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How to cut costs and boost your budget
Four in 10 Brits say they will have no cash to set aside this year, a new poll has found.
It is recommended that households hold on average three months' salary in savings to protect against any unforeseen financial hiccups, but clearly the combination of rising living costs and stagnating wages is making it difficult for many to simply to make ends meet - let alone save for a rainy day.
We asked almost 5,500 MSN Money readers how much money they expected to save in 2012 and a whopping 40% said nothing at all, with a further 14% putting that figure at less than £1,000.
Stating the obvious, the only way to boost your finances is to earn more or to spend less. While the current climate makes boosting your salary difficult, the good news is that it's fairly simple to cut costs without massively impacting on your lifestyle.
Here, we'll look at some straightforward steps you can take to ensure you have more money to set aside for a rainy day.
Avoid interest on debt
If you have any debts that aren't secured on property, you could save a lot of money if you transfer that debt to a 0% credit card.
Currently, the average interest rate on a credit card is 19.4%, according to Moneyfacts. It can be really tough to pay off your debts if you're paying such high interest charges.
But if you transfer your debt to a market-leading 0% balance transfer card, you won't have to pay any interest on your debt for up to 24 months. Admittedly, you will have to pay a balance transfer fee of around 3%. But even with that fee, this is still a great way to cut your costs in 2012.
Remortgage now and save big
Barclays estimates that you could save £1,200 every year if you remortgaged to lower interest rates from the standard rates, but our estimate is more like £500 thanks to the cost of switching.
It's true that some people are benefitting from unusually low standard rates at the moment, so you may think there's no point switching right now. Just remember that rates on some long-term fixed-rate mortgages - five to 10 years - are exceptionally cheap and may well go up next year. So there may never be a better time to switch to a fixed-rate mortgage than now.
Save on energy
Some websites claim that you'll save between £350 and £400 by switching gas and electricity, but we think that's too optimistic. A significant minority of switchers probably do save £300 but our data suggests the average saving is around £180.
That's still a significant amount of money so we'd urge you to look at switching supplier if you haven't done so for a while. Just be careful that you're not hit by the little tricks the suppliers use to eat into those savings, such as shunting you onto another tariff or cancelling all your cashback when you move on.
Image: Peter Byrne - PA Wire
Pay less for car insurance
You should never automatically renew your car insurance when your current policy ends. We believe that some insurers charge as much as 30% more for renewal customers than they would if you were a new customer, although this can take a few years to build up.
So it's essential that you shop around and see if you can get a better deal. Once you've found a better quote, you may be able to persuade your current insurer to match that price.
Stop your bank lending your money out for free
All that money in our current accounts adds up to a pretty penny, and banks get to profit from it, while usually paying us next to nothing in return. Some accounts are exceptions though.
If you sign up for a current account with First Direct or Santander, you'll be paid a £100 bonus for signing up, subject to the usual conditions of paying in enough money. Santander also pays 5% interest on your balance for the first year you have the account.
You could get an even better interest rate if you opened a current account with HSBC - the bank is offering 6% interest for new account holders as part of its 'January sale.' Existing current account holders may be able to get 6% if they fill in the correct 'Switching your personal account to HSBC' form. However, you won't get a £100 switching bonus with HSBC.
Be a savvy shopper
Another great way to save money is to be a savvy shopper. If you often buy stuff online, go to websites such as vouchercodes.co.uk, myvouchercodes.ouk and discountvouchers.co.uk where you'll find a massive number of online discounts.
If the idea of hunting for codes online sounds like too much effort, Twitter or Facebook could be the solution. Follow some of the voucher code sites on Facebook or Twitter and you'll be able to see continuous updates on all the best voucher deals.
HotUKDeals is another very useful website. In a nutshell, this site allows anyone and everyone to post any great deals they find on pretty much anything. You can find bargains in high street shops as well as online, so this is a fantastic money-saving resource. Check it out!
So there you have it, six great ways to cut your outlays and free up some much-needed cash.
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Start living a normal life. Most of us grew up in the 70s and before. Do you really need that
£500.00 i phone 4 or like me would you rather have a Nokia C2 C2 touch screen with all of capabilities i need. for £75.00. Why pay £700.00 per month on lease hire cars buy a decent diesel car the market for 2nd hand cars is flooded. I buy sandwiches each day that are reduced for lunch costing me £1.15. Grow your own produce i do and use your local retailers. You can feed a family of 4 well for £2.00 a head, if you know where to look like i do. Home cook its cheaper, have a take away once a month. There are so many ways, not to cut costs but just to live a normal life and spend the money you save on hobbies etc. Why keep upgrading tvs etc you WILL NEVER keep up with technology. I Went to Rome,France, Brussels, Cornwall, Whitby to name a few places last year. People spend the same amount of money i spent on these trips going out 2/3 times a week or take aways over a year, i know what i would rather spend my money on.
What is needed in my opinion is self discipline and self control in our societies. There are enough resources the world over to enable all to have a comfortable life but the redistribution of wealth leaves something to be desired. People do not die of famine they die of poverty. Lets use what we need and think less about wanting.
my advice guys is this,
STOP LISTENING TO THE GOVERMENT AND THE BANKS AND ANY SALESMAN OR WOMEN THAT APPROACHES YOU TRYING TO SELL YOU SOME THING, WE ALL KNOW THE POLICY IS WRITTEN IN SUC A WAY TO TRAP YOU OR IT DOES,NT ACTUALLY DO WHAT THEY TOLD YOU.
THE BEST WAY IS, TO STOP SIGNING ON PIECE OF PAPER FOR CREDIT, ONLY USE CASH, THINK ABOUT IT. YOU DONT OWE ANYONE ANYTING THEN DO YOU. SOD THE CREDIT PEOPLE, SOD TH BANKS, SOD THE GOVERMENT, SOD THE EU, I CAN LIVE WITH OUT ANY OF THAT CRAP.
MOST ARE THE CON THESE DAYS, TELLS LIES BY THE SKIP LOAD, TO CONVINCE YOU THEY ARE NOT, BUT CREDIT IS RUINING PEOPLE IT HAS BEEN USED AGAINST THE PEOPLE FOR GREED AND POWER AND PROPAGANDA, I DONT BELIEVE THE GOVERMENT THEY ARE JUST PLAYING THE MASSES AGAINST ONE ANOTHER THAT ALL.
NEVER TURST A POLITICIAN EVER, THEY ARE FULL OF CRAP. CREDIT JUST DON,T TAKE IT ON GUYS, YOU WILL BE WORSE OFF IN THE END, YOU WILL END UP PAYING MORE BACK TO THESE IDIOTS OF LIFE. JUST SAY NO TO THEM, PEOPLE HAVE GOT INTO A BAD HABIT OF SAYING YES, YOU HAVE TO START TO SAY NO I DON,T WANT YOUR CRAP OR CREDIT, JUST SO YOU CAN GET A BIG COMMISIONS AND A FAT PAY CHECK FOR TALKING CRAP TO ME, GO AWAY.
KNOW WHAT I DO GUYS, IT HAS PISSED THEM OFF. I POSTED ALL THERE CRAP THEY SEND ME IN THE POST BACK TO THEM, THEY PHONED ME UP, I TOLD THEM OH YOU DON,T LIKE THAT, HEE WELCOME TO MY WORLD COME JOIN US DOWN HEAR, SCREW EMM THEY GET ON YOUR NERVES. MONEY HAS RUINED THEM.
SAY AWAY FROM CREDIT, DONT SIGN UP FOR CREIDT CARDS OR ANY CARD, JUST USE SOLID CASH, DONT EXCEPT ANY OFFER, THEY WILL GET YOU FURTHER INTO DEBT AND RUIN YOUR LIFE, FIGHT BACK PEOPLE. ONCE ONE GUY KEPT GOING ON, YOU KNOW HOW THEY ARE TRYING TO USE IS SILLY PLEASENT MANNER TO CONVINCE ME, IN THEY END I TOLD HIM TO SOD OFF, THERE WAS A ELDERLY LADY NEXT TO ME, AND SHE SAID, GOOD FOR YOU LOVE, DONT THEY GET ON YOUR NERVES, SHE MADE ME LAUGH AS I KNEW SHE KNEW WHAT MY POINT WAS.
SALES PEOPLE ALL THE SAME, ONLY GOING TO WORK TO TALK LIES AND SCHEMING WAYS TO LIE OPENLY IN FRONT FO YOU, TALKING CRAP ONLY TO GET YOU TO SIGN.
GO AWAY YOU LIERS.
Am i on the wrong site???
Seems as if any hope of a intelligent discussion is fraught with the constant risk of accidently signing up to a dating site for old farts and tarts looking to rip you off.
When will MSN sort this ridiculous problem and block these stupid adverts which turn up all the time.
Now i have forgotten what i was going to comment on...
Oh yes saving money,
Spend it, as its the only way to get the economy going again.
Don't put it in the pockets of those Bankers who caused the problem, help the ordinary man earn a living by buying that thing you thought you couldn't afford, or having that job work done. All your jobs rely on someone buying and selling some thing,(think about it), so support others and save your jobs. Spend, not save.
lol carter (stewart littler)
Although I can see your point and actually agree with you, it is not always possible to avoid debt. I am a pensioner and as hard as I try it is difficult to pay the bills let alone put money away to pay cash for things. I would not go into debt for luxuries but sometimes it is unavoidable for essentials, e.g. a washing machine (cheaper in the long run to pay interest than to make trip after trip to the launderette), fridge freezer and cooker. These are essentials when the old one packs in and the awful thing is when you are a pensioner you have probably had these items for so long they are about to pack in. On pension one is restricted all ways, you are no longer fit enough (arthritis etc) to do the washing by hand and homes are not built with cold cupboards anymore and of course one likes to eat home cooked food. All of this can also apply to younger families living on minimum wage or benefits, job seekers allowance etc. As to listening to salespeople I have to point out that if they are being a nuisance it is because they are probably working on commission only and a sale is the only way of earning a crust. I have to admit though that phone calls above everything else is a real nuisance and personally I just say sorry, would never buy anything over the phone, send me some literature. End of call. I AGREE WITH YOU 100% WHEN YOU SAY "NEVER TRUST A POLITICIAN" Reading this back it sounds a bit like a sob story, not true, I do alright even if there is not money to spare for luxuries but there luxuries are for the young, there are few luxuries one wants or needs as they get older.
HEY S C,
I LIKE YOUR THINKING, NICE TO SEE PEOPLE LIKE YOU ARE STILL AROUND.
IM ALL FOR WHAT YOU DO, AS I DO THE SAME.
BREAK THE CYCLE OF LIFE, START USING GOOD SENSE PEOPLE READ S C. MAKES PERFECT SENSE. DONT BUY WHAT YOU DONT REALLY NEED, AND DONT BUY IT JUST BECAUSE YOU WANT TO IMPRESS YOUR MATES, THEY DONT REALLY GIVE A ****,
I THINK MOST OF YOU ARE RUSHING AROUND SO MUCH NOW, THAT YOU HAVE FORGOT HOW TO HAVE FUN AND JUST LIVE, AND THEN TRY SAYING TO YOUR SELF, YOU KNOW WHAT MR PRIME MINISTER WE DONT GIVE A **** ANYMORE WE ARE,NT LISTENING TO YOU OR ANY MP.
we would all have money to save if it wasn't for these people i.e. bank bosses, the royal family and MP's
The majority of the comments posted thus far appear to be from the working population.
No one has thought to consider pensioners,the majority of whom are on a fixed income.
One way of saving money is to put all loose change below say 50p in a tin or jar,you will
be surprised as to how much you have saved in the course of a year.Another way to save
when buying on line is to go for the free postage or the cheapest postage.This if you are
buying from most on line suppliers merely means that what you have bought may take up
to 4/5 days longer to deliver,compared to several £'s for overnight delivery.
If you are a pensioner and have been prudent during your working life ie have a pension
from your employer,or one you have taken out yourself,this will suppliment your state
pension.Enjoy your old age, treat yourself to something like a book or DVD once a month.
So long as you have a funeral bond or enough cash saved to bury you,why stash it away,
They don't put pockets in shrouds.!!
when parents stop pandering to there childrens whims and start taking thier kids out to play instead of paying all the games and get them off the computer ,keeping -up with the jones ,s ,who can give the best party ,best party bags and clothes ect!they will save loads ,stop the take-aways and get out the cook book we grow all our own veg and we have 5 chickens ( christopher c dont you realise how much the queen brings into this country with tourism ,this year will be masses ) .
knit ,sew and grow !
On reflection I have been re-reading my post regarding smoking. I did say "IF SOME people COULD" IF meaning MAYBE, SOME meaning a few, not the use of ALL meaning every smoker and COULD which means a possible action not SHOULD which means something ought to be done.
There is a world of difference between saying
If some people could AND saying
All people should
The post wasn't read properly sometimes and the information assimilated as it was intended. Sometimes it is a futile effort trying to put over ideas on these posts.
more on msn money
msn money poll
Which of these financial mistakes have you made most often?
Thanks for being one of the first people to vote. Results will be available soon. Check for results
- Accidentally giving wrong information on a credit application
- Forgetting to make a repayment on time
- Making multiple credit applications in a short space of time
- Not checking your credit report before applying for new credit
- Not staying within your agreed credit limits
- Taking on too much credit that you’ve then found hard to manage
- Forgetting to sever financial links with a previous partner
- Not having enough of a credit record