It’s never too late to get money-wise: my opinion piece for the Scotsman

DON’T be shy looking after your finances, writes Iona Bain

Be honest: when was the last time you made a budget? Re-assessed your spending? Switched your current account, mortgage or energy bills? You probably put off these things because they seem too difficult and scary (not to mention boring). But being sloppy with money costs us all dearly – £7.6 billion a year, to be exact.

That’s the astonishing figure given by the Institute of Inertia (yes, it really does exist) to show the price of neglecting our finances. It reached that number by calculating how much we lose out by staying with the same banks, utility providers and insurers for years on end.

But is this entirely our fault? Most of us don’t even have the maths skills to suss out the best deals at the supermarket, according to the Open University Business School.

It asked 2,000 adults to sit a personal finance school exam last year. Most of them got questions wrong, while a third of them scored 43 per cent or less. Their teachers probably would have written: “Good effort, but must try harder.”

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