Seven tips to help you refresh your finances
Spring has sprung up. After a long, cold winter and many weeks in lockdown, we can now expect longer, warmer days and some restrictions being relaxed.
With a summer vacation or maybe even overseas travel on the horizon, now is a great time to review your finances and put in place savings plans for the rest of the year.
There are many ways to tighten our spending and improve our finances with just a little bit of time and attention.
- Reassess your finances
Now is a great opportunity to take a closer look at your spending plan for the rest of the year.
The coronavirus has changed a lot of our circumstances and when things start to open up again later in the year you may need to adjust your budget.
Our research found that 77% of those who had saved since the first foreclosure in March 2020 planned to spend the money in 2021, with the most popular planned spending including vacations (31%) and home improvements (25%) .
Take the time to review your current spending and plans for 2021. If you’re planning to go on vacation or do a much-needed renovation, you’ll need to factor in the extra costs. If you haven’t created a budget, it’s not too late to start.
- Avoid the auto insurance renewal trap
Avoid auto insurance auto-renewal trap is one of the best ways to lower your premium. Unfortunately, new figures from GoCompare suggest more drivers than normal were caught during the lockdown.
It is estimated that a total of 7.6 million motorists have already renewed their cars this year without seeing if they could get a better deal elsewhere, which could cost drivers around an additional Â£ 2.1 billion in total .
So, rather than letting your insurance renew automatically, be sure to note when your car needs to be renewed and shop around for the best deal.
- Changing energy supplier to overcome rising prices
Energy costs are a big part of most household monthly bills, so it’s important to try and get the best deal.
It is believed that the typical customer will see their gas and electricity bill increase by Â£ 96 to Â£ 1,138 per year due to the recent increase in the energy price cap by Ofgem.
The good news is that it’s now easier than ever to change and reduce the amount you spend each month.
You may want to try an automatic switching service such as Take care of my bills, which finds the best deal for you and automatically switches you to it.
Or, if you’d rather be in control of the process, check out price comparison sites to find which vendors could save you money.
- Check your broadband provider
With many of us working from home, broadband is extremely important. It is not only the price that is important, but also the speed and reliability of the service.
Now is a great time to check your plan and find out how much you could save by switching products.
Start by checking the terms of your current contract to see if you’ve completed the minimum term required. If so, online comparison services are a great way to find a better deal.
- Automate your savings
Establishing a habit of regular savings can take time, and it’s easy to avoid making regular deposits. But mobile savings apps are a great way to make sure you’re saving what you can afford on a regular basis.
Chip and Piggy Bank are just two of the many savings apps that are now available.
- Streamline your subscriptions
One of the easiest ways to cut your monthly expenses is to cut down on monthly subscription expenses.
Most streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Spotify allow you to use their services for multiple people in the same household at the same time, so sharing the cost of an account might be more profitable.
With so many different streaming services available, we’re spoiled for choice. You may want to consider removing or suspending subscriptions you no longer use to reduce your monthly spending. Be sure to check the charges before canceling.
- Keep an eye on your credit score
Actively managing and improving your credit score could mean that you are more likely to be accepted or offered better credit rates.
Lenders will use this information and other checks to decide if you qualify for the line of credit you are applying for.
Many companies offer free credit reports, including Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
You should keep in mind that credit reference agencies tend to use different formulas and may generate different data, which means your score may not be the same for all.
If you want a complete picture of your credit profile, CheckMyFile allows you to see your data all three, as well as from a fourth, smaller credit bureau called Crediva.
You can sign up for free for 30 days, but if you don’t want to pay a monthly fee, be sure to cancel before the trial period ends.
Paul Went, Managing Director of Consumer Affairs at Shawbrook Bank