Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) helps people with the cost of their mortgage if they aren't working. It was paid as a benefit from 1948, but in 2018 this stopped. SMI is now only given as a loan that is secured on your house, see the gov.uk page on SMI. But this loan is VERY cheap and you don't have to make any repayments to it, so this is not as bad as it sounds. How much help does SMI … [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!
Is your main aim in 2022 to be better with money, clear your debts or save a house deposit? This could be a New Years Resolution - perhaps the result of a Christmas financial hangover. You could think of this as being a financial detox for when your bank balance looks sick and your debts look bloated. Or you could need it at any time during the year when you realise things have to … [Read more...]
Piggy banks are not just cute money jars for kids. Piggy banking is also a system of dividing your money into different ‘pots’, or accounts. This approach is also known as "sinking funds", "jam jar accounting" or "the envelope method". Each pot represents a different aspect of your future spending. Benefits of piggy banking You may have seen people talking about piggy banking on MSE or … [Read more...]
If your fixed mortgage has ended, or will soon, you could face a large increase in your mortgage payments. Most mortgages revert to their lender's Standard Variable Rate (SVR) when a fix ends. That is bad news because SVRs are higher than new fixes. Some lenders use a different term, such as "Follow On Rate", but SVR is the most common. In late 2021, the average SVR was 2% higher than a new … [Read more...]
The number of people setting off for the shops in post-Christmas sales in 2021 was down by more than a third compared with 2019. Lots of us are still bargain hunting though, we have just switched to online. But in-store or online, how do you spot the real bargains? It's great to take advantage of a Sale - but can you be sure you are not the one being taken advantage of? There is a whole … [Read more...]
A reader, Mr D, asked: My partner and I have a combined income of £56,000, We have a deposit of £28,000 (inheritance) and are looking to become first time buyers at a price of £230,000. We have defaulted debts that are being paid off, and previous history of payday loans from over 2 years ago from a time when our financial situation was much more difficult. The defaults are about 18 months … [Read more...]
In mid November 2021, ClearScore has finally adopted the new 1000 Equifax credit scores. Equifax credit scoring changed in April 2021, when it switched to calculating scores out of 1000 - they used to be calculated out of 700. It also changed the bands used to describe your credit rating. Equifax didn't make an announcement about these changes. The Equifax Credit Report & Score was … [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 Basic, an app that take the hard work out of saving. It moves small amounts that you won't miss from your bank account into a savings account several times a month. Originally this … [Read more...]
A reader asked if she should sign up to Experian's Boost. Are any disadvantages? Would it really help her credit score? Experian's new Boost facility was introduced in the UK in November 2020: it can increase your Experian Credit Score by a maximum of 101 points; it is set up so it can never harm your credit score. Hundreds of thousands of people have used it. Let's see how it … [Read more...]
Here is my pick of apps and other #FinTech (Financial Technology) products that help you budget and save if you live in the UK. My interest here is people who are short of money. It doesn't include apps getting you to invest in the stock market. But the budgeting apps will also help anyone who doesn't have debt problems but wants to save more, for a house deposit, a big holiday or to improve … [Read more...]