Autumn Money Matters!
At the start of autumn every year I always go through all my money matters and sort them out – it must be some primeval ‘hibernation’ drive! The idea is to make your money lean for the hard times ahead (parties and Christmas spending!).
My top tips are:
1. Credit cards. Did you know that less than half of the people pay the headline rate (in the marketing blurb) for a credit card – and the rest negotiate their own rate! The average credit card rate is about 18% but it could be significantly higher – the credit card companies have a habit of putting up the rate and most people don’t think to check or challenge that. So keep your eye on what they’re doing and challenge it. Just give them a call – the customer care help desk number is on the back of your card – just call them up and ask what your rate is – you may be shocked. And while you’re on while phone ask them if they have a better deal for you – they may just reduce your rate!
2. You are more likely to get a better rate if your credit file is clean and your credit score is high. So have a look at your credit file and see what’s on there. Simple things like correcting a misspelling or a date or an address detail can make a big difference to the ultimate score – and the higher your credit score (tends to go from 0 – 1000) the less interest you will pay on credit cards and loans etc
Check yours at: www.checkmyfile.com (multi agency) or say www.experian.com
3. Go through your standing orders, regular payments and direct debits and just make sure you need them all, and if you haven’t used the service for say 3 months then cancel it – might be a gym membership or a magazine subscription.
Leaky bath analogy
4. The bank and credit card companies rely on you being apathetic and doing NOTHING so they play about with you. Once they have you in their business they know you’re unlikely to ever question or challenge what they do or charge.
You’re more likely to get divorced than you are to change your bank account – so that’s why they spend a lot of their marketing budget on attracting students – because once they have you (at the age of 18) the banks know you are likely to be a customer for life – and over your lifetime you may pay your bank many tens of thousands of pounds in fees and interest.
That’s OK if that’s a conscious decision but – please think about it – and then you can sleep easy over the winter!