Post-Festive Recovery: How to Spruce up your Finances

January is a popular time for families to get back in control of their finances. With many splurging over the festive period, now is an opportune moment to be frugal and allow time for recuperation. According to the British Retail Consortium, although 2012 only saw a 0.3% rise in spending on the high street, online spending rose by 17.8% compared with the previous year1 - it’s no wonder people are trying to cut back! 

Let 2013 be the year of transition. If you’re not in control of your finances yet, let this be the year to turn it around. Keeping an eye on your accounts and having a budget to stick to can be a huge help when it comes to your finances, by giving you the tools you need to know exactly where your earnings are going and giving you an insight as to what cutbacks you can make, if necessary. 

All that credit card debt? Let 2013 be the year to pay it off. Rather than chipping away at store cards, catalogues and credit cards from various lenders in the UK, consider consolidating them. Perhaps, if you already have the credit limit to do so, transfer the balances onto an existing card so that everything is in one place – even better if it happens to be the card with the lowest APR. 

How to Spruce up your Finances

With a recent rise in PPI claims, including 6000 bogus ones last year2, and the announcement by the FSA will be instructing banks to contact their customers who they know had PPI mis-sold to them, use 2013 to check out any UK PPI Solutions that may be appropriate to your circumstances. Were you sold PPI? Do you know if you were sold it? Even if you haven’t had a letter sent through your door yet, or the banks don’t have you on their list of people to contact, it’s worth checking through previous finance agreements anyway, just in case. 

The process of claiming back PPI in the UK can be as simple as you make it. With the banks being instructed to write between 4 and 12 million letters in due course3, some of which having started already, you could be entitled to a PPI return. With the help of claim management companies, the process can be super simple, because they do all the legwork. 

An estimated total redress of £8 billion is expected, with £1.9 billion having already been refunded to the consumers4. Receiving compensation from a PPI policy that you weren’t aware of can lead to a considerable boost in financial health, which could contribute massively to any 2013 resolution of improving your money matters. 

Small steps can go a long way when it comes to personal finance. Keeping a simple spreadsheet of incomings, outgoings and disposable income can mean the difference between staying afloat and dipping below zero. Putting any spare money into saving accounts can be a huge help for if something ‘big’ comes up, such as a car Ministry of Transport Test that’s worse than expected, or a new boiler. 

Spruce up your finances this year – who knows, next Christmas, you may not have to worry about how much you spend. Now wouldn’t that be nice!

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