What would you do if the Gods were good and threw €5000 in your lap? We recently asked some of our IMAGE readers and they were wonderfully honest – they’d want to save but they’d splurge on a holiday instead.
Wouldn’t we all?
Anyhow, even if we’re going to do some splurging, there’s still no reason we can’t start a new season by staying atop of our money goals for 2017. An expert over at mydomaine recommends setting aside a three-hour “deep clean” of your finances in a single afternoon, so here’s a guide as to how you can implement this yourself:
Hour One: Self-Audit
Collegiate your receipts. This is key to finding out your spending habits and noting where you could potentially save a bit more. All those weekly coffee’s stack up, so even the little spends are important to be aware of. And also, remember that you can get tax deductions – especially if you’re self-employed – so you’ll need receipts to claim these.
Gather wage slips. Many people disregard stacks of wage slips but these contain vital information about deductions and tax and are particularly important if you have multiple sources of income.
Hour Two: Examine
Review your budget. Like us all, you’ll have set a tentative budget at the start of the year, and now is the time to be sure it’s an expectation you can manage, or if you need to regroup. Is it realistic? Are you on track toward your savings goals? Or could you allocate money differently? These are all important questions to consider.
Scrutinise your wage slips. If you don’t regularly look at your wage slips, take even 15 minutes to read through them. Are your deductions are correct? If you notice any oddities, now is the time to schedule a review with your employer.
Shop around for credit cards. Take 10 minutes to the best credit card deals on offer. At a time when we’re all feeling more conscious where we get value for money, things like credit card interest make a difference, so be sure to seek out the best deal you can.
Hour Three: Make A Plan
Now that you have all the essential information gathered, it’s time to put a realistic plan into action:
Think ahead. The key to staying on top of any plan you make is thinking ahead. What big events have you got planned on your calendar? If you have a clear vision of what extra finances you need and can start saving in advance, this will be a weight off your mind.
Schedule time with a professional adviser. Finish off your financial “deep clean” by making an appointment with a financial adviser. At the end of your spring clean session, you’ll likely have identified the bigger things that need a closer look – long-term savings or investments – so it’s worth getting the advice of a professional before you take the next steps.