How to Get the Best Exchange Rate for Your Holiday Cash

As summer approaches some of us will be packing our sunglasses, sun cream and swimwear and heading for sunnier destinations abroad. You’ve got to be prepared though, and how do you guarantee that you’re getting the most holiday cash for your money? Here we take a look at a few tips on how to get the best exchange rates for your holiday cash.

 

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Understand the Jargon – There are a few key phrases that you might just not understand, confusing you into costly currency conversions. ‘Sell rate’ refers to what you get when you exchange sterling, ‘buy rate’ refers to what you get when you exchange any leftover foreign currency, and ‘interbank’ or ‘bank-to-bank rate’ refers to the wholesale exchange rate that the banks use. If you choose to search for a good currency exchange on the high street, ask explicitly how much it will cost for a certain amount in Sterling to be converted. That way you’ll know what the transaction fees, delivery and commission is before you commit.

 

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Research Your Currency – There are different rules for currency exchange depending on where you are going. In Cuba for instance, there is one currency for tourists and one for locals. In some countries you are not allowed to take the currency with you when you leave, or can only exchange your Sterling when you arrive. For some non-EU countries you might have to order your currency well in advance of your summer holiday, so be sure to conduct thorough research.

 

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Know the Situation – Use a site like xe.com to keep an eye on the currency fluctuations, be aware of any potential news stories at your destination or at home that could impact on the currency exchange. It can pay to start looking at the situation around a month before your holiday and to order money when the rate is climbing and the pound is strong.

 

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Shop Around for Currency – Always shop around for your currency, as you’ll see different exchange rates and prices at different vendors. It’s about finding the right deal for you at the right time. In some countries, such as Cyprus and Estonia, you can find some excellent currency deals to change your Sterling notes for Euros when you arrive. One strong tip for a good exchange rate is to order your currency in advance from a big airport bureau de change, and pick up when you arrive at the airport. Travelex and similar can provide this service, or a postal delivery service, at a much better exchange rate than that you’ll find at the airport itself.

 

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Use a Flexible Credit Card Abroad – If you want to use a credit card on your summer holiday it is prudent to choose a card that doesn’t charge you for using it abroad. Until August 2018 a Barclaycard Platinum Visa has no non-Sterling transaction fees on foreign spends attached to it, as well as no charges or interest when you withdraw money from a cash machine abroad (as long as it is paid off in full each month). Be aware that when you are paying with a credit card abroad you will be asked if you would like to pay in Sterling. This will automatically charge you 5% over the correct rate if you agree.

 

These are just a few tips on how to get the best exchange rate for your holiday cash. Be thorough with your research, shop around for the best exchange rates for currency and also use the best credit cards that don’t charge for use abroad.

Amazon Prime Day: What to Expect and Top Tips

Christmas – some may say that it’s too early to think about it now, but it’s important to prepare for the most wonderful expensive time of the year!

If you’re looking to spread the cost of your Christmas, our same day loans can help. With PiggyBank you can borrow up to £1000 and repay over 7 days to 5 months – whatever suits your budget. Though short term loans are a great way to cover the cost of this festive season, we want to share with you where you can save on gifts, decorations and other Christmas essentials without having to wait until Black Friday. Amazon Prime Day (celebrated on the 15-16th July 2019) can help with your bargain hunting!

The 48-hour Amazon Prime Day sale will include over 100,000 cost reductions on products across all categories such as TVs, smartphones, books, laptops and Amazon’s flagship products such as Echo, the Fire tablet or the Fire TV stick.

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With over 100,000 discounts across such a short period of time it can be a bit overwhelming, so here’s our guide on the event along with some top tips to make the most of it:

What is it? Amazon Prime Day is a one-day online shopping event with discounts across a wide range of products – similar to how Black Friday works. This will be the third time the event has been run.

When is it? This year’s Amazon Prime Day begins on Monday 15th July. The deals will be live for 48 hours.

How do I access it? Amazon Prime Day is only available to Amazon customers who have an Amazon Prime subscription. You can create a 30 day free trial and cancel your membership before the trial ends otherwise the cost is £7.99 per month or £79 a year afterwards.

The deals will be displayed on the main Amazon.co.uk homepage once the sale starts.

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Top tips

    • Create a budget – and stick to it. It sounds simple, but you should always resist buying on impulse. You have 30 hours to make a decision, so take it slow and steady!
    • Check out the lightning deals section for an opportunity to grab some early bargains.
    • Do your research! Use price comparison websites such as camelcamelcamel to see just how good the deal is. If the deal isn’t that much better than the average price, it might be worth waiting for a future sale to get an even better deal.
    • If you miss a deal due to the item going out of stock don’t worry. You can click the “Join Waitlist” button on the product page which will send you a notification when it’s back in stock.
    • When purchasing a product you can choose “no rush delivery” which will deliver your item in 3-5 days (instead of the next day guaranteed delivery) but give you promotional rewards which you can redeem on things like eBooks and Amazon Video.
  • Always check the reviews – Amazon has a great customer review system! A good tip is to take a look at the 1-star reviews of your chosen product to see if there are any common issues, to help you make a more informed decision.

Goodbye Estimated Energy Bills, Hello Smart Meters!

It’s no secret that estimated energy bills can cause you to end up paying more for your energy – and leave your wallet much lighter at the end of the month.

That’s why the Smart Meter Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech will help put you in control of your energy use, and know exactly what you’ll be paying!

What is the Smart Meter Bill?

The Smart Meter Bill is designed to help consumers better understand their energy consumption by bringing an end to estimated energy bills. The initiative was first announced in 2009 by the Department for Energy and Climate Change and smart meters have already been installed in 7 million homes. The Smart Meter Bill guarantees that smart meters will be offered to all UK homes and businesses by 2020.

What are Smart Meters and how do they work?

Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters. They come with an in-house display screen that will tell you exactly how much energy you’re using (in pounds and pence) in real time. The meter will send accurate readings automatically back to your energy supplier, which means that you’ll no longer have to a) manually send readings to your energy supplier and b) no longer receive estimated bills.

How will it save me money?

As a smart meter shows you real-time electricity and gas usage, you’ll be able to adapt your monthly energy usage to ensure you’re not using too much. If turning on the heating or air conditioning is causing your consumption to skyrocket, you’ll be able to see this is real time, rather than getting a shock when your bill comes at the end of the month. Unexpected high gas and electricity bills are one of the more common reasons why people turn to convenient online loans, but by keeping an eye on what appliances cause the pennies to rise you can ensure your bill fits within your budget. We’ve also compiled a list of tips for saving on your energy costs that can cut your bills further.

As energy usage is sent automatically to your energy supplier, you’ll no longer receive estimated bills. You’ll only pay for what you use. The government claims that the roll-out will provide the UK with annual savings of £300 million in 2020, rising to £1.2 billion by 2030.

How much do they cost?

Smart meters and their installation are completely free of charge!

How do I get one?

Most energy suppliers are currently offering installation of smart meters – you can find a list of suppliers and their contact details here. If your current energy supplier doesn’t currently offer smart meters, why not switch to one that does? You can also save money in other areas too!

How to BBQ on a Budget This Summer

When the sun is out it is always nice to invite a small group of friends and family round for a BBQ. There is nothing better than being surrounded by love and laughter with an ice old beer in one hand and a burger (veggie or meat) in the other. Cooking at home doesn’t need to break the bank – here’s how you can have a cracking summer BBQ on a budget:

 

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Use Cheap Cuts of Meat – You don’t have to go all out and buy the most expensive cuts of meat for a budget BBQ. The sheer fact that it’s being grilled will enhance the flavour in any meat. Shop around for the best discounts and you can save on your final bill. If you want to cook some steak on your barbecue it doesn’t matter at all if you choose to use the cheaper cuts of meat. With chicken, the cheaper legs and thighs are actually tastier than the breast, as you are cooking on the bone.

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Don’t Use Too Much Fuel – For any BBQ on a budget you’ll be aware of the cost of fuel. One of the easy mistakes to make when cooking on a BBQ is to pile up the charcoal when there really isn’t any need. Three pounds of charcoal is more than enough to cook for around 6 people. For gas BBQs you only need to cook on the highest level for the first 5 minutes of the food cooking. After that you can cook your meats on the lower setting and boost the flavour!

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Homemade Marinades and Rubs – Whether you’re looking to make BBQ style chicken, or marinaded steak, utilise your kitchen and make them at home to reduce the cost significantly. Tips to improve your BBQ include making all of your rubs and marinades in advance, leaving your meats to soak everything up and to be succulent when cooked on the grill the day of the BBQ. You can make your rubs a few days prior and coat your meats just before placing on the grill. When marinating chicken and other BBQ meats you can do so the night before your summer BBQ.

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Added Extras – It’s easy to spruce up a sausage or burger with some simple, and cheap toppings. Add some grilled mushrooms and onions to any bap or bun and your guests will go crazy. Another way to boost your BBQ flavours is to make homemade burgers. This opens up a whole world of possibilities, you can stuff the meat with blue cheese or bacon, leaving an oozing-melty-meaty dream of a burger!

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Cook with Leftovers in Mind – Plan carefully for your summer BBQ extravaganza and don’t let your guests go hungry. Always plan to cook enough so that there will be leftovers. In terms of cooking on a budget this is brilliant as it ensures that you are being fuel-efficient for your meals over the coming days. Your cooked meats will stay good for a day or two and are easy to reheat – just sprinkle with water, wrap in foil and cook in the oven for 5 minutes.

 

PiggyBank knows how to throw a good summer BBQ on a budget and to really enjoy the good weather when it arrives in the UK. You can see that you don’t have to splash out for a successful summer budget BBQ!

Camping on a Budget in the UK – Where to Go on Holiday this Summer

Summer is around the corner and we’ve been lucky enough in the UK to have some hot weather so far already this year. With the holidays approaching you really don’t need to spend loads of money on an expensive holiday abroad. There are plenty of enticing and cost effective camping spots across the UK for you to sink your teeth into, relax and enjoy a British holiday. If you’re planning on camping on a budget in the UK this year we have some prime locations, and some tips to cut your costs, without cutting your enjoyment!

First thing’s first, let’s take a look at some of the best camping sites the UK has to offer, with a variety of locations spread across the entire country:

Newgale, Pembrokeshire – The Pembrokeshire coastline is a sight to behold at any time of year but during the summer months there are few places worth stopping over more than camping at Newgale. With sandy beaches and extraordinary views you can get your watersports on with surfing and windsurfing a huge attraction.

Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire – If you’re looking for stunning views to relax with during sunset, there are a number of campsites in the Robin Hood’s Bay area. It is the perfect location to start (or finish) the coast-to-coast walk between the east coast and the Cumbrian coastline.

St Agnes, Isles of Scilly – St Agnes is tiny, but has some of the finest beaches you’ll find anywhere in the UK. For an extreme remote location, you’ll find yourself in a completely other world with a trip to the Isles of Scilly.

Kinlocehlevn, Argyle – A stunning Scottish campsite that combines all of what you’d expect from the wild north. On the banks of Loch Leven, this campsite provides a spectacular setting with mountains all around and an icy blue loch by your side.

St Levan, Penzance, Cornwall – With the cliffs to the edge of your campsite, you’ll have amazing views of the sea in a secluded location that provides you with wonderful long walks to enjoy.

Once you have chosen your perfect UK camping destination you can then work out exactly what you need to take with you for the holiday. We have a few money saving tips for you to cut the costs of your camping trip, without it dampening your enthusiasm for the holiday.

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Share Camping Equipment – The first way to save money on camping holidays is to share equipment with your friends. If you are lucky enough to have friends and family who love to go camping in the UK you can share sleeping bags and cooking equipment etc. It really does lead to cost effective camping.

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Stock up in the Sales – In the weeks and months leading up to your UK camping holiday keep an eye out for the essentials that you’ll need. From fleeces for the night-time, to sensible footwear, sleeping bags, and foodstuffs, look for discounts and bulk-buy well in advance so you’re not left short when on holiday

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Invest in a Quality Tent – It’s easy to think that a good way to save money camping is to buy a tent for as low a price as possible. This is folly. It is worth paying that little bit more for a tent that is quality and will not only endure the poor weather you’re bound to encounter at some point on a British camping trip, but that will also last for many years, saving you money in the long-term.

Now you’ve got a fair idea about where to go in the UK and how to go on a cost-effective UK camping holiday. Camping on a budget is possible and we’re sure if you take our tips on board you and the family will have a fantastic experience this summer.

We’re a Consumer Credit Awards 2017 Finalist!

After ten weeks of voting in the Consumer Credit Awards, we’re delighted to announce that we’ve been named a finalist in the “Best Short Term Loan Provider” category.

We’ve got to this point thanks to our fantastic customers voting for us, and you can take a look at some of the great feedback we’ve received, by reading our PiggyBank reviews here!

Here’s what Dan Ware, PiggyBank’s CEO had to say about the great news: “It’s a testament to the hard work undertaken by every member of the PiggyBank team, our commitment to responsible lending decisions, treating customers fairly and a reflection of our culture of forbearance and delivering positive outcomes to our customers at all times. We’re looking forward to competing with our peers in the coming months.

Now that we’ve made it through to the finalist stage, we join an A-Z of leading consumer credit firms, from American Express and Amigo Loans all the way to Zopa and Zuto, all vying to take home an award.

So far, over 20,000 consumers have voted, and voting continues until the 2nd July, with winners announced at a special event in London on 13th July.

If you haven’t yet voted, please do so now to help give us the best chance of taking home an award. You’ll also be entered into a prize draw to win £1000, so please vote here!

 

About the Consumer Credit Awards

The Consumer Credit Awards use people power to help crown the UK’s best consumer credit firms. These awards are decided by customers like you, not industry experts, so only you can decide who wins, and that’s why your feedback is so important.

Run by Smart Money People, the Consumer Credit Awards have become the largest consumer-voted awards programme within the consumer credit industry, and help to put the customer at the very heart of the industry, which is why it means a lot to us to be named a finalist.

Awards will be handed-out in 15 categories, ranging from “Best Finance App” and “Best Newcomer” to product specific categories. Thanks to press and promotion, over 2 million UK consumers will come across the Consumer Credit Awards in 2017.

 

How to Budget For a Summer Holiday

Are you dreaming of taking that perfect summer holiday this year?

With summer just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to start planning your summer getaway. But did you know that the average holiday costs £974? Other than the holiday booking itself, new clothes, spending money and transport costs take up the majority of the costs.

We’ve compiled a list of tips to save money on your summer holiday so that you can enjoy it to the fullest without worrying about the hole in your pocket.

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Search travel websites, compare the prices and find the best deals

Online travelling agencies like Yatra, MakeMyTrip, etc., come up with some of the best deals every season, so that you have a galore of irresistible opportunities to choose from.

You’ll have to have your options in mind – the best places according to your budget, how many days you will stay for, the living and eating expenses; and you can come to definitive solutions through packages or travel discounts.

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Travel in a group

When you travel alone or just with your family, the chances of higher expenses increases because you will have no one to share the load of your budget with. So, more often than not, your trip might go off budget.

To save up on car fuel, or room expenses, or on the money you spend on food – it’s better to travel in a group. It also gives you company and ensures safety. Although travelling alone through the wilderness is an experience on its own; for a budget summer holiday, groups are always a better option.

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Rent holiday homes instead of hotel rooms

If you are really passionate about engaging yourself and getting to know the culture and lifestyle that a destination has to offer, then renting holiday rooms and homes can be a brilliant alternative to hotels.

Homestays can often be an inexpensive and rewarding experience for a traveller. You get a smack of the local taste, the family life, the indigenous traditions and how people experience life in various parts of the world. Airbnb is a great tool for finding a reputable place to stay.

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Explore the concept of Staycationing

Staycationing is a fresh travelling concept where people ‘stay’ at home and explore tourist spots within driving distance but come back to sleep in their beds at night. You can take advantage of regional day trips and visit local attractions.

During a financial constraint, the idea of staycationing can help you enjoy a local coastal breeze or a small drive to the closest hills on a tight budget within a short span of time – you’ll also save yourself the stress of travelling and packing too!

Sensible spending is an approach that all of us at PiggyBank are in favour of. We are a payday loan direct lender,  and our service is designed to offer responsible lending to those who are in need of short-term loans and able to pay back within fixed and agreed repayment terms.

Surviving Festivals on a Budget

Festival season is now upon us and there are many of us who are thinking of digging into our pockets and spending upwards of £200 for a ticket to one of the many festivals around the UK.

One of the things that holds us back from going or causes problems when it’s finished is the cost of being at a festival. We have to think about camping gear, travel, food, drink and all the little extras that we have to pay for once we are there. If you’re not careful, the excitement of festival season can cause a massive dent in your budget and may lead to needing a short term payday loan to help cover other finances!

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Take a cooler box, BBQ and food

This will save you a lot of money as meals can range from £5 to £10 each. Over a four day period, you could end up spending over £100 just on food alone. Instead between your friends go to your local supermarket, load up on bread, sausages, burgers, bacon, crisps and other snacks and that should certainly help you to save a small fortune. We’ve also compiled a list of ways to save on your food shop to help you save more.

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Take alcohol with you

Another big expense at most festivals is alcohol. Drinks normally range from £4 up to £10 and more. When you are at a festival a lot of alcohol is consumed and a lot of money normally goes on consuming this alcohol. Instead of that why not load up on spirits, beers, ciders and water whilst you are getting food. If there is a group of you, then you can split the cost between you and save even more money.

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If you don’t have camping gear ask to borrow some

One thing a lot of people get wrong during festival season is that they don’t ask friends or family to borrow things to take to a festival and instead buy things brand new. Even if you are thinking of going away again, buying a new tent, sleeping bag, chair, pillow or bed could be a waste of money when you can borrow them from someone who has used theirs a handful of times and when it is in good condition.

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Make a daily budget and stick to it

Factor in the chance that you will buy a few drinks, get a little bit of food and maybe buy something from one of the many shops but don’t go overboard just because you are at a festival. It’s important to have fun and not compromise but it’s also important that you don’t overspend and suffer the consequences later on in the month. You can budget by writing a list or using a budget app on your phone.

Whether you are going to one of the more expensive festivals, a cheap one or a free one, use these tips to help make it even better without spending too much money and most importantly enjoy yourself, create some new memories and be safe!

For more information on long term lending contact today.

PiggyBank’s new FCA approved price comparison website

You may have noticed a new addition to the PiggyBank website: a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approved price comparison website, allowing you to compare different lenders for short-term, loans. This is the result of a recent report by the FCA that found it can be difficult for customers to identify the best-value direct payday lenders for their borrowing requirements.

As a fully authorised and regulated lender by the FCA, PiggyBank are committed to following their rules and guidance to ensure we treat our customers fairly and responsibly. PiggyBank can now be found on the money.co.uk comparison website. money.co.uk was established in 2008 and attracts millions of monthly customers comparing over 17,000 financial products.

The comparison tool allows you to compare loans much more easily and to establish the best value based on how much you want to borrow, for how long and when you get paid. The service is completely free to use and will help you make a much more informed decision.

Much like the PiggyBank loan calculator, the tool is easy to use. Simply use the sliders to select how much you wish to borrow, how long you want it for and when you get paid. The comparison tool will then direct you to a results page in which you can see a comparison of lenders displaying the available amounts, terms, representative APR and the total repayment amount.

PiggyBank always keep our customers at the forefront of the decisions we make. The addition of an FCA approved price comparison website ensures that our customers can make more of an informed decision when looking for a short term lender.

How to Save Money on Your Food Shop

Food shopping for yourself or your family doesn’t need to cost a fortune.

Whether you go to the shop daily, weekly, monthly, order online or in the store, or live solely from takeaway food, you’ll definitely end up spending a lot of money on food.

Saving money on your food shop is an easy method that can help cut back on your monthly expenses. Here are a few shopping tips that can save your food bill hundreds of pounds a year:

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Budget Accordingly

Work out exactly how much money you will need for the set period of time and only spend that amount on your food shop.

If you end up with money left over, use that towards your next shop, taking less out to make up the budget allowing you to save money. So if you have a budget of £50 a month and you only spend £40, next month you’ll only need to take out £40 as you’ll have money left over.

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Meal Plan

A good tip to save money on your food bill is to write down a list of daily meals for the week ahead. This is good practice in terms of ensuring you and your family are eating the right way, but also means that you are only buying for those meals. This way of thinking cuts down on your spend as it is reducing waste and money spent on perishable food items that end up being thrown out rather than eaten.

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Look for Bargains Online

With a plethora of supermarkets and stores, the competition is fierce, and as a consumer, you should be looking to take advantage of that. Use online price comparison sites and you can save money by spreading out your shopping costs towards the best deals.

There are also often offers for free delivery for online shopping, discounts and price comparison deals from store to store. Do your research thoroughly and shop around at different places and this will have a positive effect on your weekly food bill.

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Avoid Food Wastage

Did you know that the average household wastes £470 worth of food a year? Most of this comes from packing something away and forgetting it or throwing out perfectly good food that can still be eaten.

Operate a “first in, first out” practice. When unpacking your shopping, move older products to the front of the fridge/cupboard so they get used before they go out of date. Buy some cheap containers and take any dinner leftovers to work the next day – ensuring you get the most out of your food bill and saving money on the next one!


We understand that at times an unexpected bill or unplanned financial emergency can impact all your other expenses – such as the food shop. But, your monthly budget shouldn’t have to take a hit. With an instant cash loan from PiggyBank, you can upkeep your monthly budget, whilst covering any unexpected expenses. We are a direct lender and offer payday and instalment loans – we even have loans for poor credit borrowers.