Friday, 12 January 2018

Finance Fridays – 18 ways to improve your finances in 2018

We were looking at the credit and debit card charges that are coming in this weekend for last week's Finance Fridays. This week we are trying to get our finances in order for 2018. By now the full force of Christmas spending has begun to be felt and the end of month payday seems a long way away. To get you back on track in 2018 here's 18 ways to improve your finances.

1. Switch bank account – Various banks offer cash incentives to customers who switch their current accounts to them. If you pay a fee for your bank account make sure you are still getting all the benefits from it. If not switch to a free account.

2. Check direct debits – Do you ever check your bank statements to see what is coming out each month? Have a look for any direct debits you shouldn't be paying any more such as gym memberships you no longer use and insurance contracts for items you don't have any longer.

3. Look for better savings rates – The slight rise in interest rates at the end of last year did improve some interest rates so it's worth having a look if you can get a better rate.

4. Find old savings accounts
– You may stick to one or two savings accounts now but have you got old accounts you no longer use? You could have a few forgotten pounds tucked away.

5. Change your gas and electric providers – Get your usage figures and see if you can get a better deal elsewhere. If you think switching providers is too daunting then see if you can go on another tariff with your current provider. I've just knocked £21 a month off my gas and electric bill by changing my tariff online with my existing provider.

6. Remortgage – There's no excuse to be on a standard viable mortgage rate. You can usually get a better rate with your current mortgage provider without the need to get revaluations or pay a fee. Other companies may carry fees so make sure you will save money in the long run.

7. Review life assurance – This is a competitive market so if you have no health concerns see if you can get the same amount of cover for less.

8. Get cashback on your purchases – If you buy something online be it music and books, electrical items, insurance or even mobile phone contracts then you can probably get cashback on it. You simply go through the cashback site rather than going directly to the site. My favourites are Kidstart (who cover Amazon and eBay), Quidco and TopCashback.

9. Check your tax code – The standard tax code for 2017/18 is 1150L. If you have a different one it will mean you have allowances or deductions. It could be because you have company benefits such as a car or private health care. If you no longer have those benefits make sure your tax code is revised accordingly.

10. Claim Marriage Allowance – If you are legally married and one of you earn less than the current Personal Allowance of £11,500 then you can apply for Marriage Allowance. This passes the remaining allowance to your spouse and they will pay less tax. Claims can also be backdated and you can get a lump sum paid for previous years.

11. Pay your tax bills on time – If you need to complete a self assessment form then make sure for the tax year 2016/17 you do so by 31st January 2018. You will also need to pay any tax due by then as well. If you don't you could be liable for interest and penalty payments.

12. Sort out credit card debts – The credit card may have been hit over Christmas but don't ignore it. Always try to pay the full amount due rather than the minimum amount. If you are struggling to pay it off look round for 0% interest deals.

13. Shop around for insurance – Never just go with the renewal offer from your insurer. They rely on people being complacent. Not only could you get a cheaper deal but some offer a welcome deal such as vouchers or a gift.

14. Flog your tat – Go through your house and give it a good declutter. What's one person's rubbish is another's treasure so get listing anything you no longer want. Try a mixture of sites such as eBay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace.

15. Pay bills annually – If you can pay bills in one go in order to save money. Car and home insurance is usually cheaper if you pay in one go rather than monthly. Vehicle tax also works out cheaper if you pay yearly rather than in instalments.

16. Negotiate for your tech – There doesn't seem to a set price for broadband, television or mobile phone contracts so there's room to barter. If you're not happy with the price you are paying give them a ring and try and get a better deal.

17. Claim your benefits – Many people don't realise that they could be entitled to a range of benefits. See if you could make a claim through the government benefits calculators.

18. Bring a bag – The carrier bag charge may only be 5p but they all add up. Make sure you always take your own bags to the supermarket and pop one in your pocket for any other purchases.

Can you save some money in 2018? Have you seen a way to make money this year?

If you want to join in with this week's Finance Fridays then add your link to the linky below. Any post concerning financial matters is allowed. Full details here. It doesn't have to be published today as you have until 23.55 on Tuesday 16th January 2018 to join in.
Finance Fridays



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