You'd think the Money Calm Bull would be going berserk, but he's calmer than a banana. Why? Because his bills are under control with MoneySuperMarket.
Read on for some quick and easy steps you can take to make the most of your money, and be like the Money Calm Bull.
Take the wheel on your motoring costs
Owning a car is always useful, but often stressful. All that insuring and maintaining. Buying and deciding. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some small steps that could help ease the pressure.
Switch your car insurance before renewal
Car insurance premiums are the cheapest they’ve been for five years, which means you’re more likely to save money by switching when your policy is up for renewal. Even better, we’re investing our own money with a range of car insurers to get you cheaper prices* – wherever you see a price cut symbol on a policy, we’ve brought the cost down. Plus, you can usually carry any no claims you’ve built up to a different insurer.
Rules set down by the industry regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) mean you can ask your car insurer for help if you’re struggling to pay because of coronavirus.
Help could mean a temporary reduction in cover and subsequent lower monthly premiums. But you can also ask for a payment deferral of between one and three months – in some cases longer. You will have to make the request before 18 August when the current support will be reviewed by the FCA.
Find out about coronavirus and car insurance
*At least 51% of customers will see a price cut policy in the top 5 results based on enquiries Jun 19 - Feb 20.
Don’t worry about your MOT
If your MOT is due on or after 30 March, you don’t need to worry about it for now. New rules introduced because of coronavirus have extended your MOT expiry date for six months. Keep up to date with the latest MOT guidance here.
Keep your car in shape
Even though you may not need to get your MOT check, it’s still your responsibility to keep your vehicle roadworthy. Here are some simple checks you can make to keep your car safe.
Control your bills at home
Did you know that you can change how you manage your bills from home? Take a look at how you can save some money and feel calmer than a banana about your finances.
Find a cheaper energy deal
The cost of gas and electricity is at a three-year low, so it’s a great time to find a better deal and switch your energy tariff – especially if, like more than half of UK households, you’re currently on an expensive standard variable rate tariff.
The process is carried out remotely and your energy supply will not be disrupted, thanks to the energy switch guarantee. Enter your postcode and tell us about your energy habits to get started.
Switch broadband tariffs
With lots of us working and living under the same roof, it’s more important than ever to have the right broadband package. Not only that, switching to a better deal could save you up to 40%. If you want faster fibre optic, check it’s available in your area.
Find a new home insurance policy
Not all home insurance includes accidental damage as standard – something many families may have found out the hard way over recent weeks. The good news is that it’s usually simple to get accidental damage added to your cover for a one-off payment – just contact your insurer.
If your policy is due to expire, see if you can get a better deal by switching. Bear in mind that you’ll probably get a better deal if you can find the cover you want at least 21 days before you need it to start.
Manage your money
Whether it’s tidying up your bank account, finding a loan or sorting your savings, there are lots of ways for you to stay on top of your finances.
Check your credit score
Staying in the dark about your credit score could mean missing out on the best deals – from mobile contracts right through to mortgages. Find out your score now with our hassle-free Credit Monitor. If something doesn’t seem right, submit a Notice of Correction with TransUnion, the credit reference agency that powers Credit Monitor, and get they’ll look into it.
Check your eligibility before loans/credit cards
If you’re applying for a new loan or credit card at MoneySuperMarket, you can use our eligibility tool to find out whether you’re likely to be accepted. It might help you decide whether to proceed or switch to a more suitable product. Remember, the fewer searches and the fewer rejections, the better your credit score.
Clean up direct debits
You might have spent less during lockdown but have you thought about your automatic outgoings? Review your direct debits to make sure you only pay for what you need.
Hang on to your life insurance
If you’re struggling to make payments due to the impact of coronavirus, the FCA says you can ask your insurer for help. This might be a temporary reduction in cover in exchange for lower premiums or even a payment deferral. You’ll need to contact your insurer before 18 August.
It’s also worth having a look around to see if you can find a better deal. Average premiums for non-smokers are just £15 a month according to our recent data.
Take coronavirus help
If you’re struggling to make your usual monthly payment as a result of coronavirus, you may be eligible for one of the many payment breaks available, from mortgages to car finance. Find out more at our family finances coronavirus guide. Payment holidays will need to be agreed in advance with your lender, so never just cancel direct debits.
Use your ISA allowance
With interest rates down to 0.1%, returns on savings are also low. But, there are still simple ways to make the most of your cash, such as using your full tax-free ISA allowance.
Cash in on low mortgage rates
Interest rates are down at a miniscule 0.1% - great news for mortgages. If you’re coming to the end of your deal – or you’re on your lender’s pricey standard variable rate – it’s likely you could save by switching. We work with independent brokers who can give you advice or you can start your own research at our mortgage tables.
Find out about coronavirus and mortgages
Look at Help to Buy
Don’t be put off by reports of dwindling mortgages for purchases – there are still banks willing to lend to buyers with smaller deposits. And, if you only have 5% to put down, check out the government’s Help to Buy scheme, which runs in its current form until April 2021.
Take advantage of interest free overdrafts
The FCA has told banks to offer the first £500 in overdrafts interest-free to ease financial pressure during coronavirus. But, under separate rules the regulator introduced in April, banks must also swap their spectrum of overdraft charges for one single rate of around 40% (APR).
If you are permanently in your overdraft and have the means, draw up a simple plan to get out of it while coronavirus forbearance still applies – it’s due to end in mid-July.
Try online banking
Keeping track of your current account is a lot easier from your smartphone. So, if you haven’t already, download your provider’s app and give it a go.
You could also think about switching to a digital-only bank. Their apps offer additional features such as spending categories and tools that automatically round up your spending and save the surplus. Switching is hassle-free and shouldn’t take longer than seven working days.
Review your travel plans
Whether you’re busy dreaming about your first trip after coronavirus or you’re looking to resolve a disrupted holiday, you might be able to save a few quid and a few worries with these helpful tips.
Travel insurance for a staycation
Travelling abroad might not be on the cards just yet , but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a holiday. There’s plenty to see and do in the UK for budgets of all sizes, from stunning natural scenery and wildlife to iconic museums and galleries, and everything in between.
Travel insurance when you book should be a must – giving you a safety net for the cost of transport and accommodation should you need to cancel or change your trip, as well as cover for your belongings.
Section 75 on your airline and hotel
If you’ve had to cancel a holiday due to coronavirus, and your airline or hotel is refusing to refund you, there may be another option. If you paid using a credit card all purchases above £100 and up to £30,000 are covered by section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act – so your credit card provider will be equally liable for the amount you paid. Section 75 protection applies even if you just paid for the deposit on your card.
Travel credit cards
If you do travel abroad, consider taking out a travel credit card for your trip – you’ll avoid fees for using it abroad and they usually offer better exchange rates than you’d get with cash.