Is there anything you need to do beyond that?
Just a little bit of housekeeping really.
In part 1 I talked about using your credit reports to find any errant accounts you might have forgotten about.
Credit Reports provide a much wider view of your financial wellbeing than just who you owe money to, though. Now would be a good time to badger me to finish writing my “A Guide To: Credit Reports” and see all the different pieces of information they show, why they are important, and how to correct them if something is wrong (or doesn’t tell the whole story).
In the meantime log back in to your credit reports and take a careful look at all the information they present. Are there any inaccuracies? Are you linked to anyone you shouldn’t be?
While you and I were busy burying our heads in the sand and avoiding creditors, I suspect your record keeping was a little lacking in the accuracy department just as mine was. Everything that came through the door got filed under ‘S’ for Shredder, ‘R’ for Recycling or ‘P’ for Piles and piles of letters out of the way somewhere.
Now you have got to grips with yourself and your finances, get a proper filing system organised. There are lots of different methods about, but get yourself a filing cabinet, box file or some other container and get sorting.
Properly accessible financial files protect you in case of error. It makes preparing to apply for a loan or mortgage that much easier. Good recording keeping also enables you to analyse your financial life down the road should you wake up one morning and wonder “Just how much has my car cost me in its lifetime“?
This is not a guaranteed process,but for the sake of the few pounds it will cost you, it is worth spending the time to do. Few people would have gone through their own debt meltdowns without getting dinged for fees on bank and credit card accounts hourly or daily at the worst part of your journey. In the worst cases some people have reclaimed over £20,000. Some, as little as a few hundred pounds. The point is it is your money, the banks and credit card companies in the majority of cases had no legal right to fine you (only to recoup their ‘reasonable costs’), so you get to claim back with interest.
Now you are working towards getting out of your debt hole – or if you already have – keep reminders around you in the places you are likely to spend money. If you are working towards buying a house, put up a picture of your dream near your computer if Amazon is your weakness. If you like a double-mocha-skinny-latte instead, put a smaller picture of the same thing in your wallet.
Always count to 10 on the smaller unnecessary purchases, and keep a 30 day list for the larger ones. These tips and others are explained in my Frugal Friday! post for September 18.
I told you there was not much more to do, and I wasn’t kidding! Debt is just a very small slice of the whole ‘personal finance pie’ though, and I would hope and encourage you to stick and keep an eye on the entire pie to get tips all over the place for saving and growing your money.