Money matters

Money matters so make your money work for you.

Our financial positions will all be very different. For some this is when they have the time and money, and hopefully the good health, to enjoy all the plans that have been made over the years. But whatever our situation - money matters.

For others plans have had to change due to pensions delivering less than planned; inflation creeping up and the value of the equity in our home being, in many cases, lower than expected.

As money matters we have to look at ways of making money, cutting costs, finding savings and quality investments that will give more than a pittance in interest. Money matters to us and we need to make it work as hard as it can.


The power of 1%

The power of 1% is used in sport, where by gradually improving by the power of 1% in all aspects of that sport, the athlete can become a star.

 We use the 1% rule in our time management courses and can save delegates hours of time is they change each aspect of their working day by 1%.

 How to make money.

While we will be looking for ways to make money - such as downsizing and stay put; financial planning; using your skills to make money and selling on eBay - it is also possible to make considerable savings by looking at our present outgoings and looking at how we can can save without changing our lifestyle.

Checking your outgoings.

When did you last:

  • check on your house and contents insurance policy costs?
  • consider how much your heating and lighting is costing and look for a better tariff?
  • compare the prices for car insurance?
  • look at the cost of your media package and mobile phone?

Be warmer for less.

One useful aspect of money matters is shopping around and switching suppliers as one of the easiest ways to cut bills – yet the average consumer switches once every ten years.

This year, the typical household who has never switched can expect pay £1,268, yet the cheapest online tariff, comes in at £1,096 for the same usage, wiping £172 from your annual bill.

Energy companies usually change their prices twice a year and what can be the best deal one year can prove less competitive the next.

The cheapest deals are for those opting for dual fuel – both gas and electricity from one supplier – and who manage their account online and pay by direct debit.

Check that your house is fully insulated. The government is running schemes where cavity wall and loft insulation are free – actually paid for you by your heating provider.

Security doesn't mean a hefty price.

Shopping around for car or home insurance can save you a fortune and when money matters this all helps. Never just accept the renewal quote you are offered as it is always worth getting quotes from rival insurers.

Figures from the Association of British Insurers shows that you can save 35% by comparing as few as five insurance providers, and with over 140 motor insurance providers and more than 200 policies available, competition is fierce.

What’s more, switching your insurance cover can save you as much as £200 a year on home cover and £180 on car insurance premiums.

Another easy way to reduce costs is to opt to pay your premium in full upfront.

Do not be tempted to pay for any type of insurance monthly because it appears to be cheaper or more manageable – you will get charges as much as 25pc more for the luxury.

Be disloyal.

The trick is to be disloyal to various utilities companies, phone and broadband providers and banks.

Loyalty doesn't work any more and people who have a ‘one-stop shop’ approach for all their financial needs will not necessarily be rewarded. Money matters to you and your business is important to these companies so very often your original company will be keen to keep you and make you a better offer when they think they might lose you.

When talk isn't cheap.

Nine out of ten of us carry a mobile with us everywhere. But few people realise that they are wasting hundreds of pounds a year on unused minutes and texts.

In fact, eight out of ten pay-monthly customers are on the wrong tariff, with just 30% of us using our full minutes and texts – and as a result we’re wasting £200 a year.

The number of tariffs deals and one-off offers can make it difficult to find the cheapest plan, but you can get help from an internet service that compare prices from providers.

Switching around can take time but it is time well spent – and this may be when you have more time at your disposal. Many companies make introductory offers of higher interest rates, better deals on banking interest rates, telephone, TV and internet. Just keep check as to how long the deal runs then look  for something else when it expires.

There are websites that compare more than 12m UK mobile phone deals and show you the best contract for your mobile phone usage. The sites will run through every call, text and byte of data on your bill, working out the cost on each tariff. It can then show you the 12 tariffs that could save you the most money.

TV and broadband entertainment package.

Opting for a bundle of TV and broadband with one provider could save you around £132 a year. But make sure you’re comparing like-for-like bundles and include costs such as line rental and call charges.


Cut your travel costs.

Look at travelling in a different way. If you usually take the car on long journeys is it possible to take the train? I know this isn't always feasible,  but if you are travelling from city to city and you book ahead and buy a railcard – senior if you are over 60 – this will entitle you to around 1/3 off the cost of the journey.

Do you use your car a lot? If you live in a town or have good public transport it might be cheaper to leave it at home.

Another option is to car share. Do you have friends or neighbours in the same position as you? Perhaps using the car a few times a week to go shopping or visiting but the rest of the time sitting doing nothing?

Have you considered sharing the expenses of one car between you? Some cities already run their own car sharing scheme where you book in to use the shared car as and when you need it.

Credit card.

While many people pay off their credit card every month there are some who allow an amount, say  £2,000,unpaid and have been making minimum payments for months? Well, keep it up and it will take you 22 years to clear the balance. And will cost you an extra £2,275 in interest in the process.

However, even for those who make monthly repayments of £50 it will take four year and 11 months to pay down the debt, at an interest cost of £939.

While we would all like to pay off more each month, sometimes it’s not always possible. But just because you can’t fork out a few hundred pounds each month, doesn't mean you need to pay the price.

Switching the debt to an interest-free balance transfer card could save you a fortune.


If you enjoyed money matters then go to downsize and stay put, a solution to save moving house.

Below are quick links to the pages in this section.

Downsize and stay put - love your home, case study on splitting it in half and staying where you love to live.

House-sitting - new places; different pets; interesting adventures and make a little money too. Paddy Christie explains her experience.

More pages to come so watch this space.

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