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February Money Saving Tips

08 February 2011

The increase in cost of living as well as cuts to our Government spending are set to have a dramatic impact on our every day lives.
An overview of what has changed and what we are to expect:

• An increase in VAT to 20%;
• A 10% cut in expenditure on Council Tax Benefit from April 2013;
• A 'triple guarantee' from April 2011 so that the basic State Pension will rise by either;

o Earnings - the average increase in UK wages that year;
o Prices; how much the cost of living increases that year; or
o 2.5%.

The basic State Pension will rise by whichever gives the highest amount.

• A reduction in the annual allowance for tax relief on pension contributions from April 2011. One option the Government are looking at is reducing the amount a person can save into a pension to between £30,000 and £45,000 per year;
• Plans to use the Consumer Price Index (CPI) instead of the Retail Price Index (RPI) as the measure of prices;
• An increase in the Pension Credit guarantee in April 2011;
• Winter Fuel Payments to be protected, free television licenses to those aged over 75, free off-peak local bus travel, eye tests and prescriptions for men and women born on or after 6 April 1950 to increase to 65 between 2010-2020;

These changes are set to have an impact on your lifestyle; making it paramount that you get your finances in order for 2011. To give you a helping hand here are a few February money saving tips to keep you in pocket this year.

Impulsive buying
Shopping for ourselves is a hobby many of us enjoy; however it can lead us into a lot of trouble with our finances. If this sounds just like you then take on the 'four day wait rule.' This gives you plenty of time to compare prices online, come up with an alternative or even decide whether you actually need it at all.

Count the pennies
Keep a record of everything you have spent over an entire month. From a quick visit to your local supermarket for mid-week groceries to your daily newspaper, ensure that you calculate every spend. You are sure to find many ways you can cut back.

Travel with the right type of insurance
We've seen many natural disasters bring our airports to standstill; so make sure that you are completely covered for your holiday during 2011. Ensure that the insurance policy you take out covers delays, airport space closure and missed connections.

Spread out your Christmas shopping
Christmas 2011 is probably the last thing on your mind; however shopping throughout the year for Christmas gifts will help you budget better, and allow you to choose gifts for your family and friends that you know they will actually want and use.

You could even get online and start selling your unwanted Christmas presents you received in 2010. That way they aren't going to waste in the loft and you are benefitting from the money instead!

Make use of online vouchers and deals
Everyone loves a good bargain and there are literally thousands of websites continually offering the latest deals and discounts for a wide selection of products and services. Make sure that you make full use of these offers while they are around. However beware! Just because you have a voucher doesn't mean you should go spending! Think; Do I need this item? Will it be of benefit to me? or am I just buying because I have a discount voucher? This will help you curb your spending habit that little bit more!