The direct route to saving money

Those looking for ways of managing money better could find the answer in their direct debit list.

When it comes to money management, it may seem to some that the task of budgeting better will be a very tough one, with extremely difficult decisions having to be made on which things to cut down spending on – often with great reluctance.

However, while that may often be true, there are times when there is clear waste that people are failing to spot, draining bank accounts of much-needed cash unnecessarily.

A primary case in point is that of direct debits. A study has revealed the average consumer is paying £297 a month in bills, fees and subscriptions by this method, with this figure topping £500 for a quarter of people.

This may all be convenient for people whose regular payments are taken care of, but the site noted that 38 per cent do not regularly check what direct debit payments they are making – leading to the possibility that some are still shelling out their hard-earned cash on goods and services they no longer receive.

Head of banking at the site Kevin Mountford said: "With finances being squeezed by the rising cost of living it's really important to check all your outgoings and make sure you are not paying for products or services you no longer use.

"Having a clear idea of what is coming in and going out of your account each month is absolutely crucial so it's worth spending five minutes looking at statements and investigate any mysterious payments."

Expired subscriptions and cancelled gym memberships are among the kind of payments many accidentally leave in place, he noted.

Those who have a budget planner may find it is ideal for keeping track of direct debits, since the regular use of this will ensure awareness of payments, while the determination to cut costs means it can be used to ensure the payments are cancelled as soon as possible.

One example of unnecessary subscriptions may involve the bank itself.

A recent study by consumer group Which? found 30 per cent of its members who have packaged accounts – which offer various benefits in return for a monthly fee – never use any of them, which it estimated means between £240 million and £320 million is paid out for nothing.

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