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					     Lots of you are trying to cut back on your spending at the moment. It’s not always
     straightforward but there are some simple ways you can cut costs.

     We thought it was about time we shared some of these tips with the ‘Watchdog’
     viewers. So, we rounded up some experts in personal finance, mortgages, savings
     and debt and sent them to Milton Keynes to offer some face to face advice.

     You can watch the results here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/watchdog/

     We’ll be taking Watchdog back out on the road in the coming weeks but for now here
     are our experts top tips on how you could start saving money now!



                                          PERSONAL FINANCE
                                                       Clare Francis
                                              Editor of MoneySupermarket.com

 First and foremost think - “Can I really                              Become a savvy shopper. The retailers are
afford it?” and “Do I need it?” Most of our                            struggling at the moment but that’s led to
impulse buys end up being the ones that                                there being some great discounts for you on
topple a budget at the end of the month. If                            the high street. Look out for vouchers online,
you can’t afford it – simply don’t buy it. If                          in the paper and also buy-one-get-one-free
it’s something you’re desperate to have -                              offers - but make sure it’s something you
then plan ahead, put a little money aside                              really need first!
each month and budget for it.




                                                                             There is plenty to be saved with gas and
Get your bank statements out. You need to see                                electricity in particular. if you’re paying
where your money is going every month. You                                   quarterly you may find that switching to
may find that there are some old subscriptions                               direct debit payments saves you money
or direct debits that you simply don’t need any                              per month. You may also want to check
more. Also, payments such as for your mobile                                 out one of the online tariffs as they tend to
phone, broadband service, insurance and                                      be the cheapest. It’s possible to save £300
utilities need to be regularly monitored to make                             a year this way!
sure you are getting the best deal out there. The
market changes fast so make sure you’re on the                     Consider how you spend money on a day to day
ball with what your company, and others, are                       basis. This includes simple purchases such as a
offering at the moment. There are plenty of                        coffee on the way to work. Do you need it or
websites out there that can help you to gather                     could you simply wait till you get to the office or
information on the most up-to-date deals so it’s                   perhaps even grab one at home? Cutting back on
worth checking online regularly (your local                        un-necessary spending can easily lead to having
             have free web services if you don’t
library may MORTGAGES                                              a hundred pounds extra at the end of the month.
have home internet).

     PLEASE NOTE: The material is for general information only and does not constitute specific investment, tax, legal or other
       form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain
                                independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.
             MORTGAGES
               David Hollingworth
           London and Country Mortgages




                                                                 24yr old David (centre) gets advice on buying his
                                                                                   first property


                                                                  Start shopping around for your mortgage
Overpay, overpay, overpay! By maintaining
                                                                  early. You can secure a deal as much as 6
your payments you could save tens of
                                                                  months in advance. This should help
thousands on interest over the term of the
                                                                  sidestep any issues around your equity
mortgage. However, you MUST check that
                                                                  disappearing as house prices continue to fall.
you won’t suffer any penalty as a result of
overpaying.




                                                                               Try and get together the biggest
                                                                               deposit you can afford. This has
                                                                               always been the case but never
                                                                               more so than now – the days of
                                                                               100% and 95% mortgages are gone.
                                                                               It’s recommended you have at least
Check what your existing lender will offer                                     10%, but get more if you can as it
you but always shop around.                                                    will open up more options in today’s
                                                                               mortgage market.


  If your mortgage payments become                                 Don’t be drawn in just by a low rate. These
  difficult get in touch with your mortgage                        days mortgage products can come with fees
  lender at earliest opportunity, it is                            that amount to thousand’s of pounds. People
  always good to communicate with your                             with smaller mortgages may want to consider
  lender as they may be able to offer a                            going for a deal with a higher interest rate and
  solution.                                                        a lower fee, as it could cost less overall.



  PLEASE NOTE: The material is for general information only and does not constitute specific investment, tax, legal or other
    form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain
                             independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.
                                                    SAVINGS AND INVESTMENTS
                                                                            Danny Cox
                                                                   Head of Advice at Hargreaves
                                                                  Lansdown Financial Practitioners




 First off, I think it is important to always keep a                    When investing in shares I recommend
 good ‘cash cushion’. This is an emergency fund                         buying unit trust so that your investment is
 that you keep in an instant access bank or                             spread over several different markets and
 building society account so if you ever need                           funds. The same applies for fixed interest
 money you can get it straight away. I would                            funds, such as corporate bond funds.
 recommend that you keep 6 to 12 months worth                           Purchasing in this fashion spreads the
 of expenditure in that account.                                        investment and also the risk (for more
                                                                        information on what Unit Trusts are, visit
                                                                        the     Direct      Gov      website      at
                                                                        www.direct.gov.uk).


                                                                       Spread your investments - don’t put all
                                                                       eggs in one basket. If you decide to invest
                                                                       in cash at any point then I would
                                                                       recommend only putting £50,000 in any
                                                                       one account. This is because the
                                                                       government will protect up to £50k but not
                                                                       beyond.


Make your investments work hard for you by
paying lower charges and paying less tax. Choose                        I would also recommend that once you’ve
investments where you will get the best                                 invested don’t check up on it too often –
performance and interest rates.                                         people can become caught up in the
                                                                        constant changes in the market - remember
Think about why you are investing, set yourself                         investments are often long term and the
goals. For example, perhaps you want to invest for                      minimum most people should be looking to
extra income or maybe it’s capital growth you are                       invest, particularly for shares, is around 5
after? Maybe it is growth now and income later?                         years (though this entirely depends on the
These targets will help you decide which                                individual situation).
investments to go for.


    PLEASE NOTE: The material is for general information only and does not constitute specific investment, tax, legal or other
      form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain
                               independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.
                                                                                    DEBT
                                                                                 Rob Sandalls
                                                                 Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS)


           DEBT

  Emily meets with Nicky about her £70,000
   debt. Luckily, Rob was on hand to help.
                                                                  Create a budget for your household
                                                                  showing all income and expenditure,
                                                                  including any benefits you receive. If
                                                                  this shows you have more money
                                                                  going out than coming in you need to
                                                                  acknowledge the problem and do
                                                                  something about it. Do not bury your
                                                                  head in the sand.

                                                                            If you are struggling to pay your debts
                                                                            talk to your creditors at the earliest
                                                                            opportunity. They are prepared to
                                                                            listen and can often agree to accept
                                                                            reduced payments, though this is
                                                                            entirely at their discretion.

                                                       If you cannot agree an affordable
                                                       amount to pay back directly with
                                                       your creditors then I would
                                                       recommend getting in touch with
                                                       your local Citizens Advice Bureau
                                                       (CAB), National Debtline or the
                                                       Consumer      Credit     Counselling
                                                       Service (CCCS) for free debt advice.

  With credit cards do not get into the                        Do not be tempted to consolidate your
  habit of making minimum payments.                            debts as this will often result in a loan
  This will mean it will take longer to                        being secured against your property. In
  repay the debt and you will pay more                         any case your monthly payments may be
  interest. Always try and overpay if you                      smaller but you will pay back much more
  can afford to.                                               money over a longer period of time.


PLEASE NOTE: The material is for general information only and does not constitute specific investment, tax, legal or other
  form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain
                           independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.
                                                USEFUL LINKS
  Switching Energy Supplier
  British Gas recently announced that they will be cutting their prices in February 2009. This
  is likely to lead to many other suppliers cutting their prices too, so before you switch we
  would suggest waiting until the market settles so that you can make the most out of the
  price changes.

  Once you are ready to take a look at switching, there are a number of price comparison
  websites endorsed by Consumer Focus which should give up-to-date figures on tariffs from
  different energy companies. We have listed these below. The process generally takes a
  couple of minutes and you need to give details about how you pay your bills and your
  usage, so it helps to have your latest bill to hand. Once the sites have calculated your
  savings you can apply to switch through the website or you can contact the energy
  company directly. You might want to compare savings across a couple of these websites.
  You can also use some of these websites to compare anything from insurance to
  broadband packages.

                                       Price comparison websites:

  uSwitch.com                                        http://www.uSwitch.com

  Confused.com                                       http://www.confused.com

  Switch with Which?                                 http://switchwithwhich.com

  Unravelit                                          http://www.unravelit.com

  HomeAdvisoryService.co.uk                          http://www.homeadvisoryservice.com

  energyhelpline.com                                 http://www.energyhelpline.com

  TheEnergyShop.com                                  http://www.theenergyshop.com

  SimplySwitch                                       http://www.simplyswitch.com

  UKPower.co.uk                                      http://www.ukpower.co.uk

  MoneySupermarket.com                               http://www.moneysupermarket.com

  Energylinx                                         http://www.energylinx.co.uk

  SaveOnYourBills.co.uk                              http://www.saveonyourbills.co.uk


  Disclaimer: These price comparison websites are not endorsed by the BBC but they have
  been accredited by Consumer Focus for being in accordance with its Confidence Code.

PLEASE NOTE: The material is for general information only and does not constitute specific investment, tax, legal or other
  form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain
                           independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.
                                USEFUL LINKS
Managing Money
  • http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/your_money/default.stm
  • http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/ManagingMoney/index.htm

Mortgages
  • http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/business/mortgages/
  • http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/ManagingMoney/Mortgages/index
     .htm

Savings and Investments
   • http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/business/savings_investments/
   • http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/ManagingMoney/SavingsAndInve
      stments/index.htm

Debt
  • Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB):                             www.citizensadvice.org.uk/
  • National Debtline                                         www.nationaldebtline.co.uk
  • Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS)                   www.cccs.co.uk

  •   http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/business/borrowing_debt/default.stm
  •   http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/ManagingDebt/index.htm

                           Consumer Energy Organisations

                                    CONSUMER FOCUS
                             http://www.consumerfocus.org.uk/

                                   CONSUMER DIRECT
           http://www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/EnergySupplyandPost/energysupply/

                                      SAVE ENERGY
               http://campaigns.direct.gov.uk/actonco2/home/in-the-home/save-
energy.html?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term={keyword}&utm_campaign=defra


                                 ENERGY SAVING TRUST
                            http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/


                     SAVING MONEY ON ENERGY BILLS - OFGEM
          http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Consumers/SaveMoney/Pages/SaveMoney.aspx



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