Do you want to streamline your finances well into the new year?
A good place to start is by browsing your direct debits and standing orders to determine exactly what you need and what not to spend. It can be very rewarding to sort out the unnecessary costs.
Covid-19 restrictions have made many subscriptions obsolete, from gym memberships to travel cards, and those could be cut entirely. Alternatively, you can take some time to look for cheaper deals and providers.
Are you optimizing your finances until the new year? A good place to start is by browsing your auto payments to determine exactly what you're spending.
Research published by Finder.com in August last year found that Britons spend more than £ 2 billion on subscription services every year.
These services are most popular among 18- to 34-year-olds, with one in four (23 percent) having at least one service registered. But with many feeling the pinch of the pandemic, here are some key tips on how to cut it down.
One of the first things you need to do is do a thorough cleaning and look out for subscriptions that you didn't know you were paying for.
Many people sign up for "free trials" and join their card offers. If these tests are not canceled within a certain amount of time, expensive subscriptions can result.
Amazon, for example, offers all customers a one-time free 30-day trial of its Prime service when they check out. This includes free next day delivery as well as access to music, TV and music streaming services.
However, if you do not cancel your membership before the end of the trial period, £ 7.99 will be debited from your bank account every month. However, customers can request a refund if they can demonstrate that they have never used any of the membership benefits.
Or they can opt for the slightly cheaper annual payment if they want to keep Prime.
Some apps – Music, Fitness, and Diet, for example – also offer free introductory periods and require you to enter your payment details in advance. Then the fees begin.
With Apple Pay, you only pay with the fingerprint sensor, making it easy for you to sign up for something by mistake.
Often times, terms and conditions are not displayed clearly and important information is hidden. However, the UK government has committed to addressing the issue of subscription traps with pressure on legislation.
Amazon offers all customers a one-time free 30-day trial of its Prime service when they check out. However, if you do not cancel your membership before the end of the trial period, £ 7.99 will be debited from your bank account every month
Provide services the chop
Many people waste hundreds on services and products that they never use. During the coronavirus pandemic, many memberships have become redundant, with restrictions restricting movement.
Are there any services that you could cut back?
Many gyms and health clubs will freeze memberships or offer free months when they reopen. London-based attorney Ralph Fearnhead told This is Money, “I didn't cancel my gym, better because they stop taking payments while it's locked. That was really helpful. & # 39;
Pay attention to your monthly phone payments: if these vary and are higher than expected, it could be because you don't have the right package and are further checking your amount of data. Or you even accidentally signed up on your phone for something that pulls your direct debit every month.
Unused travel and free time
Check your fitness club's policies and see if you will be charged a fee. The same applies to sports season tickets, although this is at the discretion of the clubs.
If you are paying direct debit for an annual bus or train ticket, check your rights if you have not used the services.
The Robin Hood Network, which offers annual bus, tram and train tickets for the Nottingham area, states on its website that customers may be eligible for a refund.
It adds: 'If the current Covid-19 restrictions mean you can't travel more than 14 consecutive days, we can add any unused days to the end of your current seasonal product once things get back to normal and you need to go again to travel. & # 39;
If you're a member of certain organizations like the National Trust or London's Royal Academy of Arts, you should consider getting your money's worth.
If you are paying direct debit for an annual bus or train ticket, check your rights if you have not used the services
After you've got your monthly expenses under control, take a look at fees and see if you can get better value for money by switching providers.
After many years with O2, I noticed that my monthly cell phone charges were much higher than planned as I was affected by charges overseas.
I switched to Three because they offer roaming to customers in over 70 destinations including the US, Australia and New Zealand at no additional cost.
When it comes to household bills like gas, electricity, and internet, use price comparison websites like www.comparethemarket.com and www.uswitch.com to see if you're paying over the mark.
Set payment reminders
Once you're happy with the status of your direct debits, keep track of when they're running out so you don't get caught.
This is money reporter George Nixon with a top tip: “I started adding all of my subscriptions and direct debits to my phone calendar.
That way I get a warning when they come out and the day before. It is very useful. & # 39;
Another way to keep track of payments is to set up push notifications through your banking app. This allows you to view direct debits and standing orders in real time along with card purchases and ATM withdrawals.
To avoid getting caught up in subscription traps, put the expiration date of your free trial on your phone or computer calendar to notify you that you need to cancel it the day before.
Use the jam jar approach to split your money between different accounts, one of which is reserved for bills and direct debits only
Use the jam jar approach
Divide the money between two different checking accounts: one for regular bills paid by direct debit and the other for leftover expenses.
This tactic will help you plan for mistakes and avoid making mistakes in payments as you approach your limit. Many users use a digital-only bank for this purpose as they can show you real-time updates to their account balance.
The banking service provider Thinkmoney also offers a special "Jam Jar Account" Customers can split their money into different "glasses" on the same account.
Whenever payments are received on the account, money to cover direct debits (e.g. rent, ancillary costs, council tax, etc.) is automatically stored in a separate "glass" that is blocked for daily expenses.
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