Christmas is now a distant memory and we are well into a New Year. With a clean sheet and so much to look forward to, now is a great time of year to re-evaluate your household spending.
Having some extra cash at your disposal will ensure that you can enjoy all that 2016 has to bring.
Here are some top tips on how you can spruce up your finances.
Check that you are getting the best deal – leave no stone unturned!
It’s something that we can all do to make a difference to our household bills, make a list of all your providers and work through each one. Don’t be afraid to question their prices and ask them to match the competition. Do watch out for any penalties that you could incur for leaving a contract early. Your list may include:
- Energy providers
- Broadband and phone lines
- Mobile phone provider
- Home & car insurance
- Any health care plans etc.
You could also look at your current mortgage deal. Rates are extremely competitive at the moment, it’s worth taking a look!
Grab yourself a hot drink, sit down and note down when the contracts end with your providers, if you have an idea of when things are up for renewal you can shop around and avoid forgetting to look for a better deal.
A good clear out is the best way to start a New Year, not only will a tidy, clutter free home feel great, it could also help your finances! Take a look around, you will have things that you can sell on eBay, local sale sites or at car boot sales.
Dig deep and take a closer look at your bank account
If you are set up for online banking then this is a simple task that can be done on a regular basis. But if you don’t have access to your account online then you should gather up all your paper statements and look for:
Any unusually high payments, strange transactions that you haven’t made or any incidents where you may have been overcharged. You may have been subject to fraud so it’s always best to keep an eye on things.
Audit your Direct Debits, check that the payments are going out on time, look for any wrong amounts or double payments, if you find an error you are protected by the Direct Debit guarantee so you will get a refund once a mistake has been highlighted.
Are you being charged any additional fees? Some bank accounts come with bonus features such as travel insurance, fraud protection, vehicle recovery etc., but are you using them? Could you get them cheaper with another company? It may be worth looking into other options.
Maybe you could switch your current account to one that offers you something extra for no cost! It’s a competitive market out there and current accounts are coming with interest rates as high as 5% AER, cashback on purchases and an array of bonuses. There are certain requirements to get these so always look at the terms and conditions. More importantly you need to make sure that the new account meets your needs before you switch.
Give your savings account a little boost!
If you have an ISA or any other savings account, there’s a good chance that you won’t be getting the best interest rate from when you first opened it. Get in touch with your provider and see if there’s a better rate that you switch to, if not do a bit of shopping around to see if you can get a better deal.