Jump Start January: Personal Finance Week: Day 2

Day two of Jump Start January can be as simple as you’d like it to be, if you’re in a hurry. All I’m doing today is getting the last 12 months of bank statements together in one place. Just the current account records, not a complete statement of affairs.

All you need to do is get everything into the same file or folder, in chronological order. That’s it. Should only take a few minutes. If you have online banking and the website doesn’t let you look back further than three or four months then most banks will email your files to you the same day, free of charge.

If you’re already nicely organised then you might have these files to hand already. I know that while I was busy over Christmas and New Year I didn’t check or file my statements so I need to get them sorted out and put them in their usual file.

Should you have an extra few minutes to spare today, flip back through your financial records and look at your spending over the past year. Look for seasonal variations, standing orders, big bills, direct debits and so on, and see whether there are any patterns, or if anything in particular stands out.

The idea is not to beat yourself up, or give yourself a scare or a guilt trip, it’s just to gain a brief overview.

Once your filing is done, put the file somewhere that’s easy to get to for future use, so you can quickly update it or refer back to it whenever you need to.

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