See your finances leap with a one-day clean-up; USE FEBRUARY 29 TO MAKE YOURSELF PS5,600 RICHER.
IT'S Leap Day on Saturday - though that may not mean much unless you have a hectic schedule of proposing/being proposed to.
But it's an extra bonus day you could put to really good use.
Think of it as a day to take advantage of, an opportunity to end up thousands of pounds richer.
You don't need to give up the whole day, just a couple of hours to follow our 10-point plan - and you could save up to PS5,600.
From moving debts to ditching and switching various financial products and bagging a few pounds for shopping more smartly, you could be quids in.
Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at investment firm Hargreaves Lansdown, says: "If you can set aside the morning, in less time than it takes to binge-watch your latest must-see series on Netflix you could save thousands of pounds.
"While it may not be the most thrilling morning of your life, you'll still have half a day extra to enjoy relaxing and thinking of ways to spend your impressive windfall."
Move debt and save PS3,540
Rates are currently at rock bottom, so you may be able to save substantially by remortgaging - even when you take the cost of the new deal into the equation.
If, for example, you have a PS150,000 repayment mortgage over 25 years on a standard variable rate of 4%, you'd pay PS9,492 in a year. If you switched to a mortgage at 1.5%, even if you add on PS1,000 in remortgaging fees, you'd pay PS8,200 in the first year - saving PS1,292.
You can shop around for a better deal online, or leave the legwork to a mortgage broker.
Overdraft rules are changing this April, and if you regularly use an arranged overdraft you could see your costs soar. If, for example, you dip into an overdraft to the tune of PS1,000 for 15 days a month, with a new overdraft rate of 35.9% you'll pay PS153 a year.
A 0% money transfer card from the likes of Tesco and MBNA will cost you a one-off fee of around PS40 and then you have up to 28 months to pay off the rest of the balance and clear your overdraft for good, saving PS113.
A typical PS2,000 balance on a card charging 19.9% will take 18 years to pay off and cost PS2,195 in interest if you make just the minimum repayment each month.
Instead, switch that debt to a 0% balance transfer card - Sainsbury's Halifax and Virgin all offer 29 months with fees of around 3%.
You'll pay a one-off fee of around PS60 and as long as you clear the balance within the 0% introductory period won't pay any more - saving PS2,135.
Bank smarter and make PS808
The vast majority of savings are held in accounts with the big high street banks, where an easy-access account pays as little as 0.1%.
With savings of PS30,000, in a year you'd receive just PS30 in interest. You could move it all to a competitive easyaccess account (Marcus offers 1.3%) and make PS392 in a year, or put PS10,000 in a competitive easy-access account and PS20,000 in a competitive one-year fixed-rate account (Atom is paying 1.65%) and make PS463 - leaving you PS433 better off.
Consider what's important to you, whether it's good customer service, a leading app, interest on your balance (Nationwide offers 5% on the first PS2,500), or a lower overdraft rate (First Direct is still offering the first PS250 at 0%).
If your needs are fairly middle-of-the-road you can focus on the bonus - you can get PS175 for switching to HSBC Advance - as long as you pay in a fairly chunky PS1,750 a month.
Or Royal Bank of Scotland is offering PS175 to new and existing customers who switch their main bank account to them before April 20.
You may find you're paying for services on direct debit that are no longer useful to you. If so, cancel them.
Don't just delete the payment though, check if you're still in a minimum period and whether you have to give notice; then email the company and let them know you're cancelling. Make sure you save this email somewhere memorable just in case. This can easily save you PS200 a year.
Better bills and save PS965
There are still 11 million people on standard tariffs, and while these have dropped with the introduction of the price cap, switching to the most competitive deal will still save you around PS305 a year.
Check to see if your contract has finished. If so, instead of upgrading your phone, you could stick with your handset for a year and go for a SIMonly deal - saving yourself at least PS25 a month or PS300 a year.
There are no rewards for loyalty - those who ditch and switch get the best deals. Moneysupermarket says those who switch car insurance can save up to PS270, while Comparethemarket says switching home insurance can save up to PS90.
Shop smarter and make PS325
Websites like TopCashback.co.uk and Quidco.com don't force you to buy anything you weren't going to buy anyway, or to shop anywhere specific. Just sign up and shop via the site and you'll get money back every time you spend. It's worth checking while you're shopping around for better deals, because you may be able to add cashback to your new mobile phone deal or utility switch. TopCash- Back says the average people earn over a year via the site is PS325.
Don't go shopping without looking for vouchers online which can often get you as much as 20% off. If there are brands and shops you love, it's worth signing up for newsletters which will usually offer discounts.
You can follow them on social media as well - they sometimes offer exclusive discounts there.
For committed deal hunters there are online communities where people share details of the best deals and freebies - including hotukdeals.com and moneysavingexpert.com/deals.
'' Vast majority of savings are held in accounts which pay as little as 0.1%
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|Author:||tagline Edited by TRICIA PHILLIPS E BY TRICIA PHILLIPS|
|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Feb 26, 2020|
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