Money Matters Team

Refreshing your finances for 2014

By Money Matters Team 07/11/2013

Make your money go further in 2014.

Remember this famous nursery rhyme?...

'Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat. Please put a penny in the old man's hat. If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’ penny will do.'

The festive period can often put a strain on family budgets and, for those who haven’t been able to save as much as they had liked to this year, the reality of those nursery rhymes can feel much closer to home.

However, being careful with your pennies and looking for better deals in the run up to Christmas isn’t the only way to prepare for the festive season.

It makes sense to plan ahead and, with 2014 round the corner, now is a good time to find ways to make your money go further.

Switching to a lower cost energy deal

consumers could save over £200 a year on their gas and electricity bills.

When the cold, short days are upon us, we all want to keep snug. Nevertheless, energy bills come at a cost. At present, average UK energy bills vary from £776 to £1564* from small to large homes annually. However, by searching for cheaper energy tariffs online, claims that consumers could save over £200 a year on their gas and electricity bills.

Reviewing your mortgage

The Money Advice Service offers tips on reviewing your mortgage, including those below. It might seem tempting to switch - but remember to check if your existing mortgage has an exit fee if you're looking for a different deal.

  • Review your mortgage deal yearly to see how your current deal compares with new ones on the market
  • Set a diary reminder to shop around at least three months before your current fixed deal reverts to the lender’s standard variable rate
  • Review your mortgage when interest rates change. This could affect how competitive your current deal is
  • Look at available options when your current mortgage deal ends; will your rate increase?

Consolidating debt

‘Debt consolidation’ may not seem an exciting topic, although it is intended to help some borrowers ease their debt problems. Switching loans to one which allows debt consolidation could help enable borrowers to repay existing debts. It could also help them to take control of their finances by replacing multiple repayments with one, monthly payment.

If you’re looking to switch loans, the Sainsbury’s Bank guide to switching loans may help you assess whether a new loan agreement could meet your needs, and offers practical advice to assist you through the process.

Could you get a better deal on a new car or finance?

Are you on the right road to finding a better car finance deal? One option could be to look at pre-registered cars (effectively brand new cars) that are heavily discounted, having only one registered owner. claims such vehicles can be purchased for as low as 70% of the list price.

Paying off your credit card

At Christmas, it can be tempting to 'put things on plastic'. How much could you save by switching credit cards with a better rate or rewards? Balance transfer credit card calculators allow you to work out how much could potentially save by switching cards, depending on the provider.

Do your Christmas shopping early for year-long deals

Many of us boot up the laptop with the best intentions of doing Christmas shopping now – but few of us get round to it. Why not buy presents throughout the year, either in the shop or in store, when there might be a choice of better deals, and before the festive season? The Telegraph has an interesting article with tips on how to save when purchasing items online, revealing that some consumers could shave up to 80% off purchases.

Spent more than you meant to this year?

Don’t repeat bad habits. Use 2014 to fix budgeting mistakes you made throughout 2013. It’s easier said than done but a few adjustments to your spending behaviour could in the long run save you money. Make a list of what you could have done better in 2013, turn it into a resolution, make a budgeting spreadsheet, stick it on the fridge and do everything you can to plan ahead for 2014.

How much could you save? …

* published as of October 4.

This Money Matters post aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. Some links may take you to another Sainsbury's Bank page. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.