BY JOHN ELLIS, FINANCIAL ADVISOR
So, after last week’s article hopefully you have dealt with all the unwanted gifts from under the tree and have made a few euros into the bargain. Don’t stop there. Keep up the momentum.
Decide that January 2023 is the date you will begin decluttering your finances. Review your spending habits and deal with the bad ones. Get a handle on your debts and save money. Pull together your bank statements and analyse your income and expenditure. making sure you know where your hard-earned cash is going and look for savings. Small changes can make big savings. Some banks have apps that make this extra easy but if not there are many on line apps that will give vivid pictures of your spending habits.
Here are several pointers courtesy of Switcher.ie to make a financial fresh start in 2023.
Start with a hard look at your income and outgoings. List all your bills, subscriptions, debts, insurance, and other regular expenses. Be honest with yourself and highlight areas you can change, then decide to tackle it.
Check your credit score. The higher your credit rating, the better your chances of getting a mortgage, car or personal loan. Your credit report will help you spot any problems. This can be done on line and the average turn around is approximately 10 days from the date all the required identification document has been submitted. Go to centralregister.ie to start.
Tackle your debts. It’s easy to overspend at Christmas, so it’s crucial you have a plan to pay back what you owe. Expensive interest charges can add to your bottom line, so check if you can save by taking out a balance transfer credit card which gives you extra time to repay debt or better still if you have funds in a non or low-earning savings account think about just paying the debt off in full immediately.
Review your energy consumption costs. Energy bills take a sizeable bite from any household budget, so it’s worth looking at ways to cut down energy use at home and how you can cut your costs by switching your supplier. You could save up to €383 by simply switching to a different gas & electricity tariff.
Compare cover on your insurances – home and car cover for example. Insurers can take advantage of our reluctance to review our policies and automatically review them especially if we are paying premiums on monthly basis. Use comparison sites to search and switch to a better value insurer or better still use a competent broker.
Review your mortgage. If you’re on a standard variable rate mortgage, chances are you’re paying more than you need to. Talk to your mortgage provider or a broker about changing to a fixed-rate deal to take the guesswork out of your mortgage payments.
Subscriptions: How much are you forking out for multiple TV streaming and digital entertainment sites.? If you contact your provider regarding current expenditure there is nearly a guaranteed that you will save money. Some services offer family plans which could save money if there’s more than one person in your household.
Eoin Clarke, Commercial Director of Switcher.ie, says: “Many people feel the squeeze in January after splashing out in the run-up to Christmas. With spiralling inflation and exploding energy costs, it’s more important than ever to face financial reality, break free of bad spending habits and make positive changes.”
While wielding your financial knife start a savings account be it ever so small as over time it will build. Looking further into the future review your pension and if you don’t have one in place now is the time to start. It’s important for people to know that small changes can mean big savings and it’s less painful than you think.