Spring is eventually upon us – hurray! With the welcomed return of the glorious sunshine, long summer nights, holidays, festivals and of course, the sudden urge to want to do everything outside, also comes a season of new fashion trends and looks.
Spring/Summer is a fashion season where the possibilities are truly endless. From bold, vibrant prints to pretty summer dresses and sandals, nothing is off limits when it comes to experimenting with fun prints, shapes and patterns – I love this!
But preparing your wardrobe for a new season can often be a costly business… With a wealth of retail outlets tempting us with rails upon rails of this season’s core looks, it’s hard not to reach into your pocket to splurge on that extra pair of sandals that you just couldn’t walk away from.
This year, it suddenly dawned on me that if I could quite happily prepare my wardrobe for the season ahead, why couldn’t I take the time to clean up my finances too? Naturally, like many people, it’s an issue that I often avoid at all costs but, this year, I decided to attempt to truly understand my money situation – mainly so that I could see where I could potentially make savings…
Like many people, it’s often difficult to know where to start when it comes to getting your finances in shape. So, I was relieved when I came across MrsMoneypenny – the guru of financial advice, and you may have even spotted her on Channel 4’s Superscrimpers?
My friend recently sent me a link to a MrsMoneypenny video. Here’s a list of some helpful hints and tips that she actively promotes, outlining how you can organise your finances in time for the new season.
Credit cards and store cards – are there savings to be made?
Almost everyone is guilty of it. At some point in our lives, we have all turned to credit cards to be able to afford expensive luxuries such as holidays, cars, and even splurges on brand new items of clothing that we just had to have.
With many credit card companies enticing you to open new accounts with tempting introductory rates that are exceptionally low and occasionally even at zero, it’s easy to see how so many of us don’t think twice about applying for credit cards. But it’s important that you do think twice – after all, if you are unable to manage your credit card repayments, this will ultimately impact upon your credit score and affect your chances of gaining credit in the future.
It’s important that you understand that low introductory interest rates do not last forever (wouldn’t it be great if they did!). With many only applying for a set amount of months, it’s important that you note down when they are due to run out in order to avoid paying high interest rates.
In her video, MrsMoneypenny suggests writing all of your credit and store cards down, and noting when the low interest rates expire. If you are unable to pay the balance of in full, which is always the ideal situation, you can look to move the balance to a low interest card. There are plenty of card companies that offer deals on balance transfers, but you must be aware that there is often a transfer fee involved.
Check your credit report
Not everyone is eligible for a credit card, so to avoid being disappointed, it’s always advisable to check your credit report to make sure everything is accurate and up to date and to check if there are any areas for improvement before you make a new application for credit. Services like Experian CreditExpert will give you an insight into whether or not you are likely to qualify for a credit card, and will also show you a selection of credit cards that could be an option for you based on your credit profile.
Understand your financial situation
Above all, the best way to tidy up your finances is to understand what bank accounts you have and where. We are often so wrapped up in our everyday routines that it’s difficult to remember the accounts that we have opened.
MrsMoneypenny suggests buying a notebook, or creating a spreadsheet in order to assemble a list that outlines every credit card, loan, bank account and building society that you own! Having everything organised on one thorough list will enable you to keep track of your payments, ensuring that your payments are kept up to date and your credit rating remains intact. This will also allow you to see exactly how much you are paying and where – allowing you to make sure that you are getting the best possible deal.