By paying less for your everyday services you’ll have more money in your pocket to spend or save.
In this final part of my January series to help you start the year getting a hold on your finances, I’m looking at the simple ways you can boost your income by getting the best deal every time you spend money.
Set aside half a day, or spread it out over the next few months, to do the following, and you’ll cut the cost of your bills and get better value of your spending. In total, you could easily be a grand better off thanks to all of these.
1. Switch your bank for a cash bonus
If you’ve never switched bank, you really should. It’s possible to get £150 paid into your new account at the moment just for moving from one bank to another. And you can do this again, and again, and again. You can read about the current deals in my regularly updated guide.
2. Open up another bank account
And once you’ve switched for a bonus, you can also open up more accounts to take advantage of other incentives – cashback on bills and interest on savings.
I wrote last week about the best places to put your savings, with a handful of current accounts offering the highest rates right now. You don’t need to switch to get these interest rates, though you might have to have a couple of active direct debits or pay in a certain amount each month.
You also don’t need to switch to have an account that pays cashback on your bills. Both Santander and Natwest offer these accounts. They do come with a fee, but you should easily clear it and make more on top if all your bills are paid out of this account. Of course if you don’t switch you do need to manually change all the direct debits.
3. Switch your bills
Next up, look to move your energy, mobile phone, insurances, internet and TV deals to cheaper providers. Sometimes this is as simple as switching who provides the utility. For others it might require a little bit more effort, but whatever you choose it’ll be worth it.
4. Sign up to cashback sites
Right, now on to day-to-day shopping – though you can also use the following to save on your bills.
Every time you shop online you should go via a cashback wesbite. These sites will pay you for clicking from them to the retailer’s online shop. Though the amounts are often small, they really add up over the year.
The top two are Quidco and TopCashback, and if you’ve not signed up to them yet, there are bonus deals of between £10 and £16 available on your first purchase.
5. Get a cashback credit card
You should also consider getting and using a cashback credit card. I use these for everything and get between 0.5% and 1.25% back on each full pound I spend – it’s easily worth £150 on a normal year. My fave is from American Express – particularly as you can get 5% back for the first three months as a new customer. Here’s my guide to how they work and which ones to look at.
Of course this only works if you can clear the full balance every month. If that sounds unlikely then you should probably avoid most credit cards, not just the cashback ones.
Missed a previous part in this series? Catch up via the links below