How do you spot the real bargains and avoid buying things you will later regret? The human brain is very good at processing lots of information fast by grabbing hold of important facts early on and letting them dominate decisions. That was perfect when we were out hunting for food and living in caves, but in a shopping mall or online it can go badly wrong! Lots of shouty Sale signs and money … [Read more...]
I write about a lot of Personal Finance that isn't directly about problem debts. Those articles are gathered here.
Spending - reducing or controlling it is usually essential if you want to reduce your debts. So Budgeting is another big topic.
Your grandparents used a pen and paper, but now we have Apps to make all this easier.
Mortgages - sometimes thought of as the only good sort of debt!
Credit ratings - important if you have too much debt or very little!
Here are some ideas to cut down what you spend this year on Christmas. It's not worth getting into more debt for one day which will make all of 2019 much harder for you. With just over a month to go this is a good time to be starting to plan. Finding ideas for cheap presents in mid-December can be too late to get them delivered in time - even Amazon Prime's one-day delivery often lets you down … [Read more...]
Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) helps people with the cost of their mortgage if they aren't working. It has been paid as a benefit since 1948, but in April 2018 this changed and now it is only given as a loan that is secured on your house. Here is the DWP leaflet describing the new loan: DWP SMI Factsheet (6 April). You may see LMI (loans for Morgage Interest) used as the new name for this, … [Read more...]
Are you worrying about how to afford the heating this year after the price rises in 2018? The good news is millions may be able to get £140 off their electricity bill through the Warm Home Discount scheme if they are on a low income. Five points for applying for a Warm Home Discount The key points for making a Warm Home Discount application in 2018 are: Pensioners do not need to apply, … [Read more...]
You have the A level grades - well done! There are now just a few weeks to get organised for uni in September 2018. What should your top priorities be for managing your money? And what should you avoid? Living on a student loan is hard You will probably get more money in your bank account than you have ever had before. But most students find it harder to manage than they expected. It’a not … [Read more...]
Affording school uniforms can be very difficult for any parents on low incomes - if you are in debt it can be a nightmare. A Citizens Advice survey found that a quarter of all parents have to borrow money to afford uniforms. This isn't just a financial problem. Children who aren't wearing "the right uniform" are at risk of being stigmatised or bullied. Government is making the right … [Read more...]
A reader asks: Help! I have just been made redundant and I don't know how I am going manage, especially as we have debts. I'm only getting a few weeks redundancy pay. What should I do? Every week in 2018 seems to bring more news of shops and other businesses closing down. And it's not just the big names like House of Fraser and Carillion - when one firm shuts, its suppliers and small local … [Read more...]
Paying off debt can feel like a long war with your creditors - you may have a good few months and then some setbacks. But what if this battle was a game of tennis? Listening to the Wimbledon commentators gives clues about how the top players approach training and big matches ... Here are five ideas that can also be applied to clearing debt. 1) Improve your skills "She's been working … [Read more...]
Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) and other deals promising no interest sound so appealing. And so sensible if you are short of money. But very often you end up being charged large amounts of interest. The retailers offering these "bargains" know this happens and that they will make a lot of money from them So what goes wrong? Here are three things to look out for if you see one of these … [Read more...]
Do you have money problems because you get paid at different times to when your bills need paying? Or does your pay burn a hole in your pocket so you can't save? Here are some typical things I hear: "I get paid every 4 weeks and it's hard to make sure money is in the account when monthly direct debits come out"; "We spend too much at the start of the month and have nothing left for the … [Read more...]