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Having financial stability allows you to manage everyday expenses. It also lets you plan for the future with confidence, and weather unexpected financial storms. But building a strong financial foundation can seem daunting. This is especially true in today's world of rising costs and competing financial priorities. Here's a look at eight smart financial strategies to empower you to take control of your finances and achieve your financial goals.

1. Define Your Financial Goals

The first step towards financial well-being is defining your goals. Having clear goals motivates you to save consistently and make informed financial decisions. Set both short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals could be saving for a down payment on a car or a dream vacation. On the other hand, long-term goals might include saving for retirement or a child's college education. Be realistic when setting goals – overly ambitious targets can lead to discouragement. For instance, aiming to save for a house deposit in a year might be unrealistic if your income doesn't allow for significant savings. However, setting a goal to save a specific amount each month for a down payment over a two-year period is a more achievable target.

2. Create a Budget and Track Your Spending

Awareness is key to managing your finances effectively. Creating a budget that outlines your income and expenses is the foundation of financial literacy. Monitor your spending habits for a month to gain insights into your expenditures. Many budgeting apps and online tools can simplify this process. Once you know where your money is flowing, you can identify areas where you can cut back and allocate more funds towards savings. Are you spending excessively on dining out or entertainment? Perhaps there are subscriptions you can cancel or unused gym memberships you can terminate. Every small cutback adds up and contributes to your savings goals.

3. Save Consistently

Saving consistently is the bedrock of financial security. Start small, even if it's a fixed amount every week or every paycheck. Consistency is key. Transfer funds directly from your paycheck to a dedicated savings account. This can help ensure consistent savings and also remove the temptation to spend that money. Also, consider exploring different savings options. These can be high-yield savings accounts or certificates of deposit (CD) to maximise your returns. Such savings accounts offer a marginally higher interest rate than traditional savings accounts. Conversely, CDs offer a fixed interest rate for a predetermined period. However, they typically have early withdrawal penalties, so ensure the chosen term aligns with your savings goals.

4. Prioritise Debt Repayment

Debt can be a significant financial burden, not only impacting your monthly cash flow but also affecting your credit score. Focus on paying off high-interest debt, such as credit card debt, as soon as possible. High-interest debt can quickly spiral out of control, so tackling it first frees up more money for savings and future investments. Consider debt consolidation strategies like balance transfer cards or debt consolidation loans. This can help you potentially secure a lower interest rate and simplify your repayment process. Balance transfer cards typically offer a 0% introductory APR period on transferred balances. This allows you to focus on paying down the principal amount. You can do so without accruing additional interest during the introductory period. Debt consolidation loans combine multiple debts into one loan with a potentially lower interest rate. This simplifies your repayment process and potentially saves you money on interest.

5. Invest for the Future

Investing allows your money to grow over time. This may outpace inflation and help you achieve your long-term financial goals. However, investing involves risk. The potential for higher returns comes with the possibility of losing some or all of your investment. Assess your risk tolerance before investing. For beginners, low-risk investment options like index funds can be a good starting point. Index funds passively track a specific market index, such as the S&P 500, offering broad market exposure and diversification. Consider consulting a financial advisor for personalised investment strategies. Ensure that these align with your risk tolerance and long-term goals. A financial advisor can help you create a diversified investment portfolio. This would balance risk and reward based on your individual circumstances.

6. Build an Emergency Fund

Life throws curveballs. An emergency fund provides a safety net for unexpected expenses, such as medical bills, car repairs, or job loss. Aim to save enough to cover 3-6 months of living expenses in your emergency fund. This financial cushion reduces stress and allows you to handle emergencies. You can do so without resorting to high-interest debt or dipping into your long-term savings goals.

7. Automate Your Bills

Automating your bill payments ensures timely payments and avoids late fees. Late fees can add up quickly and negatively impact your credit score. Set up automatic payments for recurring bills like rent, utilities, and loan payments. This eliminates the risk of forgetting to pay a bill and helps maintain a good credit score. A good credit score translates to better interest rates on loans and other financial products in the future.

8. Review and Revise Regularly

Your financial situation and goals can evolve over time. Regularly review your budget, savings progress, and investment strategies. Consider factors like career changes, or upcoming retirement when reviewing your financial plan. Make adjustments as needed to ensure your financial plan is aligned with your changing circumstances and goals. Regularly review and revise your financial plan. This ensures it continues to support your evolving needs and aspirations.

Building a strong financial foundation is an ongoing journey. By implementing these smart financial strategies, you can take control of your finances. It also helps you achieve your goals, and create a secure future for yourself and your loved ones. Remember, financial literacy is key. There are many resources available to help you on your journey. Consider marketplaces like Bajaj Markets. It can be a valuable resource for comparing financial products and services from different providers. This enables you to make informed financial decisions. Visit the site today to learn more.

While delivering the government’s spending review for 2020, UK chancellor Rishi Sunak cautioned that the “economic emergency” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic was just beginning.

“Our health emergency is not yet over and our economic emergency has only just begun,” he said, adding that his priority was to “protect people’s lives and livelihood”.

The chancellor’s warning came as the Office for Budget Responsibility estimated that the UK economy will contract by 11.3% by the end of 2020, the country’s largest recorded fall in output for 300 years. Unemployment is also expected to peak at 2.6 million in 2021 and remain above pre-pandemic levels until 2024 at the earliest.

Chancellor Sunak said that departmental spending would be £540 billion next year, up 3.8%. He also promised a “once in a generation investment in infrastructure” towards schools, hospitals and roads, which the government would spend £100 billion on next year. £3 billion in additional funding will be earmarked for the NHS. Government borrowing will rise to almost £400 billion, reaching its highest level outside of wartime, to finance these projects.

The government’s foreign aid budget will also be cut, and there will be a “targeted” pay freeze on public sector workers, the chancellor said, from which the NHS and lowest paid workers will be exempted.

In other news of note from the spending review, the chancellor said that he had accepted the Low Pay Commission’s recommendation that the minimum wage – now rebranded as the National Living Wage – be increased by 2.2% up to £8.91 per hour. It will also be extended to those aged 23 and over, down from the current age of 25, and the minimum age for younger workers will be increased as well.

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"The chancellor will need to find £20 billion to £30 billion in spending cuts or tax rises if he wants to balance revenues and day-to-day spending, and stop debt rising by the end of this parliament,” noted Richard Hughes, chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility, following the spending review.

The UK’s inflation rate fell to its lowest level in almost four years as of last month, according to information released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

As lockdown measures came into effect across the country, demand for fuel and energy decreased dramatically, reacting with a global oil surplus to drive crude oil prices down to historic lows. Clothing retailers also slashed prices in a bid to lure customers online.

These factors weighed on the Consumer Price Index, driving inflation lower. While there was also an increase in expenditure on leisure-related products, it failed to make up the difference in consumer spending.

As a result, the roll-out of the UK's nationwide lockdown measures between March and April coincided with the inflation rate's fall from 1.5% to 0.8%

In its release, ONS stated: “Since November 2018, the largest upward contribution to the CPI inflation rate has come from housing and household services. However, reductions to household utility prices in April 2020 saw the group’s contribution to the headline rate fall to 0.16 percentage points, from 0.51 percentage points in March 2020.

This is the lowest contribution the group has made to the headline CPI rate since November 2010,” it continued.

Should inflation rates continue to fall in the UK and elsewhere, price deflation may begin to occur, which would impede efforts to revive the world economy as the COVID-19 pandemic abates.

It’s not just UK residents that would be impacted. While experts predict that a full-blown recession could be on the cards, it’s also believed that it will negatively influence various regions within the EU, with Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and France most likely to feel the consequences. Indeed, even countries as far afield as America could be adversely impacted.

This means that it makes sense to have a plan in place – preferably, one that includes a financial safety net to combat any uncertainty or financial difficulties that come on the back of the UK’s exit from the EU.

With this in mind, here are a few handy tips to turn you into a post-Brexit super saver.

Draw up a preliminary budget

Budgeting is considered essential to good money management, but not everyone puts this theory into practice. There are very few of us who cut our costs as much as we feasibly could, but with the possibility of a no-deal Brexit looming, you’ll want to not only reduce your immediate expenditure, but identify any additional areas where you could decrease your outlay even further should this become necessary. With this in mind, we recommend that you spend some time drawing up a table of your incomings and outgoings, so you can work out what you could go without well in advance of it becoming a necessity.

Keep an eye out for more economical alternatives

Although UK PM Boris Johnson remains adamant that the UK will leave the European Union before the end of the month, the reality of Brexit remains little more than academic, but it’s unlikely to stay this way forever. Recession is a very real possibility, so even if you don’t want to go the whole hog immediately, you should already be looking to make small savings where you can. This doesn’t mean going without entirely; rather, it means swapping your Heinz baked beans for own-brand alternatives, and visiting comparison sites; for everything from travel, utility bills and iGaming. For example, in regards to online casinos, with a generous multistep welcome package, Dunder is a solid choice, giving you the chance to play the games you enjoy without breaking the bank, or sites like Compare the Market for insurance, and Trivago for travel.

Review your interest rates

One of the big difficulties with Brexit is that nobody can truly predict how it will affect the economy. This means that interest rates could do almost anything, either remaining low if the financial landscape worsens or rising along with inflation. However, there is one way to know for certain what your future spending on credit products will look like, and that’s by fixing your interest rates. Experts suggest that to safeguard yourself against what’s ahead, your best bets are to either switch to a lower rate or consolidate your debt so you can accurately plan ahead.

Isn’t it time you started making some changes?

Of greater concern is the impact of late payments on the long-term health of the UK economy, which is estimated to have cost UK SMEs at least £51.5 billion in the last 12 months, but the true figure is likely to be much higher.

The new research from Hitachi Capital UK has determined the financial burden on the UK’s 5.6 million SMEs as a result of late paying customers and uncovered the extent to which an epidemic of late and unfair payments is hampering productivity and growth.

Over a quarter of SMEs (27%) have experienced a profit squeeze because of late payments, and 12% have had to defer staff pay, equating to an estimated 1.95m UK employees that are left empty-handed on payday.

With many SMEs already struggling to maintain liquidity, the research highlights the extent to which late paying customers represent a drain on resources. Around 40% of respondents have been forced to use their own money to address cash flow gaps in their business. The vast majority of these respondents (80%) have invested personal savings to keep their business afloat or operational.

Critically, the research exposed a need for SMEs to take measures to maintain cash flow over the course of the year to mitigate damage caused by unreliable customers. Nearly three quarters of SMEs (74%) have had a customer fail to pay during their agreed terms at least once during the last 12 months, and 34% of SMEs report customers using their position to delay or reduce payment.

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With 21% of SMEs also turning down a contract because a customer was known to be a bad payer or offering unfair payment terms, the use of external funding options is an increasing necessity to offer a safety net when business is stalling. Today’s research indicates that awareness of potential solutions such as invoice finance remain too low.

Robert Gordon, CEO of Hitachi Capital UK, said: “An imbalance of power between clients and suppliers, often driven by larger players abusing their position, has led to a widespread late payment culture that is damaging UK SMEs. As our research has shown, if we let this go unchecked, huge numbers of businesses will continue to experience cash flow pressures at a time of wider economic uncertainty.

“This has ramifications not only for SMEs, but for entire supply chains and a fair, competitive and supportive business environment is critical for the country’s wider economic success. It’s imperative that we not only acknowledge this issue and crack down on late payments, but also take practical steps to ensure businesses are given the required support and penalties are put in place for the worst offenders.”

The findings come amid a range of new Government measures – proposed by the previous Government but currently on hold – of tougher sanctions to address late payments, including greater powers for the Small Business Commissioner to enforce best practice and revisions to the Prompt Payment Code. Of those surveyed, over two-thirds of SMEs (68%) would support legislation making it illegal to miss a payment deadline, with over half of respondents (57%) spending nearly a day a week chasing outstanding invoices, suggesting that late payments are contributing to the productivity deficit within the UK economy.

In analysing the sector landscape, professional services was identified as one of the worst offenders, with 17% of SMEs identifying this grouping as a leading culprit for late payments.

The South East was the region with the highest proportion of SMEs reporting financial issues caused by late payments, representing 18% of the total number of responses, followed by Greater London at 16%.

Andy Dodd, Managing Director, Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance, added: “As one of the UK’s leading finance providers, we understand first-hand the impact that late payment can have. Many SMEs struggle to maintain liquidity and this remains an underlying threat to their personal finances and ultimately the survival of their businesses.

“Fortunately, there are a number of solutions available to small businesses. Firstly Invoice Finance which provides an immediate advance, normally of up to 85% of the invoice value, to provide instantaneous cashflow injection. Secondly, using a good credit control provider, perhaps aligned to Invoice Finance – it’s an area that frequently neglected, but should be front-of-mind amongst SMEs.”

Yet, this is something many businesses, SMEs in particular, currently struggle with. Below David Duan, Data Science Stream Lead & Principal Data Scientist at Fraedom, explains why AI is key to the relationship between banks and business.

Research from Fraedom found that almost a third of UK SMEs claim to have a clear picture of business spend at the end of each month but little visibility on a day-to-day basis. As banks begin to remedy these issues, we are seeing the introduction of more technologies that make use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Consequently, businesses could soon benefit from a wider range of capabilities, tools and controls with AI having a major impact on the following areas:

Control over spend

Through the use of AI, banks will be able to more accurately forecast how much credit businesses require and limits on spending will be set automatically, enabling banks to gain a better understanding of their spending. This can also be implemented within the organisation as AI will allow for credit limit redistribution based on what different employees regularly spend. This means that credit will be allocated in an optimal way, ensuring the amount of credit employees are given reflects their spend history. This ensures that those employees who often make large transactions are given the credit to do so, while those who use their company accounts for lower-cost transactions don’t receive as much, so as to ensure credit is being used to the greatest effect.

Account protections

As banks make better use of AI for fraud detection, businesses will benefit from improved security features. In these scenarios, AI will help businesses keep their accounts safe by detecting any anomalies in their accounts and fraudulent activities much quicker than previously possible. This works by the model having an understanding of what is ‘normal’ for each account or card and recognising patterns based on past transactions and behaviours. For example, if 99% of the transactions for one account happen Monday to Friday, a transaction that occurs at the weekend will be seen as abnormal and flagged as such. Of course, anomalous transactions aren’t always fraud. Often they’re just out of the ordinary, requiring some more investigation – flagging them to the business would certainly allow for this. With companies currently losing an average of 7% of their annual expenditure to fraud, these technologies will help lower incidences of fraud as shown by Visa’s use of AI reducing global fraud rates to less than 0.1%. In the future, AI could be used to detect fraud in real-time, stopping fraudulent transactions from being processed altogether.

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Expense management

In addition to providing banks with a greater degree of control and understanding of their finances, banks are also beginning to use AI to offer businesses extra tools and services. A prime example of this is expense management systems which use AI to simplify the expense process and reduce the amount of time employees and finance departments spend on such tasks. As with fraud detection, the system would establish patterns based on the employees historic spending behaviour. For example, it may pick up that once a week the sum of £5 is spent in a coffee shop which the user then applies a particular expense code to. Once this behaviour has been demonstrated enough times, it becomes a pattern. So, the user will no longer have to code the transaction themselves, the system would automatically identify the type of expense it is and code it correctly.

As the system establishes more patterns and understands what the user or business is doing, smart coding could start to be applied to a greater number of transactions. This would significantly reduce the amount of time spent manually sorting through and coding expenses as the employee then only has to check that the correct codes have been applied.

Ultimately, the use of AI and ML will help banks build up a more accurate picture of their business customers and result in the ability to automate more processes. In turn, this will provide organisations with a greater level of control over their accounts, improved visibility and a better understanding of their finances. As this is realised, businesses will begin to reap the rewards of their employees spending less time manually interrogating accounts and instead being able to focus on more value-adding tasks.

What if we told you that you didn’t need to? There are lots of simple and easy ways to create a little breathing room without impinging on your quality of life – you just need some help working out what they are! Here are a few handy ideas to get you started.

Sell the stuff you’re not using

We’ve all looked around at some point and realised that we need a clear out, and whether it’s your wardrobe that’s bursting at the seams or your old TV gathering dust in the attic, it’s possible that there’s some money to be made. While we’re all for supporting charitable causes and donating to your nearest thrift store, take a long, hard look at what you’re throwing out before it finds its way into a plastic bag. Maybe those jeans don’t fit you anymore, but would somebody buy them if you uploaded them to Depop? Your television is missing a remote, but might somebody want it if you priced it cheaply and advertised it on Facebook Marketplace? One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and no matter how little it’s worth, anything you move on equates to extra money in your pocket.

Make your home more energy efficient

Next up, it’s time to think about making your home more eco-friendly. Going green has many benefits, primarily for the environment, but it makes sense from a financial as well as an altruistic perspective. Luckily, there are lots of easy ways to make it happen. One of the simplest is to replace your lightbulbs with LEDs, which could purportedly save you around £240 per year on your energy bills. Air sealing your home will help too, decreasing your energy outlay by roughly 20 percent per month, as will turning the temperature on your water heater down a fraction. These might be small steps, but they could add up to some pretty significant savings. Remember, the less energy you use, the lower your bills will be.

Switch to pay-as-you-go or a SIM-only plan

Most of us spend a significant amount on our monthly phone bill, but is this really necessary? While you probably took out a contract to get the most up-to-date phone, lots of us stick with the same deal even when we have a perfectly useable handset and the option to terminate the original agreement. While it’s true that you could upgrade, ask yourself whether you really need to do so in the instant. If not, take our advice and contact your provider to end your contract. Once this is done, opt for pay-as-you-go or a sim-only plan instead, and you’ll find that you could save a tidy sum each month. There are so many good deals out there that you won’t even have to settle for fewer minutes or a less attractive overall plan.

Buy in bulk

We said that this article would help you to spend less, so asking you to shell out more than you normally would perhaps seem counterproductive. However, although a lot of people are deterred by the thought of a higher initial outlay, buying in bulk can save you a vast amount of money, and it requires no real sacrifice at all. If you’re wondering where you can do it, wholesalers like Costco are an obvious option, but there are also plenty of places online, from Amazon to British Cornershop. This article is particularly handy, and offers some great tips for getting to grips with it all.

Cancel your gym membership and take up jogging

The reality is that most people who have a gym membership are not getting their money’s worth. While you might go once or even twice a week as a rule, there are also periods where you’re too busy to visit at all, so perhaps it’s time to find a more cost-efficient alternative. Our advice is to cancel your membership and take up a free outdoor activity instead. Jogging is an obvious choice, but if it’s not to your taste, there are plenty of other free ways to exercise, from extending your daily dog walk to taking advantage of your local tennis courts or following yoga tutorials on YouTube. All of the above are free, fun, and will keep you fit to boot.

Keep an eye out for special offers and discounts

We promised that every method included on this list would give you the chance to save money without making your life miserable, and here is a perfect case in point. Instead of telling you not to spend at all, we simply suggest that you look for special offers and discount options before you buy. Imagine, for an instant, that you want to indulge in a little online gambling. Rather than going to the first provider you stumble upon, we’d recommend using an online directory site like Oddschecker to see what offers are out there. Similarly, if you want to purchase a new pair of jeans, we’d urge you to see what sales are on before paying full price for something you could get significantly cheaper.

Unplug your electrics when you’re not using them

We told you these solutions would be simple and straightforward, and it doesn’t come much easier than this one: make sure that you’re unplugging each of your devices when you’re not using them. Although most will consume only a small amount of energy when they’re in standby mode, this still drives up your monthly bill, and you simply don’t need to be paying the excess. An Xbox 360, for example, would add roughly 15 kilowatt-hours to your total if you were to leave it plugged in on standby for a month, so a small step like this really can make a difference. From your coffee machine to your phone charger and laptop, don’t have them plugged in unless it’s absolutely necessary.

When it comes to saving money, there are so many ways to do it, and lots of them require little to no effort to accomplish. Far from impinging on your life or forcing you to stay indoors and be miserable, they can even come with their own unique benefits, from helping to make your home more eco-friendly through to encouraging you to declutter. Isn’t it worth giving them a go to see how much you could save?

But when is it sensible to use a card and when to save? MoneySuperMarket data shows that the usage of credit cards seems to be growing, and have recently conducted a study to identify how much you’ll actually pay on average based on the size of the payments you’re making, the average monthly repayment possible, and the average interest involved as a result.

Alongside the credit card payments, the research highlights how long it would take to make each payment by saving up a monthly average of £352.31 (based on average earnings of £1,827.10 a month, and average expenditure of £1,474.79 a month) – so you can compare whether it’s a better option to save up or to use a card.

Spending and Saving Numbers Crunched

With the average person being able to save around £350 a month, there’s minimal difference in terms of time and total amount spent for a purchase under this amount – whether you’re saving or using a credit card. But the interest does take an effect at higher costs. On a credit card payment of £600, for example, you would on average pay £17 in interest, taking two months to pay it off. At £5,000, the interest reaches up to £931 over 17 months of repayment, against 14.2 months of saving with no interest.

Save for the Suit, Spend on the Commute

The research suggests that while you could save up for a bespoke suit in 2.7 months and save yourself £36 in credit card interest, for a train ticket you might be better off paying on your credit card – as you’ll still have to travel while saving, and the costs of individual tickets is likely to be higher than the £8 you would save in credit card interest.

Can a New Coat Improve Your Credit Rating?

Buying a winter coat on a credit card can be a sensible choice as lower payments that can be paid off immediately, without any interest, will contribute positively to your credit rating.

Even at higher costs, holidays can be a smart choice for a credit card. Despite the average £2,417 spend accruing as much as £208 in interest and taking just over two more months to pay off than to save up, credit cards can provide security on payments, meaning you’re better protected against problems with flights and hotels.

Save for Season Ticket, Spend on the Trainers

More affordable equipment like a mountain bike or sports trainers can be paid off quickly and improve your credit score without accruing any interest, but for a football season ticket, which you can plan to buy well in advance, there’s no significant advantage to buying on card. Instead of paying the additional £27 in interest over three months, you’re better off spending the average £794 after saving up for 2.3 months.

Smarter Smart Phone Buying

A high-end smart phone like the iPhone could cost nearly £50 in interest on a credit card, making saving up the better option. But for a cheap laptop, it might be much lower interest of around £15 or less – and many retailers offer finance options for smart phones and laptops, making it sensible to research your shopping before you buy.

Split the Costs When Getting Together

Weddings are expensive events – so it makes sense to split up the cost as much as possible. Saving up for purchases like the dress and photography, and putting the cheaper payments such as cake and groom’s outfit on credit card, may be the best way to minimise interest payments. Using a card to cover the venue can be helpful as well, as this can protect you against any last minute problems.

Top Tips from MoneySuperMarket

While the study provides some details of smart ways to use your credit cards, some of the top tips include:

Of course, there are the traditional ways of saving such as budgeting and setting aside a certain amount of funds each month. But, without overly restricting your leisure activities, what everyday changes can you make to spend less?

1. Spend less on your energy bill

Make small everyday changes to lower the cost of your energy bill.

Did you know that 4% of your energy bill is attributed to cooking? Work on lowering this if you can. Your oven stays warm for a long time after you’ve switched it off. Try turning it off 10 minutes before you’re finished cooking to save on energy.

Instead of turning your thermostat up during the colder months, layer up instead to save on pennies! Switching down by just one degree Celsius can save you £85 per year — it all adds up. When it comes to showering, cutting your shower time down to 5 minutes instead of 15 minutes can save you £98 per year — less singing and faster washing!

2. Storing food properly

When we’re packing food away in the fridge or freezer, we usually don’t think about how it’s stored. But, the way that you put away your goods can have an impact on your energy bill.

If you pack your freezer more tightly, this keeps more of the cold air in when you open the door. This means that the appliance doesn’t have to work as hard to lower the temperature again. The same applies for the refrigerator too — a full fridge requires less energy to stay cool than one that’s empty. If you’re struggling to pack your fridge or freezer full, filling it with newspaper can do the job.

3. Save money booking holidays

Even when we’re trying to save money, we all deserve a holiday now and then! The good news is that you can save money by following a few top tips the next time you book a vacation.

Try and fly out on a Friday if you can, this can save you 18% on your airfare compared to if you flew out on a Sunday. Taking into consideration the average cost of a flight and the fact that the average Brit goes on holiday three times a year, you could save £85 annually by following this top tip.

Be calculative about when you book your holiday too. You can save £36 per year by booking your trip on a Monday as flights are 5% cheaper.

Consider packing more economically too. You can save £144 per year by only taking hand luggage on your flights. Squeeze more into your suitcase by rolling clothes and packing garments in your shoes.

4. Meal prepping

Being prepared when it comes to grocery shopping and planning lunches for the week can help save on cash.

Even making a shopping list before you head to the supermarket can help. In fact, 60% of people who take a shopping list to the supermarket said it saves them money. It stops you buying things that you don’t necessarily need and helps you stick to your budget.

Create a meal plan for the week too. This means that you’re only buying what you need and don’t need to spend money on unexpected lunches out. Statistics have shown that you can save an impressive £1,300 per year by preparing lunch at home rather than eating out during the week.

5. Eco-conscious coffee drinking

There are a few ways that you can be eco-conscious about your coffee drinking while saving money.

First of all, you can start by making your coffee at home when you can. You can save £507 per year by making your coffee at home instead of buying one each day from a retailer. If you prefer coffee from the store, why not take your own cup? This is helping the environment and you can save £150 per year as many high street retailers now offer 50p off coffee when you present your own cup.

Make the small changes above and watch your pennies turn into pounds this year! For more saving tips, check out True Potential Investor’s Life Hacks interactive.

Sources:

https://www.uswitch.com/energy-saving/guides/5-lifestyle-hacks-to-save-energy/

https://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/slash-your-electric-bill-with-11-savvy-hacks-48497#efficient-fridges

https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/life/755367/money-saving-tips-electricity-bill

 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/comment/how-airfares-have-fallen-since-golden-age-of-flying/

https://metro.co.uk/2017/05/13/how-far-the-average-british-tourist-travels-every-year-6635197/

https://www.skyscanner.net/news/tips/expert-tips-for-snagging-a-cheap-flight

https://www.statista.com/statistics/304108/number-of-passengers-on-united-kingdom-airlines/

https://www.skyscanner.net/news/7-ways-beat-easyjet-cabin-baggage-rules

https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/blog/five-ways-to-save-at-the-supermarket

https://www.vouchercloud.com/resources/lunch-at-home-research

http://www.mintel.com/press-centre/food-and-drink/uk-coffee-shop-sales-enjoy-a-growth-high

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3979712/coffee-costa-starbuck-nero-chains-cost-each-year/

While there are many things that we can do to try to save money when we make purchases or try to live frugally, there are also ways to keep better track of our finances. Maybe some of what we consider to be immutable expenses are actually a lot more flexible, or perhaps we have spent money somewhere that we can claim back. By restructuring our monthly plans, we are actually able to save money with very little effort. Here are two things we may have overlooked when crunching the numbers for that budget.

Claiming Money Back

Sometimes we end up spending for something but are actually due a lot of that money back. PPI is an infamous example of the way many people ended up spending money on something they didn’t need to. Another common area where people miss their opportunity to claim money back is air travel. Flightright offers air passengers online legal advice for claiming compensation for disruption to their travel stemming from things such as bad weather, strikes, flight cancellations and flight delays. This legal advice is easy to follow, transcends complex jargon, and 99% of cases have been successfully won in court. This works with airlines such as easyJet, which is referred to by some as Britain’s most unpunctual airline. What's more, train companies in the UK such as LNER, offer delay repay, which promises to refund the price of tickets if the train or its alternative was delayed by more than 30 minutes. Claiming money back when the services we expected haven’t been up to par isn’t just part of our consumer rights but could actually make a significant difference and can change an inconvenience into a welcome relief.

Claiming money back when the services we expected haven’t been up to par isn’t just part of our consumer rights but could actually make a significant difference and can change an inconvenience into a welcome relief.

Change Your Provider

It can often seem paralyzing: We sign up to a contract service and are forced to stay with them because shopping around and cancelling the contract seems too much hassle, or seems to incur additional fees. However, long-term contracts with necessary services such as internet providers, phone companies, energy providers and even banks may not be giving us the best deal; in fact, they may be costing us more than their competitors. How much you pay for a service depends on many factors, but shopping around and seeing what you should be paying could result in you clawing back a significant amount of your monthly budget. For instance, according to Martin Lewis at Money Saving Expert, your energy bills could be cheaper if you investigate cheaper tariffs and other methods of making payments such as a direct debit. Even threatening to cancel or swap could sometimes shock your current provider into giving you a better service or cheaper deal, so it pays to go down that route as well.

How much you pay for a service depends on many factors, but shopping around and seeing what you should be paying could result in you clawing back a significant amount of your monthly budget.

By making sure that you recoup any unnecessary payments and collecting all money owed to you, you will find that you could be making greater savings each month. Similarly, by shopping around for all your providers and being savvy about it, you could be spending less each month. As a result, your outgoings are decreased with very little effort on your part.

Decimal Day on 15 February 1971 replaced shillings with pounds and pence. Ireland went one step further when it announced in 1999 that it would swap pounds for euros and this came to fruition in 2002. While the UK remained adamant they wouldn’t join the euro, something else has eclipsed the possibility that we might exchange our sterling for something more continental – the fact that we might not deal with any money whatsoever. There are calls from some people to begin the process of foregoing cash and replacing it with digital payment methods instead. But, will society ever go cashless?

The Argument for a Cashless Society

Since contactless was introduced, almost two-thirds of people in the UK use contactless payments, while June 2018 saw cashless payments eclipse those who used traditional cash methods. Indeed, with the rise of Monzo, customers are encouraged to spend via their card to track what they are spending and where. This allows you to make better choices. Bus companies, such as First, have begun accepting contactless payments on their buses as well as payment via an app, which offers discounted fares. Even vending machines allow card payments, while traditionally cash-centric parking meters also offer you to pay through digital means that bypass cash methods. Many industries already use cashless methods. For example, when you play online slots at Magical Vegas, there are several digital payment options to choose from for depositing and withdrawing any winnings you make, which matches the modern technology used in the video slots. These include Paysafecard, Neteller, Skrill and Paypal as well as Visa and Mastercard.

Why Might Cashless Be Bad?

Of course, the issue with switching to contactless, smartphone payments or even just relying on chip and pin, is that there is a portion of the country who either have no access to this or wouldn’t feel comfortable using it. A fixed address is necessary for a bank account, so those who live without one would be left without the money they might otherwise be able to access. Without physical money, everything relies on big data to ensure our details and bank accounts correspond. With so much money in accessible accounts, crime that mines our personal financial data may increase, especially in the advent of a data breach, which isn’t beyond the realm of possibility. Anecdotally, many say they struggle to manage their finances when they don’t have the actual cash, claiming contactless makes it easier to overspend because the money is less tangible. One of the main concerns for a cashless society is the fact that we would be at the mercy of technology – and that something that might affect this, even a simple power cut, could leave us penniless.

Cashless society may seem futuristic, but we are already making some waves in that area. While there are enough cons to ensure that we will never fully go cashless, instead it will likely be made easier to opt out of using cash as a matter of personal preference.

During this time of financial uncertainty, many opt for emergency small term loans to cover the cost, however these are for financial emergency only and alternative funding will be needed. Here we are going to give you our top tips for saving money and avoid using your credit card.

Make A Shopping List

One of the main ways to avoid making payments on your contactless credit card is to have a shopping list and stick to it. In doing this, you can ensure that you have bought all the food that you need for the week at one time without spending large sums of money as a result. By having everything in the house that you could need, this reduces the need for you to travel to the shops and get tempted by a chocolate bar or other sweet treats that can be bought on impulse with your contactless card.

Avoid Fast Food

Although it may seem tempting to opt for fast food when you have had a long day in the office, it is important to avoid this temptation. One of the ways that you can do this is through making food the night before and freezing it. This not only helps you to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but it saves you money as a result. This is ideal particularly for students as this will allow them to save excess money and maintain a healthy diet.

Don’t Use Mobile Banking

Mobile banking is something that you should definitely avoid if you are looking to save money. This is because applications such as Google Pay, and Apple Pay make it easy for you to pay for items with a fingerprint or simple passkey. This will not aid you in saving money as this makes it to easy to overspend and end up buying items that you do not need. One way that you can get around this is through travelling to the bank to look at your finances or even restricting your online banking to one desktop.

Pay By Cash Not Card

When going out for a night on the town or on a shopping trip, it is very easy to opt for a contactless payment to purchase items quickly, but what about just taking cash? By taking cash with you and leaving your card at home, you restrict yourself to the amount of money that you can spend. This is particularly important if you are limited on funds as this allows you to budget accordingly and ensure that you do not overspend at any point. If an item is out of your budget at this time, you must then wait till next month to afford it.

Buy Your Own Lunch

Although this may seem like an extremely small transaction per day, purchasing lunch can actually amount to a large portion of your spending per month. In order to combat this and save yourself more money, begin packing your own lunch. This could save you an average of £5 per day which can amount to a large amount at the end of every month. This can then be saved and placed within a bank account for a financial emergency or a treat later in the year.

Whether you are looking to completely avoid using your card on a daily basis or you are looking to limit the amount that you are spending in general, you can be sure to find the solution that works for you by following one of these top tips.

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