Leak-Proof Your Finances: Find & Fix Hidden Money Drains This Spring

As the flowers bloom and the days lengthen, it’s not just your home that could benefit from a thorough spring clean – your finances, too, may need some tidying up! Just as you might discover forgotten items tucked away in boxes and drawers during a cleaning spree, you might also uncover hidden money drains in your finances. This is why we recommend getting a helping hand from a financial adviser or chartered accountant to find and fix those hidden money drains and protect your assets ahead of the new financial year. Whether you’re a private individual looking for advice or a business owner looking to minimise spend, we’ve got some starting tips for you to consider below (and for a more tailored approach, please contact your nearest branch to discuss your options).  


Where Do Money Leaks Occur?

Money leaks can spring from the most unexpected sources, which is why they’re often overlooked and escape unnoticed until they’ve caused more significant financial damage. Here are some common areas where leaks might occur:


For Individuals:

  • Recurring subscriptions: Gym memberships used only in January, forgotten streaming services, and magazine subscriptions delivered unread all contribute to the drain. Review your bank statements, consider the value each individual subscription brings you, and cancel any unused subscriptions (or replace with better, more economical alternatives for only the benefits you use).


  • Impulse purchases: In a digital world, we’re constantly bombarded with ads about trendy new gadgets and spontaneously clicking and giving in to large discounts can become an expensive habit! For any non-essential purchases, consider waiting 24-48 hours to consider your purchase and whether the discount was what was attractive about the product; and for essential purchases, consider shopping around for similar items before clicking “buy now”.


  • Unoptimised bills: You didn’t expect to see your bills on this list, did you? Overlooking “new customer” deals and getting better renewal quotes from existing providers once your original contracts expire can result in unwanted overspending. Negotiate with providers or explore switching to more competitive options as things might have changed a lot since you last took out a contract. A financial advisor can also help compare plans and save you money as well as explain some of the more difficult financial terminology so you can make a more informed decision. 


  • Little-used bank and credit accounts: Dormant and rarely used bank accounts and credit cards can carry maintenance fees, which is why it’s best practice to consolidate accounts and close inactive ones (especially if you no longer use any benefits associated with keeping the accounts open such as loyalty points at a shop you no longer visit).


  • Inefficient saving: Putting money aside is always commendable, but is your savings account earning optimal interest? Researching high-yield options with your financial advisor can help put your money to work so when you set aside a little extra every month, you can benefit from the generated interest. 


  • Hidden fees: Some might argue no fees are ever hidden as they’re in the small print, but it’s common for people to forget over time or simply neglect to read the terms and conditions for common services and let past experiences fill in the blanks. However, providers can change their T&Cs at any time, so it’s important to look for unexpected charges on your statements such as bank and overdraft fees, ATM withdrawal charges, unexpected increases in common charges, and more as these can add up over time. 


For Businesses:

  • Unclaimed expenses: We recently discussed the benefits of good tax planning on our blog, and unclaimed R&D and other eligible business expenses could result in missing out on potential savings. Speak with our team of chartered tax advisors to learn more about your options and receive tailored advice.



  • Inventory inefficiencies: Depending on your business type, conducting regular inventory audits to identify and eliminate dead stock and prevent overstocking can be extremely beneficial. A bookkeeper can help maintain accurate and organised inventory records and ensure you’re not over-buying products you’re not frequently selling (or alternatively, you’ve not purchased enough seasonal stock to keep up with incoming demand!). For digital businesses, consider looking at redundant user accounts for common tools and software – often, the more members of your team you have signed up for a service, the more you’ll be charged, so ensure only those who need access have it and remove past members of staff, colleagues who’ve moved on to use other tools, or simply remove tools that can be replaced with cheaper alternatives. 


  • Outdated software: Similar to the last point, inefficient or unsupported software can hinder your (and your team’s) productivity and incur unnecessary fees, as well as pose a security risk. Ensure all your software is current, still supported, and the company provides sufficient support to your team. If not, consider investing in alternative, modern, cost-effective solutions that meet all your needs (especially if you can use fewer products overall).


  • Employee turnover: An often overlooked money drain can come about from high staff turnover rates as the cost of hiring and training staff includes both time and money. Invest in employee engagement initiatives and competitive compensation packages, and work with your accountant to understand the business landscape for your industry.


How Can You Improve Your Finances?

Now that you’re aware of some common money leaks in your personal and business finances, how can you go about plugging them? Here are a few tips:


For Individuals:

  • Track your spending: Consider using a budgeting app or (for more tailored advice) a bookkeeping service to keep your finances organised, gain a clearer understanding of how your money can go further, and discuss additional options (especially if you have outstanding debts that need to be cleared).


  • Create a budget: By allocating funds towards essential expenses and in line with your savings goals, you’ll have a better understanding of how much money you have left over each month – allowing you to make better financial decisions for non-essential items. If you work with a financial advisor, they can also tailor a budget to your needs and help get your finances under control. 


  • Set up direct debits and standing orders: By scheduling automatic transfers to savings, bills, and to pay off cards and credit accounts, you can avoid missed payments and late fees, thus incurring fewer charges across your accounts. 


  • Seek professional help: Ultimately, the best way to form good financial habits is to seek help from someone in the know – such as a financial advisor! By working with a professional, you can get personalised and judgement-free advice, learn how to manage your finances, create financial plans, and navigate more complex financial decisions such as saving up to purchase a home, paying for a wedding, and more. 


For Businesses:

  • Invest in accounting software: Using cloud-based accounting software can make expense tracking, invoicing, and payroll management much more efficient and take the stress out of business finance management. If you’re new to cloud accounting software, consider consulting an accountant to help you get set up and provide support and advice throughout the financial year to ensure you are up-to-date on all HMRC requirements. 


  • Negotiate with suppliers: If you’ve been working with a supplier for a long time, you may be able to negotiate extended payment terms, bulk discounts, scheduled deliveries, and more to help improve the service you provide to your customers and stabilise your cash flow. 


  • Conduct regular financial reviews: Scheduling regular (e.g. quarterly) reviews with a chartered accountant can help outline your progress, identify potential risks, and ultimately ensure your financial strategy is still relevant to your goals, as well as support you in changing your strategy should the need emerge. This will also help your tax planning strategies over the course of the year.


  • Invest in employee training: By providing staff training, your employees will not only be equipped to perform better in their roles, but will be more efficient, empowered to make better resourcing decisions, and understand the impact of “hidden” business expenses. While this will look different to every business, let’s imagine a small business shipping out orders: if staff use packaging incorrectly, items may break in transit which will result in a business expense, loss of stock, and may even damage the business’ reputation. 


Contact MMG Chartered Accountants

Make MMG Chartered Accountants your trusted partner for comprehensive accountancy services in Scotland. We are committed to helping you achieve your financial goals and secure a prosperous future. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and discover how we can empower you to take control of your financial well-being. Contact our team at mail@mmgca.co.uk or call your local branch.