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Why now is the best time to spring clean your finances

While spring is typically associated with a good clean out of the house, perhaps it’s time to give your finance a spruce up instead.

A financial clean is a great way to start spring and as Christmas approaches, it could also help when saving for those presents.

Nine’s A Current Affair called in finance gurus Effie Zahos, Christopher Zinn and Scott Haywood to help three families turn their winter saving slump into spring gold.

“Imagine if you threw all your socks and undies in one draw – what’s going to happen, at the end of the week, it’s going to be a mess,” Zahos tells ACA.

“The same thing happens with our bank accounts.”

The family

Parents Brett and Kathryn have three children and say they run a fairly tight ship.

“We need to try to save as much as we can to ensure there’s enough in the pot for the family at the end of the day,” Brett says.

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Enter Haywood, from the Finance Guru. “The good thing about Brett and Kathryn is that they’re organised and they’re intelligent and they’re interested in getting advice on their financial position,” Haywood says.

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Brett and Kathryn are homeowners and Haywood says they could benefit from a mortgage overhaul.

“We’ve found a rate of 2.79 per cent, fixed for two years, which we believe will save them over $640,” he says.

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Haywood says there are ways Brett and Kathryn can reduce their everyday expenses.

“By cancelling their Foxtel subscription, and getting Kayo and Stan for their streaming, they’re saving $103 a month compared to what they were paying, which again equates to another $1200 a year that they’re now going to save.”

The independent woman

Then there’s Alison, 29, who loves her sport and fitness, but she’s wanting to whip her finances into shape.

“Owning a property and a car and a business are pretty big things for me and I need to make sure I’m always on track and making sure I know what I’m spending,” Alison says.

Effie Zahos, from Canstar, put Alison’s bank account under the microscope.

“I was quite impressed with Alison’s finances, she knows what it takes to move ahead, she keeps her finances simple and I like that,” Zahos says.

“She knows to invest in property, she has a home loan and she doesn’t have a credit card which I found really refreshing.”

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Still, Effie has found some key areas where Alison could make significant savings.

Currently, she has a home loan with Auswide Bank for 3.3 per cent.

“There are cheaper products out there – 2.89 per cent – but is it worth moving?” Zahos says.

“Well, on a $400k loan, it would save her about $80 a month, is it worth it? You’ve got to juggle that.”

As for Alison’s savings account, she’s on the Commbank Gold Saver, which offers a bonus interest rate of 1.6 per cent.

“She can do a lot better than that – 2.6 per cent or 2.75 per cent is the top rate out there but of course, I’d be urging her to put her savings into an offset account and knock that home loan even further,” Zahos advises.

But the biggest savings could come from Alison’s mortgage.

“If she wanted to re-finance to the cheapest home loan she could potentially save up to $26k over the term of the loan,” Zahos says.

The retiree hopefuls

And finally, Kim and Corrine love to travel. And at 65, Kim’s hoping he’ll have enough savings to retire next year.

9 Saver’s Christopher Zinn thinks he can make that happen.

Kim and Corrine have cashed in shares to pay off their  mortgage, while their super is also fairing well. But Zinn says he can still find a more savings.

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They’re paying $100 for Foxtel, $90 for broadband, they could do a lot better and get all of those services together,” Zinn advises.

“$60 a month, that’s $700 dollars a year, so it’s worth doing.”

Currently, they’re paying $60 a month with Optus, but by moving to a contract where they can bring their own phone they’d pay just $35.

That’s a saving of $300 a year.

“We’re not going to be perfect, we’re always going to have some things but if you can minimise your savings with the right amount of effort, they’re great things,” Zinn says.