A recent survey suggests that despite current economic turmoil, UK citizens are more likely to spend money using credit cards than they are to saving money. This exposes the importance of finding the right card for your particular financial needs. In terms of personal finance is not just enough to look at how much you make compared to how much you spend. It is also important to consider how much you are able to save each month as a savings account will bail you out if you ever face a financial emergency.
According to a recent survey by Standard Life, consumers in the United Kingdom charge twice as much to their credit cards as savers deposit into their accounts month in and month out. To be more specific, the average consumer spends £3,804 versus saves £1,680 each year. While this does not necessarily address any issues with savings accounts in general, it does raise concern as to whether or not UK consumers are carrying and using the right credit cards. This is something that even some of the savviest of consumers can sometimes overlook, and it is one of the single most important things you can do to improve your financial well-being.
Breaking down these numbers, the average Briton spends about £317 on their credit card(s) every month. A YouGo survey of 2,016 adults (which was commissioned by Standard Life) found that the average Briton’s monthly savings account deposit was only £140, which contends with the annual conclusion listed above. This same survey also revealed that those who make the substantial monthly credit card payment will spend approximately nine minutes every day thinking about their payments while the average saver will spend far less—about 3.5 minutes a day dwelling on their savings account balance.
What this shows is that regardless of their level of responsibility, a person who is more likely to spend will also be more likely to have anxiety regarding the state of their accounts, even if they are very good at paying their bills. When you have an outstanding balance, for example, you have to worry about whether or not you will have enough money to cover the payment and what will happen if you cannot make the payment on time. This addresses, then, the importance of properly managing all of your credit card accounts. According to John Lawson, who is a spokesperson for Standard Life,
Some people may be using their credit cards really effectively, paying them off each month and not splashing out on nights out or designer items that they really can’t afford.
He also says that an abundant savings account is always a good idea because it can offset any potential threat to paying down your credit card balances, like medical emergencies, family emergencies, or illness/injury. It is important, also, to note that he emphasizes “paying off any credit card debt you have should always take precedence over savings.”
While understanding how to manage the card(s) you have is important, it is also important that you have the right card for you. For example, if you are one of those people who are always good about paying their balance every month, you might benefit well from a quality rewards card that lets you earn points with every purchase. Since you pay down your balance every month, you will reap these additional benefits and never have to pay for them (because you avoid interest by paying your balance off).
In time, then, you could reap rewards of cash rebates, special merchandise, holiday packages, and more. If you find you have too many cards, though, you might also consider checking out a balance transfer card that could allow you to consolidate some or all of your existing debt into one balance (potentially at a lower interest rate). This reduces the number of payments you have to make and how much you have to pay in total as well as the number of fees you’ll have to pay if you miss your payment. Similarly, if you want a new credit card just to finance a holiday or a home renovation, for example, you might opt for a new card that has an extremely low introductory interest (sometimes even as low as 0% if you qualify).
As with most things, it is important to strike a balance, but with finances it is very important. This doesn’t mean that you should reduce spending, but carrying a credit with the proper benefits could make your spending that much more lucrative.