Shop around to save £££s on credit cards, loans, insurance and utilities

The majority of Britons are currently in debt, according to recent research conducted on behalf of MoneySuperMarket. 

Although the study invol…

The majority of Britons are currently in debt, according to recent research conducted on behalf of MoneySuperMarket. 

Although the study involved just 2,002 interviewees, 66 per cent of those questioned were found to be in the red, which if taken as a representative sample of the population as a whole, is a worrying figure. 

The research found that the average person owes £5,898, excluding mortgage repayments. 

 

So, what can be done to move people out of their debt cycle? The price comparison website suggests consumers can take charge of their own finances and make a real difference through small changes. 

It estimates that people could save an average of £3,500 per year just by being more canny with money. 

Dan Plant, editor in chief at MoneySuperMarket, said: "Anyone with outstanding debt should minimise interest they are charged, both through gaining control of monthly outgoings, so you can focus on bulking up repayments, and by switching to cheaper 'balance transfer' credit cards."

Mr Plant warned against apathy and suggested ignoring personal finances could be a costly mistake. 

Concentrate on big debts first 

There are some great mortgage rates out there at the moment and switching from a standard variable to a fixed rate deal could save consumers a lot of money. Because this is the biggest debt most people will have, it pays to consult with an expert before making a change. It also pays to be aware that there is a fee for setting up a new agreement and penalty charges for switching, although if the deal is good enough, these costs are mitigated. 

Pay less interest on credit cards and loans 

It may seem obvious, but switching to a zero per cent balance transfer card can save a lot of money, particularly if it is a debt that is being paid off over time. Paying interest on plastic is both unnecessary and expensive. 

Personal loans are another way to borrow money, and it may be worth taking out a loan to consolidate existing debt. The rule with this is not to get more credit. Having one monthly repayment can be more manageable. Consumers should always shop around to ensure they're getting the very best deal. 

Make money on current accounts 

Consumers can earn money by switching their current account to a different bank or building society, so it's worth investigating incentives, not to mention the interest that could be earned. 

Cut utility bills 

Major savings can be made on utility bills by cutting back on suppliers. By doing a little homework, consumers could cut hundreds of pounds from their annual bill. 

Ensure savings give better rewards 

Although the base rate has been at a historically low level for six years, good deals can be found by shopping around, so with a little effort, savers can be making their money work considerably harder for them. 

Check car and home insurance 

Consumers can save significant sums if they choose annual rather than monthly cover. In addition those with car insurance could cut their costs by adding a partner. Younger drivers can also save by adding someone older to their policy. 

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