She works as an office manager, while he is a tree surgeon. They moved into their three-bedroom house in September 2007 and soon found it was more expensive than they thought.
Jane explains: “We quickly noticed a difference in living costs and how much more commitment and cost our home needed. The first few months saw us both doing as much overtime as we could so that we could still enjoy ourselves as well as maintaining our home.
“Unfortunately the extra hours I was putting in at work took their toll and eventually I was off work for a month.”
Being signed off work for a month meant that Jane and Steve had to tighten the purse strings, as her sick pay wasn’t enough to contribute her share of the bills. Once she recovered and went back to work, disaster struck again and she was made redundant.
Jane fortunately has a new job she really enjoys, with a decent salary, and they both want to start paying off their dreaded overdrafts and being saving for their future.
Using the comparison tools available on moneysupermarket.com we have managed to gain them a potential annual saving of just under £1,300 – read on to find out how.
At the moment Jane and Steve are paying their energy bills through the Utility Warehouse, their annual spend being £1,896 which is also inclusive of a membership fee.
Moving to E.ON’s Fix Online Version 3 product will not only allow them to lock into a set price for their gas and electricity until December 2010 but they’ll also save money - £421 over the year.
The couple are particularly worried about the rates they are being charged on their overdrafts. They hold a total of three current accounts with HSBC – one each for their personal spends and a joint account from where their bills are paid from.
Their overdraft balances combined come to just over £1,960. With each account charging 19.90% on negative balances, they are both paying through the nose in interest.
Alliance & Leicester’s Premier Direct Current Account currently offers 0% on overdrafts for 12 months, so if Jane and Steve moved all of their accounts over they would potentially save a massive £390 in interest putting them in a much stronger position to get their debt cleared.
The household’s current policy is with Countrywide Insurance Services and, despite a no-claims discount of two years, their premium still sits at nearly £345.
A quick search on our home insurance channel has shown that if the policy was moved over to Kwik-Fit Insurance they would cut their annual premium by more than half and pay just £111 - giving an impressive saving of £230.
Jane currently has her car insurance with The AA. She had to make an at fault claim in 2006 for a collision with van which wrote her previous vehicle off.
However, she has not made a claim since then so has built up two years’ no claims discount. Even so, she is currently paying £589 for her insurance cover.
Our car insurance comparison tool shows that if Jane moved her policy to Hastings Direct, she’d pay £357, giving her a saving of £232.
Jane could save more cash by choosing a more basic policy but this one includes personal accident cover, making it more comprehensive.
Although their money is stretched, Jane and Steve do still try to put money away when they can, and have just under £300 in an easy access account with Nationwide Building Society – which pays them just 0.20%.
They could easily find a better rate – ING Direct has an account paying a base-rate busting 3.20% for the first year – but now may not be the best time for them to save. If they ploughed all their free cash into their overdrafts and paid them off before the interest-free period runs out, then they would soon be in a stronger position to save much more cash.
Would you like the opportunity to see if we can make you any savings? If so, then email firstname.lastname@example.org