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28 October 2014

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Top Tips

You've checked our panel of experts, browsed our FAQs and clicked through to our useful links. But no one has mentioned your top tip for staying solvent.

We invite you to share your expertise with us and send in your top tip for keeping out of debt.

This week's top tip

'On your mobile phone, you can name/edit your profile name (which will constantly appear on your phone). Once you have worked out your budget for the month, place how much you can spend on yourself e.g. £200 on your phone. When you spend, or withdraw your money, edit your profile so that you have a running figure with you constantly. I find that I look at my phone a lot, therefore am concerned with how much I have to spend and don't tend to buy silly things.'Karl from South Wales [an error occurred while processing this directive]
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More of your top tips

'Arrange all your payments to be made immediately after payday. This way you will always know what you have left to play with and there are no hidden surprises.'Paul from Leeds
'If you drive, make sure your vehicle is well maintained. Low tyre pressures will cost you more to propel your vehicle. The same holds true for binding brakes. Don't carry excess items (junk) for no reason. Shop around for lower fuel prices and ease off on the accelerator (even 3 or 4 MPH makes a difference). Get several quotes for vehicle insurance. A well maintained vehicle is more likely to pass its MOT. A car will look after you if you look after it.'R. Mitchell from Scotland
'If you are into gadgets, put yourself off by thinking about what they will be worth in six months time and how the product will have progressed.'Peter
'When looking for mortgages, never let the broker do a credit search on you until your entirely happy and sure you want the mortgage. It leaves a foot print, and other lenders may take this into consideration. I was only recently told.'Neil from London
'I get the bus to work and get my bus pass sent to me every month. I pay by direct debit. I only take £1 with me to work then, just in case. As I don't need change for the bus, I don't withdraw any money during the week and I leave my cards at home. I am not tempted to spend on the way back.'Carole from Birmingham
'Keep an empty credit card for real emergencies but to make sure you don't use it, put it in a bowl of water and put it into the freezer! If you were tempted to treat yourself you will have changed your mind waiting for it to thaw out, but then if you really need it you still have it.'Chris from Coventry - Average rating 3 stars
'Don't buy things in the sale just because they are in the sale. Always consider if you would have paid full price for them. If you wouldn't, don't bother.'Sallyanne from Grimsby
'Don't assume because a car is small, it will be cheap to run. Read up on fuel economy, repair costs and insurance groups. Read car magazines to get an idea of what suits you, get quotes on insurance before buying and pay attention to things like colour and spec. A bright pink car may catch your eye but the same car in silver will be a lot easier to sell on.'Phil from Luton
'Take advantage of your local library to keep young ones in books. Seven books for three weeks for nothing, or one book for £5 - no contest; especially with most books being read only once or twice. Same goes for DVDs and videos. Great space and money saver.'Mark from Shrewsbury
'When you see an item of clothing you like, instead of trying it on and/or racing to the cash desk, come back and look at it again the day after. You won't like it as much seeing it the second time.'Kate from London - Average rating 4 stars
'Save money at the supermarket by eating before shopping- never go in hungry you will buy lots of unnecessary items.'Julian from Bournemouth
'Getting statements regularly helps to keep on top of how much dosh you really have on your card. Otherwise you are spending blind and that moment of card rejection is around the corner!'Ms Fielding from Kent
'Always buy clothes in the sales. Since doing this I've never felt cheated when I've walked past a shop and seen the outfit I bought last week with 50% off. Fashion is so generic nowadays that at the very least you can get all your 'basics' in the sales.'Rae from London
'Simple but effective: pay only in cash. I've found I spend much less without even realising it, which proved how much I was spending on things I never needed in the first place. And once you get into the habit of spending a regular amount it is pretty easy to maintain.'Matthew from Middlesbrough - Average rating 5 stars
'Keep track of your income and spenditure by writing everything into a small note book. Not only do you see where you're spending your income but it also ensures you always know what cash you have and what you have free to spend.'Dolores from Northern Ireland
'Every month, do your spending on a credit card which has a cash back bonus (the best now offers about 2%). In the meantime, have your 'spending money' resting in an interest-paying current account (some pay up to 5%). At the end of the month, when the credit card bill comes, pay it off in full using the money in your current account. Your money has earned you interest - twice!'Viv from London - Average rating 3 stars
'I find it helps to plan weekly menus on a Sunday so I know exactly what I need to shop for. Also look in charity shops - great for books and clothes, and you're doing some good at the same time.'Carol from Leeds
'When you go out on a night out, take only what you can afford to spend, and leave your cards at home. Drive so you can't drink - it's surprising how much money you can save just by drinking soft drinks. No-one need know you're only drinking coke, and certainly shouldn't care.'Fiona Eastbourne - Average rating 4 stars
'Write out a menu for the week and shop for those dishes only. Try and buy the raw produce and make the dishes yourself - it's healthier, more fun and not much slower than zapping a processed dish in the microwave for 10 minutes.'Yasmin
'It's very important to ensure you're paying lower interest rates, getting the best deals, and all round being better as a consumer. Stopping spending by itself is just one solution. I use a range of websites to find stuff at the best price. One to try is Money Saving Expert.'Paul
'Don't be swayed by marketing and packaging - supermarket"own brands" are usually just as good but cheaper, especially for "basic" items.'Paul from Manchester

Want more top tips? Take a look at our best suggestions from 2004.

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