Spring has officially sprung, so what better way to wave goodbye to winter than by taking a fresh look at your finances? Breathe some new life into your budget with these 4 quick fixes and make it a money-saving Easter.
Clear out the clutter
Many of us are guilty of hoarding old treasures, be it of school memorabilia or nifty little numbers that remind you of how never to dress again. However, in the spirit of spring cleaning, it’s time to clear out the clutter. Give your wardrobe and elsewhere a bit of breathing space by bagging up your old bits and pieces; one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and whilst you may not appreciate them anymore, a lot of these items may be just what someone’s in the market for. So what are you waiting for? Get down to your nearest car boot sale, offload whatever you can and gain a few quid in the process.
As far as fashion goes, there’s currently a huge market for vintage items. So even if you’re not fussed on that old Fila sweatshirt anymore, there’s a good chance someone else will be. Places like eBay and ASOS Marketplace are great spots for selling clothes, so sign up, snap a few shots of you or someone else wearing them and see if there are any takers.
Switch it up
With price wars being fought in just about every budget battleground, now is the time for consumers to start switching their accounts. When it comes to insurance providers, you’re probably already a savvy saver who knows how to shop around. It’s a sad story but unfortunately, in the case of car insurers and the like, loyalty doesn’t seem to pay by sticking with them.
However, there are more opportunities to switch and save; take motor legal expenses for example. It’s designed to help you recover the uninsured losses you may suffer after an accident that wasn’t your fault, covering anything from personal injury to loss of earnings.
Your car insurer will add this on to your policy for anything between £25 and £30, but standalone providers offer it for just £9.99 a year (visit Motor Legal Protection to find out more). Shop around, switch up and this could be yet another of your spring savings.
As far as household energy goes, despite the “big 6” suppliers (E.on, British Gas, EDF, SSE, Scottish Power and Npower) announcing plans to shave prices, there’s still far greater scope to save by comparing and switching. Money Saving Expert have made this easy with their MSE Cheap Energy Club; simply sign up for free and they’ll do all the hardwork for you, comparing energy tariffs and notifying you when there may be a better deal available for you.
Monitor your monthly payments
Whether it’s a gym membership or a glossy mag, most of our purchases are made with the best intentions. However, if you find yourself perusing the latest issue of Pet Lovers Monthly less and less, it may be useful to step back and ask yourself – is it worth the money?
Many of us have now signed up to the idea of paying for all kinds of entertainment on a monthly basis, so much so that the Office for National Statistics have included music, film and gaming subscriptions in their most recent calculation of UK inflation.
These subscription costs can really mount up though, so if you find yourself only getting that Netflix fix every once in a blue moon then you could probably go without the extra cost. The same goes for the gym – if you’re not going often enough then you’re more likely to be losing pounds from your wallet than your waistline. Working out what really is worth it will help you trim the fat from your finances, leaving you with a few extra quid at the end of the month to put to better use.
One of the greatest things about spring time is that, amid the April showers, you can feel that summer is on its way. Finer weather means fewer excuses to stay inside, so why not try a few outdoorsy alternatives to your usual leisure activities?
We often associate having a good time with spending a little money, but it really needn’t be so. There are a whole load of low-cost or even free day-time activities to choose from, from weekend walks to cycles in the sunshine.
And when it comes to the evening, why not ditch the pub and make your own beer garden? A barbecue with friends and family can be a far more cost-effective option than eating out; with everyone contributing a little, there’s no need to break the bank. This way you’ll be making the most of the longer days (weather permitting, of course), all whilst keeping your finances in check.