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Personal finance expert Sarah Pennell’s tips on managing your money
My general tips for keeping on top of your finances. Well first of all, is to start by checking where your money is going. So just get out your bank statements, and have a look and make sure that you are not paying for things you have cancelled, that you haven’t got any direct debits that really you should have cancelled by now.
Secondly, if you have savings, check the rate your savings are earning. Interest rates are very low at the moment, but there is still quite a big difference between the best and worst paying rates. The best accounts tend to have bonuses on them which tend to drop off after about a year, and the rate you get then can be very low indeed. If you are a tax payer, then make sure you use your cash ISA allowance. But don’t forget any old cash ISAs you have, because you can always transfer those and make sure you get a good rate on them as well.
If you want to get some tips and advice on what to do, the money advice service is a good place to start. It’s a free to use website, but you can also telephone them or arrange a face-to-face visit.
The advice I’d give to someone thinking about taking out insurance is to first of all to check whether or not you need it. There are some insurance that are really important, like house insurance. And if you drive a car, then by law you have to have motor insurance. But some things like identity fraud insurance or mobile phone cover are, in my view, unnecessary.
If you’re coming up to renew your policies, some policies such as motor and household insurance also include extras, such as legal expenses cover. But these aren’t free; you do have to pay for them. Now they can be useful, but it is worth checking firstly whether you need it, and secondly whether you are doubling up cover because you have it on your car policy and also household insurance.
When it comes to shopping around for insurance, price comparison websites are worth looking at, but I would also suggest that you talk to an insurance broker, because they may be able to get you a better policy at the same price.
For more money and consumer advice, visit www.ageuk.org.uk/letstalkmoney
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