Make the most of your money thanks to GiffGaff Gameplan (AD)
I’m definitely trying to make the most of my money after attending the GiffGaff GamePlan Life Goals Workshop and so wanted to share with you some top tips I picked up.
I was invited* to attend the workshops which were hosted by top money bloggers offering tips and advice on everyday savings, building up your credit score and mortgages.
You probably know GiffGaff as it’s a popular mobile phone network but they’ve started on a new venture into the world of personal financing and have launched a money saving website with a new app going live in January 2019.
The GamePlan website allows you to compare car insurance, energy prices, loans and credit card providers as well as offering a free credit report to help you get to grips with your spending.
Prior to attending the event held at the Hilton Gateshead I was asked to choose from two of three workshops.
Steve and I have a mortgage already but I’m not great at saving money and I’ve absolutely no idea about my credit score; so I chose the workshops I thought I’d get the most out of.
And what I love about blogging events is getting to meet other bloggers as well as learning lots of new things which I can share with you avid readers.
So please read on for money savings advice and tips on how to up your credit score.
Workshop one: Everyday Savings with Eileen Adamson
The first workshop was ran by Eileen who has a brilliant blog YourMoneySorted.
She’s really passionate about helping other women to also become happier, healthier and wealthier.
Straight away Eileen got us all to think about “What is my big why?” – i.e. what is the reason you want to save money?
She said that whatever your big why is (travelling, buying a house, a designer handbag or funding your retirement) you’ve got to remember it whenever you do anything with money.
We then went straight into our first game – bingo where we had to find someone who matched one of the statements and cross it off in the hope of completing at least three full lines.
This was a great way to get us all to think about our spending habits and mingle with each other.
The person who called bingo first bagged a bottle of Prosecco – sadly for me it wasn’t my lucky day!
We played some other games too which were all about helping us think about what we spend and why and what we could do differently.
Eileen’s money saving tips:
Meal plan and cut down your food shop
Do you meal plan and make a list when you go food shopping?
We do sometimes but not every week but it’s something I want to start doing regularly!
If you create a meal plan and stick to it you can save a whopping £800 a year Eileen told us!
Loyalty doesn’t always pay
Many people stay loyally with companies for services such as mobile phone contract, TV, broadband and insurance but is it the right thing to do for your finances?
By switching suppliers and checking deals online you could save around £725 a year!
Eileen says don’t be shy about ringing up your supplier or using the online chat functions via their websites to haggle your existing deal.
I have to say although it makes me feel uncomfortable it does work – I’ve saved money on my Sky TV bill and my previous mobile phone contract. Money which is much better off in my pocket!
Never pay the minimum on a credit card
Paying the minimum amount of your credit card bill a month is an expensive way of paying off the debt as the interest keeps mounting up and you end up paying back much more money.
If you pay even just a little more than the minimum each month you’ll be much better off in the future.
Avid readers will know that one of my 30 things to do before I’m 30 is to pay off my credit card and I wish I hadn’t been paying just the minimum amount as I would’ve paid it off ages ago!
There’s an app for that
Eileen said use any app or website you can to make or save money – there’s a lot out there!
She recommended using a clever savings app called Chip which puts money away for you in an intelligent way, based on your spending behaviour.
I’ve downloaded it and saving money without even realising it. I’ll share an update in a future blog post all about it.
After the first workshop it was time for some yummy food including these really tasty cupcakes.
After catching up with other bloggers and stuffing my face it was time for workshop number two.
Workshop two: Bad Credit with Karyn Fleeting
This second workshop was ran by credit expert Karyn Fleeting who has a brilliant blog Miss Thrifty where she tackles all cash problems: beauty, fashion, holidays, weddings, personal finance and food.
Before this workshop I had absolutely no idea what my credit score was or how to find it out without speaking to our trusty mortgage advisor!
Karyn talked us through how to check your credit score using websites such as Experian, Equifax and CallCredit and now of course GiffGaff.
She also explained what each rating would mean for future referencing and the importance of a high credit score when applying for a loan or mortgage.
Karyn’s tips to maximise your credit score
Pay your bills on time
Never miss a bill payment as this will negatively impact your credit score.
If you can set up a direct debit for bills do this as it comes out automatically (providing you have sufficient funds in your account).
Register to vote
I’ve been registered to vote since I was old enough as I believe it’s your democratic duty to vote but I didn’t realise it also had an impact on your credit score.
By being on the electoral roll it shows potential lenders that you are settled and bone fide.
You can even do it online and it really doesn’t take long.
Don’t take out pay day loans
We’ve all seen the adverts for pay day loans which sound like great easy money to tide you over until pay day.
However they are bad news for lots of reasons but especially for your credit score.
Having even just one of these loans raises alarm bells for potential lenders says Karyn raising questions such as:
- can you budget?
- can you be responsible with money?
- can you be trusted with credit?
They also have extremely high interest which means you’ll be paying back far more than you originally borrowed.
Her message is loud and clear do not take out any pay day loans.
Use your credit card wisely
Karyn says that while it’s a good idea to use your credit card little and often to show you can be trusted with credit you must do so wisely.
She advises buying items on your credit card but to stay within the 50 per cent credit limit of your account.
Karyn also reiterates Eileen’s advice to never pay just the minimum balance requirement and if you can pay it off in full do so.
This really helps to boost your credit score as it shows you can be trusted to use credit wisely.
Know the difference between a soft and hard search
When it comes to applying for credit whether a loan or credit card it pays to know the different between a soft and hard search.
A hard inquiry may impact your credit scores and stay on your credit report for about two years whereas a soft credit inquiry won’t affect your scores.
A hard search or inquiry generally happens when a lender or credit card issuer checks your credit when making a lending decision – typically when you apply for a mortgage, loan or credit card.
This hard search can lower your credit score by a few points.
In most cases a single hard search is unlikely to play a huge role in whether you’re approved for a new card or loan.
But multiple hard searches in a short period of time could lead lenders and credit card issuers t consider you a higher-risk customer, as it suggest you may be short on cash or getting ready to rack up a lot of debit
So it’s really worth considering spreading out any credit card applications.
How to repair your credit score
- Use a credit rebuild card which are designed for those looking for their first credit card or wishing to improve a poor credit history
- Schedule your applications for any credit sparingly
- Pay your bills on time
- Give it time
Keep a beady eye on your credit score
Even if you aren’t applying for any type of credit or loan it’s always worth keeping a beady eye on your credit score that way you know whether you need to make any changes before you get refused any credit!
If you’re interested in learning more about your credit score pop over to the GiffGaff Gameplan website for your free credit report.
I had a great evening at the GiffGaff GamePlan Life Goals Workshop where I learnt so much and got the chance to meet other bloggers once again.
Special thank you to Jennie and Alice for organising the event and for inviting me, all the staff at Hilton Gateshead for being so welcoming and of course GiffGaff.
A few days after the event I received this brilliant goodie bag in the post from GiffGaff including a handy tote bag, travel mug for hot drinks, a little plant and some retro sweets.
*I was invited to attend this event by a PR agency on behalf of GiffGaff. This post has been written with 100% honesty. I was not financially compensated for this post.
I received a goodie bag as a thank you for attending the event. The opinions expressed in this post are completely my own based on my own experience.
Please visit my contact/work with me page for more information.
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