With prices on the rise, it’s a good time to review all of our finances to ensure we’re doing the right things with our money. Below are 12 money hacks, which I list as must do, should do, and could do. It’s a long to-do list, so aim for progress rather than perfection.
Know exactly where your well earned money is going. Cut out unnecessary spending such as unwanted subscriptions, useless insurance policies, or cars funded on finance. And always be ready to switch bank accounts, mortgages and utilities to cheaper providers.
Try to avoid the stress of high interest loans and credit card debt – they can be a hard habit to break and are often used to fund luxury items you can’t afford.
Claim your benefits
Make sure you are claiming all the welfare benefits due to you from the state, especially after a major life change such as marriage or illness.
Build an emergency fund
If possible, start to save every month and accumulate a fund earmarked for emergencies – search online for the best savings rates.
Contribute to a pension
For anyone with an excess of income over expenses this is a no-brainer. If you are a higher rate taxpayer you’ll get a 40% refund on your money – and your employer might match your contributions.
Be tax smart
There may well be a few tax breaks, reliefs and refunds out there waiting for you to claim. Finding free money is always worth the time and effort.
Think long and hard about the (probable) value of an insurance policy before signing up – too many of our insurances are a waste of money.
Make a will
Use a solicitor to write a will to ensure that your money goes to who and where you want it to go, thus avoiding unnecessary family arguments.
Get a state pension forecast
Find out if you are on track to get the full state pension – and, if not, what you can do about it. You may be able to fill any gaps with voluntary contributions.
Know exactly what your pension invests in and make sure you have an appropriate exposure to global stock markets. The same goes for any unneeded cash losing its value in the bank – get it invested.
Help your preferred charity to get tax relief on your charitable donations by giving over €250 in any one year. And if you’re thinking about passing on money to your kids, don’t forget about the very tax efficient small gifts exemption.
Ask Money Smart, or your own financial advisor and/or pension provider about options to invest in an ethical or sustainable fund.
If you like this article, try this one: How to Beat Inflation