With the cost of almost everything rising, it’s more important than ever to try and save a little here and there where you can.
We have compiled 20 hints and tips that could help you do just that.
1. Make a list of all your incomings and outgoings from your bank, including dates of when direct debits end e.g. – insurances, tv, mobile contracts, credit cards – seeing and noting it down makes it real.
2. Plot your monthly bills (including fuel, food, wages etc.) to see what you have left over, or where you fall short – you can’t budget for what you don’t know.
3. Use a comparison site to try and get a better deal and then see if your current supplier can do you a deal.
4. If you can arrange for all your payments to come out just after payday you can try and minimise any overdraft costs if you have one.
5. If you have any spare cash at the end of the month, and can afford to save even a little e.g. £20, find a good interest savings account – there are many government-backed saving schemes that reward even the smallest of savings.
6. If you can, try to pay off your highest rate debt first – even before trying to save money. Reducing your debt first creates a better credit profile.
7. Don’t stay brand loyal – shop around for your food and fuel to get the best offers.
8. Sign up for in-store loyalty cards and use vouchers you receive from your supermarket. Some examples of these are Tesco Clubcard, Sainsbury’s Nectar and Boots Advantage card.
9. Plan your meals every day, this helps avoid overspending on food shopping.
10. If you are on receipt of certain benefits (universal credit or similar) – use the social tariffs broadband option that some of the big providers offer, to obtain savings on your broadband.
11. Never changed your bank account? Again, don’t stay brand loyal. Some banks offer up to £200 for a free switching service – and they move all your direct debits for you, hassle free, but you get paid cash for doing so.
12. Banking – if you don’t feel ready to change banks and get paid for switching – see what other bank accounts your current provider has. As you may have a bank account that isn’t offering the right benefits for you – like free travel or vehicle breakdown cover.
13. If you have credit cards, try to pay them off in full every month, if possible.
14. Not everyone can pay off credit cards in full every month – if you have them, then utilise them. Use online eligibility calculators, move your balance to a promotional deal if your deal has ended, or move to a card more suited to you e.g. 0% spend, 0% interest rates.
15. If you have old credit cards with a zero balance, and you can afford for it to sit on your credit profile – don’t cancel them – use them as access to funds for emergency situations.
16. Watch programmes such as Martin Lewis or view his website. It has plenty of handy tips, advice on where to save and make the most of what you have.
17. Use Online forums to discuss financial questions and queries. If you are asking the question, then it’s very likely other people are too!
18. There are plenty of charities and foundations that offer free advice and free support for finance questions and debt advice. Some examples of these are Citizens Advice, Step Change, National Debtline and Christians Against Poverty.
19. Check that you are not missing out on what you can claim. Council tax discounts, tax credits, benefits etc. There are many websites available to help you do this.
20. Child Trust Funds were offered to most children born between 2002 and 2011, but if you didn’t claim it, you might still be able to track one down! You can use the HMRC tool and login into the Government Gateway to find details.