Heading into the new year, Lloyds Bank has created a list of ten practical things people can do to make a fresh start with their finances and build confidence managing their money in 2023. Lloyds Bank is sharing these tips as more than two thirds (69%) of people(1) say they are now concerned about the rising prices of everyday items.
Sophia Hemsley, Financial Wellbeing Director at Lloyds Bank, said: “New Year’s resolutions may have typically focused on hitting the gym, eating healthier or spending more time with the family. However, with many facing increasing living costs and higher monthly bills, doing a financial health check is a resolution worth putting to the top of the list.
“Taking time in January to reflect on where you spend your money and how you manage it can help to start building longer-term financial resilience. Reviewing it at regular points throughout the year is also important because your priorities and commitments may change and it’s important to stay on track and in control.”
Lloyds Bank’s top ten tips for a financial health check:
- Review your payments - Review your Direct Debits and standing orders to make sure they are coming out on – or as near to, payday as possible. This allows you to always know how much money you’ve got available to spend, after the things you have to pay for. Check if your banking app shows upcoming payments – this will make it easier for you to see what’s going to be coming out of your account, and when. Also, if your bank has a Spending Insights tool, this is an easy way to see where money is going each month.
- Check your credit score - Checking your credit score helps you understand your financial health and factors that may have impacted it. The better your score, the more likely you will be to get lower rates on products like loans and credit cards making your borrowing cheaper. Lloyds Bank customers have access to Your Credit Score, which means they can check their score at any time, for free, with no impact on their credit file. It’s updated every 28 days, offers helpful guidance on how to improve your score and, to date, more than five million customers have registered for the service.
- Know your mortgage - Mortgages can often be the biggest household expense and it’s therefore very important to understand what deal you’re currently on, when it ends, and what your potential rate could be. Banks will often allow you to move to a new fixed deal up to six months in advance of your current deal ending, so stay on top and take advantage of the window of opportunity.
- Check how you pay your bills - You could save money by paying your bills differently, with some providers offering a variety of options such as Direct Debit discounts or a better overall amount if you pay as a lump sum. Check to see if you could save money by paying any of your bills in a different way. If you can pay as a lump sum, you could set an amount towards it aside each month, in a separate savings pot. This way you’ll also earn interest as the balance accumulates throughout the year.
- Consider debt consolidation - If you have more than one credit card or personal loan, check if you could get a lower interest rate by consolidating the debt into one place. Use an independent consumer finance comparison website to check and compare interest rates that may be available to you; you could find that you’re eligible for a lower interest rate which means you could pay less each month.
- Do a subscriptions audit - Check which subscriptions or memberships you signed up for, but no longer need, and cancel them. Lloyds Bank data shows more than three million subscription payments have been stopped through their subscription management service – with music and TV packages the most frequently cancelled(3). It’s also worth checking that you are not paying other providers for benefits you already get from your bank such as mobile phone or travel insurances, or car roadside assistance.
- Save for unexpected expenses - Unexpected expenses that arise, such as appliances breaking down, or home or car maintenance, could impact paying monthly bills and expenses; budgeting for this each month and saving a little from each pay day can help to keep you on track. How much you save each month will depend on your circumstance – use a savings calculator to check how much you should try to save in your emergency fund.
- Personalise your savings pots - Set up individual savings accounts for things you need, as this will give you a clear picture of how close you are getting to your goals. Arrange standing orders to each of the accounts for the day your salary is paid into your account or think about saving the change from your everyday purchases. Some banks, like Lloyds Bank, offer a service that can do this automatically to a nominated account.
- Check if you can earn rewards on purchases - Some banks offer rewards each time you use your credit or debit card, for example cashback on purchases. Check to see what is available to you and what you need to do to benefit.
- Seek independent support - There are many sources of independent support and guidance available, whether it’s to help keep track of your spending and plan ahead, or if you’re struggling to keep up with bills and payments. There are many organisations that can help with free advice, depending on your individual circumstances. Don’t delay asking for help – the sooner you ask for support, the sooner you will find a way to get your finances back on track.