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It’s the first post of the year so let us start by wishing everyone a fantastic 2020.

I thought a good place to start this year’s posts would be with a few hopefully sensible money housekeeping tips. If just one of them plucks one of your strings, then my work is done for January.

 

  1. Two mortgage tips to start. If you are not deliberately on your lenders standard variable rate then you are almost certainly paying too much to your monthly mortgage and you should seek advice from your broker/adviser as to how to rectify this. Leading onto to…

 

  1. If 2020 is the year your mortgage is due for change because the product you are on is about to expire, do engage with your advisor and find out what options are available preferably at least three months before the mortgage is due to change. Your current provider may well contact you but it’s worth checking all available options.

 

  1. Only today I heard of young man who had tragically had a brain tumour whilst travelling in Asia. Sadly, he had no travel insurance and needed to be medivaced out. This just highlights the need to buy insurance for specific needs. I know I bang on about this, but we cannot rely on crowdfunding.

 

  1. Whilst beating the insurance drum perhaps it’s time to get your life insurance and income protection plans reviewed or just consider this often-overlooked area. If you have none, please see item 3! We all seek lower car insurance costs, many of us buy mobile phone and pet insurance but strangely we ignore insuring our income. Remember, we, after all, are the ultimate cash dispenser.

 

  1. The penny challenge. Here is a saving idea that I have implemented myself. Start back to January 1st and save one penny on that day and now on January 2nd put 2p aside, then on day 3 save 3p in the pot and keep going like this right through to December 31st when you should put £3.65 in the tin.  Your savings plan will now contain £671.66. That should go some way towards paying for Christmas in 2020!

 

  1. Energy… If you have been paying to the same energy provider for more than a couple years now is the time to look at a comparison site and see if you can get a better deal. One word of caution speaking from personal experience, do keep a close eye on the administration because if the admin goes wrong it can be a real problem to sort out. But overall the savings are very worthwhile, and it doesn’t take too much work!

 

  1. Check all those direct debits going through your current account. Are you sure you’re not paying for stuff that you are not using? We sign up for so much these days and one thing is certain when we don’t need that service the direct debit may not stop unless we action it. Typical to this would be a monthly charge for checking one’s credit file.

 

  1. Moving on from point seven in more detail. Is it time to review your TV/entertainment package? As the months go by, prices can rise and time and time again we find that if we call the provider they are keen to keep your custom and do a deal. Are you really watching those films and all those games that you bought the package for?

 

  1. I always advocate customers do a credit check. Many such checks are now free of charge and non-committal and it will at least give you comfort of mind that all is well behind the scenes and the data will remind you of just what’s outstanding. It’s good to know exactly where you stand.

 

  1. And finally, just a tip about checking your daily current account statement and making sure that you are not overspending on frivolous items that soon mount up from being £2 a day and end up as a £40 or £50 a month spend.

 

Genuinely I am not here to patronise or preach but these tips I’ve included are things that I see and talk about every working day. When speaking to people about their budgets, everyone wants to reduce the spending.

I read yesterday our monthly living costs are nearly 15% up from 10 years ago and many have not seen 15% pay rises that period, so time to take corrective action perhaps!

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