer days ahead and the easing of some restrictions. 

With summer staycations or possibly even trips abroad on the horizon, now is an ideal time to review your finances and put in place any saving plans for the rest of the year.

There are many ways we can tighten up our spending and improve our finances with just a little bit of time and attention. Here, Paul Went, Consumer Managing Director at Shawbrook Bank, shares some handy tips to help you freshen up your finances.

  1. Reassess your finances

    Now is a great opportunity to take a closer look at your spending plan for the remainder of the year. Coronavirus has changed many of our circumstances and when things start to open up again later in the year, you may need to adjust your budget.

    Our research found that 77% of those who had saved since the first lockdown in March 2020 were planning to spend the money in 2021, with the most popular intended outlays including holidays (31%) and home improvements (25%).

    Take the time to review your current spending and your plans for 2021. If you’re considering going on holiday or carrying out a much-needed home improvement, you’ll need to factor in the additional costs. If you haven’t created a budget, it’s not too late to start. To find out more about budgeting visit our guide on how to stick to a budget.

  2. Avoid the trap of auto renewal car insurance

    Avoiding the car insurance auto renewal trap is one of the best ways to reduce your premium. Unfortunately, new figures from GoCompare[1] suggest more drivers than normal have been caught out during lockdown.

    It is estimated a total of 7.6million motorists have already auto renewed this year without seeing if they could get a better deal elsewhere which could cost drivers an estimated extra £2.1billion in total.

    So, rather than letting your insurance roll over automatically make sure you make a note of when your car is up for renewal and shop around to find the best deal.




  3. Switch energy provider to beat the price hikes

    Energy costs make up a big chunk of most households’ monthly bills, so it’s important to try and get the best deal. It is thought the typical customer will see their gas and electricity bill rise by £96 to £1,138 a year due to Ofgem’s recent increase in the energy price cap[2].

    The good news is that it’s now easier than ever to switch and reduce the amount you spend each month. You might want to try an auto switching service such as Look After My Bills, which finds the best deal for you and switches you to it automatically. Or, if you’d rather stay in control of the process, then check out price comparison sites to find which providers might save you money.

  4. Check your broadband provider

    With many of us working from home, broadband is extremely important. It’s not just the price that’s important, but also the speed and reliability of the service.

    Now is a really good time to check your package and find out how much you might be able to save by switching.

    Start by checking the terms of your current agreement to see if you’ve completed the required minimum term. If you have, then online comparison services are a great way to look for a better deal.

  5. Automate your savings

    Building up a regular savings habit can take time and it’s easy to avoid making regular deposits. But mobile savings apps are a great way to ensure you are saving what you can afford on a more regular basis.

    Chip and Moneybox are just two of the many saving apps that are now available.

    If you’re looking for a different way to save money, we’ve put together a list of:
    The top savings challenges to try in 2021.




  6. Streamline your subscriptions

    One of the easiest ways to cut back on your monthly outgoings is to reduce spending on monthly subscriptions.

    Most streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Spotify allow you to use their services for multiple people from the same household at a time so sharing the cost of one account could be more cost-effective.

    With so many different streaming services available, we’re spoilt for choice. You might want to consider removing or pausing subscriptions that you’re no longer using to cut your monthly spend. Make sure you double check for any fees before cancelling. 

  7. Keep an eye on your credit score

    Actively managing and improving your credit score could mean you’re more likely to be accepted or offered better rates for credit. Lenders will use this information along with other checks to decide if you’re eligible for the line of credit you’re applying for.  

    There are lots of companies who offer free credit reports including Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You should bear in mind that credit reference agencies tend to use different formulas and can source different data which means your score may not be the same across all of them.

    If you want a complete picture of your credit profile, CheckMyFile allows you to see your data form all three, as well as from a fourth smaller credit agency called Crediva. You can sign up for free for 30 days but if you don’t want to pay a monthly fee then make sure to cancel before the trial period ends.

    For more information on credit checks read our ultimate guide.

 

1Study by GoCompare in February 2021

2Energy bills to rise by up to £96 for millions as Ofgem hikes price cap