So it's week 4 (or 5?!) in the Big Brother house… No, sorry, in YOUR house. And it has been confirmed that another 3 weeks of isolation lay ahead. Hopefully, most of you have settled into something that resembles a 'routine'. You have likely cleaned your home from top to bottom – even the windows? Have rearranged your kitchen cupboards, baked all the banana bread that one could ever wish to eat, and have organised your wardrobe from light to dark, and are now starting to wonder what your next objective is. Well, The Mortgage Library is here to remind you that now could be THE perfect time to attend to your 'Life Admin', and this includes the dreaded 'F'…finances.
But DON'T be put off! It needn’t be a painful process. Here are some tips on where to start…
- Clear out that 'drawer' or 'safe place' where all your statements are stuffed. Have a look at what is old and no longer needed. You will find that most statements can be printed or saved directly from your bank or companies website if you have logins. This means a lot of this can be disposed of – such as statements from 2010! These spring evenings could be a great time for a bonfire! And if you aren't already, sign up to online banking or register with your lender/provider's online portal.
- Arrange the important stuff! Recent payslips, P60's and any other work-related documentation should be kept in a folder altogether. This way it can be easily found and referred to.
- Next up: your most recent domestic bills or statements. Realistically, you don't need to hold on to several year's worth. Keep those from the last 12-18 months, so that you know what you’re paying currently, and can reference these to make future savings.
- Paperwork from appliances or tech that you no longer own, or that are out of warranty…time for the bin!
- Direct debits… the two words that don't exactly fill us with glee, but should get a little more air-time than they do. Do you know exactly how much your monthly direct debits add up to? Now is a good time to have a real look at your accounts and see if there are any areas where saving could be made. You may uncover multiple subscription services you didn’t know you were still paying for. Or policies that could be in need of an update. May seem like a tedious task but could save you some pounds each month.
- Have a think about your home finance. Is your current mortgage nearing the end of a fixed period? Speak to The Mortgage Library about the latest remortgage rates and offers. Many lenders are offering cash-back incentives, and with rates at a record low – now is the time to take action and get a new mortgage in place, before you switch to the lender's Standard Variable Rate!
- You’ve cleared out the physical paperwork, so you know what’s up next? Your devices. How much storage do you have left on your phone? Have the endless TikTok videos and Whatsapp memes taken a chunk of precious space? Well, it’s time for a purge on here too. Some photos and videos might be too difficult to delete, so why not purchase an external hard drive and save them all here. Then you can spend an afternoon arranging your precious photos into folders by year or by trip – ready to get your favourite ones printed (another job that always gets forgotten!) You are likely to have x100 apps that you NEVER use, these can go too.
- Next up: Online courses. Have you considered taking an online course that may boost your career prospects, or get you some extra recognition in your current position? Future Learn has many courses aimed to build professional skills or to start something completely new. There is also a section of hobby ideas, that may be the inspiration needed to capture your imagination over the coming weeks. The website also connects people that chose to do the same course, so you may make a new connection to discuss your chosen course with – most of which are completely free!
If you get this far, you deserve a treat. Time for another banana bread? Or how about thinking about your next holiday. Get the family involved and spend some time thinking about trips and getaways once lockdown has been lifted, whether it’s camping in Sussex or somewhere further afield, start a mood-board. It may serve as a nice reminder of exciting times ahead!