Tips for a financially successful 2014 by Isaac Carter

In this era of financial challenges, Isaac Carter provides some useful ways we can save and make money during 2014

Another new year brings more financial challenges. 2014 is here, and it comes with austerity in full swing: benefit cuts, bedroom tax, increases in train, bus and tube fares, increases in energy prices and a general increase in the cost of living. All of this means that in 2014 you must get the best out of your money!

So, here are some practical tips for a financially successful 2014:

1. Recycle old mobile phones, DVDs, CDs and clothes
Mazumamobile.com will buy your old mobile phone.  MusicMagpie.co.uk will give you money for your old CDs, DVDs and games. You can also sell any unwanted clothes on the website, or alternatively, use sites like eBay.

Mobile-phone

2. Use comparison sites to find the cheapest supermarket prices
Mysupermarket.co.uk compares the prices of individual items at Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Ocado, Waitrose, Asda and Aldi, so you can get the best deals.

3Use balance transfer credit cards to transfer debt from your current credit card (that charges a high rate of interest) to one that charges 0% interest.

4. Buy own-brand goods at the supermarket
Tesco’s Everyday Value goods cost on average 50% less than branded goods. Quite often, the non-branded options can taste better.

5. Switch energy suppliers
Households could save up to £300 if they switch energy suppliers, but millions don’t. The process is simple. You can.

6. Use discount websites to save on days out 
Sites like groupon.co.uk, vouchercodes.co.uk and wowcher.co.uk offer daily deals and discounts on events, activities, travel and restaurants, to name a few.

7. Cycle/walk to work rather than drive or take the Tube 
Getting the bus will often save you money, too.

9. Open a savings account
If you have money sitting in the bank, opening a savings account can provide some extra income.

10. Check to see if your children are entitled to any benefits, including free school meals and uniforms.

11. Make sure your child isn’t paying tax on their savings account
Children under 18 can earn interest before tax, but their parents must fill in a special form, called an R85, which stops 20% tax being deducted at source.

12. Don’t buy bottled water; fill up a re-usable bottle with tap water

Tap-water
Not only is buying bottled water bad for the environment, it is also expensive. The average UK consumer gulps their way through £25,000 of bottled water in a lifetime. Furthermore, an estimated 30% of supermarket bottled water is tap water anyway.

13. Make your own drinks
Making your own juices and smoothies – with a blender or juicer – will save you the expense of buying these drinks in the shops

14. Use supermarket loyalty cards
Using a supermarket loyalty scheme could save you money on your weekly shop. Tesco’s ClubCard, Sainsbury’s Nectar Card and Boots Advantage card, among others, offer points for every item purchased in store. This is then turned into money off your next shop.

15. Use a budget for your household finances
Make a budget, totting up every household expense you will have to pay, including mortgage/rent, groceries, transport, utility bills, insurance, phone bills, and everything else, to ensure you don’t overspend.

16. Turn electrical appliances off when not in use
Across the UK, households spend between £50 and £86 a year on gadgets in a ‘non-active’ or standby state.

17. Make your own meals rather than buy takeaways
Save money on buying takeaways, which you can make yourself, or buy from the supermarket much more cheaply.

18. Avoid the January sales 
Even though you might feel like you’re getting a bargain, it is likely you are buying something you never really needed, and would never have bought in the first place had it not been on sale.

19. Shop at discount supermarkets rather than high-end ones

Shopping
According to a poll of 30,000 households, more than half shopped at either Aldi or Lidl in the three months to December. So why not see how much you could save on your weekly shop?

21. Rent out a spare room
Renting out a spare room in your house could make you several hundreds of pounds each month.

22. Cut down on the cost of car insurance

23. Collect loose change and pennies in a jar, and cash them in at the end of the year.
Without even realising, you could have saved £40 or £50.

24. Get cashback for shopping online
Cashback sites, like Quidco.com or Topcashback.co.uk, give you cashback on your purchases once you have created an account with the respective site.

25. Install a smart meter
Installing a smart meter will allow more accurate billing, which will cut out overcharging, as well as allow you to manage your electricity usage better.

26. Don’t waste food
The average UK household wastes £470 worth of food each year, or £700 for a family with children. This is equivalent to around £60 each month. Plan your meals, store your food correctly, get your portions right and eat leftovers.

27. Switch to high-interest current account
If your bank pays a low rate of interest on your current account, opt for a better one.

28. Say No to things you don’t need, can’t afford, or won’t use!!

Have a great 2014!

Isaac Carter is the author of “Go to the Ant” a simple but effective guide to money management. www.gototheant.co.uk

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