Ten top money-saving tips to help swell your bank balance in 2014

No doubt one of your many New Year resolutions is to be better with money and save more.

Well, it need not be difficult if you follow our ten-step guide below.

www.MoneySavingExpert.com has put together his list for us which should help swell your bank balance in no time.

1) Prepare for next Christmas NOW        

Buy your cheap wrapping paper, cards, Christmas decorations and even presents right now while they’re cheap. Plus, remember, Christmas costs a typical family £650.

Trying to pay this out of one month’s salary is a nightmare. Put aside £50 a month, and you’ll have the money ready without any risk of borrowing.

2) Reclaim £1,000s. And do it for FREE         

Take them on and get your cash back - from PPI to flight delays to Council Tax. If you're owed, due to mis-selling or poor service reclaim - don't let firms profit from apathy. You needn't pay a 'No win, no fee' firm which take 30%, as it's usually easy.

There are all many of things you can reclaim. If you wash & repair a work uniform, whether a nurse's, policeman's or just branded t-shirt, you can reclaim tax, if you don’t wear it elsewhere. Most get £20-60/yr back. Or if you've misplaced your Tesco Clubcard vouchers, don't despair, you can now find them online. We’ve heard of people getting back £400 in vouchers.

3) Give yourself a financial health check

The most important test is simple. Do you spend more than you earn?  If so, you’ve got a serious problem. It means either you’ll eat up all your spending or rapidly build up debt.

To find this out requires a REAL budget. I don’t mean willy-nilly looking at a month’s expenditure – that misses out things like Christmas, summer holidays or buying a sofa – I mean your finances across a year. The freewww.budgetbrain.com does this for you.

4) Ditch your bank

Switching accounts is now quick easy, and - for the majority - completely pain-free. It takes seven working days, and all your incoming and outgoing payments will be moved to your new account, by your new bank. Some banks will even give you 3% cash back on your bills or a tidy £125 in sign-up bonuses without paying a fee.

5) Never auto renew your insurance

If you just auto-renew your car and home insurance, STOP!

 You’re wasting a fortune, and can do so much better as a new customer.  All you need to do is combine the results from a few comparison sites to boost your chance of finding the cheapest price. It's so powerful, MoneySavers have bagged cover, plus up to £67 profit. Though always check the policy is right for you.

6) Beat the supermarkets at their own game

It's not about buying lower quality goods, but beating the way supermarkets hypnotise us into unnecessarily paying more for premium brands. One of the easiest ways to save is taking the downshift challenge. Who says Finest is Finest? The supermarket selling it. Look beneath to the actual product you're getting and sometimes you won't be able to tell the difference.

7) Shift existing credit card debt to a cheaper one

Shifting existing credit card or store card debts to a new balance transfer card can save you £100s or £1,000s. A balance transfer's when one credit card repays debts on other credit or store cards, so you now owe it the money instead, hopefully at a special cheap rate.

8) Flog it!

Got it and don't need it? Flog it on eBay, car-boot it or even hold an old fashioned garage sale. To really see the cash rolling in hunt out your old mobile phones and as you may be able to make some cash by recycling them.

9) Stop the energy companies taking too much money

All the big six energy suppliers have now announced 4%-10% average increases. The difference between standard tariffs and the cheapest can be as much as £200. So that's £200 in savings, year after year after year. Time's running out to beat the hikes, so act now to find your cheapest deal and you may also get £30 cashback.

10)  If you don’t ask you don’t get – so haggle

Haggling isn't reserved for backstreet bazaars, it's alive and kicking on British high streets. You can barter £100s off at shops such as John Lewis, Tesco and Debenhams. Over the years, Brits have accepted haggling's rude and impolite, when it's neither. This mass hypnosis has left the knowing few with big bargains, and big stores' profits intact. Haggling cuts shops' profits. But if you wouldn't buy at the higher price, this way it still makes a sale.

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