Between the ongoing Brexit debacle and the outcome of the US Presidential elections, it may feel like our future finances are uncertain. However, put aside the scare-mongering tabloids and the future could actually be prosperous, particularly if you make an effort to be financially savvy in 2017.
Check you are getting the best deal from your suppliers. There are lots of websites you can use to compare deals or phone their sales department. If you’re not on the cheapest tariff, then ask your provider to change it. If they won’t, make sure you won’t be liable to pay any exit fee, and switch suppliers to one who will give you a better price. It’s so simple to change as your new supplier contacts the old one and does it all for you. When you look at energy, mobile phones, insurance, broadband, television, banking, and credit cards, the savings can add up over a year.
Review your direct debits and standing orders to make sure you are not paying for anything you no longer need and check your bank statement for any unexplained debits or charges. Look at any outstanding credit card balances and loans you have and talk to your lender about consolidating them into a single, lower interest loan. If that isn’t possible, then focus on paying off the loan with the highest interest first rather than paying just the minimum. A little financial juggling could see you debt free sooner than you expected, which leaves you with more money in your pocket.
If you don’t already have one, start a contingency fund. A few pounds put aside by direct debit every month will hardly be noticeable at the time but will make a huge difference should you face an expense like unexpected car repairs or having to replace a major appliance.
Spend a week or two tracking everything you are spending. Writing down every expense, no matter how small it seems, is the most efficient way of finding hidden drains that suck your money away without you feeling the benefit of your hard earned pounds. Work on changing your mindset by asking before every purchase whether you genuinely need or want to buy it or if you’re doing so out of habit. Another trick is to look at the price of something with the cost of income tax on top. Adding 20% gives a more accurate reflection of the amount you will have to earn to pay for it.
As with a healthy body, the secret to healthy finances is regular care and maintenance, and a few simple lifestyle changes will reap enormous rewards.