It’s that time of year when finances are liable to spiral out of control, after all, everybody knows how expensive Christmas can be. We thought we’d ask the experts at Lemonade Money their advice on how best to make savings and manage money, advice that’s sound any time of the year. Lemonade Money offer a fab support service for those who require a one-on-one with a money coach.
With news that household debts have risen for the first time to £1.5 trillion and UK adults owe on average £30,000 each*, we turned to financial planning guru Lemonade Money and asked for their top 10 money management tips for families that might be feeling the pinch. These tips couldn’t come at a better time, with Christmas just around the corner:
1.Review spending and start budgeting – go through all your outgoings, including direct debits/standing orders and subscriptions, and cancel those you don’t really need. It can be surprising what you might find lurking in your outgoings. Check out Lemonade Money’s budget planner, a great way to get started.
2. Switch providers – set aside some time to use comparison sites to switch to better deals on utilities/insurance and contact existing suppliers to negotiate a better deal (satellite tv, broadband and mobile phone providers are keen to keep you!). It’s a boring task, but not a thankless one, there are usually savings to be made somewhere.
3. Plan your food shop – write out a list and stick to it. Did you know you can use a supermarket comparison site to work out the cost of your shopping basket, to get the best available deal on your supermarket shop? Sign up to the reward card or loyalty schemes offered by each supermarket, those points quickly add up. Search for and use coupons for free delivery, money-off and extra loyalty points.
4. Redeem loyalty points and offers – don’t leave them languishing on your card. Use supermarket loyalty cards to pay for items and take advantage of comparison site offers, such as free cinema tickets when switching providers. Tesco Clubcard for example, offers a Merlin pass for £50 instead of £169 (great for keeping the kids entertained) and some providers offer gift cards if you buy a product from them.
5. Look out for family deals – Amazon Family for example offers monthly deals and savings on essential items such as nappies if you subscribe for a year. By making a small outlay upfront you could secure discounts that more than cover your initial cost. Does your employer offer childcare vouchers which will help reduce your tax and national insurance bill? It’s always worth checking what you’re entitled to.
6. Stop paying interest – if you have cards, accounts and loans you’re paying interest on, plan to pay these off and commit to not spending on them anymore. Switch credit cards to interest-free options if you can and consider consolidating debts into a low-interest loan to pay off in manageable monthly payments over a set period.
7. Mortgages – are you getting the best deal on your mortgage? Lemonade Money can help you with a mortgage modelling tool and put you in touch with a mortgage advisor.**
8. Consider transport costs – have you secured the best deal you can if you’re using public transport? If you make monthly payments for your car, can you manage them and have you considered switching to a cheaper alternative? Is your car economical? How much does the fuel, road tax and insurance cost each year? If you have to pay for parking, have you shopped around for the best deal – is it cheaper to pay an annual fee?
9. Bargain hunting – we all like to treat ourselves, so use sites such as Group On, Wowcher and Voucher Cloud to do so. You can secure great savings on everything from eating out, hampers, spas and hotel breaks to zoo/ Sea Life Centre visits, breakdown cover, photography packages and courses. Sign up to weekly email alerts from sites that provide updates on the latest deals.
10. Take a financial health check – Lemonade Money has a free financial health report on its website which enables you to assess how you’re doing in six important areas, including debt planning/budgeting, saving, buying a new home and protection. And if you require additional support it offers the services of a Lemonade Hero *** – a financial fitness mentor, whose sole purpose is to get your finances on track. No other company provides an online service with personalised support.
* According to the Money Charity
**Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
*** For £49, the ‘Hero’ will undertake an initial 30 minute phone consultation, agree financial priorities, draw-up plans, monitor progress and provide support via email for a month.
Lemonade Money was launched in 2016 to complement Lemonade Reward, an employee benefits consultancy whose aim is to turn the sour world of financial planning into something sweet. From financial education to pension communication, Lemonade Reward provides a wide range of financial services for businesses. Where it stands out from the crowd however, is in its delivery, using interactive tools to make what are perceived complex topics simple.
Lemonade Money follows the same ethos – it was designed to help people with their personal finances by keeping things simple, affordable and most important, useful.
Partners David Pugh, Garin Squires, Richard Hoare, Steve Clarke and Dan Mills have between them 83 years’ financial services experience, working for a range of FTSE 100 companies and national independent advisory firms.