I started this a few months ago. I was so tired of having to hunt through piles of paperwork every time I needed a bill, to check a payment or to see what savings I had. The crunch time was when I needed to do my personal tax return and everything was everywhere. Enough was enough it had to be sorted.
We put up a shelf as we have a little cubby hole that we use as a tiny office but if you are short of space argos, ikea and places like that have nice little cubes that fit folders perfectly and look very nice too! I brought a few folders and labeled them up as follows
Car and van documents
Other random things!
Inside of each I stuck a load of plastic sleeves into each folder and started my sort out. I did the sort out mostly in one go but it went on for a few weeks as I kept locating bits of paperwork everywhere! I thought that unless I needed to keep things ongoing (like investment details) I would stick the latest copy on top and once the plastic sleeve was full I would get rid of the oldest one. I figured I could fit a couple of years of each utility bill in each sleeve.
So I initially did it to find all of the things for my tax return and it's worked a treat, but there's been an unexpected bonus. Having the things all together I started to notice things as I filed away the newer documents. One of my insurances was creeping up in price, my electricity company was estimating my readings and the rate was creeping up as I was out of contract and finally was I really paying that much to watch TV now! Erm something needed doing.
I spent one evening, approximately 2 hours going through each one and switching to the best deal I could find. As I had all the documents in front of me I could easily check like for like and using
Money saving expert
Compare the market
I found the best deals I could (there are more comparison sites but like I say, I want things quick and easy) once I'd found the best deals I checked it couldn't be bettered using quidco and topcashback. I then switched. By the end of the 2 hour session i estimated my annual savings of around £1000!!! In fact in most cases I also had bettered the provision into the bargain. I also ended up with 2 meerkats (sold on eBay), a £75 Sainsburys voucher and £14 cashback.
At the end of this I scribbled a list of when each thing was up for renewal and have already had the benefit of remembering to ring round for van insurance quotes and saved £200 on the renewal quote. This list is secured in the front of one of the folders.
This is my tip for today, get your finances organised, literally! Make it really simple like I have and you can't go wrong. Once you have this in place it is extremely easy to maintain by slipping the latest bill/letter on the top and makes everything else quicker and easier when switching or renegotiating.
J S and N