Monthly Archives: August 2015

The cost of home improvements

It’s been said that we’re a nation of DIY-ers. Before the credit crunch, the property boom saw many people buying new places, doing them up and selling them on for a profit.

But in the years following the crash many were unable to sell, instead choosing to do up their homes and make them nicer places to live.

These days, we seem to occupy the middle ground. According to a 2014 survey by Lloyds Bank, 40 per cent of people undertake renovations to improve the look of their home, while 33 per cent do it to add value.

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The real cost of a year at university

997-cost-going-out-300Sometimes I wonder if I got lucky when I was a student back in the olden days.  No tuition fees, cheap halls of residences, council grants – and no tablets or smartphones around to spend it on.

Today’s students appear to have it a lot harder, if research from the NUS* is anything to go by.

£23,187 was the estimated average student expenditure for the 2013/14 academic year, making it something for which parents (and students) might want to start budgeting for well in advance. Continue reading

Best Thrifty Blog winner: Cold Tea and Smelly Nappies

Gina Caro (Cold Tea and Smelly Nappies blog)

Gina Caro (Cold Tea and Smelly Nappies blog)

Gina Caro has moved house ‘approximately 25 times’ in her life and says she’s ‘born to roam’.

Her marvellous Cold Tea and Smelly Nappies blog is all about motherhood and living a more frugal, sustainable life – and Gina’s blog won the Best Thrifty Blog category at the 2015 MAD (Mum and Dad) Blog Awards.

Experian is delighted to sponsor the Best Thrifty Blog award, which recognises the mum and dad bloggers helping people make savvy financial decisions every day.

We asked Gina to tell us what her greatest ambition would be if there were no restrictions – so here’s a lovely piece in which she tells us all about a dream of hers that shows how our priorities can change! Continue reading

The joys (and pains) of emigrating

man-on-the-undergroundIt’s a dream that many people have – leaving Blighty and setting up home abroad. It could be a happy retirement in Spain or a complete relocation of life and work to Australia, but it’s on many people’s wish lists.

According to a recent survey from Experian, 23.4 per cent of people said that they would emigrate if there were no restrictions.

Of course, deciding to pack up your life and move to another country isn’t easy – there are dozens of things to think about, not least where you’re going to live when you get there. And if you have children, their schooling will be paramount. Continue reading

Around the world in as many days as you like

It’s a dream that many people have – to step away from their everyday lives and travel to the places they’ve always wanted to see.

caravan-in southwestWork and family life can often get in the way but according to a recent Experian survey, travelling is the one thing that most people dream of doing. Indeed, 45.9 per cent of people questioned said they would go travelling if there was nothing to stop them.

Some of the reasons that people gave for not being able to indulge their wanderlust included a lack of finance, motivation, knowledge and confidence. After all, travelling costs a fair bit of money and can take a considerable amount of time and effort to organise.

But is it really as complicated as you think and could you actually be stopping yourself from fulfilling your travelling dream, just because you think making it happen might be too difficult?

Here are a few things to think about that could make that dream become reality. Continue reading

Best Thrifty Blog finalist: Awesome Austerity – My Dream

Morna Macneill’s super blog Awesome Austerity certainly is, as she calls it, “a blog about money-saving, parenting, crafting, baking and anything else I can think of.”  It’s one of the finalists in the Best Thrifty Blog category at the 2015 MAD (Mum and Dad) Blog Awards, held in September.

Experian is delighted to sponsor the Best Thrifty Blog award, which recognises the mum and dad bloggers helping people make savvy financial decisions every day.

morna's family-300We asked Mum of two Morna, a pathologist in her day job. to tell us what her greatest ambition would be if there were no restrictions. She writes for us here about a long-time dream she managed to realise.

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When I was a young thing, I’m sure I could have reeled off a long list of fairly shallow dreams……I’d buy a horse, no, a whole stable, I’d travel the world, I’d engage a personal trainer so I could be really skinny and wear designer clothes. Continue reading