We are in extremely uncertain time’s right now,
At ME we speak to a lot of clients about their finances and have put together our Top 5 easy wins to reduce your monthly outgoings, all can be done from the comfort of your home.
We hope you find this useful!
1. Check your Utility Providers
One of your biggest priorities in your home, (especially now we are all likely to spend more time there) is to make sure it’s heated, powered, and most importantly, have internet! There is no reason that you should pay more than you need to for these services and with comparison sites being more and more available, switching has never been easier.
Gas & Electricity prices change all the time between providers and a lot of people stay with their existing supplier because they think it’s too much hassle to change.
Most suppliers will ask you to have your latest bill available to provide them with energy usage figures. Try to make sure that you have ACTUAL readings and not ESTIMATES so ensure you have an accurate comparison. Don’t worry if you don’t though, most suppliers and comparison sites will allow you to input details about your property and family and make an estimate for you… GET COMPARING!
2. Give your Bank Accounts and Audit!
Going through Bank Statements reviewing your transactions might seem like a long winded process, especially if you have multiple and joint accounts. There is a much easier way to tackle this though!
If you use online banking you should be able to sort your transactions, we suggest to filter by ‘debits only’ and search for the following:
This is an obvious one, but this will show most of your regular bills. Check for those historic £1.99 per month magazine subscriptions which have been going for the last 10 years!
Another obvious one, but these are regular payments you have set up.
Point of Sale
This will show all of your debit card payments. Clearly, there will be a lot of coffee shops etc on here, but some companies will set up a regular charge which you may have not realised. For example, an Amazon Prime account that you never use for £7.99 per month (speaking from experience!)
This will show all charges that your bank has applied to your account. This will include overdraft usage fees (arranged and unarranged) but also any packaged account fees. These are bank account which provide benefits such as Travel Insurance etc. If you don’t require this anymore, you could speak to your bank about cancelling or even get a refund.
Looking through your full bank statement is still a good idea but sorting the information this way can make it a lot easier to digest
3. Can you Put Some Memberships on Hold?
While you are having a good look through your bank statements, look out for any memberships or subscriptions that are coming out of your account. Gym & Sports Club Memberships – We called our Gym and postponed our family gym membership saving £100 per month. Most gyms understand, as they will likely be closed during the outbreak, you can start again when things have returned to normal.
4. Your Mortgage
Being mortgage & protection specialists, we may be biased but for most people, your mortgage is your biggest outgoing and potentially, will provide your biggest savings.
We suggest that everyone dig out your latest mortgage statement or you mortgage offer and look at this document. If you cannot find it, call your lender.
The key information you need to find out is:
Can you move your mortgage?
Normally when you take out a mortgage, you are on an initial deal e.g. 2 year fixed. If this deal is expiring within the next 3-6 months it may be an idea to start looking at your options. If it has already expired, there’s a good chance you are paying more than you need to. You may be able to approach your existing lender and negotiate a better deal and a lot of the time, this route will need very little assessment and is reasonably quick.
If you would like assistance in understanding your options, Contact ME. We can review both options for you and can arrange your rate change with your existing lender, if this is the appropriate way forward!
5. Separate Bills from Thrills
Nowadays, it’s really easy to lose track of your spending, especially with contactless payment options and even paying with our phones and even watches! Some people would normally suggest drawing out your spending money for the week/month but this is not advised with Coronavirus.
Therefore, as you will be looking at all of your regular payments in your account, why not have a separate account for your bills and spending. You can transfer exactly what you want to spend on a monthly basis into an account and most banks allow you to open this up online.
This may sound simple, but this was you will never have that situation where you accidentally eat into your bills money.
We hope you found at least one of these tips helpful. We understand it is difficult out there at the moment and that every penny counts.
Please check out our other blogs at mefinancialservices.com with more to come
Take care and stay safe