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Ditch the diet and GAIN pounds this January

Jan 18, 2012

A few weeks into the New Year and many of us have already given up on our overambitious resolutions. We only went to the gym twice and survived just two booze-free weeks. But rather than concentrating on the goals we haven’t achieved, let’s think about what we can effectively improve at the start of 2012. And what better place to start than our finances?

According to moneysupermarket.com, straightening out our money matters could save us a whopping £3,200 this year. That’s surely got to be worth a go.

Here are a few simple steps to help you make the most of your money and shed the weight of unnecessary fees and payments this year:

1.    Get the most out of your current account. Find one that pays a decent rate of interest and doesn’t penalise you if you need to use your approved overdraft. Some accounts reward customers for paying in a certain sum each month, so check the small print. If you are switching to a new current account, visit Quidco or Top Cashback to see if you can make some money in the process.

2.    Avoid high-interest credit cards. With many of us racking up debt over the festive period, it’s worth thinking about moving existing debt to a 0% balance transfer credit card. If you are in the fortunate position of paying off the full balance each month, using a cashback credit card may benefit you; allowing you to recoup a percentage of your purchases each time you buy.

3.    Make sure you’re getting the most out of your mortgage. If your deal has lapsed to your mortgage provider’s standard variable rate, you could find yourself paying a much higher rate than you need to. Compare fixed-rate, tracker and offset mortgage deals to see how much you could save.

4.    Cut your car insurance bill. You could make significant savings by buying your car cover online and paying for the full year up front. Downsizing your vehicle and adding a partner or second driver to the policy can also lead to lower premiums.

5.    Save money on your household bills. Reducing water and energy consumption is a great way to attract lower utility prices, but switching to the best online tariff instead of putting up with your provider’s average standard tariff could take the heat out of your energy bills. Switching to a dual fuel deal can also help you cut costs.

6.    Think about bundling your landline, mobile, broadband and TV services. This could save you money and make budgeting easier. It may be worth contacting providers directly to find out if any discounts are available, even if you are an existing customer.

As always, the best way to save money with any financial product is to shop around for the best deals.

Your get-fit fantasies may have failed, but there’s still time to get your finances in tip-top shape.

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