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Preparing to send the kids to university: what parents need to know

8th September 2017 Published by Lynne Hardwick

University campus

If you have a teenager aged 15-16 who is performing well academically, you’ll no doubt be having thoughts about what the future holds for them in terms of further education. ‘University’ is a word that has probably crept into the family lexicon on more than one occasion. For a parent, the prospect of their youngster attending university maybe cause for great excitement and pride, but a few concerns may also bubble away beneath the surface. Not least how the experience will be financed.

For those of you who read the above with an uneasy familiarity, fear not. We have compiled a checklist of factors to consider which should hopefully clarify what to expect financially from a teen attending university, and how best to manage the process.

Making sense of the fee

Few will have forgotten the government’s tripling of university fees in 2012 and the subsequent political bar brawl that followed. Five years on, it’s still a sore topic and despite the convictions and protestations of many, the fees remain, at many universities, at an eye-watering £9,250 per academic year. However, these fees do not have to be paid up front from your own cash reserves. There are two alternatives:

Bursaries and grants
As your teen begins to zero in on the universities they’d like to attend, have a look at the websites of each. Many offer grants and bursaries, though eligibility for these depends on criteria set by each institution. In most cases, they’re offered to high-attaining students as a means of attracting as many highest academic achievers as they can.

Obviously, your youngster is 100% motivated towards academic excellence and needs no further kickers, but on the off-chance an extra carrot wouldn’t go amiss, the possibility of financial support for their efforts might be worth whispering in their ear.

Student finance
Tuition fee loans come as part of the Student Loan package and are paid directly to the university your teenager will attend, never settling in their account. They are straightforward to apply for, and your teen will only begin making repayments once they’re earning over £21,000.

The fees then, despite initially looking a little terrifying, can be met with some dedicated form-filling. Accommodation and maintenance costs though, may take require a bit more stretching of the grey matter.

Maintenance and accommodation

The Student Loan is essentially split into two parts; tuition and maintenance/accommodation. We’ll begin with the accommodation side of things.

Accommodation costs
keeping a roof over your teen’s head during their university life can be expensive business, so let’s look at some options.

Firstly, it’s worth pointing out that most students spend their first year of university living on campus, before moving into rented accommodation in their second year in the nearby town or city. However, consider the following:

Renting: Once your teen has been accepted into a university, it might be worthwhile looking at rental costs in the local area. If there’s significant discrepancy between halls of residence and rented accommodation, it might be something worth exploring.

Proximity to home: It may well be that your teen is eager to put as much distance between themselves and you as possible during their studies (don’t take it to heart), but there’s also every chance they’re looking at universities closer to home. Should that be the case, commuting from home to classes could save a significant amount.

Catering: If your teen is headed for halls of residence, have a look at the catering that’s offered. Going for a catered option will ensure they are being fed proper meals, you’ll just need to decide whether it will be more or less expensive than your teen sourcing their own food.

Warden:In university towns and cities with a high student population, Wardens are sometimes appointed to manage relations between students and permanent residents. The role is multi-faceted and involves liaising with various bodies and groups, but as part of the deal, there is usually contributions made towards rental costs. There are no guarantees your teen will be successful in applying to be a Warden, but if they’re up for the challenge, the rental contributions can be quite the incentive.

Maintenance costs: Linked to accommodation costs are general maintenance costs. These are covered by the maintenance loan and the amount your teen is entitled to, depends on household income. The maximum that can be claimed is £8,200 per academic year for households on an income of £25,000 or less. The figure reduces the higher the household income as this table illustrates:

Household income Loan entitlement
£25,000 £8,200 (max loan)
£30,000 £7,612
£35,000 £7,023
£40,000 £6,434
£42,875 £6,095
£45,000 £5,845
£50,000 £5,256
£55,000 £4,667
£60,000 £4,078
£62,180 £3,821 (min loan)
£65,000 £3,821
£70,000 £3,821

Other important figures to consider are:

  • £6,904 – maximum loan for students living at home while studying/li>
  • £10,702 – maximum loan for students living in London and away from home
  • £9,391 – maximum loan for students living or studying abroad for at least one term

Other preparations

Away from grants, bursaries and loans, there are a few things you and your teen can be doing, or can do once studies commence, to lighten the financial load.

Save!

Saving in advance borders on the imperative for a soon-to-be student and their parents. The first few months of university life are usually the most expensive, so even if you’ve left it late, save what you can to take the pressure off that period.

Compare student bank accounts

For most students, their student bank account will be at the epicentre of their financial world whilst at university. Different student accounts offer different features and picking the right one can save your teen a significant amount over the duration of their studies.

Some student accounts also offer other incentives like travel insurance or a student railcards that may prove useful and save your teen money during their university life.

Prepare a budget

Simple lack of experience means young people generally have little concept of managing money. In fact, for many students, their first maintenance instalment will be the most money they’ve ever seen in a bank account that belongs to them. This can spell danger if not met with parental guidance. Before they leave, organise a little sit-down and work out:

  • What their major costs will be while at university
  • What you as parents/carers can afford to contribute
  • Any other income they will have such as wages from a job

It’s a good idea to then prepare a budget with them before they leave, outlining how much they can afford to spend each week. If preparing an effective budget is proving a challenge, it is worth remembering that UCAS, in association with the Money Advice Service, provide advice and assistance with this.

Consider renting out their room

This might seem drastic, but is actually becoming quite common. Sites such as Airbnb allow users to advertise rooms to lodgers who may only need somewhere to sleep during the week. This means your teen’s room is available should they want it at the weekend, and you can bring in a few extra pound coins while they’re away.

Category: Advice

The Borrowing Map of Britain

14th August 2017 Published by Lynne Hardwick

Ever since the first ancient Assyrian and Babylonian merchants began lending grain to the farmers and traders of the time, human beings have been lending forms of currency to each other for a fee.

The journey the lending industry has undertaken since then has been colourful to say the least. Often maligned in literature through Scrooge type characters, preyed upon by shadowy loan sharks quick to use intimidation as a penalty for late payments, and even getting mentions in the Bible.

As with most industries, however, the complexion of the industry has changed beyond recognition with the onset of technology and robust regulation. Borrowing has not gone away, and the basic transaction remains the same with one party providing capital for another, for it to be paid back with interest. How borrowers acquire capital, how they pay it back, and their reasons for needing it though, have all changed dramatically.

Why we borrow

In the past, loans were taken primarily as a means of survival, be it for land, livestock, even simply for food. As civilisation has evolved, so have our needs for emergency capital. Perhaps the most interesting development has been the loan to pay off debt. Outstanding liabilities would once have precluded a person from qualifying for a loan. Today the flagship product of many companies is one which consolidates all owed monies into one payment, usually to be returned in monthly instalments. Illustrating this trend well, Darwin Group, which incorporates Progressive Money, recently undertook a survey of over 110,000 people from across the UK. In Lytham St Annes, over half (53%) of respondents cited debt consolidation as their reason for taking out an additional loan.

The technology we depend on also features high amongst the reasons people go to official third parties for capital. Cars and computers are now commodities few can function without and they often need replacing and repairing. Unfortunately, these commodities rarely give warnings when they need to be replaced or repaired, and the cost of both can be high -necessitating the need for a loan.

Perhaps a cheerier trend which has developed has been that of people taking out loans not so much out of desperation, but to finance more exuberant purchases. Amongst the top reasons people now borrow, is to finance holidays and an array of general lifestyle pursuits and projects. Linked to this are monies borrowed to make home improvements. Indeed, the Darwin survey discovered that 48% of those questioned in Port Glasgow, had taken out loans to spruce up their homesteads.
Beyond these, paying for Christmas and caravans all featured as reasons Darwin Group found for people turning to loans, with 11% of smitten folk from Haverfordwest borrowing to pay for their weddings.

How much are we borrowing?

The average household loan was increasing steadily from the turn of the millennium before topping at almost £6,000 in 2008. In 2009 that figure fell sharply to around £5,000. Few people will need reminding what happened around that time. The ‘credit crunch’ as it became widely referred to, saw a contraction in spending for most people and most industries. The reason for the dip in borrowing was most likely two-fold, with people unwilling to take on more debt in an uncertain economic climate, and loan companies reluctant to lend money, similarly fearing the country’s financial predicament. The value of household loans continued to drop before plateauing in 2012/13 at around £4,000. Since then, there has been a gradual increase, and the average loan now stands at comfortably over £4,500.

Where do we turn when the bank says no?

The ‘computer says no’ phenomenon is all too familiar for people trying to acquire capital when their credit scores are not the best. Fortunately, there are other options. Progressive Money, a subsidiary of Darwin Group, offer a degree of flexibility that rival companies struggle to match. Offering unsecured loans of up to £15,000, over terms of up to ten years, they accept customers with recent defaults or CCJs, who’ve missed mortgage payments within the last 12 months, and will lend to benefits claimants and the retired, typically transferring funds within three days. Progressive by name, progressive by nature.

Category: Financial Guides, Financial Guides Featured

Festival Fun – On a Budget or Free

12th June 2017 Published by Lynne Hardwick

The Summer of the Festival

It’s quickly become a part of British popular culture – summer time means festival time!  With literally hundreds of festivals taking place across the length and breadth of the country in the coming months, the only decision to make is to look at the sky and think wellies or flip flops.

It not all about pop and rock either. There’s a festival for everything from food to folk and brass bands to Buddhism!

Of course, festivals can be pretty expensive too. The price for a Glastonbury pass is going to set you back around £250 and that’s just for the ticket. Once you’ve included travel, parking, food, drink and the obligatory commemorative T-shirt, there would be little change from £500! For many the choice is go to a festival or have a weeks summer holiday, the funds can’t stretch to both.

To try and make life a little easier,  we’ve researched some free festivals and put the information together with a few handy tips to help you save the pennies.

Free Festivals

Have a Google of free festivals in your local area, there is sure to be something within travelling distance. We’ve picked a few of our favourites to give you a feel for what’s available.

Scotland

If comedy is your thing, you’ll be hard pressed to beat the world famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  Celebrating it’s 70th birthday this year, the event brings together some of comedy’s biggest stars together with break-through acts that you will never have heard of.  Having launched the careers of the likes of Jo Brand, Rowan Atkinson, Billy Connolly, Ben Elton and Eddie Izzard to name just a few.

The beauty is that it isn’t just in one space, but spread around the city pretty much anywhere that can host a venue.  This means you can watch small and intimate performances with just a handful of people or big performances in front of hundreds.  There are street events every day throughout the festival on the Royal Mile too.  Not all performances are free but the beauty is you can pick and choose which ones you want to attend.

The festival runs from Friday 4th of August through to Monday 28th, so there is plenty of opportunity to pop along.  For further information click here.

North of England

Ever fancied watching the likes of AC/DC, Bowie, Nirvana and Status Quo all in one venue but thought your chance had gone?  Well fear no more! Rockprest festival in Preston brings together all of these acts in tribute format. Best of it all, it’s completely free to attend (just a booking fee).

With food and drink stalls and even a funfair, there’s something for the entire family. The event is now in it’s third year and growing from strength to strength. If you fancy live big stage entertainment for free then Moor Park, Preston on Saturday 1st July and Sunday 2nd July is the place to be!  Watch out though, you will need a ticket so they can control the numbers, so sign up here.

East of England

Image shows people buying freshly cooked food at a festival

The Norwich Food and Drink Festival on June 18th is a must for foodies! Every year sees the return of old favourites, such as the Battle of the Bangers and the Moveable Feast.  Plus there are always new events to tantalise your taste buds.

Established in 2004, Norfolk Food & Drink has become the ‘Go To’ organisation for food and drink in the county.

For more information visit their website.

Wales

Music is what it’s all about at the Monmouth Festival. With an eclectic mix of iconic legends, local artists and up and coming young talent, dance, classical, country, folk, jazz, pop, rock’n roll, ska, world music and so much more.

The aim is for everyone to enjoy a live music performance whether it is in the open air, in a church or a pub.   It could be an old favourite, new or local talent, there should be something to please everyone.

Throughout its 35 years, the Festival has got bigger and better and now includes a Family Fun Day, and a busking Festival .  The Festival prides itself on being extremely friendly, relaxed and an opportunity for families to come together and enjoy themselves.

Running from the 28th of July to the 5th of August, the Monmouth Festival looks like a winner.

South West England

Image shows scores of hot air balloons setting off at a festival

If music and food isn’t your thing, how about something completely different – a load of hot air!

The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is Europe’s largest annual meeting of hot air balloons, featuring over 150 Hot Air Balloons from all around the world. This festival of fun is run over four days from Thursday 10th to Sunday 14th Augusts and the event is completely free to watch.  The only thing you would need to pay for is car parking, should you be driving there.

It’s not all up in the air though, there are fairgrounds rides, stalls and live entertainment too.

There are two key times to visit. For the early birds, get there at 6 a.m. for the spectacle of take off.  150 balloons taking off in the early morning light is a festival for the eyes in itself! If that’s a bit early for you, make sure you are there for before 5 p.m. for the spectacular evening night glows.

London

No free Festival list would be worth its salt if it didn’t mention the Notting Hill Carnival.  London’s biggest street party, lines the roads with colour, party floats and an amazing atmosphere!

The Carnival takes place every year on the Sunday and Monday of the UK summer bank holiday weekend, which is the last weekend in August.

The Notting Hill Carnival was first held in 1964 as an offshoot of the Trinidad Carnival, celebrating Caribbean culture and traditions in London.

When the Notting Hill Carnival first started, in 1964 around 500 people attended the Caribbean themed festival. The carnival has since become the largest street festival in Europe, attracting hundreds of thousands to London, and continues to grow in popularity. Expect to see some 50,000 performers in the parade and more than 30 sound systems.  More than 1 million people will be attending over the carnival weekend.

Festival Hacks

Even if you are paying to attend a festival, there are plenty of tips to take on board.  If you’re in it for the weekend, they are even more handy!

  • Take an old phone.  Firstly, your smart phone battery won’t stay the course.  Secondly, if you lose it……
  • f you are taking your smart phone, take an emergency battery back up!  There might be charging points but the queues will be epic!
  • Check the weather forecast.  Even the vaguest hint of rain means wear your wellies.  You know it will be a mudfest!
  • Seal-able sandwich bags are a god send!  Anything you want to keep dry, phone, keys, watch etc. Pop them in a sandwich bag.
  • Wet wipes are your friend.  The queues for the showers will be beyond a joke.  Plus if you make it there, the conditions could well be dubious.
  • Pack some gaffer tape.  Things rip, that’s life.  gaffer tape can fix pretty much anything temporarily!
  • Leave a set of dry clothes in the car if you are driving.  You’ll be thanking us when you leave!
  • Don’t pack a pillow.  It’s too much to carry.  Stick your clothes in an empty pillow case and hey presto – a pillow!
  • Get there early and never camp at the bottom of a hill.  You don’t want to wake up in a lake!
  • Don’t forget a torch.  Even better, for hands-free, a head torch.  Those guide ropes around the tent are virtually invisible in the dark.
  • Have an emergency fund and try not to touch it.  You never know if you will need it.

Festival Money Savers

  • t might seem a tad extreme but volunteers at a festival are often there for free.  In return for litter picking or similar, you get to watch the acts… gratis!
  • Bring as much food and drink as you can carry.  even if you only cover breakfast off, at least you’ll have some food inside you.  By the way, cereal bars are a winner!
  • Finally if you can’t live without your favourite bands merchandise, wait for the last day and haggle.  Many sellers would rather mark it down than take it away.

For more great money saving tips, click here

Category: Saving Tips

Happy and Ten Ways to Get There

30th May 2017 Published by Lynne Hardwick

Happy, We All Want to be Happy

What makes us happy?  It’s a simple enough question, but if somebody had the magic formula, they’d be millionaires!  In a fast-moving world, it’s often difficult to sit back and take stock of what actually makes us happy.  The truth is that every so often, that’s exactly what we all need to do.  Just take five minutes out and think about what little tricks you can use to improve your life.  There’s no silver bullet for happiness, everybody is different – one man’s pleasure is certainly another man’s poison.  With that in mind, we’ve trawled the internet to find ten simple life hacks to improve your happiness.  If even just a couple of them work for you and help to make you feel happy then we’ve done our job.  That will probably make us happy too!

Happy Tip 1

We know it sounds strange, but does anybody else get that enormous sense of satisfaction from a tidy house?  Tidying the house from top to bottom takes real effort.  We prefer to start at the top and work our way down to the bottom.  It might be the other way around for you, or you might even live in a bungalow or flat.  The undeniable truth though is, once you’re finished and the feather duster has been put away, it feels good.  Put your feet up, be proud of yourself and relax.

Happy Tip 2

Isn’t it wonderful when somebody buys you a big bunch of flowers? The downside is that if you sit around waiting for it to happen, you could be waiting a mighty long time.  Take some positive action. Nip to the florist, the supermarket or even the garage and buy your own.  At the end of the day, the result is the same.  You now have something beautiful to look at and beautiful to smell. So, breathe them in. If you’re really lucky, as soon as you start buying your own flowers the other half might get the hint.

Happy Tip 3

Go out with your friends.  There’s nothing quite like spending time with like-minded people. It doesn’t have to be a big night out, just catch up over a coffee, chew the fat and put the world to rights.  The old adage says, ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’, so it can be great to get things off your chest.  It can feel just as good to know that you’re helping out with other people’s problems too.  After all, isn’t that what friends are for?

Happy Tip 4

This one might seem controversial, but it’s a biggy!  Put your phone away.  In fact, turn it off for an hour.  In an ever-evolving world of technology, the mobile phone has taken over our lives. Whether that means checking Facebook, looking at emails or playing Candy Crush.  We’ve become slaves to our mobile phones and we are literally missing life as it passes us by.  The overuse of mobile phones is now classed as a dependence syndrome.  It’s akin to an addiction.  A wonderful experiment is to turn off your phone and go and sit on a bench in a park or other public space and just watch the world go by.  You’ll also feel pretty smug when you see how addicted everybody else is to their phones.

Happy Tip 5

As country singer John Miles sang, ‘Music is my first love. And it will be my last’.  Listening to music has plenty of benefits to your state of mind and there is no doubt that it has the ability to make you happy.  So, how about this for an idea.  Pick your all-time favourite track, stick on a pair of headphones and indulge yourself for 5 minutes.  The headphones are important, you need to fully immerse yourself in your own world….and breathe.

Happy Tip 6

In the back of our own minds we all know this one …….. exercise.  OK, so you might not be a massive fan, but we aren’t talking about running a marathon here (unless you really want to).  Exercise is good for all and you don’t need to be an Olympian to take part.  Tailor your exercise to suit your abilities.  If possible try and join other people when they exercise, it’s great motivation.  Your local leisure centre will have a range of classes that you can take part in.  Everything from Zumba to aerobics, swimming to Tai Chi.  Who knows, you might meet some like-minded people whilst you’re at it.  Exercise releases Dopamine, a happy chemical, into your brain.  There’s no escaping it.  Exercise is scientifically proven to make you happy!

Happy Tip 7

This one is so easy.  It takes barely any effort at all.  You certainly won’t need to work up a sweat!  All you need to do is pay somebody a compliment.  Apparently, it amplifies your own self confidence and nourishes your self-esteem – who knew?  The trick here is to be genuine and mean it.  People see through false platitudes.  If you really do like somebody’s shoes, just tell them.  If you think somebody is really pretty/handsome when they smile, let them know.  The simple fact is that sometimes it feels good to make other people feel good.

Happy Tip 8

If you’ve see the film ‘Pay It Forward’, you’ll know all about this one.  The basic plot is that a young boy is given an assignment by his teacher to change the world for the better.  He decides to complete three good deeds for random people for no reward.  All he asks is that they ‘pay it forward’ by also doing three good deeds themselves.  If you’ve not seen the film, watch it.  That in itself will make you happy.  The tip here though is to put it into practise yourself.  Believe it or not, there is now an Annual Pay it Forward Day here in the UK, but there’s no need to wait for a specific date, you can start right now!

Happy Tip 9

This one is a little bit deeper and it is – stop trying to compete with other people. You’re you. If everybody was the same, what a boring world it would be.  So, if next door get a new car, you don’t need to do the same. If the bloke up the road is great at DIY, you don’t need to be too (although it can be handy). The root issue here is that once you truly accept yourself for who you are, the less all these things matter.

Happy Tip 10

Let’s leave this article on a high!  Our final tip to help you feel happy is … dance!  It’s a trick as old as time.  Was there ever even a period when people didn’t dance to make themselves feel good?  And of course, just like with exercise, you can dance in a style that suits you.  From line dancing to break dancing, a waltz to a jive or tap to modern, there’s something for everybody. Our final tip to really enjoy your dancing?  Dance like nobody is watching!

Thanks for reading and if you are ever on the look out for a personal loan, please visit our main page.

Category: Saving Tips

What is an APR and What Does It Mean? Find Out Here

23rd May 2017 Published by Lynne Hardwick

What is an APR and What Does It Mean?

What is APR?

It’s a common question – just what is an APR?  It stands for Annual Percentage Rate. It’s a feature that you will always see quoted whenever you are looking to borrow money.  It doesn’t matter if you’re borrowing via a personal loan or credit card, businesses will always quote an APR.  You’ll even find one at the bottom of this web page.  Lenders have to display one to make it easier for customers to compare products.  Basically, the only time an APR isn’t available is when you visit the Bank of Mum and Dad or borrow from a friend.

High or Low APR?

It’s not like a cricket score!  In general terms, the lower the APR, the better.  You may have less interest to pay over the period of your loan, so it could cost you less to repay overall. A major contributing factor for low rates is the link to those with good credit ratings.  If you only have a ‘fair’ or ‘poor’ credit rating, you are unlikely to have access to the lowest rates. You may end up paying more.  The higher charge from lenders is because you could be seen as a bigger risk.

Representative APR

Representative APR is the term that you will commonly see next to advertisements for loans and credit cards. But what does it mean?  This is the rate offered to at least 51% of people accepted for the loan product that is being advertised. In simple terms, if 100 people were accepted to borrow money – at least 51 people must be borrowing at this rate or below. Therefore 49 out of the 100 people accepted would be borrowing at a different, higher rate.

Give Me a Simple Example

To keep it really simple, we’ll take a look at what it would cost if you borrow £100 for 1 year at different APR’s:

A £100 loan at an APR of 20% for 1 year would have a total cost of £120 or £10 per month for 12 months.

A £100 loan at an APR of 50% for 1 year would have a total cost of £150 or £12.50 per month for 12 months.

As you can see, over the same loan term, the lower the APR, the less money that you need to pay back in total. Building a strong credit history is a heavy influence over being offered a lower rate. Impact on a Credit history can come from many places – everything from late payments to County Court Judgments (CCJ’s). Money saving guru Martin Lewis recommends that you should keep a close eye on your credit history to make sure that all the information held on there is correct.  It could be the first step you take towards making credit history improvements.  You can check quickly and easily by signing up to one of the free credit checking services. There are many to choose from with Clearscore and Noddle being just two examples.

If your credit score is less than perfect you could check out our advice on bad credit loans.

Category: Financial Guides

What is a Bad Credit Loan? – All You Need to Know

18th May 2017 Published by Lynne Hardwick

The Bad Credit Loan – All You Need to Know

A Bad Credit Loan is a type of loan designed for people with a poor or bad credit history.

There are many reasons that people can find themselves with bad credit and looking for a bad credit loan.  Everything from missing payments on previous or current credit agreements, through to having a County Court Judgement against their names.

People that are new to lending may also find themselves with a low credit score. This is because lenders don’t have access to any lending history to make a decision on.

A bad credit rating means that lenders will consider you a greater risk when it comes to you borrowing money.  Some lenders won’t lend to people with bad credit or poor credit. Other lenders will charge a higher return to reflect the increased risk.

The Pros and Cons of A Bad Credit Loan

Just because you have a low or poor credit rating doesn’t mean you cannot borrow money.  This can be good news for many reasons – including consolidating debts to make monthly payments more manageable, or perhaps to buy a vehicle to get you to and from work.

Taking out a Bad Credit Loan means that you can actually start to repair your credit rating.  As long as you always make your payments in full and on time, you are demonstrating that you can manage your finances responsibly.  Over time, good financial management could lead to an improvement in your credit score.

On the negative side, a Bad Credit Loan will probably cost you considerably more money than a loan to a person with a good credit rating.  A person with poor previous credit applying for a bad credit loan represents a larger risk to the lender and therefore the interest rate offered could be much higher.

<h3″>Good to Know

So, your credit rating is not as great as you would like.  Here are a few things to think about before applying for a bad credit loan.

Interest Rates: The interest rates will vary. This is dependent on a number of factors; How much do you want to borrow? Over what period?  How poor is your credit score?  Is your borrowing ‘secured’ or ‘unsecured’?

Secured or Unsecured: The interest rate can sometimes be less with a secured loan.  However, your home is at risk if you do not keep up repayments on any loan secured against it. With a loan from Progressive Money, there is no automatic link to your property.

How Long to Take a Loan Over:  You should always remember that the longer it takes you to pay back a loan, the more interest you will pay. However, you should also make sure that the repayments are affordable.

Credit Scores: Whilst paying off a Bad Credit Loan in full and on time is a credit positive, the opposite is also true. If you do not keep up with loan repayments, it will have a serious negative effect on your credit score. If your loan is secured, your home could be at risk.

What are the Alternatives to a Bad Credit Loan ?

A Bad Credit Loan may not be the right financial product for you, so make sure that you do your research before applying. For free and impartial advice, you could visit moneyadviceservice.org.uk.

For further Progressive Money news and information, click here.

Category: Financial Guides

Ten Easy Food and Drink Money Saving Tips

24th April 2017 Published by Lynne Hardwick

Clean & Clear Guide to Money

Ten Easy Food & Drink Money Saving Tips

This image shows a table filled with food and drink

1. Check out the new customer vouchers, especially for your first on-line shop. You can save a pretty penny, even if you never use the shop again! Some supermarkets will offer up to £15 off a £60 shop.

2. Do you really need that premium coffee shop drink on your way to work in a morning? Buy a flask and bring your own, at around £3 a pop the savings will soon stack up.

3. Would you like some water with your meal sir/madam? Yes, please, just tap water thanks. No point paying high end prices for fancy bottled water – it’s still H2O!

4. Plan your food shopping by day/meal and stick to it, it saves impulse buys and also ending up with a trolley full of food that you can’t make meals out of.

5. Try and have a week where you empty the cupboards and freezer to save a trip to the shops. Embrace the weird and wonderful concoctions you can dream up – Alphabetti spaghetti and cauliflower cheese anyone?

6. Beware of the multi-buy discounts, especially on fresh food. No point buying 3 for the price of 2 if half of it ends up out of date and in the bin!

7. Make your own lunch instead of buying out. It only takes you a couple of minutes in the morning and if you’ve planned your shopping, you’ll have stuff in – It could save you about £4 a day!

8. Find yourself throwing lots of food out? Try buying frozen, it lasts a lot longer.

9. Is branded best? Try a budget supermarket for the essentials and just get your branded treats from the big boys.  It’s amazing the difference in your trolley cost.  The big brands like to keep it quiet, but sometimes it’s the same product in a different wrapper!

10. Eating out? Have a quick on-line search for special offers before you go in, especially with the chain restaurants, they often have a deal available or an online voucher.

Category: Saving Tips

Ten Easy Lifestyle & Leisure Money Saving Tips

Published by Lynne Hardwick

Clean & Clear Guide to Money

Ten Easy Lifestyle & Leisure Money Saving Tips

1. Need to keep the kids entertained? Of course it doesn’t always have to cost mega money, why not take them to a local park, rustle up a picnic and make a day of it.

2. Are you making the most of your gym membership? A new breed of low cost or pay as you go gyms are springing up all over the place so you could make a nice little saving.

strong>3. If you’re planning a trip to a theme park, check out the 2 for 1 offers. Quite often they will be on the back of a cereal box or similar – well worth the purchase!

4. Planning a trip to the cinema? Yet a box of popcorn and a drink can be like a second mortgage.  Visit the supermarket first!

5. Try a bit of culture, a visit to the museum can be both informative and entertaining.  Check out what’s nearby and…. furthermore, what’s free!

6. Make the most of group discounts or family tickets. Buying a family ticket can save you money, and therefore if you need to bring a friend to max out the offer, make sure you do.

7. Visiting a new city? Another great tip is to buy the Time Out guide or similar, because it will tell you the best places to go and even when and where the happy hours are!

8. Calling all students, make the most of your student discount card and look out for the offers when stores double your discount for limited periods. Of course double the discount equals double the money saving!

9. Use those loyalty cards, it might only be a free coffee, but most of all, free is free! Plus, the supermarket cards can make a cash free dent in Christmas costs if you save the points throughout the year.

10. Finally, it’s a big trend in America and we always follow suit, so get in there early – couponing!  Check out the local rag and the flyers that come through the door and get snipping!

Category: Saving Tips

Ten Easy Commuting Money Saving Tips – Clean and Clear Guide to Money

Published by Lynne Hardwick

Ten Easy Commuting Money Saving Tips – Clean & Clear Guide to Money

They say a penny saved is a penny earned, so let’s get money saving. Just a few tweaks to your lifestyle can save you hundreds of £££’s a year!

1. Do a Peter Kaye! – If you can, car share. It’s warmer and friendlier than the bus, plus there’s somebody to join in on those car pool duets – Money saving!

2. Sign up for a travel season ticket. If you are paying daily, you’ll be paying top dollar!  There are big savings to be had by paying weekly, monthly or even annually for your public transport.

3. Hunt around for your parking spot – just because you’ve always parked there, it doesn’t mean it’s the cheapest place(except if it’s already free!). Just think if you can save £1 a day, that could 4. mount up to a couple of hundred quid across the year. Check out justpark.com – Money saving!

4. If the suns out, why not get the bike out, or even walk? You’ll be burning off the calories too whilst you save the pound notes!

5. Use a budget airline. Thanks to the internet, the days of having to book a package holiday are over.  You can save a fortune by booking yourself onto one of the budget airlines and arranging your own hotel!

6. Book train tickets well in advance and you can pay a fraction of the price compared to booking on the day. It’s not always possible, but it you can plan ahead, you’ll be in the money!

7. Petrol prices can vary tremendously from forecourt to forecourt. As a general guide supermarkets tend to be cheaper, but make sure you avoid the motorway service stations. Fill up in advance!

8.Plan your night out to hit the last bus, tram, train or tube back from town – you’ll save big bucks in taxi fares.

9. Use your cars air con wisely – using your air con increases your fuel costs, it’s a lot cheaper to open the window and feel the wind in your hair.

10. If you regularly use a supermarket for your fuel, make sure you pick up a loyalty card – the points add up quicker than you’d think and you can treat yourself for nothing!

Category: Saving Tips

Top Tips To Improve Your Credit Rating – Clean and Clear Guide to Money

Published by Lynne Hardwick

Top Tips to Improve Your Credit Rating

This credit rating top tip list is far from definitive and different companies may pay more attention to one area or another, but the bottom line is that looking after your credit rating is important and can save you a lot of money when it comes to borrowing;

1. Make sure that you are on the electoral roll. You don’t have to wait for a reminder to drop through the post, you can register anytime at gov.uk/register-to-vote

2. Pay your bills on time every time. Credit Reference Agencies hold information that shows when your bills have been paid.  If you are late or miss a payment, it is recorded against your credit file.  Set up timely direct debits to take the stress away.

3. Make sure that you’ve cancelled any revolving credit accounts (credit cards, store cards, mail order accounts) that you no longer use.  It’s so easy to forget and think that they don’t matter.  But, if you have a few accounts even with a zero balance, it looks like you have a lot of available credit.  Lowering your available credit can help.

4. Ask a lender to carry out a ‘soft search’ just like we do here at Progressive Money. It means if you don’t go ahead with a loan, there is no record of the search on your credit file.

5. Try and pay more than the minimum payment on credit cards. First and foremost, you’ll pay a lot less interest and pay off your balance quicker. Secondly, many credit card companies report on borrowers that only pay the minimum amount.

6. Don’t use the hole in the wall with your credit card. The cash advance interest can be high, and credit card issuers may report this on your credit file.

7. Check your credit file yourself! If you know what’s on there, you will know if the information is correct.  If it isn’t, challenge it with the lender.

8. Reduce the amount of debt you have – OK, it’s not easy, but if you can pay off one of those credit cards or loans, it may look better on your credit file.

9. If you are trying to get on the credit ladder, don’t rush out and open lots of new credit agreements at once. This could affect your credit rating.

Category: News
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