5 ways to be better off this year
1 MAKE SAVING A HABIT Be realistic about how much you can afford to put aside each month, then set up a standing order to transfer this into your savings. Keep some cash at the ready for emergencies and pay the rest into a tax-free ISA. Alternatively, use an app such as Plum (withplum.com). It works out what you can afford to save and transfers this into a savings pot automatically. Plum says its users save an average of £50 each month.
2 BOOK A CHECK-UP Make this the year you get expert advice to help whip your finances into shape. Do a postcode search at unbiased. co.uk or vouchedfor.co.uk to find an independent financial adviser in your area. They can focus on a specific area – mortgage, pension or savings – or carry out a general financial health check. Many offer a free initial consultation and money off further advice.
3 BUDGET SMARTER Making a budget and sticking to it is easier said than done! Current accounts with mobile banks, such as Monzo or Starling Bank, let you set budgets for things like groceries, entertainment and transport, and then tell you how much you have spent and have left in the kitty. You can keep your existing current account, too.
4 TOP UP YOUR STATE PENSION Use the government pension checker ( gov.uk/checkstate-pension) to find out how much your pension will be worth when you retire. If you have gaps in your employment history, or took career breaks when you didn’t pay National Insurance, you may be able to make voluntary contributions now. Call the Pensions Advisory Service on 0800 011 3797.
5 SET REMINDERS AND SEARCH FOR A BETTER DEAL Dig out your insurance documents and check when your policies come up for renewal. Set a reminder on your phone two weeks before each date and block out half an hour in your diary to research the best deals. Doing your homework could be so worth it!