Getting Financially Savvy In Time For 2020

With Brexit edging ever closer, the credit crunch still in full flow, and money becoming increasingly tight, 2020 may well be the year when many people have to, once again, tighten their belts when it comes to family finance. But, if we are being truthful, are we as canny with our budgets as we could be. I know my answer to this question is no, but 2020 could be the year when you change all this.

Woman with coins in jar

Woman with coins in jar

Here are some of the things you could be looking at.

Bank Accounts 

Look carefully at your bank accounts. I have had the same bank account with the same bank for many years, but I’m not sure it is the right one for me now. Shopping around for a new account with better interest rates on savings could help to increase savings, and if they also offer things like travel insurance and other incentives, this may also save the pennies. In addition, my son Joe is now almost 11 and I think it is time he had a bank account of his own to teach him all about the reasons for saving. Many banks offer specific savings accounts for families and these are well worth a look.

Borrowing

Look carefully when you need to borrow. Bank loans and borrowing can leave you in a position where you can only borrow a large amount, which you then end up paying interest on. Borrowing in general can also be difficult if you have a low credit score. Polar Credit could well be worth a look if either of the previous statements apply to you. They offer a credit line which allows applicants to borrow money as and when they need it. Customers apply for a credit limit through an online application and if the application is approved, sums of money can be transferred to your bank account. Interest is paid only on the amount of money drawn out of the credit line, not on the total credit limit agreed, and repayments can be tailored based on an individual’s current financial circumstances with only a minimum repayment being a required each month. This means you can borrow small amounts (from £25), get the money quicker than you would from your bank, and with far lower interest rates than you would find from payday loan lenders.

Household Bills

Look at the household bills to see where savings can be made. Utility bills need to be looked at carefully, swapping your provider can lead to quite decent savings, and you can also lock yourself into deals which fix your rates for up to 12 months. In addition, if you use Quidco, you can gain cashback when you swap.

Your Shopping

Write a shopping list. This may sound like a no-brainer, but I never do this – ever. I walk around the supermarket and throw anything (and everything) in. Planning meals properly, checking what you actually need and writing it all down in a list should avoid waste and impulse buys.

Your Home Insurance

Keep up to date with when insurances need renewing and then shop around. I kept the same home contents insurance for years, I just kept renewing at a rate of £33 per month. I then had a random letter from ‘More than’ and saw they did home contents insurance. A quick phone call led to a new policy saving more than £250. When it comes to renewing, barter, and if that fails, get more quotes.

Shopping Online

When you shop online, shop savvy. Look for voucher codes, free delivery offers, companies that offer free returns. Sign up to email alerts that will tell you when the sales are on, or if there is a flash sale coming up. Nobody says you should never shop or treat yourself, but there are definitely more savvy ways to do it.

 

Preparing For a Rainy Day

The rate at which people in the UK are saving is falling. According to data from the Office for National Statistics, more than half of 22 to 29 year olds (53%) have no savings at all. Even among those who are saving, 40% have no more than £1,000 saved.

It’s an alarming figure as it means that a large portion of young adults do not have emergency funds to cover unexpected expenses. Some examples might include sudden car repairs, having to replace a faulty boiler system, or an unexpected job loss. Either scenario can happen. If you’re not prepared with a rainy day fund, you could be left with no other choice but to borrow at a high interest rate.

Here we’ll look at how to build a rainy day fund so you’ll have the means to cover any unexpected surprises that come your way.

Start With a Small Amount

It’s impossible to predict with complete certainty about what will happen in the future. Experts like Dave Ramsey recommend setting aside three to six months of living expenses in an emergency fund. A funded rainy day account lets you prepare for any unexpected events. If you lose your job, you’ll have enough to cover living expenses while you look for another job.

Start building your rainy day fund with small amounts then slowly ramp up your effort. Saving just $5 a day averages to about $150 a month. Don’t discount smaller amounts either as even a few dollars a day can really add up after a few months.

Create a Savings Plan

Saving a few months of living expenses is much easier with a budget. Budgeting lets you create a spending plan for your money so you have enough to cover all expenses. In addition to including major expenses like food and housing, build in a monthly commitment to add funds to your rainy day account. You can even automate this by setting up direct deposits into a savings account with your bank.

Be sure to look for ways to reduce your spending. For example, preparing your own meals at home can easily help you save a few hundred dollars a month. Other ways to save include cancelling any monthly subscriptions you no longer use or looking for better deals when shopping.

Using Your Rainy Day Fund

Life happens – Your car might break down or you may come down with a potentially serious infection like measles or hepatitis that requires you to briefly stop working. These scenarios are impossible to predict. But with an accessible emergency fund, you’ll be able to weather the storm instead of borrowing or using a credit card.

It’s important to have a highly liquid rainy day fund. When you need access, you can simply withdraw the needed funds and pay for the emergency expense. Such scenarios are bound to happen again so you’ll want to replenish your emergency fund again. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use a rainy day fund but with how unpredictable life can be, having one will provide extra peace of mind. 

Author’s Bio 

Kym Wallis, the founding director of Higher Ranking has over 15 years of advertising sales, digital strategy, and business development experience. He is currently working as Digital Adviser for Travel Vax.

How Families Can Make Their Homes Feel Warmer This Winter.

We’re in the throes of winter and coming home to a warm house has become the best part of the day. However, for some, switching on the heating can be a huge decision.

A recent survey looked to find out why more and more households are leaving it until the very last minute to switch on the heating. Even if it’s icy outside and temperatures have fallen heavily, many families are still refusing to turn on the heating. Ever increasing energy bills are forcing people to look at other ways of conserving heating.

But there are other things that you can do to make your home feel warmer, as it could be that you are actually allowing the warmth to leave your home.

Here are a few things that you should be looking at to make your home warmer and more economical this Winter.

Is Your Loft Insulated?

The problem in many homes is that even when the central heating is on, the heat is escaping and therefore it needs to be left on longer and longer. Having your loft insulated is one way to prevent the warmth leaving your home, and it also helps keep your home cooler in Summer. Loft Insulation can be installed in the loft floor or between the beams of the roof, depending on what you want to use your loft for, storage or a living space. It is relatively cheap to buy loft insulation, but the rewards are immense and heating bills should be cut.

Remember, heat rises, so if your loft isn’t insulated, up to 25 per cent of your home’s heat is escaping through the roof. That means you are paying for 25% of those heating bills for the heat to literally disappear through your roof.

Doors and Windows

Another thing to check is your external doors and windows. If you can feel a draught coming through you need to look at ways to stop this. Double glazing is brilliant for this and if you are looking for double glazing Cheltenham you could check out Albany Windows who have some really good deals. If your budget doesn’t run to this then look at things like thicker curtains that could add another layer of insulation – lined curtains work really well for this. Keep curtains open when the daytime sun is out, but close as soon as night starts to set in.

Bare Floorboards

It is fashionable these days to have bare floorboards, but boy are they a cold option. In Winter, it pays to have these covered up with a large rug, which will stop the cold coming up from concrete floors and will make your home look and feel cosier.

Shut Doors

A simple task like keeping your doors shut should help to keep warmth in, so when you are in one room, shut the doors, Also keep doors shut on rooms you are not using, like the bedroom during the day to keep them as warm as possible.

What tips do you have to keep your home warm in Winter?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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