Worried about your finances and the rising cost of living? Start
talking. Talk to your lender, your bank, family and friends. Share ideas
and explore ways of reducing expenditure.
If the credit crunch has you in a pickle, here's our guide to help you ride out the storm:
If you're having trouble managing your mortgage repayments, ask your
lender if you can change the terms of your mortgage or take a repayment
There may be other ways to help towards the cost of your mortgage, too,
such as taking in a lodger.
If you are managing your mortgage repayments but are worried about the
value of your property - sit tight. Unless you need to remortgage or
sell your home, its current value is just a statistic. House prices will
rise again, even though many experts predict that the present slump may
last until 2010.*
In the bank
If you've had the same current account at the same bank for many years,
ask your branch for a review. If you pay a fee for a particular account
but don't make use of the associated benefits, you could save money by
switching to an alternative. Check out the competition, too, as another
provider may be able to offer you more.
If you are worried about debt, you can get free and independent advice
from a number of organisations, such as Citizens Advice, Teacher Support
Network, Shelter and the Consumer Credit Counselling Service.
If you have savings and are concerned by all the news reports about the
global financial crisis, remember that deposits with all UK banks and
building societies are covered by the Financial Services Compensation
Scheme up to a new maximum of £50,000 per person.
Building societies and other mutual organisations don't have
shareholders and tend to take a cautious, responsible approach to
lending. No investor has lost money with a building society since at
least 1945 and probably for a long time before that**.
Live within your means
The boom of the last decade or so has resulted in many people buying
what they want, when they want it. These challenging times, however, are
forcing people to return to a lifestyle of buying what you want, when
you can afford it. If you have credit cards, pay off what you can each
month and try using them in emergencies only.
Waste not, want not
It may be a cliché but there's wisdom in the old saying. With the cost
of food on the rise, save leftovers in the fridge and try cooking a
larger quantity and freezing a portion or two for another meal.
If you're loyal to one supermarket and usually do one big weekly shop,
give alternative outlets a try and compare prices and offers. If you're
able to, shop for food on a 'little and often' basis and buy only what
you really need. Shopping closer to home could save fuel, too.
Petrol, gas and electricity prices are peeking, so anything you can do
to reduce your consumption will help to keep bills down. Consider
walking shorter distances rather than using your car and reduce the
times that the heating and hot water are switched on.
For more ways to save money day-to-day, check out our article 'Top Tips to Save Money' here: Money Saving Tips
For more information about building societies in the UK, visit the Building Societies Association www.bsa.org.uk .