It’s been a long January, and many households are looking for simple ways to scrape some cash together to recover from the Christmas overspend. We’ve spoken to money saving experts in the South West to get their top money advice on how to save money every month. From making a monthly budget to switching current accounts, here are some top money saving tips, brought to you by ‘Buy With Confidence’ Trading Standards approved experts. How to save money every month “My top money saving tip for 2018 is to get into the habit of creating a budget,” said Jo Murray, managing director of Free Range Business Services Limited. “It is absolutely impossible to save money if you do not have control of the pennies you are currently spending. “Start by writing a list of all of your monthly income such as household bills and monthly expenses on a piece of paper. “This needs to be complete – don’t forget birthday presents, clubs, haircuts and all the additional expenses that it’s really easy to forget. “Use bank statements for the past three months to calculate an average spend per month on food, entertaining and fuel. “Once you have these figures in front of you then it’s far easier to work through each one to see which ones you can reduce, or stop altogether.” What can save money? One way to save money each month is to look at ways you can make small cut backs. Price comparisons, changing supermarkets and breaking everything down into small chunks will help you to see where savings can be made. Jo suggests: “Have you USwitched your energy bills? Are you completely aware of exactly how much you are paying your phone company each month and why? “Can you split your food shopping and toiletries between two different supermarkets to get the best deals? “You will be amazed how much you can save just by breaking everything down into smaller chunks on paper first.” How to save money on a car One way to save money on a car or van is to talk to a finance broker to discuss your options and avoid just accepting your first quote. David Boatman, director of PA Finance Ltd, said: “A broker usually has access to a wide panel of lenders with finance plans to suit individual preferences and usually at highly competitive rates. “The process is simple, fast and convenient. “Most brokers have many years of experience at your disposal; they are experts in their field and are able to offer impartial advice.” How to save money with a current account Ian Hunt, chartered legal executive at East Devon Law, suggests looking at a current account when saving, as these can sometimes offer better rates of interest than most savings accounts or ISAs. He said: “We deal with a lot of our clients’ finances and are often shocked by the amount of money people are saving in their non-interest bearing current accounts. “As an example, Lloyds Bank offers three per cent gross on their Club Lloyds current account on balances of up to £5,000; a savings account with the same bank only pays 0.35 per cent. “Other banks may have similar deals so it’s worth looking at changing your bank accounts using the current account switch service; as long as you have your pension or salary paid in, and pay out two direct debits – for example council tax and water rates - you can get the top rate of interest.” It is also worth regularly looking at your credit card and saving accounts to ensure you’re getting the best interest rate. These money saving tips are brought to you by Buy With Confidence. All the experts in this article are registered with Buy With Confidence, and have been vetted and approved by Trading Standards to ensure that they operate in a legal, honest and fair way. Go to www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk Find a trustworthy financial advisor or other ‘Buy With Confidence’ Trading Standards approved business near you.