Car finance: how to get the deals you want

Making memoriesDid you know that new car registrations are on the up? They were higher than ever in 2016, with over 2.6 million cars registered throughout the year.

And from 1 March, all new cars for the next six months now have the new 17 number plate. However, the forecast is not all rosy. The chief executive of the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders), Mike Hawes, said on 5 January that he thought this may have been a peak, and that 2017 would see a 5% decline due to the weak pound and the effects of Brexit.

Car finance is one of the most common examples of how we pay for ‘large ticket’ items, and a good credit rating can be the difference between getting a good interest rate or not, or sometimes getting any deal at all.

What are your car finance options?

If you decide to borrow credit to buy a car, the marketplace is vast, with plenty of rate and payment options. It’s worth comparing different loans and methods of finance so you get the one that’s best suited to your needs.

Save money by planning your summer holidays now

Dreaming of a summer holiday?

Dreaming of a summer holiday?

The price of summer package deals is soaring, with places like Mallorca, the Canaries and Portugal in great demand as ‘safe bets’ with a lot of cheaper destinations considered vulnerable to terror attacks. And that’s before you consider the strength of the Euro against the pound.

Google Trends figures show us that web searches for certain hot phrases are higher in January/February now than at any time of the year other than mid-summer, when most people are searching for the best crumbs of what’s left.

The term Package deals was searched more in the week 5-11 February than at almost any time in the previous 12 months, while Flights to Algarve reached a 12-month peak. Other terms to be significantly higher than at other times were Hotels in Spain, Flights to Portugal and Flights to Alicante. Continue reading

How do you manage shared finances?

manage-shared-finance_300x200Managing your finances and your relationship can be quite a balancing act. Share a credit account? Then you share credit report information too.  

It can mean you’re more linked than you think. If you have applied for credit together, lenders will usually look at both of your credit reports when working out any future credit applications, even if it’s only for one of you.  

To mark Valentine’s Day, we asked some of our favourite finance, family and budgeting bloggers to share with us how they’ve managed to balance love and money, and what their tips are to make shared finances – and sharing outgoings in general – as harmonious as the day Cupid’s arrow first arrives.

Joint finances, joint decisions

Emma from EmmaDrew.Info: “My husband and I earn significantly different amounts which we really struggled with. We now put all of our earnings into our joint bank account, which covers our joint spending. What really helped us was that we now both withdraw the same amount of “pocket money” from the joint account, meaning that we have a level footing. This has made such a difference to how we feel about our money and I would recommend it.”  @emmadrewinfo 

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How could joint finances affect your credit rating?

Share a credit account? Then you share credit report information too.  Sharing finances can mean you’re more linked than you think, as lenders will often look at both of your credit reports when assessing your credit. 

If and when you apply for credit together, lenders will be able to see your partner’s financial information too and may use this when they make a decision about you when you next apply for credit. So we’ve put some tips to help you get up to speed with shared finances and credit.

Five top things you need to know about love and money

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  • Financial association means that your credit report can become linked to someone else’s through joint financial activity. This could be applying for a mortgage, opening a joint credit account, or in some cases even being on the same broadband or utility contract.

 

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  • Your credit report will only contain your financial information, but will show the name of anyone you share a financial connection with. If you share a credit application, each of you would see the other’s name in the section of your Experian Credit Report entitled ‘Financial Associations’.

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How often do you use your credit card?

Credit cardsIn January we asked our Twitter audience how often they use your credit card, and over 3500 of you replied.*

Over half of those who responded (53%) said they use their credit card at least once a week – with over one in four (27%) saying they use it every day.  Just over one in five (21%) said they use it monthly, while just over one in four said ‘other’.

We also asked How much of your credit card balance do you pay off every month?**
41% said they pay off the full balance of the card , while 18% told us they make sure they pay the minimum payment. A further 29% said they pay only what they can afford.

Finally, we asked What’s your priority when deciding to switch or compare cards***.
43% told us that reducing the interest they pay was the biggest priority, while 32% said that it depended on which rewards and benefits were available.

A wide range of responses such as this could mean that different credit cards may suit different people.  Think about what you actually want a credit card for. Is it for doing the weekly shop? Making a large purchase?  Or paying off a current debt at a better rate? Continue reading

How could recent inflation rises affect us?

Small changes to the things we do on a regular basis can help cut down costs Did you know inflation in the UK reached a two-year high in December 2016? We look at how this could affect all of us.

With the weaker pound pushing up air fares and food prices, the cost of weekly shopping and jaunts abroad is on the up, not matter what your budget.

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.”

*Did you know: the most recent figures show that in 2014 the average food shop was £58.80, which would have meant an extra 50p a week in 2016 with these rises.* Continue reading

14 new Garden Villages to be built across the UK

Garden Villages to be builtWe now know where the 14 new ‘Garden Villages’  - new towns to help solve the housing crisis – will be. Their locations range from Cumbria to Cornwall.

Government ministers have backed plans for a brand new wave of ‘garden villages’ with between 1,500 and 10,000 new homes, in an effort to confront the growing lack of good housing stock.

Here’s where they are:

Long Marston (Stratford-on-Avon)
Oxfordshire Cotswold (west Oxfordshire)
Deenethorpe (east Northamptonshire)
Culm  (Devon)
Welborne (Hampshire)
West Carclaze (Cornwall)
Dunton Hills (Essex)
Spitalgate Heath (Lincolnshire)
Halsnead (Merseyside)
Longcross (Runnymede and Surrey Heath)
Bailrigg (Lancaster)
Infinity Garden Village (south Derbyshire)
St Cuthberts (near Carlisle)
North Cheshire (Cheshire)

Each village will include green spaces, good links to public transport and a wide mix of house prices, including affordable homes. Continue reading

Would a missed gym membership payment affect my credit report?

Gym membership and your credit reportIt’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.

Spending some time balancing out your income against your outgoings can be beneficial in the long run, and can also make you feel like you’re in control of your finances.  And the start of the year is often a good time to think about if there are any costs you can do without – outgoings you may no longer need or use.   

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

Are rail season tickets value for money?

Commuters faced by increased train fares

Commuters faced by increased train fares

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.

Are season tickets value for money?

Looking at some of the most popular commuter routes, among the highest is an annual season ticket from Stevenage (home town of Lewis Hamilton, in Hertfordshire) to London is £3,612 which works out at 27p per minute. Continue reading

Credit card jargon buster – 10 top terms

Credit cardsEver wondered what some of the key credit card terms really mean? Here are our top ten.

  1. APR - The annual percentage rate is the price you pay each year for money you’ve borrowed, including interest and fees.  The representative APR is an advertised rate that a minimum percentage of customers will pay, usually 51% of those accepted.  If you’re not given the advertised rate, you’ll get a personal APR.
  2. Balance Transfer – This is when you choose to move credit card debt you already have to a lower or  0% interest credit card balance, usually for a transfer fee.  With a 0% balance transfer deal you can potentially give yourself longer to pay off an existing credit card debt, without having to pay interest. This is as long as you make the minimum monthly payment and stick to any other Ts and Cs. More about balance transfer cards here
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