Money saving tips

Can switching accounts save you money?

Moving into a new home can be a great opportunity to check whether you’re getting the best deals from the bills you pay, whether that’s energy, broadband or credit cards.

Often, once an introductory deal is over many people allow their contracts to roll on to higher rates without even realising it – so they end up paying more each month for the same thing.

So now may be a good time to compare deals to make sure you’ve got one that suits you, and Experian can help you every step of the way.

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We are a credit broker not a lender, working with selected lenders.†

Switching energy providers could save you money

Did you know switching utilities could save you over £200 a year? Loyalty can often mean you’ll end up paying more – from October to December 2016, UK households spent £3.61 per day on water, electricity and gas, a rise of 11% on the previous quarter.

In fact, domestic utility switches were up 25% in the 12 months ending February 2017, and there’s no shortage of account providers and suppliers looking to attract new customers.

March 2017 Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM) figures suggest there is as much as a £250 difference between the cheapest deals and the average standard variable tariff. Tariffs are changing frequently, with companies trying to get customers from their rivals and maintain their loyalty.

How to compare energy providers

Find a benchmark, and check as many companies as necessary before you find the one that gives you the best deal to suit your needs.

Look into customer service as well as price – you might see a low tariff in the compare charts, but then find out that comments on the forums suggest that the provider has a poor reputation.

It’s worth remembering that energy prices differ around the UK so the cheapest provider could change when you move home.  Reviewing deals every six months can ensure you are on the cheapest deals to suit your needs.

Changing should take a matter of minutes – it’s all done for you and all you usually need is your postcode and your email address.

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Switching to a different credit card could save you money

When you buy a new house, you’ll probably want to furnish it straight away and transform it into your dream home.

If you want to use a credit card, make sure you read about the different types to get the right one for you.

0% purchase cards could help spread out costs, giving you more time to pay it off and make flexible monthly payments without having to pay interest. Balance transfer cards can help you move credit card debt to another card with a lower rate or no rate at all, typically for a small transfer fee.

If you switch to a credit card with a 0% offer, make sure you never miss the minimum monthly repayment as this can result in additional charges and could negatively affect your credit score. If you can, try to clear the balance by the time the offer period ends and the card reverts to a standard rate.

Get credit cards you’re eligible for

You can compare credit cards matched to your credit information, and find which deals you’re more likely to be accepted for, with Experian CreditMatcher and it won’t negatively impact your credit rating.

We are a credit broker not a lender, working with selected lenders.†

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Experian CreditMatcher also allows you to check your Experian Credit Score FREE forever, to help give you an idea of how lenders may view you. With Experian, you can feel financially prepared and confident in your new home.

†Experian acts as a credit broker and not a lender in the provision of its credit cards and personal, car finance and guarantor loans matching services, meaning it will show you products offered by lenders and other brokers.

Experian acts independently and although CreditMatcher shows products for a range of lenders and other brokers it does not cover the whole of the market, meaning other products may be available to you. CreditMatcher services are provided free however we will receive commission payments from lenders or brokers we introduce you to.

CreditMatcher is provided by Experian Ltd (Registered number 653331). Experian Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (firm reference number 738097). Experian Ltd is registered in England and Wales with registered office at The Sir John Peace Building, Experian Way, NG2 Business Park, Nottingham, NG80 1ZZ.

Copyright © 2017, Experian Ltd. All rights reserved.

Budget 2017 – how will it affect you?

Chancellor Philip Hammond has just announced the final Spring Budget, and in it we saw investment in education (some controversial), money allocated towards the crisis in social care, increased NI on the self-employed and much more.

What you said
budget-twitter-poll-2017-400On Monday 6th March we asked our Twitter users to decide which of our choices they thought were the most important factors in the Budget – almost half our 4,265 respondents (47%) said social care, NHS and benefits were, with 25% saying national living wage and 22% income tax rates.

Among the most popular topics mentioned in ‘other’ were the state pension, defence and clamping down on tax havens, while by and large people accepted that tax rises would be needed as long as they could be ring-fenced for NHS and social care. Anyway, here’s a summary of what he said….

Personal taxes

  • The national living wage will rise to £7.50 per hour in April.
  • Personal allowance (how much you can earn in a year before being taxed) will rise to £11,500 – the seventh consecutive annual rise, with a rise to £12,500 the target by 2020.
  • Higher tax rate threshold will rise too from £43,000 to £45,000 (except in Scotland), with the aim being to reach £50,000 by 2020.
  • However, there is more tax on the self-employed – an extra £145m to be raised by 2021-22
  • National Insurance rises for the self-employed: class 4 NICs will increase to 10% in 2018, with a further 1% increase in 2019. Some experts say this goes contrary to the Government’s 2015 manifesto.  

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Buying a new car? 5 key finance tips

Girl in new carLooking for a new car? Whether you’ve gone for a brand new model or a second-hand purchase, you may need to pay for it in stages with a loan or hire purchase. 

With these types of finance, a good credit rating can be the difference between getting a good interest rate or not, or sometimes getting any deal at all.

How much did you spend on your first car?

Many of us will have handed over a few hundred pounds at most just to get our young hands on a car of our own, even if it had seen better days.  Well, things have changed these days, with a generation gap when it comes to car-buying habits.  One in five 18-24 year olds, rather than buying a used and fairly old car, now chooses to lease their car. This is more than double any other age group, with just 5% of 41-45 year olds, and 6% of 46-50 year olds choosing this type of credit.* Continue reading

Save money by planning your summer holidays now

Dreaming of a summer holiday?

Dreaming of a summer holiday?

The price of summer package deals is soaring, with places like Mallorca, the Canaries and Portugal in great demand as ‘safe bets’ with a lot of cheaper destinations considered vulnerable to terror attacks. And that’s before you consider the strength of the Euro against the pound.

Google Trends figures show us that web searches for certain hot phrases are higher in January/February now than at any time of the year other than mid-summer, when most people are searching for the best crumbs of what’s left.

The term Package deals was searched more in the week 5-11 February than at almost any time in the previous 12 months, while Flights to Algarve reached a 12-month peak. Other terms to be significantly higher than at other times were Hotels in Spain, Flights to Portugal and Flights to Alicante. Continue reading

How do you manage shared finances?

manage-shared-finance_300x200Managing your finances and your relationship can be quite a balancing act. Share a credit account? Then you share credit report information too.  

It can mean you’re more linked than you think. If you have applied for credit together, lenders will usually look at both of your credit reports when working out any future credit applications, even if it’s only for one of you.  

To mark Valentine’s Day, we asked some of our favourite finance, family and budgeting bloggers to share with us how they’ve managed to balance love and money, and what their tips are to make shared finances – and sharing outgoings in general – as harmonious as the day Cupid’s arrow first arrives.

Joint finances, joint decisions

Emma from EmmaDrew.Info: “My husband and I earn significantly different amounts which we really struggled with. We now put all of our earnings into our joint bank account, which covers our joint spending. What really helped us was that we now both withdraw the same amount of “pocket money” from the joint account, meaning that we have a level footing. This has made such a difference to how we feel about our money and I would recommend it.”  @emmadrewinfo 

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How could recent inflation rises affect us?

Small changes to the things we do on a regular basis can help cut down costs Did you know inflation in the UK reached a two-year high in December 2016? We look at how this could affect all of us.

With the weaker pound pushing up air fares and food prices, the cost of weekly shopping and jaunts abroad is on the up, not matter what your budget.

The  Office For National Statistics estimates that a basket of goods and services that cost £100 in December 2015 would have cost £101.60 in December 2016.  They put the rise down to “Price movements for the majority of the broad groups of goods and services.”

*Did you know: the most recent figures show that in 2014 the average food shop was £58.80, which would have meant an extra 50p a week in 2016 with these rises.* Continue reading

Are rail season tickets value for money?

Commuters faced by increased train fares

Commuters faced by increased train fares

Travelling by train to work hasn’t been a lot of fun for many of us so far this year, with industrial action, service problems and fare increases in many places all over the country.

The fare rises in the first week of January 2017 saw a nationwide average increase of 2.3%, with increases of 4.9% on some routes, such as the East Coast main line. In Britain as a whole, it is the highest fare rise since January 2014, when rail fares increased by 2.8 per cent.

Are season tickets value for money?

Looking at some of the most popular commuter routes, among the highest is an annual season ticket from Stevenage (home town of Lewis Hamilton, in Hertfordshire) to London is £3,612 which works out at 27p per minute. Continue reading

Plan your shopping budget for winter

Sometimes just making small changes to the things we do on a regular basis can help cut down the cost of our weekly food shop.

Small changes to the things we do on a regular basis can help cut down costs

Small changes to the things we do on a regular basis can help cut down costs

With winter on the way, reducing what we have going out can help us make the best of what we have coming in. Especially when January can sometimes be a challenge, if like many people, you were paid earlier than usual in December and have a much longer run until the next payday.

Here are five simple tips for a food shopping budget in winter:

  1. Plan ahead and budget – 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. And keeping up to date with when your credit bills are due can help you avoid the risk of missing payments. Continue reading

Are you confident about teaching your child how to manage money?

Managing money well is a skill we all want our children to pick up, and in the same way that ‘charity begins at home’, so can financial management.

Research by Experian* has revealed that most (58%) parents are trying to take an active role teaching their children how to manage money well.


Video with Sarah Willingham: How do you teach children the value of money?

Over half (51%) of parents who give pocket money do so to help their children learn how to manage money independently. However, their good intentions are being undermined by a number of factors.

•              67% do not take a consistent approach in ensuring their children earn their pocket money; only ‘sometimes’ aligning it to doing chores.

•              42% of those surveyed (parents of children aged between 5-18years) admitted they did not try or were not managing to take as active a role as they would like

•              Of these parents, 36% struggled to find the time to take a more active role

•              A further 30% cite a lack of confidence, knowledge or suitable resources as factors that are holding them back.

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