It's not too early to start thinking about Christmas! Finding ideas for cheap presents in mid-December is way too late to get them delivered in time. This is especially important if you have problem debts - some advance planning will help keep the costs down so Xmas 2017 will be less stressful and you won't be left with a financial hangover in January 2018. Tell people what your children … [Read more...]
Budgeting and debt
Good budgeting is the cornerstone of dealing with debts. If your debts aren't out of control but you want to pay them off as quickly as possible, taking control of what you spend will help you get there faster. If you are struggling it's vital that you don't waste any money at all!
The basics are covered in Smarter Budgeting, then follow that up with some of these articles looking at specific areas.
Are you wondering how to keep your children happily occupied at the lowest possible cost all through the summer holiday? Here is a pile of ideas, including a lot of new ones for 2017, and they are mostly free or pretty cheap. Get out of the house as often as possible Picnics! In your own garden or down at the local park. Sit around in the sun and show them how to make daisy-chains. Take a … [Read more...]
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...]
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 Chip and Plum, 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...]
If you have decided to take control of your expenditure, you may get depressed when it doesn't all go to plan. Improving your finances is a journey – one that takes time and planning. And as with all journeys, there can be stops and starts along the way. Don't let these derail your plan! I'm talking in this article about a plan to clear your problem debts. This could be forced on you if you … [Read more...]
Andy Webb from Be Clever With Your Cash rushed to the Bank of England to get one of the first fivers last year and proceeded to dunk it in water, put it in the washing machine and try to tear it. As you do. So I asked him what he thinks about the new pound coins. Now we’ve got a brand new pound coin. It’s shiny, as you’d hope with a freshly minted coin, and has a raft of anti-counterfeit … [Read more...]
Late December and early January are the best time of the year for sales. But it's all too easy to get caught up in the rush and end up with something that isn't such a good bargain at all. So how do you spot the real bargains? And how do you avoid being tempted into buying things you will later regret? Here are seven reasons why you should look hard at those tempting Sale! stickers before … [Read more...]
The government is planning to introduce a Help to Save scheme to encourage people on low incomes to build up a rainy day fund. It is consulting on the details of the scheme and asking for responses by 21 July 2016. I have looked before at whether you should save an emergency fund or repay debt, and at the importance of saving for people in a DMP, IVA, DRO or bankruptcy. So I am very interested … [Read more...]
Are you worrying about how to afford the electricity and gas bills this winter? For the last couple of years, prices have remained stable or fallen a bit, but in winter 2016 many people will be seeing price rises, putting extra pressure on your budget. The good news is that two million households may be able to get £140 off their electricity bill through the Warm Home Discount scheme if they … [Read more...]
MoneySupermarket have found that in 2016 on average people are being charged an extra £73 to pay their car insurance monthly. And as more than 45% of people pay do this - up from about 40% in 2014 - that is a lot of extra profit for the insurers. Do people realise the extra cost? In May 2015, the Financial Conduct Authority published its Thematic Review of Provision of premium finance to … [Read more...]