Times are hard for most of us: the global economy doesn’t seem to be doing anyone any favours and the majority are having to tighten their purse strings to get by. But there are only so many cuts you can make to your personal spending while ensuring that your family still maintain a good quality of life. So where else can you start to look at reducing expenses? View Post

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My weakness and biggest extravagance in life is holidays.  I try really hard to be thrifty.  Honestly I do.  I shop in Aldi, I can’t even cope anymore with the choice at Tescos and Waitrose.  I take the car out of gear when driving down hill.  I save coupons, I buy bulk discount.

But I dream of beaches, I fantastise about laying by the pool with a best seller in hand, listening to the happy noises of my children playing in the pool.  When I close my eyes I can feel the sun kissing my face.

For all my new thrifty ways, holidays are something I just don’t seem to be able to live without.

I surf the net in the evening looking for a bargain holiday that I can book without telling the husband.  He asks what I am doing, and I cough, and say ‘working darling’ and he buries himself back in the sports section of BBC news.

I have tried alternatives.  I have tried to camp, but for me, it is simply not relaxing or meets my description of a vacation.  I have had some glorious weekends holidaying in the UK, but still, it doesn’t touch the enjoyment we share as a family when we holiday abroad.

So can I be thrifty and still journey abroad?

This is how I justify it to myself…

We always book late deals or well in advance to ensure we get the best price.

We save for our trip abroad all year round, but we have to make sure we save a certain amount first before contemplating booking a trip.

We go all inclusive and spend next to nothing when we are on holiday.

Plus – the kids love it – and I am trying to be thrifty to give them a better start, so that makes it ok…

Right?

We have all heard of payday loans, and certainly as someone who has struggled with finances in the past, they have been an idea I have entertained.  Yet I have worried about the repayments and some of the press and had concerns.

Hence why I wanted to explore more into the topic and see – are Payday loans, a good or a bad thing?#

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How they work

The Vivus website explains the concept well,  payday loans are all about helping someone manage a short term financial need.  The loan provider will lend you a small amount of money which needs to be repaid when you get paid.

It is a high cost short term credit agreement, which Vivus is keen to highlight, it shouldn’t be used for long term borrowing over a long period.

Difference between a short and long term loan

 

Payday loans are very different to long term loans that we take out on our house or car.  It is only sutiable for a short term.  In stories where people have used them successfully it has been because they have had outstanding bills which should payment not be met the fees would be higher than interest on the loan.

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You should always know that you have the funds coming in order to meet the terms of the loan.

The bad press seems to originate from third party lenders and in situations where people have taken desperate action knowing that they would struggle to make the actual repayment.

You need to make your own decision and read the terms carefully, again Vivus do a great guide so you can go into the agreement with your eyes wide open.

Have you ever taken a payday loan?  How was the experience for you?

 

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I had cause to check my credit rating this week.  I’ll be honest I have always just presumed it would be good.  I pay my rent on time, clear my credit cards, and have a small loan.  I couldn’t imagine a reason to have a less than excellent rating.

So imagine my surprise when I found that actually my score is average to good, rather than the Ofsted Outstanding I was hoping for.

Why?

Because I forgot to pay my Next bill a couple of times a couple of years ago.  I didn’t intentionally mean to not pay, I just forgot.  Foolish yes, result of not enough money, no.

 

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So imagine if you did fall into some financial strife causing you to miss a few payments, suddenly I can see how easy it would be to have a poor credit score.

What are your options?

If you have poor credit I would instantly start to look at ways to improve on that.  You can check your credit score at Experian, or Noodle, and see how you fare.

Quick ways to improve poor credit include:

  • Get on the electoral roll – small thing but it helps
  • Cancel any unused credit cards
  • Ensure you make at least the minimum payment every month on outstanding debts, missed payments cause poor credit.

If you still need credit?

All is not lost, there are still firms who will lend you money if needed.  For example, MoneyBarn, who I am working with currently, offer car finance, but look outside of your credit score.   They look at the car you want to buy and the amount of deposit you can put down, then they look at affordability, and they look a credit score – but try and understand the reasons behind any poor credit instances.

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You will find similiar companies who can offer support, but ensure you look at their terms and conditions and the amount you will be repaying.

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We all know how horrible it feels when you are financially stretched.  It is hard enough in a relationship with a spouse when you argue about cash flow.  But have you ever been in the predicament where you have fallen out with a friend over finances?

This latest report from Scottish Friendly shows that a massive seven million people or more have lost friendships owing to disputes about money, with those living in London being the biggest culprits.

It seems to be more of a male tendancy, with 17% of men saying they had cut ties because of a financial disagreement as compared to only 13% of women.

But how does this situation come about in the first place?

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As someone who has been in debt and is now out of debt I am proud to say I have never asked friends for money.  Although there may be interest costs involved, I would prefer to borrow if needed from a professional body rather that a personal friend.  Lifestyles and situations change quickly and I would hate to ever think I would lose a friend over something as petty as cash.

Calum Bennie, Communications Manager, at Scottish Friendly also comments…

“Helping a friend in financial difficulty may not always be about the cash. Sometimes, advice and support can be as powerful and lending someone money”.

This rings really true to me, often you just need a shoulder to cry on and some new ideas to help sort out any financial sticky points.

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If you are going to push ahead and borrow money from a friend, check out Scottish Friendly’s advice in the article about how to try and make it as business like as possible.

Hopefully then you can pay back the money and keep your friendship intact.

Nothing is more important that your friends, no matter how tough it seems.

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