Save £500 a year by simply switching to Freeview plus cut back without missing out with practical money saving tips from Independent Financial Expert Alvin Hall. With everyone feeling the pinch from Christmas, the prospect of ever-rising bills and costs ahead in 2012, it’s no wonder that everyone gets the January blues. Rail fares have increased by an average of 6% and prices at the pump not looking likely to fall, so it’s great time to look forward to the year ahead with some money-saving tips from Freeview, the UK’s number one, subscription-free, digital TV service. One simple way to save big in 2012 is by switching to Freeview from a subscription TV service – a move which can save you almost £500 a year*. And to help you make 2012 as prosperous as possible, Freeview has asked Independent Financial Expert, Alvin Hall, for some more easy and simple money saving tips so you can make the most out of your hard earned cash for the year ahead. Alvin Hall’s Money Saving Tips: 1. Work to a budget: make a list of everything you plan to spend money on – bills, food, gifts, allowing yourself the odd treat. Make sure you have a line called “Cash Reserves.” This money will enable you to take advantage of any unexpected sales or bargains without breaking the budget – and will allow you to make the most of January sale savings that are to be had. 2. Prioritise: remember what your top priorities are and where you can compromise without feeling guilty. Planning ahead and working to your budget will make prioritising and unexpected bills, much easier. 3. Plan your shopping outings: this will save you time, reduce your petrol costs and prevent you from making spontaneous and unnecessary purchases. Shopping online will also save you from any momentary weaknesses that result in you splashing out on those non-essentials. 4. Make it yourself: prepare your own lunch as much as possible and you’ll soon notice how much you save day-to-day. Buying fresh foods for homemade dinners will also help cut the cost. This is a great way to boost New Year diets and help you stick to your resolutions. 5. Buy storable goods when they are on special offer: when shopping for food, buy anything that can be stored, especially tin cans and frozen foods, when they are on special offer such as ‘Buy One Get One Free’. This is an easy way to save on the cost of food throughout the course of the year. 6. Buy goods over the Internet: use the Internet to check prices before making any big purchases, such as children’s toys, mobile phones, cameras, trainers, PCs and TVs. They are likely to cost less because the sellers don’t have the cost of paying rent on a shop space. And although the creators of luxury goods want to protect their brand as well as the exclusivity of the products availability, sometimes big department stores makes these goods available at great prices. 7. Maximise rewards points: make your spending work multiple times for you. Several credit card or frequent traveller programs offer three, four, or five rewards points for each pound spent online at specific participating retailers. Organise your spending to maximise the benefit you get from this offer. Your careful spending just might reduce the cost of a nice holiday next summer. Make the most of loyalty schemes at your regular supermarkets and retailers as well – the points soon add up and can be used to reduce the cost of future purchases. Also look out for voucher deals – a lot of retailers offer discounts in the New Year to persuade shoppers and diners. 8. Quality over quantity: make bigger investments rather than buying several things that are compromises. This takes discipline and you must know what will give you the most long-term happiness but will help you save on future replacement purchases down the line in 2012. 9. Start a savings account: set up an account that you’re committed to saving a set amount in each month. Putting a manageable amount aside per month will be a great help when Christmas comes around again. And finally, one further money saving tip from Freeview to help you save in 2012: Switch to Freeview: save yourself almost £500* a year by opting to invest in a one-off payment for a Freeview+ HD box instead of a pricey monthly satellite subscription. You’ll still be able to enjoy up to 50 channels including E4, BBC Three and Really as well as four HD channels that Freeview HD has to offer, all without a monthly fee. And to make sure you don’t miss out on your favourite programmes, with Freeview+ you can record and store them for you to watch at a time that suits you. *Based on a monthly Sky TV entertainment extra subscription with movies and sports costing £53 versus a Freeview+ HD Box with a one-off payment of £150: £636 – £150 = £486. Prices correct as of December 2011.