Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Guest Post: Smart Spends That Will Save You Money

When you have a family to look after, you’re not just looking out for your own financial well being - you’ve got to support everyone in your home. You never know what life is going to throw at you - expensive medical bills, a car break down or worse could be just around the corner, but there are some things that you can do now to help save for the long term.



Every penny counts when looking after family finance, and whilst it may seem counter intuitive to actually go out and spend money in order to achieve this, sometimes a small investment now can make a huge long term difference. By investing a small amount of money now, you can set yourself up for the future, and part of being frugal is knowing a good deal when you see one, and a stitch in time can save nine.



It can be true that you’ve got to spend money to make money, but cliches aside, here are a few tips to help you see whether you can save a little extra bit of money. Some of these changes will probably cost next to nothing, whilst others may be a little more expensive, but all could save you even more cash over the long term.




Upgrade your Utilities



This phrase can fill many homeowners hearts with dread. The cost of replacing a boiler or a broken radiator can be an unexpected price you just weren’t expecting, and can cast a dark shadow over the holiday savings for example. Having said that, investigating the situation of your home’s utilities and spending a little now can really help you save in the future. For instance, many gas and electricity suppliers will offer you a grant and even free boilers to upgrade your current old system.



The government in the UK is offering loans and money to families with an older central heating system. This is in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions across the country, and you can benefit from it. If, for instance, you have a non condensing boiler and earn within a certain income bracket you can apply for funding to replace this, or at least something to financially contribute towards the cost.



We don’t need to tell you how much money you pay out for bills, but what you may not know is that by installing a more environmentally friendly central heating system you’ll also save yourself money. The latest boilers are created with efficiency in mind, helping you shave off much needed money from your heating bills. Over the course of a year, you could potentially save hundreds.



Prepare for the Worst



Whilst it’s often not the nicest thing to think about, you can never be sure what the future has in store for you, and if you or a provider for the family pass away the loss emotionally and financially can be devastating. Making sure you live well and keep healthy is an excellent way to ensure that you’re able to provide for your family for years to come, however, for those things you can’t prepare for it may be worth considering life insurance.



Life insurance is a way of providing your monthly income for a set time to your family should you unfortunately pass away. There are a few things to consider here, but for a meager monthly or annual fee it could mean that should the worst happen, your family will be financially protected for a time that will give them support in your absence.



Always remember to keep the the terms and levels in mind when looking for a policy. The more you pay now, the more will be paid out in the future, but a small spend could be what keeps your family afloat in grave circumstances. It’s the insurance policy you hope will never pay out, but you can rest assured that should anything happen to you then your family will be able to cope financially.



Pay Off Debts



‘Well duhh!’ I can hear you say, but let me explain. Since 2008 the global economy has been trying to recover from a massive recession, nearly all the world was affected by this. A knock on result has meant that interest rates for those looking to save in banks has gotten lower and lower. The bank of England, reviewing the recent economic growth of the UK, has suggested it is considering raising its interest rate upwards from the emergency band.



This means that banks will start encouraging people to save again by offering a much better interest rate, giving you more for your savings. This is good news - but before opening up a savings account or starting the fund for a vacation, consider paying your existing debts.



An emergency savings fund can be a great idea, but debt interest rates may also rise with the economic boost and you will always pay more for outstanding debts than you will for ingoing savings. This is how banks make their money. Whilst it might mean you will have to live more frugally for a few months, or you may have to cut this years trip abroad, you’ll be thankful for it in the long run.



Living debt free is having one of the biggest modern burdens lifted from your shoulders, and gives you an increased credit rating putting you in a much stronger financial position should you need to borrow for a car or mortgage in the future.



Secure your Household



The final piece of advice, as with upgrading your utilities, just requires a simple amount of work taken on your house to help you save a fair amount annually . It’s a legal requirement for a homeowner to have building insurance before purchasing any property, and an excellent way to safeguard your beloved possessions is contents insurance.



How well secured is your house? Do you have the latest locks on doors and secure windows? Do you have a working burglar alarm? These are things that can be easily forgotten about in the hustle and bustle of life, and whilst installing a new security system may set you back a bit, your insurance premium will reward you for it.



With each security improvement you make on your property, your house insurance will lower. Reducing the risk of theft and break-ins not only gives you peace of mind, but will also pay off in the insurance department. It is a cost that you can easily reduce in a and fairly cheap manner, this is a simple series of actions that can save you hundreds.



Also, the more secure your house is, the more valuable it will be should you come to sell it. Buyers are always looking for houses that are safe, warm and that also look nice. By taking time and effort to improve your households utilities and security features you could potentially add thousands to a property and make it stand out from the competition.



Smart Spends



It’s easy to see that by spending a small amount of money now you could save in the long term. Be it financial planning, insurance or bills there’s always areas that you can improve which will reduce your monthly outgoings. Perhaps spending a hundred pounds now will save you £500 towards a new car by the end of the year.



You don’t know what the future holds, but there are some things that you can guarantee will help you save money for it, so it’s important to get saving as soon as you can.



What do you think? How much have you saved from these spending tips?



*This blog was written by Jenifer Smith on behalf of Pareto the leading provider of independent financial advice in the North West of the UK.

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