Reviewing Finances Can Lead To Significant Gains In New Year

By: Tom_dawson
Now is an ideal time for many Britons to get their finances under control.

Such is the claim of Halifax, which reports that although the Christmas and new year period is usually associated with spending, this time of year can also serve as an ideal opportunity for people to get to grips with their money management for a fresh start at the beginning of 2008. And in doing so, consumers could well find that they are in a much capable position to address various constraints on their spending such as utility bills and loans.

According to the financial services firm, people should take the time to make sure that they have the best deal possible on their credit card, current account and mortgage products. By ensuring their account is working "harder" for them and is earning a competitive rate of interest, it was suggested that people may find that they are in a stronger financial position in later life. The company also pointed towards earlier research indicating that the typical Christmas shopper looks to splash out some 383 pounds on gifts. However, it was suggested that if such purchases were funded with "expensive" credit or store cards, then consumers may "end up paying much more than [they] bargained for" as such products can attract interest rates of up to 25.9 per cent. As a result, those who find that they have accrued debts across a number of cards may wish to consider applying for a debt consolidation loan as a means of getting to grips with such financial demands.

Peter Jackson, head of products for Halifax, said: "Most of us religiously hit the high street for the January sales, but too few of us include banking products in our bargain hunting. By making a few small changes today, you could make some significant financial gains in the future."

In addition, regularly saving money was put forward as one method in which consumers can improve their fiscal standing in time for the new year. The creation of a standing order was put forward as a way this could be achieved, as was going online to search for the most competitive deal possible.

It was also suggested that steadily making overpayments on mortgages now could "reap huge rewards" for homeowners in the future. By contributing 50 pounds over the minimum amount each month on a 100,000 pounds mortgage with a variable rate of 7.5 per cent, the firm reported that consumers could save more than 22,000 pounds and complete making repayments four years early. As a result, consumers may find that they can make home loan repayments with greater ease and eventually will have more disposable income.

Those consumers who are especially keen to get their finances under control for the new year, meanwhile, may wish to consider applying for a debt consolidation loan. In getting such a loan, borrowers can pay off monies owed to a number of creditors quickly, leaving them with a single low-rate repayment each month. A consolidation loan could be particularly helpful for many in the weeks following Christmas, given that Citizens Advice recently revealed that many people struggle with their finances after overspending during the festive season.
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