Easy Everyday Cost-Cutting Tactics

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No matter how much you cut costs, there will obviously always be plenty of things that you need to buy. There are also times when it is worth spending more for better-quality, and times when you just want to treat yourself because you can afford it and feel you deserve it.

There is nothing wrong with any of these expenses, but it’s nice to keep their total cost down as far as possible. In particular, it’s nice when you can get exactly what you need (or what you were paying for anyway), but pay noticeably less than you were expecting to.

Cashback Websites

Some time ago now, “affiliate schemes” started to catch on among online retailers. Through these schemes, if another website (the affiliate) sends customers their way and those customers make a purchase, the affiliate gets a cut of the money. The idea is simply to gain more customers.

Cashback websites take advantage of these schemes, splitting their commission with you or even giving it all to you and relying on ad revenue. That way, you get to save money while shopping with major online retailers, just by using the cashback website’s affiliate link instead of heading directly to the store you want to buy from. Savings on most day-to-day purchases will be pennies or a couple of pounds (which can still mount up over time), but on big things like car insurance and broadband contracts the savings can be big.

Switching Suppliers

Regularly switching suppliers of energy, phone/broadband, insurance and so on has become one of the most oft-quoted pieces of money-saving advice. There is extremely good reason for this, because savings can be massive. For example, it recently emerged that a very large percentage of customers are overpaying for energy, mainly by around £160-£235 a year, simply through failing to switch.

In particular, make sure you don’t switch once and then become complacent, pleased with yourself for finding the best deal. Prices often go up as soon as a contract runs out, and even if the cost is going to stay the same markets are constantly changing and the best deals are almost inevitably those for new customers. As a rule, you should start looking for a new provider as soon as the contract with your old one runs out if you want to be sure you are getting the best deal. There are a couple of considerations to make besides price, however. Make sure you are being quoted for a like-for-like service, or the quotes may simply not be comparable. It could also be worth checking out independent reviews to make sure the company won’t provide substandard service.

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The Best Things to Buy Second Hand

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Buying second hand is one of the most well-known tactics to get things for less. The trade-off, of course, is that second hand items have already been used so they will have amassed some wear and tear and have a shorter service life left to them. However, there are certain things which are not particularly susceptible to this problem, and buying these things second hand can be a great way to save money with few if any drawbacks.

Books

Books will generally remain eminently readable even if they become dog-eared and floppy. Most second hand books, however, are in very good condition. They are widely available from charity shops, specialist bookshops, and online for extremely low prices – often a fraction of the original cover price. Unless you want to snap up a new release as soon as it comes out, you will almost certainly be better off buying second hand.

If you like to experiment with new books, you could try buying very cheap ones from a charity shop and then returning them for someone else to read when you are done. That way, you are saving money, reducing clutter in your home, and passing on the opportunity to other book-lovers.

DVDs, CDs and Computer Games

These disc-based goods hold up to their second hand status almost as well as books. Generally, a disc will have to be quite badly scratched before it develops problems. Unless the previous owner was careless, it is probably almost pristine as simply being played does not really put any wear and tear on a disc. These items rarely offer any real disadvantage when bought second hand. Most retailers inspect second hand discs before sale, and will happily accept a return if there is a problem.

CDs are particularly interesting. In the age of the digital download, they have been an oft-neglected medium for some time. For this reason, second hand CDs are often sold at bargain bucket prices. This means that buying a CD and then digitising the tracks (a simple process using software that comes with new computers as standard) can actually be cheaper than downloading.

Cars

Cars depreciate quickly. This fact is the bane of many car owners, but it can be a blessing when it comes to buying a second hand car. Buying cars that have previously been owned is already a popular process, but even if you want the newest model it can still be worth looking at second hand models. Even cars that are just a few months old with very low mileage will sometimes appear on the market, and will generally offer a noticeable discount while in reality being little different from a brand new car.

There are sometimes advantages of buying a new car over a good second hand one. These are usually not so much anything to do with the car itself, but rather retailer promotions like attractive finance deals, long warranties, or free servicing. Sometimes, similar deals can be available on second hand cars if bought from a dealer rather than privately.

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Simple Tips for Prioritising Your Various Debt Repayments

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Nobody wants to be in debt, but sometimes we find ourselves in a position where we have got ourselves into a lot of debt. It might seem like they are pushing down on our shoulders and that there is no way of seeing the light of day, but there is a way to make things a bit easier. Here are some simple tips for prioritising debt repayments.

Compile a List of Your Debts

The first thing you need to do is make a list of all your debts. This will men gathering up all the paper work for all of your different debts and compiling it into a pile, list or some other way of being able to look at them all at the same time. You will want to see clearly what each debt entails so that you can get a good idea about what you financial position actually looks like.

Work Out Exactly How Much is Owing

With all of your debts, work out exactly how much is owing on each one. This includes looking at the interest, how much you are paying, and what sort of interest it is, so that you have an idea about the variable amounts with each one. What are the monthly payments, and what annual fees does the debt attract?

Order the Debts

Once you have your list, put it into order of which ones have the highest interest rates, penalties and fees. This will give you an idea about which ones you are treading water with, and which ones could possibly be paid off sooner rather than later. Having a good idea about where your financial position is really at, will help you to see the big picture, rather than looking at the forest from within the trees, as all you see is trees.

Consolidate?

Now that you have your list and can exactly what each debt entails, have a look to see which ones you can consolidate. Ask yourself, if there are any of those debts that could save you money if you consolidated them into the one loan? Consolidating can often be a good idea because rather than spending a lot of money paying off the interest and not getting forward, you might be able to just be paying one monthly repayment on a loan that covers all of them.

Work Out How Much More Than the Minimum Would Help You

Rather than continuing to pay the minimum monthly repayment and only ever paying off the interest, it might be a good idea to start paying a little bit more than the minimum each month. If you did pay more than the monthly minimum, how much would you be paying, and how much would it take for you to pay off before it started to be of help to you and your situation?

Author Bio

This article was contributed by Michael Craig on behalf of Dreamloans – a leading car-finance broker based in Adelaide, Australia.

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Talking to Your Lenders About “Goodwill” Adjustments

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You might have heard of “goodwill” adjustments from financing companies and borrowers of such companies. Goodwill adjustments are missed repayments in which the creditor will not list on the credit conduct of customers and instead “adjusts” the missed repayment amount to the following month. Goodwill adjustments are great ways to avoid problems with your credit conduct. However, gauging the right timing to talk about such to your lenders is important.

If you have missed one or two repayment terms, you’ll want to talk to your lenders about these adjustments. However, look into your finances carefully and see if you could perform well in the next six months to a year. As you look into these details, you can gauge if you could properly negotiate a goodwill adjustment with your lender.

Lenders usually allow customers with high credit values and those having highly-priced or rated financing to have goodwill adjustments as long as they do not or seldom commit the error again. However, if you have adequate to above-average credit scores, you’ll need a good repayment performance before you could ensure that the lender will give you a goodwill adjustment.

The best way to ensure you could get goodwill adjustments is to avoid missing repayments in the first few months. Building confidence with your lender or creditor is important. Once they have confidence in your repayment capabilities for at least a few months to a year, you can guarantee yourself a goodwill adjustment easily.

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Debt Relief: Declaring Personal Bankruptcy

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Personal bankruptcy is unavoidable especially if you have tried your best to manage your assets. While there’s no use to regret your financial decisions, declaring personal bankruptcy is the only way you can get out of your ordeal. Declaring your personal bankruptcy can save you through debt relief and consolidation as you work on a plan to finally repaying your debts in the future.

However, before you declare bankruptcy, you’ll need to know a few things. In declaring personal bankruptcy, you allow authorities to help you discharge some of your debts through financial aid. However, not all debts can be secured. Second, you’ll need to consider which debts you can handle as they are already “secured” or they have collateral that you could use to pay for the entire debt.

Third, consider the cost of the entire process. Declaring bankruptcy doesn’t often work as you expect it to be. It doesn’t clear all the financial aspects of your case that leaves you in a clean financial state afterward. Personal properties will be used to pay for your debts. You’ll also need to work with consolidation to address at least part of the debt as agreed.

The reason for filing bankruptcy is also a big importance to consider. If you suffered debt because of overspending using credit, don’t declare bankruptcy all at once. You can only file bankruptcy after six years from the last time you used authorized aid. If you find yourself in the same position having suffered business failure and job termination, you’ll find yourself having no relief at this point.

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Effective Ways to Recover From Bad Credit Scores

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In your finances and your financial stature, anything and everything can go up and down. Credit scores, which reflect your financial conduct, can go up and down depending on your financial status. There comes a time when improper financial decisions take a toll on your credit. But don’t fret, there are ways to recover from bad credit scores, as listed here.

1. Credit Unions

A bad credit score will make many lenders and financial institutions skeptical about you. But a credit union will not decide to approve your application based on your credit score alone. However, credit unions are not as big as banks. They can only provide for people who belong in the communities, professions or organizations they support. The choices for your financing are based on your financial capability and your actual conduct.

2. Credit Cards

Repaying your credit cards in full on a monthly basis helps your credit score rise up. Avoid paying the minimum amounts for credit cards as they can increase your interest fees. This could mean more expenses for you. A great way to use a card is to use it for items that you need. You should also consider using the card only if you need an item critically.

3. Debt Consolidation

People with great debts caused by financial mismanagement might turn to debt counselors or consolidators. These companies can help intervene between you and your lenders to arrive at a point to help you find a solution to end your financial problems. Debt consolidators ensure that the financing you receive, the income you get and your basic needs are all addressed carefully to end your credit ordeal.

4. Agreement-Based Financing

There are people, companies and organizations aside from credit unions that report your credit conduct to the monitoring bureaus. Car dealerships who provide in-house financing based on your conduct report to credit bureaus and help you get financing while improving your own credit conduct. Try to find them online and apply for their financing.

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Things to Remember For Successful Mortgages in 2012

Filed in Personal Finance Leave a comment

Problematic economies and lower home values continue to pound entire Europe as the Euro Zone crisis continues to swallow one country up to another. However, this can be seen as an opportunity for many home owners who wish to take out mortgage. As long as you keep all these tips on hand, you’ll find that you’ll be much more successful in getting the mortgage loan you deserve.

1. Credit Scores Should Be At An All-Time High

Your credit score is the most important factor when it comes to getting any type of financing. Have your credit scores updated by a credit monitoring bureau and see to it that the copy you receive has no issues to speak of. Your credit score should be higher than 680 but not lower than 620.

2. Have the Necessary Documents Ready

Your income tax returns, pay slips and other documents deemed necessary for the transaction should be ready before you even apply. Be sure to keep spare hard and electronic copies of these documents as well. Should the lender lose any of your information while processing your application, it would be easy to send them another copy. Remember, the more delays you face in making your application, the more your deposits are placed in jeopardy.

3. Shop Around, Don’t Stick to One

More and more attractive rates go with low-value houses, especially those with high mortgage values. Should the economy get better soon enough, you’ll find that you missed some great opportunities with other real estates. Get at least three brokers and get their figures. After gauging your financial capabilities, you can choose to select one of them or combine them, whichever is convenient.

4. Your Financial Capability

Don’t wait for the lender to tell you how much mortgage you can get. Always prepare for the worst. Prepare for both low and high mortgage that you can receive, plan your budget and leave some space for your other expenses. Having your finances organized can help you get out of economic trouble in the future.

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