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Make Money: Auditing your finances

Date Added: August 12, 2011 10:59:01 AM

Make Money: Auditing your finances

Once a year spare a little time to have a thorough look at your personal finances and ways to save or bring in more money.
Financial planning is a way to organise your finances by making a list of your income and expenditure.

Doing a little financial homework will help us in becoming organised and looking at home economics. If you have to fill in a tax return, this financial house keeping is vital in ensuring that we do not pay too much tax.

Building up a new financial plan will take some time and filing of the paperwork. In the initial stage a lot of time will be required but once the lists have been prepared and the paperwork filed, it all becomes a lot easier.

You will need to buy a A-Z organiser into which your paperwork can be filed. Bank statements can be placed under “B”, credit cards under “C” and water bills under “W”, gas bills under “G”, electrical bills under “E”, insurance under “I” and the like. Once the outgoing money paperwork has been filed by category and date, you are ready to file your wage slips.

The money saving equation involves:
•    Money at the bank earning interest.
•    Money in bonds.
•    Money in pension funds.
•    Money in the stockmarket.
•    Money in.
•    Money out.
After checking your statements and finding that everything is in order and you are not paying for any direct debits that you don’t need to. The next stage is to look through the following in turn:
•    Are you in the right are for your council tax?
•    Has your credit cards the best interest rates?
•    Have you utilities bills been checked with an energy comparison website?

In this way you are checking whether the large outgoings are the best deals on the market.

One of the big expenditures is your mortgage payments and related insurance premiums. By researching online, you could save by having a fixed or flexible mortgage deal. Some credit card companies offer zero interest rates and which can help you to keep your outgoings low. The zero interest rate period can be up to 12 months.

Another list of expenditure to look at are:
•    Broadband supplier.
•    Car insurance.
•    Contents insurance.
•    House/property insurance.
•    Mobile/gadget insurance.
•    Payment insurance.

The next stage is to look around the home and see if there are any appliances wasting energy and whether more energy efficient appliances will save money. Even the use or installation of double glazing, cavity wall insulation, lagged hot water cylinder and roof insulation will save a certain amount of money. Thermostatic values and energy efficient lighting is also worthwhile to have. Televisions should normally be energy efficient as well, boiling hotwater in a kettle will soon amount to a lot of wasted energy. Energy efficient kettles are a must.

Talk to your local planning department and find out if there are any energy saving grants or other energy saving initiatives.
The next item to look at is how much food is costing you each week, month or year. It is important that food is not wasted and some food can be eaten a few days after its expiry date. Most vegetables and bread products including fruit can be eaten a few days after expiry.

Check which labels suit you best:
•    Brand labelled food.
•    Supermarket own brand.
•    Or a mixture of both.
Smaller supermarkets have different offers and wholesale or membership markets can also be mixed in to save money. Make a list of products which can be bought for each type of food outlet as convenience shopping is always expensive. Some stores have 3 for 2 offers and especially vitamins purchases can save you money.

Buying books and newspapers regularly will also cost money and it may be cheaper to subscribe or look on the internet for free books and newspapers. Certain mobile phones can be used to surf the web. Books can be downloaded to your phone for reading on the bus, train or the tube.

Sandwiches purchased from the shop or supermarket can eventually amount to be very expensive. Take 5 minutes in the evening or morning to make your own sandwiches or ask the wife or girlfriend to make your lunch for you. Dinner left over the previous night can be easily turned into a sandwich.

Make the most of your tax allowance and have a cash isa to make a annual saving on your tax and the right choice of bank account will also help. Some accounts are for those who save a higher amount each month and the interest can be quite high.
Find all your money whether it was a loan to someone or whether it was given to somebody for safe keeping. If you have an old student bank account, close it down and see if there is any money left there.

Spring cleaning your home is essential, it does not matter if it is spring or not. Take what you don’t need to the charity shop, sell your old electrical items on the internet and go through all your books and also sell these via the internet.

Other ways of earning money include:
•    Renting you house and moving to cheaper accommodation
•    Renting your ground floor
•    Renting your first floor
•    Renting a single room

Remember that renting the house will involve informing your mortgage and insurance companies before the tenant moves in.  A tenant rental agreement will be required and the home should be left in a safe condition. You will also need to think of letting regulations, home maintenance and rent collection.


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