Black Friday Consumer Guide

Mark your calendars: Black Friday will be hitting us this year on Friday 24th November.

The shopping extravaganza that started in the US has made its way across the pond to the UK since 2013. Black Friday has attracted very polarising opinions – some see it as a great opportunity to snap up some bargains for Christmas, and others see it as a mad rush of crazed shoppers.

 

 

Due to health and safety concerns and bad press, the major retailers are now much more likely to offer the best deals online. Some have stopped Black Friday entirely in their physical stores. Black Friday has now evolved to become more of an internet sensation, allowing you to shop from the comfort of your own home!

 

There will certainly be some amazing deals available this year, but it’s always worth planning things out to ensure that you’re always getting the best value for money and that you’re spending responsibly.

 

Here’s some useful tips:

  • Set a budget, and stick to it. It’s very easy to become overwhelmed by the deals you find on Black Friday, but you should only spend what you’re comfortable with. With Christmas on its way and winter causing your heating bills to skyrocket, you can always find the same bargains in another sale.
  • Check social media. Many retailers post their upcoming deals in advance of Black Friday, as well as discount codes on social media. This will allow you to better plan your spending for the day.
  • Do your research online. If you’re buying from an online retailer, you should always check that the amazing bargain you’re about to grab up is actually a bargain. If you’re buying from Amazon, website camelcamelcamel provides a full price history of over 18 million products and website PriceSpy allows you to compare prices across over 3,000 shops.
  • Avoid buying clothes. The steepest markdowns in price for clothing are usually in August, September and January so it might be worth avoiding buying clothes on Black Friday. If you see a clothing retailer offering Black Friday discounts, it’s definitely worth using a price comparison site to confirm that you’re getting a good deal.
  • Don’t forget the small businesses. It’s not just the larger retailers that have Black Friday deals! Due to its explosion in popularity, small businesses are often offering deep discounts on Black Friday – check out their websites or social media pages for deals.

The Bank of Friends and Family

PiggyBank has recently undertaken a survey and found the average Brit is in debt to the tune of £2,813 to their friends and family.

PiggyBank surveyed 2,000 adults in the UK and found that the top reasons we borrow from friends and family is for unexpected repairs such as boiler breakdowns, bills and to help pay for new cars.

We’re most likely to borrow from our parents, followed by another family member, siblings, partner, colleagues and finally our kids. This type of borrowing makes up over one tenth of our average debt – which currently stands at £18,814 (excluding mortgages).

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Paying back to friends and family doesn’t always go smoothly. We found that over a third of those surveyed still owe to their friends and family. This has resulted in one in ten losing a friendship and one in twenty have been estranged from a family member over disputed money.

More than half said they’ve lent cash knowing they were never likely to see it again, with 55% saying they would think twice about doing it again.

The bank of ‘friends and family’ is usually the first port of call for those with unexpected expenses, but loans between family members or friends can often result in their own sets of problems” said Dan Ware, CEO of PiggyBank. “Loan affordability is always something you should consider, which is why at PiggyBank we only lend to people who can afford to repay their loan without putting themselves into financial difficulty“.

 

In The Press

Daily Mirror: The astonishing amount we owe our friends and family after borrowing cash over several years

The Sun: Average Brit is in debt to the tune of £2,813 to friends and family

Unilad: We’re All In Debt To The Bank Of Mum And Dad Apparently

News Anyway: Study finds the average Brit is in debt to the tune of £2,813 – to their friends and family

Entertain the kids: Study finds the average Brit is in debt to the tune of £2,813

Bonfire Night on a Budget

Halloween is over: now it’s November and time for Bonfire Night! With Christmas just around the corner, you’ve probably started to think about budgeting for presents, but Bonfire Night doesn’t need to cost you a fortune.

Here are some useful tips on celebrating on a budget, and most importantly – how to stay safe.

Choosing fireworks

There are many different types of fireworks out there, but how do you know which ones are best for you? Here’s some of the most common you’ll find in the shops and what they do:

    • Sparklers – these are the most common fireworks which can also be used indoors. They’re hand-held, but can still reach quite high temperatures so shouldn’t be given to very small children.
    • Cake – cake fireworks fire multiple fireworks in succession and are placed side-by-side to create the effect.
    • Rocket – a very loud and colourful firework, rockets are probably the firework with the most “wow” factor.
    • Catherine wheel – these fireworks don’t take off into the air, but are set on the ground to spin around. You should make sure you have plenty of room for this one.
    • Roman candle – similar to the rocket firework but with less noise. They can last much longer than rockets, so roman candles might be the best choice if you’re looking to make your celebrations last throughout the evening.
  • Fountain – similar to the catherine wheel, these fireworks don’t take off into the air but create a “fountain” effect and loud crackling sound.

Buying fireworks

Once you’ve selected the fireworks you’re looking to use, you’ll want to find the best deal. Unfortunately, the sale of fireworks is limited online, so you’ll have to pick them up in a shop. The major supermarkets usually have the best deals on individual fireworks and pre-made collections as well.

Tesco, Asda, Aldi and Lidl are all great places to find the best deals, but also make sure to check out DIY shops like Homebase and B&Q.

Staying safe

    • While you may be looking for value for money, don’t cut corners. You should only buy fireworks which conform to the British Standards Check or European safety standards. Check for “BS7114:1988”, “BS EN 15947:2010”, or “CE” markings to confirm this.
    • Sparklers can get very hot, so don’t give them to small children.
    • Never leave your fireworks unsupervised, especially around children.
  • Once a firework is lit, stand well back. Even if it hasn’t gone off for some time it can still explode.

Don’t have the budget for fireworks? Don’t worry!

If you’re eager to host an electrifying firework party in your garden, but don’t have the immediate funds to do, an instant cash loan from PiggyBank can help! Simply complete a quick online loan application.

It’s also important to remember there are cheap or completely free public fireworks displays all throughout the country. UK events guide The List has a program of fireworks displays available throughout the UK.

8 Common Credit Card Mistakes to Avoid

They say that half the battle is knowing what NOT to do. If you’re looking to start building up your credit or repair a bad one, responsible use of a credit card with regular purchases and on-time repayments can help improve your credit score. A better credit score will make it easier for you to get accepted for financial products such as mortgages and loans.

Here’s 8 common credit card mistakes to avoid:

    1. Making late repayments – if you miss a repayment date you’re opening yourself up to late fees and potentially a damaged credit score. You can avoid this by setting up automatic payments or payment reminders through your provider.
    1. Only making the minimum payment each month – paying the minimum payment means the remainder of your balance is unpaid, collecting interest. You should always plan out how much you’ll be spending on your credit card and paying the full balance off each month.
    1. Ignoring statements – if you don’t check your credit card statements each month you could be missing important information such as changes to your credit card terms.
    1. Becoming too dependant – your credit card should ideally only be used for small payments or emergencies. If you find you’re becoming too dependant on your credit card, your balance could reach unmanageable levels and lead you to bigger troubles in the future.
    1. Exceeding your limit – exceeding your credit card limit puts you at risk for fees, penalties and could affect your credit score. You should always keep an eye on your balance and set up automatic reminders so it doesn’t come as a shock.
    1. Not knowing the terms – all credit card companies handle circumstances such as late payments differently. Before applying for a credit card or switching to another provider you should fully read the terms and conditions so that nothing comes as a surprise.
    1. Withdrawing cash – withdrawing cash from your credit card can come with some very steep fees, so it’s always best to avoid this entirely.
  1. Applying for too many cards at once – if you apply for a number of credit cards at once, this is visible to lenders who may get suspicious and decline you. You should only apply for credit cards one at a time.

You should always remember that using your credit card can be a bit of a double-edged sword. Used correctly, they can help improve your credit score, but used incorrectly they can have the opposite effect.

For more information on long term lending contact today.

How to Get Cheaper Gas and Electricity this Winter

Energy prices have maintained a steady level over the last few years, but with prices beginning to rise across the range of electricity and gas suppliers in the UK, now is the perfect time to make a switch and get cheaper energy this winter.

All households are feeling the pinch as prices rise for all utilities, amenities and groceries, with an average of £1,123 paid for energy per household in 2016. Higher energy bills have started to be introduced prior to winter but you can get ahead of the game and save some pounds by switching energy supplier and moving on to the cheapest tariff in your area before those price increases hit.

The cheapest energy tariffs available at the moment, pay closer to the £800 per year, per household than the £1,123 that you see above, so making the right switch now, could be saving your household hundreds of pounds each year.

Rule Out a Variable Rate Tariff

The first, and easiest, way to save money on your electricity and gas bills is to move away from a standard variable rate tariff. These are generally out of contract deals that all customers are moved on to once a fixed deal term has come to an end. They are the most expensive tariffs and can add around an extra £250 on average to fuel bills. These are also the tariffs that the utility companies can raise prices on.

Shop Around for a Good Deal

The time has long gone where choice was limited in terms of who supplies electricity and gas to your home, and the big 6 companies no longer have a stranglehold on the competition. There are a wide range of suppliers in each area, offering different types of discounts and rates. You have plenty of choice, from long-term fixed rates, variable rates, or green tariffs that could all help bring down the average annual cost of fuel below the £1,000 mark.

Switch to Save Money

Switching energy suppliers will always help you to save some cash, as you are only going to leave for something better. Now think about those people who have never changed energy supplier. if you are looking for an immediate reduction in your bills, switching now could save you money in the short-term and over the longer-term if you decide to switch to a fixed rate tariff. You can use a simple online tool to compare energy prices in your area and find the best deal for your household.

Remember, your energy bill will always show both the fixed standing rate charge and the price per unit of energy used. Online energy plans and direct debit payments are the best way to keep your costs down and you should always provide regular meter readings, rather than rely on estimates, in order to ensure fair and accurate payments throughout your contract.

Though switching gas and electricity supplier is a great way to save money, if you do receive an unexpected gas or electric bill that you can’t afford to pay until after payday, keep in mind that a payday loan from PiggyBank can help.

5 Cheap Halloween Party Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

Halloween is fast approaching so it’s time to start putting together the scariest Halloween party for your friends and family!

If you’re living on a budget it might be frightening to consider some of the Halloween makeup and party gear that you see on social media and in the press, thinking that it’s out of your reach financially. Don’t worry at all; there’s several ways in which you can have a monster Halloween party on a budget!

 

Artistic Creepy Decorations

You can transform your home from a comfortable and warm place to rest, into a creepy, dark and scary cave or evil lair, without having to break the bank. You can make homemade cobwebs easily enough with cheap cuts of paper, and for a scarier party you can even use bin bags and old clothes to create body bags that lay in the bathtub! Discount stores such as Poundland and B&M always have a varied range of Halloween decorations at a good price for those working with a tight budget, making it easy for you to go shopping for fake blood, skeletons and much more.

 

Spooky Tasty Treats

We all fancy ourselves as a bit of an expert cook or baker with the amount of quality amateur chef and baking shows on our TV screens these days! There are some easy-to-follow and fun Halloween recipe ideas that you can find online, with supermarkets also catering for the day with a range of tasty treats from Halloween cupcakes to Black Spaghetti and everything in between!

 

Crazy Cocktails

A good cocktail at Halloween can be produced on a shoestring and still look the part. Browse websites, such as Pinterest for mad scientist-style cocktail ideas that will fit in perfectly with a home Halloween party. You can serve the simple Halloween jelly shots, made to look like eyeballs, or serve blood cocktails for Vampyres.

 

The Spooky Sounds of Halloween

At any party, you’ll want to fill the dance floor, but it can be difficult to find that balance between good tunes and the cheesiness we all expect from Halloween. Put your Spotify account to good use and find the perfect Halloween playlist for your party. You could always just play Michael Jackson’s Thriller on a loop all night as an alternative though?

 

Creative Pumpkin Carving

Pumpkin carving seems to be getting more creative and competitive with each passing Halloween, but it is a relatively cheap and exciting way to decorate a party. Ask your guests to bring a carved pumpkin with them and make it part of the night. It’s also a great way to get your kids excited and keep them entertained.

 

We hope you have a spooky and fun Halloween this year – remember you can still get the fun, laughter and screams without breaking the bank. However, if you’re in need of some extra cash to see you through till payday, PiggyBank can help.

We offer flexible short term loans. As a responsible direct lender, we don’t offer ‘no credit check loan‘ – but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get a loan with us if you have poor credit. We don’t just use your credit score to make our loan decisions, we also assess your income and expenditure to ensure you’re able to repay the loan. If you need to borrow money, apply online today. 

Are you Paying Too Much in Overdraft Charges?

Like all debts, overdrafts need to be managed to ensure that you’re not paying more than you need to. Left unchecked, banks can charge high fees for overdrafts which can leave you in an unfortunate financial position. If you’re paying too much in overdraft charges each month, there are a number of ways you can cut back on these costs.

Some arranged overdraft fees have been found to be more expensive than payday loans, so if you are about to go into your overdraft it may be cheaper to opt for a responsible direct payday lender instead.

Keep an eye on your account balance at all times – especially at the end of the month

Most payments and bills are taken towards the end of the month, which is when your account is most at risk for going into its overdraft and attracting charges. It’s always worth keeping a close eye on your account balances during this period, as certain bills can be charged “on or around” the specified date.

Switch banks

If you feel that your bank is charging you too much for overdrafts you can always switch to another bank! If you do your research on a comparison site you can switch to an account that has either lower fees or waives the fees for a certain period, saving you money in the long run.

Claim unfair charges back

If you feel that your bank has been excessive in charging you fees, you can try to reclaim them or come to an arrangement with your bank. It doesn’t cost anything, so it’s always worth a try. MoneySavingExpert have compiled a step-by-step guide on how to claim these charges back.

Manage your finances better

Better financial management is key to avoiding unexpected charges and fees. It always helps to have a savings buffer to ensure that any emergency expenses or bills don’t immediately push you into your overdraft. We have compiled a list of useful articles on how to best achieve this:

Remove your overdraft facility

If dipping into your overdraft leaves you concerned, you can always remove it! You can speak to your bank to request this, or otherwise change your account to one that doesn’t have an overdraft.

Set up account alerts

Most of the major banks allow you to set up text or email alerts when you go into your overdraft or reach a certain balance, allowing you to react much quicker and plan accordingly.

Transfer your savings

It’s always a good idea to have a savings account, as it can act as a financial buffer for unexpected expenses. If you’re about to go into your overdraft and attract fees, it might be worth temporarily transferring enough to maintain a positive account balance, and then transferring it back at a later date.

If you don’t have any savings, and you need to cover an unexpected circumstance; PiggyBank offer online loans for bad credit

Download the infographic:

overdraft_piggybank

Ranked: The 10 Best Jobs in the UK by Salary & Satisfaction

UK employment in 2017 currently stands at 74.8% – the highest rate since records began in 1971. Traditionally, jobs in tech and finance are usually rated the best by salary and job satisfaction, but a recent assessment by job search and review company Glassdoor shows that the best jobs in the UK come from a wide range of industries.

Here’s the 10 best jobs in the UK determined by job openings, salary and job satisfaction:

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Looking for your next big career step? PiggyBank have compiled a number of useful articles, including how to write a kickass cover letter and how to ace a job interview in advance.

PiggyBank Shortlisted for Six Awards in the Annual F5 Awards

PiggyBank is excited to announce today that it has been shortlisted as a finalist for six awards in the annual F5 Awards:

      • Best Fintech Lender
      • Alternative Lending Rising Star
      • Responsible Lender
      • Collections and Customer Service Excellence
      • Alternative Consumer Lender of the Year
    • Best Brand

The F5 Awards is the only dedicated awards ceremony that focuses on the evolution of the alternative lending market. The awards are designed to reward and recognise excellence and best practice within the industry.

The nomination for six separate awards is a prestigious honour for PiggyBank, as it demonstrates both commitment to customer satisfaction and innovative forms of alternative consumer lending compared to traditional high-street retail banking.

I’m incredibly excited by the announcement, as it shows just how hard the PiggyBank team has worked to ensure that our values remain at the forefront of all of our lending decisions and how we treat our customers fairly”, said Dan Ware, CEO of PiggyBank. “Everyone at PiggyBank is really looking forward to what the awards night brings”.

About PiggyBank

PiggyBank is one of the UK’s fastest growing short term lenders. First launched in 2012, PiggyBank has grown dramatically and enhanced its products based on customer feedback – who form the basis of every decision that PiggyBank make to ensure fair and responsible lending.

About the F5 Awards

The F5 Awards is an annual awards ceremony dedicated to recognising the new pioneers with non-traditional finance. The awards are judged by a panel of independently selected judges, with a black tie dinner and ceremony to celebrate the success of the excellent work being done in the industry.

The F5 Awards ceremony will take place at the Hilton London Bankside Hotel on the 1st November 2017.

For more information on long term lending contact today.

The Evolution of Budgeting Apps

“There’s an app for that…”

Managing your finances used to be a difficult and time-consuming task. Prior to smartphones, you’d often find yourself standing in a queue in front of a cash machine or your bank to get a statement. Then you’d have to balance your chequebook to make sure you’ve not gone over your limit and write down your monthly budget on paper. Planning your budget and setting spending limits has come leaps and bounds since then.

The major banks started small, offering online banking options that allowed you to check your balances and transactions, make payments and even open saving accounts, credit cards and short term loans. As larger institutions, the traditional banks weren’t as fast to innovate, which created an opportunity for app developers to create spending tracker apps. They would connect to your bank account and analyse your monthly spending, showing how much you were spending in certain areas, such as food, entertainment, clothes etc. It provided an easy way to visualise where your money was being spent, allowing you to make easier decisions on what to cut back on.

AI has taken things a step further, allowing apps to provide more intelligent insights into your spending habits. Instead of just showing you what you’re spending, apps such as Cleo can now act as your own personal assistant. Cleo can spot spending trends, habits and even automatically put money into a savings account based on what it thinks you can afford. As a chatbot, Cleo can hook into Facebook messenger and you can have a back-and-forth conversation, allowing you to manage your finances quicker and easier than ever before.

Since then, the banks have caught up. HSBC UK has recently announced that it has been testing a brand new smartphone app that will not just track what their users are spending their money on, but also “nudge” them if they exceed their spending limits. The “nudge” will consist of an alert sent by the app when users start spending more than their usual habits in certain areas such as grocery shopping or clothing shopping. HSBC have announced that will also allow customers from rival banks to use the app, which is due to go live in early 2018.

Apps have the opportunity to make our lives so much easier, but it’s always important to never to be too dependent on them. It’s always good to learn money saving skills that we can pass on to the next generation. Combined with intelligent apps, having both the skills and the tools can leave us with a good financial outlook.