Is your To-Do list getting out of hand? Do you want to save money and avoid stress? Then why not have a ‘Power Day’? Write down your ten most hated tasks, set aside half a day, or even just a couple of hours – AND GET THEM DONE!
Today is going to be my ‘Power Day’. Here is a list of the 10 things I’m going to tackle and why getting them done will save me money, time and stress:
1. Tax Return: It has got to be No. 1 on my list of horrors! I have to dig out my list of log-ins for the HMRC website, find all those dull bits of paper that I’ve (hopefully) shoved in the creaking at the seams ‘tax’ folder and scrabble around for dog-eared receipts. It is not a job that can be done in two minutes but if distractions are kept to a minimum and I have all the bits of paper ready it’s not actually that bad. And I will feel so virtuous in January when I hear Moira Stewart reminding all the other not so organised self-employed that they need to get their form in pronto! I also will save myself the automatic £100 penalty for a late return…
2. Insurance Renewals: House insurance, car insurance, life insurance, health insurance, travel insurance, professional indemnity insurance…there is quite a list! However with each insurance there is the potential to save yourself a bit of money if you just take a few minutes to double check that you’re still getting the best deal. Obviously not all your insurances will come up for renewal at the same time but take a moment now to check renewal dates and put a note on your calendar to remind yourself to check a couple of weeks before each expires.
3. Utilities: I have to admit that I haven’t checked whether I’m getting the best deal on our electric and gas since we moved in here….six years ago! But that’s why I’m having my ‘Power Day’! Take a moment to check all the utilities: water, gas, electricity, oil etc. Are you getting the best deal – it doesn’t take a minute to check online. Would it save you money long term to invest in a different sort of energy e.g. solar panels? Would you save money on purchasing heating oil if you became part of a local buying group?
4. Mortgage: go on, be brave, take a look at your mortgage statement! It seems to be one of those conundrums of life that even though most of the money we earn goes straight to the mortgage company, the outstanding balance never changes very much! But again, you could be saving money if you switch to another provider. Go online now and check you’re still getting the best deal. Switching your mortgage today might not be as tricky as you think and could save you a lot of money.
5. Car: once a year I go into a mad panic and realise that my MOT is going to expire tomorrow and I haven’t booked the car in! Then afterwards I vow never to get in such a situation again and to schedule the date into my calendar so that I can book in well in advance…. So today’s that day that I’m going to sort all that out too! I’m going to get out my ‘Car’ folder and schedule in to my calendar the MOT date, servicing dates, breakdown cover renewal date, tax disc renewal date etc.
Don’t push your luck – make sure your breakdown cover is in date!
6. Phone/Broadband/TV/Mobile: again easy to compare online and it could save you a lot of money. So get your contracts out or login online and check you’re getting the best deal. If you get satellite TV it might be worth looking to see if combining with your broadband or phone could save you money. If contracts aren’t up for renewal then make sure you make a note on your calendar to check at the relevant time.
7. Dentist: even if you are lucky enough to find an NHS dentist, visiting twice a year for a check-up, scale and polish might not seem very expensive at the time but it soon adds up. Also are you covered if you need some major work done? Unfortunately as we get older the likelihood of this increases. Your dentist might offer some kind of direct debit scheme to cover the costs of two visits a year. Give them a ring now and see if you can get a better deal.
8. Bank Accounts and Savings: not many of us have savings accounts these days as we’re too busy trying to pay off the mortgage (see no.4 above) but in an ideal world we’d all have the oft-quoted 3 month’s salary in an account somewhere in case of emergency. So we need to make sure what little we have in the bank is working as hard as possible for us. Get your statements out now, check the interest rates on your accounts. If they’re not good enough, switch them.
9. Passports: this isn’t going to save you money but it is certainly going to save you stress! Get your family’s passports out now and check the expiry dates. You can apply for a new passport up to nine months before it expires and the remaining validity will be added to your new passport so you won’t lose out.
10. Credit/Store Cards: is your wallet full of cards you don’t use? Then now is the time to cut them up and cancel the account with the provider. Are you getting the best deal on the cards you do use? If you always pay your balance on time there are a fantastic range of benefits to be had, from cashback to free flights. If you need credit then make sure you’re getting the best rate. Switching is not difficult and will save you in the long term.
So what are you waiting for? Schedule in your ‘Power Day’ and see how much money, stress and time you can save!