Get your finances Back to Black with a spending spring clean
 

Whether it’s a credit card balancepersonal loan or overdraft, a whopping 73% of Brits are carrying some sort of ‘unsecured’ debt - that’s money they owe in addition to any mortgage they might have.

And while being completely free from debt would be ideal, it’s a simple fact of life for millions.

The crucial thing is to be in control – never borrow more than you can afford to pay back, and always make the repayments on time.

At MoneySuperMarket, we give people the information they need to help manage their debt and make the most of their money. And there’s no better time than now to give your spending habits a spring clean to make your finances work harder for you.

We’ve identified the top five concerns of those in the red below – and suggest how to secure some serious savings without breaking a sweat. 

Crucially, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by debt, don’t struggle on your own. Debt charities such as StepChange, National Debtline and Citizens Advice are free to use and provide expert, impartial guidance.

1 10% of customers could save up to £568. MoneySuperMarket Data average usage figures, 2016 

 

1. Switch providers

Nearly one in 10 (9%) Brits say they’ve added more than £1,000 to their debt in the last year

Taking a close look at what you’re paying out for essentials – whether it’s gas and electricity bills or car or home insurance – can open your eyes to some big savings. Switching your energy provider can save up to £5681 alone, so it’s worth spending a few minutes comparing tariffs to make sure you’re getting the best deal when it comes to monthly outgoings - and reviewing them on a regular basis. 

3. Monitor your money

To tackle their debt, 27% are building and sticking to a monthly budget

It’s easy to lose track of where your money’s going, and not everyone has the time to check through credit card statements on a monthly basis. A budgeting app can help you monitor what you’re spending, allowing you to set weekly limits and categorises where you are spending your money – some even send you a message every time you use your card. Finance planning app OnTrees gathers your most recent transactions and updates your profile automatically overnight so that all your transactions, including your most recent ones, are always available for you. Click here to download.

2. Take food back to basics

Over a third (35%) of those who have more debt now than they had last year put it down to the rising cost of living, including transport, bills and groceries.

Swapping from well-known brands to cheaper supermarket own-range products can save hundreds of pounds across the year. Supermarkets always have deals on a variety of products, so it’s well worth comparing your weekly shop to see where it comes out cheapest. Supermarkets always have deals on a variety of products, so it’s well worth comparing your weekly shop to see where it comes out cheapest. You can compare products from 15 supermarkets here – and by creating a shopping list before you go, it’ll be much easier to avoid impulse purchases that soon add up as you peruse the aisles.

4. Pay-as-you-go

Nearly one third of Brits are dipping into credit to cover expensive fitness routines, workout gear, juices, supplements and gym classes 

With a new workout craze every month it’s easy to get lured in by gym membership deals. However unless you’re sure you will go on a regular basis, it’s often more cost effective to pay-as-you-go as it gives you the flexibility to try out the latest fitness trends. Many gyms now offer trials or class packages, which won’t break the bank or leave you feeling guilty when you miss the occasional evening (or week!).

5. Pack a lunch

Nearly one third of 18-34 year olds dipping into debt to cover bills for eating out

It’s easy to get into the habit of buying food on-the-go every day, but breaking this cycle could save you over a thousand pounds a year (£5 a day on lunch can add up to £100 a month, a huge £1,200 a year). Getting up just 20 minutes earlier to make a sandwich or pack a Tupperware will save you pounds at lunchtime, and Sundays are perfect for cooking in bulk! To help inspire you check out these easy packed lunch recipes at BBC Good Food.

1 10% of customers could save up to £568. MoneySuperMarket Data average usage figures, 2016 

 

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