Spring is just around the corner (promise), so take the opportunity to assess your financial situation and save yourself some money while you're at it.
Hannah Hill, Money for Life volunteer and Halifax branch manager has a few handy tips to help get your bills, banks and spending habits in check…
1. Think about bundling your TV, phone and broadband together as many packages out there are much cheaper than buying all three separately. Having one provider look after all three services will also make it much easier to manage your accounts.
2. If you live with flatmates/friends, think about setting aside a little money in an account every month that can pay for household items, toiletries and groceries etc. It will make your life much easier and you'll know you're not always the one who is spending more on shared items.
3. Check that you're on the right tariff for your energy and gas bills. It's worth shopping around as energy prices are always on the rise so it's important to know that you are getting the best deal, which could potentially save you hundreds of pounds a year.
4. Think about the year ahead and plan for big events such as friends' weddings and birthdays. It's worth diarising these events so you know how many events or birthdays you need to attend and the number of presents you need to buy in a month. That way you can manage your finances and budget accordingly.
5. At the end of each month, take the time to look over your finances and think about where you might be overspending. Do you really need those magazines next month? Can you change to a better phone tariff?
6. If you don't have online banking set up, now is the time to do it. With the click of a button you can review your finances and make sure they are in order. It will also allow you to check your finances on the go via a banking app and some banks offer text alerts to let you know if you're about to go over your budget.
7. Set up monthly standing orders to pay off your credit card. It's a good idea to set payments up to come out of your account on payday as it won't feel like such a huge expense and you'll know that it's coming. Standing orders also mean that you don't have to set reminders to make payments every month - it will happen automatically.
8. While many people have an overdraft facility as a useful backup, it's important to know the charges related to this facility. If you need to go into the 'red' you should first check the overdraft charges so you're aware what you're getting into.
9. If you're able to save a bit of money each month there are better places to store it than under the bed! Shop around for a savings account which will make your money go even further.
Lots of banks offer ISAs (Individual Savings Accounts) which are tax free savings accounts and they're super simple to open and a good option to consider. If you already have an ISA, don't forget to transfer it to a product that offers you a better deal. The best time to shop around for deals is around the beginning of the tax year in April.
10. Don't let your unopened bank statements pile up. It's important to review your finances regularly so open your bank statements and make sure everything is in order, including checking any charges are in line with the terms of your account.
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