Giving your family finances a health check

As the summer holiday season draws to a close, many of us look at our bank statements with trepidation – or avoid looking at them at all. Even if we didn’t splurge on two weeks away in the tropical sun, those day trips and treats all add up.

Before we know it, an even more expensive type of holiday season will be upon us, so now is the time to take a deep breath and give your finances a thorough health check. You’ll be glad you did it.


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Is your debt dragging you down?

Many households are still counting the cost of the easy credit days of the noughties. Credit cards were being thrown around like confetti, and checks on affordability were cursory at best. Little surprise that years later, we are still haunted by those repayments – and in many cases, they only seem to go up from one month to the next.

It is a scary thought, which is partly why so many people simply avoid thinking about it. Of course, that’s an attitude that can only end in disaster, so why not make use of some expert debt management advice from a company like Credit Fix and see what can be done to reduce, or even eliminate, all that debt?

There are numerous options open to you from refinancing to debt management plans to IVAs. A debt consultant can talk you through them – it all depends on how much you owe and how much you can realistically afford to repay. The point to remember is that if the minimum repayment amounts are impractical, nobody can realistically expect you to pay them – other options are available, and you might even be able to have a large amount of the debt written off.


Check your mortgage rate

While unsecured credit card debts are one thing, your mortgage is another matter. There is less room for negotiation here, as it is secured against your home. But there are still ways of saving money. Rising interest rates have led to an increase in mortgage rates over recent months, but nevertheless, there are still some tempting offers out there if you know where to look.

If you are currently tied to the standard variable rate, it is definitely worth having a chat with a mortgage advisor or taking a look online to assess the alternatives.


Savings and investments

The great thing about reducing payment on debts and loans is that it frees up cash, allowing you to focus on investing for the future – or at least for the next holiday season! Reassess your finances and see what you can afford to put away. Even if it is only a small amount, it is a step in the right direction.

Setting up a direct debit is a great way to ensure you really do it, as cash otherwise has a strange way of evaporating. Set the payment to go out the day after you get paid. Initially, a simple cash account is all that is needed, but as the amount grows, you can look at other investments like stocks and bonds.


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