It’s Time to Take Better Control of My Personal Finance Matters

Having been involved with MoneyHighStreet for some time now, I feel it’s time to take far better control of my own finances, ensure that I take note and act upon the personal finance information, products and services we offer.

I admit I am not good at giving my finances the focus they deserve. I get by is probably the best way I can describe myself. I do feel financial matters are important, vital in fact and yet I always seem to have something else, more important, to do! I suspect I’m not alone. Personal finance is boring I hear you cry, or I don’t understand it is often another cry.

I certainly don’t understand it all but what I am going to do is make sure I try and understand at least a little bit more. More importantly I’m going to take more of the ‘I can do today’ attitude, rather than ‘I can’t do it’ or ‘I can do it but not today’ attitude.

As I’m typing I’m already generating a list of things I could do with attending to.

In no particular order the ‘To Do’ list includes:

  • Sorting out the savings accounts for the children.
  • Using up my Cash ISA allowance for this year.
  • Take a look at switching our bank account now that there’s the 7 day commitment to such switches.
  • Make sure that the balance on the bank current account is managed and that  we earn some interest when we’re lucky enough to have a larger balance.
  • Get a grip on our utility plans and costs.
  • Consider further the financial and wider implications of renting vs buying a property. We are currently renting a property, having moved to Devon last year. We though are also so called accidental landlords. We have a property in Essex, two in fact, that we rent out. We originally decided to rent the properties as we wanted a large enough house nearer the school our children attended -neither of our properties matched our requirements in that one was too small and the other was in the wrong location – and with the housing market as it was din’t want to try and sell our property.
  • Revisit the question of whether to educate our children in independent or state schools. Long story for this one but in summary they both went to an independent school in Essex from pre-prep. They are currently in school years 5 and 6. With our move to Devon, there aren’t any independent schools within close proximity of where we now live. They have been in a state primary school for almost one academic year. We’ve seen some real positives from this, although there are one or two niggles and it’s really time to review matters and decide, do we stay with the State route or revert to the indpendent route? A big financial decision apart from anything else!
  • Rationalise the myriad of savings accounts I seem to have accumulated over the years.
  • Review my pension position.
  • Reassess whether we should continue with the private medical cover we pay a significant sum for each month.
  • Make sure our will is up to date.
  • Our insurance is all dealt with by our insurance broker and as such I am pretty sure that our insurance needs are broadly under control. Conscious though that I should just have a quick check.
  • Get a system in place to ensure I keep a handle on the vouchers I get – currently they seem to end up in piles all over the house and when I need them I can’t find them and when I do find them they are often expired. All in all not good when I should be making every penny count.

And whether sensible or not the first one I’m going to tackle is to understand more about what cashback sites offer and exactly how they work. As part of this, having recently undertaken a brief review of ‘Swagbucks’ I’m going to have a closer look at what they and other similar sites offer to earn virtual currency. Ultimately of course I want to understand if there’s value in me using any of these sites.

I am going to be busy but I have got the bit between my teeth now. I must not get side tracked. No doubt I’ll find other things to add to my list, which is fine, as long as I keep up the effort to get some items off it!

I’ll keep you posted on how I get on.

PS In case you’re wondering, my name is Diane and I am a 40 something married mother of 2 children. I worked for many years in the City of London as an IT Director for a large insurance broker. But with the arrival of children and the desire to be more flexible with my working I got involved with MoneyHighStreet.

We now live happily in rural Devon. We have hens, a polytunnel, large garden and a fantastic black labrador. In my spare time (when I do manage to get some) I love cooking and spending time in the garden or polytunnel, as well as reading and watching a good film.

Being near the beaches now I also like to have a go at surfing, when the weather is sunny and warm that is.  I also do still need the occasional ‘fix’ of bustling London life and luckily I have a brother who lives there and some very good friends from Essex who I can meet there.

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