Fi­nances start­ing to look a bit scary?

VICKY SHAW has a few sug­ges­tions about ways to pro­tect your­self and your money

Grimsby Telegraph - - Consumer News -

HAL­LOWEEN is upon us – and if your fi­nances are giv­ing you night­mares, now might be the time to get to grips with any money hor­rors lurk­ing around the cor­ner. In many cases, there may be sim­ple steps you can take to spirit some of these prob­lems away. Here are six money hor­rors and the ac­tion to take to ad­dress them...

FAIL­ING TO GET YOUR TAX RE­TURN IN ON TIME

FOR peo­ple who need to fill in self-as­sess­ment tax re­turns, the dead­line for get­ting pa­per re­turns in is mid­night on Oc­to­ber 31, 2018. Many peo­ple nowa­days fill in their tax re­turn on­line, and the dead­line for this is mid­night on Jan­uary 31, 2019. You’ll usu­ally pay a penalty if you’re late. Fig­ures from the tax­man show some peo­ple end up fill­ing their tax re­turns over Christ­mas and New Year – so if you don’t want this to get in the way of the fes­tiv­i­ties you may want to plan ahead.

PAY­ING MORE THAN YOU NEED TO FOR YOUR CAR IN­SUR­ANCE

AC­CORD­ING to com­par­i­son site Com­parethe­mar­ket.com, 62% of drivers don’t switch provider – mean­ing they could be miss­ing out on a cheaper deal else­where. It says the av­er­age sav­ing for switch­ing stands at £113.09.

Si­mon McCul­loch, a direc­tor at com­parethe­mar­ket.com, says: “If shop­ping around be­came the norm for the ma­jor­ity of drivers, the in­creased com­pe­ti­tion would help drive prices down.”

STAND­ING BY WHILE YOUR SAV­INGS SUF­FER

TOM ADAMS, head of re­search at sav­ingscham­pion.co.uk says it’s worth seek­ing out the best re­turns avail­able for your rainy day pot of cash sav­ings.

“If you don’t take any ac­tion, providers will not nec­es­sar­ily be trip­ping over them­selves to help im­prove your re­turn. Even with the base rate go­ing up in Au­gust 2018, many providers did not in­crease all of their sav­ings in­ter­est rates and of those that were in­creased, not all have been raised by the full 0.25%,” he says.

“Don’t dis­miss a provider be­cause you haven’t come across it be­fore, make sure that funds de­posited with them are cov­ered by the Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Com­pen­sa­tion Scheme (FSCS) and, if you have any doubts, stick­ing to the £85,000 limit per per­son, per bank­ing li­cence should cover you should the worst hap­pen.

In order to im­prove your sav­ings re­turns, you may need to take a well-in­formed leap of faith and con­sider a name you are less fa­mil­iar with.

“Cer­tainly, the worst thing you can do is ac­cept poor-pay­ing ac­counts as, with a lit­tle ef­fort, your pocket stands to gain by be­ing ac­tive.”

STAY­ING ON A MORT­GAGE LENDER’S STAN­DARD VARI­ABLE RATE (SVR)

HOME-OWN­ERS whose ini­tial mort­gage deal comes to an end may find them­selves on their lenders’ SVR – when they could po­ten­tially be bet­ter off switch­ing. The av­er­age two-year fixed mort­gage rate on the mar­ket fell to 2.49% in Oc­to­ber, from 2.53% in Septem­ber, ac­cord­ing to Money­facts.co.uk, so now could be a good time to shop around.

PAY­ING THE LOY­ALTY PENALTY WITH YOUR EN­ERGY BILLS

A STRING of en­ergy providers have re­cently an­nounced bill hikes – so if you’re wor­ried about the chill on your wal­let this win­ter then it’s worth hav­ing a look around and ask­ing your cur­rent provider about other tar­iffs as well as see­ing what other suppliers are of­fer­ing.

As well as switch­ing provider, there may be other ways to see if you could save, such as check­ing if you are el­i­gi­ble for any re­bates or dis­counts, which may be avail­able if you’re a pen­sioner or on a low in­come, for ex­am­ple.

Also make sure you’re not wast­ing en­ergy. Mak­ing sure ap­pli­ances aren’t left on standby and only boil­ing the amount of wa­ter you need in the ket­tle could help. En­ergy watch­dog Ofgem has fur­ther tips on their web­site which could help (ofgem.gov.uk).

PAY­ING MORE THAN YOU NEED TO FOR YOUR BOR­ROW­ING

IT may be pos­si­ble to cut the cost of your bor­row­ing by shift­ing the bal­ance to a credit card which has a 0% ini­tial in­ter­est-free pe­riod. But there are some fac­tors to con­sider in weigh­ing up whether it’s worth­while, such as any fees for mov­ing to the new card, and whether you can af­ford to clear the bal­ance at the end of the zero in­ter­est pe­riod, af­ter which the in­ter­est could surge.

Don’t be afraid of ad­dress­ing your money is­sues. Hid­ing from them won’t help

Is it fright­ful when you check your bank ac­counts?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.