Article by Ceri Wheeldon
Some simple changes can make a big difference
- Look at existing phone and broadband contracts. Are you paying a monthly mobile phone contract fee when in fact you are out of your official contact fee and could switch to SIM only? If you are not bothered by having the latest must have phone this might be a good option for you. Similarly shop around for the best broadband and landline deals. I have just gone through this exercise myself and saved more than £50 per month by better understanding my contracts and checking out alternatives.
- Check out voucher and discount card sites. Why pay full price for meals and entertainment when you can take advantage of 2 for 1 deals in many local restaurants. Also look to see if your local cinema has a discounted ticket night. My local cinema offers a £4 ticket night midweek- great for a cheap midweek night out.
- Looking to downsize? Look at your house with fresh eyes to prepare for sale. You want to achieve the maximise price if you are looking to release capital. What are the downsides to your house? Did you have concerns when you first bought it? Have you addressed them? Are you ‘dressing’ your house to sell? Declutter. Be your own house doctor! Does your house have kerb appeal – if not invest in some landscaping, great pots with dramatic plants, paint your front door. Think about how others would use the space in your house as opposed to how you would use it. You need to have it appeal to the widest possible audience. The cheapest estate agent may not necessarily be the best to retain to sell your house. Which agent has the best success rate in your area? If an agent can get you an extra £30-50k it might be worth spending a little bit more- but check to see if their guide asking pricing prices are realistic – check out how many properties they advertise have been reduced in price – some agents will quote a high asking price just to get your business.
- Shop around for the best deal with utility bills. Don’t leave gadgets on standby or phone chargers plugged in overnight. Set heating and hot water on a timer and turn your thermostat down by just one degree…or more.
- Are you getting the most from your pension investments. Review your existing plans . Many older providers have sold on their pensions portfolios over the years and your money may not be working as hard for your future as it could. Seek professional advice to get the best from your existing pot.
- Dress for less. Sign up to online newsletters for brands you like to take advantage of special offers. I can honestly say that I cannot remember the last time I paid full price for any of my clothes. Get together with friends and ‘swap’ .
- Check out local bus routes…is the fare cheaper than city centre parking fees?