This time of year everyone is full of hope and optimism for the year ahead. Bellies are still fat from the Christmas (over) indulgence, and your New Year’s resolutions are still fresh in your mind.
Now’s the time capitalise your new outlook and prepare your finances for the year ahead. With that in mind we’ve designed 5 top financial resolutions that could save/earn you £100s in 2015.
1. Give yourself a financial MOT
If you drive, every year you put your vehicle through an MOT to test its road-worthiness, but what about your finances, do they stand up? Are you earning more than spend? Give your finances a quick check over using Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis’ excellent budget planner
It’s best to take the time to complete the spreadsheet as thoroughly and accurately as possible. Once you know what you’re spending, you’ll be better prepared to plan your finances in the future.
Give it try, you’ll be surprised by the results.
2. Earn cashback on everything you spend
If you do a lot of shopping online you could earn £100s per year by using cashback websites such as TopCashBack and Quidco. It’s quick and easy, with no hidden extras or nasty surprises.
The way it works is online retailers pay cashback websites for referring you to them and buying their products. The cashback website then pays some or all of this money to you. The amounts can range from a few pence for cheaper items, to over £100 for things like insurance, mobile contracts, and telecoms.
Once you start, you’d be kicking yourself at the money you could have earned if only you’d know about it earlier.
See our cashback guide for more information.
3. Switch your Gas and Electricity
Comparing energy prices these days is a doddle. With you bill and/or your annual usage summary at hand, go on over to EnergyHelpline.com, or Uswitch.com, to compare tariffs.
There’s no one cheapest tariff, so it’s important to be as accurate as possible when estimating your usage. Prices in the market are currently stable (as at January 2015) so now is a great time to compare and switch. You could potentially save £100s, and guarantee no price increases for next 12-24 months.
Once you’ve found the cheapest, use TopCashBack to visit the supplier’s site and sign up for the tariff, and you could earn up to £50 cash back.
TIP: Pay by direct debit and save up to £90 per year.
4. Get the cheapest home phone and broadband
If you’ve never changed your landline provider, there’s a good chance you’re paying too much. BT’s standard line rental is £16.99 per month, making it one of the priciest on the market.
All landline providers (bar Virgin Media) use the BT network, so you won’t lose anything by switching, and can even take your phone number with you.
The cheapest line only (i.e not bundled with broadband) deals are paid yearly. Direct Save Telecom is currently the cheapest deal around at £132 per year. That works out at just £11 per month equivalent.
The Post Office also offers a year’s line rental at £144, just £12 per month. This includes free weekend calls to landlines.
Both of the above offer savings on BT’s Line Rental Saver package, which is priced at £169.90 a year, £14.16 per month equivalent.
Phone and broadband bundles
Even more substantial savings can be made when you bundle your phone and broadband package.
5. Get the best deal on this year’s holiday and currency
The annual family holiday is often the single largest expense (and stress) of the year. Kill two birds with one stone (to use an awful phrase) and start planning your getaway today. The New Year is often the busiest time of the year for travel agents and also happens to be when the best prices are available.
By booking early you could have £100s off the price of your next family break. While you’re at don’t forget to haggle down the price to save a further 6-25%
However you prefer travel, one thing is for sure, if you’re leaving the country you are going to need foreign currency. Like most things in life it’s best to prepare in advance in order to maximise your travel money. See out guide to cheap foreign currency.