Most of us would like more money than we have, but there are ways to maximise yours through judicious savings and debt management.
Here’s our quick guide to just some of the ways you can make the most of your money.
Take action over debt
Anyone can fall into debt for any number of reasons. If you are struggling with debt, it’s helpful to know that you’re not alone and there are ways to manage it.
Taking control will help you set a path to debt-free life. Resist the urge to ignore any debt communications, whether in the form of letters or emails. It’s best to know exactly what you’re dealing with and how much you owe.
This will help you to prioritise your debt repayments. If you feel you can’t manage your debts yourself then you can get advice. The first step should be to contact your creditors, explain the situation and request that they suspend any further action while you get this advice. Most will be reasonable if they have the facts about your situation.
Contact a debt advisor
Our advice is to avoid paying for a debt management company. There is plenty of advice available for free, which will help you just as much. Start with Citizens Advice if you can, and consider other organisations such as Business Debtline (offers advice to self-employed people) National Debtline (provides email and phone advice and offer a free self-help pack) or Stepchange.
Cut your energy bills
Whether you have debt or not, a great way to save money is to take control of your utilities. Cutting your energy bills and making them more affordable and less wasteful doesn’t mean huge changes, and the small measures you take can help a lot.
Check with your provider whether you are, or could be, paying by direct debit. This can often save as much as £100. Look into switching providers, particularly if you never have before, as this can save a lot of money. Also think about insulating your home – you can save up to £140 on energy bills simply by making sure your loft is properly insulated.
On top of all these measures, you can make savings every day around the home by being conscious of your energy consumption. Take devices off standby and make sure lights are off when you don’t need them. Go easy on your heating and find other ways to keep warm. There are many ways for the whole household to save money on lighting and heating without disrupting their lifestyle.
Save water, save money
In a similar way to saving energy, if you are on a water meter then you can save money by reducing your consumption.
Not only is saving water a great way to help the environment, it’s also a great way to help yourself. If you don’t have a water meter, then find out from your provider whether you can have one installed. It’s a great way to cut your bills, particularly if you live alone.
You can switch back to being unmetered if it doesn’t work out better for you. All properties built after 1990 are automatically metered, but others may need one installed. Simple measures like washing clothes at night or turning off taps when brushing your teeth can really help save water and energy.
Trace lost money
If you have moved a few times or have changed your name, then it’s possible you have old accounts that you’ve forgotten about. Check through your finances to see whether you have any forgotten assets – it could be accounts you haven’t used in years or even savings accounts from your childhood.
The more information you can provide, the easier it will be to recover your lost accounts. However, you don’t need it all so contact your bank, building society or pension provider if you think you have a lost account and go about reclaiming what’s yours.
These are just a few ways to make your money go further. Always get advice if you think you need more help, particularly with long term debt. There is always help available.