Mothers Day

Unforgettable Mother’s Day on a Budget

Mother’s Day is a beautiful celebration in the name of the matriarch of your family as well as a general honoring of motherhood and the influence of mothers in society. If you want to make this day extra special for the woman who raised you, but you’re worried about your budget, we got your back! Follow our simple tips and tricks and we guarantee you will make your mother feel special and won’t over spend.

Gifts

Finding something meaningful and special for your mother doesn’t have to cost you much. The key is to make the present as personal as possible. Having trouble finding inspiration? Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are your mum’s hobbies (tennis, pottery, DIY)?
  • What does she like to do in her spare time (baking, gardening, shopping)?
  • What relaxes her (candles, music, watching movies)?
  • What’s her favourite room in her house (bathroom, bedroom, living-room)?
  • Does she have any pets?

Do you see where we’re going with this? That’s right, combine the answers to find the most suitable gift! If the bathroom is her sanctuary and she loves to take long relaxing baths a few scented candles would be the best present. The first step is behind us, now it’s time to think about how to cut the costs.

Candles

Candle

You can get personalised candles saying mum for just £3.99.

Alternatively you can buy the cheapest candles and personalise them yourself, using your DIY skills.

Flower jug

Flower jug

You can get a great flower jug for £3.99 specially designed for Mother’s Day.

On the other hand you can buy a jug from a charity shop and with some paints transform it with a design your mum would like.

Photo album

Photo album

Probably nothing screams personal as much as a photo album does. We are sure your mother will be touched with this present whether you assemble it by yourself or buy one.

Key ring

Key ring

It’s a wonderful gift if you want your mum to have something from you she can keep close to her. There’s plenty of personalisable key rings out there, that will cost you only £9.99. Alternatively you could try your strengths in sewing and threading.  For an easier design a great idea is to use a cork which you can paint to your liking.

Cake

Cake

Bake your mum her favourite cake! It’s one of the cheapest gifts and you can enjoy it together.

If it’s already the 31st of March and you still don’t have a gift opt in for a box of chocolates, a fancy cushion or a bottle of wine.

We wouldn’t recommend purchasing cheap jewelry or flowers. Bad quality items won’t be appreciated as much as something you put thought into and the latter is very expensive for the time she’ll be able to enjoy it for.

Celebrations

There are plenty of ways you could spend this day with your mother and not spend any money or very little. All our suggestions are budget friendly but we further divided activities you can invite your mum for into 3 categories: Inexpensive, Cheap and No money necessary.

Mothers Day

Inexpensive

  • You could invite your mum for a meal. If you want to save money brunch would be a better option than dinner
  • Take her to the cinema to watch a movie   
  • Go out for drinks. Every woman likes to be spoiled from time to time and an evening spend with a glass of wine or a fancy cocktail will do the trick

Cheap

  • Cook your mum a meal. We’re pretty sure it was the other way around for many years and it would be a thoughtful way of showing her your appreciation
  • Go for a coffee. Getting out of the house and spending some time with your mum in her favourite coffee shop will make her day that extra bit more special
  • If your mum is an artistic soul, invite her over and try out some new DIY projects together
  • If you live with your mother, you could surprise her with breakfast in bed or come over very early and prepare it before she wakes up. An idea scoring 10/10 for effort.
  • You can also invite the whole family over, to have a bbq or a picnic. To share the expenses, tell all members to bring some food and drinks with them.

No Money Necessary

  • You can invite your mum for a long walk or a hike. Try to pick a location you know she is fond of and she will definitely appreciate your gesture
  • Help your mum around the house, whether it’s cleaning or gardening. It will give you a great opportunity to spend some quality time and it will save her some time, to sit back and relax  
  • A great activity you could enjoy with your mum is going to a museum or free art exhibitions

Card

Card

One of the staples of Mother’s Day celebrations is giving your mum a card. Whether you decide to buy one or make one from scratch the most important is the message and matching the card style to her tastes. If she likes humour opt in for a funny card, however if she prefers a more sentimental style choose a card accordingly.

Now think what you would like to say to her. Do you want to thank her, tell her you love her or both? Go for it, make it cheesy and mushy we’re pretty sure it will put a big smile on her face.

Trying to show how much you appreciate your mother during this special day might be hard enough as it is, yet alone when you are trying to save the pennies! However, we hope that with our gift and activity ideas you feel confident enough to show your mum how much you care. Remember, the most important thing to her is your presence and your happiness so try not to overshadow some quality time with lots of gifts.

 

What’s The Best Method Of Getting To Work?

Around 25% of British people travel more than 30 minutes to work, this is a long time and not always enjoyable. Perhaps you are getting fed up of the way you get to work and want a change, or your car broke down and now you are forced to think of some alternatives. Whether you are looking for a new way to commute to decrease your carbon footprint or save money, this blog post will give you plenty of options to choose from.

Walk

If you live close to your work place then this is probably the best option. However, it’s not just reserved for those who can get to their destination in 10 min. There are so many advantages to getting some fresh air before a long days work, that you might reconsider walking even if it takes you 30 min. Below we listed some of the advantages and disadvantages of walking to work.

Advantages Disadvantages
Exercise The weather might ruin your outfit
You breathe some fresh air You might get tired before you get to work
An opportunity to start your morning on a mindful note Might take a long time
It is relaxing You might not feel like walking early in the morning
It gives you an opportunity to lis-ten to music or an audiobook and get energised before workYour attire might not be appropriate for walking or perhaps you have a lot of things you need to take with you

If you want to get yourself properly awake and energized before work this short type of exercise is the perfect method of getting there. It is also a great way to relax and set your intentions for the day. There are however some disadvantages. If you want to look smart and your best at work a 30 min walk before hand might make that much harder especially if the weather isn’t helping.   

Cycle

If you live a bit further but you still want to get some exercise in before work, this is the option for you.   

AdvantagesDisadvantages
It’s therapeuticCan be too strenuous
It’s a great form of exercise You need a place to store your bike
Saves money You might have to change your clothes before you start work
It’s great for the environment Might be inadvisable depending on the weather
Can get you to work quicker when there’s traffic You might not enjoy it much if you have to go uphill a lot

There are so many health and environmental benefits of cycling. It’s also great fun, feeling the wind in your hair as you cruise down the streets of your city. The best part, no traffic jam will slow you down! You may encounter some problems with regards to this means of transport if the weather is bad and you get all wet to or from work. Furthermore, if the ride is long chances are you’ll get sweaty and then feel uncomfortable for the remainder of your day.

Public Transport

Public transport is a great option for those living far from their workplace, do not own a car or prefer a more eco-friendly manner of getting to work. It can range from very cheap forms of transport like a bus to more expensive, if you have to take the train. It also gives you an opportunity to do something productive during the journey as you are a passenger.  

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Economic benefits to the commu-nityCan be expensive
Reduces road congestionCan take a long time
You don’t have to worry about parkingOften late or unreliable
One of the safest modes of transp-ort Might not be very comfortable if over packed
The weather won’t affect you as muchIt’s easier to catch a cold

This is the perfect way of commuting if you want to read a book or check your emails on the way to work. It doesn’t have to be expensive even if you have to take the train if you get a railcard, buy a seasonal pass or use a fare finder. Nevertheless travelling on a late and packed bus or train where it’s difficult to get a seat could be a downside.   

Drive

If you want to choose exactly what time you want to leave and have maximum comfort and control over your journey driving to work will suit you the most.

AdvantagesDisadvantages
You can choose when you leaveParking spaces may be a problem
You can keep your stuff in your car Fuel is expensive
Could be relaxing if you like drivingNot eco friendly
You are protected from bad weatherYou have to focus on driving
You can take more things with you and leave them in your car You might be affected by traffic jams and road rage

If it’s possible, split the responsibilities of driving to and from work with a colleague. In some workplaces, schemes are set up to encourage this. If you need to find parking every day, instead of using the multi-storey car parks you could also look at car parking sites such as Just Park, which allows you to park in private residential parking spots at a much cheaper rate.         

Original

If you are looking for a more exciting way to get to work and maybe learn a new skill try: roller skating, skateboarding or riding a scooter. You can even get an electric version if you want to speed things up. Remember to practice a bit before hand so you don’t fall and hurt yourself on the way to work.

AdvantagesDisadvantages
You get to do a fun act-ivity before workCould be dangerous
You can try somethin-g new and develop yo-ur skillsDepending on your skills this might take a long time
An entertaining form of exercise Require investment in equipment which could be expensive if you want to get for example an electric scooter
You can be a part of a communityNot all attire is suitable so you would have to change
It’s eco-friendly You will need a place to store your gear

This could be an exciting way to start and end your working day. With the fresh air and an activity to wake you up you’d probably arrive lively and excited to work. However, it does carry some disadvantages. Be careful not to try something for the first time when you are rushing to work, not only are you risking being late but more importantly hurting yourself.

There are many ways to commute to work and you don’t have to stick to one. In the summer perhaps walking or rollerblading would be your favourite, this doesn’t mean it will be your best option for winter. Change it up to prevent boredom and don’t be afraid to try new things.  

Traditional Personal Finance Rules Revised

Some financial rules really survive the test of time. Don’t spend more than you earn, stick to your budget, save for retirement. However, some tips are outdated and plainly not valid in this day and age. These previously holly pieces of advice just do not stand in today’s economy and rapidly changing job market.

Buy or Rent?

House

The stereotypical response would be to buy property, putting the money into your own investment rather than the landlords wallet. Despite the fact that buying your own home can be expensive it could save you money over the years. Renting on the other hand comes with less freedom to alter your home but offers more moving out flexibility. There are benefits to both and it’s not as black and white as it used to be. Here are the benefits of each and how to decide whether to rent or buy.

  • Benefits of buying
    • Each payment goes into your property
    • Once you pay off your mortgage you can live rent free
    • You have freedom to alter your home the way you like
    • You can have pets
  • Disadvantages of buying
    • Upfront costs like mortgage fees and stamp duty can make it pricier than renting
    • Joint mortgages might make things complicated if you separate with your partner
    • You have to pay for maintenance
    • Moving can take a long time if you have to sell your house first
    • If you can’t pay your mortgage you’ll get into debt and it will be harder to move into a cheaper property
  • Benefits of renting
    • You can move easily
    • It takes less time to find a home
    • You won’t loose money if the property’s price goes down
    • The landlord has to pay for repairs
    • You may be able to rent a bigger home in a nicer area than you could afford to buy
  • Disadvantages of renting
    • You won’t own your house/ flat
    • You have to move out when your landlord decides
    • Your landlord makes the rules
    • You have to pay the deposit which is sometimes not rightfully kept
    • Rent could increase

Which is cheaper? In the short-term it is paying rent, however in the long-run it could be buying a house. It really depends on your life priorities. If you will travel a lot or if you can’t afford a mortgage than renting is definitely a better option, making buying property a questionable advice. The new rule is: don’t pursue buying a house blindly.

Save 20% of your salary monthly

Saving

For a long time we’ve been told that we should save 10% for our retirement, 5% for emergencies and the rest for holidays, weddings or other high expenses. This rule no longer holds true, with longer lifespans, the decline in retirement plans, altering social security benefits and higher individual diversity.

Now your best option is to calculate an estimate number depending on your life-style and personal goals. People may have varying income needs in retirement or emergency. Therefore instead of blindly following the 20% rule, be honest with yourself and calculate a more accurate number that counters in your passions, living expenses and frequent high expenses like cars etc. You can use a pension calculator to help you see the full picture of your likely retirement income.

Student Loan

Student loan

The pervasive though is that a student loan is a “good debt” because it’s an investment. The fact is that graduates do earn more than non graduates, so in the long term, you are statistically more likely to improve your earning prospects by going to university.

However, not all careers need a degree and some have job training pathways. Furthermore, not all courses will guarantee you a higher pay or even employment. Therefore it’s vital to weigh the costs and benefits of a degree. Unfortunately, the debt that comes with higher education isn’t always necessarily a good thing to take on.

Take time to consider all the pros and cons of getting a degree on your finances and the return on investment you can expect. Consider whether the industry you’re planning to enter cares more about skills and experience than it does for a university credential. If you’re going to school with a plan to “find yourself” or take a break from the workforce, think twice about the price tag that comes with it.

Assume nothing

Old man

There are endless sense gaps in finance, business and governmental processes that undermine even the oldest rules. The best method to currently employ is common sense, for example don’t save only 10% of your salary if you are planning to retire around 40, it will definitely not be enough.

Inquire more to find out about your rights. You might be entitled to benefits or discounts. Do your research rather than follow any old beliefs you might have and take your time making important decisions, especially if there is no rush.

Be in control

Writing

Staying stagnant in your finances will cost you more than you can imagine.
Not switching to a more competitive mortgage rate costs us £2.5bn a year, failing to consolidate credit card debts leaves us £10.5bn worse off and leaving personal loans where they are brings with it an unnecessary bill of £5.7bn. We have now more choice than ever and the fierce competition using new sales tactics is making it even harder for us. Try to beat through the overwhelming feeling and keep pursing the best financial option.

Keep track of your accounts and documents as you might be loosing money because of outdated addresses and organisations loosing your records. This is particularity worrying for our generation who is switching their jobs frequently and is loosing their pension income. If you want to track down your pension details click.

It’s clear that in this day and age if you want financial security you will have to pay for it. The generation inequality might feel unfair, but in this case you have to play by the new rules.

These AI Powered Apps Will Help You Save Money

These days we spend more time on our smartphones than we do our computers, which means the vast majority of us will do our online banking on the go. As such most banks have their dedicated apps and services to make sure we can check our balances and manage our accounts with ease. But do these actually help us to save money?

In the last year, there has been a huge increase in the number of financial artificial intelligence to help you save money. The AI analyses your spending habits and either makes saving suggestions or automatically puts money aside for you.

This will help you build a cash reserve in case you have an emergency cost that needs paying instantly. If haven’t got the cash to afford an unexpected expense, PiggyBank offer simple, same day loans!

Unfortunately, it’s not quite as easy as this…

We’ve compiled a list of the best digital financial assistants to help you with your savings!

Plum

Plum is an automated service that analyses your outgoings and recommends how much you should add to your savings account. You must simply provide Plum with your online banking details. Plum does not have a dedicated app, it operates through Facebook Messenger and will notify on your current savings balance with fun emojis. With this chatbot you can quickly message it to “save £50” and it will transfer that amount into your savings account.

Plum screenshot on mobile

Plum also gives you the chance to invest your savings with RateSetter to earn monthly interest of around 3%. Although this investment is not without risk, so make sure you fully understand what you’re investing in!

Chip

Much like Plum, Chip is a chatbot that connects to your bank accounts and will calculate how much you can put into savings based on your outgoings. Chip has a dedicated app for both iOS and Android and opens a savings account for you to pay into whenever you like. Money is automatically transferred to this account on a regular basis and you can withdraw it at any time, making this a very flexible in case of emergency!

Chip mobile screenshot

With Cleo you earn 1% interest on a quarterly basis. Although this is less than Plum, it is without the added risk! You can also raise this interest up to a gigantic 5% if you invite your friends and family to also join Chip.

Cleo

Unlike Plum and Chip, Cleo does not put your money into a savings account. Instead, Cleo gives an accurate breakdown of what you’ve spent your money on in different categories such as transport, bills, and food shops. Cleo works through Facebook messenger and again requires you to enter your bank account information. You can even see which merchant you spend your money at, so you can ascertain that it’s those Starbucks coffees that are draining your monthly income! 

Cleo mobile screenshot

You can ask this chatbot to set a target amount to save, and it will make intelligent suggestions about how much you will need to save. It will analyse your income and necessary expenses and recommend the best savings plan. Cleo also works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant in case you fancy chat!

If you do find yourself short at the end of the month, our flexible, online loans could be a convenient option for you to cover an emergency cost. 

If you’re struggling to stay on top of your budgeting, perhaps these automated services can help you accumulate those all-important savings.

How to Improve Your Credit Rating

The credit rating is a cumulative score reflecting a person’s financial health and ability to repay debts.  If you have a poor credit score, you may find it difficult to obtain loans. Though there are some lenders that offer bad credit loans, you may be better off making small changes to improve your credit rating.

The higher the individual’s credit score, the more likely lenders or creditors are to approve lending, such as for a short term loan.  Each person’s credit score is different based on their financial commitments, such as to mortgages, credit cards, and bank loans.

A person’s loan repayment history for transactions such as short term loans is an indicator of how a person might manage future loan repayments.  A credit report provided through a credit checking agency is a means of obtaining a personal credit score and understanding what constitutes the score amount.

By taking steps to increase their credit score, individuals can expand their borrowing options and are more likely to be approved for short term lending.  The main ways to increase credit scores include:

  • Registering your residential property for listing on the voting or electoral roll
  • Protecting personal identity to avoid becoming a victim of credit fraud
  • Repaying creditors on time and paying outstanding bills
  • Keeping accounts in use and closing unnecessary accounts that are not used
  • Having a credit history that shows an ability to repay money borrowed

Credit scores are low when the person has not registered to vote, defaulted on loans, gained county court judgments (CCJs), possesses numerous inactive accounts, and lacks credit history.