Getting Your Finances In Shape For 2022

By Leeds Credit Union

Regular readers of this blog will know that we recently conducted a survey of our members to ascertain their financial circumstances and spending plans ahead of Christmas. Sadly, the results showed that approximately 25% were in a worse financial position than at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak.

The new year is the ideal time to take stock of our finances and see if and how we could make 2022 a better financial year for all of us. With that in mind, we've compiled some advice on getting your finances in shape for 2022.

1. Make a budget

Having a budget written down is a good idea regardless of your financial situation, as it enables you to keep an eye on your income and outgoings which, in turn, makes it easier to notice missed payments or any fraudulent activity.

This budget planner from the Money Saving Expert website is a foolproof way to get help managing your money. There are also plenty of budgeting apps to choose from - some of which also allow you to set savings targets - but a simple spreadsheet that keeps track of your income and bills will suffice for most people. 

2. Make sure you know where your money is going

If you can honestly say that you know exactly how many subscriptions, standing orders and direct debits you have coming out of your bank account every month, then you're doing better than a lot of people. 

Forgetting to cancel a gym membership or to downgrade your TV subscription package is incredibly common so go through your bank statements and make sure you're only paying for what you need and use. Make sure you go back a full calendar year in case any annual subscription payments have slipped the net.

3. Check your tax code

While receiving an unexpected tax rebate is undeniably good, receiving a letter informing you that you owe Her Majesty hundreds of pounds because you're on the wrong tax code is not. Arm yourself with a payslip, P60 or pension advice slip and visit the government website to make sure you're on the correct code and not over or underpaying. If you are, notify HMRC asap.

4. Make sure you're not missing out on any benefits

A lot of benefits aren't widely advertised so have a look on the website of Entitledto to find out if you're entitled to something you weren't even aware of, like money back on your energy bill if you wash essential work clothes at home or the government's marriage allowance. 

5. Keep an eye on your mobile phone bill

If you're prone to using more data than you pay for each month, you might as well be burning money - the excess charges quickly build up. Adjusting your contract is usually as straightforward as contacting your supplier and adding extra data to your tariff - some even let you do it online or via their app - and could save you hundreds of pounds per year. 

6. Minimise your exposure to adverts

The fewer ads you see, the fewer things you'll buy, so go to the inbox of your email account and unsubscribe yourself from every retailer's email list. They may have offered you a discount on your first purchase but now they're just trying to turn you into a repeat customer and get as much of your money as possible.

7. Use unspent gift cards

Many people get gift cards at Christmas and for birthdays and a good percentage never get fully spent. If you have any stuffed away in your wallet, either use them to buy items you genuinely need or sell them on ebay or a local online marketplace for a quick cash injection.

The Leeds Credit Union Money and Budgeting Service

Working in partnership with Housing Leeds, our Money and Budgeting Service (MABS) team is available to help tenants who are struggling to budget and pay their bills. To see if this service could help you, click here. On top of this you can help stay in control of your money using our online banking or app - plus with Faster Payments, you can move money around to cover bills with ease. Get in touch to find out more.