Travelling by train to work hasn’t been a lot of fun for many of us so far this year, with industrial action, service problems and fare increases in many places all over the country.
The fare rises in the first week of January 2017 saw a nationwide average increase of 2.3%, with increases of 4.9% on some routes, such as the East Coast main line. In Britain as a whole, it is the highest fare rise since January 2014, when rail fares increased by 2.8 per cent.
To get 2017 off to a bright new start and set yourself some achievable financial goals, we asked some of our favourite finance and budgeting bloggers to tell us their best tips for how to budget for the year ahead.
Francesca from the super From Pennies To Pounds blog said: “Make sure you allow yourself some wriggle room in your budget for some fun things as this will make you much more likely to stick to your budget.”
These no-frills cards are aimed at people who need to help build their credit history. They often have low credit limits to start with and a high APR, but paying off the bill each month can help show lenders that you’re reliable. Applying for too many cards at once can hurt your credit score even more, so it’s an idea to choose a credit card you’re more likely to get, and one that suits your needs best.
It is quite common now to move credit card debt to another card to help give yourself more time to pay it off at a cheaper rate.
A balance transfer is when you choose to move your credit card debt to another card with a lower or 0% interest rate.
How do they work?
With a 0% balance transfer credit cardyou can potentially give yourself longer to pay off an existing credit card debt, without having to pay interest. Some 0% rates last for 3 months, some for up to 24 months, one or two even longer.
It can work almost like an interest-free loan, but only if you make sure you plan well and pay it back within the period of the 0% promotional rate, and as long as you make the minimum monthly payment, and stick to any other terms and conditions the card might have. If you don’t make the minimum monthly payment, or you miss the pay date entirely, you run the risk of losing the promotional 0% deal as well.
Here we take a look back at 2016 and some of the more significant things that may have affected our finances.
January We focused on our Millennial Me report, which found that 45% of Millennials manage to save at least a quarter of their disposable income each month, compared to just a third (34%) of 35-54 year olds.
February With a busy year of voting ahead, we focused on National Voter Registration Drive (1-7 Feb), which not only encourages young people to register to vote to increase their voice, but also to help boost their credit profile – as lenders use the information on your credit report to help confirm your identity which could help you when you apply for credit.
March March saw George Osborne’s final Budget as chancellor (though he didn’t know it at the time) , and the main points we focused on included changes to the personal allowance, spending cuts, changes to savings and infrastructure projects.
Now is a good a time as any to clear out your financial clutter, especially with – for many – January’s salary feeling a long way off after the festive blowout.
So to get 2017 off to a bright new start and set yourself some achievable financial goals, we’ve got 5 simple tips.
1. Check out your ins and outs Even small changes can help you balancing your income against your outgoings, which can often help you feel more in control of your finances.
It can help you work out when to allow room for certain annual essentials, for example direct debits like a TV licence, one-off annual charges like home or car insurance, or things like birthdays or special events – as well as stopping outgoings you may no longer need or use, like a gym membership you forgot you had.
Where are the happiest, best-budgeting and biggest-spending areas in the UK at Christmas?
We can now reveal that Leicester is the country’s Christmas capital – the city where residents enjoy festive fun more than anywhere else in the UK.
Not content with being the home of this year’s surprise Premier League champions, Leicesterians are most likely to enjoy a merry Yuletide, with two thirds (66%) saying they get “a lot of enjoyment” out of Christmas.
When it’s time for the New Year sales, shops and suppliers are extra keen for our custom.
And there could be some room for a bit of give and take, with shops probably having plentiful stock to shift in the face of the boom in online discounts.
There isn’t much that cannot be discounted, so it’s up to you to persuade them to do it. Remember that you have nothing to lose, as all retailers ultimately want your custom.
Four quick haggling tips:
Before you venture into a shop, find out what the best price is online so you can ask the seller to match or better it. Doing your homework could help you get in a position where you can negotiate a happy middle ground. Continue reading →
Who wants to spend winter in the sun? It’s fair to say many of us could do with a break – ideally with a bit of sunshine included.
So we’ve put together 5 ways to get away from the cold and wet of a British winter without having to over-splash the cash.
Book at the right time – Online ‘screenscrapers’ can instantly hunt down and compare the cheapest flights, while popular review sites have dozens of useful customer reviews to help you compare hotels and resorts. With package holidays it can pay to book late (as long as you’re flexible), as unsold seats and rooms have to get sold one way or another – and by then it can be a real buyer’s market.
Credit-savvy – While many credit and debit cards charge up to 3 per cent per transaction if you use them abroad, there are specialist credit cards available that don’t charge for overseas cash withdrawals or have no foreign exchange fee. If you do get one of those cards though, make sure you pay the bill off in full when the bill arrives if you can. It’s also advisable to let your lender know you are going abroad, so as to prime them in case it raises suspicion when they see you making large purchases in duty free! Continue reading →
There’s nothing quite like the end of the year for taking stock of your finances, and budgeting for the year ahead.
So to help us out, we asked some of our favourite finance and budgeting bloggers to tell us the best financial advice they’d had this year.
Cass from family blog Diary Of A Frugal Familytold us: “This year I’ve found out that changing energy suppliers is so much easier than I thought it would be.
I’d been putting it off for ages because I thought it would involve lots of time and energy for not very much return but it took me a total of about 10 minutes and I saved enough each month for a treat takeaway. ;-)”
Nicola, who runs budgeting blog The Frugal Cottage, has this to say: “When you invest, you are always going to take a risk. However, if you’re in it for the long term, then ignore the ups and downs that happen daily and enjoy the ride.”
And Francesca From Pennies To Pounds told us she’d learned this year that: “You can only squeeze so much out of your budget – earning more money should be one of the key focuses when you are paying off debt or working towards a financial goal.” Continue reading →