12 ways to Spring clean your home and finances
Spring has definitely sprung and it won’t be too long before the clocks will go forward and we can all enjoy longer, warmer evenings.
Spring and Summer is all about enjoying the great outdoors as much as possible, whether that’s entertaining friends and family with a BBQ on your balcony, going for a run or walk or having a leisurely picnic in the park.
In order to prepare for the nicer weather, now is the perfect opportunity to not only spring clean your home to remove the clutter, but also spring clean your finances and help save yourself some money.
We often neglect looking at our finances, with plenty of direct debits and automation making our busy lives much easier. However, it is important you stay on top of your finances at least once a year to ensure that you are on the best deal possible so you are not throwing your hard-earned money down the drain.
A spring clean is not just good for your home, as it keeps your property in ship-shape condition, but it’s great for the soul and your well-being. After all, a clean and healthy home provides you with a healthy mind.
So what can you do to spring clean your home and finances? Here are 12 things you should consider.
1) Have a garage sale
We all have clutter in and around the house that we keep meaning to sort through and throw out, but we never find the perfect time to do so. Well, there’s no better time than the present to sort through your clutter, old clothes and things you no longer need or use, and it’s great for the soul. Instead of throwing it out, why not consider recycling, donating to a charity or hosting a garage sale and make some money at the same time.
The best way to de-clutter is to take one room at a time and ask yourself whether you have worn or used this in the past year, or if you will be using it. If the answer is no, then it’s got to go.
2) Clean thoroughly inside and out
When was the last time you gave your home a proper clean, and I don’t mean a quick wipe? It’s time to get on those rubber gloves, put on some music and clean out those cupboards, wash the floor and clean those windows. You’ll be surprised at how much dirt your windows in particular have picked up which can block out sunlight or the view. Clean sparkly windows will let in more natural light and brighten up your home.
3) Check your interest rates
When was the last time you checked your home loan and mortgage repayments? With the interest rates still at an all-time low at 2.0 per cent, you could be paying too much on your mortgage repayments. It’s therefore best to check with your bank or look on your latest home loan statement to work out what interest rate you are paying as it will make a difference to your cash flow. You should also look at online comparison tools to view the average rates and see whether you are paying more than you should. Now might also be the time to consider a fixed or variable loan, with good rates for both currently available.
4) Review your fees
As well as checking your interest rates, you should also review what fees you are paying. Fees include annual fees, application and exit costs as well as redraw fees and can end up costing you more in the long term. It is therefore important to relook at this and compare rival products and shop around for the best deal. Remember it’s not just finding the cheapest price, it’s finding the right product that suits your lifestyle requirements.
5) Make any necessary repairs or paintwork
When was the last time you gave your property a fresh lick or paint? As it’s Spring, this calls for fresher, lighter colours and a new colour scheme can make the world of difference to your well-being. You could always consider making any minor amendments and repairs that you have been putting off such as new tiling or doorframe.
6) Open an Offset Account
Are you making use of an offset account? An offset account is great to have as it helps to reduce your monthly interest bill and dramatically reduce your interest costs. Who doesn’t want to save money on interest repayments? An offset account is basically an everyday transaction account that links up to your home loan where customers can put extra cash into, helping to reduce their interest repayments.
For example, if you have a $450,000 loan, and have $20,000 in your offset account, then you only have to pay interest on $430,000. It’s best to check with your lender to see if you can open an offset account.
7) Extra cash payments
Have you just received a cash payment from your tax return, or maybe you have been given a pay rise? If so, then instead of spending it you might want to put it towards reducing your mortgage to own your own home sooner or put it in savings for your next property.
8) Make bi-monthly or weekly mortgage repayments
If you are making monthly mortgage repayments, then you can also save money by making bi-monthly payments, or even weekly if allowed by your lender. If your mortgage repayment is $1,000 per month then you will be paying $12,000 for 12 months. However, by paying bi-monthly you will be making 26 payments (52 weeks in a year) and paying $500 every two weeks. This equates to $13,000 during the same time period, meaning you end up making an extra payment a year which will save you money and reduce your interest sooner in the long term.
9) Make your bedroom a haven
As it’s getting warmer then now is the time to change the bedding and have a lighter, summer duvet. Getting your 7-8 hours sleep every night is essential for your performance. If you get a lot of light in through the windows you might want to invest in some blackout blinds to help you sleep better and keep your bedroom cooler.
10) Revamp your outdoor areas
As the weather warms up, we will want to spend more time outside in our gardens, or on our balcony or courtyards. This means it’s time to make your outside areas a more pleasant area to be in. Cut back the grass, clean that BBQ, wash the decking or tiling, get some new plants and maybe some new comfy chairs and tables. Also be on the watch for pests and spiders as this is the time of year they like to come out.
11) Check your insurances
When was the last time you checked your insurances? Are they up for renewal? If you are a property owner and rent out your property to tenants it is essential you have all the correct insurances in place in case things happen. However, instead of sticking with the same supplier every year, ensure you do your homework and shop around for the best deal as there are deals to be had. It is also worthwhile speaking to your current suppliers to see if they can provide you with a better deal too.
12) Review your savings plan and budget
It is also a good idea to review your savings plan and budget at least once a year as things change. Perhaps you have had a pay rise, or your rent has increased. If you’re trying to save for a property then you need to get you savings in order and budget accordingly and having a solid savings plan will help.
Published on 21st of September 2015 by Marty Stanowich