We all want to save more of our hard-earned money for those important things. From sorting out your utility bills to managing your kitchen better or planning for Xmas, there are plenty of ways to lower costs and make your budget go much further.
Here are just a few ways to boost you household savings:
1. Change that utility provider
We’re asked to do it again and again by consumer watchdogs. Changing your utility provider can deliver big savings on your gas and electricity bills. If you don’t want to swap, the other option is to give your utility company a call and bargain your way to a better tariff. This can work just as well if you stick to your guns.
2. Check out your other bills
It’s not just gas and electricity you should think about. Everything from your insurance cover to your TV entertainment package offer chances to save money – all you need to do is pick up the phone. Most of these businesses want you to stay a customer, so giving them a call and negotiating a better deal is much easier than you think.
3. Gas and electricity use
You can also make big savings if you change your habits. A large part of household budgets is taken up nowadays by these bills. Turn off the lights when you’re not using them, switch to more economical LED bulbs, don’t leave things on standby and turn your gas thermostat down by a few degrees and you’ll suddenly be saving money.
4. Keep track of your budget
Getting feedback helps us to moderate or change our behaviour. That’s how fitness apps work. You can do the same with your finances by using an online budgeting app or service that allows you to keep track of everything you spend. Once you see what you are doing in detail, you can begin to save more because you spot areas that can be tightened up. These platforms are particularly good when it comes to times like Christmas when most of us tend to overspend without realising it.
5. Curb your shopping
Many people do more than one shop a week and plan things like meals on the hoof. Doing one big shop and setting your menu for the week can mean you spend less in the supermarket and don’t get distracted by those extra special offers. Shop on a full stomach (research shows we buy less when we’re not hungry) and buy in bulk where you can – larger packs of produce like pasta and rice cost less in the long run.
Bag the bargains rather than spend on the premium products. There’s usually little difference between them apart from the price tag.
6. Walk don’t ride
How often do you get in the car to go down the shops or to pick up the kids? Walking rather than riding not only gets you fit but also saves you money on petrol. If you want to get to work and get super fit, then consider investing in a bike if it’s not too far.
7. Extend rather than move
When your family is growing and you need more space, buying a new home might be top of the agenda. A little rethink, however, can save you a lot more money. The time is ripe to consider building an extension that will give you that extra space and add value to your home. It also generally costs a lot less than buying a new, bigger house.
That is before we even start taking into account the money saved on Stamp Duty, Estate Agents, Solicitors and other moving costs!
All these simple tips can shave money off those household budgets and give us a lot more spending power. If you’re saving for a holiday, simply want to invest in something special or just want to make the most of your cash, every little certainly helps.
Trying to decide on the most suitable type of bank account that best meets your requirements is actually a lot tougher than it first seems. Whether it is your first account, second account or even if you are switching current account then hopefully this overview will help you.
Current Bank Accounts
These are the most common of all accounts offered by a bank or building society and are perfectly ideal for:
Paying household bills using a Standing Order or Direct Debit or mandate
Having payments automatically going into your account, such as your salary
Paying for items when shopping on the street or online
A pre-arranged overdraft to help with cash flow issues month to month
Getting money out of a cash point
Premium Bank Accounts
Premium accounts, also known as Packaged Bank Accounts, come with added features or benefits which can vary a lot.
Typically, the banks charge a monthly fee for these extras, such as:
Vehicle breakdown cover
Travel insurance cover
Mobile Phone insurance cover
Preferential interest rates on overdrafts
Basic bank accounts
These accounts are one step down from a normal current account and are free of any fees.
There will not usually be any possibility of an authorised overdraft so you need to keep a regimental check on your daily finances.
What you will be able to do is:
Pay yourhousehold bills by Standing Order or by Direct Debit
Have your salary paid directly into the account
These basic bank accounts are usually suitable if you suffer with a poor credit reference or will never require an overdraft.
These are very handy for those who really need to keep an eye on their finances for many different areas. You can apportion amounts of money for different things such as rent, clothing, holidays, specific bills, etc. You can even swipe parts of your salary into these mini-accounts after you have been paid and know you will at least have the money to meet the bills when they arise.
You may be charged a a monthly fee for this amount of flexibility though.
Student Bank accounts
Students can enjoy accounts with interest-free overdrafts. These accounts often come with some special features targeted at the needs of Students.
Banks often also offer attractive accounts to graduates to attempt to secure them as long-term customers.
The best thing to do is pop into a few of your local high street banks and building societies and ask them what they have to offer. After your visit to the first one you will suddenly become an expert! You can then go to the other establishments and ask more pertinent questions to help you make the right, informed decision.
The following are the latest bank accounts offered by the main banks and building societies.
Nat West Current Bank Accounts
Select - No Fee, Standard Bank Account. Reward Silver - £3.00 per month, with rewards. Reward Gold - £18.00 per month, with rewards and even more benefits. Reward Black - £28.00 per month, for Private Customers.
Barclays Current Bank Accounts
Standard - No Fee, Standard Bank Account. Premier - No Fee but limited by earnings or savings, with savings, loyalty and extras.
Lloyds Current Bank Accounts
Classic - No Fee, Standard Bank Account. Club Lloyds - No Fee if you pay £1500+ into the account monthly or £5.00 per month. Platinum - £55.00 per month, insurance benefits.
HSBC Current Bank Accounts
Standard - No Fee, Standard Bank Account. Advance - No Fee, preferential rates and benefits, subject to status. Premier - £various per month, preferential rates and benefits including travel insurance.
RBS Current Bank Accounts
Select - No Fee, Standard Bank Account. Select Silver - £10.00 per month, some benefits including European travel insurance. Select Platinum - £16.00 per month, increased benefits including global travel insurance. Select Black - £26.00 per month, many benefits including concierge service.
Nationwide Current Bank Accounts
FlexDirect - No Fee, standard current account. FlexAccount - No Fee, higher chages, includes travel insurance. FlexPlus - £10.00 per month, insurance benefits.
TSB Current Bank Accounts
Cash Account - No Fee, standard current account. Classic - No Fee, small overdraft facility. Classic Plus - No Fee, interest earned on positive balances. Silver - £9.95 per month, European travel and other insurance benefits. Platinum - £17.00 per month, Global travel and more benefits benefits.
This seems to be a question being asked a lot at the moment. Did you know that the idea for Black Friday came from the USA in 2013. It always falls on the day after Thanksgiving, which is always the fourth Thursday of November. Therefore, Black Friday is now always on the Friday following which this year is Friday the 25th November, 2016.
Black Friday is already officially the biggest shopping day in the UK and you may recall the scenes of chaos that first year with doors being knocked in, people being trampled and shoppers struggling to carry vast amounts of larger items in the rush and panic.
Of course, it was never going to end there. Black Friday is now often started early by some companies or, at the very least, carries over that weekend or into Monday, now known as Cyber Monday which, as the name suggests, focuses on electronic goods such as Smartphones, TVs and Games Consoles like the Playstation 4 and Xbox One.