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Five Ways To Stop Wasting Money.

Finally, the sun has decided to show its face, and despite the current circumstances, Spring has definitely arrived. With extra time on your hands, there's no time like the present to get your finances into order and stop wasting money. Hopefully, you'll find a little extra money that you could put towards your future. From finding savings on your everyday spending to checking the performance of your investments, here are five essential things you can do to spruce up your savings and finances.

Analyse how much you’re spending.
The significant first step to sorting out your finances and to stop wasting money is understanding how much you’re actually spending monthly. It’s simple to do by taking a look at your bank or credit card statements from the previous month. For ease, put your expenditure down on an excel sheet and analyse your spending habits. Combine together any similar costs including ‘household bills’, ‘Groceries, ‘Shopping’ and ‘Eating Out’, etc., and then put under headings’ essential spending’ and nice to have’. Some bank accounts like Monzo already break this down for you.

Once you’ve documented and analysed your spending, you might be surprised what you spend money on and the amount this adds up to. You may also find those subscriptions you forgot to cancel and don’t use anymore. By checking your spending and making a couple of changes could provide you with a tidy little sum every month that you could put to better use.

Now you know where your money goes each month, you can begin to put a budget together to ensure you don’t spend above your means. A budget can help you reduce unnecessary spending and these savings you could add into your pension pot or investment portfolio.

Think about where you spend money.
We’re all guilty of getting into habits and routines, but these habits could be costing us more money than necessary. Check where you are spending your money, and are there any savings you could make that don’t affect your lifestyle.

Things like, do you always buy lunch at work? Could you make lunch before you leave home and save that money for something else? Making small changes to your daily spending habits could result in a fuller bank balance.

Have you checked your monthly utility bills lately? Monitoring your gas, electric and broadband bills regularly, could help you save money over a short to medium terms. A saving of £20 a month might not seem a lot, but that’s £240 a year without seeing any impact on your daily life. There are several apps now that can monitor your bills for you and suggest changes that could save you a substantial amount.

Round up your bills and spending.
Not precisely a way of saving money, but some banks now offer a round-up service, where your spending is rounded up to the nearest £1. The pennies difference is then transferred into a savings account. Although pennies may not seem like much, they soon tally up and over a couple of months. You could see a tidy little pot of money that you could either transfer into your pension, put towards your holiday fund or simply enjoy a night out at a restaurant.

Check your savings are in the right place.
Make sure your savings are working hard for you by checking the performance of your savings account or ISAs. If you are currently saving money by keeping it in your current account, could you move this to a savings account? Or if you’re happy to take more risk, roll it into a Stocks and Shares ISA. Making the most of what you have is vital, so you should ensure you’re optimising your savings and the allowances that come with them.

If you invest in an ISA already, is the interest you’re earning the best you can get? Shopping around and transferring your ISA into another provider or product could help you earn more interest and grow your savings quicker. Our ISA assessment service could quickly assess if your ISA is suitable for your attitude to risk and if you could be getting better investment growth from another provider.

For more information on our ISA Assessment service, please click here.

Saving for Retirement, With A Performing Pension.
Whether you have one personal pension or several old workplace pensions, checking their performance and charges could help you save more for your retirement. The difference between a pension provider charging 0.5% and 1% in fees, may not seem a huge amount. Still, over 20 years this could mean you’ve missed out on thousands of pounds of extra income.

To make it easier to keep on top of how much your pension is worth, you may consider consolidating your pensions into one performing policy. Moving any old pensions you have into one pot can be a great way to tidy up your finances. Consolidation could give you better control over your retirement savings, ensuring you don’t forget about that small pension policy you got from an old employer.

The pension specialists at Hilltop Finance will be able to assess your pensions to check if you are getting the best deal for you. If not, they can make recommendations to improve your pension performance and find the most suitable product for you. Click here to find out more about our Pension Assessment service.

If you’re getting close to retirement, then our specialists can put a plan together on how to take your pension efficiently. They will also tell you how much you could take out monthly to ensure your pension lasts throughout retirement.