• 08Aug

    When things get too expensive, but everyone seems to either want or benefit from such an expense, can you pool resources together? Like many financial choices, this will leave you with your share of advantages and drawbacks, so it’s useful to be aware of this before jumping into anything.

    Aside from any legal factors, the points here can be made for any joint cause, whether that is joint expenses, borrowing or anything else. If you’re going to make a major commitment in this way, it is advisable that you speak to a professional first to try and understand your rights and options.

    Equal Costs

    First of all, the costs should, arguably, be equal. If you’re all paying for something, whether it’s a holiday, service or item, then it should be an equal split. It is not fair for you to be paying more and, although it can be tempting to get away with paying less, group commitments such as this often work best when they are based on honesty.

    Ownership

    Likewise, if everyone pays equally, who has ownership? This is one of the more complicated aspects of money. Some things, such as syndicates, can be set up to share costs but when it comes to direct items, this often isn’t possible. Even then, joint ownership is a long and complex commitment. What would happen, for instance, if someone in the group wishes to opt out or sell? In these cases it’s best to have money saved over to help buy their share out, otherwise this could become a complicated argument that could tie up much more of your money.

    Contract

    Finally, the legal side can be complicated, depending on what is actually being purchased/borrowed/spent etc, but there are always common basics involved in any legal situation. Contracts can help to clear up any problems, but amongst friends and family they can be a difficult subject to bring up.

    Obviously, a payday loan is the kind of borrowing that you can’t share with other people. This is because it’s a short term loan, based on your payday. Making it more complicated by involving more people would slow the entire process down, possibly defeating the point behind them in the first place.

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  • 08Oct

    Let’s face it; times are tough and saving is near impossible for many. With interest rates being at a record low, returns are minimal and everyday living costs are slowly creeping up.

    The outlook is bleak, but it’s not all doom and gloom – you can make your money go further by shopping smart. Here are a few top tips to make the most of your money.

    Promotions

    Instead of parting with your cash, why not give up your time for some free goodies. You could write reviews of products, participate in marketing surveys, sign up to focus groups in favour of getting gifts, vouchers and free stuff.

    Kellogg’s, for example, opened a pop up store in London’s Soho last month where they were giving away free packets of their newly launched Special K Cracker crisps in return for a mention on Twitter.

    Vouchers

    Through such dark times of austerity has come the glorious birth of vouchers and discounts. From leg waxes to Legoland adventures, you can now find discounts and vouchers for almost anything.

    Take advantage of this by downloading a free voucher app to your smartphone so you can have vouchers on demand wherever you go.

    Buy own brands

    Can you taste the difference between branded goods and non-branded goods? If not, why pay more for it? It’s significantly cheaper to store branded goods.

    Nearly a quarter of Brits on average incomes have in fact done the switch from branded to non branded to make their money stretch further, according to Axa’s Big Money Index.

    If you think you might struggle with everyday living costs, you may be thinking about a payday advance.

    If an emergency has left you short, this may be useful, but be careful – it does need to be repaid within the month to avoid high interest rates, and isn’t a long term solution as a result.

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  • 05Oct

    Mobile phone giant Vodafone is pushing up prices across its so-called ‘fixed’ tariffs. This could add an extra £10 to the annual mobile bill and affect millions of customers.

    The sneaky network provider has a clause shrouded in small print, which allows them to change the price of the ‘fixed’ tariff as an inflation linked rise.

    As of 1 November Vodafone will push prices up by 2.4% which will see a £35-a-month contract rise by 84p or £10 a year.

    This will affect nine million customers who started a contract before 7n September. If you are concerned about your mobile phone bill, here are a few top tips to reduce costs.

    Know your tariff

    Are you on the right tariff for you? If not, you could easily be overspending and paying far more for going over your limits or underusing and paying too much for a service you don’t need.

    Think about what kind of mobile phone user you are, for example if you’re a big talker you might need more minutes than texts or if you need to be on emails frequently, more data could be your main priority.

    Don’t over commit

    Don’t sign up to a terrible tariff for 24 months just because you want to get the latest iPhone. If you cannot make the monthly payments you could fall into debt and interest will soon follow.

    Unless you are certain of the state of your personal finances for the next two years, it might not be a good move. There are plenty of 12-month or even rolling monthly contracts which make a better alternative.

    If you end up having financial problems due to a combination of a bad tariff and  a financial emergency, you could always opt for a loan from payday UK if you know you’ll be able to repay after a few weeks.

    These are easy to apply for, and can help tide you over in the short term, although they’re not a long term solution.

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  • 05Oct

    Kellogg’s has been giving away its newly launched Special K Cracker crisps for free all week, in return for a mention on social media site Twitter. 

    The company opened a pop-up shop in Soho, London, which allowed customers to try the new range crisps for free, before asking them to post a review on Twitter.

    The low calories snacks would normally cost around 60p, but Kellogg’s hoped the publicity stunt would increase awareness of the product, which has steered the firm into the savoury snack market for the first time.

    The pop-up shop closes the same day (28 September), but there are plenty of other ways to go about finding free things:

    • If you reckon you’re better off staying at home this weekend because you’re lacking in funds, think again! There are plenty of things to see for free, including country houses, beautiful gardens and local museums. If you can get yourself to London, there are a plethora of exhibitions, galleries and exciting events which do not cost a penny.
    • If you’re in town picking up some necessities, why not pop in your local Boots? Beauty stores often give away free samples of products such as perfume and moisturising creams, especially if a new product has recently been launched.
    • Got a popular blog? Or contacts in the media? Sometimes companies are willing to send out free items in exchange for a review. This benefits firms as they will get more exposure.
    • Is there a birthday coming up in the family? Or an anniversary? If you’re planning on going out to celebrate, let your server know what you are celebrating. Restaurants will sometimes give out free drinks or desserts in the event of a special occasion, so it is always worth a try!
    • Haircuts are notoriously expensive. However, if you offer yourself up as a hair model for trainees, you are likely to get your haircuts for free – or at least at a reduced price. There is always a supervisor watching over, so you needn’t worry about any hair-related disasters.

    If hunting down free items is not going to be enough to pull you out of a financial emergency, you could take out a payday advance as long as you know you’ll be able to repay it when you get paid – although it is always worth trying to budget beforehand, and avoiding it if you think you won’t be able to repay on time..

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  • 25Sep

    Although the UK enjoyed a whole week of sun at the beginning of September, it was long overdue. And as Britain plunges into winter we’re unlikely to see the sun at its hottest for quite some time now.

    This summer’s miserable weather sent Brits swarming overseas on the hunt for some sunshine and mild weather, leaving tourism businesses in the UK only half as busy as they would be in an average year.

    While some people may be thinking about booking a holiday this autumn or winter in order to escape the wind and rain, others may even be considering investing in property abroad, where better weather is practically guaranteed. With this in mind we have created a brief money-saving guide to searching for properties abroad:

    • Properties around the world are falling in value at this very moment. Look around for the cheapest locations that tick all the boxes on your property wish list. Bulgaria, Spain and Greece are good bets at the moment
    • Do your research. It is important not to rush the process as buying property abroad requires more time and research than buying property on home soil. Keep your objectives clear: are you looking for a property to enjoy over your retirement or as a holiday home, or is it an investment?
    • Be aware of exchange rate movements, as rates need not move significantly to affect the value of your purchase. It is worth speaking with a foreign exchange specialist before making a decision, as this could result in fewer problems and a lower overall cost
    • Think carefully about the risk to reward ratio. Buying a property overseas may be an exciting prospect, but it pays to bear in mind that investing in foreign property may come with major risks.
    • Remember: if you need fast cash amid an emergency financial situation, you can always take a payday advance into consideration – as long as you know you will be able to pay it back quickly.

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  • 25Sep

    Research by the Santander 123 account has revealed that 14 million Brits collectively borrow £3.6 billion a month in order to pay for basic household bills.

    Some 17% of people opt for overdrafts, while 15% choose credit cards to find additional funds. Over one million people collectively borrow £2 billion annually from payday lenders.

    However, despite all this borrowing, only 32% of Brits regularly shop around for better deals on services such as utilities or telecoms providers.

    Reza Attar-Zadeh, banking director at Santander, said: “The fact that only a third of people are regularly looking for ways to reduce their monthly bills is worrying, as there are a number of opportunities to bring these costs down that require very little effort or change.”

    How can you easily reduce your monthly bills?

    • Pay by direct debit. You should be able to set up a direct debit account with most providers, who will provide you with discounts for doing so
    • Compare the market. Spending half an hour a week checking out offerings from providers other than your own could save you hundreds
    • If you have an internet, phone and cable service, moving all of your accounts to one provider could save you cash
    • Get involved in the ‘voucher culture’: it could chop hundreds off your grocery bills over the year
    • Move to a fixed-price energy plan with no exit penalty fees. These are running out fast, so don’t hang around too long
    • Unmetered bills take the property’s size into account, so if you have more bedrooms than people in the house you could save money by installing a water meter

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  • 06Sep

    With the relentless recession bearing down on the UK, Brits are doing everything they can to cut down costs and save pennies – including buying used cars. However, dodgy used cars topped the list of the ten most complained about consumer issues between April and June this year, Citizens Advice Bureau consumer service warns.

    Citizens Advice reported that their callers purchased a whopping £55 million worth of used cars from independent dealers but according to research, between April and June 2012 there were over 12,000 complaints about second hand cars bought from independent dealers.

    Around two thirds of the complaints claimed the car was faulty, while one in ten complained that salespeople imparted misleading information regarding the vehicle.

    So what can consumers do to protect themselves?

    • Fully inspect the car – make sure you spend sufficient time checking the condition of the car. Do the seatbelts work? What about the headlights? Is the paintwork in good condition? Make sure you go through everything thoroughly to avoid any unwelcome surprises once you get home.

    • Take it for a spin – taking the car out for a test drive is essential as it will give you a chance to check out the brakes, clutch, and steering. It will also help you identify any glaring problems: such as the car pulling to one side or a strong smell of petrol.

    • Check the mileage – the average mileage per year is around 10,000 and if it is much higher than this, the car could be more likely to encounter problems in the future. On the other hand, if it is suspiciously low it may well have been tampered with.

    • Have a rough price in mind – by doing this you will be better equipped to determine what makes a good deal. Stay in the know by scanning second hand advertisements in the paper or using online guides to used car values.

    • Investigate the vehicle’s history – you can make checks through the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency), an MOT or a private history check. This will go some way to preventing you from purchasing a car that is being sold illegally.

    If you need to replace or repair your vehicle at short notice, a same day loan could help with any emergency money-related difficulties; however, it does need to be paid back once you get paid to avoid it becoming a more expensive way to obtain credit.

     

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  • 03Sep

    Following the news that energy company E.on is failing to pass on the full benefit of drops in wholesale prices comes the revelation that the high prices crippling its customers have seen its profit margins soar by almost a quarter.

    The German firm experienced a sharp increase in its profits in the first half of the year by charging its four million UK customers on average £200 more for their annual dual fuel bill than they did in January last year.

    The average yearly dual fuel bill now clocks in at £1,261, 55% higher than the £813 customers paid in early 2008.

    Reading through the following tips could help you to reduce your energy bill:

    • Unplug appliances you rarely use, such as spare refrigerators. Likewise, keep chargers for things like phones and cameras unplugged until you need them.
    • Use power strips to fully switch off TVs and stereos when not in use. Even when you think these are off, their combined ‘standby’ consumption can equal that of a 75-100 watt light bulb running continuously.
    • Make sure you have enabled the ‘sleep’ mode on your laptop or computer. This means that less power is consumed during periods of inactivity.
    • Similarly, the ‘hibernate’ mode turns the computer off automatically after a certain time period of inactivity. Not only does this save energy, it also turns the computer off in such a way that you don’t have to reload everything when you switch it back on.
    • Turn your thermostat down by a couple of degrees this winter. A small change can make a huge difference to your energy bill each year.
    • Keeping blinds and curtains open on a sunny day, rather than relying on central heating, can save cash. Likewise, closing them at night can help to conserve natural warmth.

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  • 29Aug

    Rail fares are poised to rise by a massive 6.2% in January, higher than had been predicted by financial analysts.

    The greater-than-expected rise comes after officials announced a shock rise in inflation. The retail prices index (RPI) figure for July – which is used to work out how much season and saver tickets are permitted to increase in 2013 – rose from 2.8% to 3.2% the previous month.

    The figure, released by the Office for National Statistics, came as a surprise to the City, which had expected the rate to remain at 2.8%.

    The average fare increase is calculated by adding 3% to RPI, although some tickets can be hiked by a further five per cent on the condition that some other fares are slashed.

    The results are an increase of over 11%, which will be enforced on 1 January 2013. Angry commuters said that fares were increasing faster than salaries, sparking concern that ordinary people would be unable to use the railway system.

    Taking the following points into account could help you to keep your rail fare low:

    • Book in advance – Network Rail are obliged to set the timetable 12 weeks in advance. To get your hands on the lowest fares, try to book that far in advance – 12 weeks before travel.
    • Buy multiple tickets for one journey – An Anytime day return from London to Penzance can cost in excess of £250 but buying four singles (London to Plymouth, Plymouth to Penzance, Penzance to Plymouth and Plymouth to London) can reduce the price to a fifth of the original, to £50. Another point to bear in mind is that two singles are often cheaper than a return.
    • Travel off-peak – In a manner similar to airlines, rail companies reward those happy to travel when there is least demand. The hours may not be terribly appealing, but the low price certainly will.
    • Email alerts – You can sign up to thetrainline.com, which emails an alert as soon as cheap advance tickets for a particular journey are released on sale.
    • Getting to and from the station – For a cheaper overall journey, cycle or walk to the station rather than driving and shelling out a small fortune for daily parking.

    A payday loan could potentially help with any money-related difficulties you may have regarding commuting expenses in an emergency, although it does need to be paid back when you get paid to avoid it becoming a more expensive way to get credit.

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  • 15Aug

    Time and money are two things that most people are lacking these days. So, how can you save money while going about your daily business in an efficient manner?

    Shop groceries online

    The internet has made life much easier for everyone. Online shopping is one of the best time and money-saving ideas, since you can get your groceries delivered to your door for little or no cost.

    By purchasing groceries online you will avoid temptations and stick to your main shopping list. In addition, online grocery sites are very well structured these days and consumers can easily navigate their options without the additional temptation of seeing everything in front of you.

    Take public transport

    With sky-high petrol prices and car insurance premiums, taking the car out on a daily basis is almost a luxury. If you need to commute every day, consider taking public transport instead. Not only will you save money, but also considerable time avoiding traffic jams.

    Look at the price per unit

    Whenever you purchase food or another countable product, make sure you look at the price per unit parameter if what you are looking for is getting more for less. Since you will obtain a higher amount for a specific good, this will also save you time because you will not need to visit the shop as often.

    Go for a run

    If your stretched bank account doesn’t allow you to keep fit at the gym, a good idea is to go for a run in roads or parks near you house. Running is free and also very hard work, which means that with just a 30 minute run you can burn as many calories as you would if you spent one hour in a gym class – and also save the actual time that it takes going to the gym.

    Buy food that does not require too much preparation

    Even if you stick to cheap deals, buying food every day in your lunch break can end up costing you a fortune -not to mention the trips to the food shop. Preparing your meal at home, in contrast, will help you save considerable time and money – not to mention the health factor.

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