Are you managing your money effectively? giffgaff game plan provides hints and tips on how you can be smart with your money.
Money is one of those things that you need in order to live. Sadly the cost of living keeps going up and it is getting harder to make ends meet. Managing your money effectively will allow you to have money spare to do the things you love.
I am always on the lookout for hints and tips to help me save money. When I was invited to the GiffGaff gameplan life goals event I was hoping to pick up lots of tips. I came away with plenty of hints to help me manage my money better.
Managing your money effectively with Giffgaff GamePlan
You may know giffgaff from their mobile phone network. They have recently started a personal finance website which encourages you to manage your money and save up for your dreams. Their money saving website allows you compare energy prices, car insurance, loans and credit card providers. It also offers a free credit report and the ultimate budgeting experience. Start building your dreams on the giffgaff gameplan website.
The giffgaff gameplan life goals event offered a number of different workshops to help us manage our money better. I chose to do the Everyday Savings and the Bad Credit workshops.
The Venue – Hilton Gateshead
The event took place in the Hilton, Gateshead. As I was travelling by bus I got a chance to cross the Tyne Bridge on foot. I was able to capture some great photos of the bridges across the River Tyne. The Hilton is an impressive hotel on the Gateshead quayside and also has great views of the river. We had a chance to catch up and enjoy a glass of wine before the workshops began.
Everyday Savings Workshop
Life has a way of throwing emergencies at you. It is always useful to have some money set aside to deal with these. When you are struggling to make ends meet is can be difficult to save. In this workshop Eileen Adamson of Your Money Sorted took us through different ways we can save money in everyday life.
Why it matters
It is so easy to use a credit card to pay for things without thinking about it. What you may not realise that if you have a £2000 loan on your credit card and pay 18% interest, it will take 24 years to pay off. This is money that could be in your pocket getting you things you love. Paying a bit more each month will reduce the debt quicker.
Do you want to be in debt this long or do you want to be living a life you love?
Read more: Thirty ways to save £1
Defining your why
One of the most important takeaways from the workshop was in order to save money you need to define a why. This will give you an incentive to save money so you can have money to spend on the things you love. Do you want to own your own home? Do you want to travel the world? Ask yourself what you want money for and you will become inspired to save. It is your money and you work for it. You should make the most of it.
Tips for managing your money
To break the ice and get us talking about money saving we got involved in some interactive activities. Spending habits bingo got us all talking to each other and broke the ice. Jenga, which encouraged us to talk about money saving with talking points on the bricks. We also had to schedule a monthly meal plan and share websites and apps that help us make money and save money. As well as being fun it got us thinking about money saving.
The main tips I took away were:
- Meal planning can save you £800 a year. By properly planning what you are going to eat and writing a shopping list you will eat well and not purchase food when hungry.
- When looking for insurance, mobile phone providers, energy providers and the like, loyalty does not pay. It is always worth shopping around and changing providers. Haggling can save you up to £725 per year. A top tip is to use the online chat to haggle as it gives you time to think about your reply.
- Using money saving sites can help you save and make money. There are plenty of sites for selling stuff, getting coupons and comparing the best energy deals. There are also apps that help you save like Plum and Chip. These work with your bank to help save a small amount from your current account and build up savings.
The everyday savings was a very useful session and I will definitely be making changes to how I spend my money.
Read more: How energy smart are you?
Time for a break
After all that information it was time for a break. The Hilton had put on a lovely buffet for us to enjoy as well as some fabulous cakes. It was a great chance to discuss what we had learnt and get to know each other better.
The buffet had a great selection of food, with allergen information clearly shown. There were also vegetarian options. We had a choice of three different salads and three different mains. The salads were new potato, red onion and dill mayonnaise, rocket salad with toasted almonds and pamesan and a mixed leaf salad. For the mains we could choose roasted code on warm nicoise salad with lemon oil, grilled chicken breast with tomato and bean cassoulet or thai green vegetable curry with steamed basmati rice. The cassoulet was delicious.
If you still had room after all that you could have a lemon torte or fruit for dessert. There were also giffgaff gameplan cupcakes which were a nice touch. I took a few of these home for my son who was delighted!
Bad credit and boosting your credit rating
After a nice break the second workshop began. This workshop was all about bad credit and how to boost your credit rating. Karyn Fleeting from Miss Thrifty had plenty of tips to share.
What is your credit rating
Everyone has a credit rating or credit score. It is a measure of your likelihood of repaying debt looking at how you have handled credit in the past. If you have a good credit score it means more credit opportunities are available to you. It increases the chances of you being accepted for mortgages, finance, loans, car insurance and many other opportunities.
Knowing how to check your credit score and how to keep it high will make it easier for you to get better credit deals.
How can you check your credit rating?
Given that a credit score is important it is good to know how to check it. In the UK there are three main agencies that are used by lenders. These are Experian, Equifax and Call Credit. Different lenders will chose one of these agencies and rate you on their own system using this score as an indicator.
Each of the credit reference agencies offer a way for you to view your credit score.
giffgaff game plan also offers a link to a free credit score check.
The advice is to keep a close eye on your credit score and if it changes for any reason work out why. It could be an indication of fraud. If you do suspect fraud Credit Expert offers a paid service which gives a more detailed report to help you.
Tips for boosting your credit rating
If you have a bad credit rating, don’t panic. There are ways that you can improve your score, but these take time. These are some things you can do to help to improve your credit score:
- Pay your bills on time, make sure you never miss a payment
- Register to vote.
- If you rent then your rent payments are not shown on your credit file. Signing up to Creditladder.co.uk is a way of logging these payments on your file. You pay them and they pay your landlord and note it on your file.
- Don’t take out payday loans
- Know the difference between a soft search of your credit file and a hard search. Soft searches do not mark your credit file as you are just searching. A hard search is you applying for credit and marks your file.
- Do not apply for too many credit products in a six month period. Schedule applications carefully
- Get a credit rebuild credit card and use it sparingly, ensuring you pay off the full balance each month.
- Keep an eye on your credit score and query it if it goes down.
Now I have these tips I intend to keep a close eye on my credit score and try and get to the max.
Many thanks to giffgaff for inviting me to their gameplan life goals workshop. It was an enjoyable evening and I learnt loads.
Do you have any tips for saving money? Let me know below.