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The Scotsman reported this week that householders in Scotland will be an average of £112 a month worse off. It’s being blamed on the latest dramatic rise in inflation combined with VAT and national insurance increases. This adds up to £1,340 per year.
In addition, the UK government’s office for budget responsibility has predicted that average earnings will rise by only 2.2 per cent this year, some way behind the inflation rate. Financial advisor Philip Church spoke to The Hour about this and had some top tips on how to stop your cash from burning a hole in your pocket.
“The cost of petrol and diesel is perhaps the biggest bugbear I hear about from clients as well as family and friends. It just seems to go up and up and up. Something I’ve come to rely upon recently are petrol price comparison websites.
“There is one called petrolprices.com where you just put in your postcode and it tells you where the cheapest fuel is in your area. It’s updated daily as those prices change, they send you a weekly email and it’s available on smart phones as an app.
“It’s saved me over £16 a month. It doesn’t sound much but over a year that’s nearly £200, and that’s what we want; money in our banks and not poured in our tanks.”
Another great tip is to switch your current accounts. Most banks will sort out all your direct debits themselves, and some offer cash incentives for choosing to open an account with them. Some banks will also offer you five per cent interest on your balance.
Changing your gas and electricity provider can also save you money. Philip said: “Most households fork out an average of £1,200 a year [for gas and electricity], while super cheap ‘online-billed’ tariffs are £990 for the same usage.
“It can feel like a lot of hassle to switch over, but think of the £300 saving. You can make that money back over a few months, plus you get peace of mind that if rates go up and up then your home won’t be at risk.”
The last tip Philip had was to make your own lunch to take to work instead of buying it every day. This can save you up to £25 a week, which is a staggering £1,300 a year. Think what you could do with the money you save!
For more financial tips and advice, see the pensions and investments website.