Nine ways you can save money in 2016
Millions of us will already be feeling the post-Christmas pinch – and not just around the waistline!
The festive season of excess, of present buying, food eating, booze guzzling and holiday-taking stretches wallets to breaking point.
It’s time to start looking for simple ways to save money.
Saving money doesn’t have to be boring and often isn’t too complicated.
Taking a few steps to make yourself a savvier spender will leave you with more cash in your back pocket.
We’ve jotted down nine ways to save money this year – give them a go, and let us know how much richer you feel.
Bank smart: switch current accounts to get a better deal
This one is such a no-brainer the government is promoting it. If you’re not happy with your current bank, or are simply getting itchy feet, switching your current account could save you an average of £70 a year.
Most people are put off because they assume it will be complicated, but that’s not the case.
The process is very straightforward and only takes seven days; you don’t even have to transfer your standing orders and direct debits, these are all done for you.
The switch guarantee protects you against any financial loss if anything goes wrong so there are very few pitfalls.
We have a look at some of the most attractive current accounts available in Jimmy’s Deals.
One Jimmy likes is the TSB Classic Plus: switch to this account and you’ll get three months interest and fee free overdraft.
If you’re after some spending money, try M&S bank: they give you an £100 gift card when you switch your current account to them.
Use price comparison sites to shop around and find a better deal on insurance and bank accounts.
Top Tip: If you’re a small business owner, you too could save money switching. The switch guarantee is available to 99% of small businesses.
Find the best January sales and fill your boots
Take advantage of the January reductions on offer at major retailers.
Make sure you plan ahead; consider getting your Christmas decorations and cards now to save a shed load when December next rolls around.
At Currys/PC World, for example, there are hundreds of pounds worth of reductions on anything from TVs to cameras.
Have a look at the birthday presents you need to get in the year ahead and buy them now (although don’t mention you got it in the sale – it’s not classy).
Food is also going for peanuts, as supermarkets look to flog food they didn’t sell over
Christmas; use MySupermarket to compare the best deals.
If you’re having a party, we like this Prosecco from Morrisons – down from £10 to £7.
Save money on train tickets
Train fares may have gone up by 1.1% this year across the country, but there are still ways you can fight back and cut the cost of your rail travel in 2016.
Our message for this year is simple: the early bird catches the worm.
Advance tickets are available from National Rail 12 weeks before the date of travel; generally, buying early will mean you get cheaper tickets than leaving it late and trying to book closer to the departure time.
Top Tip: Sign up to thetrainline.com’s ticket alert system to be notified when a ticket goes on sale for your route
For more tips, visit how to save money when booking train tickets.
Switch to a SIM-only mobile phone deal
SIM-only deals are where you pay for just a tariff of minutes, texts and data. You use your own handset.
So, if you’ve got a handset you’re happy with, and your deal has expired (contracts are usually 12 or 24 months), make 2016 the year you switch to a SIM-only deal.
Save money with a SIM-only mobile deal in 2016
There are some great deals out there: EE do a £28.99 a-month contract with unlimited texts and calls and 10GB of data.
Here’s some great SIM-only deals you can take a look at.
Come fly with me! Book a cheap flight in 2016
After the deluge of rain this winter, your mind is probably already on your summer holidays.
This year, save money on your flights by being a savvy traveller. Here are just a few hacks to try:
* Travel between 6pm and midnight – you will usually get cheaper flights.
* Delete your browser history each time you search for flights. Prices will increase depending on the number of times you visit a specific booking site.
* Flying to a nearby airport and then using local transport to get to your final destination may work out cheaper than flying direct. Use the handy Kayak Explorer tool to find out whether you can save money flying somewhere near your target.
There’s plenty more tips in our Ultimate Guide to Booking Cheap Flights this Christmas.
Get on top of your finances in 2016
Make 2016 the year you grab your personal finances by the lapels and take firm control of your spending.
Get your hands on six months of bank statements and work out a careful budget for the year. Overspending, and in particular, borrowing, can wreck a family’s finances, so be canny and only spend what you can afford.
There are plenty of budgeting apps you can try to help you work out a sensible plan for the year.
One trick that works for me is withdrawing, in cash, the spending money I can afford for the week. You can even take drastic steps and hide your debit or credit cards (I once gave mine to an old housemate under strict instructions not to give it back to me).
Save money by switching energy supplier
We’ve been banging on about this one for a while, but that’s because the savings to be made are HUGE.
The average saving when switching gas and electricity is £301. When it comes to your relationship with your energy provider, power really is in your pocket.
If you’re not happy with the way you’ve been treated, or fancy a change of scene, make 2016 the year you switch energy supplier.
Save up to £212 a year if you’re a married couple
The government’s Marriage Allowance enables you to move £1,060 of your Personal Allowance to your husband, wife or civil partner, meaning you could end up paying up to £212 less tax in a year.
To find out more, and to check whether you’re eligible, visit the government website.
Make a complaint about a company that’s let you down
If a company lets you down and leaves you out of pocket, don’t keep quiet about it in 2016.
We’ve helped hundreds of people get thousands of pounds back from companies who haven’t delivered, and we’d love to help you.
Join our community to demand fair treatment.
That’s all for now – we wish you a great 2016.