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Zoe Behagg - web producer Zoe Behagg - web producer | 14:21 UK time, Tuesday, 23 December 2008

It's easy to spend too much money at Christmas time and be strapped for cash in January. But there are plenty of ways to keep your finances in rude health.

According to a YouGov charity survey, adults are turning to sex as a cheap way to pass the time, ahead of window shopping and gossiping.

Read the article Britons saving money with sex.

This series on Watchdog we looked at ways to save money on petrol. Or you can use services such as Petrol prices.com, which tells you where the cheapest petrol stations are in your area.

Or why not be cheeky and save money by giving away unwanted Christmas presents as birthday presents in the coming year. Just remember to make a note of who gave you which gift in the first place.

This January would be a good time to start to tackle some financial planning. But what action are you most likely to take?

Personal advice
In 2009 we'll be filming a 'Watchdog financial health check report'. If you'd like to take part and are free for filming in January, then email us. We want to hear what your particular financial problems are, and what you'd most like advice about.

In the meantime, fill in our short financial health check questionnaire and tell us what you anticipate you'll be spending and saving in the coming months.

From reducing household bills to tips for haggling on the high street, share your tried-and-tested ways of saving money in the comments section below.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Dear Zoe,

    It's great that you are giving us neat ways to save money this Xmas and beyond.

    I recently chose to have my landline phone disconnected in order to save money. I realised the only time I really used it was to ring my mum - all my friends ring my mobile. Now that I'm no longer with BT, I will save about £155 a year (with VAT) on the cost of having a landline in my flat lying idle.

    With all the free minutes you can get these days as mobile customer on a monthly price plan, why not offer to ring people back if they are worried that calling you is expensive? My mum has got used to it already.

    The £155 will go a long way towards a cheap city break during the British recession of 2009.

  • Comment number 2.

    A good way of saving a lot of money is by not just assuming that by being a loyal customer you are treated fairly.

    I recently phoned my central heating oil supplier "Total Butler" to order my oil, (have been a loyal customer of theirs for 10 years). Out of interest I asked how much it was now and was told 48p.
    I asked if that's the best they can do, and the price immediately came down to 44p. Deciding to push it a bit further I said “surely you can do better that that” the guy on the end of the line went away for less than 20 seconds and came back with a price of 40p a litre.

    Basically, for the sake of less than a minute asking about the price (only slightly haggling) I got nearly a 20% reduction of my £500 heating bill.

    You may think I am happy with this, but no, I am livid. What it shows is that because I have been a regular loyal customer, never queried the price before, I have probably been paying a 20% premium for the last 10 years.

    The lesson learned, is don't think that by being loyal and always paying on time means anything.


  • Comment number 3.

    What a rip-off spectacles are! I recently had an eyetest and my prescription had changed so I needed new lenses. Fair enough. To replace my lenses (standard prescription, thin, coated) cost £99 at Specsavers. To buy a new frame, including lenses costs £95. My reaction ????????. My existing frame is of superior quality to the ones on offer so why should I pay £99 for two small pieces of plastic? A quick search on the internet shows that I can get a pair of identical lenses (fitted) for £30 + £2.50 postage saving nearly £70. [Retailoers details removed by Moderator]. As a pensioner I find the cost of replacement lenses extortionate and is plain profiteering. How can they justify such high charges?

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi still consumed,

    Thanks for your comment. I also favour my mobile and use my landline for parental calls only. So I tried to cancel my landline and was told that I would have to pay a £60 fee to do this because 'apparently' I have a 12-month contract. This is outrageous. I have been with the same provider for years and never signed up to a new contract. The fact that I never cancelled it doesn't give the company the right to renew it without telling me. As UKSBD-62 points out in comment 2 above, being a loyal customer doesn't mean companies will treat you fairly!

    On a more positive note, this week we'll be filming our financial experts sharing their advice on utility bills, remortgaging, managing credit/debt, pensions and savings. I'll put a video report of this up on the site on Monday 19 January, so we can all benefit from their tips.

    Zoe Behagg - Web producer

  • Comment number 5.

    We are on a key meter and have been contacting British Gas to ask to be put on a quarterly meter which they have refused to to an outstanding debt (which was unknown to us until too late) we have offered to put a deposit and pay by direct debit they have still refused. We returned from Cyprus on New Year Eve and to date have put 200 pounds on the meter, we have had a new boiler and radiators installed in October we thought the heating would run more efficiently now, this shows an not to be the case, if British Gas agreed to quarterly payments surely we would not be paying so much on the gas??????

 

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