With spring supposedly on the way any time now, it's a good moment to take a look at what's going on on in your wallet these days. If things are looking a little threadbare in there, as they tend to do this end of the year, then a spot of refurbishment on your finances could be just the ticket. Here are a few quick RIFT tips for spring-cleaning your financial situation for 2020.

Plug the leaks

Probably the most important step to take is to check the stitching on your purse and pockets. Most of us are spending more than we need to, or racking up debts that we really don't. A few of the most obvious threads to tug on are:

  • Essential utilities: switching supplier could save you as much as £300 a year. Getting a water meter could boost that by hundreds more.
  • Council Tax: getting stuck on the wrong band is easy, and hardly anyone ever questions it. Getting yours corrected could mean thousands back in your pocket for a backdated claim.
  • Phone and internet: if you're paying over £20 a month for these combined, you might want to look elsewhere.
  • Streaming services: are you really getting your money's worth from subscribing to Netflix, Amazon Prime and now TV all at once?
  • Food: hold on, we're not suggesting you starve yourself. Just be aware that supermarkets have a range of tricks to get you paying more than you need to. Hunt around a bit before diving straight for premium brands offering nothing more than fancy packaging over the competition.

Tidy up your outgoings

When you've got debts to pay, it's all too easy to leave them stacking up interest. Just shifting your existing balances around to different cards can net you deals worth hundreds over a year. Debt management and budgeting apps can help you sort your way through the money maze, sifting out the unnecessary outgoings and minimising the essential costs. It's always worth having a clear view of your financial position, so take a look at the tools on offer.

If you're struggling with a number of separate debts, then it might be worth looking into consolidating them. There are resources available to help people get out from under the debt mountain, so don't be too proud to send up a distress flare before you're buried in the avalanche.

Fatten up your finances

Having a realistic saving strategy's a great way to plump up your wallet without tightening your belt, and it starts with understanding what you can afford to tuck away. Again, there are apps that can help you with this by slotting a little cash from your current account into a savings one automatically each month. If you're not quite ready to let a robot do your saving for you, then just set yourself a monthly reminder to do it by hand.

As for where to save, it's not necessarily as simple as having another account with your regular bank. With interest rates being so low right now, it might look as if there's no real difference between an instant-access savings account and an ISA, but that's still no reason not to look for the best deal. Checking the interest rates you're getting takes no time online, and transferring your savings is a lot less hassle than you'd think.

Don't let your wallet get stitched up by HMRC

One of the best ways to stop the cash trickling out of your pocket is to make sure the taxman isn't tearing dirty great holes in it. A 1-year tax refund claim with RIFT could put an average of £828 back in your hands – easily enough to squash a hefty debt, sort out that long-delayed holiday or boost a sagging savings account. Best of all, it doesn't cost a penny to find out how much you could claim.

Talk to RIFT about making your yearly tax refund claims. We're the UK's top tax experts, and we've got the expertise to restore even the most frayed finances with a wad of cash from HMRC.

If you've claimed with RIFT before, it's now time to claim your 19/20 tax refund so log in to MyRIFT, give us a call on 01233 628648, get in touch on Messenger or have a look the My Next Claim page here on site.