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Quick tips to clean up your finances after the summer holidays

It's back to school for the kids and back to work for the grown-ups, but what about your finances? We look at a few quick tips to tidy up your money and potentially save you bit of cash.

Save money after holidays

If we were to say it’s been a relatively turbulent summer for finances (by the standard of the normally quiet summer holiday period), we’d really be talking about Brexit and the Bank of England taking interest rates to all time lows.

But mostly it’s been business as usual for the great British holiday season. Which for many of us meant having fun and spending a bit too much. So as Britain goes back to work it’s worth taking a look at the state of your finances.

To help we run through a few quick steps you can take to clean up your finances, make your money work harder and save a bit of cash.

Check your credit report and score

A good place to start if you want to get your finance in good order is checking your credit report. It’s what lenders will look at when deciding your eligibility for the best deals for mortgages, overdrafts loans and credit cards.

Are your finances in good shape?

Check your credit report to make sure you're in good shape to apply for loans, credit cards, overdrafts, mortgages and mobile phone contracts

Compare credit reports

There are three main credit referencing agents in the UK that lenders will refer to – Experian, Equifax and CallCredit. It’s worth checking your full report with one of these agencies, but there are several other agencies who will offer you access to your credit report.

But even if you don’t check your report there are few things you can do to quickly improve your credit score:

  • Make sure you’re on the electoral roll
  • Build a history of responsible borrowing (ie meeting all repayments)
  • Get your name on household bills

Stop paying interest on existing debts

If you’ve overspent on your existing credit cards this summer and don’t think you’ll be able to pay off the balance in full, a 0% interest balance transfer card can help you avoid interest charges.

Compare balance transfer credit cards

Find a balance transfer credit card and stop paying expensive interest payments on your balance.

Compare credit cards

Watch our short video to find out more on how balance transfer cards work, or read our guide on the best balance transfer cards for autumn 2016.

Similarly, if you’ve got an expensive overdraft, you could clear this with a 0% money transfer credit card which allows you to transfer credit to your current account.

Compare money transfer cards

Find a credit card that will let you transfer money into your current account.

Credit builder cards

Borrow for free

If you want to make a big purchase such as a new sofa or a new kitchen, consider a using card with a 0% purchase period.

If you spread repayments over the course of the 0% period you can effectively borrow for free.

Compare 0% purchase cards

Find a credit card with an interest free period for purchases.

Find a 0% purchase card

Watch our video to find out more about how 0% purchase cards work.

Get rewards or cash back for your spending

If you do all your monthly spending on groceries and other households purchases with a reward or cashback card you can get money back or useful reward points that can get you free flights, hotel stays or store discounts.

Reward credit cards

Compare reward credit cards for an alternative to store cards.

Reward credit cards

If you’d like to know more about how reward cards work, watch our short video below.

Though, before getting a reward or cashback card make sure you plan to pay off your card balance in full each month, as these cards typically have relatively high interest rates and don’t tend to offer any 0% periods.

Get a better bank account

It’s simple to switch bank account. In 2013 the government created the switch guarantee which makes it possible to change banks in seven working days, with all in and outgoing payments transferring automatically to the new account.

Could your current account pay you more?

Find a current account that will pay a higher rate of interest on your deposits

Compare high-interest current accounts

There a few things to look out for when looking for a new bank account:

Switch to a better mortgage rate

If you are on your lender’s Standard Variable Rate (SVR) it’s likely you could switch to a far cheaper deal. Especially at the moment with some rates on the market under 1% available.

Could you get a better mortgage rate?

Compare mortgages rates and see if you could switch to a better deal if you think it could be time to remortgage

Compare mortgages

As a rule you should always make sure to remortgage after your initial or fixed rate period expires. Whilst there will be fees to take into account, you could end up better off to the tune of several thousand pounds.

Around the date of the Bank of England’s base rate cut, some of the best fixed rate deals became lower than the best variable rate deals, with the lowest ever fixed rates appearing.

So it’s looking like a good time to consider fixing your mortgage rate, if you’d like to get some certainty in your expenses and plan ahead.

Thinking of fixing your mortgage rate?

Enjoy fixed monthly mortgage costs for a set period, whatever happens in the financial markets

Compare mortgages

But remember, don’t get wowed by the lowest rates on the market, fully consider the lifetime cost of a mortgage and all the associated fees.

Read more…

  • Would you struggle to pay an unexpected bill? Research from YouGov has revealed a third of people wouldn’t be able to pay an unplanned bill of £500, we look at the ways to borrow if you’re forced to pay a bill you can’t afford

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