Best tips to save time and money

moneysupermarket.com has a range of experts whose aim is to give the best information possible to help you make a financial decision. In this video, site editor Clare Francis asked them all to give you their top tip for their specialised areas…

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Clare Francis: From loans to savings, insurance to holidays we have got a whole team of experts here at moneysupermarket.com and we have asked them for their top tips on their area of specialist knowledge. So here is what they had to say.

Travel:

Bob Atkinson: If you are still looking for your holiday for summer 2009 I have got some great tips for you to help save you time and money here at Travelsupermarket.com.

The big emphasis on this year has either been staying here in UK or travelling further afield to places like Turkey and Egypt for your summer break. Now Turkey and Egypt still have great value offers throughout the entire summer but don’t discount places further afield, some of the Caribbean places, Mexico, the USA and places in the Euro zone.

The Euro zone is coming back with a bang and the dollar rate is climbing as well so check out the prices available on the site and also consider your overall spending cost. Add that together into one total, and then you will be able to find out what’s the best value family holiday for you this year, its not just necessarily staying in to UK or going to Egypt and Turkey.

Have a great summer!

Utilities:

Scott Byrom: My top tip for gas and electricity customers would be to ensure that you don’t stay with the incumbent provider and by that I mean staying with – it will be British Gas for your gas, and whichever electricity provider it is for that region.

Move away from that, don’t remain on a standard tariff and don’t pay by quarterly cash or cheque if you can. The product you want to look for would be an online product and paying by a monthly direct debit - however, if you do want to pay by quarterly cash or cheque there are still massive savings to be made, so it really is a case of getting out there, comparing everyone that is out on the market and making sure you get the best deal possible.

Current Accounts:

Kevin Mountford: My top tip for current accounts – I have to say it's quite a confused market place - so before you go chasing the attractive account make sure you really sit down and understand what you are looking for.

The sorts of things you need to consider is how much money you have coming in and how much typically goes out and make sure that your transactional behaviour is suited to the account that you take onboard, and if there is any, any danger of you going into your overdraft make sure you talk to your bank and you do so on an authorised basis - because if not, it will cost you a fortune.

Loans:

Tim Moss: My top tip for loans is check your credit file before you apply. The lenders are getting meaner out there at the moment and they are going to really interrogate your credit file, so send off your £2 for your statutory credit report, see what’s on there, if there are any problems get it corrected but make sure you look before you apply.

Mortgages:

Louise Cuming: Hi, my top tip for mortgages is if you see a good deal, jump on it. All the best rates are only available for a limited period of time and if you hesitate then you will probably lose it. So act quickly if you see a good deal.

Credit cards:

Peter Harrison: My top tip for you as a customer is to start reducing the amount of debt you have on your credit card. There is no doubt that a lot of people are only paying the minimum payment, therefore only paying the interest accrued on the amount and never actually paying the outstanding debt.

Therefore my recommendation is to look at your monthly statement and think ‘am I likely to get a more competitive rate elsewhere’ and using moneysupermarket to do that will be very, very successful. Alternatively you can also increase the minimum payment that you wish to pay back on your credit card or potentially use your savings which normally only pays between 2% and 3% to pay that debt off, as the average interest rate on a credit card is up to 17% currently.

Savings:

KM: Hi, my top tip for savings, well actually I’m going to be a bit cheeky, I have got three top tips – very, very quickly! First of all, don’t think its not worth switching your savings account, although the rates don’t look great compared to last year it really is worth moving your money about, so make sure you take some action.

Also, if you are lucky enough to have a substantial amount of money don’t put more than £50,000 with one provider - or you could take it up to £100,000 if it’s a joint account.

Last but not least, again if you are fortunate enough to have enough money around then try and get a balanced portfolio of products. Don’t put all your products in one particular account, try and use a little bit of regular money, easy access and take advantage of some cracking rates by locking your money away - short term if possible.

Debt:

Paul Wilson: My top tip to get on top of your debt is to understand exactly how big the problem is, so the best way to do that is to run a budget, get yourself a pen and a piece of paper and write down exactly what is coming into your household and what is going out.

The best way to look into your expenses is to split it down into four areas; the first one is look at your essential bills – look at your mortgage, your council tax – things like that. The second one is your living expenses – things like your food shopping, your petrol – all that type of expense. The third one is important and that is credit commitments, so who do you owe money to, how much do you owe them and how much is it costing you on a monthly basis to service that debt.

And the final one is what I'd call luxury items; this is all stuff we love to spend money on – Sky TV subscriptions, nights out, and everything else. Once you have got this down on a piece of paper you’ll know exactly what you are spending, who you are spending with and how big your debt problem is.

Broadband:

James Parker: My top tip when looking to select a new broadband package would be to see if you can also include your telephone calls and TV package into one bundle. By going with the same provider you have the potential to save over £200 a year and you also benefit for having one monthly direct debit coming out of your bank account, and also you only have to phone one telephone number if you have got a problem with either service.

Home and Car Insurance:

Steve Sweeney: My top tip is make sure you don’t expect your renewal price, make sure you check it, make sure you check it using moneysupermarket.com. We will check a wide range of providers for you to make sure you are getting the right product at the right price and hopefully we can beat your renewal premium saving you both time and also money.

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