Cash Genie takes a closer look at the balance sheet

It’s that time of year again: the annual Budget report. Cash Genie is well aware that this year hasn’t been a prosperous one for most of us, as it’s been full of bad news for just about everyone. Spending cuts, tax increases, and then, to top it off, a struggling economy and more concerns from overseas. Whatever the changes are, it’s fair to assume that plenty of us are going to be worse off afterwards.
It was looking better earlier this year, as the economy was predicted to be clawing its way back out of the hole. That was before the snow took its toll on growth figures, and raised questions about what the immediate future held. The most recent cause for concern has been the cost of fuel, which will impact every house in the country; even the ones that don’t use a car will still rely on businesses and freight that is driven across the country. Aside from all the tax rises – fuel duty and VAT, with more expected imminently – there has also been the concern about the price of oil. Pushed up by conflict in North Africa and the Middle East, oil is reaching highs not seen for over two years, and – if Saudi suffers from the same kind of problems – could sky-rocket far higher than we’ve ever seen before.

What can people do to bring their costs down? Well, for starters, make sure your car is in reasonable condition, with tyres pumped up and engine serviced. Drive conservatively – hold off sharp accelerating, high speeds and hard braking unless strictly necessary – and don’t swap lanes on the motorway more than you need to. Plus, make sure any unnecessary weight is cleared out (how many of us have junk cluttering the boots of our cars?). Good driving habits and well-maintained cars can significantly reduce fuel consumption, and at somewhere between £50 and £80 a tank, that can all add up nicely.

Aside from that, Cash Genie proposes you start thinking about lift-sharing – there are lots of sites out there dedicated to finding you a journey-mate if you don’t already have one in mind – and, of course, avoid journeys that you don’t need to take in the first place (plenty of health, financial and environmental benefits there). You might even like to think about working from home if you’re a frequent commuter – even one day a week can make a substantial difference (the average daily commute being an hour), as well as giving you extra time to spend with friends and family – it’s win/win.

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