Get ahead this autumn in five simple steps

Summer is still hot on our lips but temperatures will soon plunge, so now’s the time to start preparing for winter and dare we say, start saving for the big C (sssh, who said Christmas?).

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Discover five ways to prepare for crisper climes whilst keeping your bank balance healthy.

1. Reduce your energy bills

You’ll soon be firing up your central heating and enjoying more cosy nights in, which means rising gas and electricity bills. Some energy suppliers take advantage of this, and can even hike up their prices at this time of year, but there is a way to stay on the front foot. Are you getting the best deal with your current supplier? With deals from the best-known energy companies on the market, as well as some smaller, newer suppliers, MoneySuperMarket allows you to compare prices between suppliers across England, Scotland and Wales to find the best energy deal for you.

2. Get road ready

Before long, the mornings will be dark and foggy, and driving conditions will be less than ideal. Breaking down is never fun, but it’s even worse in freezing temperatures. Prevent this from happening by booking your car in for a service to ensure it’s winter ready. The garage will check your tyres, brakes, lights, fluid levels and identify any mechanical issues. Look out for any local deals, as garages often run winter-ready promotions.

Is your car insurance also due for renewal? Remember to shop around for a better deal. Getting a quote is quick and easy, and a few minutes could save you a significant amount over the year. Find cheap car insurance.

3. Send stress packing

Every year you say you won’t leave the Christmas shopping until the last minute, yet every year you end up leaving it, and leaving it, until it’s the week before Christmas.

Want to get organised this year and start your Christmas shopping early, but don’t have the cash? With most of us relying on monthly incomes and the summer holiday season still between our toes, the last thing you want is more spending. But, you can beat the crowds without waiting for your Christmas bonus.

You could spread the cost with a top credit card deal, offering 0% on balance transfers and purchases. You could even get cashback and rewards as you spend. As long as you pay off your balance before the end of the 0% period, spreading the cost won’t cost you any extra. If you have something bigger in mind, why not get a cheap loan. MoneySuperMarket’s quick and easy Smart Search lets you see your chances of being accepted for a card or a loan before you apply. So we make it easier to choose the best option for you, while protecting your credit score.

If you’d prefer to stay in credit this Christmas, you still have several months to save. While rates aren’t what they used to be, you can still make your money work harder with instant access accounts, ISAs, fixed rate bonds and other savings accounts. You might even be able to get a great deal with a current account, as some of these pay higher rates of interest on in-credit balances than more traditional savings accounts – as long as you meet the account criteria, like paying in a certain amount each month.

4. Plan a quick getaway

They say the best way to end a holiday is to book another! With the nights drawing in, it’s easy to forget that above the clouds the sun is always shining. It’s never too early to book an escape, whether it’s for this year or next. Perhaps you like the idea of celebrating Christmas somewhere new? The further in advance you book, the more you’re likely to save. Find a top holiday deal.

5. Make a cosy nest

So, your car is ready, your Christmas shopping is in the bag and your finances are in check. What about the roof over your head? Get your home ready for the colder months by making sure:

  • Your boiler is serviced
  • Your windows and doors are draft-free
  • Your loft is properly insulated
  • You’ve collected plenty of wood if you have a fireplace
  • Your garden is ready for winter

Is your home insurance ready for renewal? As the festive holiday season approaches, it’s important to make sure your home is protected.

The time is now

If you’re thinking this all sounds good but too much hassle, think again. We make it quick and easy for you to find a better deal, so you have more time and money to enjoy this time of year. Why not take a crisp walk in the woods - you might even find some wild berries for a crumble.

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