With savings accounts drained for Christmas parties and presents, and New Years Resolutions to sort out finances, a lot of people have money on their minds in January. Luckily, it doesn't take a financial expert to improve your personal finances, and the following money saving tips can get you started.
Reconsider Insurance Policies
Don't just renew the same life assurance, breakdown cover, home or contents insurance and car insurance every year. Take your annual renewal as an opportunity to look for a better deal through online comparison shopping. You may also be able to scale back your insurance if you have more cover than you need.
Gizmos and Gadgets
While it's compelling to keep up with modern technology and get the latest smartphones available, it's more important to have a working communications device that you can afford, so choose a simple model or hold on to your current handset.
Make a list before you visit the supermarket of the basics you need to make meals for the week. Don't deviate from the list. If there's a multi-buy offer, think about whether you're going to use that much, or whether it will go to waste. Don't buy chocolate, glossy magazines, or any other impulse buys unless they were on your list when you went in.
Buy Efficient Food
Try to buy food that will last longer, or can be frozen, so that it doesn't spoil. Avoid fancy packaging; more expensive products often spend more on packaging material in order to stand out, even if the quality of the food is identical.
Money Dashboard lists the incoming and outgoing transactions on all your bank accounts and credit cards, and builds graphs and charts that help you see clearly where your money is being spent, so you know where you can afford to make savings. Use our budgeting software to see the whole picture.
Pay Off Your Mortgage
If you can afford to, and if it's allowed by your lender, pay off more than the basic payment of your mortgage each month. The faster you can pay it off, the less interest you will accrue, and the more money you'll have in the long run.
Pay Off Your Debts
Even if you don't have a mortgage, paying off your debts is usually a better use of your earnings than savings, as the interest rates on borrowed money is usually higher than the interest earned on saved money.
Social Media Communication
Nowadays there's lots of ways to keep in touch with people. Avoid phonecalls and text messages when you're at home, in favour of VOIP calls, Facebook messages, Google Hangouts, Tweets etc.
Abandon Designer Brands
You can still enjoy shopping and refreshing your wardrobe, but it doesn't have to be a designer brand. Look for similar off-brand clothes and the result will be nearly the same. And if they are still wearable, sell your old clothes to recover some of the cost.