Halloween on a Budget

Halloween has become an important cultural point of the year for kids and adults alike, with costumes and parties becoming ever more elaborate year-upon-year. If you like to be scared and be spooked but don’t feel like you’ve got the spare cash to do so this October, why not take a look at how you can still make people jump with fear on a budget.

Make a Costume at Home

You don’t have to spend loads of money on a costume this year. Why spend £80 on a full witches outfit from a store when you can make a fake nose, use a sweeping brush as your broomstick and have a bin bag as your clothing? It’s fun to make costumes with friends and it’s friendly to your bank balance.

Create a Haunted House at Home

Why not invite your friends round and create a dark and foreboding party atmosphere. You can use bed sheets, toilet roll and flour to create a haunted, derelict and dusty feel. Fill bin bags up to look like body parts, and use fruit juice for blood.

Inexpensive Trick or Treat

Bargain stores and pound shops are great places to pick up stacks of sweets and treats without breaking the bank. You’ll want to have handfuls of goodies for your guests and for any kids knocking on your door throughout the night.

Enjoy a spooktacular Halloween this year whether it’s on a budget or not. PiggyBank is here to help with all short-term loans, to help you bridge that gap until payday.

Get Educated Online

If you are looking to better yourself and learn new skills then there are a number of sources online that can help you. Whether you are looking to get a new job, enhance your skills in a current job or just for fun, the following sources are a great place to start:

Udemy
Udemy is an online learning marketplace with over 10 million students learning everything from coding to marketing to yoga and a lot more. All of the 40,000 + courses are taught by experts and are available online. Most of the courses cost £24 with some being free and some costing a few hundred pounds. It is an incredible marketplace for learning and can really help you get ahead.

Khan Academy – Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. They offer classes in science, maths, history, economics and more. They have teamed up with the likes of NASA and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) to provide specialised content for the millions of people who use the platform. All the classes are free and you can learn in your time and at your own pace.

Code Academy – Codeacademy is an education company that offers free coding courses for free. From learning to build a website to learning different programming languages like Javascript and CSS. Coding is incredibly important for the digital world. Up to 5 billion people will have access to smartphones in the next ten years and every website, smartphone app, computer program, calculator and even microwave rely on code in order to operate. Millions of jobs will be created in next few years all over the world and learn to code can help you achieving it.

Alison – Alison is an online community of only 8 million, filled with high-quality online education courses to help you develop essential, certified workplace skills. Whether you are seeking a new job, a promotion, a college place or starting a new business, ALISON empowers you to improve your economic and personal circumstances, and through you, that of the community you live in.

Monster – Monster are a worldwide leader in successfully connecting people to job opportunities. They offer a number of different resources to help you in your job search. This ranges from help with writing a CV, putting together a cover letter, job searches and also monster education where they offer different courses that can help you kick start your career, up skill for a promotion or change in direction.

We would love for you to tell us how you get on using these resources and let us know the progress you make.

5 Ways You’re Probably Wasting Money

This is a sponsored blog post.

Whether you have a six-figure salary or you need three jobs to support your family, everyone is looking for ways to save money. As a result, the internet is overflowing with blog posts that have titles such as “4 Effective and Sensible Ways to Save Money”, “How to Save Money Even When it Feels Impossible”, and “Top 10 Better Money Habits You Can Build This Year”.

Everyone is looking for ways to manage their finances and save money. The best way to start is to assess your expenses and cut out the things you can live without. Here are five tips on how to maintain a healthy looking bank account.

Overpriced Food, Clothes and Medicines

One of the most common ways we all waste money is when we are buying groceries and clothes. Shopping only at high-end retailers or buying exclusively name brand items is often a complete waste of money, especially since generic brand items can be almost identical to their more expensive counterparts.

This is especially true of medicines. There is no need to buy expensive brand name painkillers when the generic painkillers usually contain exactly the same active ingredients.

Banking Fees

Be it ATM fees, account fees or investment fees, paying any kind of banking fee is unnecessary and equivalent to throwing your money out the window. Yet, this squander is avoidable. If you plan to go abroad, get organised and travel with the required amount of cash to avoid unwanted ATM fees.

The best way to steer clear of fees of any sort is by talking to your bank of choice. They often offer banking alternatives that don’t include additional payments or fees.

The same goes for any forms of credit. When looking to borrow money, you should ensure you choose a direct lender that has no hidden fees.

Paying for Things You Don’t Need or Don’t Use

You are probably spending a lot of money that you don’t have on things that you don’t need – even if you don’t realise it. Take a close look at all the things you buy but rarely use. Subscriptions for magazines and newspapers that you hardly ever read, memberships for a gym that you don’t go to, or seldom used video streaming services such as Sky, Netflix or Amazon are all common offenders. These are the best kind of savings to make as they don’t impact your quality of life.

Buying Low Quality Items

It may sound counter-intuitive, but sometimes you need to spend money to save money. If your low quality purchase wears out sooner than expected, you may have been able to save money by choosing a sturdier alternative.

Certain footwear brands even come with a “for life” guarantee. The initial cost may be higher, but you can end up saving a small fortune over your lifetime and enjoy the use of better quality products. Whatever purchase you make, be sure to consider long term savings over short term gains.

Not Knowing Your Finances

For you to have a successful understanding of your financial situation, it is necessary for you to know all about your finances. Find out how much you earn, how much you owe, and how much you spend. While companies that manage large debts make use of debt management software, individuals or households can effectively track their expenditure using a spreadsheet.

5 Great Ways to Save Money on Your Car

Cars are expensive things. Whether it’s buying them, getting insured or maintaining them. All year round they are costing us money so its good to know how we can save money. 

Here are PiggyBank’s top tips for saving money on your car:

  1. Switch your car insurance. When your car insurance is up for renewal, do a little research on a comparison site to see if you can get your car insurance cheaper. Money Supermarket and Compare The Market will search hundreds of deals. You never know you might end up saving hundreds of pounds
  2. Pump up your tyres. A new set of tyres could cost you up to £500.  That is why it’s important to check your tyres pressure every few months. By keeping your tyres inflated, your car will use less fuel. If you are unsure of this check out some youtube videos to help you out. If you need a new set of tyres, you could get a £500 loan from PiggyBank.
  3. Drive the speed limit. Boring but safe and also a money saver. By driving the speed limit you are using fewer revs and this will save you money and means you will be a safer driver.
  4. Drive less. This sounds silly but there is some sense to driving less. Not driving to your local shop and walking or riding a bike will save you money because every time you start the engine it uses more fuel. It also means you will get a bit of exercise done at the same time.
  5. CarShare.  Possibly one of the most underrated options and best ways to save money. Car sharing with at least one more person can save you a small fortune on fuel in some cases you could end up paying less than half of what you were paying on your journey to work every week.

If you’re looking to get a new car and don’t want to pay too much in interest, a car loan may be the right option for you. The biggest benefit of buying a car outright with a loan rather than financing is the interest you pay is considerably less. With PiggyBank, you can get a £1000 loan to put towards a car and pick a repayment plan that works for you.

Equipment to Help you Exercise Without a Gym Membership

We all know that exercise is an important part of our day to day lives but we don’t always take exercise seriously and we often think we need to go to the gym in order to get in shape. The truth is we don’t need gyms to get in shape or stay active. Here are five pieces of equipment you can use that can help you exercise without spending monthly fees on a gym membership.

  • Running Shoes

Grab yourself a pair of running shoes and get outside. We often spend lots of money on trainers, so why not invest a little bit of money on a pair of running shoes. You don’t need the latest, most expensive pair to get started. Of course it’s important to make sure they are comfortable but you don’t need to spend £100 on a pair of trainers. You can often find great deals on voucher websites and it’s always a good idea to check out eBay and Amazon.

  • Dumbbells

A pair of dumbbells don’t cost a lot of money but they can be a great way to lift weights and keep in shape. If you are looking to build some serious muscle then of course you will need more than a few dumbbells but if you just want to get a bit of exercise then get a pair of dumbbells from eBay, Amazon or Gumtree and start lifting some weights.

  • Bike

Get a bike from your local bike shop or auction website, get outside and start cycling. Cycling is a great way to burn some fat and keep you fit. More and more people are now using a bike as a way to get to work, meaning you save money on not driving to work either. You can pick up a second hand bike for as little as £25 so why not give it a go.

  • A bit of space

If you don’t like cycling or running, you can always work out in the comfort of your own home. All you need is a little bit of space in your bedroom or the front room and you are good to go. There are literally hundreds of thousands of different workouts you can do using nothing but your own bodyweight. A quick search on Youtube and you will soon realise there is so much that you can do.

  • Exercise ball

An exercise ball is a really good way of working on your core strength and they don’t cost the earth. You can pick one up  from a number of different places on the high street  including Sports Direct, Argos, and of course online through eBay etc.

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.

5 Unexpected Ways to Save Money

We are always looking for ways to save money in our day-to-day lives. While some of the most obvious things we know about like switching energy providers, using voucher codes and buying things in a sale are clear to us, some others are not. Here we list five things that you haven’t thought about that can save you money.

Car sharing

If you live near a co-worker, why don’t you see if you can car share with them. One of you can drive one week and the other person the week after. This will save you petrol money that you will notice immediately. Not only will your wallet like you but you will also be doing your bit for the environment.

Repay Your Existing Credit

It may sound quite obvious, but you should focus on paying off your existing loans and overdrafts to stop late interest being incurred and even charges for late payment happening. Prioritise paying off the high-interest loans first: bad credit loans often have a higher APR so you are better off paying these first. PiggyBank offers loans for people with bad credit and can be repaid without any early repayment fee.

Go to the supermarket late at night

We have all sometimes been to the supermarket in the evening but we don’t always go there with the intention of finding a bargain. Maybe it’s time you did. You will often find meat, fish, bread and other fresh food at significantly reduced prices if they are going out of date. You can freeze most things and only use it when you need.

Consider a sim only mobile deal

If you have a smartphone that you are happy with, why not just switch to a sim only deal instead of getting an expensive contract. This could save you 10’s of pounds on a monthly basis, which quickly adds up. There are loads of deals out there so shop around on sites like MoneySupermarket and uSwitch for great offers.

Do DIY

There always seems to be something that needs fixing in our houses and the first thought is always to get someone in to fix the problem. Why not have a go at doing some DIY to fix the issues you are having. Now it’s important not to try anything dangerous but there are a number of experts who would have given their expert advice on youtube. So next time you need some painting done or fixing a broken sink, consult the experts online, you never know, you might have a skill you didn’t know about.

Cancel your Sky satellite deal

If your Sky subscription is up for renewal, consider cancelling it. Sky provides a lot of value, but if you don’t actually watch that many things on Sky, why not consider why of the many cheaper subscription services like Netflix or Amazon Prime? Individually both will cost you less than £100 and even if you got both, it may work out a lot cheaper than renewing your Sky subscription. Now of course if you watch a lot of sport you may want to look at keeping your Sky subscription. But why not consider downgrading your package to a cheaper one.

How To Keep An Eye on your Credit History

Before you apply for a loan, or any type of credit, it is always a wise idea to check what your actual credit score is. Whoever you are applying for a loan from will certainly be aware of this score, and it can have a massive effect on their final decision. Here, the Piggy Bank team take a look at how best to stay in touch with that score, whether you are applying for credit or not.

Your first step would be to choose a credit checking company such as Experian, Equifax or maybe one of the newer services that has sprung up in the last few years. You will need to furnish your chosen credit checking company with details, including your addresses for the last 3 years or more. These days, you can usually find out your credit score very quickly, often within a few minutes.

Once you have this facility set up, it is a good idea to go through your score, and look out for any anomalies. You should check whether you are on the electoral roll because this will improve your rating. If you are not, speak to your local authority and remedy this as soon as possible.

If you have any adverse credit history, this will affect the decision that your potential creditors will make. You should try and contact the company in question, and do your best to either pay off any outstanding amount, or come to a mutual agreement in terms of paying it off.

For more information on long term lending contact today.

Trimming Your Back to School Costs

The Back-to-School season is soon upon us, and shortly following is  Christmas! Though it seems that the summer holidays had only just begun, there’s less than a month until the kids return for another year at school. Therefore, it’s important to get all the new year essentials now and keep the cost of new books, clothes and P.E equipment down to a minimum rather than relying on payday loans.

One of the best and most effective ways to do this is to write down everything that your children need, see what you already have, find out if friends or family have anything you need and to shop around for the things you need to buy.

Stationery

Children have so many different classes and therefore need lots of different things to get through the year. Stationery adds up to a lot because there is so much that your children need. Pens, pencils, pencil cases, plain paper, lined paper, calculators, rulers, colouring pens and much more. One way to save money here is to simply ask a friend or family member if any of their children have any of these things that they do not use anymore or no longer need. Whilst your children may not have everything brand new, they will have everything they need. This frees up money that can be saved, spent on other things for the household or towards Christmas. You can also look through eBay and Amazon to get your stationery goods in bulk. There are always great deals. You just need to look in the right places.

P.E Kit

Another more expensive cost is purchasing a new P.E kit. As children grow, it means that they outgrow their clothes. Depending on the sports that they play at their school, P.E kits can set you back hundreds of pounds. To save money here you will need to spend a little more time searching for the best deals. Take a look around your local sports shops for what they have. While you are in a shop pull out your smartphone and have a look on eBay, Amazon and Gumtree and see if they have any of those items cheaper. The chances are that somewhere online will. Saving on football boots, running shoes, gum shields and any other sports equipment could save you money depending on what you need. It may seem small but every one of those pennies count.

Shoes

Children grow out of shoes just as quickly as they grow out of clothes. Luckily, nowadays there are many places you can find affordable shoes online and on the high street. Ebay and Amazon are always good places to start. Another good place to look is the many voucher codes, websites and apps that have thousands of offers available. It may seem a little tedious but it will only take a few minutes to browse through and you never know when you might find a great deal. Also of course going to your local high street and seeing what sales they have on is always a good bet.

School Uniform

Your children’s school uniform is likely to be the biggest cost. But you won’t have to rely on short term loans to afford new shirts and blazers, there are some more affordable options. Many schools have a pre-loved uniform service, where you can purchase clothes at a hefty discount. You can also check Facebook to see if there are any pages dedicated to parents selling or purchasing children’s uniforms. Gumtree is also a great place to look for uniforms for your children and a great way to save money on clothes that are just as good as new. If you’re unable to find anyone selling old uniform, you may be able to find dupes in stores such as M&S, Asda’s George and Sainsbury’s TU. Many uniforms have the school logo on the jumpers but you may be able to purchase shirts and trousers in a similar style and colour in these stores and save a pretty penny. 

This isn’t a complete list of everything you can do but hopefully, it has given you some ideas of how you can save on the essentials that your children need before they go back to school.

There is one last option that many could be entitled to. If you live in England, your local council may be able to provide help with the cost of school uniforms, including P.E kits. If you live in Northern Ireland, there are school uniform grants that you may be entitled to.

Get in touch if and let us know if you made any savings and if you do please pass this on to other friends and family.

Cook at Home… and Save Money!

If you are currently looking at ways to save more money, why not put an end to those takeaways and start cooking instead? Buying food in the supermarket is both cheap and fun, and you can even start a new health kick to boot!

The best way to approach this lifestyle change is firstly to think about the week ahead, and plan your shopping around what you would like to eat every day. Meal planning should be easy enough, and if you already know what ingredients are required, you can start looking at the best value in the aisles.

Try to cut down on the portion sizes and add more vegetables from the outset. Although meat can be delicious and nutritious, by cutting down on those portions, and upping the ante as far as vegetables are concerned, you will save money and improve your wellbeing in one fell swoop.

If you absolutely love bread but aren’t too impressed with the prices in your local shop, why not invest a few quid in a bread making machine instead? It’s a fun hobby and you will soon be experiencing some delicious results. It’s also a useful way of controlling the amount of added salt and sugar you eat in your bread.

Investing in a slow cooker is a great way to transform that cheap cut of meat into something nice and tender. You can save a fortune by cooking this way, and you’ll free up a lot of time besides.

Give those takeaways a swerve for a month or so, and see your savings grow! Visit the PiggyBank blog regularly for more money saving tips.

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.

Birthday Gifts that Show You Care

If you are feeling the pinch, or simply want to save for a rainy day, why not think about making your own gifts and cards for that special someone’s birthday this year? It will not only save a small fortune, but will also really show how much that you love them. It’s likely to be a lot more fun than trawling the shops for gift ideas as well!

Birthday cards can be a tad impersonal, but not if you take the time and effort to make them from scratch. Why not look through your old photos on your computer and find one that means a lot to both of you? You can easily use any of the myriad of online paint style programs to add the personal touch. Just imagine their face lighting up as they open the envelope and all of those magical memories start flooding back!

Making a gift may not be quite as straightforward, but the result will certainly be worth the investment of time that you are prepared to make. You don’t need to be an artist to draw a portrait, just use a good portrait photo, and spend some time getting the lines and shading just right.

The point is, so long as you show that you care, and have taken the time to produce a truly bespoke birthday card and gift, it will be a sign of love that they will never ever forget! Who knows, maybe they will return the favour when your birthday comes around?

Visit the PiggyBank blog again soon for regular money-saving tips.