Taking care of your Finances

We are all acutely aware of the recent economic climate. Higher inflation being one of the main reasons that the global economy has struggled. The welcome news this week is that the Eurozone is set to avoid recession. World leaders and business economists met at the World Economic Forum last week, with early predictions indicating “the recession that never came”. The threat of the feared energy crisis is retreating, and inflation is climbing down more rapidly than expected. There is now less than a 30% chance of a recession, down from an estimated 90% last summer.

Whilst the global outlook is markedly optimistic there are always ways to be more financially savvy!

Being financially savvy is simply making smart decisions with your money to achieve your financial goals to live a comfortable and stress-free life.

Here are some easy wins to helping us all get financially organised in 2023!

Check your direct debit is right under the new price guarantee rates from January

If you're on a standard tariff the Money Saving Expert calculator helps you work out what your direct debit should be under the energy price guarantee. Just enter your usage and what region you're in (as rates differ) and the calculator will give you an estimate of what you should be paying. This factors in January's slight rate changes.

Cut unfair direct debits - MoneySavingExpert

The fastest and easiest way to cut your electricity bill?

Switch all your lights to LED and cut your lighting bill by nearly 90%. LED bulbs are an energy saving solution suitable for a range of fixtures and fittings, using light emitting diodes to produce illumination up to 90% more efficiently than traditional alternatives. This means they require less energy consumption which helps to reduce bills and the carbon footprint of a property. As a result, LED light bulbs have become increasingly popular and are therefore available across a wide range of styles, cap fittings, lumens and wattages.

McGoff Group employees benefit from trade counter pricing via our VIP scheme – Team members can access this benefit via our Procurement Department.

There are tonnes of online and high street retailers with these items in stock.

LED Light Bulbs | wilko.com

Buy Argos Home 4W LED GU5.3 Light Bulb - 4 Pack | Light bulbs | Argos

LED Bulbs | LED Lamps | LED Light Bulbs | Toolstation

Switch off the lights when you leave the room

You would be amazed at how many people unnecessarily leave on lights when they are not in the room or out of the house. Like any bill, it all adds up. The Energy Saving Trust say that the typical household could save nearly £20 per year by doing so. Turning off lights is also good for the environment.

Cut your council tax bill

With with typical savings between £100 and £400 if your home has been wrongly banded. It does require a little legwork; check the Valuation Office Agency website to see if you are paying more than your neighbours, then do a valuation check.

Check your Council Tax band - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Valuation Office Agency - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Check your water meter

The rule of thumb is that if there are more bedrooms in your home than people it’s probably worth switching to a water meter. Grab your last water bill and go to the calculator at ccwater.org.uk, operated by the independent Consumer Council for Water, to find out how much you could save.

Compare home insurance

Many homeowners stick with insurance they have had for years. See if you could save by switching.

Compare Home Insurance - Cheap Home Insurance Quotes - Confused.com

What income tax band am I in?

Each of us has a 'personal allowance'. This is the amount we can earn without paying any income tax.

If you earn more than your personal allowance, you pay tax at the applicable income tax rate on all earnings above the personal allowance, but the allowance itself remains untaxed.

Once you know your personal allowance, anything extra earned above that will be subject to income tax. For the 2022/23 tax year, if you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, there are three marginal income tax bands – the 20% basic rate, the 40% higher rate and the 45% additional rate (also remember your personal allowance starts to shrink once earnings hit £100,000).

Marginal bands mean you only pay the specified tax rate on that portion of salary. For example, if your salary puts you in the 40% tax bracket, then you only pay 40% tax on the segment of earnings in that income tax band. For the lower part of your earnings, you'll still pay the appropriate 20% or 0%.

Check you are paying the right amount here Income Tax: introduction: Check you're paying the right amount - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


It is easy to sign up for free trials and it is just as easy to forget to cancel them within the timeframe. It might have been something you were very keen on at the, but now you may not use it enough to warrant the fee. Assess whether you need these subscriptions and you could save yourself more than £100 across a few cancellations. It is worth checking, there are times when a lot of us enter a free trial of a subscription where this automatically renews if you don’t physically cancel!

Go through your bank and credit card statements or look at your standing orders or Direct Debits for the last 3 months. Make a list of all the subscriptions you’re paying for and calculate the monthly (or yearly, if you pay annually) cost.

If you subscribed to a service through Apple's App Store, you can manage these subscriptions right on the device. Navigate to Settings > [your name] > Subscriptions (if you don't have any, this will not appear) to view your services. Tap the service you want to cancel and select Cancel Subscription.

Claim back money with your name on it

From forgotten bank accounts to tax rebates, you could be sitting on a pot of gold without even realising it. Do you hold a sneaking suspicion that there might be savings somewhere with your name on? Find out with My Lost Account.

My Lost Account

Shopping online? See if you can get paid to buy it

Once you’ve found the best price with your choice of retailer online, always check to see if cashback is available – try Topcashback, Quidco and other major cashback sites you can find through online research. There’s often a code which can give you a discount on your chosen item.

Blog written by Emma James

Director of Support Services