This is a guest post.
While 2012 will be a year of celebration for Britain, with the Queen’s Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics promoting the country on the world stage, it will also be a year of cutbacks and frugality for household budgets. Many families are feeling the pinch as the cost of living continues to rise but wages remain largely stagnant, but there are ways in which you can bring your finances into line.
Firstly, review your outgoings and make sure that you are not still making payments for items you have cancelled through standing orders or direct debits. For most people, mortgage payments are the largest monthly expenditure, and finding a property buyer so you can sell your house fast and downsize may be a good way to tackle this debt. This may be especially relevant for older couples who no longer need the space of a family home and want to give themselves a comfortable retirement.
If you have savings, look at the rate you are receiving on your account, as millions of people are receiving rates of as little as 0.1 per cent. Switching to a new account can make a big difference if you have a size-able sum set aside. The rates on credit cards can also vary significantly, so look at switching your outstanding balance to one with a lower APR. As long as you are careful about adding to the balance, this can be a good way of giving yourself some financial breathing space each month.
The next step is to look at your energy bills and the TV, phone and broadband package you have. Again, shopping around for a better deal and bundling them together where possible can lead to significant savings.
If after all this you are still struggling under the weight of your debt, seek professional advice from one of the free services out there, such as the Consumer Credit Counseling Service or the local Citizens Advice Bureau. Debt worries can build up and lead to stress in other aspects of your life, so free expert advice can be valuable in helping you to build a workable debt-reduction plan.
I also blog at A Five Star Life. I write about anything that comes to mind but try to focus on finding the good in daily life.