The Office For National Statistics estimates that a basket of goods and services that cost £100 in December 2015 would have cost £101.60 in December 2016. They put the rise down to “Price movements for the majority of the broad groups of goods and services.”
It’s no surprise that gym memberships rocket in January. Resolutions to shed the pounds in the new year are not uncommon, and gyms and fitness centres know full well that a high number of new members will find it hard to keep up their commitment beyond the end of the month, let alone the full year.
Even with introductory offers, gym membership can still be costly if you’re committed for a year upfront and are loathe to cancel.
Besides gym membership, it might be satellite TV channels you never watch. An extended warranty you didn’t really need to buy. It can all add up! A budget calculator may help you work out if you could live without it.
Would a missed gym membership payment affect my credit report?
Neil Stone from our Social support team says: We’ve recently been contacted by a worried customer who was being chased by a debt collection agency over a missed gym membership payment and were concerned that it would impact their credit report. Continue reading →
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.
The Chancellor announced his first (and last) Autumn Statement on 23 November, and some of the main focuses were in housing, allowances and infrastructure.
We went into the streets to ask what people would do if they were chancellor. Watch the video to find out!
The main headlines – a brief summary
A £2.3bn housing infrastructure fund is to unlock land for housing, which in doing so is set to create 100,000 new homes in areas of high demand. There’s also a further £1.4bn to build 40,000 affordable home, as well as a new venture that aims to give the Right to Buy for housing association tenants.
Yesterday, one month later than most experts had predicted, the Bank of England announced a historic change in interest rates, the first change since 2009 – and rather than the upward rise that had been widely predicted for the past few years, it fell from 0.5% to 0.25%.
So what does this mean in practical terms?
Mortgages – For those on a tracker mortgage, as long as your lender passes on the cut to its own base mortgage rate (or if it is linked directly to the BoE base rate), your rate (and monthly payment) should go down. In all, there are about 1.5 million trackers in the UK.
However, some banks and building societies have a ‘tracker floor’, which means there is a limit to how low the percentage can go above the Bank of England base rate. In this case, your rate (and mortgage payment) would be unlikely to change. If you have a fixed rate mortgage, you wouldn’t be affected if the rates went down during your fixed period, but when the time comes to re-mortgage – or if you’re a new homebuyer – , the options open to you could potentially be more favourable, with some experts suggesting long-term fixes even going below 2%.
For pension savers who are using an annuity, a rate cut could make annuity rates fall by putting pressure on the long-term. This could have a potential negative effect on employee pension schemes too.
Needing currency for holidays – While interest rate cuts can oftenmean a weakening of the pound, it may well be the case that the currency markets will have been factoring in a cut for some time already – hence there may be little change if it does eventually happen. Interest rate cuts can be done sometimes to provide an economic stimulus – to encourage people to spend rather than to save – so perhaps this could help improve consumer confidence and boost the pound.
Many homeowners, particularly those who’ve joined the market in the past seven years, will have never been faced with an interest rate rise, and tighter borrowing conditions in the future could make it harder to cope with a rise.
How your credit score could help – Having a higher credit score could mean you get better deals or lower interest rates on credit, loans and mortgages. The Experian Credit Score is a guide to help you understand your Experian Credit Report, and how the way you’ve managed the credit you’ve had in the past might affect applications you’re making now.
It can also help you to monitor your progress as you get your finances in order before you apply. Getting your credit score up could open up the potential chance to get better rates.
(original post 14 July 2016, updated 5 August 2016)
How will #Budget2016 affect you? The Chancellor said “we have to act now so we don’t have to pay later”, and we’ve heard proposals for cuts, funding and changes that could affect all of us around the country in different ways.
We’ve picked out 5 key areas from #Budget2016.
- Changes to income tax - As promised in last year’s summer budget, tax-free personal allowance will rise from £10,600 in 2015/16 to £11,000 from April. It will then go up a further £500 in April 2017 to make it £11,500 that you can earn before you have to start paying income tax.
The 40p tax threshold rises from £42,385 to £43,000, with a further increase to £45,000 in April 2017 as the Chancellor speeds up attempts to increase it £50,000 by 2020. Continue reading →
The Chancellor’s spring budget arrives on Wednesday 16 March. It’s the last one before the nation goes to the polls for the referendum on EU membership, so it will be interesting to see what emerges.
Many of us are likely to be affected in different ways, from income tax to benefits, from housing to savings. What have the experts been predicting for the Budget 2016 headlines?
As promised in last year’s summer budget, personal allowance (how much you can earn tax-free before you start paying income tax) will rise from £10,600 in 2015/16 to £11,000 from April, while the 40p tax threshold rises from £42,385 to £43,000. Continue reading →
Now that the Chancellor has announced his first Budget since May’s General Election, a few things have become clear. And many of us are likely to be affected in different ways, from income tax to benefits, from housing to savings.
Some of the headlines from Summer Budget 2015 were:
Inheritance Tax From 2017, couples can expect to see their inheritance tax threshold increase to £1 million, from the previous £650,000. It comes as part of a new ‘family home allowance’ of £175,000 added to the present £325,000 tax-free allowance, which means that if you die and leave assets worth up to £500,000, your estate won’t be charged any inheritance tax. Continue reading →
The final Budget before the General Election is here, and what does it have in store? We’ve seen announcements on pensions, tax, housing and much more that will affect all of us around the country in different ways.
Some of the headlines from Budget 2015 were:
Income tax One big win for many is that the amount you can earn before being taxed - personal tax allowance - was already due to increase from £10,000 to £10,600 from April, and is set to rise further - up to £10,800 next year, and then to £11,000 the year after.
Some people will also benefit from the higher tax rate threshold – in other words, the moment you start paying 40p in the pound – being raised from £42,385 in 2014-15 to £43,300 by 2017-18, although some speculation had suggested it would go as high as £50,000. Continue reading →