This Halloween, we decided that life is spooky enough without the extra worries surrounding personal finance. We resolved to skip the tricks and focus on treating you to our team’s top personal finance tips. Take the fear out of finance this year, and have a Happy Halloween.

Happy Halloween

Dana: “I’ve recently graduated from university and have been severely missing the student discount I so often took for granted. A few months ago, I bought travel insurance for a summer holiday through Compare the Market for around £3. Now I have a full year’s access to Compare the Meerkat’s 2 for 1 cinema tickets and 2 for 1 meals at a whole host of restaurants. Last month, a meal that should have cost my friend and I £32 was discounted down to £16. There are loads of restaurants that partner up with Compare the Market for this deal, so it’s definitely worth looking into if you like going out for meals but don’t want to spend a fortune every time.”

Mhairi: “There are a few things that can be done here and there that start to add up in a positive way. I would recommend using UberPool, where you share an Uber with strangers to get an even cheaper taxi ride. You can also save a lot of money making your own coffee and packed lunches rather than getting takeaway options every day. Most importantly, you should always make sure that you get on with paying off any debt you have before you start focusing on adding to your savings.”

bank card fear out of finance

Nicolle: “If you look into interest-free credit cards, you can save a fair bit of money by juggling these and taking advantage of the deals they’re offering to new customers and then switching to a new one after the first year is over. I also manage to save a lot of money when I’m making purchases by keeping an eye on voucher codes on websites like HotDealsUK and VoucherCodesUK. I actually managed to get 40% off of my AAT textbooks by doing this. When money’s really tight I walk to our Ruthven Lane office from Dennistoun. I also have an app that tracks income and expenditure, and I find that using online banking means I can always access my account to ensure I’ve got enough money for specific purchases.”

David: “Unsurprisingly, I take great pleasure doing a monthly cashbook and simple set of books for my own bank accounts to better understand what my family and myself are spending each month, year etc. For a more long-term tip, my wife and I try to involve our kids in discussions about money and tax, so that their personal finance might be less mysterious and confusing when they grow up. When I left school I didn’t have a clue how wages or tax worked (thanks Brett…).”

buying a house

Brett: “My top tip is very practical and often overlooked by people starting on the property ladder. Most young people, when buying their first home, go for a long loan term of say 30 years in order to keep the monthly repayment as low as possible. This makes sense. However, what many folk overlook is reducing the loan term after a few years, when their annual salaries increase through promotion or moving to another higher paid job. Significant savings can be achieved by shortening the length of your bank loan.

For example, say that Wasp and Arabella Pumblechook are both 25 years old and buy their first home which involves a bank loan of £150,000 at 3.5% repayable over 30 years. The monthly repayment is £675 and this includes capital and interest. If they stay with this, after 30 years they will end up paying £243,000 to the bank. However, Wasp and Arabella enjoy promotion in their jobs with corresponding salary rises. After 5 years, they reduce the length of the bank loan to 15 years and the monthly repayment increases to £968 which they can afford. The total amount paid to the bank will reduce to £214,000 – a saving of nearly £30,000!

We hope this list of tips takes some of the fear out of finance for you. Savings like this can really add up, and you could even save enough to go on a holiday to a far-away country, like New Zealand!”