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Fergus will be back on the John Beattie Show on BBC Radio Scotland on Wednesday just after the 1pm news with some great tips to help organise your money and understand your consumer rights. This week he'll be looking at the best way to spring clean your finances at the beginning of a new tax year. Catch up on previous shows here

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Don’t bank on your statement being correct.

When was the last time you checked your bank statement? And I don’t mean a quick glance through it to make sure that you were paid on time. And that your mortgage payment was taken off on the day it should have been. I mean a proper study, line by line, to make sure that you understand every credit and debit on the statement.

“Why should you have to do that?” I hear you ask. Surely the bank will just pay the debits I ask them to pay. Surely they know to deduct all the items I’ve bought with my debit card. And to credit my salary or pension or any other money that I have transferred into my account.

Well, in a normal month that is what you would expect to happen, and in the vast majority of cases it is exactly what will happen.

But what about the direct debit you set up for a six-month trial of that new magazine you fancied. Or the free trial for a newspaper that insisted that you gave them your bank details when you set it up. Did you remember to cancel them at the end of the free trial period? Because the company certainly won’t be writing to you to tell you if you didn’t. Instead they’ll be deducting £24.99 or some similar amount every month starting next week.

Are you still paying for that gym membership even although you moved house six months ago. Or for a satellite TV subscription that you forgot to cancel when you switched to cable a couple of months ago.

What about Netflix or Amazon Prime that you said you would merge with your partner’s account when you moved in together.

The list is almost endless. And quite often it’s not a case of a company trying to rip you off. It’s simply that you’re not on top of your administration and you forget to cancel a mandate when your circumstances changed.

Go and do it now. Log-on if you use online banking, or pull out your most recent statement if you still deal in paper. Check that  each and every entry is accurate.


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It looks as if the Financial conduct Authority might be about to take action to help so-called 'mortgage prisoners', borrowers who have loans with companies that are no longer trading.

60 Second Tips

In a brand new series listen to and watch Fergus Muirhead here as he explains common money and consumer issues in less than one minute.
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