Over the past year, the pandemic has rocked both our nation’s health system and its economy. For many people, the result has meant money has been tighter than ever before. Gill Adkins, our help centre manager, offers some easy tips and tricks to help you manage your money.
Be smart about budgeting
We all need a helping hand sometimes when it comes to sticking to a budget. Fortunately, with modern technology, most people can have such a tool at their fingertips. Increasingly, banks and building societies are offering budgeting functions through their online banking services and apps so be sure to check whether your bank offers something along those lines!
Want to know how much you spent on groceries over the past month? At a glance, these apps allow you to get to grips with what you’re spending and where. They give you a place to plan your outgoings, as well as the option to create saving goals. You can also set spending limits and set up notifications to help to prevent you from going over budget.
Keep an eye on your subscriptions
Many subscriptions (particularly online) have auto-renewal options set as their default. You may have subscribed to a mixture of TV, music or gaming streaming services during lockdown for a bit of light entertainment but, as restrictions ease, will you continue to use all of them?
It’s also worth considering whether you’re going to continue with other memberships, post-pandemic. Moving forward, will you be making use of your local gym or have you found a new fitness regime outdoors? As the summer months creep in, it might be worth sticking to these new-found hobbies and saving yourself a bit of money as gym subscriptions can be a big expense.
Check your monthly bank statement or your online banking for recurring subscription fees and make sure you actually still want them. If not, save yourself a bit of extra cash each month and be sure to cancel, according to their terms and conditions.
Don’t forget your phone contracts
One of the easiest ways to save a bit of money each month is to haggle a better phone contract. If you’re approaching the end of your current agreement, ring your provider and let them know you’re thinking about switching to a different company. Often the automatic price you are given upon renewal is not their best price, and when faced with the prospect of a customer leaving, they are likely to offer you a slightly cheaper deal. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
Another question to ask is whether you even want to be tied into a monthly contract? The attractive extras that many service providers offer are tempting, but ask yourself whether you’ll end up using them? In today’s online world, the amount of data you are able to access every month is often one of the biggest tools available to providers in luring people into expensive contracts.
Whilst all those extra gigabytes of data might seem useful, check your average monthly data usage on your phone. The chances are it’ll be much lower than you think. Switching to a pay-as-you-go phone means you only pay for what you use and is ideal for when your budgeting needs to be more flexible month-to-month.
Be proactive with your payments
Keeping on top of your payments is one of the best ways to keep your finances in check. Paying early, wherever possible, means you’re never going to forget upcoming payments. It also makes budgeting for the rest of the month easier. Once regular bills are cleared, you know how much money you have to work with.
As lockdown measures are eased, you may find you need to consider costs that were reduced while you were confined to your home. Travel and the occasional drink or meal out, for example, are costs that may be about to reappear each month and will need budgeting for.
Next month we’re due to the launch a new and easy way for you to pay your rent and service charges. Using your online account, you can make and set up secure payments as and when you need to, making budgeting easier and helping you to take control of your tenancy.
Explore our new online payment services and register for your online account.