The information contained within the following news articles have been pre published. The articles were published on the dates indicated and the information contained within these issues include references to taxation, legislation, regulation and other issues or concerns that may no longer apply
MOT your finances, and save money
With the full force of the government’s austerity drive now kicking in, here at Census we’re noticing that many of our customers are starting to feel the pinch from sweeping tax and benefits changes.
Some of them are among the 750,000 workers who were dragged, kicking and screaming, into the higher rate tax band as the threshold fell from £43,875 to £42,475. Rises in national insurance contributions have added further to their pain. According to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, this means that households will lose £200 a year on average.
But it’s needn’t all be gloom and doom. Census has taken a look at family finances and here are some of our suggestions for offsetting the tax rises by making savings elsewhere.
Credit Cards: if you have credit or store card debts, shifting them to a new best buy 'balance transfer' card can save you substantial amounts. For example, Virgin Money currently offers a 0% balance transfer for 18 months, with a balance transfer fee of 2.89%.
Mortgage: the Bank of England held interest rates at 0.5% last week, but economists are predicting that it won’t be long before the cost of borrowing rises, possibly to 0.75% by July. Decide what you want to achieve by remortgaging. Maybe you want to cut your interest rate to save on monthly repayments. Or perhaps you want to take a more defensive approach to longer term increases in Bank rate. Remember - fixed rates are competitive at the moment, and rates can only go up.
Mobiles: here again, it pays to shop around. If you’re on an O2 tariff, you may find a better deal with its main rival, 3. Rules being introduced this week by Ofcom, the regulator, will make it easier to switch mobile phone operator. Providers will have to provide a porting authorisation code immediately and switch numbers within one day.
Landline, TV and Broadband: it’s worth comparing what other providers are charging, and while you’re at it, have an honest look at your family’s usage. If you are only using a service on an occasional basis, it may be possible to downgrade to a lower tier.