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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Reviewing your current finances

Keeping a regular eye on your personal finances will help you make the most of your money. Reviewing things like your bank accounts, mortgage, pension and savings will also help make sure they're still right for you. It will also alert you early to potential financial problems.

Check your income and expenditure

It's a good idea to check regularly whether your income is:

  • enough to leave you with money to spare
  • only just enough to cover your spending
  • not enough to cover your spending, so you've got a shortfall

You can use the online budget calculator on the independent Money Advice Service website to check your outgoings against your income.

If you've got money to spare, look for savings and investments options that are suitable for your circumstances and will give you a better return.

If you have a shortfall you'll need to take action to reduce your outgoings and/or increase your income. If you're worried about debts, you can get free advice.

Review your savings, borrowings and investments

Even if you feel you're in control of your finances, it's a good idea to look regularly at your savings, borrowings and investments to make sure you're getting the best deals available.

Look at things like:

  • how much it costs you to borrow money on your mortgage, loans, overdrafts, credit and store cards
  • how well your savings and investments are doing (including things like savings schemes and pensions)
  • the cost of insurance to protect your income, your property and investments

Comparing products

The Money Advice Service website offers comparative tables on a wide range of savings and investment products, including credit card deals. It also offers mortgage repayment calculators showing how different interest rates would affect your mortgage payments.

Renewing insurance - things to check out

When renewing house, health or other insurance take the time to read the small print to see what's changed. Are you still getting value for money and the cover you need?

Sorting out your financial priorities

If you need help sorting out your financial priorities, a good starting point is the Money Advice Service's online 'financial healthcheck'. It will give you tips for a healthier financial lifestyle and identify areas of your finances that may need further review.

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Money healthcheck

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