Spring Clean Your Finances
Spring is fast approaching and now is the perfect time to plan your finances for the year ahead…
In addition to providing affordable loans, savings accounts and access to bank accounts, Scotcash also provides free, confidential Money Advice to help with making the most of your money and provide budgeting tips. Our Money Advisors can also help you deal with difficulties paying bills and debts and help you avoid unmanageable debt in the future.
Below are some things to consider to help get your finances into shape for 2014:
>Take action as soon as you think there may be a problem paying bills or debts. There’s a lot you can do and it’s important to get advice so don’t bury your head in the sand - make sure you look at your options as early as possible.
> Don’t borrow more to pay off your existing debts. Although it may seem like a good solution in the short term, you need to ensure it’s the best option for your situation.
> Look at which debts are most important, not who is putting the most pressure on you to pay. Prioritise debts like mortgage or rent, council tax and gas and electricity.
>Work out a household budget. This will help you see where your money goes; where you could make savings and find out how much you can realistically afford to pay back each month.
Financial Health Check
Plan your Budget…
If you want to learn how to set up a budget, make the most of your money, pay off debts or start saving why not come in and speak to one of our advisors who will help you complete a weekly / monthly budget.
Alternatively a great way to work out your budget is with the online budget planner available on the Money Advice Service website. This is a useful tool which allows you to record all of your incomings and outgoings. It then analyses and adds up your figures to give you a breakdown of where your spending goes each month across the following broad categories:
- household bills
- living costs
- financial products
- family and friends
For convenience you have the option to save your budget planner results and return to update them at any time.
Check you are getting all your Benefits…
People are missing out because the benefits system is difficult to understand and changes are made so often that they don’t know what they can claim. You can find out what you’re entitled to by following using the benefits advisor tool, this will give you an estimate of what benefits and tax credits you could get.
Benefits included in the benefits advisor tool are:
- Carer’s Allowance
- Carer’s Credit
- Child Benefit
- Child tax Credit
- Personal Independence payment
- Employment and Support Allowance
And many more…
There are other benefits and support you may be able to claim which are not included in the benefit advisor tool, these tend to be more specialist benefits aimed at specific groups of people. Make an appointment to speak to a Money Advisor at Scotcash today.
Have you thought about savings?
What would happen if you had a fire, flood or a break in? How would you replace your goods? You can open a credit union savings account saving just a few pounds or as much as you can afford. The amount of your savings can also be deducted from your bank account along with the Scotcash loan repayment so there is no need for 2 direct debits.
Have you thought about insurance?
What would happen if you or your partner died, would you/they cope financially? How can you protect your home from fire, flood or theft?
At Scotcash we can help you get home insurance for as little as £1.44 four weekly.
Make an appointment with a Scotcash Advisor to find out more about how we can help you with savings and insurance.
Other Useful Money Saving Tips...
How can I save money on my landline and broadband?
Contact your current provider and double-check with them that you're on the best package they can offer. Look for deals that offer both phone and broadband together and compare with buying them separately.
Ask yourself some questions about your phone usage, such as:
- How many calls do you make?
- Do you make most of your calls during the daytime, evenings or weekends?
- Do you mostly call local, national or international numbers?
Taking this step could potentially save you hundreds of pounds over the course of a year.
TOP TIP: Paying by Direct Debit often gets you a reduction on your line rental. Contact your supplier and ask whether paying by direct debit will save you money.
Ways to save on Energy Bills…
Scotcash works in partnership with the Glasgow Home Energy Advice Team (G.HEAT). They provide advice to people on how to make their homes more energy efficient.
If you think you are paying too much for your energy bills G.HEAT can advise you on cheaper deals for electricity and gas, and/or help you switch providers and payment methods.
Are you worried about Fuel bill arrears?
G.HEAT can also help to:
- monitor your energy usage efficiently to avoid accumulating fuel debt
- agree payment plans with energy suppliers
- re-pay any arrears at a reasonable rate
There are many steps you can take at home to save money on energy bills every month.
Below are some low cost tips from the Energy Saving Trust. They all have a big impact, so even if you just do one of them, you’ll still be better off.
Turn down your thermostat. Just reducing it by 1°C could cut 10% off your heating bill – it usually saves around £55 per year.
Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Nearly all electrical and electronic appliances can safely be turned off at the plug without upsetting their systems.
A typical household could save between £45 and £80 a year just by remembering to turn off appliances left on standby
Careful in the kitchen:
You can save over £43 a year just by being careful how you use your kitchen appliances...
>Set your washing machine to wash at 30°C. Don't use the tumble dryer if you can avoid it.
>Use a basin to wash up dishes rather than leaving the hot tap running.
>Don’t fill your kettle right up every time – just boil the amount of water you need.
>Use energy saving light bulbs if you haven’t already switched. They last up to 10 times longer than ordinary bulbs, and don’t cost much more. Using one can save you around £55 over the lifetime of the bulb.
If you want anymore information on the topics discussed above or want to make an appointment with a Scotcash Advisor Contact Us today.