Debts: how to save money

Short-time work, missing fees or even job loss: In times of the Corona pandemic, many households lose parts of their income through no fault of their own. But how can current expenses be reduced on the other hand?? The first step is to take an honest look at your cash flow. We tell you what else you can do about it.

Debts: Man with bills in hand

  1. If you are short of cash, you should get an overview of your income and expenses. This is what a budget is for.
  2. The expenses should be sorted according to urgency. Which contracts and purchases are superfluous, which are necessary and which are a nice-to-have.
  3. The 12 tips from the consumer advice center help you save money in everyday life.

If your income is falling, you should put your expenses to the test. Above all, there must be money for basic needs. This includes water, electricity, maintenance payments, food or the rent. Where can costs be cut here or elsewhere? Which purchases can be postponed? What can you do without completely. With our 12 tips you can save money in everyday life. If you need support or are in financial distress, our debt counseling service can help you.

Tip 1: Keep a budget.

In order to make the right decisions, the first step is to determine the status quo: How much income do I have, what are my monthly expenses?? For this purpose, you can use the budget book of the consumer advice center, for example. Although the hurdles for putting together a budget are high at the beginning – especially when it’s not just about supermarket purchases, but also about ongoing costs for insurance, subscriptions or other contracts – the effort is worth it. In the end, the facts we’ve compiled will help you make a decision.

Tip 2: Check your insurance policies.

What about unnecessary insurance contracts? Do you go begging in case of damage or can the financial loss be compensated out of your own pocket in case of need? From the answer to this question, rank your policies from indispensable to superfluous. Liability insurance is important for this reason, but you can cancel cell phone, death benefit or glass breakage insurance without a second thought.

Tip 3: Cancel contracts and subscriptions.

What about the gym you haven’t been to for a year?. Does the contract really have to continue? Are the costs for the streaming service okay or can you do without it?? And what about the product subscriptions you may have taken out at some point??

Important: If you want to cancel contracts and subscriptions, do not do so arbitrarily. Inform your contract partner. Seek the conversation. This applies to all types of contracts.

Tip 4: Save on your account.

Banks are increasingly charging money for their services. Not only the account management costs something, but in some places also the Girocard, the transmission of account statements or the direct debit mandate. A comparison is worthwhile, because some credit institutions do not charge any fees.

Before making a switch, consider what your account needs are (z.B. Online banking, large ATM network, free inclusive Girocard or credit card, additional discount promotions, many branches, ecological orientation) and then look for the most suitable and cheapest account for you. Similar to gas or electricity tariffs, switching bank accounts is much easier today than it was a few years ago.

Tip 5: Compare prices.

What applies to the bank account is also important for all other areas of life. Compare prices – especially for larger purchases. You should be skeptical about special offers or discount campaigns. What’s a special offer in one store may be cheaper in another one.

Attention, comparison portals do not give you a comprehensive market overview. They do not show all the cheap providers for a product or service. Most platforms act like brokers, listing only selected companies and collecting a commission for each contract signed.

Tip 6: Write a shopping list.

A shopping list helps to avoid impulse buying. How to buy only the things you really need. Special offers often give the feeling of saving money. In fact, however, you buy things that you may not even need. Also beware of cheat packs where the contents have shrunk but the price remains the same.

Do without small snacks and drinks on the hand. Have a coffee at the station on the way to work in the morning. A sandwich at the bakery for a snack in between meals. These little snacks are big spending traps.

Tip 7: Drink water from the tap.

Spending money on mineral water is unnecessary. You can usually drink the water from the tap without health concerns. Water is the foodstuff that is most strictly controlled in Germany. If you don’t want to do without fizz in a glass, a soda water maker is the right choice. You don’t have to filter tap water.

Tip 8: Buy discontinued and second-hand models.

Computers, electrical appliances and consumer electronics are quickly becoming obsolete. No sooner are new products on the market than they are superseded by the next generation. The devices then end up in the line – heavily discounted – although they are often hardly inferior to their successors in terms of quality and features.

Even new goods do not always have to be. Second-hand products can also do their job and relieve the budget at the same time. The environment is also happy. But beware: In sales from private to private, the warranty may be excluded.

Tip 9: Borrow instead of buy.

Musical instruments, bicycles, high-pressure cleaners or child seats – more and more products can be rented in many places. This is even possible for clothes. Not only will you save on the expensive purchase, but you’ll also ensure better utilization of items that are often only used intermittently. Attention: Also with the borrowing there are substantial price differences. And make sure that rental agreements are in writing.

Tip 10: Save power and energy.

Heating, hot water and electricity cost a lot of money and make holes in the household budget. A television set switched to standby, for example, consumes up to 15 watts of electricity per hour, even though it is not running. Turn off the TV, computer, console and co. rather from.

Tip 11: Be careful with financing and loans.

With zero percent financing, new purchases can be financed from scratch. But this does not mean that the product is also cheap. Do not let the favorable financing distract you from the actual purchase price. In general: Even with zero-percent financing, you incur debts. In addition, the overview is quickly lost with small installments.

Short-term loans promise quick financial help. As a rule, even without sufficient creditworthiness. This makes it attractive for many people. At the same time, however, the loans entail great risks. Our advice: You should exercise maximum caution with mini-loans.

Tip 12: Talk about debts and fines.

Loans that you have taken out among family or friends can certainly be discussed as well. Explain your situation. You will find an amicable solution.

In the case of other payment obligations, such as fines or tax debts, our recommendation is also: Seek a discussion with your creditor.

Hamburg residents with financial problems can contact our debt counseling service. You can get initial help from Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Tel. (040) 24832-109. There you can also make an appointment for a 20-minute brief consultation. Due to the Corona pandemic, these short consultations take place mainly on the phone.

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