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22 January 2021, 09:00
Clare Seal, best known as @MyFrugalYear, exclusively writes for Heart about how switching services can make a huge difference to your finances.
One of the most common New Year’s resolutions made by Brits is to save more money, but it can be difficult to know where to start.
The twists and turns of 2020 have made many of us aware of just how precarious our finances are, no matter how we’ve been impacted by the pandemic - whether we’ve lost income, managed to save money through working from home, or broken even.
With that in mind, now is a great time to look at how we can make savings on everyday costs, budget smarter and start to feel in control.
The key thing to remember when organising your household finances is that the more organised you are, the easier things will be. Even if you’re not a natural planner - and I’m certainly not - just taking a few easy steps at the start of the new year can make all the difference.
Your first step should always be arming yourself with all of the information you need to get planning, including your income and outgoings, any upcoming bills or one-off payments and any savings you might have, as well as a list of two or three financial goals that you have for this year.
These could be anything from starting a pension to paying off a credit card, but they’ll really help you to stay focused if and when your motivation starts to dwindle.
Once you have everything down on paper, you can start to form a simple budget: looking at money coming in vs money going out, and making a plan for what’s left over.
When you look at your monthly outgoings on essential living costs such as utilities, car insurance and broadband, it’s always worth checking whether you’re missing out on a better deal - because you could make savings of up to £500* per year simply by switching.
If this sounds a little too complicated, don’t let that put you off. Dedicated switching services make it super quick and easy to find the best price for all of those everyday bills, and allow you to switch and save without getting in touch with individual suppliers.
With telephone and broadband, your bills will likely shoot up once you’re out of contract, while car insurance premiums tend to go up if you allow them to auto-renew, too.
Utilities will also move to a standard tariff, which is likely to be more expensive. By arranging a switch before your services auto-renew, you can save £100s per year.
Some free monitoring tools do this for you and keep an eye on your bills, renewals and credit score. This makes staying on top of your household finances even easier.
If your service has already auto-renewed, you may have a 14 day ‘cooling off period’ in your new contract, allowing you to switch to a better deal without any penalties.
It’s worth taking the time to look carefully at the specifics of any new deal, to make sure it’s really offering you better value.
If you rely on good home broadband for work (as many of us do at the moment), a better price with terrible bandwidth or line speed isn’t likely to be a good deal.
Similarly, if you opt for basic or third-party car insurance in order to save the maximum amount, you could face huge additional costs if you have an accident.
Because some suppliers charge a penalty for leaving your contract early, switching at the wrong time could end up cancelling out any savings you’re making, or even costing you more.
Always check whether there are any penalties, and if so try to time your switch towards the end of your contract.
We all know how easy it is for extra cash to disappear without us really noticing, so it’s a great idea to make sure that any savings you make from switching are put to good use.
One way to do this is to calculate how much you’ll be saving each month, and set up a standing order for that amount to go into a savings account of your choice.
Keeping your finances in check can be a challenge, especially in unpredictable times, but making sure you’re getting the best deals on your essentials is a brilliant way to take control in 2021.
Kick-start your new year saving goals and look after your financial wellbeing by making smart switching decisions, and you’ll have one less thing to worry about in the coming year.
Make the most of your money with MoneySuperMarket. Staying on top of your household bills can feel daunting – that’s why MoneySuperMarket offer over 50 ways to save, so you can get your bills under control and feel Money Calm. They work with over 900 different companies to help manage your household finances.
So, whether you’re looking for a good deal on your car or home insurance, or looking to cut your energy bills, you could save with MoneySuperMarket. Click here to find out more.
Need a helping hand? Their monitoring services keep an eye on things for you, so you never need to overpay or miss a renewal again.With all this and more, staying on top of your money is effortless with MoneySuperMarket.
*51% of consumers could save up to £280.94 on their annual car insurance premiums via MoneySuperMarket. Consumer Intelligence, September 2020. *51% of customers that applied to switch via MoneySuperMarket could save at least £286.50, June 2020.