Making the most of your money
If your New Years resolution was to manage your money, here are some proactive ways to help get your finances under control. Whether saving for a big event or getting a handle on your debt, even small changes can make a big difference.
Set a budget
Setting a budget is the first thing to do, this will tell you whether you are spending more than you earn and what you can afford to spend. Looking at these two things will help you to identify where you may be overspending and where you could be saving money. A budget can also help you assess if you are spending on services and subscriptions you don't use.
Make the most of leftovers
Plan your meals so that leftovers can be used for lunch, with an average daily cost of £3.69 for a shop bought lunch, you could be saving £860 a year with a little preparation.
Don't pay credit card interest
Switch your interest paying credit cards to 36 month 0% deal, this could save over £1000 of interest and clear the debt in just 12 months on an average debt of £2,668 at 18.5%. Use a site such as Which? to compare deals. It would also be a good idea to check you credit score, this will give you a clear idea of whether your application will be accepted and to check that there are no errors.
Get a better mortgage deal
Mortgage payments are usually our biggest monthly payment, and you may be able to make some big savings. If you are not on a deal with a tie in, it is worth looking at what is available, you may not even have to switch lender.
Start claiming cash back
When shopping online you maybe able to claim cashback each time you make a purchase and you could be earning up to £300 a year.
Cut your shopping bill
Try using a cheaper supermarket or change from brand names to own labels. In most tests, cheaper brands and own labels often stack up the same (or better) than the leading brands. Why not take the downshift challenge, by swapping your usual items for one brand lower, if you don't like the cheaper version you can go back to your usual brand next time.
It is also a good idea to use loyalty cards for you regular supermarket, the points can really add up and could be used to purchase school uniforms or help out with Christmas dinner.
If you are worried about debt, the best thing to do is to talk to some that can help, this debt test can help assess if your debt is a problem and provide advice on the next steps that you can take.