Everyone likes a little something extra in their pockets and with a high rate of outgoings your wallet can feel pretty light at times. But did you know that some brands will pay you cash if you buy something from them by going through an external website first? These are called cashback sites, and they’re a great place to start if you’re on the hunt for ways to save a bit of money, especially if you’re at uni, without having to completely freeze your spending.

What you ask, is a cashback website?

A cashback website is a type of reward website that pays its members a percentage of money earned when they purchase goods and services from its affiliate links. Many websites such as Quidco and TopCashback offer cashback on a variety of goods and services, from mobile phones to car insurance and bank accounts to broadband. Payment is generally made in the form of bank transfers, gift vouchers, online sites such as PayPal, bank checks, mobile recharges or online orders at the request of the user.

The amount of time that it takes to receive the cashback benefits is dependent on the site and its terms and conditions. Some websites will make their payments every four to six weeks, while others will only issue their rebates after a few months. 

When deciding what cashback website to sign-up to and use, you should be thinking about choosing one that pays the highest percentage to you.

Here are a few websites that have been compared to give you the best options to earn cashback:


Swagbucks is a free-to-join and you get a £3 fee for joining! They have services that pay you cash backs, gift cards for shopping online, as well as taking surveys, watching videos, searching online, playing games and more. In other words, all the things you usually do online on a daily basis,  you can do via Swagbucks and earn cash back on purchases and offers.You can choose to be paid via gift cards for top shopping brands such as Amazon, or have it paid directly into your PayPal account.


With Boom25, you have a 1 in 25 chance of getting your entire shop for free. It works like a normal cashback website in that you sign up and then visit online shops like you normally would. Then, instead of earning a small percentage back as cashback, you enter the draw to win the entire cost of your shopping for free. Every 25th order that is registered with Boom25 gets the whole shop for free – whether it’s a £5 pair of socks or your entire Christmas shopping!


Similar to Swagbucks, 20Cogs is a UK-based service which offers cash rewards for your online activity, which includes taking part in Competitions, Offers, Games and Surveys (hence the name).

20Cogs is a growing cashback website which now has over 300,000 users, and is completely free to join. All you have to do is complete a really short sign-up form. You’ll need to enter your full name, email address and a password to join for free and start earning!

Oh my Dosh:

Also, Uk based, Oh my Dosh is a cashback site that is again completely free to use – they do not charge a subscription fee, unlike some other reward sites.

After signing up, users can receive cashback by completing surveys or by purchasing various products that are on offer. It’s a fast and easy way to make money online. When you visit advertisers and complete their offers e.g. signing up to 30-day free trials or LAMB (Look After My Bills) through the OhMyDosh website, they receive a payment from the advertiser and they then split that money with you.

When your balance reaches a total of £10 cashback, you can cash the money out and it will be transferred to you via PayPal or a standard bank transfer, which can take up to 5 days to process (as standard). OhMyDosh is safe to use – you are not asked to add any of your bank details until you’re ready to cash the money out. To top it all off, the website has a 5-star rating on Trustpilot!


Quidco was the first ‘big’ cashback site to enter the UK market and pays similar levels of cashback commission as TopCashback. The two sites have now become the two biggest cashback websites in the UK, and compete for exclusive deals and commission rates – so it can be worth signing up with both to maximize your cashback.

Quidco is also free to join and you can sign up online by completing their short sign-up form. The basic membership is free, but if you choose to upgrade, you’ll be charged. ‘The average Quidco member can earn over £300 a year’, as per Quidco’s information, so get ready to pay for that holiday!

Quidco always has great cashback rates and let’s not forget the regular promotions including Flash Sales with exclusive cashback rates, member bonuses and discount vouchers to help you get the most from your money.

You can even increase your Quidco rewards by getting a ‘top-up’ bonus. To get this, all you need to do is withdraw your cashback as a gift card, instead of just simply cash. The gift cards available with Quidco include Amazon, Argos, Marks and Spencer and many others.


TopCashback is considered one of the best sites out there by many users as it is possibly the largest site with over 5,000 plus merchants. It generally offers higher rates than Its competitors and most users give them excellent reviews! Their Classic membership is free but the Plus membership offers a bonus of an extra 5% cashback on most transactions, as well as extra money for referring friends and other perks! However, they will keep £5 of the cash back you earn every year as payment.

When you first sign up you are automatically assigned to be on a Plus membership. Make sure you opt out of that if it’s not what you want. You can also swap your cashback cash for vouchers through Reward Wallet and get an extra up to 15% value-added!

Also, keep an eye out for their Free Cashback feature which enables you to earn cash back just by completing certain tasks online, for example, you can earn £2.25 just for creating an account and checking your credit score with Experian. This site is not just for online shopping or cashback. You can also register your bank card and get cashback while you shop on the high street and can also claim free or cheap food coupons when you take a photo of your receipt and either upload it on-site or do a snap and save app! 

Your cashback should appear in your account within seven days of your purchase, and once you’ve chosen a payout method, you have to wait another seven days to get your hands on that cash (although it often arrives much quicker than this).


If you’ve got kids, grandkids or even one on the way, KidStart may be a cashback site you would want to consider. KidStart is smaller than other cashback sites but that’s because it works differently. Instead of giving you the money back, any cashback you earn has to be, as a rule of the website, put towards your child’s savings.

KidStart says you could earn around £250 a year and deposit it into a child’s savings account.That is the one catch – it does need to be a child’s savings account. It could be with any bank, a child trust fund or a Junior ISA. If you don’t have kids or have kids in the family you want to transfer the money to, you can choose to donate your cashback to them or a school or a choice of children’s charities.

How do the websites earn money? 

The core concept for this is that all the above-mentioned sites make their money using affiliate marketing and then share the profits with their shoppers. In simpler terms, it’s like them earning a commission every time a customer makes a purchase through their links. 

Any drawbacks? 

As a customer, there are a few things that need to be considered regardless of what website you choose to go with. 
Always compare all the sites with each other and see which one is the most profitable for you. 

It’s all good for getting some money back, but is it the best bargain for you? Make sure to read the terms and conditions very carefully for each to make sure you are not at a loss, e.g. You could be losing out on savings if you’ve got a 10% off voucher code, but only getting 4.5% cashback.

Also, cash out as soon as possible, just to be on the safe end. This is because if the company you are with goes bust, you could lose all that money.

 So choose the one that suits you best and start earning that cash!

Ways To Bring Your Car Insurance Down

Car insurance is something everyone has to pay for. Having a car insurance is essential because it covers your expenses in the event of vehicle damage or injuries to other drivers, passengers or pedestrians. It’s easy to save hundreds of pounds a year on your car insurance, yet most people stay with their existing provider and pay far more than they should because they are unaware of how to save. But there are plenty of things you can do to make sure it doesn’t leave you out of pocket.

The best way to save money on any outgoing is to shop around the market and compare everything from prices to cons and perks. See what deals are being offered and which one caters to your financial needs and only then jump into it. By doing this you are able to compare the quality of the policy and have an idea of the best price to negotiate with your existing insurer if you want to stay with them of course. 

Here are a few top tips we think you can use to reduce the cost of your insurance:

Use a comparison site:

If you’ve not done this before you should try it now. It will definitely save you hundreds of pounds on a renewal quote. This is a simple and easy way to compare prices and while results will broadly be the same across most comparison sites, they may slightly differ enough for you to make the best decision for yourself. So it is worth checking a couple of these sites before taking a decision. Here are a few examples you can check out:  Compare the Market, MoneySupermarket, or

Shop around for the best car insurance policies:

When shopping around for car insurance, it’s important to make sure that you are comparing like-for-like cover. Some policies may seem cheaper, but you may find you don’t have the same level of cover when you have to make a claim. If you’ve been happy with the cover your existing provider has given until now but are unhappy with their renewal quote, let them know that you have been looking elsewhere and have received a better offer from a rival insurer and ask them to at least match it. I’m sure no insurance company wants to lose a customer, so they will give you options and offer discounts and you can pick out the one that suits you best. Comparing prices is essential to finding this information. You can save hundreds of pounds if you shop around before you renew your cover.

Protect that no-claims bonus:

A long no-claims bonus is the single best way of cutting car insurance costs, so protect it. This may increase the premium by a few pounds, but this fades into insignificance against the potential loss of a 90% discount on a premium of several hundred pounds. Although the definition of a protected no-claims bonus can vary widely between insurers. The fact is that accidents caused by another driver will normally have no impact on such a bonus but those caused by the insured could. Also, if you have an older car that isn’t worth very much, a third party, fire and theft policy rather than comprehensive cover could save some money.

But third party-only insurance might not offer the cover level you want, and it isn’t always cheaper than comprehensive cover. The key is to always check the policy carefully and consider every detail.

Secure your car:

Fitting an approved alarm, immobiliser or tracking device in your car can attract a discount of around 5%. Many newer cars will come with these as a standard inbuilt feature, so make sure you check if you have them and then declare them. Drive safely and park in well lit areas or at night in a garage to reduce chances of break-in. 

Think carefully about adding young drivers:

Adding a young, inexperienced driver to your policy can be considered as false economy, especially if you have a large or higher powered vehicle. The premium will still be affected by the youngest driver and they may not have a no-claims bonus. Insurers have also been focusing on fronting, where experienced drivers such as parents insure cars in their name for children to cut costs, so make sure if you are the policyholder on a car driven by your children that you are actually its main driver, or that you declare otherwise. 

Pay upfront:

Many insurers charge interest on your payments if you decide to pay monthly payments. This is because car insurers treat split payments like a loan – with some charging 30% APRs on them. On a big quote, that can be hundreds of pounds extra over the year. Not all of them do so, but it’s the case for a lot of them. So try and pay upfront if you can and save money in the long run. 

Use the right job title:

Most of the general population is unaware of this and how they can work around it. Did you know, If you describe yourself as a “chef” when filling in your car insurance application your average quote is £98 higher than if you write “kitchen staff”? “Music teachers” pay £86 more than “teachers” & “office managers” pay more than “office administrators”. This basically means, tweaking your job description can change costs. For more on how your job affects your car insurance, check out GoCompare’s guide on how to use the right job title to save costs.

Be a better driver and sign up to a BlackBox:

For those of us who are unaware, Black box car insurance is when your insurance provider uses a type of telematics equipment (a method of monitoring a vehicle) – known as a black box – to keep an eye and set your premiums based on your driving habits. These equipments basically check your speed, how harshly you accelerate and brake and how carefully you drive, and also whether you are on the road at perceived dangerous times – i.e. the early hours of the morning. They can cut down premiums substantially once you start proving you are a good driver. The biggest win is for those whose premiums are high, especially young drivers. Some insurers even offer an upfront discount if you take out a telematics policy.

Black box car insurance and any type of telematics cover is generally suited to groups seen as ‘high-risk’ by insurance and may be especially beneficial for you if you are young or inexperienced driver. 

Consider what vehicle is best for you

Cars having a smaller engine are more likely to have a low insurance therefore tend to have lower premiums as well. And just the same way, road tax on a smaller engine vehicle should also be cheaper. To explain this better, a two door smart car insurance premium would be cheaper than an SUV which comparatively has a large engine.

Every insurer will treat every sort of vehicle differently though. For example, some classic cars are very affordable to cover as insurers recognise the love that owners put into them and you may find a discount through an owners’ club.

Take a driving course

Advanced driving courses such as Pass Plus scheme cost money but they will get you a discount on your insurance with some companies, especially when it comes to young and inexperienced drivers. But keep in mind that not all insurance companies will take courses like these into account. Always weigh up whether the savings on insurance will outweigh the course cost or not.

Limit your mileage

Even though in the beginning your insurance premiums may be high, especially if your a young or inexperienced driver but you can always bring it down in time. You can do this by Limiting the number of miles you drive each year –  fewer miles, lower the risk for insurers, leading to cheaper insurance.

But always give an accurate estimate of your mileage when getting a quote – your policy could be invalid if you’re not honest.

So if you are looking top bring your car insurance down and are unsure as to how you can do this, follow these steps, do your research well. Weigh your options and write down the pros and cons. Then think and decide what is the best option for you and never jump into this blindly. After all, the goal is to save as much as you possibly can!

7 Budgeting Apps To Help You Manage Finances By Christmas

Are you still paying off for a holiday you took this summer? Not to mention there is only one month to go until Christmas arrives – So now would be a great time to start planning and saving for the upcoming holiday season. We know you may have too much on your plate to manage considering all the things you have to do in your daily budget by yourself, so we’ve rounded up some of the best apps we think will help you save before Christmas this year! 

We all know how important money management is. According to Bank of England data, UK households typically spend £500 more in December compared to other months during a year. Considering this, If you haven’t planned ahead already, it could result in an empty wallet in 2020 which arrives sooner than you can say ‘Save it’. In fact, research suggests that  many Brits don’t manage to pay off their Christmas debts until the following April. That means four months down and you still have lingering after effects of that spending spree you went on with a loan that is now a burden on your shoulders. 

But it doesn’t have to be this way if you do it right the first time around. From interesting ways to cut your expenses, to warning notifications when you’re over-spending, these apps can help you build up those savings before and after christmas for any rainy days to come. 

All of the apps we’ve chosen to look at are both FCA-approved and regulate open banking providers.

Introduced in January 2018, open banking enables third parties to access your financial information in a secure, encrypted way. It’s like looking at your bank statements to verify your income and outgoings without the third party having access to your online banking.

So here’s what we think can help you save:

1- Money Dashboard

Price: Free 

Availability: iOS, Android, Web

Features: This app’s dashboard allows you to see all of your accounts in one place, including current accounts, savings accounts as well as credit cards. With all of your income and spending automatically categorized, it’s easy to see where your money is being spent, and you can set targets and goals for each and see where and how you can save. This can be particularly helpful if you need to cut down on costs such as eating out or take away coffees at work. Furthermore, the app sets out your predicted income, expenditure and balances for future references and you can always work around that and plan a month ahead! If you’re looking to save some money for Christmas or generally any other event, being able to see ahead of time can show you how much you need to start saving. More than 70 UK banks are supported in the app, from the big high street banks to smaller challengers, with more being added soon.

2- Oval Money 

Price: Free 

Availability: iOS and Android 

Features:The Oval Money app allows you to monitor your spending, and set up ‘Steps’, as a way of saving and then it sets out rules based on these habits. One rule might be to pay into your savings whenever you go for a run or post on Facebook, for instance. Oval currently works with 28 banks and credit cards, which you can sync to your account. Your savings with Oval are held in a segregated account at Barclays. Keep in mind that the Financial Services Compensation Scheme will protect deposits of up to £85,000 per provider, so if you have other accounts with Barclays, this will add to your total. The app also features ‘Oval Coach’, which sets you savings missions to improve your habits. Again, setting future goals is the key here. Think it and then do it. The more missions you complete means you are now developing better spending habits. Sounds like a hard thing to do to suddenly change you spending habits – but the more money you save, the better your future.

3- Yolt 

Price: Free 

Availability: iOS, Android, Web

Features: Yolt puts all of your bank accounts, credit cards and pension investments in one place, supporting more than 35 banks and institutions. Your spending is split up into categories so you can see where it goes. This is also aided by a three-month spending-history charts which shows you a pattern of your spending’s. This way you are able to Judge and control any upcoming spending sprees. Upcoming payments are also highlighted, so you can avoid any nasty surprises. You can set and track spending limits for each category, monitor renewal dates for any bills and subscriptions as well as make payments and switch energy providers – all of which should mean you’ll have more money to salvage away as savings for any thing up ahead.

4 – Emma 

Price: Free 

Availability: iOS and Android 

Features: Emma is described as a ‘financial advocate’ for your money. The service aims to help you avoid overdrafts, track debt, cancel needless subscriptions and save money. You can track your spending and set budgets, plus receive notifications to let you know when you’ve received a refund, when your direct debits are going to leave your account and when your salary has been paid. It also helps you keep track of any cryptocurrency investments you may have. All of this means you can get a full view of your finances at any point in time, making it easier to identify where you can save money.

5 – Cleo 

Price: Free 

Availability: iOS, Android, Web 

Features: Unlike the other apps listed here, Cleo works through Facebook Messenger. You can ask interactive questions like ‘Can I afford a night out?’, and expect to receive answers that give insights into how your spending is going this month – and maybe a witty gif at the end. Cleo also sends notifications, quizzes, insights and challenges to keep you up-to-date and engaged with how your money’s doing. The app basically keeps you on your toes when it comes to finances with some puns intended. You can choose which accounts you want to link up. The app is only able to read your transactions and make calculations based on your income and spending, you can’t move money within the app itself. There’s also a Cleo wallet feature, where the AI calculates how much you can afford to save each week, and saves it away before you spend it. Quiet clever isn’t it. Every little action from the app helps towards that Christmas budget you know you need.

6 – Bean 

Price: Free 

Availability: iOS and Android 

Features: Unlike like Mr.Bean (pun intended), this app is all about tracking and staying in control of your regular payments and managing your subscriptions. You can connect your bank and credit card accounts to the app and the dashboard will find all recurring payments. If you find, for example, an old gym membership you never use, the app can sort out cancellations, as well as provide a comparison and help you switch services if you want to get a cheaper deal elsewhere. Bean also notifies you if any of your bills are going up for renewal dates for things like insurance contracts. This way you get to make sure you’re not paying out any more than you need to.

7- Moneyhub 

Price: 99p a month/£9.99 a year; £1.49 a month/£14.99 a year via the App Store

Availability: iOS, Android, Web 

Features: This app has options for individuals and businesses both. Moneyhub allows you to connect all of your current accounts, credit cards, savings accounts, mortgages, pensions and investments in one place to get an in-depth analysis of your spending and savings. Once you’ve sorted that, you can then set up budgets for different spending categories. The app will send you ‘notifications’ to let you know how far through the budget you are. Knowing that you’ve nearly spent your eating out budget for the month might encourage you to cook at home instead. For trickier financial decisions, there’s Moneyhub’s ‘Find Advisor’ feature. This puts you in touch with professional advisers and, with your consent, it can share all of the data you’ve connected to the app to give them a full overview of your situation. They are then able to analyse the data and answer any questions you have and help you see where there maybe gaps for savings.

So here is an overview of apps we think may help you save by Christmas this year if you start today. So what app do you plan to use? As you know, every penny counts!

What Is Open Banking and How Can It Help Me Get A Loan?

Since January 2018 the nine major high street banks are required by the competition and markets authority to allow current account customers to share their financial data. This new technology, called open banking, is creating new financial options for people by giving them a better understanding of their finances. Here we’ll explain why open banking is being used by financial institutions and what that means for you if you are thinking of applying for a loan.

What is Open Banking?

Open Banking is a secure way of allowing third parties like lenders or banks to look at the income and outgoings of your current account. This grants an organisation the opportunity to look at your financial information such as your spending habits: including the companies you frequently spend money with and the amount you put into savings each month.

How Does Open Banking Work And Is It Safe?

Open Banking means that you can securely share your

Without getting too technical, sharing your bank account information with a third party is made possible with two methods: through an API (application programming interface) or screen scraping.

Screen-scraping is the method that many of the small finance management apps use to gain access to your account. You have to give providers your login details to your online banking which grants them read-only access to your statements. They cannot edit your account without your permission. There are concerns that screen scraping could be easily exploited, leaving your data at risk.     

Open banking through an API is supposedly a much safer method. Put simply, an API essentially allows information to be shared securely from one party to another. This also means you don’t have to share your login information with anybody. 

Every financial service that utilises open banking technology is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), so they must go through rigorous assessments to ensure that they can securely handle their customer’s data. You do not have to share your bank account data unless you want to. Each provider must ask for your permission to access your financial information.

How Can Open Banking Help Me Get A Loan?

When you apply for a loan there a variety of different checks that you will have to go through before you are approved. One of these is a credit check, which evaluates your history of borrowing and repaying your finances. If you have had a recent spell of not being able to repay your credit commitments, your credit score could be lower and you may be deemed as not creditworthy. On the other hand, you could have a thin credit file, which means you haven’t proven that you’ve borrowed much money before. This is where open banking can help you get a loan. By allowing financial services to look at your recent transactional data means you can show that you can afford to borrow money if you don’t have any credit history. Rather than having to get your recent bank statements and send them in to be evaluated, you can now simply grant a lender read-only access to your bank account.

Equally, you may be unsure if you are able to even borrow the amount that you’ve applied for. By being, literally, open with your banking, a lender may be able to advise you how much credit you can borrow and for how long.

Which Companies Use Open Banking?

A wide variety of companies are now using open banking to help people manage their finances and even borrow money online.

Budgeting Apps

Money management has always been difficult, but with the release of open banking, many companies have sprung up to help people better manage their money. Apps that are powered by AI like Plum and Chip are using this technology to work out how much you can put into savings based on your spending habits. They will then automatically save money away for you. Other companies like Coconut are using open banking to help small businesses and people who are self-employed to manage their cash flow, invoices and tax. You can find out more about alternative accounts on our blog.

Loan Lenders

Online lenders previously had to rely on the information entered into the application form to assess a person’s affordability. Bank statement was also sometimes requested and had to be slowly evaluated for the income and expenditure. But now, many types of lenders from business loan companies to short term lenders like PiggyBank can use open banking to gain a better understanding of whether you can afford to take out a loan. By sharing their data with the lender, the underwriter can quickly see the person’s transaction history and verify their income.

Money Saving Tips For Buying Back To School Supplies For Kids

The back to school supplies shopping trip can be an expensive part of the summer, especially after spending a lot during the summer to keep the kids entertained. Research from Mintel has shown that Brits spend an average of around £400 on new school uniform and classroom equipment each year. But you don’t have to fear the long and expensive supply list: here are some back to school money saving tips and tricks to help you save before term starts!

Reuse stationary from last year

Many parents believe their children need new supplies for a new school year but that’s what the retail stores want you to think. If school shoes still fit or their pencil case is still well-stocked with working pens and pencils, you don’t have to replace them instantly. After the initial back-to-school surge, retailed reduce the price of most school essentials, so you could save a few pounds by waiting. 

Buy basic school uniform from a standard retailer

woman covering her face with an open book

Many school’s uniform policies don’t require you to purchase everything from the school shop. Some basic pieces such as shirts, trousers and skirts can be purchased from standard retailers as long as they match the school colour theme. Key items such as blazers, jumper and dresses (or anything with the school logo) may, however, have to be purchased at the school store or an official store. 

Look For Second Hand Items

Check local auctions on Facebook, Gumtree or even local newsletters to see if any former student’s parents are selling their old uniform, textbooks, calculators etc. You might find some barely worn uniform pieces in great condition, or even a copy of Great Gatsby with some useful notes in for a fraction of the cost. You should consider looking in charity shops too— they’ll quite often sell secondhand stationary that has been barely used before.

Plan well in advance

The best way to save money for the school year is by planning well in advance. What textbooks are required for the school year? Will your child need art supplies for school projects? Are there any school trips this year you’ll need to fund? Email the school secretary or ask a class teacher at the beginning of the year what extra activities are planned and the cost involved for the year. Knowing what you will have to pay for you’ll be able to budget and plan better for the year ahead.

Save on next year by buying now

From mid-September onwards, most retailers reduce the price of most school stationary and uniform. If you’re able to wait for the sales, this is a great way to save for this school year. If not, you could use this as an opportunity to stock up supplies for next year. Just remember if you’re planning to buy cut price school uniform, buy a size up in case your children go through a growth spurt! 

Don’t fall for retailer’s marketing tricks

assorted-color hanging clothes lot

It is common for retails to divide school supplies into two categories – girls and boys. For example, school shoes are always nearly marketing for either boys or for girls, but boy’s shoes often have much thicker midsoles making them far less likely to break as fast as the thinner girl’s shoes. Try to buy your children the shoes that and are comfortable and robust rather than the ones that are aimed at their gender for fashion and you might find that they last longer.

Spend less (or more) on tech

When it comes to purchasing new technology for school use or homework, it’s important to consider the age of your child and how advanced the gadgets needs to be. If they only require a laptop for typing up homework or researching, a very basic device will be more than sufficient – and you can worry less if they lose or break it. However, it’s also important to keep in mind the longevity of the product and how long it will need to support your child’s education – you may save more in the long run by spending more on faster, more efficient tech. 

Compare Prices

Lastly, shop around and compare the prices in multiple stores where you can. Some stores such as John Lewis, Currys PC World, Argos and Tesco offer a price match guarantee, so check online to get the best price. The chances are that your children won’t need the professional set of colouring pencils and are probably better off getting the cheaper set.

Top 5 Alternative Savings Accounts

Saving money these days can be a challenge, especially with interest rates at their lowest. Though spending your hard-earned cash on things you actually want sound much better than leaving it in a cold dingy bank, it’s important to save little and often so you’re prepared for those unexpected expenses. Fortunately, we’ve found some alternative savings accounts to help build an emergency fund. If however, you don’t have enough saved away when disaster strikes, My Financial Broker can connect you to a short term loan lender. 


Moneybox is a simple and easy investment app. It works by rounding up your everyday purchases such as your morning coffee to last night’s Uber to the nearest pound and investing the spare change. They also offer cash saving products and long term investment products that can be set up from your mobile phone in minutes. 

When setting up the app, you choose from three different investment options – cautious, balanced and adventurous. These options are made up of different allocations of a range of tracker funds. Cautious is fairly low-risk investments such as cash funds and government and corporate bonds. Whilst adventurous is high-risk with a majority of your money being invested in global shares.

It’s important to remember that there is a risk in investing as you not receiving a fixed rate interest, but over the long-term stocks have delivered better returns as they pay higher interest so there is also a risk with not investing. Though it’s true that keeping your money in a standard saving account gives you more certainty about the interest rates, it’s very unlikely the interest you’d earn will match inflation – meaning the purchasing power of your money declines every year. With Moneybox (as well as most banks and building societies), your investments are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme up to £85,000.


Monzo is a smarter online bank account that helps you to manage your money. It allows you to set monthly spending budgets for things like groceries and household bills and notifies you if you ever go over your budget. You can also use your card abroad for free! But how does a current account help you to save?

As you can see an easy summary of your account at any time using their handy app, you can identify where you’re spending unnecessarily, cut back and put that money into one of their saving pots. Monzo has partnered with a variety of providers who offer competitive saving rate (all over 1%). You can also add customer images to your saving pots to stay visualise what your saving for (whether that be a house, car or holiday) and stay motivated. Similarly to Moneybox, Monzo will also round up transactions to add spare change to saving pots automatically and schedule monthly saving to deposit to keep you on track. S


Squirrel operated a little differently than other alternative saving account but it still makes saving for your goals easy and helps you create your own personalised budget. 

Squirrel is an online savings account and operates as a middle man. Rather than having your salary paid into your current account, the money will be transferred to your squirrel account where it will be held safely until your bills are due to come out. Squirrell will automatically transfer money to your current account the day before your bills are due so there’s no need to ever have to worry about accidentally spending bill money. You can also transfer some additional spending money to your debit cards, and leave the remaining safe in your squirrel account. 

Squirrel is different from a regular saving account as it makes it easy to save and importantly help to keep you motivated to not to withdraw your saving early unlike a normal account. Similarly to Monzo, you can create personalised saving pots for all things you might want to save for and add your names and pictures to saving and set goals and track progress.

The most important thing about saving is not necessarily how much you save but making a habit of it, so we hope these alternative savings account has inspired you to save up for a rainy day. Though there are other methods of cover rainy day costs such as credit cards and overdraft, they can have high-interest rates, and wouldn’t you rather earn interest that has to pay interest.


If you don’t know how much you can afford to put away each month, Plum is the app for you. Plum aims to make it saving easier so you can spend money on the things you want, rather than the things you need. It’s smart algorithm analyses your spending, and every few days transfers the perfect amount into your Plum savings account automatically

Plum works as an AI chatbot service, built into your Facebook messenger. You can adjust how much Plum saves for you whenever you like by messaging Plum via Facebook. When you’ve reached your saving goal, or need some extra cash, you can request to withdraw at any time. Having Plum built into Facebook messenger as opposed to its own app makes it easier for those who struggle to save. As it blends into your everyday life, you can rest assured that your money is safe and savings are building up little by little rather than downloading and checking a separate app.

Plum savings don’t pay interest, but you can invest part of the saving earn with a single command. Your saving will be invested at RateSetter – one of the biggest peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders in the UK. P2P lending is a rapidly growing, FCA regulated form of investing in which people with money who are looking to achieve an interest return are able to lend collectively to credit-checked individuals and business who are looking to borrow. 


Similar to Plum, Chip is an AI-powered money app that calculates what you can afford to save, and securely saves for you automatically. The app analysed more the 160 million transactions to save you money without it affecting your day-to-day spending. It’s different from Plum as you receive a high-interest rate by recommending a friend.

You start with a base interest of 1%, but every time you refer a friend, you’ll get a 1% boost for the year, up to 5%. You need to ensure your friend signs up with your specific code and connects their bank account. After a year, you can again refer another 5 friends. The interest is calculated on a weekly basis but is paid quarterly so you may potentially lose money if you withdraw the saving early. 

Unlike Plum, Chip is a separate app but still features the simple chatting service so it’s perfect for those who want to keep their social account and bank account separate. At the moment, Chip connects to with traditional high street banks and building societies.

How to Manage Stress about Money

Money and mental health are often connected. Poor mental health can make managing money harder and worrying about money can make your mental health worse.

Reasons you may be experiencing money worries

  1. If you recently lost a job or had to take some unpaid holidays, which affects your regular income, you might find yourself experiencing money problems.
  2. Being an emotional shopper could put you in financial difficulties especially due to maniatic periods during which you spend uncontrollable amounts.
  3. You have lost motivation to keep your financial security under control.
  4. You are experiencing general anxiety around the topic of money.
  5. Problems in other areas in your life, for example: relationship or career can affect your ability to remain rational with money.
  6. You may not have enough money to spend on essentials or things to keep you well like housing, food, heating or medication.

How to help yourself   

Identify your stress points. You can only eliminate or target a problem you know about, therefore the more you understand yourself and your triggers the better. Your anxiety may be caused by upcoming bills or debts. Examine your spending patterns to see why you overspend. Write down your biggest financial stress sources so you know what you’re targeting. (Try to keep the list short so you don’t feel overwhelmed.)

Stay positive

Having the right mindset is key to not only living with your financial realities but dealing with the problems. Instead of focusing on how many bills you have to pay, try to imagine the load decreasing as you pay them off. Give yourself a small goal, like saving £10 per week that will go towards reducing your stress. Having the sense that you are doing something to make yourself feel better by itself should have a positive affect on your mood. Treat your financial changes as a diet or a new workout routine, you might feel the burn but in the long run it will benefit you.

It’s also important to stay active. Keep your CV up to date and invest in self-development. It is also beneficial to do some exercise. We understand that in the face of financial issues this might seem redundant, but a healthy lifestyle really improves your well-being and mental clarity. Click here to find out how to get healthy on a budget.  

Be rational

Remain realistic and set yourself achievable goals. Are your problems really that bad, or do they just mean less clothes shopping? Do you really need a new phone this month or can you wait a bit longer and save up? If you are experiencing serious money difficulties look for help. We understand that it might be a topic you would prefer not to share with your family or friends but their support, be it financial or emotional will benefit you. If you are an emotional spender you could ask your friend to keep your card for some time while you regain control. You can talk to friends and family about your triggers and warning signs so they can help you.  

If you are unable to talk about your difficulties with your close ones you can seek advice online or over the phone. Services such as Money Advice and Turn 2 Us are great sources if you need financial guidance.

If you need help dealing with debt we would recommend contacting one of these charities:

Money Advice Service (0800 138 7777)

National Debtline (0808 808 4000)

StepChange Debt Charity (0800 138 1111)

Act quickly

The worst thing you can do is try to ignore your problems. It’s best to face your fears head on before they get any worse. For example, if it looks like you’re going into debt, get advice on how to prioritise your repayments. If you remain calm and ready to change your situation it will most likely turn out less bad to what you initially imagined.

It’s also beneficial to stay organised, not to miss any payments and make a good budget plan. Choose a regular time to look at your money and bills each week so that things don’t pile up. You will find putting all important records and documents (payslips, bills and receipts) in one place, very helpful.

We would also recommend not masking your problems by turning to popular coping mechanisms like alcohol. Not only will it further damage your financial situation it will also make it harder to solve your problems.     

Make every penny count

If you put every bit of money to good use you will receive the maximum benefits your pay can give you. The key is to spend wisely and control any emotional spending. However, it’s also important to forgive yourself if you slip up. If you find it hard to control yourself in the face of temptations, try to avoid these triggers. You can keep a diary of your spending and revise it frequently to see where you can cut down and understand your shopping habits.  

Medical help

If your financial situation is causing you anxiety and depression over a long period of time see your GP. They may refer you to a psychologist near you who can help you with your situation.

Seek help immediately if you feel like you can’t cope and are experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Either see your GP or contact a helpline such as Samaritans (call free on 116 123) for confidential, non-judgemental emotional support.

Money problems and financial difficulties affect more than 68% of British adults. It is very common to experience anxiety or distress with regards to your budget and one of the best ways to cope is by understanding your spending, talking about your issues and being open to change. Every hard task becomes easier with the support of friends and family, so share your goals, be kind to yourself and seek further help if you feel like you need it.

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.


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.   


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

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.  

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.   


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.

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.         


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.

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?


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


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


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.

Tips For Living On A Tight Budget

Living on a tight budget can get tiresome, irritating and plainly hard. However, if you go the right way about it and save up where you can you won’t have to constantly feel deprived. You just have to make sure every pound has its purpose and you priorities expenses that really matter. Whether you have found yourself in this position because of general money problems, an unexpected emergency or you recently lost your job, these tips and tricks will help you make the best of your situation.

Have Clear Priorities

When living on a tight budget you can’t  afford luxuries. You have to focus on meeting your essentials and remaining within your financial limits. Priorities your rent, mortgage payments, electricity/water bills, food and any debts you have to pay off. The key is to separate your needs from your wants. By making sure you are staying on top of your necessities you will feel a lot calmer living on your tight budget.   


Create A Strict Budget

Due to the fact you don’t have much space to manoeuvre you have to have a well-thought-out budget plan. Hopefully it will prevent you from any careless and impulsive shopping sprees, which can be highly detrimental while suffering from financial difficulty. Make sure all your expenses are covered before thinking of making any other purchases. Remember to keep tracking your outgoings to ensure you stick to the plan.

There are a lot of methods you can adopt to make your budget, from writing it down on paper to using fintech apps like: YNAB, Acorn or Chip .  

Once you have a well-balanced budget you can see where you can make cuts and perhaps start an emergency fund.

Budget plan

Save On Food

Shop at the right time! The ideal time to go shopping is an hour before closing time, or at 7pm in 24-hour stores. This way you’ll find the most products in the reduced section. Freeze the  items you purchased to prolong their expiration date and be mindful of how long you keep them for.

You can also check out Approved Food website for stock clearance food.

As obvious as it might seem, try not to shop on an empty stomach as you’ll end up buying things you really don’t need. Try to make a grocery list beforehand, which fits with your tight budget. You could even make a meal plan to make sure you will efficiently use all your purchased products.

Try own brand products as these tend to be the cheapest and you might be positively surprised with their good quality.

Don’t forget to set up loyalty cards everywhere you go! You can get some major discounts or even items for free.

Shop in Lidl or Aldi, there you’ll find the best bargains and brilliant deals.

Buy in bulk especially products with a long expiration date.

Don’t waste food! Freeze it or add a new ingredient if you are getting bored.

Before eating out check online if there are any vouchers available or discounts that apply to you. Unfortunately, you will also have to limit the amount of times you will eat out if you want to save money.

Have some space in your garden? Maybe try growing some tomatoes 😉 Then just keep the seeds, replant and you can have a sustainable source of vegetables.

Cook from scratch, potatoes, pasta and veggies are some of the cheapest foods out there. You can save a lot of money eating mostly plant based.

Shopping list

Shop for offers

Research from Santander says, UK households spend an average of £3,329 per year, on their: water, energy, Council tax and broadband bills. You can save significant amounts of money by switching utility providers and shopping around for the best offers out there. Remember to save electricity by turning off the lights or keeping the temperature down. For further information on how to save on energy bills check out this blog post:

When shopping for clothes ask yourself what sort of style you have. If you like to follow the most recent trends, shop in the cheapest fast fashion brands such as Primark and avoid Topshop or River Island unless they have some major sale, but even than be weary. If you have a more classical style, try charity shops or gumtree.

save deals shopping


Instead of going to the cinema, invite your friends for a movie night to your home. As a general rule, if you stay home you will spend less. Celebrate your birthday or New Years by throwing a party at your place rather than going out. There are many fun activities you can engage in not having to leave your house, including playing board games, cooking or doing some at home exercises (save on that gym membership).

We all love going to the cinema, the big screen, the darkness the high power speakers. You don’t just pay to watch a movie, you pay for the whole experience. However, it’s an expensive experience and as such it’s good to look for deals. Most cinemas offer great deals mid week or 2-for-1 deals so visit Odeon Websites frequently not to miss out.


Rather than buying a car, walk, use a bike or just take the good old-fashioned public transport. If you desperately have to use your car, check out which petrol station has the best prices in your area.


Emergency Loans

If an emergency occurs you can try to borrow money from a friend, family member or a payday loan company. If it’s a small amount for some unforeseen circumstances a short-term loan will help you without burdening you for many years, being a short time repayment option. However, remember that not being able to repay your debt can get you into serious financial difficulties.  

Following these tips and tricks will help you enjoy life even on a tight budget and decrease your worries about running out of cash or drowning in debt.