With inflation making its biggest jump on record this August and Christmas on the horizon, many of us will be looking at our bank balances and trying to work out where we can save a bit of cash. To help you get started, we’ve rounded up a few smart ways to cut your costs in the run up to the festive season.
1. Check if you can save money by switching credit product
If it’s been a while since you last took out a credit product – i.e. a loan, credit card, store card or overdraft – you might find that you’re now eligible for a debt consolidation loan with a lower APR.
Why, you ask? Well, making monthly repayments on credit products can improve your credit score over time. And when your credit score improves, it makes you eligible for better rates which lowers your monthly repayments.
That’s why if you’re paying interest on one or more credit products, it’s a good idea to regularly check in with your debt consolidation options to find out if you can save money by switching.
If you are thinking of consolidating existing borrowing you should be aware that you may be extending the term of the debt and increasing the total amount you repay.
2. See if you can press pause on paying credit card interest
Got interest building on a credit card? Check your eligibility for a balance transfer card to find out if you can give yourself a little breathing space with your repayments.
A balance transfer card usually comes with an initial 0% period. This means if you transfer the balance of your current credit card to it (usually for a small fee), you won’t have to pay interest on your balance for the 0% period. Just remember that once the 0% period ends, the card’s usual interest rate will apply.
So, if you want to press pause on making your repayments for a few months, or actively try to reduce your debt without it increasing, a balance transfer card may be a good option.
Want to quickly check your credit card options? View your card options in minutes to find out if you have balance transfer options.
3. Actively try to improve your credit score
If you’re not currently eligible for better rates on credit products, actively trying to improve your credit score will help make consolidating your debts, transferring balances and even getting a better rate on your mortgage possible in the future, ultimately saving you money.
4. Check when your current contracts expire
One way many of us get stung with a hefty bill is not knowing when our current contracts end. This is because if you’ve signed up to an energy plan, broadband or even a mortgage contract that has an initial deal (for instance, a great rate for two years), when it ends it’s likely you’ll revert to your supplier’s standard variable tariff.
So, before you get hit with a big bill, make a note of when all your current contracts come to an end and when you can switch to a new one without getting charged. That way, you’ll minimise the amount of time you’re not on the best rate possible.
5. Find out if you should be claiming any benefits
If you’re entitled to additional income in the form or benefits or tax credits, don’t ignore them. You can quickly and easily check if you should be claiming benefits by on the government website.
6. Draw up a budget
One thing that we’re always told to do but many of us put off is drawing up a monthly budget for food and additional expenses. Working out how much you’ve got to spend once all your bills are accounted for will help stop you running out of cash before payday.
7. Plan ahead with gifts and travel
With Christmas around the corner, not leaving present buying to the last minute means you can spread the cost over more than one pay cheque. If you’re ready to buy gifts already, you can take advantage of any early sales and discounts, or you could see if you can pick up any bargains in the Black Friday sales which falls on the last Friday in November.
Another option is to buy your gifts on a 0% purchase card and pay off the cost in monthly instalments over the card’s 0% period. This can help if you want to buy most of your presents in one go, but still need to spread the cost. Just remember that once the 0% period ends, the card’s usual interest rate will apply to any remaining balance.
8. Cash in your loyalty and gift cards
Always remember to use your loyalty cards in your favourite shops? Well, you might have loads of points stored up that can be a really handy way to cut your costs over the festive season. From discounting your gifts to saving money on your Christmas dinner, this is a great time of year to cash in your loyalty cards.
9. Check if you can find a better rate on your savings account
If you’re able to save money at the end of each month, making sure you’re getting the most out of your hard-earned cash is essential. If you haven’t switched savings accounts in a while, keep an eye out to see if you can find a better rate elsewhere and get a little bit extra on top of your savings.
From switching credit products to hunting down those discounts, there are plenty of ways to make your money go further over the festive season. Want to find out if you can get a better rate by switching? Check your finance options with us now without affecting your credit score.