It is advised a lot on both TV and in many articles we read to make sure we have our finances in order by checking direct debits and standing orders coming out of our bank accounts and getting on top of what is going where.
I still believe for the everyday person, actually sitting down and doing so is far more daunting than the experts realise. For those who leave this kind of job for years, putting it off perhaps because of the fear of how long it will take or what they might find, well it isn’t easy to confront.
It is a scary thought to just sit and go through what feels like a mountain of paper or figures online. To take this task on with full time jobs, children and family life sometimes quite simply it feels a hard task to complete.
So, where to start?
Well, when I am booked to do such a job I as always think of how to make the process simple, effective and clear so the client at the end of the day has one or two pieces of paper simply set out in a way that they can glance at and almost immediately see what is what.
Here’s how I’d set about it:
1. Online – check all bank account outgoings and make a clear note either on paper or on a basic spreadsheet.
a) The company/code name
b) Is it a DD (Direct Debit) or a SO (Standing Order)
c) How much it’s for d) The date it’s coming out
2. With your paperwork files (or piles!!) to hand, call the companies which you are unsure about. With accounts online many companies use codes – sometimes 3 letters so it is hard to recognise instantly what they are. I find googling these letters usually brings up who it relates to and it jogs your memory. If not try calling your bank.
3. If there are amounts you cannot find any connection to at all and have no idea what they are you must notify your bank. I have spoken to people recently (and we have all heard the stories) who have had money stolen for literally years without noticing! Sadly some of us are a scam artists dream…and by not checking our accounts we are letting people take our hard earned money!
The process of checking your accounts doesn’t have to take to long, just get it done because my goodness surely it is worth it?!?!?!
The outcome is you will know exactly what is coming out, why and when. Hopefully anything that is coming out in error you can get removed/resolved – and remember if this is not your error make it clear and try and get some kind of money back.
A very common item that I find gets overlooked are phone insurances for phones you no longer have…a small amount each month but it really adds up! Other common items are direct debits from properties you no longer own and rented accommodation you’ve moved out of. Some people pay items for years that they shouldn’t be.
So hopefully you will take a little time and check your accounts….
I did and I ended up getting over £100 back from an iphone insurance I HAD cancelled and in error (that was admitted) had been paying for for months!