There’s no easy way to get rich or make stacks of money. Heaven knows, I’ve tried.
But managing the finances you do have – and making sure you’re well set for the future – can at least help you stay on the right track.
- Planning ahead can help you budget
- Are the credit deals you have right for you?
- Sorting out your debts
- Be honest with your partner
- Keep an eye on your credit report
One way of boosting what we’ve got coming in, is reducing what we have going out – and even small changes can help.
It could be something as simple as making a shopping list, so as not to overbuy at the supermarket, or it could be comparing prices in shops, across websites and with available discounts before you make a large purchase or sign up to a utility.
Think about what you don’t use or don’t need. Gym membership you hardly ever use. Those satellite TV channels you never watch. That extended warranty you didn’t really need to buy. It can all add up!
For what you do spend money on, then online discounts could be useful. Use the train for family trips? There are railcards that could save you money. Need a hotel? Check voucher websites for useful ‘percentage off’ code campaigns, or cashback deals.
You could also think about how you pay – many people now prefer to pay by direct debit for annual charges such as insurance policies or phone line rental, as for them it saves money over a whole year.
The choices out there for credit cards, loans and other forms of credit can be mind-blowing – so making sure that you’ve chosen the right one to suit you, your needs and your circumstances can be really important.
Often it depends what you want it for. For spreading the cost of a large purchase, you may want to think about a 0% purchase card, while if you just want one for everyday expenses then a low-interest card, maybe one with reward or cashback benefits, might suit you.
Checking which ones you’re more likely to be accepted for could help you avoid making too many credit applications at once, which could damage your credit score.
Whichever you choose, the higher your credit score, the more likely you are to get a better deal.
First of all, don’t put your head in the sand! They won’t go away. Some debts may be worth thinking about first, for instance urgencies like eviction or disconnection threats. There are also others that you may want to think about that could lead to bigger problems down the line, like utility bills, mortgages and so on.
Even if you find it tempting to skip or delay your monthly repayments to credit cards and loans, that may not be a good idea – your credit report shows if you’ve missed some payments on cards or loans you have, and late or missed repayments stay there for at least six years.
If you accidentally do miss one, you can explain it by adding a “notice of correction” – a statement of up to 200 words, which lenders can see if you make applications in the future.
If you’re struggling to make ends meet, talk to your lenders – you may be able to arrange a repayment schedule. If you’re seriously worried, you can get free advice from bodies such as Citizens Advice, the StepChange Debt Charity and National Debtline.
A problem shared is a problem halved, they say… well, that might not always be true, but it’s probably best to be honest with each other about both your financial past, and also your future goals.
If you have a less-than-perfect history of repaying money you owe, this could affect both of you in the long-term if your credit reports become linked.
Try to agree on short and long-term goals, and how you’re going to achieve them, and review your plans regularly together.
Your Experian Credit Report is there to be a friend, and can help you look after your finances better. The info held there is a summary of your credit history: the credit accounts you’ve had and the way you’ve managed them.
And when you apply for new credit – like a new credit card, a loan for a home extension, or that dream mortgage – lenders usually check your credit report, as it helps them decide whether to offer it to you, and if so, what interest rates to offer you.
To simply review the information held on your credit report, to ensure everything is accurate and up to date, you can apply online for a Statutory Report which costs just £2. If there is any information which you think may be inaccurate, you can contact Experian’s customer service team.
See your Experian Credit Score – for FREE!
The Experian Credit Score is a guide to help you understand your credit report better, and how it might affect new or future credit applications – and to get your Experian Credit Score FREE forever, all you have to do is sign up to our new CreditMatcher, a free independent service that helps you compare credit deals you’re more likely to get, based on your credit information*.
We are a credit broker not a lender, working with selected lenders.
*Experian acts as a credit broker and not a lender in the provision of its CreditMatcher services, meaning it will show you products offered by lenders. Experian acts independently and although CreditMatcher shows products for a range of lenders it does not cover the whole of the market meaning other products may be available to you. CreditMatcher services are free, however we will receive commission payments from lenders or brokers we introduce you to.
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