You might consider yourself to be pretty switched on when it comes to your finances; you may even give yourself the odd congratulatory pat on the back when you consider the comfortable nest egg you’re keeping toasty.
However, sitting still on the money you’ve squirrelled away can stop your hard earned cash from working as hard as it could be.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a simple checklist of some of the key questions so you can ensure you’re wide awake to the possibilities for more efficient saving. Hurrah!
Could it be time to switch?
Golden rule number one in the savvy savers handbook? Keep your household bills low. If you haven’t switched providers in the past couple of years, it could be in your best interests to check there isn’t a better deal out there. Online plans, paid by direct debit, tend to be the most competitively priced, and although the larger companies dominate the market, it’s worth checking out smaller providers for the cheapest deals. An article by This Is Money, published in November 2016, found that some households could shave more than £400 per year off their household bills by switching. That’s a nice chunk of cash that would be better off in your own savings than in an energy provider’s pocket.
Is your credit card paying you?
A cashback card is every savvy saver’s dream – a card that offers you a cash reward in return for using it. According to figures cited on Money Supermarket* in October 2016, cashback credit card rates typically vary from 0.5% to 5%, so if you plan to use it regularly for household shopping and bills, your savings could swiftly stack up. Just be aware that cashback cards tend to have higher interest rates so the trick is to make sure you pay off your total balance every month to make it worth your while.
Is your bank account up to scratch?
Research by the Social Market Foundation, published in September 2016, revealed that a more competitive market has resulted in current accounts that offer much better value for money than in the past. In fact, the average consumer could now save £116 per year by switching to a new account. However, reporting on the study in September 2016, The Telegraph stated that nine in 10 people simply sit on their laurels and don’t bother actively seeking out information to make the switch. With the current account switching service making it easier than ever to make the jump, don’t follow the crowd - be that one person in 10 who lands a better deal.
Look out for current accounts that pay respectable interest, as well as banks that offer cash incentives for signing up. If an account requires a monthly fee, be sure that the perks are a perfect match for you, your family and your lifestyle.
Are your savings rates falling short?
Old ISAs can pay out miserable interest rates, and a Which? investigation published in September 2016 found that UK savers could be losing out on £4.3bn in interest each year if they stick to a stale savings account. Keep tabs on your interest rates so you can compare your deal with others on the market and always check what your current account provider offers first – some of the best savings accounts can come fixed to other products.
Are you missing out on extra cash?
Love it or loathe it, shopping is a part of everyday life. Consider doing yours from the comfort of your own keyboard and shop through a cashback site to make a little extra money. Reputable cashback sites, such as TopCashback and Quidco, offer consumers the chance to shop their socks off on a range of products in order to get a cash reward or vouchers from a wide variety of big name brands such as Tesco or Amazon. The level of reward you can expect depends on the amount you spend and the product you purchase.
It’s all too easy to let your money languish in products or accounts paying less-than-ideal returns. However, once you’ve filled in these potential gaps in your financial planning, you can dub yourself – hand-on-heart – a truly savvy saver.
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