We’d all like to have a bit more cash in our pockets, and let’s face it, we’d never deliberately spend more than we need to on something. Yet, despite this, many of us take our eye off the ball when it comes to how we manage our ﬁnances. Does this sound like you? If so, read on. There could be some great savings to be had.
By David Spruce
Get your records straight
One of the biggest barriers when it comes to saving money, is that we often don’t know what we spend today. In order to spring clean your ﬁ nances, it’s a good idea to get your records straight. Get a ﬁle, box or even a carrier bag together with the latest bills from your energy companies, phone and broadband providers, mobile phone bills or contract, credit card statement, bank account details. Knowing what you spend today will help you determine how much you could save going forward.
Switching energy providers
If you’ve never switched provider, or it’s been more than a year since you last did so, you could ﬁnd that you could make considerable savings. Ofgem, the energy regulator recently reported that 60% of us don’t switch provider, yet the average saving for customers who did was over £300 a year. It could well be more than that – comparison websites are seeing some customers saving over £1,000 a year by switching!
Often, consumers think it’s too difﬁcult to do. These days it really isn’t. Gas and electricity are simply commodities. Do some research yourself or use a comparison website to do the hard work for you.
Look for a new credit card
There are an almost bewildering number of different credit card deals out there; choosing the right one, could save or help make you some money. If you’ve got a good credit score, there are some excellent deals out there. These include credit cards that allow 0% interest on new purchases. If you have an existing credit card or two already, there are 0% balance transfer cards available. These allow you to transfer your existing debts to a new card and pay it off interest free. This could be a very signiﬁcant sum saved, even after the initial transfer fee.
There are also a number of reward cards available. These offer points, airmiles or cashback when you use your card in certain places. It’s important to remember though that you must pay off the bill promptly or the interest will quickly gobble up any cashback you’ve earned.
Unless you have a 0% card, try to pay your balance off on time each month. Allowing credit card debt to accumulate will soon cost you a hefty sum in interest.
Through apathy, large numbers of us allow our insurance to just ‘auto-renew’ each year. That’s not just our car insurance either, but also our house, contents and perhaps even our pet insurance. If that sounds like you, you’re likely to be able to make some good savings by shopping around.
Insurance companies don’t always reward loyalty, and the cheapest deals are often reserved for new customers. Having made a note of when your insurance expires, get some quotes a few weeks in advance. Again, comparison websites can do some of this leg work for you.
Phone and broadband deals
Firstly, it’s important to look at your bill or contact your provider to ﬁnd out what contract you’re currently on. This is because contracts typically run for a ﬁxed period and it’s unlikely that you’ll save much switching mid-contract due to early cancellation penalties. However, if you wait until your contract is expiring, you’ll have many more options.
As with other services, comparison sites can help you compare deals available in your area, they’re able to take into account the speciﬁc broadband availability in your postcode .
Replace your mobile phone or contract
You may be able to save money by changing your mobile or phone contract. Most of us opt for a monthly mobile phone contract which includes the handset. This is actually the most expensive way to pay for a mobile phone. The handset price is inﬂated and included each month in what you pay. Obviously, this is convenient, but if you can afford to, buying a phone outright and purchasing a SIM-only mobile phone contract could save you quite a bundle.
Changing your bank account Many of us bank with the same institution for years and years or even a lifetime. As a result, we’re unlikely to be making the most of our bank accounts. With interest rates at historic lows, you may well be receiving almost no interest on the money in your current or savings accounts.
There are banks offering as much as 4% interest on current account balances up to £5,000. There are also switching bonuses of between £100 and £150 to be had.
Reﬁnance mortgages or loans
If you’ve an existing mortgage or loan or, you’re thinking of taking out a new one, now is a good time to act. With interest rates so low, mortgage and loan providers are offering some interesting deals. If you’re on a standard rate mortgage – which you will be if an initial deal has expired, you could almost certainly save money by ﬁnding a new deal. Always make sure you fully understand the terms, conditions, and any upfront or cancellation fees that are involved.
If you don’t want to switch – haggle!
Even if you don’t want to switch from your current provider, you can often save some money by threatening to switch or by simply asking! Pay TV providers and mobile phone providers will often offer you a cheaper price or early upgrade if you contact them and tell them you’re thinking of switching or leaving. We’re often too polite to haggle but if you want to save some money, give it a go!
Where to ﬁnd money saving tips…