Ways to boost your bank balance in 2015

The new year is the perfect time to sort out your finances. PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.
The new year is the perfect time to sort out your finances. PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.

A new year is upon us and what better time could there be to make a fresh start.

For many of us, our bank balances are feeling rather battered right now and the next pay day seems way off over the horizon.

It might seem like bad news, but actually, it’s a great prompt to make a plan of action for some financial new year’s resolutions that will stretch your money further in 2015.

Here are some ideas to get the year off to a rosier start:

Many banks and building societies have ramped up competition to attract customers over the last year, following industry-wide rules which were introduced in late 2013 to make it easier for people to ditch their old current account provider and switch to a new one.

The new switching rules mean it’s quicker to switch and outgoing and incoming payments are automatically moved over to the new provider.

A guarantee is in place which means that if anything goes wrong with the switch, you shouldn’t be left out of pocket as a result.

Several providers are offering cash to move to them. For example, Halifax is offering £100 to switch, the Co-operative Bank is offering £100 plus a £25 donation to charity and Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks are offering £150.

Some providers are offering particularly attractive rates of interest on their current accounts in the low interest rate environment.

Nationwide Building Society and TSB both have current accounts that offer a 5% interest rate, while Santander’s 123 current account offers interest of 3% plus cashback on bills.

You’ll need to consider how you use your account and consider whether you’re usually in credit or overdrawn to gauge which is the best-value deal for your personal circumstances.

Recent research from consumer group Which? found that successful savers tend to see saving as a habit and put money away regularly, no matter how much or how little.

Savers haven’t exactly had it easy finding decent returns for their cash, but at least in 2014 they were handed the freedom to put more cash away tax-free