APR and Interest Rates Explained

What actually is interest and APR? These terms go hand in hand with anything financial, so it’s very important to understand them! Here’s our quick and simple guide to understanding APR and interest.

What is Interest?

Interest is a fee that a lender charges you for using his or her money. It is a per cent of the amount you borrowed from the lender. 

On the flip side, if you put your money into a savings account in a bank, the bank will pay you interest!

Compound Interest

Like regular interest, compound interest is a percentage of the initial amount plus the accumulated interest of the previous periods. That’s quite wordy, so here’s an example!

If you put £1000 in a savings account that earned 5% interest, after one year you’d get £50, taking the total to £1050. At the end of year two, you’d earn another 5% on your on your initial amount of £1000, but you’d also earn 5% interest on the £50 you got from year one. This gives you a grand total of £1102.50. That will continue for year three and so forth!

Essentially, this means your savings will grow more quickly because you are getting paid more interest over time.

Don’t forget, compound interest also affects borrowed money too, so the quicker you pay off a loan, the less you will have to repay!

Watch out for lenders that charge you a fee for repaying early. PiggyBank does not charge you any fee for making a part payment or full early repayment on any loans.

What is APR?

APR stands for annual percentage rate, it is a percentage that is a calculation of the cost of a loan for the entire year. This includes the interest added and any other fees in relation to your loan, such as closing fees and participation fees. This way you can easily compare different financial options.

Direct payday loan lenders often have relatively high APR rates. However, it does not mean that you end up paying £1000’s on top of the original amount borrowed. Most payday loan companies require the loan to be paid back within six weeks or less, so APR is difficult to apply as it is not stretched over a year. Therefore, the APR is a better tool to compare loans that are taken out over a year or more.

How to use APR to your advantage

The good thing about the APR is that while some terms vary according to the type of loan, there is a legal regulation of APR within any kind of sector.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) requires short term direct lenders to reveal your APR so that you can be able to compare each loan better. This law requires also lenders to tell you any finance charges you have to pay according to the selected loan and the complete amount you will have to pay is you meet all the requirements.

Health

How To Get Healthy On A Budget

Choosing the healthy option may be hard especially if it also has to fit your budget. This blog post will take a holistic approach to health focusing on healthy eating, exercise and mental well being.

Healthy Eating

You don’t have to eat the trendiest superfoods like goji berries, kombucha or manuka honey, to stay on top of your healthy eating! Here are some simple ways of making sure you don’t exceed your food and drinks budget.

healthy food

Meal Plan

Make sure you buy only things you will definitely eat during the week so you don’t waste any food. Plan your meals in such a way that will be varied so you don’t get bored and freeze your meal prep to make it last longer. We often get discouraged with our new diets if the taste is bland or we constantly eat the same thing. You don’t have to eat chicken, rice and broccoli to stay fit! Variety is key as well as seasoning and some healthy treats. Before you make your meal plan and shopping list, make a mental note of the things you already have.  There are many ways to repurpose leftovers. For example, put your left over salad in a wrap or your baked mushrooms on a bed of spinach. Get into the habit of asking yourself, what is actually necessary to purchase.

Shopping

Now we know we said make a shopping list and stick to it, but if you see something on sale, in the reduced section or a deal don’t be afraid to switch it for your original item. The key is to make sure it’s just as healthy and it is actually cheaper. Don’t get fooled just because it says it’s on sale doesn’t mean you’ll save money. Compare and make common sense choices. If possible buy local fruits, vegetables and eggs, especially in-season foods. Another trick we would recommend is buying in bulk. Not only is it cheaper, it decreases the amount of times you have to go to the supermarket reducing temptations. Don’t forget to get a customer card, collect points and save on future shopping trips.

Protein

We all know that you’ll probably want to increase your protein quantities on your new healthy diet, especially if you’ll be working out or want to increase your muscle mass. However, meats and fish are one of the most expensive foods… The answer is legumes! Consider items such as: lentils, chickpeas and beans, not only are they high in protein but they will help you feel fuller for longer.

Frozen

Frozen foods are not only cheaper but also more convenient and last longer. Great frozen choices are: berries, avocados, green peas and mango as you can add these to your smoothies, as well as fish, vegetables and herbs which are great in stir fries. If you are running out of time to eat what you prepared before it goes bad, label it and place it in the freezer.

Drinks

On your healthy lifestyle all you really need to drink is water. Just think of all the money it will save you, this should be motivation enough to put down that beer bottle, gin or chocolate milkshake. If you feel like having tea or coffee choose their own brand product, they will be cheaper and you might be positively surprised with the quality.

Fitness

Forget about a Personal Trainer or soul cycle, focus on alternatives such as at home workouts or outdoor activities.

Running

Wardrobe

The most common step we all take when starting our fitness journey is buying new clothes, fit for the occasion (see what we did there?). It’s true that exercising requires proper gear, but you can look great for less. Check out the clearance section, or find good workout clothes in H&M or Primark. Steer clear of brand names to save the most.

Equipment

You don’t need a gym membership or fancy equipment to get fit. It’s possible to get in shape with just your own body weight. Use your environment, instead of expensive workout machines. You can do bench dips using your sofa or lift heavy water bottles as an alternative to dumb bells and weights. You can have a good workout regime just purchasing a resistance band and a skipping rope. If you do have some extra pounds to spare and enough space at home, you could invest in a second hand treadmill or elliptical.

Exercise

The best way to get fit and healthy is to go out doors. Walk, run, swim (if possible) or do some simple exercises in the park. If you are shy and don’t want a nosy audience, jog in the early mornings. The fresh air definitely won’t harm you!

If you prefer to stay home try running up and down the stairs, it’s a great leg workout as well as a cardio session. YouTube and Pinterest are free platforms which are filled with workout routines, videos and inspiration. Follow a HIIT workout without having to leave your bedroom and save on a gym membership.

If joining a gym is in your budget, compare different deals and choose the one that suits you the most. It’s also a good idea to have one trial session (these are normally for free) to see if you like the place before committing yourself to a contract. Some gyms offer discounts if you refer a friend, so perhaps it’s time to get a gym buddy.

Mental Wellbeing

Meditation

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

Understand Your Behaviour

The WOOP it up method can help you overcome negative emotions and procrastination. It works like this:

Set a goal

Your aim should be important to you and challenging. For example:

“I won’t eat any refined sugar.”

Imagine the outcome

Picture the goal coming true, what do you feel? For example:

“I feel good about myself. My energy levels are higher, my thoughts clearer and I’m more positive.”

Identify the obstacle

Identify the main inner obstacle that stands in the way such as an emotion, irrational belief, or bad habit. What is it within you that holds you back from fulfilling your wish? For example:

“In the evening I’m tired after work and I crave chocolate or cake, then I beat myself if I don’t resist the temptations.”

Make a plan

Now create your contingency: If faced with (obstacle), then I will (take this effective action in response). For example:

“If I find myself wanting something sweet I will eat a fruit or a naked bar instead of candy.”

The WOOP method will help you build an emotional contingency plan. By reframing obstacles as opportunities — not devastating roadblocks — you internalize failure less and can easily move past difficulties by following the action steps you’ve laid out.

Good health is priceless. Having determination and motivation to get healthy is much more important and doesn’t have to be expensive.

How to Manage Stress about Money

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

Reasons you may be experiencing money worries

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

How to help yourself   

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

Stay positive

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

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

Be rational

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

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

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

Money Advice Service (0800 138 7777)

National Debtline (0808 808 4000)

StepChange Debt Charity (0800 138 1111)

Act quickly

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

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

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

Make every penny count

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

Medical help

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

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

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


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

These Simple Figures Show The True Cost Of Running A Family

Running a family is very expensive. Ensuring you’ve got enough to pay for the weekly essentials is a struggle, let alone splashing out on activities to keep the kids healthy and entertained. Trying to figure out where your money is going, and where you can cut back and save is difficult and makes quick payday loans appear like a quick fix.

Rather than applying to loan companies, we’ve gathered the statistics to show you where your money going and help you organise your finances!

budgeting with a family

Sources:

Stress – How do You Keep it Under Control?

Over 44% of us suffer from stress on a regular basis. And according to the latest stats from the Health and Safety Executive show that over 488,000 people had work-related stress last year – especially those who work in healthcare, education and the armed forces. So how can we keep stress under control? How can we spot signs of stress? Here’s a mini guide to recognising and coping with stress.

What causes stress?

The things that cause us stress in life can be split into five categories: Personal, Money, Housing, Job / School and Relationships. Stress can be triggered by anything such as a huge life-changing event or a series of smaller incidences building up. Take a look at this quick summary on how these areas of your life can cause stress:

  • Personal: Bereavement, long-term illness, short-term illness, having a baby, organising a big event.
  • Money: Debt, income, poverty, paying rent on time, covering bills on time.
  • Housing:
  • Job / School: Redundancy, being dismissed, long-term unemployment, bullying, deadlines, starting a new job/career path, retirement.
  • Friendships / Relationships:planning a wedding, moving in together, being controlled by a partner, breakups/divorce, tricky relationships with relatives, providing care for a sick, vulnerable or elderly relative

As you can see, even the ‘good events’ such as getting married, having a baby, starting a brand new job and planning a family holiday can all cause stress if you’re not careful. That brings us to the next section – how do you know you’re stressed?

The signs of stress

There are actually three different areas of stress symptoms: Behavioural, Feelings and Physical. Here are a few of the more common signs of stress:

  • Behavioural: difficulty in making decisions, can’t concentrate, loss of appetite, bigger appetite, smoking, taking drugs or drinking more, nail-biting, picking at your skin or pulling your hair, avoiding people, crying.
  • Feelings: Hopelessness, depressed, lack of interest in activities you normally love, dread, anxiousness, nervousness, irritable, aggressive, impatient, tense, can’t switch off, lonely.
  • Physical: Insomnia, tiredness, nausea, headaches, high blood pressure, heart palpitations, digestive problems, hyperventilating, lack of libido.

We know this doesn’t exactly sound like a barrel of laughs, but there are so many ways you can prevent burnout or stress before it even happens.

How can I keep stress under control?

The first thing you should do is identify what is causing your stress. Just take a look at the causes of stress above and identify which ones are a regular occurrence in your life or even just one-off events that always seem to be niggling away at your mind.

Realising what your ‘trigger’ is can show you just how much you’re stretching yourself or spreading yourself thin. That’s why you should make a plan to organise your time, work out what time of day you’re most productive and create a to-do list or schedule around that. Make sure your list is varied so tasks don’t get too monotonous and make sure you’re only doing one thing at a time. Give yourself regular breaks and you’ll find your to-do list is done in next to no time!

But if you’re stressed about things beyond your control – you need to remind yourself that there are some things you can’t change. This might sound negative – but it’s actually a very positive thing to do when combatting stress.

Top tips on dealing with stress

Here are a few tips and tricks that can work very well at preventing stress or de-stressing if you’re already stressed!

  • Listen to particular playlists. Studies show that listening to music that makes you feel ‘positive nostalgia’ can be a great way to de-stress. Discovering new music is also a great way to take your mind off your worries.
  • Shower or bath. We know most people will tell you to relax with a nice big bubble bath but showers can also reduce stress too. Apparently, the scents of soap and shower gel can calm the mind – and feeling fresh and clean can boost your mood overall, making you feel a lot less sluggish.
  • Meditation. We know it doesn’t work for some, but meditation can help you breathe properly. Stress can cause shallow breathing, which just makes you feel even tenser than ever before. Meditation encourages you to be conscious of your breathing and gives you a natural rush after as little as 7 minutes. Start with the Calm app, a guided 10-minute meditation tool. You can also check out Health ambition. They have written a fantastic article with 15 ways to relax under 5 minutes. You can check it out here.
  • See friends. As they say, a friend in need is a friend indeed. It might seem like you don’t have the time to see friends because you’re so stressed out about everything. But hanging out with friends can reduce stress, help you improve your mood and make you more productive in the long run – especially if you tend to laugh a lot with your friends!
  • Be more active: We don’t mean hitting the treadmill every day, (but if you want to then by all means!) but going for a walk every other day can really clear your mind and help you balance your life.
  • Don’t be hard on yourself. Stressed people tend to berate themselves for being stressed, which makes them even more stressed in the long-run. Treat yourself to your favourite magazine, food or movie because you deserve it.
  • Try and make up with people. Stress can cause a lot of arguments with loved ones. Try and sort out any conflicts you have, admit your mistakes, apologise and move on.
  • Let your employers know. Work-related stress is a huge one for the UK – so letting your boss or HR manager know you’re stressed can go a long way. Most businesses are making an active effort to support their employees suffering from mental health problems.
Mothers Day

Unforgettable Mother’s Day on a Budget

Mother’s Day is a beautiful celebration in the name of the matriarch of your family as well as a general honoring of motherhood and the influence of mothers in society. If you want to make this day extra special for the woman who raised you, but you’re worried about your budget, we got your back! Follow our simple tips and tricks and we guarantee you will make your mother feel special and won’t over spend.

Gifts

Finding something meaningful and special for your mother doesn’t have to cost you much. The key is to make the present as personal as possible. Having trouble finding inspiration? Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are your mum’s hobbies (tennis, pottery, DIY)?
  • What does she like to do in her spare time (baking, gardening, shopping)?
  • What relaxes her (candles, music, watching movies)?
  • What’s her favourite room in her house (bathroom, bedroom, living-room)?
  • Does she have any pets?

Do you see where we’re going with this? That’s right, combine the answers to find the most suitable gift! If the bathroom is her sanctuary and she loves to take long relaxing baths a few scented candles would be the best present. The first step is behind us, now it’s time to think about how to cut the costs.

Candles

Candle

You can get personalised candles saying mum for just £3.99.

Alternatively you can buy the cheapest candles and personalise them yourself, using your DIY skills.

Flower jug

Flower jug

You can get a great flower jug for £3.99 specially designed for Mother’s Day.

On the other hand you can buy a jug from a charity shop and with some paints transform it with a design your mum would like.

Photo album

Photo album

Probably nothing screams personal as much as a photo album does. We are sure your mother will be touched with this present whether you assemble it by yourself or buy one.

Key ring

Key ring

It’s a wonderful gift if you want your mum to have something from you she can keep close to her. There’s plenty of personalisable key rings out there, that will cost you only £9.99. Alternatively you could try your strengths in sewing and threading.  For an easier design a great idea is to use a cork which you can paint to your liking.

Cake

Cake

Bake your mum her favourite cake! It’s one of the cheapest gifts and you can enjoy it together.

If it’s already the 31st of March and you still don’t have a gift opt in for a box of chocolates, a fancy cushion or a bottle of wine.

We wouldn’t recommend purchasing cheap jewelry or flowers. Bad quality items won’t be appreciated as much as something you put thought into and the latter is very expensive for the time she’ll be able to enjoy it for.

Celebrations

There are plenty of ways you could spend this day with your mother and not spend any money or very little. All our suggestions are budget friendly but we further divided activities you can invite your mum for into 3 categories: Inexpensive, Cheap and No money necessary.

Mothers Day

Inexpensive

  • You could invite your mum for a meal. If you want to save money brunch would be a better option than dinner
  • Take her to the cinema to watch a movie   
  • Go out for drinks. Every woman likes to be spoiled from time to time and an evening spend with a glass of wine or a fancy cocktail will do the trick

Cheap

  • Cook your mum a meal. We’re pretty sure it was the other way around for many years and it would be a thoughtful way of showing her your appreciation
  • Go for a coffee. Getting out of the house and spending some time with your mum in her favourite coffee shop will make her day that extra bit more special
  • If your mum is an artistic soul, invite her over and try out some new DIY projects together
  • If you live with your mother, you could surprise her with breakfast in bed or come over very early and prepare it before she wakes up. An idea scoring 10/10 for effort.
  • You can also invite the whole family over, to have a bbq or a picnic. To share the expenses, tell all members to bring some food and drinks with them.

No Money Necessary

  • You can invite your mum for a long walk or a hike. Try to pick a location you know she is fond of and she will definitely appreciate your gesture
  • Help your mum around the house, whether it’s cleaning or gardening. It will give you a great opportunity to spend some quality time and it will save her some time, to sit back and relax  
  • A great activity you could enjoy with your mum is going to a museum or free art exhibitions

Card

Card

One of the staples of Mother’s Day celebrations is giving your mum a card. Whether you decide to buy one or make one from scratch the most important is the message and matching the card style to her tastes. If she likes humour opt in for a funny card, however if she prefers a more sentimental style choose a card accordingly.

Now think what you would like to say to her. Do you want to thank her, tell her you love her or both? Go for it, make it cheesy and mushy we’re pretty sure it will put a big smile on her face.

Trying to show how much you appreciate your mother during this special day might be hard enough as it is, yet alone when you are trying to save the pennies! However, we hope that with our gift and activity ideas you feel confident enough to show your mum how much you care. Remember, the most important thing to her is your presence and your happiness so try not to overshadow some quality time with lots of gifts.

 

What’s The Best Method Of Getting To Work?

Around 25% of British people travel more than 30 minutes to work, this is a long time and not always enjoyable. Perhaps you are getting fed up of the way you get to work and want a change, or your car broke down and now you are forced to think of some alternatives. Whether you are looking for a new way to commute to decrease your carbon footprint or save money, this blog post will give you plenty of options to choose from.

Walk

If you live close to your work place then this is probably the best option. However, it’s not just reserved for those who can get to their destination in 10 min. There are so many advantages to getting some fresh air before a long days work, that you might reconsider walking even if it takes you 30 min. Below we listed some of the advantages and disadvantages of walking to work.

Advantages Disadvantages
Exercise The weather might ruin your outfit
You breathe some fresh air You might get tired before you get to work
An opportunity to start your morning on a mindful note Might take a long time
It is relaxing You might not feel like walking early in the morning
It gives you an opportunity to lis-ten to music or an audiobook and get energised before workYour attire might not be appropriate for walking or perhaps you have a lot of things you need to take with you

If you want to get yourself properly awake and energized before work this short type of exercise is the perfect method of getting there. It is also a great way to relax and set your intentions for the day. There are however some disadvantages. If you want to look smart and your best at work a 30 min walk before hand might make that much harder especially if the weather isn’t helping.   

Cycle

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

AdvantagesDisadvantages
It’s therapeuticCan be too strenuous
It’s a great form of exercise You need a place to store your bike
Saves money You might have to change your clothes before you start work
It’s great for the environment Might be inadvisable depending on the weather
Can get you to work quicker when there’s traffic You might not enjoy it much if you have to go uphill a lot

There are so many health and environmental benefits of cycling. It’s also great fun, feeling the wind in your hair as you cruise down the streets of your city. The best part, no traffic jam will slow you down! You may encounter some problems with regards to this means of transport if the weather is bad and you get all wet to or from work. Furthermore, if the ride is long chances are you’ll get sweaty and then feel uncomfortable for the remainder of your day.

Public Transport

Public transport is a great option for those living far from their workplace, do not own a car or prefer a more eco-friendly manner of getting to work. It can range from very cheap forms of transport like a bus to more expensive, if you have to take the train. It also gives you an opportunity to do something productive during the journey as you are a passenger.  

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Economic benefits to the commu-nityCan be expensive
Reduces road congestionCan take a long time
You don’t have to worry about parkingOften late or unreliable
One of the safest modes of transp-ort Might not be very comfortable if over packed
The weather won’t affect you as muchIt’s easier to catch a cold

This is the perfect way of commuting if you want to read a book or check your emails on the way to work. It doesn’t have to be expensive even if you have to take the train if you get a railcard, buy a seasonal pass or use a fare finder. Nevertheless travelling on a late and packed bus or train where it’s difficult to get a seat could be a downside.   

Drive

If you want to choose exactly what time you want to leave and have maximum comfort and control over your journey driving to work will suit you the most.

AdvantagesDisadvantages
You can choose when you leaveParking spaces may be a problem
You can keep your stuff in your car Fuel is expensive
Could be relaxing if you like drivingNot eco friendly
You are protected from bad weatherYou have to focus on driving
You can take more things with you and leave them in your car You might be affected by traffic jams and road rage

If it’s possible, split the responsibilities of driving to and from work with a colleague. In some workplaces, schemes are set up to encourage this. If you need to find parking every day, instead of using the multi-storey car parks you could also look at car parking sites such as Just Park, which allows you to park in private residential parking spots at a much cheaper rate.         

Original

If you are looking for a more exciting way to get to work and maybe learn a new skill try: roller skating, skateboarding or riding a scooter. You can even get an electric version if you want to speed things up. Remember to practice a bit before hand so you don’t fall and hurt yourself on the way to work.

AdvantagesDisadvantages
You get to do a fun act-ivity before workCould be dangerous
You can try somethin-g new and develop yo-ur skillsDepending on your skills this might take a long time
An entertaining form of exercise Require investment in equipment which could be expensive if you want to get for example an electric scooter
You can be a part of a communityNot all attire is suitable so you would have to change
It’s eco-friendly You will need a place to store your gear

This could be an exciting way to start and end your working day. With the fresh air and an activity to wake you up you’d probably arrive lively and excited to work. However, it does carry some disadvantages. Be careful not to try something for the first time when you are rushing to work, not only are you risking being late but more importantly hurting yourself.

There are many ways to commute to work and you don’t have to stick to one. In the summer perhaps walking or rollerblading would be your favourite, this doesn’t mean it will be your best option for winter. Change it up to prevent boredom and don’t be afraid to try new things.  

Traditional Personal Finance Rules Revised

Some financial rules really survive the test of time. Don’t spend more than you earn, stick to your budget, save for retirement. However, some tips are outdated and plainly not valid in this day and age. These previously holly pieces of advice just do not stand in today’s economy and rapidly changing job market.

Buy or Rent?

House

The stereotypical response would be to buy property, putting the money into your own investment rather than the landlords wallet. Despite the fact that buying your own home can be expensive it could save you money over the years. Renting on the other hand comes with less freedom to alter your home but offers more moving out flexibility. There are benefits to both and it’s not as black and white as it used to be. Here are the benefits of each and how to decide whether to rent or buy.

  • Benefits of buying
    • Each payment goes into your property
    • Once you pay off your mortgage you can live rent free
    • You have freedom to alter your home the way you like
    • You can have pets
  • Disadvantages of buying
    • Upfront costs like mortgage fees and stamp duty can make it pricier than renting
    • Joint mortgages might make things complicated if you separate with your partner
    • You have to pay for maintenance
    • Moving can take a long time if you have to sell your house first
    • If you can’t pay your mortgage you’ll get into debt and it will be harder to move into a cheaper property
  • Benefits of renting
    • You can move easily
    • It takes less time to find a home
    • You won’t loose money if the property’s price goes down
    • The landlord has to pay for repairs
    • You may be able to rent a bigger home in a nicer area than you could afford to buy
  • Disadvantages of renting
    • You won’t own your house/ flat
    • You have to move out when your landlord decides
    • Your landlord makes the rules
    • You have to pay the deposit which is sometimes not rightfully kept
    • Rent could increase

Which is cheaper? In the short-term it is paying rent, however in the long-run it could be buying a house. It really depends on your life priorities. If you will travel a lot or if you can’t afford a mortgage than renting is definitely a better option, making buying property a questionable advice. The new rule is: don’t pursue buying a house blindly.

Save 20% of your salary monthly

Saving

For a long time we’ve been told that we should save 10% for our retirement, 5% for emergencies and the rest for holidays, weddings or other high expenses. This rule no longer holds true, with longer lifespans, the decline in retirement plans, altering social security benefits and higher individual diversity.

Now your best option is to calculate an estimate number depending on your life-style and personal goals. People may have varying income needs in retirement or emergency. Therefore instead of blindly following the 20% rule, be honest with yourself and calculate a more accurate number that counters in your passions, living expenses and frequent high expenses like cars etc. You can use a pension calculator to help you see the full picture of your likely retirement income.

Student Loan

Student loan

The pervasive though is that a student loan is a “good debt” because it’s an investment. The fact is that graduates do earn more than non graduates, so in the long term, you are statistically more likely to improve your earning prospects by going to university.

However, not all careers need a degree and some have job training pathways. Furthermore, not all courses will guarantee you a higher pay or even employment. Therefore it’s vital to weigh the costs and benefits of a degree. Unfortunately, the debt that comes with higher education isn’t always necessarily a good thing to take on.

Take time to consider all the pros and cons of getting a degree on your finances and the return on investment you can expect. Consider whether the industry you’re planning to enter cares more about skills and experience than it does for a university credential. If you’re going to school with a plan to “find yourself” or take a break from the workforce, think twice about the price tag that comes with it.

Assume nothing

Old man

There are endless sense gaps in finance, business and governmental processes that undermine even the oldest rules. The best method to currently employ is common sense, for example don’t save only 10% of your salary if you are planning to retire around 40, it will definitely not be enough.

Inquire more to find out about your rights. You might be entitled to benefits or discounts. Do your research rather than follow any old beliefs you might have and take your time making important decisions, especially if there is no rush.

Be in control

Writing

Staying stagnant in your finances will cost you more than you can imagine.
Not switching to a more competitive mortgage rate costs us £2.5bn a year, failing to consolidate credit card debts leaves us £10.5bn worse off and leaving personal loans where they are brings with it an unnecessary bill of £5.7bn. We have now more choice than ever and the fierce competition using new sales tactics is making it even harder for us. Try to beat through the overwhelming feeling and keep pursing the best financial option.

Keep track of your accounts and documents as you might be loosing money because of outdated addresses and organisations loosing your records. This is particularity worrying for our generation who is switching their jobs frequently and is loosing their pension income. If you want to track down your pension details click.

It’s clear that in this day and age if you want financial security you will have to pay for it. The generation inequality might feel unfair, but in this case you have to play by the new rules.

These AI Powered Apps Will Help You Save Money

These days we spend more time on our smartphones than we do our computers, which means the vast majority of us will do our online banking on the go. As such most banks have their dedicated apps and services to make sure we can check our balances and manage our accounts with ease. But do these actually help us to save money?

In the last year, there has been a huge increase in the number of financial artificial intelligence to help you save money. The AI analyses your spending habits and either makes saving suggestions or automatically puts money aside for you.

This will help you build a cash reserve in case you have an emergency cost that needs paying instantly. If haven’t got the cash to afford an unexpected expense, PiggyBank offer simple, same day loans!

Unfortunately, it’s not quite as easy as this…

We’ve compiled a list of the best digital financial assistants to help you with your savings!

Plum

Plum is an automated service that analyses your outgoings and recommends how much you should add to your savings account. You must simply provide Plum with your online banking details. Plum does not have a dedicated app, it operates through Facebook Messenger and will notify on your current savings balance with fun emojis. With this chatbot you can quickly message it to “save £50” and it will transfer that amount into your savings account.

Plum screenshot on mobile

Plum also gives you the chance to invest your savings with RateSetter to earn monthly interest of around 3%. Although this investment is not without risk, so make sure you fully understand what you’re investing in!

Chip

Much like Plum, Chip is a chatbot that connects to your bank accounts and will calculate how much you can put into savings based on your outgoings. Chip has a dedicated app for both iOS and Android and opens a savings account for you to pay into whenever you like. Money is automatically transferred to this account on a regular basis and you can withdraw it at any time, making this a very flexible in case of emergency!

Chip mobile screenshot

With Cleo you earn 1% interest on a quarterly basis. Although this is less than Plum, it is without the added risk! You can also raise this interest up to a gigantic 5% if you invite your friends and family to also join Chip.

Cleo

Unlike Plum and Chip, Cleo does not put your money into a savings account. Instead, Cleo gives an accurate breakdown of what you’ve spent your money on in different categories such as transport, bills, and food shops. Cleo works through Facebook messenger and again requires you to enter your bank account information. You can even see which merchant you spend your money at, so you can ascertain that it’s those Starbucks coffees that are draining your monthly income! 

Cleo mobile screenshot

You can ask this chatbot to set a target amount to save, and it will make intelligent suggestions about how much you will need to save. It will analyse your income and necessary expenses and recommend the best savings plan. Cleo also works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant in case you fancy chat!

If you do find yourself short at the end of the month, our flexible, online loans could be a convenient option for you to cover an emergency cost. 

If you’re struggling to stay on top of your budgeting, perhaps these automated services can help you accumulate those all-important savings.

How to Improve Your Credit Rating

The credit rating is a cumulative score reflecting a person’s financial health and ability to repay debts.  If you have a poor credit score, you may find it difficult to obtain loans. Though there are some lenders that offer bad credit loans, you may be better off making small changes to improve your credit rating.

The higher the individual’s credit score, the more likely lenders or creditors are to approve lending, such as for a short term loan.  Each person’s credit score is different based on their financial commitments, such as to mortgages, credit cards, and bank loans.

A person’s loan repayment history for transactions such as short term loans is an indicator of how a person might manage future loan repayments.  A credit report provided through a credit checking agency is a means of obtaining a personal credit score and understanding what constitutes the score amount.

By taking steps to increase their credit score, individuals can expand their borrowing options and are more likely to be approved for short term lending.  The main ways to increase credit scores include:

  • Registering your residential property for listing on the voting or electoral roll
  • Protecting personal identity to avoid becoming a victim of credit fraud
  • Repaying creditors on time and paying outstanding bills
  • Keeping accounts in use and closing unnecessary accounts that are not used
  • Having a credit history that shows an ability to repay money borrowed

Credit scores are low when the person has not registered to vote, defaulted on loans, gained county court judgments (CCJs), possesses numerous inactive accounts, and lacks credit history.