Piggy bank on a table with euro notes and hands holding money

Worried about your 2018 finances? You’re not alone

New research shows the majority of us don’t think our financial situation will improve this year.

Research published this morning by Switcher.ie shows that many of us aren’t optimistic about our finances in 2018.

Although there were changes to income tax and USC in Budget 2018, less than three in ten Irish consumers think they’ll be better off than they were in 2017. If you’re worried about your finances next year, our top tips can help you get a handle on them…

Switcher.ie’s top money-saving for 2018

  • Draw up a monthly budget, including all your income and expenses, and try your best to stick to it. If you can manage to put some money into savings each month, even better. The CCPC’s budget planner is a great place to start.
  • If you have long-standing credit card debt that you’re finding hard to shift, think about switching to a card with a 0% balance transfer offer, making sure to pay the balance off within the interest-free period. Meanwhile, if you’re thinking about signing up for a credit card, make sure you choose the deal that suits you best.
  • Make sure you’re not paying more than you need to for your gas and electricity. If you haven’t switched your energy plan in over a year, take a few minutes to compare deals and make a switch - it could save you up to [SAVINGS AMOUNT]. You can also make significant savings by taking some energy-saving measures around the home.

Switch energy and save

  • Take time to review all of your monthly payments - be it for the gym, a cinema membership, or a streaming service - and cancel any you no longer use. If you can afford it, you should also see if you can get a discount by switching from monthly to annual payments - although it will be a bigger outlay of cash at the outset, it could save you in the long run.
  • Make the most of any tax reliefs or benefits you’re entitled to - for example, you can claim tax relief on some medical expenses that are not covered by the State or by private health insurance. There’s loads of information on benefits and taxes on the Revenue website, so take some time to check these out at the start of the year.
  • See if you are eligible for fee-free banking. Although many banks have re-introduced fees on current accounts in recent years, many still have accounts that offer fee-free banking once you meet certain criteria, like making a specified number of payments using the account each month. There are also a few other things you can do to avoid current account charges.
  • Make sure you’re on the right broadband, TV and phone plan. Do you watch all of your TV via streaming services like Netflix? If so, and you’re paying for a TV plan from your broadband provider, you will save by downgrading the TV element, or removing it altogether. If you can’t live without your TV plan, you can still save by switching to a new broadband provider - most providers offer decent introductory discounts, and you might find a package that works better for you.

Compare broadband deals

Tackle your finances to avoid stress in 2018

Today’s research shows that many people feel that financial worries could have an impact on their health, relationships and career, with a significant number even saying this worrying keeps them awake at night.

Eoin Clarke, Switcher.ie’s Managing Director said that, while we’re hearing a lot of talk about the recovery, it hasn’t hit consumers’ pockets just yet.

He added: ”Getting a handle on your finances may seem like a really big job, but in fact, making several small changes could start to ease the pressure and make you feel more in control.”