Financial Health Check – Monthly & Quarterly Reviews
Many of us make sure to prioritize booking regular appointments with doctors, and other health care providers, but why not think of money in the same way? The best way to avoid overspending and unexpected charges is to do a regular financial health check by reviewing accounts and bills. Below are just a few tips on how you can leverage regular financial checkups to find ways to save money and keep track of spending. Having a pulse on these items can do wonders by giving you a better idea of your financial health.
Financial Health Check – Monthly
Review your Regular Bills
Regular monthly bills are a reality and it’s very important to keep an eye on this spending. From utilities, phone & cable bills, car insurance etc. all of these can add up each month, and it’s important that you review these charges. Quite a few people may have these bills automatically paid via credit card in order to prevent missed payments, but that also makes it more important than ever to review them before the payment due date. Review these bills and make sure there aren’t any unexpected charges; this allows you to become more aware of your regular monthly payments, and identify items that you shouldn’t be paying for.
Review your Credit & Debit Accounts
When reviewing your spending habits, I recommend doing this every month to be safe. If you don’t have the time it’s understandable, but I definitely think it’s worth it. You can review these purchases much more easily given through online banking and smartphone apps, a few options are listed below.
- Export expenses to Excel and review & sort expenses plus save for tax purposes
- Personal Finance apps ie. Mint
By reviewing these types of purchases one of the biggest eye openers is how much little purchases creep up on you and can really hinder your long term spending goals. If you’re a regular coffee drinker and buy at least a cup a day, those costs can add up. Understanding how these small purchases quickly pile up may lead you to make more frugal choices in order to meet savings goals. Tracking your regular purchases and keeping a pulse on your finance health can pay dividends long term.
Financial Health Check – Quarterly/Semi-Annually
Take a look every 4 to 6 months at your regular monthly bills and evaluate if you’re overspending, you can renegotiate better rates, or find opportunities to save. By reviewing your bills on a monthly basis as mentioned above, you may have discovered patterns in your bills. Maybe you don’t need as much cell phone data as you once thought? Consider downgrading. Maybe you’re going over on data usage every other month? Consider renegotiating your cell phone plan or adding extra data to avoid fees. The same can be said about your electricity bill or water bill. Reviewing if you’re bills are increasing may be a sign that you need more energy or water efficient appliances in your home.
By reviewing and performing a finance health check all year round you ultimately have a much more intimate understanding of your regular spending. Leveraging great resources like ones found on Loan and Go can also help you avoid impulse buying and also understand how debt impacts Canadians across the country. Greater awareness of your financial health and leveraging great resources allows you to make more informed decisions when it comes to other discretionary spending and truly own your finances.