Five ways to spring clean your finances before bills start rising

Start a simple spreadsheet to keep tabs on household bills. Photograph: PA
Start a simple spreadsheet to keep tabs on household bills. Photograph: PA
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April will mark the start of ballooning bills for some households, with a number of costs, including some utility bills, set to go up. Minimum workplace pension contributions under automatic enrolment will also increase from the start of the new tax year on 6 April. According to Hargreaves Lansdown, this means the average employee will see an extra £30 leave their monthly pay packet – although in the longer term, this will help workers build up a bigger pot of cash for their retirement.

But there are also some changes that may cushion the blow. Firstly, it’s a time of year when many people receive pay rises. The amount of income people can earn annually tax-free also increases in April too, with the personal tax allowance increasing from £11,850 to £12,500.

While switching providers is one way to save money on bills, there are other methods to spring clean your finances. Here are some tips from Rachel Springall, a finance expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk.

Dissect your finances

Get under the bonnet of your household income and outgoings. If you can break down where you’re overspending and look at what you could look to rein in on, it can make a world of difference. Starting a simple spreadsheet and keeping tabs on household bills and upcoming expenses can help prevent the risk of being caught short of cash.

Use budgeting apps

Free apps can be useful to establish up-to-date balances on current accounts, credit cards and savings, from many different brands. Customers can assign their outgoings to categories and easily see where their cash is going each month. It’s also possible to scan your loyalty cards to use on your phone via an app, so you don’t need to rummage through your wallet.

Make saving automatic

People don’t always have the time to make frequent deposits into their savings accounts – but there are ways to do this automatically. Use a free app like Chip (getchip.uk), which connects to a current account and makes automatic deposits based on a user’s spending. Lloyds customers can also register for a service called “save the change”, which rounds up current account spending to the nearest pound and transfers the difference into a Lloyds savings account.

Move credit card debts

Moving credit card debts to a 0 per cent balance transfer card will help you avoid paying out on unnecessary interest and can help when setting out a plan to get out of debt. Bear in mind fees for transferring the balance, although there are balance transfer cards around that are fee-free.

Take advantage of re-mortgage deals

Borrowers who take advantage of some of the latest deals to hit the market, could shave hundreds of pounds off their monthly repayments.

Based on a £200,000 mortgage over a 25-year term on a repayment basis, the monthly repayment on the average two-year fixed rate of 2.49 per cent would cost £896.23 – which is potentially £260.17 cheaper than if they were sitting on their mortgage lender’s standard variable rate (SVR). Someone on an average 4.89 per cent SVR rate with a £200,000 mortgage could end up paying £1,156.40 per month.