Working in a finance office, my team often get onto the subject of personal finance and share tips and tricks on saving money. A newer member of our office seemed to be struggling to make ends meet even when working three jobs. After mentioning this during a few casual conversations, I offered to help by reviewing where her money goes and making suggestions as to where she could save.
I started with 12 months of bank statements and I logged everything in a spreadsheet. I wasn’t shocked to see multiple loan and credit card payments as I know my colleague has been through a difficult financial time. But I was shocked to see the high amounts my colleague was paying every month on all those regular bills – insurance, utilities, phone and internet. When I spoke to her about that, she said she just let everything auto renew. I asked why and it appears there are a few reasons:
- lack of knowledge on what is on offer and how to find it;
- anxiety about changing supplier from both a quality perspective and a sense of habit – “I know how this phone works and don’t want to change”;
- general apathy, we all have busy lives and it can appear to take a lot of time to find the best value offers.
I spent some time with her going through the options and providing reassurance that not only would these changes save her money, there would be no reduction in quality of service. Over the course of just a few weeks, my colleague contacted a range of her regular suppliers and made the following savings:
- Home insurance – £25 per month – £300 per year
- Mobile phone – £10 per month – £120 per year
- TV and broadband – £16 per month – £192 per year
- Utilities – £16 per month – £192 per year
This totals £67 per month or a huge £804 per year and we’re not finished yet! My colleague uses a credit card for day to day spending and although she does clear it at the end of each month, it hides the detail of what she is spending. So the next step is to review 12 months of credit card statements and find any excessive spending or areas where easy savings can be made. I’ll report back with the results in a few weeks.
Does anyone you know feel unsure about getting the best deal from day to day services? Could you help them get better value for money and make monthly savings?