Piggybank News

January 10, 2012

Making your money work for you

Making Your Money Work for You
With interest rates at an all time low, financial institutions have been cutting the rates they pay to savers. Check the rates your savings are earning – you may be surprised by how quickly the attractive interest rates used to tempt new investors are reduced.  If you have a significant amount of savings then you may need to consider alternative investment options, such as property, in order to maximise your returns.

Similarly, look at the costs of financial products you buy – insurances, your mortgage etc. It is easy to just let things roll over at the annual renewal but there may well be savings to be made.  Even if you are happy with your current supplier it is worth checking out other deals, as you can use this comparison to ask for an improved quotation.

Check that your utilities are being supplied in the most cost-effective way.  In general terms you will save money by having both gas and electric with the same company and paying by monthly direct debit will also reduce charges.  There are also a number of bundled deals available which can help you make savings on energy as well as broadband and telephone bills.

(Piggy says “The most expensive way to buy your energy is via a card or key meter – typically the charges for these are up to twice as much as for a credit account.  If you have one of these meters then your supplier should be able to change it for you free of charge provided that you do not have any arrears.”)

Take control of your credit cards.  If you have outstanding balances on any credit cards then you should check the level of interest you are paying on this.  Transferring the balance to a zero percent deal on a new card may give you the extra time and money you need to pay it off.  Even if you are unable to transfer to another card don’t be afraid to call up and negotiate the interest level, payment terms and any additional charges you think are unfair.

Benefits
Nearly one fifth of all state benefits are not claimed, especially those made available for families and the elderly. Make sure you claim any benefits to which you are entitled. The direct.gov website may be helpful as a starting point.

Make Sure You Have a Will and an LPA!
You may think this is an odd suggestion, but having an up to date will may prevent your estate incurring unnecessary costs (and possibly avoidable tax liabilities) in the unfortunate event of your demise.  The consequences of intestacy come as a nasty shock to many families. Similarly, creating a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) will be hugely beneficial in the event that you are unable to administer your own affairs and need someone else to look after them for you.  More importantly, however, having the right documentation in place speeds up administration, which can be very costly otherwise.

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