With energy costs and other household bills climbing, there may be ways for households to ease some of the pain.
With a new financial year starting on April 6 – and the energy price cap and some other household bills also hiked this month – it’s worth sifting through your finances to see if there’s any chance of making some small improvements.
More than half (55%) of people are determined to try improve their financial health this year, according to global investment company abrdn.
This is going to be a tough challenge, as the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) says households are facing the biggest living standards squeeze since records started in the 1950s.
Andy Dunbar, head of customer experience at abrdn, has five tips to give your finances a fighting chance…
1. Switch and save
Dunbar says while people might not currently save money by switching energy providers:
“It could still be worthwhile looking into switching broadband providers, TV packages, little used subscriptions or maybe even your gym. If you’re happy with your current provider, but see a better deal being offered somewhere else, don’t be afraid to haggle.”
“It’s also worth keeping an eye out for any bank switching incentives, with several banks still offering a cash incentive to attract new customers.”
2. Put any flexible savings to good use
Many people aren’t working from the office as often as they did pre-pandemic.
Any small amount of money saved from not commuting as often, or buying daily coffees or lunches, could be put away into a savings account, where the money would have the chance to grow.
3. Cancel any overlooked direct debits
Whether it’s a TV subscription, gym membership or meal box plan, get rid of anything you can do without. Dunbar advises:
“Before you cancel, just make sure you review the terms and conditions of your contract to ensure you won’t incur any exit fees.
“If you’re looking to get out of a deal where you’ve paid for a year upfront, try ringing to haggle – you never know if you don’t ask.”
4. Check your payslip
There’s a chance you might be overpaying on income tax, because you’re on the wrong code. Dunbar says:
“This is especially relevant if you’ve changed jobs or have started claiming benefits in the past year.”
5. See if you can make shopping even cheaper
When comparing prices online, it’s worth trawling cashback websites for any extra savings.
“It’s unlikely you’ll get the money back immediately as it tends to take time to process the savings, so don’t rely on the money you save through these tools for other purchases.
“Finding places where you can make small cuts here and there can add up in the-long term, so don’t be put off if you’re only saving a few pennies on a purchase.”
If you’re having trouble paying your bills or debt contact www.citizensadvice.org.uk.
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