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Ten Gifts for a Tenner: Valentine’s Day on a Budget

Christmas has come and gone, and now it’s time to forget about the year’s next gift-giving season: Valentine’s Day.

Fortunately this time you don’t have to fret about buying thoughtless and secretly last minute presents from a petrol station on the way to visiting your distant family! February 14th is all about treating your dearly beloved, but make sure you treat responsibly with your finances.

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As always, you don’t need to take out a bank loan to give a thoughtful present to your Valentine. If your bank account is still feeling the effects of the festive period there is still a way to spend a hard-earned tenner on ten different gifts to your partner. Enter the pound shop.

Here’s ten different, and importantly, loving gifts to buy for this year’s Valentine’s Day:

  1. (500) Days of Summer DVD: Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt opposite Zooey Deschanel, this nonlinear and off-the-wall romantic comedy reflects the highs and lows of their relationship.
  2. Galaxy Cookie Crumble: Suggest having a night in with a DVD and ensure your romantic evening isn’t without a sweet treat!
  3. Valentine’s Card: No Valentine’s Day is complete without expressing your love to your other half. For even more brownie points, try making a DIY card with a few scavenged materials and those colouring pencils you got from that hard-won Christmas cracker.
  4. 300 Silk Rose Petals: Set the mood in your love nest with a scattering of rose petals.
  5. Heart and Key Keyring: Give your love the key to your heart with this couples keyring.
  6. EAD Aftershave Set: For Him…
  7. EAD Perfume Gift Set: And for Her!
  8. Make a delicious meal for under £1: Surprise your other half with a simple but tasty homemade meal with StepChange’s list of dinners that are not going to break the bank with expensive ingredients. Each of these recipes works out as costing less than a pound.
  9. Women’s Faux Fur Fingerless Gloves: There will still be a winter chill this February, these furry mittens are a lovely gift that will keep you warm until Spring rolls around.
  10. Six LED Tea Candles: Turn off the ‘big light’ and set out half a dozen of these LED candles for your romantic evening.

Scatter the rose petals, set the table and plump the cushions for a loving evening with these treats. It will seem like you’ve put in a great deal of thought for a lot of gifts, and all for only a tenner!

For more information on long term lending contact today.

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Giving Up These Things for Lent Will Save You Money!

Like millions of other people, you’ve probably overspent and over-eaten at Christmas. Fortunately, we are nearing Lent, a traditional fasting period for Christians that lasts for 46 days before Easter. Even if you aren’t religious, cutting back on your indulgences will save you money and also help you live a healthier lifestyle.

This year’s Lent has a romantic start on Valentine’s Day, the 14th of February, and ends on the 29th of March.

Lent starts after Shrove Tuesday, more gluttonously known as Pancake Day. The reason for abstaining on luxuries is to reenact Jesus’ suffering in the desert whilst being tempted by Satan. Obviously, you’re not expected to spend a month and a half fasting in the desert, but we can all use this time to curb our bad spending habits.

Here are four non-essentials you could cut back on to save money:

Quit smoking

An average pack of 20 cigarettes will set you back an astronomical £10.70. So if you go through five cigarettes a day you’ll save yourself around £130 by Easter!

stop smoking

If you use this opportunity to give up for good, you’ll save a massive £1000 after just one year, and you’ll be healthier to boot! Visit the NHS website to help you kick the addiction.

Give up the takeaway coffee, get a flask

Getting out the door in the morning can be a mad rush. Quite often there’s no time to make yourself a coffee, so it’s easier just to pop into a café to kick-start your day. Avoid buying your daily Starbucks cappuccino to save yourself around £90 a month.

save money on coffee

Buy yourself a stylish flask and get up two minutes earlier to make yourself a coffee to easily increase your savings. You could then use the savings treat yourself to a coffee machine, then there’s no temptation to go back to Starbucks!

Stop Binging on Netflix

It’s lovely to spend an evening with a hearty meal and re-watch Stranger Things for the third time. But limiting your time in front of the TV and spending an hour being productive could save you a huge amount of money.

netflix

Use Lent to decrease your monthly outgoings on bills by switching energy suppliers, making a bit of extra money on the internet, changing your phone and broadband contracts or swapping bank accounts. You’ll find you’ll be able to budget much more effectively over time.

If the temptation is too much, cancel your account for the month and you’ll save another £5.99.

Resist getting a takeaway

Cutting out weekly takeaways can help you save hundreds over Lent. If you’re easily persuaded to order a Friday night pizza deal and are buying lunch every day at work, you’ll spend around a whopping £210 per month on takeaways!

takeaway pizza

Slash the money you spend on food by preparing lunch at home the night before. Try cooking bulk amounts of food to freeze, so you can have it at a later date. Try making these meals that cost less than a pound to make.

Happy fasting from the PiggyBank team! We are instalment and payday loans direct lenders and offer £100 up to £1000 loans. If you’re in need of an online short term loan, apply today!

How To Earn Extra Money On the Internet

With the cost of living ever increasing but wages staying relatively consistent, we’ve all thought about ways, outside our 9-5s, to make some extra cash. Whether this is to go towards a family holiday, new car or just to cover the basic costs of everyday life, a second income can be hugely beneficial. It is often not feasible to take up another job and let’s face it, no one really wants to, so why not watch your pennies stack up from the comfort of your couch with a cuppa!?

nattanan23 / Pixabay

There are plenty of ways you can make and save money on the internet, and you don’t even have to be computer savvy. Here’s a few to get you started:

Sell your unwanted items on eBay 

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure- and people will pay for what they want. eBay makes selling your unwanted goods so easy. The site connects users from all over the world, and allows you to sell just about anything; from clothes and toys and even cars. Even if you think the items only worth a couple of pounds, it will add up and de-clutter your home at the same time! Don’t be a hoarder! Get some extra dosh for your used and unused junk.

Transcribe audio and video with TranscribeMe

Get paid for listening to audio and re-writing it- it’s that simple. TranscribeMe pays upwards of $20 per audio, so it can be fairly lucrative if you can type quickly! It is completely free to join, the only exception is that there is a short style guide to learn and a short entrance exam.

They pay via PayPal, which you can request at any time and you can work whenever you wish!

Earn money by internet searching with Qmee

Qmee works in the background of your internet browsing and operates as your shopping assistant by offering price comparisons and adverts for other deals.  You earn money by clicking on the links- usually 7 to 15 pence at a time. But as you continually use it you will rack up a bit of extra cash to claim back through PayPal.

Sell your pictures to Alamy

If you have a DSLR and consider yourself a half-decent photographer, you can sell your snaps to stock photo websites such as Alamy, which will then be sold to be used in magazines, online publications and adverts. You will then receive a cut of the sale price. You do need to have at least $50 worth of sales to request your money via PayPal or other alternatives.

 Fill in surveys with i-Say

It’s not the most enthralling way to spend your leisure time, but completing a survey here and there is easy money. Businesses and companies are desperate for feedback and are more than willing to pay for it, so offer your opinion in exchange for cash! Completing surveys will earn you points which you can then redeem for rewards such as Amazon vouchers and £50 prepaid Mastercards.

Doing two surveys a week or whenever you have some time to kill and you’ll quickly see your pounds mount up.

Use the internet for more than casual browsing and Netflix! Get your financial head on and you’ll benefit from the ample ways to increase your income outside of your working hours. It’s not difficult, it does take a bit of your time but at least you can do it in your favourite slippers! Happy earning!

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Everything You Need to Know About Help to Buy Schemes

The term ‘Help to Buy’ is thrown about quite freely these days with regard to buying property. Politicians usually adorn it with praise, while others have been doubtful of its benefits for various reasons or another. But what is it, and what benefits and drawbacks will it give anyone looking to get on the property ladder?

What is it?

The Help to Buy scheme is a three-part scheme introduced by the government in early 2013 for first-time buyers. The three parts are Help to Buy: Shared ownership, Help to Buy: Equity loan and Help to Buy: ISA, and they are all limited to new build homes.

Help to Buy: Shared Ownership

When you can’t afford the 100% mortgage of your home, shared ownership allows you to buy a share between 25% – 75% of the home and then pay rent on the remaining share you don’t own.

Shared Ownership

Click here for more information.

Pros:

  • If you can afford to save money you can gradually pay to own a larger share of the house over time.
  • You may be able to buy a bigger house than you would otherwise with this scheme.

Cons:

  • If you want to sell the home, and you do not own it outright, you are not able to choose who buys it.
  • Without 100% ownership you cannot renovate or improve the home without permission from the housing association.

 

Help to Buy: Equity Loan

This scheme helps you get a deposit for a property. The Government will give you a loan of up to 20% of the cost of the house, which will mean you only have to pay a 5% deposit and get a 75% mortgage. The loan is also interest free for 5 years.

Help to Buy Equity

Check here for more information.

Pros:

  • You only need a small deposit to buy the home.
  • It will be easy to get a mortgage for the rest of the home.
  • Because of high London prices, the Government will now loan up to 40% for deposits.

Cons:

  • The Government owns 20% of the home, so if the property rises in value you have more to pay back.
  • You will have to pay off the remaining value if you want to sell the home.

 

Help to Buy: ISA

With this savings account, the Government will give you an extra 25% tax-free bonus on top of what you’ve saved. This is capped at £12,000 but this would mean you receive a whopping £3000 to use for the mortgage deposit!

Help to Buy ISA

Click here for more information.

Pros:

  • If you’re saving with a partner, you can each have an account which means getting a total of £6000 towards your first home.
  • If you open one, you’re able to get the bonus until December 2030.
  • As it’s an ISA, the savings will tax free.

Cons:

  • The home you buy with the account must be less than £250,000 and less than £450,000 in London.
  • Unfortunately you cannot use the bonus towards the exchange deposit.
  • There is a minimum amount you can add to the account per month, so saving the full £12,000 will take at least four years.

 

 

 

 

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Five Simple Tricks To Decrease Your Monthly Outgoings

Sometimes it feels like all your money disappears with bills and everyday essentials, doesn’t it? Although they are necessary expenses, it does seem to leave you with less money for you to spend on the things you enjoy!

But what if you were able to cut back on your monthly outgoings – so you could start saving some money, and not have to consider applying for a loan with direct payday lenders so frequently.

It might only seem like a small saving here but in time you will start to save! Here are our five top tips for decreasing your monthly outgoings:

1. Do you know how much you spend?

There are a surprising number of people who don’t know what their total average monthly outgoings are, which leads them to payday loan companies to tie them over until payday. Admittedly this can be difficult to track considering the number of different bills and purchases made on a daily basis. But by using a budget calculator you can work out where the majority of your money is going. The Budget Planner from the Money Advice Service is a good start, and if you want to monitor your expenses on the go, this Daily Budget app is also very handy!

By working out what you spend most on some of the more frivolous items, you’ll be able to work out where you can cut down.

budgeting

2. Do you need to drive…?

Running a car is not cheap, in fact, at the end of the 2017 financial year transport was the largest household expense. So, each time you get in the car, just think – do I really need to drive? If it is close enough could you walk or get on your bike, instead? Once you take parking as well as petrol into account, would it be cheaper to take the bus or get the train?
If you need to drive could you car share? Perhaps if you live near someone who does the same route as you on a daily basis? You will quickly see your monthly costs go down if you can cut back on transport costs.

To further decrease the cost of transport, check out our blog on How To Save £1,000s On Your New Car!

3. Regularly switch providers

Many of us stick with the same bank, mobile phone network or utilities provider, not necessarily out of loyalty but because it is easy. Most of us think the deals are pretty much the same and can’t be bothered with the hassle that comes with change. However, switching providers could save consumers hundreds of pounds. Take the time to look around – it will definitely be worth it.

4. Write a shopping list and stick to it

We are all guilty of going shopping with the intention of just picking up bread and milk – then leaving an hour later with a trolley full of shopping that left you little change from £100. Food shopping can cost you a lot of money each month but it doesn’t have to. Make a list of what you really need and stick to it. Likewise, switching to own-brand products will save you a huge amount of money.

5. Nothing is better than homemade 

The latest figures show that we spend 10% of our weekly wages on food shopping. It is easier to buy ready meals and lunch out and about from the shop as and when we want it. But if you stop buying those pricey chicken and avocado sandwiches on the way into work, and instead make lunch the night before you will quickly save a significant amount of money. Try to make dinners from scratch and take a travel flask to work too.

If you need some recipe and ingredient ideas, check out our blog on the current seasonal foods!

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How To Throw A Great Super Bowl Party!

The Super Bowl is seen as the biggest sporting event of the year in the States, and it regularly attracts over 110 million viewers worldwide. In recent years the Super Bowl has garnered a huge following in the UK, thanks to its coverage on television and formation of American Football teams within universities and amateur clubs.

But with all the hype around this event and its famous halftime show, how do you go about participating? If you plan on getting involved, we’ve planned the ultimate gathering to watch the event!

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When is it?

Sunday, February 4th.

Get the following Monday booked off because you’ll be up all night!

 

How to watch it

No cable? No problem.The BBC and Sky Sports will be broadcasting the game live, with coverage likely to start at around 11 pm and end early on Monday morning.

 

Who is playing?

This year’s finale opponents are the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Get involved and pick a team – the Patriots have arguably the best NFL player in history with Tom Brady and have won the Super Bowl for two years running. If you fancy supporting the underdogs go for the Eagles!

There’s also the highly anticipated halftime show that is being headlined by Justin Timberlake this year. His performance will likely start around 1 am.

Also keep an eye out for other big name celebrities in attendance!

cheerleader

What are the rules?

NFL can be quite a slow affair, make sure you understand what’s going on or you could be nodding off at midnight!

The team that has the ball will have their offensive, or attacking, players on the pitch and the other team will have their defensive players on.

You score a point, which is called a touchdown, by carrying the ball into the opposition’s end zone.

The team in control of the ball has four attempts to advance it 10 yards up towards the opponents end zone.

If you succeed you’ll get another four attempts, and that keeps happening until you score or you fail, then the other team gets control of the ball.

This is a great overview of the game.

 

What to eat

The Super Bowl notoriously lasts for hours so make sure you stock up on snacks and party fodder! We suggest a large supply American inspired selection of hot dogs, nachos and plenty of drinks to keep you fueled. You could even try this easy corn dog recipe!

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Set the mood

Get the place looking like you’re actually in the stadium by getting a few NFL themed decorations. These disposable plates, cups and table cover are cheap, will look great, and save on cleaning up the next day!

Get your jersey on, invite your friends round and prepare to catch up on sleep on Monday!

Here’s How To Watch The 2018 Oscar Nominees

The Nominations for the 90th Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, have been released, and for once there doesn’t seem to be an outcry on social media about the shortlist!

The big news is that Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy romance The Shape of Water has received a massive 13 Oscar nominations. This eclipsed Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed war drama Dunkirk with eight whilst Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri received seven nominations.   

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Although some of the must-see films are currently in cinemas, some are already released to DVD and streaming services. We’ve found the cheapest way to watch some of the most talked about films that have been nominated for this year’s Academy Awards:

Mudbound – Best Cinematography, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Song, Best Supporting Actress

Available on Netflix

The Netflix film, which stars Mary J. Blige who has also been nominated for two awards, is about the racial tensions between two Mississippi families — one black, one white in the World War II era. Mudbound’s Director of Photography, Rachel Morrison, makes history this year by being the first female cinematographer to ever be nominated for the award.

Netflix Giveaway

If you fancy watching this and a huge selection of other TV shows and movies, we’re giving away £100 of Netflix vouchers, Enter here!

Logan – Best Adapted Screenplay

Available to stream on Now TV and Sky Go

As Hugh Jackman’s last appearance as the popular X-Men character Wolverine, Logan is set in a dystopian future where a weary Logan and Professor X are hiding from the world. This is until a mysterious mutant girl appears who is being chased by a violent force.

 

Dunkirk – Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Best Original Score, Best Filming Editing, Best Director and Best Picture

Available to rent on Amazon and Google Play

Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Inception, Interstellar) directs this epic World War II drama about the evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk. The film, which also stars Harry Styles, has the second most nominations this year.

 

Get OutBest Picture, Best Lead Actor, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay

Available to stream on Now TV and Sky Go

The low budget satirical horror film follows a young black man, played by British actor Daniel Kaluuya, who reluctantly visits his girlfriend’s parents and stumbles across a mystery involving the local black residents. The film was critically acclaimed and also received 99% on Rotten Tomatoes.

 

Fresh and Great Value Seasonal Foods: Winter – Spring

Food that’s in season is nutritious, tasty and most importantly cheaper for your weekly food shop. Consumer demand means we are able to buy almost all of our food year round, but this does not mean we are getting the best deal.

Here is our seasonal food shopping guide along with a delicious recipe for the first few months of 2018!

Winter - Spring

Credit Card Protection: Explained

There are so many benefits to using a credit card, one of which is credit card protection. However many of us don’t fully understand or use these safeguards that free.

Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, you are protected by your credit card provider for purchases. But what does this mean, and are you safer paying with a credit card than with cash or a debit card?

Piggy Credit Card

Here’s credit card protection explained:

Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act

In a nutshell, this law means that if you purchase anything such as a laptop or a holiday between £100 – £30,000, your credit card company is as liable as the company from where you’ve bought your product if it is faulty.

These are the situations where you’re covered:

    • If the product is faulty or not up to standard
    • If the company has misrepresented what it is supplying
    • If you do not receive your purchase after ordering it

Fortunately, you do qualify for reimbursement even if you make a part payment for a purchase with your credit card. So if you paid a £30 on your deposit credit card and another £300 on a debit card you would be able to claim for the full £330.

Chargeback

Chargeback also allows you to try to recover purchases under the £100 limit and is available on debit cards and credit cards like Visa, Amex, Maestro, and Mastercard. However this is what’s known as a ‘Scheme Rule’, so it is not legally binding unlike Section 75. For this reason, you are better to claim on Section 75 if you have spent over £100.

When do you not qualify for Section 75?

There are certain requirements to qualify for this act, for example, the individual item you have bought must be over £100, rather than the total bill. For example, if you purchased a return plane for £120 you would be eligible, but if you paid £60 each for one-way tickets then you would not qualify.

Use this page to find out how to claim your credit company.

As always, making payments with credit cards can be very beneficial for your finances such as protecting your money and managing your outgoings to spread the cost of expensive purchases. But it is important to use credit cards responsibly and create a sustainable budget that you can stick to so that you can avoid potential financial difficulties in the future.

If credit cards aren’t for you, there are many other borrowing options available. 

  • Overdraft. An overdraft can be used for short term borrowing or emergencies. It allows you to borrow money through your current account for a charge. 
  • Payday LoanPayday loans are another form of short-term borrowing. They’re quick and convenient ways to get access to cash for emergencies, and are repaid in full on your next payday. Most payday loan lenders can help secure loans for poor credit borrowers
  • Instalment Loans. If you’re unable to repay your loan fulling on your payday, instalment loans are flexible and manageable ways to borrow. Rather than paying your loan in one go, an instalment loan allows you to spread the repayments over weeks or months. 
  • Bank Loan. If you’re looking to borrow a large amount, a bank loan may be better suited. Unlike payday loans, personal loans from banks and building societies tend to be for over £1000 and spread over months rather than years. 

If you’re looking to get an instant loan online, PiggyBank can help! We’re a direct loan lender, offering both payday and instalment loans.

How To Save £1,000s On Your New Car: A Visual Guide

It’s the New Year, and you may be feeling ready to upgrade to a new set of wheels, but before you do so there are many aspects to consider to make sure you’re getting the most for your money.

What’s more cost effective in the long run: outright buying, finance, or leasing?

Instinct would lead many to believe that renting a motor would be more expensive over a long period of time rather than paying for a car outright, but you have to take into account the depreciation of the vehicle over time. Typically a new car will lose between 50 and 60 per cent of its value after three years! These are 2017’s fastest depreciating cars.

We’ve created a helpful cost comparison for buying, leasing and financing a new Vauxhall Astra, and how much you would spend after three years.

Car_Comparison_Graphic

It’s clear that leasing a new car in many cases can be much more cost-efficient over time. Choosing to lease could save you thousands in the long run! But be responsible with your finances, and make sure you can afford to pay the monthly outgoings towards a leased car.

Pro Tips:

  • Do your research! Some cars depreciate slower than others so you may be able to re-sell your car at a higher cost than others.
  • Buying a used car may also be the best option to minimise long-term costs.
  • When shopping for a leased car, check if the servicing costs like an MOT or car tax is included in the cost to save money.
  • Use websites like Auto Trader and What Car? to see comprehensive reviews and compare prices of different cars