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...]
Budgeting & Savings
Good budgeting is the cornerstone of dealing with debts. The basics are covered in Top tips for simple & realistic budgeting that works.
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.
And having some savings will make it easier to stick to a budget month after month, rather than having a crisis every time an unexpectedly large expense happens.
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... they may know nothing about the current … [Read more...]
On 6 August 2015, the charity StepChange published a discussion paper: Becoming a nation of savers: Keeping families out of debt by helping them prepare for a rainy day. This looks at which families are least likely to have any savings (people on low-to-moderate incomes, people in rented accommodation and people with younger children), the financial and social benefits of having savings and … [Read more...]
MoneySupermarket have found that on average people are being charged an extra £73 to pay their car insurance monthly. And as more than 45% of people do this. Do people realise the extra cost? The Financial Conduct Authority's Thematic Review of Provision of premium finance to retail general insurance customers may sound dull - but read on if you are one of the millions who pay for your car … [Read more...]
If you are in a debt management plan (DMP), an IVA, a Debt Relief Order (DRO) or have gone bankrupt, then you probably have little 'spare money' each month. It may seem very difficult to save anything - but you need an emergency fund even more because you will find it difficult or impossible to borrow in a crisis. A small emergency fund is your financial first aid kit If you can only save … [Read more...]
A lot of personal finance advice starts out with "Everyone needs an emergency fund". A survey showed that a third of middle-class families couldn't pay an unexpected bill of £500 without borrowing, so the lack of savings is a very widespread problem. But what if you already have debts that you are paying off? Accumulating an emergency fund will delay clearing the debts and increase the interest … [Read more...]
Having a cheap holiday at home may not sound a lot of fun. If you are trying to blitz down your debts (is that one of your 2018 New Year resolutions?) it can be a huge gain. If your credit card is maxed out you may not have an option - but you can make a deliberate decision about what you do instead. I asked some friends when they had done this and what they did, there were a wide variety of … [Read more...]
If you want to cut your expenses, food should be high up on your list. Food shopping is a large part of most people's budgets and it's also one that you have a lot of control over. It's not easy or quick to cut what you spend on rent, council tax or transport costs, but adopting a few new habits can help you reduce your grocery bill and still eat well. Plan, plan, plan Planning is the key to … [Read more...]
If you feel your money just vanishes or you are worried your budget isn't realistic, tracking your spending will give you the facts you need to take control. Without knowing what you actually spend, all too often plans to cut back are just good intentions that don't work in practice. Why you need a spending diary Many people have little idea about what they spend - it feels as though their … [Read more...]