Tips to spring clean your personal finances

February 22, 2021

This time of year can often bring with it a renewed drive to ‘spring clean’ our personal finances and take control of how we manage our money for the year ahead. To help you through the steps you can take to get your finances in order, here are some tips to get you started:

Start budgeting

Taking the first step toward sorting your personal finances can be scary, especially if you’re not sure where to begin. One of the simplest ways to start managing your money better is to create a household budget. The CCPC’s budget planner is an easy online tool that, with only a few clicks, will show you all your regular income and expenses, and helps you keep control of your spending effectively.

Cutting costs

Has your daily coffee fix become a twice daily fix? Are you a regular online shopper? To show you what you are spending every month on items that you might not really think about, or budget for, the CCPC has a handy spending calculator. This will help you figure out where you can cut back and what you can cut out, to help you save a little extra.

Make a savings plan

Once you’ve established how much you can afford to save, you might consider setting up a savings account. There is a better chance that you will keep to your savings plan if you have a separate savings account and set up a monthly direct debit.  In addition, savings accounts usually offer higher annual interest rates than a current account. The CCPC’s savings Money Tool will help you compare interest rates as well as other benefits on savings accounts from all the main financial providers.

Limit your credit card spending

Try not to use your credit card to cover your day to day expenses unless you can pay your credit card bill in full regularly (e.g. on a monthly basis). The temptation can be to only pay off the minimum balance on your credit card each month, which will cost you a lot in interest, and could take several years for you to pay off a large balance.

Manage credit card debt

Start by figuring out how much you can pay each month. It is important that you pay as much as you can afford, and not just the minimum repayment. By paying more than the minimum repayment, by even a small amount, will reduce the time it takes you to clear your debt, and will save you money in interest. The CCPC has a free credit card calculator which shows you how long it will take you to clear your debt.

Example

If you have credit card debt of €1,000, and the interest – known as APR – on your card is 17%, it will take you two years to clear your debt if you pay off €50 a month and you stop using the card completely. If you increase your repayments to €100 per month, you could clear your balance in 11 months. So, the debt is paid off 13 months earlier, and you save in interest repayments.

Check out if switching could save you money

Have you checked to see if you are availing of the best interest rates and benefits in the market when it comes to your current account, savings account, mortgage, credit card, etc.? If not, it could pay to switch. Check out the CCPC’s comparisons Money Tools to see what’s on offer across all the main financial providers, with only a few simple clicks!

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