WE all know the new year will be incredibly tough on our wallets.
But The Sun’s Squeeze Team is here to help with expert advice and tips on ways to boost your savings and make your money work harder in 2023 . . . Collapsible Electric Kettle
BREAN HORNE, finance expert at NerdWallet, says: “A savings challenge is a great way to develop good money habits and build up cash for a rainy day.
"Try the daily penny savings challenge, starting with 1p on day one, then 2p on day two, then 3p on day three and so on until day 365 where £3.65 is added. Within a year you’ll have put away £670.
“Savings challenges can be scaled up or down depending on your budget and financial goals.
“The key to saving successfully is consistency, so start with a small, achievable goal.”
JAMES DALEY, MD of campaign group Fairer Finance, says: “Use free apps to show you where all your money is going and help you spot where to cut back.
"Money Dashboard, for example, can pull together all the transactions from your bank accounts and credit cards, tagging them automatically so you see the breakdown of your spending.
“HyperJar is another free one. It links to a prepaid card, and lets you allocate your savings into different pots, linked to where you plan to spend money.
"Better still, hundreds of companies pay interest on pots that are set aside to spend with them.
“For example, holiday company Tui will pay up to ten per cent on your balances — helping you reach your holiday savings target sooner.”
RICHARD NEUDEGG, from comparison site Uswitch, says: “See if you qualify for help to insulate your home or upgrade your boiler.
“It’s thought about a third of the warmth produced by central-heating systems is lost through the roof, walls and windows of a typical home.
“Energy suppliers provide assistance to customers on low incomes who receive certain benefits so they can cut the cost of heating their homes.
“You might qualify for free or discounted insulation, or in some cases a boiler replacement, so speak to your supplier.
“There are also some local schemes around the country so check with your council what’s on offer near you.”
SARAH COLES, personal finance expert at Hargreaves Lansdown, says: “Make saving as easy as possible by doing it automatically. Some banks, including Halifax, Lloyds and NatWest, offer round-up tools.
“Everything you spend on your card is rounded up to the nearest pound, and the extra is moved into a savings account.
"If your bank doesn’t offer this, you can download a separate app like Moneybox or Plum.
“You can turn round-ups on or off, depending on how much cash you have to spare.
“Once your pot starts to build, make sure you switch it to a competitive savings account to get the best interest rate.”
ROMI SAVOVA, the chief executive of PensionBee, says: “Before you make any major purchases, hold off and revisit your decision after 30 days.
“This can be a useful tool in helping identify what you really need versus what you want. It will help you eliminate impulse buys that can really take a toll on your bank balance.”
COUPON Queen author Holly Smith says: “Swap expensive laundry tablets and opt for an Ecoegg instead.
“I’ve saved £300 since I bought mine four years ago — that’s £75 a year.
"They are reusable plastic eggs that replace detergent and fabric softener.
“They cost £9.99 but with discount codes you can sometimes get them for as little as £6.
“They last for 70 washes before you need to replace the pellets inside, which cost £4.99.
“If you want that fresh linen smell, throw in a few scent-booster beads like Lenor Unstoppables or cheaper dupes.
“And the Ecoegg website sells reusable bamboo towels that are incredible, a great replacement for kitchen roll.
“Once you’ve used up all the sheets you just put it all in the wash.”
HOLLY MACKAY, founder of investment site Boring Money, says: “With tax thresholds frozen, most of us will pay more tax this year.
“Check all your allowances to keep your bill as low as possible.
"If you’re married or in a civil partnership and one of you earns less than £12,570, you can pass on part of your tax-free personal allowance to your partner.
“This means that in a couple where one is a basic-rate taxpayer and the other pays no tax, you could save up to £252 per year. Plus, you can backdate claims to 2018.”
NICK MORREY, of mortgage broker Coreco, warns: “If you’re on a mortgage deal that’s ending in 2023, don’t leave things until the last minute.
“Rates are a lot higher than they were two or three years ago so you will be paying more this time round.
"But seeing what your options are beforehand will help. You might be able to extend the term on the mortgage to keep the payments down or put some of it on interest-only — but you should get professional advice from a broker before deciding to do so.
“You can secure a remortgage offer with a new lender or with your current bank up to six months in advance.
“If rates fall a bit you’re still free to take another deal.
“But if they go up again, you’ll be very glad you locked down a good rate.”
ANDREW HAGGER, founder of MoneyComms, says: “Be strict about your shopping list, as grocery prices have rocketed so there are huge savings to be made if you’re organised.
“My tried-and-tested method is to write down a meal plan for the week and add all the ingredients to my list.
“At the supermarket I don’t deviate from the list and I then avoid top-up shops at expensive convenience stores.
“You’ll keep costs in check and drastically cut back on the amount of food that has to be thrown away.”
JONATHAN CHESTERMAN, of debt charity StepChange, says: “It’s never too soon or too late to get help if you’re struggling with debt or worrying about money.
“If at any point you feel like you’re starting to find it difficult to keep up with your financial commitments, don’t delay.
“Whether it’s speaking to a trusted friend for guidance, contacting your creditor or energy supplier to let them know your situation, or calling a charity for free debt advice, support is available.
“Many of our clients report how they wished they’d got help sooner — and when they did, they felt a weight was lifted.”
LEAH MILNER, editor of Sun Savers, says: “Unless it’s mouldy or smells bad, think twice before you throw any food in the bin.
"When you finish a jar of pickles, the liquid that’s left behind is perfect to use again if you chuck in some chopped vegetables.
“Not keen on bread crusts? Drizzle with olive oil and then grill or fry and cut into cubes for delicious croutons to serve with salads or soups.
“Or tear crusts into chunks then whizz in a food processor with a blade attachment to make breadcrumbs for chicken fillets or pasta-bake topping.”
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