10 tips to help get your money in order in the New Year!
1. Make a budget, everyone should know exactly how much is going out and coming into the house, if you don’t know that then how do you know you’re not overspending? It’s shocking how easy it is to find ways of saving when you know where you’re spending it, and if we have a set limit rather than just spending it will it helps us think “do I really need it”.
2. Check your account, do you still have direct debits for the gym you never go to, insurance for a phone you traded in a year ago or pet insurance for a pet that you unfortunately no longer have, all still coming out of your account? These are just some of the things I have seen when helping people go through their direct debits and sorting out where all the money is going, the amount of people that don’t check their statement either online of when it comes through the post are losing out so make it a resolution to keep on top of your money.
3. Send meter readings, most gas and electric companies ask you for them quarterly or even annually so they can calculate your bill accurately, but a lot of people forget or ignore them, most can now be submitted online and prevent an estimated bill. The estimates are either going to leave you with a deficit that you have to pay off or they will end up taking too much money which leaves you out of pocket until you claim it back, if you even realise it’s there.
4. Plan your meals, most of the time we end up ordering take out or eating out as we get home, open the freezer and realise we are going to have to defrost something before we can eat it , or that there is nothing there. If you plan your meals a week at a time you can stick to a shopping list, know you have something for every day and get it out the night before or the morning to defrost and resist the urge to splurge on a takeout as you know there is already something nice waiting for you. Get your kids involved too, my children love to make a menu for our week ahead and we play resturants with it.
5. Shop around, check out when everything ends, this means your car insurance, satellite TV subscription, pet insurance and even your newspaper subscriptions if you have one. Most places want to keep you so if you’re happy with the provider and don’t want to move but want to pay less give them a call, often the thought of you leaving will make them offer you a reduced rate just to keep you away from the competition. This rarely works with car insurance though so I really would being a bit savvy here and switching every year.
6. Think about switching banks, this is not as scary as it once was as they now transfer all the direct debits across for you, look for a bank account that suits you, if you don’t have a savings account but have an account that all the bills go out of, then look at one of the accounts that give you money back for paying the bills you already pay, such as the NatWest rewards account or the Santander 123 account, both pay a % of you bills back to you and can earn you £100s a year for just doing what you’re already doing.
7. o% balance credit cards. If you have a credit card and it’s either come to the end of the interest-free period of about to, switch. You can transfer what you owe to another company and start again with nothing to pay. Although I would recommend paying it off in full at the end of each month I know that’s not always possible, but at least this way you’re not paying for the privilege.
8. Start using coupons, you don’t have to take it to extremes like you see on TV, even if you print a few of each week to help towards your shopping you can save £10 a week for 5 min work and a pair of scissors. You can find coupons in many places such as newspapers, magazines, in store magazines and by writing to a brand and letting them know how much you like a particular product of theirs.
9. Change just 1 habit, most of us make the mistake in January of going the whole hog all at once, we swear were going to stop smoking cut down the alcohol and stop ordering take outs all at once. This is doomed to failure as your taking away all your fun at once. Try cutting down gradually or pick one vice at a time, your way more likely to succeed. There are also free help kits for the smokers at your local doctors so you might not have to shell out money on all the expensive gums and patches. A great motivator is to put the money you would have spent into a clear bottle or jar, when you see how quickly the money mounts up it’s a great incentive to keep going.
10. Switch supermarkets or products. Don’t be afraid to try something new if it saves you money, the amount of people that now sleepwalk shop and get the same brands of the same things. Loads of supermarkets now do own brand cheaper alternatives and most people can’t tell the difference. There are always going to be that one item that you have to have, for me it has to be Heinz salad cream but for most other items I really can’t tell the difference between the premium label brand and the supermarkets own, tinned tomatoes all taste the same in a spaghetti Bolognese so why pay double the amount for the posh ones. If you don’t like it then you can always switch back but chances are there will be some products at least that you can save money on.
Hope this helps with your money saving 2017.
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