UPDATE - September 2020 - now Credit Ladder are proposing to charge you £60 a year to report to both Experian and Equifax. I suggest you don't bother! As a means of paying to try to improve your credit score this seems unnecessary, reporting to two is very little better than reporting to one. Do yourself a favour and pay that £5 a month off a debt instead. Or add it to your savings account if … [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!
At the beginning of 2020, this article started by saying "95% mortgages are back in fashion" and pointed out how many more 95% mortgage offers there were compared to a few years ago. That is no longer true. In mid 2020, it is now very hard to get a mortgage with a 10% deposit. The 5% deposit offers have all vanished. Mortgage lenders are concerned that house prices may fall for the next … [Read more...]
Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCAs) are arrangements that allow friends to save together and withdraw lump sums from the scheme. ROSCAs are unregulated, relying on trust. The Money Advice Service says "those who use [ROSCAs] say they encourage savings and allow people without bank accounts access to credit." They have different names around the world, including tanda in South … [Read more...]
Should you have money left each month but it just seems to vanish? If you are paying off debts, you may still want to put a bit aside so it's easier to cope with unexpected problems. This article looks at Plum and Chip, two apps that take the hard work out of saving. They move small amounts that you won't miss from your bank account into a savings account several times a month. I like them … [Read more...]
Funerals are expensive. The average funeral now costs £4,000 - that is an 80% increase in the last ten years. This article looks at ways of covering all or some of the funeral costs if you have to organise a funeral, let's say for Sally as I don't want to keep writing "the deceased". Funeral Payments can help if you are benefits If you get certain means-tested benefits including Universal … [Read more...]
Want to be better with money in 2020? If you eat and drank and sat on the sofa far too much over Christmas, you may be thinking of detoxing your body and getting fit. A Money Detox is the same approach for your finances if your bank balance looks sick and your credit card bill looks bloated. Perhaps this isn't just a nice-to-do but you NEED to be better, because you have lost your job or … [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? A lot of firms are closing or making some staff redundant because of Coronavirus. If your firm has just closed suddenly, you may be worried about getting the pay for the weeks you have already worked, the pay … [Read more...]
A reader asked: "A friend said not to pay my defaulted debts off but save money towards a deposit for a mortgage - is this a good idea?" It's often unwise to rely on friends for debt advice... They may be guessing, their situation may have been quite different from yours, or they may be assuming what happened to them years ago is still useful today. But they may know nothing about the current … [Read more...]
If you have too much debt, you may not want to do anything that will harm your credit score. But do you have any better alternatives? That depends on three factors: what is your credit record like at the moment? If it isn't good, then it isn't worth trying to protect! Check your credit score now, so you have accurate information. can you make the monthly payments to your debts? The … [Read more...]
Have you made some New Year Resolutions for 2020 - or even for the new decade? Millions of people in Britain want to improve their finances - start saving, clear debts, pay less interest, get a better credit rating etc. I think it's a good idea to ask yourself what you would like to change in 2020. If you carry on doing the same, then you probably aren't going to succeed with those … [Read more...]