Author: Evan

How to find the Best Savings Account

If you want to save money then it can be a good idea to make sure that you put the money in a good savings account. There are not massive differences between the banks and building societies that offer the accounts with regards to how they operate, although you might have preferences with regards to whether you have used them before, if they are well-known, if they come recommended etc, but the main thing most people will be interested in is the interest rate that they can get. There are different types of savings accounts which will have different interest rates and it is a good idea to have an understanding of some of them.

Instant Access

Instant access account will allow you to get the money that you need straight away. This means that as soon as you need to draw money out of the savings account you will be able to do a transfer or withdrawal and get it right away. This is very handy, if you are just putting some money in an account to fall back on in emergencies or in case you need some money quickly. However, the interest on these account will be very low and so you probably will not want to keep very much money in it.

It’s important to always compare options when finding the best saving account.

Fixed Rate

There are fixed rate accounts which tend to offer higher interest rates. These are often bonds and you will have to keep the money in the account for a certain period of time. This will usually be at least a year but could be two, three or even five. For some accounts you will be able to withdraw your money early but you will not get the interest or there may be a bonus you get for not making withdrawals. However, for some accounts you may not be able to withdraw the money at all. It is important to check and see how it works as you may want some flexibility in case you need the money in an emergency.

Notice Accounts

A notice account will only let you withdraw money with notice. This means that you may have to wait for a month or maybe up to three months before you can make a withdrawal. So will let the bank or building society know you want to make a withdrawal and they will wait until the relevant time period has passed before the money comes to you. Sometimes, you can make an immediate withdrawal but lose a chunk interest but sometimes there will not be this option. These will tend to pay more interest and so it is also worth considering whether this option might work for you.

Income Accounts

Some savings accounts will pay an income. This means that you will get interest paid on the account but it will not accumulate there but be paid into a nominated account. These can be good for giving people a passive income so great for anyone that is retired, for example. Of course you will not get the interest compounded (interest on the interest) but you can always put the income you are paid back in to the account or pay in a regular amount of money each month if you want to.

ISA

An ISA is a tax free account. These can be useful for some people particularly those that get a lot of interest of are higher or top rate tax payers. This is because a low rate or non-tax payer can get up to £1,000 a year in interest tax free. A high rate tax paying has a £500 allowance and a top rate tax payer has no allowance. This means that many people will not need to worry about paying tax on their savings interest. However, some people will be liable to pay tax and so they may be interested in using an ISA so that they can reduce the tax they pay. There is a limit to how much money you can put in an ISA and this can change from year to year and there are ISA accounts for different purposes so it is worth investigating these.

Is it Worth Saving up for a Family?

If you are thinking of starting a family or feel that there is a chance that you will have one in the future then you may wonder whether it is a good idea to save up some money towards it. This is something that some people do but others do not and you may wonder whether it is a good idea for you to do.

Advantages of Saving Up

  • Saving up money can be really handy in lots of situations. Having a bit of money to fall back on can be really useful and it is a good feeling to know that it is there when you need it. Even if you do not end up having a family, having the money there will always be handy.
  • When you have a family there will be a lot of extra expenses. Not only will you need to buy lots of things but one of you may need to give up work or you may need to pay for childcare and you will need to find the money for this as well.
  • Once you have a family it will be much more difficult to save up. So even if you manage to pay for everything you need once you have a family, you will possibly not have the opportunity to have any extra money to put aside. It is always nice to have a bit of money behind you, in case you need to buy something in an emergency or you lose your job and need some money to live off.

There are good things and bad things about saving up.

Disadvantages of Saving Up

  • If you have any debt, then it could be better to repay this rather than save money. This is because you will be paying interest on the debt. This can add up to a lot of money and so it is worth thinking about whether paying this off first might be a good idea. It is good to think about how much the loan will cost and how much interest you make on the savings and which will be better to do. Calculate the cost of the loan in total and think about how much money you will save if you pay it off, you can ask the lender how much the costs will be if you are not sure. You will also need to check whether there are any fees for repaying the loan early. Sometimes there can be a significant cost and sometimes just a small one or nothing at all such as these instant loans and it is well worth checking this out.
  • Sometimes it might be a good idea to buy items rather than save up. Not only can this help your local economy if you shop locally or the economy as a whole, but it can also allow you to build up your home before you have a family. So, if you buy white goods, furniture, decorate it or even get a mortgage and buy your own place, this will mean that you are all set up for when you have a family. Hopefully you will not need to replace these items while the family are growing up and try to find the money then.
  • Savings tend not to attract very much interest. This means that you will have money sitting in the bank possibly decreasing in value as it is possible that inflation may be higher than the interest rate. However, you may be able to find a better rate of interest if you use a notice account of fixed rate bond, so it can be worth looking out for those to see if they are worth using.

How to Stay Motivated when Budgeting

If you are trying to stick to a specific budget, for any reason, then you can find that to start with it can be fairly easy. However, you may find that after a while it begins to feel rather tedious. The different things you have to do, such as always checking prices, spending as little as possible, looking for extra earning opportunities and things like this. It is important to make sure that you stay on track though and there are things that you can do to help. There are  few ideas below so think about whether to try some or all of them to help.

Have Your Goals Written Down

It is really important to write down your goals. This allows you to focus better on them and there is statistical evidence to show that if a goal us written down it is more likely to be achieved. However, as well as just writing down the goal it is important to write down why you want to achieve this and what you will get from it. For example, just writing down ‘stick to my budget’ is not as useful as ‘If I stick to my budget for 2 years, I will save enough money for a holiday in America’. Then you can see the reasoning and it reminds you of why you are doing it.

Look at the Twice Daily

It is good to go a bit further with this as well and look at the goal really frequently. Stick it up on the bathroom mirror or somewhere you look at the beginning and end of the day. Try to imagine what it will feel like when you actually achieve the goal. So, if you want a holiday, imagine getting on that plane and how exciting it will be and this will help your enthusiasm for sticking to your budget. This should spur you on each morning and make the decision making and cutting back that you may have to do that day feel a lot more worthwhile.

Treat Yourself Occasionally

It might be the case that you will feel the need for the occasional splurge. Think about this carefully and plan it. Do not just go out and buy something big but maybe plan a certain amount of spending each week or month and take time to decide what you would like to spend it on. You might be able to find  way to have a treat that does not cost any money as well and this could be even better, but this will obviously depend on what you like as a treat.

Tell Friends and Family

It can be wise to let people you know that you are on a tight budget. Just let them know that you are saving for a holiday or whatever and they will hopefully understand that you may not be able to pay out as much money a usual. Therefore, you may not be able to buy as many gifts, go out as often, entertain so much and generally not be as extravagant as perhaps you were previously. It might also be wise to tell work colleagues as you might need to stop going on work nights out, playing in the lottery syndicate, buying a round of coffees as you will have to bring in your own etc. It might feel a bit embarrassing to start with to tell people that you are trying to budget, but you will probably find that there are lots of people that also need to do it. They might think that it is a good idea and decide to do the same thing themselves.

Tips on how to Earn More Money

There are a lot of us that would like more money. There are basically two main ways that we can do this and one is to spend less and the other is to earn more. Sometimes we might have cut our spending by so much that we feel we cannot reduce that by anymore or we might feel like we want to continue spending the amount that we are spending and so we need to earn more instead. We may wonder how we can do this though as it may not seem very simple. However, there are actually a lot of options that we can pick from and so there may be more options available to us than we might imagine.

Increase What we Earn in Our Current Job

If you already have a job then it might be possible to increase the amount that you earn from it. This will very much depend on what you do and the company that you work for. You might be bale to ask for a pay rise or try to get a promotion, for example and with this may come more pay. You might be able to work more hours, take on some overtime or go on call to earn some extra money as well. These could all help, but only if they are options that are available to you and you have the time to be able to commit to them.

Claim More Benefits

It can always be wise to check whether you are eligible to claim any benefits. If you have a low income and/or children, then you might be able to get some benefits. You can look on the governments website for information or you might want to contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau to get more information and help.

Get a Second Job

If you have the time, you may want to consider getting a second job. This could be in the evenings and weekends to fit around a job where you work standard hours. This will increase your income, but you will have to be sure that it is the right thing for you to do. You need to check firstly, whether your employer will allow you to do this as some will not. You will also need to think about whether you will be able to cope with doing this. If you already have a stressful job, then it could be unwise to use your leisure time to do another job where you could potentially get stressed. However, this can very much depend on the specific job you decide to take on. Of course, you will also need to consider your family commitments as to whether you will have the time to do this.

Find Freelance Work

There are opportunities to do freelance work which could bring in extra money. Of course, you would need to make sure that they fitted around your current job. You may be able to work from home, which could help as you could potentially do it at the same time as caring for children perhaps when they are in bed.

Set up a Business

Setting up a business can be an exciting prospect and we often hear about people who set up a business that is so successful that they can sell it for a lot of money. However, it is a lot of work to get to this point and you need to make sure that you are confident that you have the time, resources and money to invest in a project like this. If you do something on a small scale then you can potentially invest very little or no money and earn something extra too.

Five Key Ways to Cut Spending

There are lots of different ways that we can reduce how much money that we are appending. However, there are some things that we tend to spend more money on and they can potentially save us a lot of money if we can pay less for them.

Insurance

Insurance is something that most of us have for various things. I can be expensive though and it is worth considering whether it is worth hunting around for a new insurer to see whether you can save money. There are often cheaper insurers to be found, but you do need to be careful that you are getting the same service or the cover that you need, even though you are paying less. It is also worth checking to see whether you really need all of the insurance cover that you have. Some is required by law or by lenders but we may take out insurance that we do not really need and it is a good idea to investigate this and see whether we really need all that we have.

Loans

Many people do not realise that it can be possible to change lenders and save money. When we take out a loan, we will often choose the lender which looks to have the best rates. However, rates change and after a while, you may find that the loan you chose is no longer that cheap and in fact there may be loan that are significantly cheaper. It could therefore be the case that you should consider switching to this cheaper loan. However, you will need to make sure that you really will save money. Firstly, you may have a fee to pay to your lender if you switch, so check that out. You may also find that the repayments on the new loan are higher, so make sure that if this is the case that you can afford them as if you miss a repayment then you will be charged a fee and this could end up making the loan more expensive.

Utilities

Utilities are things like gas, electric and water. With some of these it is possible for us to switch to a different provider. If we do this, it can make a significant difference to how much we have to pay. It is really simple to do it as well. However, you may want to find out a bit more about the provider and what their customer service is like before you swap. You should be able to do some research online to find this out though so it should not be too tricky. It can also be a good idea to think about whether there are any ways that you can reduce your usage so that you can save a bit more money.

Entertainment

Some of us spend a lot more on this than others. This can include going out to clubs, bars, theatres, concerts, music, videos, games and restaurants as well as entertaining people in your home. The cost of all of these can really add up and it can be worth considering how much you spend on these and whether you might be wise to cut down a bit. It might be that you do things a bit less often or that you consider finding cheaper alternatives so that you can still do as much but it will cost you less. Sometimes we can spend a lot more money than we realise and so it is a good idea to add it all up so that we know for sure and can decide whether to reduce it.

Food and Drink

We all have to buy food and drink but some of us are rather more extravagant than others. It is a good idea to have a think about what you are buying and whether you can cut down. There might be certain expensive items that we could cut back on or we might be able to cut down on lots of small things. It can be a good idea to examine your receipt in detail when you shop and you be able to identify which items are the most expensive. You may also be able to see if there are things that are not really necessary for you to buy.