Struggling with your household finance? With news that household debts have risen for the first time to £1.5 trillion and UK adults owe on average £30,000 each*, financial planning guru Lemonade Money has 10 money management tips for struggling families:
1.Review spending and start budgeting – go through all your outgoings, including direct debits/standing orders and subscriptions, and cancel those you don’t really need. Lemonade Money’s budget planner can help get you started
2. Switch providers – set aside some time to use comparison sites to switch to better deals on utilities/insurance and contact existing suppliers to negotiate a better deal (satellite tv, broadband and mobile phone providers are keen to keep you!).
3.Plan your food shop – write out a list and stick to it. Get the best deals by using a supermarket comparison site to work out the cost of your shopping basket. Search for and use coupons, free delivery, money-off and extra loyalty points.
4. Redeem loyalty points and offers – don’t leave them languishing on your card. Use supermarket loyalty cards to pay for items and take advantage of comparison site offers, such as free cinema tickets when switching providers. Tesco Clubcard for example, offers a Merlin pass for £50 instead of £169 (great for keeping the kids entertained) and some providers offer gift cards if you buy a product from them.
5.Look out for family deals – Amazon family for example offers monthly deals and savings on essential items such as nappies if you subscribe for a year. By making a small outlay upfront you could secure discounts that more than cover your initial cost. Does your employer offer childcare vouchers which will help reduce your tax and national insurance bill?
6.Stop paying interest – if you have cards, accounts and loans you’re paying interest on, plan to pay these off and commit to not spending on them anymore. Switch credit cards to interest-free options if you can and consider consolidating debts into a low-interest loan to pay off in manageable monthly payments over a set period.
7.Mortgages – are you getting the best deal on your mortgage? Lemonade Money can help you with a mortgage modelling tool and put you in touch with a mortgage advisor.**
8.Consider transport costs – have you secured the best deal you can if using public transport? If you make monthly payments for your car, can you manage them and have you considered switching to a cheaper alternative? Is your car economical? How much does the fuel, road tax and insurance cost each year? If you have to pay for parking, have you shopped around for the best deal – is it cheaper to pay an annual fee?
9.Bargain hunting – we all like to treat ourselves, so use sites such as Group On, Wowcher and Voucher Cloud to do so. You can secure great savings on everything from eating out, hampers, spas and hotel breaks to zoo/ Sea Life Centre visits, breakdown cover, photography packages and courses. Sign up to weekly email alerts from sites that provide updates on the latest deals.
10. Take a financial health report – Lemonade Money has a free financial health report on its website which enables you to assess how you’re doing in six important areas, including debt planning/budgeting, saving, buying a new home and protection. And if you require additional support it offers the services of a Lemonade Hero*** – a financial fitness mentor, whose sole purpose is to get your finances on track. No other company provides an online service with personalised support.
To find out more visit lemonademoney.com
* According to the Money Charity http://themoneycharity.org.uk/uk-tops-1-5-trillion-private-debt-november-money-stats/
**Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
*** For £49, the ‘Hero’ will undertake an initial 30 minute phone consultation, agree financial priorities, draw-up plans, monitor progress and provide support via email for a month.