T O P

How to Reduce your Utilities Cost

Everyone that has a home, whether they rent or own it will have to pay utilities. These can be pretty expensive as well. These include things like water, gas and electricity and it is worth making sure that we are not paying too much for the services that we are using. There may be some simple changes that you can make which will reduce the cost.

Reducing Water Costs

You will not be able to swap water companies so you cannot compare prices in this way. However, there might be some things that you can do to save money. If you are metered, then it means that you will be paying for every bit of water that you use. This means that if you can cut down your usage then you will save money. There are many different things that you can try and you may even find that you water supplier will have some information about it on their website. Some may even give away things that you can use to reduce the water that you are using – for example items to put in the cistern of the loo so it uses less water when it flushes or in the showerhead to reduce the amount of water going through. You could also try things like turning the tap off when brushing teeth, repairing dripping taps, having short showers instead of baths, putting on bigger washing loads less often and using a bucket to wash the car rather than a hose. If you are not metered, then you can have a meter fitted and it could be cheaper for you than paying the standard rates. There are ways to calculate whether it will be cheaper for you and these are normally that if you have less people than bedrooms then a meter is cheaper as the rates are based on what they calculate people would used and they assume there are as many people as bedrooms in the house. It is worth checking this out and there are calculators online where you can estimate whether it is better to have a meter or not.

Reducing Gas & Electric Costs

Electricity and gas are things that we will all use as well. We may not all have gas but we will all have electric and their uses are similar. It is well worth, making sure that your supplier has a competitive price as that will ensure that you are not paying more than necessary. Make sure you check this every six months or every year so that you keep paying a good price. Also try not to use more than necessary. Turn things off when you are not using them and make sure that you are only using them when necessary. It can be tempting to keep heating on when we are out to keep the house warm etc but this is expensive and it will not take too long to warm up once you get in. Having thermostats, you can set and even smart control of your heating can be handy. It can also be good to think about whether you can turn it down or switch it off at times. Of course, insulation and good windows can also help a lot and some people can get these changes or fitted for free so that can be well worth investigating.

These might seem like small changes but they will all add up. Our utilities bill can be pretty high and a big percentage of what we pay out each month and so by making these changes and saving money in different areas, it could make a big impact on what we pay out each month.

Can I Reduce What I am Paying for Car Insurance?

If you are a driver then you will have to pay car insurance. This could be annoying as it can be pretty expensive. However, there are things that you can do to get the costs of the car insurance down. It is worth thinking about them and whether you can make any changes so that you can save money.

Switch Insurer

There are lots of different insurance companies that offer car insurance. They will differ a lot in price and it is well worth taking a look to see whether you could save a significant amount by switching to a different one. You will find that you will normally sign up for insurance for a year. When it comes time for renewal, make sure that you compare the cost you have been quoted with other insurers to see whether you can save money by switching to another. If you are not keen on switching then it is worth still doing the comparison. Then get in touch with your current insurer and let them know how cheaply you can get insurance elsewhere. This will allow you to negotiate with them and hopefully they will be able to lower your price. Although it is expected that insurance will go up each year due to inflation, you need to make sure that it is a realistic increase and not too extreme.

Change Detail of Cover

It is also well worth checking what your insurance actually covers you for and whether this is what you need and want. You will find that insurance policies will differ in things that include and extras you have to pay additionally for. This means that you might be paying extra for things that you do not even use. Therefore, make sure that you ask your insurer what is included so that you can decide whether you feel it is necessary to have cover for it all. It is also worth checking the excess. This is the amount that you will have to pay when you make a claim. For example, it might be that you make a claim for £500 and if you excess is £100 then you will only receive £400 towards the repair. The higher the excess the lower your premium and so it could be worth raising it, particularly if you are not in the habit of making claims for cheap repairs.

Have a Cheaper Car

The cost of your insurance is partly based on the cost of your car. This is because the car will need to be replaced if it gets damaged so much it cannot be repaired. This means that the more expensive the vehicle is, the more the insurer will have to pay out. Therefore, if you choose a cheaper car, then your insurance will be lower. You might also be able to do some research on which cars are cheaper to insure as there will be some that have more expensive parts or are just generally tend to be stolen more often or involved in more accidents that will be dearer.

Do not Make Claims

If you make lots of claims then your premium will go up. It might seem like the point of having insurance is so that you can use it and make claims with it. However, if you make lots of claims you will be seen as a higher risk and your insurance will go up. You may find that you will pay more in increased premiums than you would if you just paid for the things you are claiming for yourself. It could be sensible to consider leaving insurance claims until you have something really worthwhile to claim for that you will not be able to afford, rather than making smaller claims for cheaper things that you can afford.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Getting a Mortgage

There are many people that choose to own their own home and there are some that prefer not to. However, before making up your mind, then it is a good idea to make sure that you really think it through. Buying your own home can be a lifechanging decision and so it is something that needs a lot of careful thought. Most people will buy a home with a mortgage and this can be a huge part of home ownership and so it is well worth starting by thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of getting a mortgage.

Advantages of a Mortgage

  • Most people will not be able to buy a home without getting a mortgage. These are a special type of loan which will allow people to be able to afford a home. They are great because they mean that people will be able to buy a home who normally would not because they would not be able to save up the lump sum of money, they would need to buy one. Even if they did try to save it could be really tricky because house prices generally keep rising which means that whenever you had saved enough you would find that it was not enough. Buying a home also means that you will be free of having to pay rent, although you will pay mortgage payments, this will only be for the term of the mortgage which is probably 25 years and then you will no longer need to pay anything.
  • A mortgage can look good on your credit report. As can small loans if you repay them on time. This may seem odd but it is seen as a good type of debt and you have to make regular payments for it which can highlight to lenders that this is something you are capable of which will work in your favour. Of course, if you miss a repayment, then this will be a different matter and you will not be looked on favourably then.

Disadvantages of a Mortgage

  • You will have to find a regular monthly payment for 25 years in order to pay the mortgage. This can feel like a big burden to some people. They may worry about how they will find the money to be able to do this. There will be all the normal household bills to pay as well and the maintenance of the property. Of course, you will no longer have rent to pay, but that may have been more expensive than the mortgage is anyway.
  • You will have to pay for any repairs that are needed to the home. You may find that insurance will cover some of this, but it depends on your policy. You will also have the additional cost of the insurance policy as well.
  • Some people do not like the idea of being in debt or having a loan. This is because they feel that it is a big responsibility or burden. It is worth trying to rationalise this as paying rent is also a responsibility and something that has to be paid if you want to keep living in that house.

It is good to look at these pros and cons alongside the other advantages and disadvantages of owning a home compared to renting and this should help you to make a decision. With a home of your own, you have stability and can make alternations and decorate and it will feel like yours. However, with a rental you have more freedom to move and do not have to pay for repairs to the home or redecoration even in some cases. For some people this might be a much more attractive option.

How to Reduce What you are Spending

We all have to spend money on various things. However, it can sometimes feel that we are always spending money and on things that we really do not want to pay for so we have no money left to spend on fun things, save or pay off debt. However, it could be the case that we are spending more than necessary on things and that there can be things that we can try to reduce the amount of money that we are spending. You may feel that you have tried a lot before or that it might be too difficult, but take a look as you may be surprised.

Compare all Prices

It is a really good idea to make sure that you compare prices on everything that you buy. This can include things you buy in shops such as food in the supermarket but also the things that you pay for by direct debit. This includes items such as utilities and insurance. It is well worth comparing prices between the different suppliers and see if you can swap to a cheaper one. If you can do this with you gas and electricity, broadband and phone, car and home insurance, you could save a significant chunk of money each month. Then if you look into all of the other things that you buy, perhaps switching to cheaper shops or different brands, you could also save money there too. Of course, you will want to make sure that you are getting good value for money. Therefore, you will need to check what you will be getting for what you are paying. If you buy things that are too cheap and poor quality, then you might find that you will not get good value for money. You may need to replace them more quickly or just ditch them as they are not so good. Therefore, you do need to have a sensible approach, but you should be able to experiment with some things and read reviews of others so that you can be confident that you are making the right decisions.

It can be tricky if you are not used to doing this and it might feel like a big chore. However, if you approach it slowly then it can be easier. So, tackle one thing at a time, starting with more expensive items and then working down to the cheaper ones. As you get more and more used to it you will find that it is easier as well as it becomes a habit. You will automatically glance at prices and think about brands etc so that you can find out whether you will be able to save some money by buying an alternative item.

Consider if your Need Everything you Buy

It is also worth considering whether you really want or need everything that you buy. This might sound like you need to stop buying everything that you like, but this does not have to be the case at all. It could be that you subscribe to things you do not use, buy too many groceries that will go off, buy items that you later decide you do not like or want and things like this. Just ask yourself whether you really need the items before you buy them and this should help you to be able to make sure that you are not spending more money than you need to. It is a simple think to try but it could mean that you will avoid those purchases that you later go on to regret or feel that were not good value for money.

How to Choose the Best Savings Account

If you are planning on starting to save, have money you want to save or already have savings, then it is a good idea to think hard about what you will do with the money. It is a good idea to put it into a savings account, both so that you cannot easily get to it, but also because it will normally earn more interest in there compared with a current account or not in a bank at all. Therefore, you should have a look at the different accounts in order to choose the one that you think will be the best for you. There are different things which might be important to you in a savings account.

Interest

The interest rate on the account will determine how much money you get paid for having your money in that account. These rates can vary a lot depending on the bank or building society that you put the money in as well the type of account that you choose. It is therefore important to compare them and see how they differ. It is important to note that the interest will not always be the same as well. Most savings accounts have a variable interest rate which means that they might change over time. This means that even if you find the account with the best rate, it could change at some point so you will need to keep a check out for that as you may then want to swap to a different account. Some accounts will have fixed rated of interest though. This can be better as you know what you are going to get, but it might have conditions attached to it, so you will have to think about whether you are happy with these.

Notice

One of the conditions that is common with a higher interest savings account is that you will need to give notice. This is something which can be okay in some circumstances but not in other. It can be handy to have some emergency money in an instant access account so that you know that you can get to it as soon as you need it. You will need to think about whether you will be able to manage if you tie up all of your money or how much of it you will need to leave to be able to access instantly. This is very much a personal choice, but having enough to cover a months worth of costs, could be a good idea.

Notice accounts vary a little bit. With some you will have to give a certain amount of days notice before you can make a withdrawal, perhaps 30 days or even longer. This will obviously vary depending on the account issuer. Some accounts you have to have your money in the account for a certain time period. This is the case with many fixed rate bonds, where you will get a reasonable interest rate but you will have to keep your money in the account for a year or a number of years. Of course, with this there is a risk that the interest rates might rise significantly and the rate you are being paid will remain at a low level, but the reverse is always true and if interest rates go down you will remain at the higher rate. You will need to have a think about whether you are prepared to take this risk. It may depend on what the current economic situation is.

You may also want to think about other factors too such as the reputation of the issuer, how easy it is to deposit and withdraw money using their systems and things like this. It is good to think about what factors will be the most important to you so you can compare them.