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If you’ve got to the end of January and found you’re still counting the cost of extravagant spending last year, maybe it’s time to make a few changes to get the bank balance back into a healthier place.
If you’re always dragging yourself to the finish line of your next payday, there are a few easy things you can do to help you along the way and ensure you aren’t down to your last few pennies at the end of the month.
Money saving apps such as Plum use smart algorithms to calculate small amounts of money that are affordable to save every few days, and squirrel them away for you. In a few months, you’ll have a lump sum to spend on a mini break, new clothes – whatever you want! Definitely worth a download…
Instead of spending on eating at restaurants or getting a big shop in, raid your cupboards and freezer. Many people overspend on food that then gets stuck in the back of the cupboard, so there could be a few hidden treats in your home already. You can also get back to bread and butter – who needs to spend money on lunch when making a sandwich is healthier and a lot cheaper? It’s a no-brainer!
Most people know about comparison websites, but it’s well worth checking them every at least six months or so to make sure you’re paying a good price for your energy bills, car insurance and other household expenses. It’s so easy to let things slide, but put a note in your phone calendar to sit down with a cuppa, and make sure you’re paying the cheapest price for your bills. It can save you hundreds of pounds a year, so it could be like giving yourself an annual payrise!
While it seems like a simple task, many people prefer to pop to a coffee shop before work, where there is normally a kettle. Investing once in a flask and a water bottle means that you can always have a drink on the go and you aren’t wasting money on bottles of water and expensive coffees.
From unwanted Christmas presents that are still lingering to the jumper you changed your mind on and forgot to return, your home is full of goods you can flog online. Not only will it make room in your home, but it will give you some spends to start the year off right. Depop and other clothes websites are very popular at the moment, so you’re sure to get a great price for your unwanted items.
While you’re having a clear out, have a look over old loans or credit agreements. You could have been mis-sold payment protection insurance and be owed thousands of pounds. You might discover that you’re due a refund, which would be a welcome boost to the bank balance!
Chris McCabe is associate director at mis-sold PPI specialist First Target Recoveries.