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It’s time to get piggy with it

HOW TO SPRING-CLEAN YOUR FINANCES with CAPTAIN CRUNCH

SPRING is about to be sprung, meaning it’s soon time for a good tidy out.

Whether the season of rejuvenation really does start in five short days may be up for debate, but after a long winter most homes could benefit from some freshening up.

And with the end of a painfully frugal January in sight, the same can be said for our finances.

Analysing bills, changing service providers, ditching unnecessary expenses and shopping around can help you keep more of your hard earned cash in your wallet.

Here’s Captain Crunch’s guide to spring cleaning your piggy bank.

KNOW THYSELF

It may be obvious, but to keep on top of your finances you need to know where the money is going – and many people don’t keep an accurate account of their outgoings and incomings.

Look for recurring monthly costs like memberships or subscriptions that you don’t need, or spending habits that could be curtailed.

How much are you spending on bank fees? Are your savings earning interest? It pays to be informed.

CHANGE SERVICE PROVIDERS

Research has shown Irish consumers are missing out on savings of more than €2,000 a year by failing to shop around for better value on their household bills, including their bank charges.

You can save bags of money by switching to a service provider who offers better value, especially to new customers.

There is really no excuse not to when websites like bonkers.ie make it so easy to compare offerings.

ONE MAN’S RUBBISH…

Why not combine your financial dust-busting with your home spring clean and kill two birds with one stone? Take photos of your unwanted furniture and other “clutter” and flog them online.

It’s long enough after Christmas now to not feel guilty about selling the awful designer scarf you got from your aunt, or the vase you have no space for.

GO PAPERLESS

Online billing saves companies loads of money when compared to sending out letters every month, so they all offer discounts to customers who go paperless.

It might only be a few euro every month, but every little helps. You’re also saving on your recycling and keeping the house free of paper clutter.

PAY DEBTS OR SAVE?

Usually you’re better off to get rid of your debts than chip away at them while maintaining a healthy savings account.

For example, if you had €1,000 on a credit card paying 18 per cent, you are forking over €180 in interest.

If you have €1,000 in savings earning two per cent, you are banking just 20 quid a year.

So by clearing the debt you are €160 better off a year. Debts usually cost more than savings earn.

MAKE LITTLE CHANGES

Little changes add up to big savings. Having one meat-free meal once or twice a week will save you cash, giving up take-away coffees will bank you at least €3 a day, while walking to lose weight is free, as opposed to forking out for a pricey gym membership.

Many people use January to give up booze and, by cutting out the demon drink, you could save bags of cash. Why not try a zero spend day once in a while to see if you can go an entire 24 hours without putting your hand in your pocket?

FIONA ELLIS

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