Cost of living crisis: How to save money – four small ways to keep your finances in check | Personal Finance | Finance


In less than two weeks, energy bills will rise by more than 50 percent, and a tax hike for British workers will leave families worse off as inflation soars to highs not seen in decades. On Sunday, the money-saving expert Martin Lewis said the UK was facing a financial crisis worse than the 2008 crash and the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “Just on energy alone, on a conservative estimate within one year, we’re talking about £1,300 in bills going up (by October).

“We’re going to have about 10 million people in fuel poverty. We have a real, absolute poverty issue going to come in the UK, with food banks oversubscribed, and debt crisis agencies do not have any tools.”

He continued: “I’m reading messages from people saying money prioritisation used to be, ‘Do I go to the hairdressers or do I go to the pub?’. Now it’s about, ‘I’m prioritising feeding my children over feeding myself’.

“That is simply not tenable in our society. There is absolutely panic and it has not started yet.”

The crisis has caused plenty of Brits to look at how they manage their money, as some are thrown into financial difficulty they have never faced before.

According to a survey conducted by financial advice provider OpenMoney, 27 percent of people admitted they need to be more organised with their finances – something that is now becoming crucial as costs rise across the board.

Hayley Millhouse, financial planner and managing director at OpenMoney, has exclusively given advice to about the little ways to secure money and potentially make more over the coming months.

READ MORE: Martin Lewis issues grave warnings as energy bills rise by £1,300

Check your savings accounts

Ms Millhouse advised to keep a keen eye on credit card, current and saving account deals.

She said: “If you’ve had your current account for a while, you might be eligible for a reward if you switch banks.

“Some of the big banks such as NatWest, Santander and First Direct often have switching deals live, often with rewards of over £100, but they don’t always last very long.

“If you have any outstanding debt, take a look at switching your credit card provider to one who has a 0 percent interest offer, so you don’t get into the habit of paying additional interest each month that you could avoid.

“With interest rates set to rise even more, whilst that’s not great news for those borrowing money, it is positive news for those in a position to save.

“Savings accounts have had really poor interest rates over the past couple of years, which are now starting to creep back up.

“If you’re not keen to invest, and want to keep your money in a cash savings account, take a look at what interest rates are on offer, because you might find that your money could be earning better interest with a different bank.”

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Find your lost pensions

Those who have worked for multiple companies are likely to have multiple pension pots – and consolidating them will save your money on fees.

Ms Millhouse advised readers: “As part of your financial spring clean, it’s worth digging out your old pension packs and seeing if it would be worth consolidating them into one.

“Because you’re charged a fee by your pension provider to manage your account, which comes directly out of your pensions value, you might be able to get a better deal by consolidating your different accounts into one place.

“You can have a look yourself for pension providers with plans that suit what you’re looking for. Alternatively you can get a financial adviser to review your pensions for you for free.

“Services like OpenMoney will provide qualified advisers to review your pensions and let you know whether transferring your pensions is the best thing to do, or not.”

Check tax relief benefits

The 2021/2022 tax year will end in April, and while most have nothing to worry about, those approaching their ISA allowance may be able to benefit from using up their allowance.

Ms Millhouse revealed to “The current tax year is coming to an end and you might have spotted some of the banks suggesting it’s an important deadline with loads to think about.

“The truth is, a lot of us don’t need to do anything at all, but it’s still good to double-check in case you are one of the people who could benefit from taking action.

“For most people, the end of tax year is nothing to worry about because they’re not close to maxing out their ISA allowance.

“However, for those who are close to reaching the £20K limit, you may be able to benefit from tax efficiencies by using up your allowance within the current tax year, because it doesn’t roll over into the next tax year.

“This can include topping up your ISA with your leftover savings, opening a Junior ISA for a child, or contributing a lump-sum towards your pension.”

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