Managing Your January Finances

Emma Hogan 16 January 2019

“Just stick it on the credit card”

Christmas is the prime season for pushing the boat out, we eat more, we go out more, we splash cash on gifts.  Credit can be a lifeline but cold reality can hit in January as credit card bills arrive and repayment plans begin bringing with them a month of painfully eking out the last of your December payday (and finally eating those random tins/ jars of food that have been on standby in the cupboard!).

This year, credit card debt alone is expected to rise to a staggering £2,297 per UK household.  If you’re struggling this January, or if you’re just interested in the tools that can help you to manage your finances, we’ve rounded up a few useful resources for you to check out:

ClearScore

Track your credit report and score with a free tool like ClearScore.  Clearscore gives you visibility of the financial report that Equifax holds on you including any debt you hold, any applications for credit and any repayment problems you’ve had.  Lenders typically use this data to determine whether or not they can extend you credit and how much – essentially deciding whether you’re a risky bet or not.

Why is it free? Clearscore uses your data to target you with financial products it thinks you will benefit from / be eligible for based on your report.  This is a double edged sword, ignore it if you’re not in the market for credit but if you are, it can be a good resource for checking what you’ll be eligible for before applying.

Whilst ClearScore provides data from Equifax, don’t forget there are other credit reference agencies i.e. Experian and Callcredit, that use different scoring systems though your report should be the same across all 3 agencies.  Click here for more information on credit scores and how this all works.

TOP TIP: Despite the name, don’t get too hung up on the score – this isn’t actually seen by lenders, they make their own judgements based on the contents of your credit report.  Instead, use your score as a way to keep track of any major changes to your status.

Money Saving Expert

 A fantastic resource for all things money-saving. Pioneered by Martin Lewis,  Money Saving Expert is a sprawling website that gives you expert advice on managing your finances including debt, credit card applications and much more.

Apart from this advice, MSE is essentially a community of money-savers so a visit to the forums will see you tuning into the offers that other savvy shoppers have sourced on “Quick, grabbit while you can” or entering competitions to win the holiday of your dreams on “Competitions Time‘. 

Have a question? Feel free to ask a question on anything in the community forms, from what you should be spending on electricity for a 2 bed flat to where you can match a Farrow and Ball paint without paying the luxury price tag.

TOP TIP: MSE often throws you a curveball by finding you great offers on things you never knew you needed. Our advice – resist!

Compare The Market

You’ve probably heard of them, or more precisely the Meerkats in the Compare the Meerkat campaign. Apart from the meerkats, Compare the Market actually offers a great service for making sure you’re on the best deal for your insurance, utilities, broadband / phone and much more.  You put your details in once and the site scours the web for quotes.

TOP TIP: It’s not the only comparison out there (try Money Supermarket for instance) so make sure you check a couple to ensure you’re finding the best deal for your needs.

And yes, we’re going to say it, don’t forget to sign up to LaunchPanel to earn cash rewards for your opinions – every penny counts!

If you have any money saving or credit tips share them with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!