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As a Scot, I like to think I am canny when it comes to finances. However over the past year, Scottish Friendly’s Thrifty Family campaign has shown there’s so much more I can do to become even cannier. I’m therefore going into battle in 2015 with a number of New Year financial planning goals aimed at ensuring I pile on the pounds (sterling of course!) over the year.
First of all, I’m going to do my best to put my outgoings in order. There are still savings to be made for the average household, as many Brits are languishing on products which provide a low return or cost far more than they need to.
I’m the first to admit that when it comes to regular outgoings, apathy reins! I’ve been with the same bank for over 30 years, the same broadband provider for over 10 years and tend to shop in the same supermarket. I have, though, switched energy providers twice in the last decade.
Apathy is rarely rewarded, so now is the time to compare the deals I am currently on.
I have to say I’m like so many other people and never think about changing my bank current account. It just seems like too much hassle for too little reward. However legislation has made it much easier to change banks with all your accounts and direct debits etc being able to be moved to your new bank relatively quickly and seamlessly.
So this year I resolve to look at what deals there are out there. I must admit I’m not interested in moving my account to another bank that only offers special deals to new customers for a limited period of time – I’d be looking for a long-term difference, but look I will.
Despite low rates being available on the best buy savings accounts, the majority of savers sit on deals that return little or no interest at all. Sadly, as I’m not aged over 65, the new government-backed Pensioner Bonds that will be available from January will be outside my reach but I’ll be looking at comparison tables to see if there are any better savings rates available.
Although I did switch energy supplier two years ago, wholesale energy prices have been falling over the past year so looking once again at energy suppliers could be worthwhile. And the same goes for broadband providers.
Finally, there’s “housekeeping”. That means I’ll be following some of the many great tips Scottish Friendly customers have given over the year. So you’ll find me in Aldi and Lidl next year, not just my usual Tesco store. I’ll walk to work more instead of paying costly train fares and of course I’ll be making good use of the many voucher code deals that are out there.
Hopefully following these tactics will make me ‘quids in’. So what will I do with the gains? I’m planning to practice what I preach and put them to good use by placing them in an investment ISA. The value of shares can go down as well as up and the value of the original investment is not guaranteed. Tax rules can change and depend on individual circumstances.
Here’s to a happy financial new year!
No advice has been provided by Scottish Friendly. If you are in any doubt as to whether a savings or investment plan is suitable for you, you should contact a financial adviser for advice. If you do not have a financial adviser, you can get details of local financial advisers by visiting www.unbiased.co.uk. Advisers may charge for providing such advice and should confirm any cost beforehand.