I have a personal view that money is hard to earn and easy to spend. So what if that philosophy makes me a bit of a skin flint, tight wad or even miser in some peoples eyes, I do look after my brass.
In the situations when I have been forced to borrow, such as buying a house, car or white goods I have been very conservative in my choice of lender. I know big clearing banks like Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and HBOS make big profits but they have reputations to protect and large numbers of customers to keep happy so like others I thought they try and are safe. On their profits I rationalised that they make the most money from companies and overseas. However for this article I added up the net profits these four each made in the last 12 months and it was a startling £34.9 billion equal to £623 from every man, woman and child in the country and that is clear profit. So have you put more than you need into there already well funded kitty?
Do you have any accounts with a positive balance? If so do you check that they pay any interest fair interest or the best rate of interest. And its no good checking and doing nothing about it. Banks rely on us to be lazy and not to worry about small amounts but look how they mount up in the banks favour. So check what you earn and then look in the papers or www.moneyfacts.co.uk to see what you are entitled to, then go and get it.
When you need to borrow money have you been asked to pay an arrangement fee or an administration charge? This is a growth industry for lenders finding new ways of getting money out of you in addition to the interest rate. It costs you nothing to ask if these charges can be waived or negotiated. Also make sure you know any penalty payments extracted if you pay back early or late. Make it part of your job to understand what your bank is getting from you and if it is over the top then shop around or get into their ribs.