Six Great Ideas for Saving Money

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Despite the current situation, it’s a good time to review your finances and get into better spending habits for the new financial year. With that in mind, lets consider some ways to save money that won’t impact too much on your lifestyle.

Review Your Borrowings

Many people don’t review their mortgage regularly. Interest rates are generally on the low side, which means that mortgage borrowing is cheap. But a mortgage is probably the most substantial, and longest-running debt you will ever have, meaning that it costs more over the long term.

If your mortgage rate is currently 2%, a loan of £150,000 will cost you £636 per month over 25 years. If you can switch to a rate of 1.5%, this would save £36 per month.

Of course, there may be fees to consider, and penalties will apply if your existing deal runs for a fixed term. However, if you are approaching the end of your deal, or if you have not renewed your mortgage recently and are on the bank’s standard variable rate, you could make significant savings.

Remember also that the debt is reducing all the time, and your credit rating may be better than when you first applied for your mortgage. This can open up more competitive deals.

It is worth seeking mortgage advice to find out if your borrowing situation can be improved on.

On a smaller scale, you could also transfer your credit card balances to a 0% deal. While you should still prioritise repaying these debts, this means that your entire payment goes towards reducing the debt rather than servicing the interest.

Save on Childcare

While the Childcare Voucher scheme is no longer open to new entrants, it has been replaced with Tax Free Childcare. When you open a childcare account, the government will contribute £2 for every £8 you fund personally. This is broadly equivalent to basic rate tax relief. There are a few conditions:

·       You cannot receive Tax Free Childcare if you are in receipt of Tax Credits or Universal Credit.

·       There is a cap on the amount the government will contribute. This is £2,000, or £4,000 for disabled children.

·       The money must be used to pay for approved, registered childcare.

·       You, and your partner if applicable, must be either:

o   Working

o   On sick leave or annual leave

o   On parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave

o   Earning at least the National Minimum Wage for at least 16 hours per week (this does not apply if you have started a new self-employed business in the last 12 months)

·       Tax Free Childcare is only available if both you and your partner earn less than £100,000 in taxable income.

·       Your child must be 11 or under, or under 18 if they are disabled

Reduce Your Bills

Reducing bills is easier than ever now, with numerous comparison sites able to filter and sort the best deals for your needs. The main comparison sites are:

·       Money Supermarket

·       Money Saving Expert

·       Compare the Market

·       Go Compare

·       USwitch

You can compare and save on various household bills, including

·       Gas

·       Electricity

·       TV Packages

·       Phone and Broadband

·       Mobile contracts

·       Buildings & Contents Insurance

·       Car Insurance

Remember some companies do not appear on price comparison websites, but if you are comparing multiple contracts at once, you will save a vast amount of time by using a price comparison site.

Cut Your Grocery Spend

There are a number of ways to save on your food shop, which will depend on your lifestyle and family situation. There are entire websites devoted to this subject, but here are some suggestions:

·       Plan your meals for the week, and only buy what you need

·       Shop online to keep spending under control

·       Use www.mysupermarket.co.uk to compare prices across the main grocery retailers

·       Switch to discount supermarkets

·       Try supermarket own brand or discount ranges. Buy branded items only when on offer.

·       Buy non-perishable items in bulk on Amazon

Seek out discount coupons for eating out, or go a little earlier and order from the set menu.

Pay Less Tax

Saving on tax means more money in your pocket. While tax planning is a complex area, here are a few simple ideas that most people can use to save tax:

·       Increase your pension contributions

·       Use your ISA allowance

·       Make sure you are claiming all the reliefs you are entitled to

·       Take advantage of benefits provided by your employer

·       If you have a business, check with your accountant that it is structured in the most efficient way

 

 

What to Do with The Savings

If you have gone through all of the above steps, you could probably save at least £100 per month. A working family could probably save significantly more.

Rather than wasting all your hard work and spending your savings, make a plan for what you would like to do with the money. For example:

·       Pay off some debt

·       Increase your emergency cash reserve

·       Top up your pension, allowing you to retire earlier. Remember that tax relief will increase your £100 contribution to £125.

·       Pay more into your ISA for long term investment growth

·       Take an extra holiday each year

·       Start a new class or hobby

With a small amount of effort, and no real change to your lifestyle, you can create good habits that lead to a happier, more fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to contact a member of the team if you would like to find out more.

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