How to maximise your money with minimum effort!
Let’s be honest, we could all do with saving a few pounds and as that old familiar saying goes, “Look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves”. So what’s the best way to do it? Here we’ve got the top 10 tips to get you well on your way to a healthier bank balance!
- The most expensive purchase you’re ever likely to make in your life is your home – so make sure that the repayments really work for you. Whilst it’s easy to simply stick with the same lender, always remember that loyalty to your bank or building society only benefits them – not you – so be sure to shop around for the best deal every once in a while.Whilst it’s not always the most exciting thing to spend your money on (since it’s already most likely to be your biggest monthly outgoing), also consider ‘overspending’ on your mortgage. Whilst at first sight this might appear to completely defeat the object of saving money it actually does the complete opposite. Let’s say, for example, that you’ve borrowed £100,000.00 at 6% over the usual 25 year period.
You’re likely to be repaying this at £643.00 a month and the total charge for the credit will be £93,000.00. However, if you can afford to overpay by just £100.00 a month then you’ll not only clear the mortgage in less than 19 years but you’ll also gain 6 years of mortgage-free living and save a staggering £25,000.00 in interest!
- Clear your credit cards! We all know that one of the golden rules of financial planning is to clear the most expensive debts first so make it your credit cards. Whilst they offer a convenient way to spread the cost of goods and services, you should also consider a low-cost loan as a smarter alternative. Most credit cards carry a typical APR of 16.8% – so £2,500.00 over five years will cost you £1,212.00 in interest. Compare that to a loan product with a typical APR of 7.8% and you’ll automatically save yourself £685.00!
- Reduce your food bill. Firstly, never make the mistake of going shopping whilst you’re hungry! In fact, if you shop online you’ll soon find that you’re not tempted with the supermarket’s latest offers or get distracted buying things you simply don’t need. The average household wastes over £500.00 of food each year through bad planning so make sure you don’t fall victim to it. What’s more, if you aim to reduce your food bill by just £20.00 a week you’ll actually save £1,040.00 a year – the average equivalent of a family holiday in the sun!
- Be sure to use money comparison websites. Whether you’re looking for a home insurance policy, car insurance, pet insurance, in fact any insurance don’t commit yourself until you’ve logged on and looked online. Most comparison websites will allow you to pick and choose the benefits you want to be associated with each product, making for a great way to get the right policy not only in terms of cover but more importantly, in terms of price.
- If you’re on regular medication then why not take out a three monthly prescription prepayment certificate (otherwise known as a PPC) for just £29.10. Since the current prescription cost is now £8.40 an item you could potentially save hundreds of pounds by simply switching over and needn’t compromise in terms of your health.
- Aim for a healthier lifestyle – not only in terms of your own health but also in terms of expenditure too! Let’s say, for example, that you currently smoke 20 cigarettes a day and drink 1 bottle of wine with your evening meal. That’s approximately £14.00 a day x 7 = £91.00 x 52 weeks = £4,732.00 a year!!!
- Make your lunchtime work a little harder for you. The average worker spends between £5.00 and £7.50 a day in the staff canteen (combined with trips to the vending machine in-between!). That equates to £1,800.00 a year or the average cost of a brand new £10,000.00 car after just five years! Instead, take your own lunch into work and you’ll soon notice a massive difference!
- When it comes to enjoying time with the family, why not get a bit savvier in terms of the expense? For example, instead of eating out, take a picnic – and why not take public transport instead of paying car park fees? What’s more, if you book in advance (particularly with trains) then you’ll make a massive saving too. The expense of days out tend to make them less frequent so think and plan ahead!
- Why not have a go at growing your own vegetables? It’s not only fun but it’ll save you a fortune compared to supermarket prices. If you’ve got children it’s also educational and it has to be said that home grown products are so much tastier! Don’t be afraid to ask your local garden or other expert for advice on how to get started!
- Finally, with all those savings you’ve made then why not enjoy the benefits of an Individual Savings Account (otherwise known as an ISA) which will allow you to save up to £15,240.00 tax free. Whether you decide to save it for a rainy day or have something specific in mind they’re a great way of earning money whilst you save. Be sure to shop around the main high street lenders to get the best deal and then simply kick back and let your well saved cash do all the hard work for you!