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Make a difference with Our ‘Top Financial Tips’

The Change Account’s – Top Financial Tips

Our financial advice and support comes from our trusted Founder Partners who have over 25 years of experience in the financial and debt solution industry. With this experience, they can give honest and factual support.

Here are some of our Partner’s handy top tips, to get you thinking about where you can save money or change your spending habits for the better:

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  • We have all wished at some point that our financial stress will disappear.
  • So what can we do to prevent financial stress?

First and foremost – Don’t delay, even for a second. It’s never too early to be managing your money. No matter how uncomfortable it feels, if you know your finances need some attention or if you simply haven’t been keeping track of your finances, take action now. It’ll only get worse if you don’t.

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  • Utility bills are rising.
  • Can anything be done to cut the cost of the bills you receive every month?

Imagine cutting the cost of the bills you receive every month. Thanks to the choice of suppliers and deals, it has never been easier to compare prices and shop around to save money on your utility bills including gas, electric, broadband, TV and phone.

Look for the best deal on comparison websites – it means you won’t miss out on the cheapest tariffs and could even find a fixed rate plan for the next 12 months. But remember, the cheapest isn’t always the best; look for the most efficient or best suited to your lifestyle.

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  • Paying bills by Direct Debit saves you money and ensures you don’t forget to pay a bill.
  • So why not set up Direct Debits for your utility bill payments?

Direct Debits allow organisations to take money from your bank account on a regular basis (usually monthly or quarterly). Most utility providers e.g. gas, electricity, telephone, broadband give you discounts if you pay by Direct Debit.

If utility providers increase the payments they must let you know at least 10 working days in advance and in writing.
We recommend you thoroughly check all emails and letters (including any small print) from your utility providers. Being aware of any unexpected changes will enable you to have enough time to challenge them if you are not happy.

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  • Insurance is a necessity but sometimes it can be the root of a headache or two.
  • Are you paying more than you need to?

With many different insurances and insurers, you often have more choices than you think so don’t pick the first company and stick with them. There may be better quotes around.

Shop around to save money; if you haven’t compared or changed suppliers in the last few years, it’s likely that you’ll get a better deal elsewhere.

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  • Saving is not always a priority.
  • But why not set yourself realistic goals and start saving today?

Saving might not seem a priority if you are trying to make ends meet but what happens when you are faced with unexpected costs?
Putting aside as little as a few pounds a week can make a big difference over time. Then if you do need extra money it is much cheaper to use your savings rather than taking out a loan or overdraft.
We recommend: You pay off any debts first as the interest rates you may be paying on these debts stack up faster than you think. The sooner you pay them off, the better.

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  • We all spend money on things we ‘want’ rather than ‘need’.
  • So why not keep a record of those added costs that you don’t really ‘need’ to spend?

You might be surprised by how much, usually non-essential purchases add up to. E.g. a £2 coffee on your way to work each day adds up to £40 per month. Get a small notebook or use your phone to make notes of everything you spend. This is the first step in taking control and getting to know your spending habits.

We recommend: You review your diary every week and ask yourself:

  • How much did you spend on things you didn’t really need?
  • How much does it add up to in a month and, a year?
  • Is there anything you could cut down on?
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  • We all sometimes forget to think about our everyday costs.
  • So why not make cut backs or shop around for the best prices?

As a consumer you now have more choice than ever, so why not check out the deals on offer and plan your weekly shops around them. By cutting down your every day spending the savings you make can be allocated for a special treat, essentials or even put towards any debts you may have.
We recommend trying MySuperMarket to compares prices at major supermarkets:
Take a look – http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk/

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  • Most of us are feeling the pinch with budgets and incomes getting squeezed.
  • So, why not kill two birds with one stone and sell your unwanted items and make some extra money?

Car boots are popular or if you’re feeling environmentally friendly you could recycle clothes for extra cash at: Cash 4 Clothes.

Online selling is convenient and can be done from the comfort of your own home on websites like eBay, Amazon, Gumtree and increasingly local sellers groups on Social Media sites.

We recommend you:

  • Decide whether selling at car boot sales or online suits you best.
  • Read up on the site’s regulations.
  • Research the market before you attempt to sell.
  • Don’t put people off by pricing your items too highly.
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  • Going out is getting more and more expensive.
  • So, if going out costs too much, why not bring the entertainment to you?

Come Dine with…
Having people round and cooking dinner with your own entertainment can be just as enjoyable and a fraction of the cost of going out. You could:

  • Invite guests to score your dinner party with a grand winner scooping a prize, or
  • Ask each of your guests to bring a dish to spread the cost.

Start Your Own Club
Why not start your own common interest club with friends and neighbours. From Animals to studying the Zodiac, you’ll find something that you can share and enjoy. Try advertising in the local paper to spread the word.

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  • Coupons and vouchers can save you money.
  • Have you seen Extreme Couponing in the USA?

Whilst we can’t replicate the extreme nature of couponing over here, you can still pick up discount codes and coupons that can help you save money at the checkout.

Websites like Wowcher and Groupon search the internet and local shops or businesses to collate all the deals, introductory offers, vouchers and discount codes in your local area. We all love a bargain so go ahead and have an explore for yourself!

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  • The old saying is correct; failure to plan and you plan to fail.
  • So why not set a plan in place of your meals for the coming week?

If you are struggling with the rising food bills, then it is a good idea to plan out what you and your family will be having day-to-day. A simple review of what you plan to eat helps you budget for the coming week and makes you less likely to succumb to expensive impulse buys.

We’ve put together a handy table to help you plan your meal (Read article).

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  • Regularly maintaining your vehicle can help you save money.
  • Do you know how to keep up to date on your vehicle?

Tyres
Replacing tyres at a separate time to your MOT can help spread the costs over the year. You could save money by pre-ordering tyres as opposed to accepting the garage or mechanic’s tyres. Petrol drops significantly if your tyres are under-inflated, so make sure you have the correct tyre pressure to achieve the maximum fuel economy.

Batteries
A car battery lasts between 3-5 years but regular maintenance and checking can help you prolong this or prepare you for when it will need replacing. We recommend using only batteries that are specified by the manufacturer as they often have better value for money due to extended life and reliability.

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  • Do you fall into the trap of impulse buys?
  • Assessing what you already own and listing what you need can help you stay focused.

Sales
Use the sales for buying small items that can spruce up an outfit for just a few pounds but try not to buy something just because it is cheap as you may never wear it again.

Outlets
With a little patience and time you can get designer pieces at a fraction of high street prices, but try not to buy them just because they are ‘designer’.

Swap Around
If you have no money to spend on clothes but still fancy something new, a clothes swap party is perfect. Invite a group of friends around and ask them to bring clothes they no longer wear.

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  • We all like buying a bargain and eBay is a great place to get them.
  • It might seem complicated when you first start but once you get the hang of it, it’s great.
  • Check out the “Ending soonest” tab to get some last minute good deals.
  • Always check the “Price + Shipping: lowest” tab.
  • Don’t bid with a round figure, add a few pennies to make all the difference in winning.
  • Don’t bid as soon as you find the item, this raises the price unnecessarily.
  • Bid on the last 10 seconds: that way you will only offer what you are willing to pay.
  • Add items to your “Watch List” to compare prices more effectively.
  • Get the Ebay App so you can check your auctions on the go.

Remember, eBay isn’t always the cheapest place to shop. Try ads on websites like Gumtree, Preloved, Loot or even Amazon to compare prices.

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  • You may not know what financial help you are entitled to.
  • So why not do some research and find out?

There might be benefits, grants and other types of financial help that you might be entitled to that you are not currently claiming or using.

We recommend: Turn2Us (http://www.turn2us.org.uk/) which is a charity that helps you find financial support based on your circumstances. Give them a call on their free and confidential helpline +44 (0)808 802 2000 or check out their free and easy to use:
Benefits Calculator – http://www.turn2us.org.uk/benefits_search.aspx
Grants search – http://www.turn2us.org.uk/grants_search.aspx

* Direct Debit Guarantee

Organisations using the Direct Debit Scheme go through a careful vetting process before they’re authorised, and are closely monitored by the banking industry. The efficiency and security of Direct Debit is monitored and protected by your own bank or building society. The Direct Debit Guarantee applies to all Direct Debits. It protects you in the rare event that there is an error in the payment of your Direct Debit.

  • The Guarantee is offered by all banks and building societies that accept instructions to pay Direct Debits.
  • If there are any changes to the amount, date or frequency of your Direct Debit the organisation will notify you (normally 10 working days) in advance of your account being debited or as otherwise agreed. If you request the organisation to collect a payment, confirmation of the amount and date will be given to you at the time of the request.
  • If an error is made in the payment of your Direct Debit, by the organisation or your bank or building society, you are entitled to a full and immediate refund of the amount paid from your bank or building society.
  • If you receive a refund you are not entitled to, you must pay it back when the organisation asks you to.
  • You can cancel a Direct Debit at any time by simply contacting your bank or building society. Written confirmation may be required. Please also notify the organisation.