When your personal finances are well organised, maintaining and staying on top of them becomes effortless. You know how much money you’ve got coming in, how much you’ve got going out, when it’s leaving your account and how much you expect to have left over at the end of the month.

If, on the other hand, your finances are unorganised this can be a recipe for disaster. Throughout this article, we’re going to walk you through 5 simple steps to simplifying your finances in 2017.

Close any unused accounts

Having multiple accounts open can be confusing, regardless of whether or not they’re in use. Subscriptions and monthly outgoings can go unpaid if sufficient funds are not available in an account regardless of if they are available in another account elsewhere. Having one current account where all income is paid into and all outgoings are taken from will give you much greater control over your finances. Accompany that with a savings account where a portion of your disposable income is paid into each month and you’re onto a winner!

Keep a Regular Check on Bank Statements

How often do you hear someone say; ‘I don’t know where all of my money goes’? This is a result of not regularly checking your bank statement. Historically, you may have had to visit your local branch to obtain a statement, but this is no longer the case. Almost every bank or building society will have an online banking app or website which can be easily set up. This means you can keep a check on your account whenever and wherever you are. Not sure if you can afford that new item of clothing? Don’t leave it to chance – check your statement and find out.

Another benefit of regularly checking your bank statements is that it gives you chance to highlight any outgoings that may not be necessary…

Cancel any unused subscriptions

We all set up accounts and subscriptions on a whim, often simply because they’re cheap. However, six months down the line and we can’t even remember our password let alone warrant the monthly cost. Having small amounts leaving your account here, there and everywhere makes your bank statement appear unorganised and makes budgeting a lengthier and more arduous task.

A simple rule when it comes to accounts and subscriptions like Netflix, Love Film or Now TV is; cancel them if you haven’t used them in the last month. You may not think that £6.99 a month is much but if you’ve got two or three subscriptions of this value, you could be spending up to £250 per year unnecessarily!

Utilise Direct Debits Wherever Possible

With outgoings like your council tax, water, gas and electricity you often have the option to pay manually each month or set up direct debits. In this situation, always opt to set up a direct debit. Direct debits essentially eradicate the chance of you forgetting to pay, incurring fees and maybe even obtaining bad credit. We always recommend setting up a direct debit on the day of or day after your payday, this not only ensures that the funds are always available but it also gives you a better sense of how much money you’ve got left over and makes budgeting much simpler.

Keep a Personal Finance Folder

Whilst most things can now be done online, it is always wise to create and maintain a physical personal finance folder. This should be a go-to place for all information about your finances; in here you can find out when your car insurance, MOT or mobile phone is due for renewal. This can also be a place where you hold recent bank statements and proof of address (such as a phone bill). Often when you apply for a loan, mortgage or credit card the lender will need to validate your ID and address before proceeding with the agreement, having these details handy will make the process quicker and less stressful.

Summary

Taking these steps to organise your personal finances will give you a much greater feeling of control. Once your finances are organised keeping on top of them will be effortless, you’ll experience less stress and will be able to focus more on the things you enjoy. So go ahead, try these tips and let us know how you got on.