Some Money Saving New Year’s Resolutions:
This is a really good time to make some money saving New Year’s resolutions to help you save money throughout the next year. Here are ten quick ways that you and your family could save hundreds of pounds.
- Make sure you are claiming all your social security benefits:
You can do a quick benefits test by going to www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/benefits-introduction/what-benefits-can-i-get/
- Think about changing your energy supplier:
If you have never changed fuel supplier then you are likely to make big savings. If you are coming to the end of a fixed deal then now is a good time to review your arrangements, especially as fuel costs are now heading up again. If you are on a prepayment meter, and need help to get this changed, we can help with this. To find out about the best deals you can look at one of the common internet switching services, or you can check the weekend newspapers.
- Changing your bank account:
Most people don’t change their bank accounts and because of this are often not getting a good deal. There is a bank account switching service to make the whole process very simple, just check out www.currentaccountswitch.co.uk.
- Avoiding insurance auto-renewal:
When your insurance policies – especially car insurance, get automatically renewed it’s easy not to check that you’re getting a good deal. Always take the opportunity of insurance renewal to look at your policy and see that it meets your needs, and that you’ve looked at alternative providers. Remember that when you pay in instalments it does cost you more.
- Is it a good time to remortage:
Interest rates look like they might be moving steadily upwards. Is it a good time to re-mortgage? Watch out for any redemption costs for your existing mortgage, and take into account the fees that you might pay to re-mortgage. It’s always a good idea to start by asking what deals your current lender might be able to offer you.
- Reduce the cost of any borrowing:
Review any existing borrowing that you have and see if you could re-finance it with a cheaper loan. Be mindful of the Annual Percentage Rate, APR of all your current borrowing, and consider whether a personal loan with a lower APR wouldn’t be cheaper?
- Be pension auto-enrolment aware:
The new system of pension auto-enrolment means that your employer will be making a contribution to your pension as well as you. You will also receive an element of tax relief. The contribution rates will rise again soon, the first phase in April 2018, and the second in April 2019. Watch out for more information.
- Council tax Band reductions:
It’s possible in some cases to get your council tax band reduced. If you need to make provision for a disabled person’s needs, or if you home is wrongly classified. There are lots of other things to consider, so check out www.gov.uk/council-tax
Also remember that your local authority will have its own local scheme for people who need extra help.
- If you’re getting behind with your payments then seek advice:
When people get into debt the extra charges mount up very quickly. Seek advice about any money worries you have as soon as you can, it will be easier to sort out, and will probably much cheaper. Your local Citizens Advice can help.
- Why not join your local credit union?
Credit unions are local co-operatives that proide low cost borrowing for their members. They are organised either for a local place or some occupations have their own credit unions. You can find out about your nearest credit union by going to www.findyourcreditunion.co.uk.
Finally, Happy New Year from all of us at Citizens Advice!
Citizens Advice Salford.