Piggy banks are not just the cute pig-shaped money jars for kids. Piggy banking is also a system of dividing your money into different ‘pots’, or accounts. It is also known as "jam jar accounting" or "the envelope method". Each pot represents a different aspect of your life you need money for. So, for example, you might have one account for your most important bills such as the mortgage or … [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!
If your fixed mortgage has ended, or will soon, you could face a large increase in your mortgage payments. Most mortgage revert to their lender's Standard Variable Rate (SVR) when a fix ends. In summer 2019, the average SVR is 4.9%. You can get much cheaper fixes than that! This affects a lot of people. In October 2019, fixed rate mortgages worth £26billion are coming to an end. More than … [Read more...]
You have the A level grades - well done! There are now just a few weeks to get organised for uni in September 2019. 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 … [Read more...]
Do you find it hard or impossible to save? many people feel they ought to be able save but always fail when they try. others are saving for a big goal but not as fast as they want. if you are struggling with money, you may desperately want a small emergency savings pot to make life a bit less stressful. There isn't a simple answer - no way is easy for everyone. What works for one … [Read more...]
You need something that puts you in control of your spending. Your grandparents used to budget using a pencil and paper. But they didn't have contactless cards and mobile bills and overdrafts and credit cards and takeaways... Now many people find it harder to budget and feel they have lost control. For a budget to make your life easier, it has to be simple, not time-consuming and … [Read more...]
Have you heard that a guarantor loan is a good way to improve a bad credit score? That isn't good advice. There are big problems with guarantor loans and there are much better ways to improve a bad credit rating! If you already have a guarantor loan, or you are the guarantor for someone else's loan, see the bottom of this article where I look at what your options are. Many people want to … [Read more...]
A reader asked: My credit score isn’t following the rules you described on How much will my credit score change if...? I cleared a default two months ago and my score hardly changed. And four days ago another default should have gone but I can see it's still there on ClearScore. What do I have to do? Should I complain to ClearScore or the creditors? Trying to sort out a poor credit score can … [Read more...]
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...]
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...]
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...]