Saturday, 11 March 2017 09:55

It pays to take your head out of the financial sandpit

What would you rather do than face your finances? Well, apparently, give up our social lives, even break up with our partner as well as have an injection, or throw away your mobile. Personally, we would just prefer to just face up to our money situation rather than any of those options.

But, it seems the majority of people would go to almost any lengths to avoid managing their own finances. We most certainly would not go naked in public, as half the people said in a new survey, if it meant we could avoid budgeting.

So, are we scared of money or simply don’t know how to manage our finances better? At the end of the day, it’s hardly a taboo subject in our view. Yet 80 per cent of people admitted being too embarrassed to talk about it or ask for help understanding financial terms. Really? Even in the days where we default to Google to forever search for answers?

With the cracks starting to show with average household debt at almost £13,000, further household bill increases looming on the horizon and rising inflation to squeeze our finances even more, it’s never been more important to take a look at your finances and how you can balance the budget.

No wonder British consumer morale edged lower in February, as more than 11 million people say daily money worries are their main cause of stress and 41 per cent of UK adults expect to experience more financial anxiety in 2017. So, being financially savvy has a positive impact on not only your finances but your well-being too.

Household finances are more squeezed than any time since April 2014, so instead of singing la, la, la to yourself, denial is hardly a recipe for success. In this budget-driven climate, whether you’re wanting to cut your debts or boost your savings pot, ‘Fitbit’ your finances and stay on top of your money with some steps you can take to save cash and reduce your spending.

When was the last time you switched your bank account? You could make up to £200 free money by switching banks. It might appear complicated, but most banks have agreed to use a new switching service, which means it should take just seven working days to switch you over from your old account once the new account is opened. 

With energy bills set to rise and energy companies able to increase bills by 10.4 per cent whenever they feel like it, households could save around £305 a year by searching for a better deal on websites like Uswitch.com, especially when your fixed deal comes to an end and you’ll most likely be rolled onto a more expensive standard tariff.

A fifth of people have never switched their home insurance. By using a comparison website, like GoCompare.com, MoneySupermarket.com or Confused.com, you could save up to £80.00 a year by comparing policies.

It may sound simple, but pick up a pen and paper and make a shopping list before you visit the supermarket. We chuck out nearly £500 of food each a year, so a quick flick through cookery books, planning your meals with a shopping list could see you save around £20 a week, that’s £1,040 a year! Also, look at Mysupermarket for price comparisons.

Coupons are a favourite, with 77 per cent of shoppers using them to reduce their spending. Take a look at Extreme Couponing and Deals UK to start saving on your shopping bills.

Finally, saying 'no' a few times a year to those unplanned purchases will do wonders for your bank balance. Stop! Ask yourself, do I really need this? Exactly. Put it down and walk away.