What was the last time you checked your utility bills? If you just automatically pay what you owe each month without making sure you're on the best deal, you could be paying far too much without even realising. The same applies with things like savings and pensions – inertia could cost you, so it's time to take action!
Research from Experian found that over 35 million people in Britain could be paying more than they should for utilities and "inappropriate financial products", with many failing to switch to the best deals, while others don't put enough aside for their pension or fail to act soon enough.
Indeed, an average of 37.36% of respondents have never switched financial products – this rises to 57.21% in London, while in the North, just 30.04% of people have switched. Experian calls all this an invisible tax on inertia, so the message is to get engaged with your finances!
The research went on to reveal that those who embrace digital possibilities are more likely to switch (and save money in the process), with things like online comparisons tools being a great way to really highlight how much could be saved.
But problems remain when people are already struggling to make ends meet. For example, an estimated 6 million households in Britain have no savings whatsoever, while others look elsewhere for financial input, with 1 million households having received a loan or financial gift from a family member. Another 423,000 rely on unauthorised overdrafts or payday loans, which can have worrying long-term consequences.
So what can you do? The key is to start taking control of your finances and look for ways to improve things, be it through taking stock of your budget and looking for ways to make savings, or by comparing utility providers and adding to your pension pot.
After all, "as technology has advanced, switching products is now relatively fuss-free," said Charlotte Nelson, finance expert at Moneyfacts. "When it comes to financial products loyalty does not pay, so those who stick around are often on the worst deals." So don't put up with it! Charlotte has outlined a few top tips to help you get back on track and find better deals, which could hopefully save you plenty of cash in the process.
Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.