New Year Finances: Top Tips

New Year Finances: Top Tips

Hands up if at the beginning of the year you sit down and reassess what I like to call the New Year finances? Me too, although I do a monthly budget based on real-life happenings i.e. upcoming events and a quarterly bill review too. Keeping on top of your bills, checking your standing orders and direct debits and making sure that you know exactly what is coming in and out is the way to achieve your financial goals.

This year we’re all about our frugal living challenge. This challenge is about cutting back on waste, saving money, living a simpler life and as a result pouring more into our pensions and savings. As part of this challenge I started with a New New Finances check and here are some of things I had to consider and some that might be of interest to others.

List Your Outgoings, Now Slash Them

When was the last time that you checked your direct debit list on your online banking or looked properly at your spending? When assessing your New Year Finances this is the perfect time to cancel anything you pay for that you no longer need or want (magazine subscriptions are a prime example) and really look at where your pennies have been going to. Looking at mine, I spent far too much in the last quarter of the year buying coffees in town and food for lunch (from Co-op not takeaway) on the way to coworking. A friend gave me a reusable mug and I have a packed lunch so having seen what these habits were costing me, I’m starting new, more frugal habits,

Happy With Your Bank?

If you are happy with your banking set-up, keep on scrolling. If not, this section could be of interest to you. Switching banks has never been easier, with them doing all of the work for you. Here in Thirsk, several banks have closed down, making it difficult for those who do use branch-based banking. Luckily I already had my business accounts and saving with Nationwide so when the local branch of my bank closed, I simply switched all of my remaining banking over to them using the Earn £100 for Switching to Nationwide incentive. It was so easy and both me and my referrer earned ourselves a £100 bonus. I’m obviously happy to refer anyone interested to Nationwide in the same way but if NW isn’t for you, do consider your options. With so many banks and building societies around your bank should be working hard for you in order to retain your custom. If they aren’t, and if they cost you fees and charges you could avoid, consider switching elsewhere.

Save First

Here’s a tip for you, save first. We used to wait and see what was left at the end of the month and put that into savings but found that with that system, there was little left! Now we have a set savings amount built into our monthly budget and put that aside before anything else. If there’s more left at the end of the month, great. If not, at least you have put something away.

New Year Finances Debt Refinancing

If you have credit cards, debts and loans, this time of year is perfect for a New Year finance checkover. Check your credit rating on Experian or other secure systems,  consider an online finance broker, speak to your bank or just shop around to make sure that you have the best deals possible. Debt needs to be paid off pronto and making minimum payments only maximises the amount you pay in interest. Make it easier to banish dead by looking at 0% balance transfers and better rates. Would this make a difference to you?

Cash Spending

This is my super-tip for you. Instead of using your debit card for everything, use cash. You’ll be much more reluctant to part with it, for sure! I now withdraw a weekly amount for groceries and use only that. When it has gone, it’s gone. It’s only been a few weeks but already I’m saving money left, right and centre. I’m planning to extend this way of spending into other areas too. I’ll report back on how that goes!

New Year Finances: In Summary

Have you done a reassessment of your finances yet?  It can be quite eye-opening and well worth the effort. It will enable you to set goals and save money. Take the time to have a look over your income and expenditure, you might be surprised by how much you’re paying out and it’s a good opportunity to call up certain companies and ask for a reduction. More about this in another post. Happy budgeting!

 

Home Office Space Organisation

Home Office Space Organisation

I have been a freelance copywriter for over twelve years now and while running your own business is wonderful and flexible and offers you a lot of freedom, it does come with a lot of stuff! By stuff I’m talking bank records, invoices, receipts, books and magazine, your printer and so much more. Home office space organisation has never been so important to me and I’ve finally managed to get the balance right, halfway between functional and attractive. Similarly, home office design is also important for those using the space for personal finances, studying and more. Here are some top tips to help you with your home office space organisation.

Storage Needs

There are various types of storage required when it comes to your home office. You do of course need to be able to store items safely and securely but also need to be able to access everything easily. An organised system that works well for your space is essential, as is storage that is both fit for purpose and has room for future needs. It’s great to be able to store all of your home office items perfectly but remember that there is more than likely more paper and more items likely to come into the office, despite the fact that we are all trying to go paperless where we can.

Sideboards

The first item of furniture I always bought when it came to home office storage organisation was a bookcase (or two). I liked the flexibility that bookcases offer and to be honest still do. The problem with open storage such as this is that it is hardly aesthetically pleasing! An attractive sideboard offers contained storage for a multitude of home office items and keeps everything hidden away. This is particularly important if you have converted part of another room, i.e. your bedroom, into a home office area. In addition to enclosed storage, a sideboard also allows for creative use on the top, either for a monitor, plants, picture frames or anything else.

Filing Cabinets

Filing cabinets are a must when it comes to home office storage organisation. To ensure your information and client information is safe and secure, ensure that your filing cabinet is lockable. A filing cabinet can come in all shapes and sizes, not just the easily battered grey metal variety, allowing it to blend in brilliantly with your other furniture.

home office storage organisation

Go High

Use attractive shelving options in order to store items up high, maximising your home office space organisation efforts and adding an additional design aspect. Floating shelves offer flexible shelving however do be aware of the maximum weight limit shelves like these can comfortably hold.

Home Office Space Organisation: In Summary

Being organised, having systems in places, streamlined processes and excellent storage are all essential whether you own a business, work from home or use a home office to keep on top of home admin, paying bills and so on. While effective storage is a must, don’t automatically choose functional and boring when you have the option to choose practical and attractive. This adds to the overall feel of your home and no doubt helps to boost your productivity and sense of wellbeing.

 

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