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