Author: Joshua

Ever since I learned about how to manage my personal finances I have wanted to share that information with other people. I found that it was extremely freeing to know what to do in order to be in control of my money. I therefore decided that as I was already writing, that I would make sure that I wrote some things about money and have written a few books as well as lots of articles on finance which I hope have been helpful to a lot of people. I know that many people find it a hard subject to get their head around, so I hope that I can help with that.
The Small Changes you can Make to Improve Your Finances Easily
Money Worries

The Small Changes you can Make to Improve Your Finances Easily

Many of us would like to be in a better financial position but may feel that there is not anything much that we can do to improve things or if we want to make an improvement, we will have to make huge changes. However, there are small things that you can do, which will have minimal impact on your lifestyle, which could have a big impact on your finances. Some examples are below.

Switch Providers

It is really easy to switch providers and suppliers for things like gas, electricity, phone, TV, broadband, insurance etc. These items often get forgotten as they are paid monthly and we may not even really notice how much we pay for them. Therefore, it can be a good idea to find out how much you are paying and work out whether you should be switching to a different company to save money. It might take a phone call or online chat with a company and you will have to complete a form or something, but it will be very little effort to save what could add up to be quite a significant amount of money.

Compare Prices

When you are shopping, it can be a good idea to compare prices. This might seem a bit tiresome but it will become a habit after a while and you will start to find that you will be doing it automatically after a while. It can also make quite a difference as well. If you start comparing prices of retailers, brands and items it can make such a big difference. For example, compare supermarkets, then compare brands and own brands, then compare whether the product you want can be replaced with a cheaper product (such as grapes instead of cherries) or if you can find a cheaper form of that product such as frozen instead of fresh. This might sound hard, but if you take one product each shop to do this with, starting with the most expensive ones, it will not be too tricky and it could mean that your grocery bill will go down and down each week.

Check if you Need Items

It is always worth asking yourself whether you really need the items that you are buying. We all buy a lot of items and it could be that we sometimes buy things that we do not really need. Things we put to the back of the cupboard and do not use or things we already have and forgot that we didn’t need. Therefore, it can be a good idea to make sure that you always think to yourself whether you really need the items that you are buying. Of course, we do not actually need everything we buy, but think about whether you will use it and enjoy it as well.

Use a List

It can really help to use a list when you shop even when you are not buying groceries. Keeping focussed on why you are shopping can help you not to be tempted to buy other things, which perhaps you cannot really afford or just will not really enjoy that much. It is so tempting when we are shopping, whether in shops or online, to buy more than we need and so having a list might help us to remember what we really do need and turn away form those products being marketed at us.

Keep Household Accounts

Keeping rough accounts of what you are spending can help you to make sure that you do not spend more than you can afford. Just noting down how much money you have and what you need to buy can be really helpful and will help you to make sure that you are not spending more than you can afford which is really helpful.

Budget

It can be useful to set a spending budget to stick to. Once you know how much money you tend to get in and what you have to spend, you will know what is left to spend on other things and you can set a daily, weekly or monthly budget to help you to make sure that you do not overspend.

Should I Use my Normal Bank When I Want a Loan?
Banking

Should I Use my Normal Bank When I Want a Loan?

When you want to borrow money, then you may wonder who to go to in order to apply for the loan. It can be tempting to use the bank that you hold your current account with. However, there are disadvantages to doing this as well as advantages and it is good to have a think about all of these so that you can decide whether you still feel it is a good idea to use them.

Credit Check

The main advantage of using your own bank is that they will not have to check your ID because you are already a customer. This could speed up the application. The also may not be so strict when doing a credit check as they will have personal experience of what you are like. They will want to do a credit check though as will other lenders. You may find that if some are not keen on your credit record they will not lend to you or they may lend at a higher interest rate. You bank  may give you a reasonable rate because they may be keen to keep your custom. Not all of them will though and so it is wise to still compare lenders as they may be some that offer a better deal than your current bank.

There are lots of different loan types out there.

Types of Loan

There are lots of different types of loan and it is important to choose the right one for your particular needs. You may find that your particular bank does not offer a loan which suits your needs really well. This means that you may need to look elsewhere and you should make sure that your loyalty to your bank does not influence you and mean that you get a loan that is not suitable for you. It is so important to make sure that you do use a suitable one or else you could end up paying more than necessary for it or not have such a good borrowing experience.  

Cost

The cost is one of the most important features of a loan and something that most borrowers will be influenced by. It is a god idea to find out how much the loan will cost in full and then compare that to other loans. It could be that your bank is able to offer you something that is competitively priced or you may be able to negotiate a better price with them if they value you as a customer. However, even if you are very loyal, you need to make sure that you are not paying significantly more to borrow with them. It is not worth paying lots more, unless you feel that the value for money you are getting is more than that with cheaper lenders.

Repayments

It is a good idea to make sure that you are aware of what the expectation ill be with regards to repayments for your loan. You will find that it can vary between different loan types and between different lenders. It is really important to find out how much it will be and make sure that it is an amount that you will be able to afford. You will need to calculate what you can afford first, by looking at your bank statements or account standing and then working out how much money you normally have available for this sort of thing. It is worth considering whether this is a typical month and whether you would normally be able to manage this repayment amount. You will need to find a payday loan from someone like Emu.co.uk which has repayments that you can afford and so you may need to negotiate with your bank to see if they can provide that for you.

How Can I Stop Worrying About Money?
Money Worries

How Can I Stop Worrying About Money?

There are some of us that worry about money a lot. This is usually because we feel out of control with our money and that we are not managing to easily pay for everything on the money that we earn. This is very common but there are fortunately things that we can do which will make it easier to reduce that worry.

Keep Household Accounts

This might sound tricky but it is much easier than it sounds. Just put together a very simple table with a list of the money that comes in to your household each month and the money that goes out. This will allow you to be able to keep track of what money comes in and where it all goes. Sometimes we feel that it disappears and we do not really know where.

By having written records, whether on a computer spreadsheet or just in a notebook, you will be able to get a good idea of what spending you have to do and what extra spending you do on top of that. So you will pay for necessities such as food, rent or mortgage, loan repayments, tax, utilities and travel to work and school as well as some basic clothes but it is likely that you will also buy extras as well such as eating our or take away food, jewellery and accessories, books, music, hobbies, holidays etc. Once you have identified where the money is going and on what things, you will be able to prioritise your spending and set a budget for the items that are not necessities. Then you will be able to make sure that you have enough for the items that you need.

Pay the Important Things First

So make sure that you always pay the most important items first. It can be easier to set up most of these payments to go out by standing order or direct debit so that you do not have to remember to pay them. Set these up to go out of your account when you just get paid and then you will know that there is plenty of money available to cover the cost of these things. There will be some things that you will not be able to do this with such as petrol and food, but if you can do it for most then this will be very helpful. Then make sure that you are aware, by looking back over past months, how much you will need to keep by for petrol and food and then you will always ensure you have enough.

Do not Overpay for Things

It is also wise to make sure that you compare prices on the things that you are buying. You will find that otherwise you could end up overpaying for things unnecessarily. Just make sure that there are not places where you can buy the items for that will be significantly cheaper. If there are, it is worth switching to them and saving the money. You can compare prices on lots of things and therefore could end up spending quite a bit less.

Hopefully just by spending a bit less and being more organised with paying bills as well as prioritising spending, you will feel much more in control. By keeping records you will know where your money is going as well. This should be able to help you to feel a lot less stressed about money, because you know where you are at and you can budget to make sure that you always have enough. Of course, you may feel that earning more could help you as well and this could be the next stage that will reduce your worry even more.

How Can I Easily Repay my Personal Loan?
Loan Advice

How Can I Easily Repay my Personal Loan?

If you have a personal loan, then it is normal to have monthly repayments that you are expected to make. These will last for a specified time and once all are made, then the loan will be repaid in full. This means that you will need to find the money each month to make that repayment. If you miss a repayment then there will be extra charges or fees to pay which will not only make the loan more expensive but it could also mean that it will last longer as well. This means that it is important to make sure that you have enough money each month to repay the loan.

Pay the Loan as a Priority

It is a good idea to make sure that you prioritise the loan repayment when considering your expenses and payments each month. There will obviously be other things that you will also need to prioritise such as your rent or mortgage, utility bills, food etc and so you may have quite a list. It is a good idea to set up standing orders or direct debits so that these get paid automatically so that you will not forget. Also, try to set them up so that they come out just after you get paid. Then you will be sure that there is plenty of money in the account to be able to cover those payments. If they are already set up, it is likely that you will be able to change them, so contact the supplier, lender etc to find out. Hopefully there will be enough money available to pay all of these and some left over for the rest of the month.

Reduce What you Pay for Other Things

If you are struggling to find enough money or you want some extra so that you can repay the loan early then you will need to make some changes to how you spend money in order to have the money available to do this. There are some easier things that you can try as well as some harder ones. To start with the easy way to spend less is to compare prices and make sure that you are not paying too much for what you buy. This means checking prices between different insurers, suppliers, retailers, brands etc to see whether you are paying too much. So firstly, think about the larger items that you pay for on a monthly basis and compare prices to see whether you could switch and save money. Although this can take a bit of time, it should not be too difficult and it could mean that you will save a chunk of money month after month. Then also do it with individual items that you are buying such as things at the supermarket, clothing, toiletries etc. All the little savings that you make can add up. Of course, consider value for money too as if you buy things that are not nice enough to use, then there will be no point in switching to them.

You should also think about whether you can reduce the number of things that you are buying. This could mean that you are able to save money being you are paying out less. Whether you can do this will depend on whether you buy lots of luxury items that you can cut down on and whether you are prepared to cut back like this.

Look for Earning Opportunities

It might be that you would rather look for opportunities to earn money rather than reduce your spending or perhaps try both. There are many ways that you could do this, perhaps by looking for extra hours to do in your current job or taking on a second job. You may also want to look for temp or freelance work, look for small jobs online or things like this. There are plenty of opportunities available, but you just have to be prepared to be flexible and perhaps work for a lower rate of pay in order to earn a bit more money.

Where can I Find out More About Finance?
Education

Where can I Find out More About Finance?

If you want to learn more about finance, so that you can make sure that your personal finances are in good shape, then you may wonder where to turn. There are lots of options but it is good to be aware of the pros and cons of each of them, so that you can be sure as to whether they are the best ones for you.

Books

Using books can be a good way to get general knowledge. You will be able to find out how to budget, information about loans and saving etc. However, books do get out of date very quickly. The general information will not go out of date, but there is some information that will do and so it depends what sort of knowledge you want to gain. Of course, if you buy or borrow a pretty modern book then the information will be more up to date compared with an older one. However, you will not be able to get information about specific products, such as comparing rates on savings accounts with a book, but you will ne able to get information about the types of accounts that exist and what to expect from them in more general terms.

Online

When you are looking or anything online you need to be wary. Think about who has written it and how qualified they are. Try to look at specialist websites that you trust such as the government run Money Advice Service or Money Saving Expert as well as finance charities. They will have up to date information which is not biased. There are also free training courses that you can take online through FutureLearn run by the Open University which can be very helpful. If it is maths that is your concern then there are also free maths courses that you can take. There are privately run websites which have information about finance as well as about making money which can still be useful. However, you need to make sure that you check the information that they give. Some might be biased, for example if they are recommending specific accounts it might be because they are earning commission on those.

Talking to People

Chatting to other people can be some help. If you are looking to change your bank or change a certain account, insurance policy or whatever, then chatting to others about what they would recommend would be handy. Consider first, whether you feel that person is responsible with money and whether you will trust their opinion. Also, if they say something is good or bad find out why. This will help you to decide whether they are looking for the same things that you are. For example, they may say they dislike a particular bank because they are only available online but you might be looking for an online bank so for you their disadvantage could actually be an advantage. However, if they have been treated particularly well or badly by a specific bank or building society then it can be great to know about it so that you are able to decide whether you feel that they will be one that you will want to use.

Banks/Building Societies

You may also be able to find out more form banks or building societies. Some will have areas on their websites where they have information that could help you. This could be about their particular products, but they might also have more general information as well. Do remember that they are a business and they want you to use them, so this will be a factor in your decision with regards to how much you take on board with regards to the information that they are providing.