Understanding your energy usage
Many households across the UK have taken a financial hit due to the pandemic, and lots of families and individuals have seen their monthly expenses go above and beyond their earnings.
Despite this, worrying new findings from smart money app, Yolt, reveal almost nine million people are ‘bill blind’ as they never review their key household expenses.
When it comes to money matters, you can’t afford to bury your head in the sand. You need to be proactive and turn those no-so-good habits into good ones.
If you have been struggling with your money management, now is the perfect time to take stock of your finances and see where you can cut down on unnecessary spending.
And even if you’ve survived the past 18 months relatively unscathed, it’s still a good idea to give your finances the once-over to ensure you’re not missing out on the most competitive deals.
As our lives start to get back to some sort of normal, seize the opportunity to take steps to get on top of your budgeting.
Although you can’t switch your water supplier, you may be able to trim your bill by moving to a water meter.
As a rule of thumb, if there are more bedrooms in your house than people living there, you should be able to make savings.
With a meter, you’ll only pay for what you use – as opposed to the estimated amount the water firms think you should be using.
If you’ve stuck with the same provider for some time, you may well be paying over the odds for your broadband.
Make savings by shopping around for a cheaper deal, but before you start the switch, take a bit of time to work out what you – and your family – really need.
Also check to see if you are still in your minimum contract period, as this may mean you face an exit penalty. This should be less of an issue if you’ve been with your provider for a while, as you’ve probably been rolled onto a standard tariff, meaning it should be free to leave.
There are no rewards for loyalty when it comes to cover, so be sure to shop around at renewal time to net yourself big savings on the cost of your policies. Moving to another company may well mean you qualify for a new customer discount. Make further savings by paying for your policy in one lump sum upfront.
Once you’ve got your new insurance in place, make a note of when each policy ends, with a reminder to shop around again at that time. That will help make sure you save every year.
If you have niggly debts sitting on a clutch of cards, make it a priority to get a balance transfer card to pay off those debts. Currently, there are deals offering up to as long as 29 months interest-free, meaning you have lots of breathing space to pay off what you owe. To compare deals, head here.
Don’t forget to factor in any balance transfer fees, and be sure to clear the debt before the interest-free period expires, or costs could soar once interest charges kick in.
Bear in mind that you’ll need a squeaky clean credit record to get accepted for the very best credit card deals.
To find out your likelihood of getting accepted before making a formal application, use our eligibility checker tool. That way, you won’t end up with any marks on your credit report – and it won’t harm your score.
Many of us are still with the bank we chose when we started university or took on our first job – even though the offering is now pretty uncompetitive. If this sounds like you, then start checking out what else is available.
There’s lots of activity in the current account market at the moment, with lots of banks offering ‘perks’ to try and persuade you to switch.
For example, Santander is offering £130 (plus cashback when you pay bills), and HSBC is offering £110 (plus £30 Uber Eats vouchers).
But don’t make a decision based on the incentives alone. Scour the Ts and Cs to see what the new bank is offering in terms of an overdraft and in-credit interest. You need to be sure the new account is right for your needs.
Thanks to the Current Account Switch Guarantee, moving to a new bank is simple, and should happen quickly. All direct debits and standing orders will be transferred for you and all payments will be forwarded to your new account.
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