As the credit crisis continues to wreak havoc on global markets and household budgets alike, there are measures consumers can take to practice damage control.
To cope with the increase in the cost of living, Norwich and Peterborough Building Society has offered a few tips from its customers on how families can weather the storm and come out the other side relatively unscathed, through tighter budgeting and being savvy in an increasingly expensive environment.
The top five suggestions included budgeting for fuel bills
and putting money aside in a separate account for expensive events such as Christmas; ensuring that all electrical items are unplugged or turned off and not left on standby; planning a weekly food menu and sticking to a shopping list to avoid unnecessary purchases; using up the entire ISA
allowance to make the most of tax-free savings, and checking Direct Debits and standing orders each month to ensure that the things being paid for are still in use.
Gary Lacey, group product manager at Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, commented: "It is refreshing to see that it is often the simple tips that can prove most popular such as changing your shopping habits, or saving on the electricity bills.
By adhering to just a few of the tips our customers suggested, families can save little and often, which, in the long run, could add up to a decent amount of money."
Rising energy bills, soaring mortgage repayments, higher food bills and other commodities are all taking their toll on British households which are struggling to keep up with bills, and consequentially getting into more debt.
Moneysupermarket.com has found that five out of six Brits fear for their finances, and worry that they will not be able to hang on much longer in the current financial climate, so they could take some relief from cutting down on their expenditures.
"Anyone starting to worry about their financial situation shouldn't bury their head in the sand – problems are easier to tackle when addressed early." said Tim Moss from Moneysupermarket.com. "People should start by gathering their paperwork and working out the true scale of their problems. From there they must prioritise bills and pay the essentials such as mortgage or rent first. Non-essential items such as magazine subscriptions and pay-TV might have to sacrificed.
"If you feel unable to sort out your money worries yourself, start by getting some free independent advice from organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau or the Consumer Credit Counselling Service."
© Fair Investment Company Ltd