How To Prepare Your Finances For Starting University

 

How to prepare your finances for starting University

Starting University is an exciting time in anyone’s lives. It’s the opportunity to go into the world on your own, learn new things and meet many different people. It is a chance to set off on a journey and although nerve wracking, it’s something most people want to do at some point in their lives. The only downside of going to University, is that it can be very expensive. There may be tuition fees to pay for but even if you don’t have this expense, you will still need to be able to handle the cost of living. There will be all sorts of costs which you won’t be used to and it important to prepare yourself for these, so you can enjoy your time at University and not get bogged down with financial problems. These are some ways to prepare your finances for starting University.

 

Start a budget

You can still have fun at University, even if you don’t have a lot of money – you just need to get really good at budgeting. Work out how much you will need to be able to enjoy things like Fresher’s week and other nights out and try to keep this money aside. You will have less to spend during the week and you will probably need to spend a few weekends at home, but it will be worth it if you still get to enjoy good nights out. Make sure you can pay your bills first and you can ensure this by keeping track of your incomings and outgoings. It’s not a particularly enjoyable task, but it is extremely useful for good financial management.

 

Share accommodation

You can significantly reduce your bills by sharing accommodation – either in the halls of residence or private rentals. It makes much more sense to share with someone else when you are at University and this is the one time you can get away with it – so make the most of it. If you choose to share, you can cut the cost of your rent, as well as all of your other bills. Everything will usually be split down the middle, so this will be much better for your finances.

 

Use student discounts

One of the major plus points of being at University is the fact that you can save money on just about everything! Most major stores will offer discounts for students and you can also usually get it for travel and other day to day expenses. Take full advantage of discounts wherever possible as this will help improve your financial situation when at University.

 

Don’t overspend

One of the problems with being a student are that companies are willing to throw money at you. This probably doesn’t seem like too much of an issue – but there is a huge temptation to take everything going, without really having the cash to pay it back. It is important to be careful with your spending when at University and don’t just take out as much as you can. You may be offered thousands of pounds on your overdraft on your student account, but you’ll need to pay it back – so don’t spend what you don’t need. University is about having fun; however, you don’t want to leave with massive amounts of debt.

 

Part time work

Regardless of whether or not you have a student loan, you should also aim to earn money while at University. There isn’t really an excuse not to work, as there are always plenty of opportunities available for students. Taking on a part time job can help support you at University and can also save you from getting into too much debt, before you even join the workplace. Money doesn’t tend to last long at University, so the more you can earn – the better.

 

Start cooking

If you want to keep your finances in check, learning to cook is a good way to do it. If you learn to cook, you can make your meals go much further. You can freeze what you make at night and enjoy it for days afterwards. Making meals from scratch is so much cheaper than getting takeaways and it’s also a much healthier option. If you can cook your meals, you can even make your own lunches, which will instantly save you a lot of expense.


7 Ways To Get A Better Deal On Your Hotel Bookings

 

7 ways to get a better deal on your hotel bookings

Everyone enjoys getting a break – even if it’s just a couple of days away locally, but the overall cost of accommodation can really put a dampener on your plans. The cost of hotels can be particularly expensive and this might prevent you from getting any kind of holiday. However, you should not despair, there are many ways to get some great deals on your hotel bookings and these are some of the best ways to cut down on your costs.

 

1. Book in advance

The closer your booking is to the time of travel, the more expensive it will be, so try and book as far in advance as possible. As an example – if I try to book a Premier Inn for a London trip with only a few days’ notice, the cost is £182 for one night. However, when I book it for two months in advance, it is £145 – almost £40 difference. The earlier you book, the cheaper the cost, so try and be organised when you plan your travels.

 

2. Comparison websites

Always make sure you use price comparison websites before you make a decision on which type of hotel to book. After all, this is why these websites exist; they make your life a lot easier. You will always get the best price if you use price comparison websites and most of these will include some reviews. The good thing about comparison websites is that you can also change the dates to suit, so you know which ones offer the best deal overall for any given date.

 

3. Get cashback

No matter how much your hotel costs, you should always book it via a cashback website, as you will always make some cash back on your purchase. It may be a flat amount or a percentage, depending on which company you book it through, but any money is better in your pocket. You should always make sure you book accommodation you will want to stay in though, don’t just book it for the sake of getting cashback, as you will probably end up miserable. There are plenty of cashback websites to choose from, including Quidco and Top Cashback. They all pay different amounts, so do a comparison before you commit yourself, so you get the best deal.

 

4. Choose the right time

As much as booking in advance is important, it is also a good idea to choose your timing wisely. For example, if you are not booking with children, it is wise to avoid school holidays – as the prices tend to shoot up during these times. If there are any specific events running, this can also affect prices and your chances of getting any accommodation. For example, booking a hotel in Edinburgh is impossible at New Year, unless you are super organised! Choosing the right timing will help ensure you get the best possible rate on your hotel.

 

5. Phone and negotiate

If you are good at haggling, why not give the hotel a phone and see if they can offer you a better deal. You never know what kind of deal you might get if you can take some time to speak to the hotel. Just let them know that you have a budget and they may be able to accommodate you. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!

 

6. Discount websites

There are lots of discount websites which offer some great deals on accommodation, including Groupon and Itison, so check what offers these have before you make your booking. You can often get your hotels with as much as 50% off the price and there are usually a lot of options to choose from. These websites are popular and constantly updated, so keep checking and you will be sure to pick up a good deal.

 

7. Get a membership

If you travel quite a lot, it will probably be more beneficial if you sign up to become a member of a specific hotel company, as this way you will gain rewards and save money on your bookings. Companies reward loyalty and this also applies to hotels. An example is the Hilton, who offer several different membership levels with benefits which include discounts, late reservations and bonuses. It often pays to stay committed to companies and this can be a good way to make savings on your accommodation.


Top Tips For Successful Online Selling

 

Top tips for successful online selling

If you want to improve your earnings, selling online is a great way to do it. Quite simply, you need to buy lower than you sell, so you always make a profit. If you are not sure where to begin, you can start by trying to find some bargains by having a scout through charity stores or by buying in sales and selling on. You may also be able to pick up some great deals if you go to car boot sales or markets. There are various websites to sell your products online, including Amazon and eBay, but to be successful, you need to know how to sell – as well as what to sell. These are some tips to ensure your online selling is a renowned success.

 

Check before you buy

There is no point in buying items which won’t sell online – so take a look at the product to see if anyone else is selling it and how successful this has been. It will also need to sell at a higher price than you purchased it, so make sure this works out for you. Otherwise, you’ll be at a loss straight away, instead of increasing your income. Always look at trends and make sure you take the season into account. There is no point in selling scarves in the summer, for example, so make sure you sell when your products are likely to be of interest to buyers.

 

When to sell it

It is important to know your audience and this means being aware of when to sell your products. The weekends are generally a good time to sell, as more people are browsing online. They have more leisurely time on their hands to have a good look. It is reported that Sunday in particular is a good time to sell.

 

Good photos

You need to be able to entice your audience into buying your products and you can do this through some great photos. If you are selling clothes, for instance, it is more effective to show photographs of someone wearing the items, instead of hanging up – as they will look much better. Whatever you are selling, make sure you use good photographs which show the products off in their most flattering light, as this will improve your sales.

 

Low bids

Everyone likes a bargain, so make sure you start with a low bid, as this is much more enticing to buyers than a high cost. You need to know the value of your products though, as selling too low is not advisable either. You can always do some research to find out the going rate for your products and make sure you are not starting your bids too high or too low. It is all about getting the price right.

 

Detailed description

You should write as much information as you can about the product and try and make it sound enticing. You can pick up some details for other descriptions and use some keywords to gain interest. If you don’t have much information, you are unlikely to get a lot of interest. It is also really important, to be honest. If it’s used, then state this on the description. If it’s not a new item, don’t say that it is – as the buyer won’t be too pleased and it will affect your reputation. This will make it more difficult to sell other items.

 

Be a great seller

It is understandable that people want to buy from a seller who has great feedback and the way to do this is by being a top seller. The way to achieve this is to make sure your products are top quality and that they reach the buyer quickly. You should aim to dispatch your items within 24 hours after the payment has reached you, as buyers will really appreciate this and will be more likely to leave great feedback. You should also keep in touch with your buyer through regular communication. If they ask a question, reply straight away. If there are any delays with their products, let them know. Great communication is the best way to ensure your buyers are happy and they will be more likely to return to you again. The better your feedback, the more buyers you will have and the easier it will be to sell your products.


How To Deal With Your Debt

 

How to deal with your debt

 

These days, most people have some kind of debt – but if you are getting to the point of being scared to open letters or pick up the phone, it is time to take control of your debt. It doesn’t matter how much you owe, you need to deal with it sooner or later and it may as well be sooner than later. A pile of threatening letters is not nice for anyone to deal with and it can lead to a lot of stress and even depression. It is far better to take matters into your own hands and deal with your debts head on. You will feel so much better if you start taking control and do it now. These are some ways to deal with your debt.

 

Work out what you owe

The first step you need to take is to understand how much you owe and who you owe to. It is a good idea to start with priority debts, as these should always be paid first. For example any rent/mortgage arrears you may have or council tax, gas and electricity. The greater your understanding of how much you owe, the easier it will be to get started on paying it off.

 

Contact your debtors

Now that you understand who you owe money to, it’s time to start getting in touch with your creditors. You may find that you can negotiate with some of them to reduce your payments, but either way, you can reach an agreement of what to pay each month. Most creditors will be willing to take small payments; they will just be happy to start getting their money back. The minimum payment will usually be enough to get your creditors off your back.

 

Start making payments

The sooner you start making payments to your creditors, the better – so now that you have reached an agreement, it is a good idea to start setting up direct debits or standing orders, so the money comes out automatically and you don’t need to think about it anymore. Even better if you arrange it for your pay day, as the money will be debited from your account and will be gone before you even get a chance to think about it. A little depressing, but it will make your life much easier in the long run when your debt is all paid off.

 

Stop taking credit

You may be paying off your debt, but this is not an excuse to start taking out more credit. In fact – this is the last thing you should do. It is time to say goodbye to credit, at least until you have made a dent in your debt, but it would be advisable to stop taking out credit full stop. If you can’t manage your finances with credit and many people can’t, it is best just to avoid it completely. Save up for anything you need or just do without it.

 

Start budgeting

The better your finances are, the more money you will be able to save to pay off your debt – so if you don’t budget, this is the time to do it. When you start budgeting you’ll probably find that you are wasting money on a lot of things you really don’t need and this could be going towards paying off your debt. It may feel a little boring to budget, but once you actually start doing it, you’ll quickly understand how beneficial it can be for saving money and getting yourself out of debt.

 

Emergency funds

You should also start working your way towards creating an emergency fund, so you don’t end up in this situation again. You ideally want to have at least a few months’ worth of salary saved up as an emergency fund, although this is easy to say but much more difficult to put into practice. The last thing you want is to get out of debt, only to start getting into debt again. You need to change your whole way of managing your finances to get into a better situation overall.

 

Get help

It is really important to know when you need help and support for managing your finances. If you find yourself getting stressed about your debt or there is just too much to pay off, you might be able to get some support. There are lots of financial institutions available to provide support to those who need it, so whatever you do – don’t be afraid to ask for help.


How To Ensure You Always Have Spare Cash

How to ensure you always have spare cash

If you are constantly finding yourself struggling for cash after payday and maybe relying on your overdraft or payday loans, it might be time to take a good look at your finances. There is nothing more limiting than finding your bank account is empty or not being able to go out when your friends are and this is a sure sign you are not managing your finances efficiently enough. A lack of finances can also be difficult if emergencies arise, such as urgent repairs or bills. These are some effective ways to make sure you always have spare cash available.

 

Start saving

The best way to ensure you always have cash available is to start saving and the sooner the better. You don’t need to save large amounts, but by putting money away – either at home, in a savings account – or both, you will ensure you always have something spare when you need it. It is a good idea to have multiple places for saving money, but even if you save as little as £1 per week, it is still helpful for a rainy day. The aim would be to save about 20% of your earnings though, as this will build into a nice pot of savings if you keep going. Even if you are paying off debt, it is still a good idea to put a small amount away in case you need it. A good way to look at savings is to consider it as a bill which needs to be paid and set up a direct debit so that it comes out automatically, along with your other payments.

 

Penny drop

You will be surprised at how quickly your spare change can mount up, if you throw your pennies in a jar and these can come in really handy for emergency situations. Most of us don’t tend to use coins when paying for purchases, so round up your purchases, stick the remainder in a jar and you will instantly have some rainy day savings to enjoy when you need it.

 

Stick to a budget

If you can’t control your spending, you need to become better at sticking to a budget. Work out exactly how much you can afford each day, if you want to have some money left over at the end of the month. There are plenty of apps you can use to track your budget, or you might want to do this manually. If you know how much you have coming in and how much you can afford to spend so you don’t run out of cash, it will be much easier to ensure you stick to a budget.

 

Cut out luxuries

If you always find yourself with a lack of cash at the end of the month, you may want to look at cutting down on some of your luxuries. For instance, if you are ordering takeaways as soon as you get paid, it might be cheaper to do a monthly shop and cook your meals instead. If it’s cheaper to take the train than drive to work, this might be another luxury you can do without. Even buying coffees every day can quite quickly add up. These may seem like little luxuries but they can end up costing a fortune throughout the year.

 

High-interest account

If you use a high interest account, make sure you can easily see how much you have gained throughout the year, as this can be a good way to keep you motivated and on track with your savings. Print it out and stick it up on a wall so you can easily look at it every day, as this will keep you on track.

 

Earn more than spend

In the same way as you need to burn more calories than you consume to lose weight – the same applies to managing your finances. You need to earn more than you spend to become financially secure and this is the mistake many people make, which is why so many people are in major debt these days. It is a simple fact, but if you don’t have the money – don’t spend. It might sound boring but the more careful you are with your money, the more you will have to spare.


9 Money Saving Apps You Can’t Afford To Miss Out On

9 money saving apps you can’t afford to miss out on

If you are always look at new ways to save money, you have probably already tried tracking your budget and changing your finances – but how long does this end up lasting? Most of us start with good intentions, but soon find ourselves getting sidetracked and our budget ends up suffering as a result. If you could track your budget and get your finances in order, it would be much easier and with these handy apps, you can do just that. These are just some of the money saving apps you don’t want to miss out on.

 

1. Spendee

Are you spending money but not sure where it’s going? Does it seem like money is going out quicker than it comes in? It’s probably time to take better control and you can do this with the free app, Spendee. This app helps you to keep track of your budget by entering spends as you go along, so you never forget to track a purchase. This app can help you to save a lot of cash if you stick to it.

 

2. Mint

This handy app offers everything you could hope for managing your finances and it is all under one roof. You can track your bills, pay off your debt, create budgets and many more. This is a great, handy way to keep your finances in order and get an idea of where you are spending your money and where you can make cutbacks. Mint is a free app, which is available on both Android and iOS.

 

3. Money Dashboard

You can link up your bank accounts with this app, so you can see exactly where your money is being spent and where you can make some changes to be much financially efficient. The app can also help you to save cash where you need to and pay off any debt you have. If you want to be more financially aware – this is a good app to do just that.

 

4. Moneyhub

This is another great app for helping you to see when money is coming in and how much you are spending. You can look at all your account together, including your savings and business accounts, look at your spending habits and where you can make changes to make your money go further. You can also connect to professionals who can help offer you support and advice on your spending.

 

5. Quidco

If you’re shopping anyway, this app can be a handy way to earn while you spend. You can take photos of the products which you want to redeem for cashback, upload them and the cash will be paid into your account. Shopping will be much more fun with this handy app!

 

6. TopCashBack

In the same way as Quidco, this is another cashback app which allows you to make money as you spend. The small amounts of cashback here and there can really add up, so it is definitely worthwhile giving this one a try.

 

7. My Supermarket

If you want to know where to get the best deal on all your shopping products, this is the app for you. This will compare the prices on your favourite products, so you know exactly where to go to get the best deal. This is updated daily and you can compare products from all the top supermarkets, including Tesco and Morrisons.

 

7. Big Oven

This app is a good way to save for those who waste a lot of food, as it gives you ingenious ideas for creating new recipes from old food. You can follow other food bloggers and get ideas from your friends. If you want to cut down your costs when shopping for food and making meals – this is the app for you.

 

8. Trainline

If you travel a lot, this is a handy app for saving you money. You can get the best deals by keeping track of when tickets go on sale and the easier you do this, the more money you will save. If you are always on the go – download this app to save you some cash.

 

9. Music Magpie

If you have CD’s and DVD’s lying around, you can stick them on this app and make some money in the process. You might even want to use this on the go as you visit car boot sales and charity stores.


How To Treat Yourself For Free (Or Low Cost)

 

How to treat yourself for free (or low cost)

Most people have busy lives these days and this is why it is vital to take time to refresh and pamper yourself. We all need time for ourselves, which doesn’t involve work or stress – just simply being alone and unwinding. If you don’t have much spare cash, you might think that you can’t afford to pamper yourself, but there are plenty of ways you can treat yourself for free or at a very low cost. These are some options you might want to try.

 

Read a book

No matter what is going on in your life, taking some time to relax and read a book is a great way to escape any of your stresses. It is proven that those who read frequently are less stressed, in general, than those who don’t do any reading. If you don’t have anything to read at home, pop into your local library and stock up or visit your local charity where you will pick books up at low cost. Get yourself a big bar of chocolate and you have an instant low cost way to treat yourself.

 

Spa treatment

Spa treatments can cost a fortune, but you can actually create these in your own home – without spending a dime. Make yourself a homemade face mask, run a bath filled with soapy bubbles, light some candles and you have your very own relaxing spa treatment. Finish off with some moisturiser and a heated dressing gown and you will feel like you have enjoyed a truly indulgent experience.

 

Yoga

A great way to relieve stress; yoga is an exercise which you should aim to incorporate into your daily routine and best of all, it can be completely free. You don’t need to go to a class to enjoy all the benefits of yoga, you can watch videos for free on YouTube from the comfort of your own home.

 

Meditation

There are lots of free meditation apps to download but ultimately, you don’t really need anything to practice meditation. Get yourself comfortable, breathe in, hold and relax and continue this for at least ten minutes. You will soon find that over the course of a few weeks that you will start to feel much more relaxed. This is the ultimate way to relieve stress after a busy day.

 

Movie night

Why not relax in the evening by getting cosy and watching a few movies. If you have a subscription already to Netflix or similar, you won’t need to spend anything for this kind of pampering or you may want to dig out some old DVD’s. A glass of wine or bar of chocolate might make this even more relaxing.

 

Go to the park

Take a break from the norm and organise a half day from your work to do – absolutely nothing! Yes, you can do this, it is allowed and it will feel even better, knowing that you could be sitting at your desk instead. Take a walk to your local park, sit on a bench and read or just watch the world go buy. The simple things can make us the happiest at times and seeing a bit of nature is a good way to do this.

 

Have a nap

Sometimes the most indulgent things are those which we don’t get to do very often and for most, this includes going for a guilt-free nap. Instead of worrying about that housework you should be doing or those dishes which are piling up, just nap – and enjoy. It costs nothing and can be highly enjoyable.

 

Window shopping

It may not be as fun as real shopping, but if you don’t have the cash to splurge, it can still be refreshing to take a look – and try on your favourite clothes. You can even compile a list of items you want to buy when you do have some spare cash, or get the assistant to put them away for you to pick up later. This can be just as satisfying and you can top off your day with a cupcake and a coffee.

 

Beauty day

Spend an entire day pampering yourself with beauty treatments and you will feel better than ever. Do your own nails, enjoy a face mask and give yourself a foot massage.


Tips For Eating Healthy On A Budget

 

Tips for eating healthy on a budget

There is a belief that eating healthily means you need to pay a fortune on your shopping and some feel that eating the right foods is just not affordable for their budget. However, in many ways, eating the wrong foods can be much more expensive. If you find that your food expense is much higher than you would like, these are some ways tips for eating healthily, while still sticking to your budget.

 

Write a list

A good way to stay on track with your healthy eating is to write a list of all the shopping items you need to prepare your meals. It is a good idea to get some recipes for healthy meals, so you know exactly what you need to buy and you don’t get sidetracked into buying unhealthy food. If you don’t plan ahead, it is easy to end up wasting a lot of money and buying foods with no nutritional value.

 

Buy in bulk

If you don’t tend to buy a weekly or monthly shop, you will probably find that you end up shopping a lot during the week – and this can quite quickly add up. It is much more cost effective to set yourself a budget for the week and do a big shop. Not only will you be more likely to shop for healthy foods, you’ll save yourself some cash in the process.

 

Cheaper stores

If you tend to go for the most expensive brand, this could be one of the reasons your shopping list is so high. Obviously some brands taste better than others, but this doesn’t necessarily mean the more expensive ones. You can significantly reduce your shopping bill if you just shop at cheaper stores or you look at less expensive brands.

 

Prepare your meals

You have probably heard how important prepping your meals is for staying healthy and this is also imperative for the purpose of saving cash. You should aim to plan your meals for the entire week on a Sunday, so you know exactly what you will be eating each day. Another good trick is to prepare your meals and freeze the leftovers for the next day. This will save you a lot of money and you will be far less likely to want to order a takeaway.

 

Homemade lunches

It may not seem like much, but if you spend £3 a day on your lunch, this adds up to over £700 the year! There is not only the cost to consider, but you don’t really know what you are eating most of the time and if you are consuming pre-made sandwiches for instance, they are probably laden with calories. It is far healthier and less costly to make up your lunch the previous night. It will probably be far more enjoyable too, as you won’t need to wonder how your meal has been prepared. Again, it is all about being prepared.

 

Skip the junk food

Junk food is not only unhealthy, but it is also extremely costly and as such, is best to avoid at all costs. This is why preparation is so important, as if you already have all the right foods at home, you won’t be reaching for that takeaway menu. A takeaway can easily cost between £10-20 and you can actually get a full week of shopping for not much more than this. If you want to get healthy and reduce your costs, it’s time to put those takeaway menus where they belong; in the bin!

 

Discount vouchers

There are lots of places to pick up discount vouchers, which you can use to get money off your shopping and it is well worth making use of these. If you take a look on money saving websites, such as Money Saving Expert, you’ll find discount codes and vouchers which you can use to get some money off your shopping. If you feel embarrassed using vouchers at the checkout, just do your shopping online instead.

 

Sales

Supermarkets tend to cut their prices down when products are about to go out of date, so if you choose wisely, you could get your shopping at cut prices and save yourself some money, while still maintaining a healthy diet.


30 Days To Get Your Finances In Order

 

30 days to get your finances in order

The bills keep arriving and you feel like you are drowning. You barely have enough money to see you through the month after pay day, but is there a way to get out of this mess – quickly? If you adopt the right strategies, you can get your finances in order within 30 days, as long as you are committed to achieving results. These are some ways to get your finances back in shape as quickly as possible.

 

Get your credit report

In order to start getting your finances back on track, you need to get a better understanding of what state they are currently in. The best way to do this is to access your credit report, which will show your debtors and how much you owe. It is also important to determine any errors on your credit file and contact the company directly. If you are not on the voting register, this is another aspect which can affect your credit rating. Analysing your credit report is not the most enjoyable task for those who owe a lot of money – but it is best to go into this with your eyes open. Whatever the results, there are plenty of ways to make improvements and get your finances back in order.

 

Increase your income

It may not be as easy as it sounds, but improving your finances naturally means earning and saving more, so this is what you need to set your mind to do. It may be that you can pick up some overtime in your work, do another job or earn in other ways, such as selling on eBay. It doesn’t matter if you increase your earnings by as little as £10 per month – every penny helps.

 

Track your budget

The best way to start sorting out your finances is to understand where you are spending your money – and you may just be surprised with the results. Work out exactly how much you are spending and what you are bringing in, categorise these to see where your money is going and you’ll be able to start cutting costs to save money. It is important to remember that although this seems like it will be a bit of a pain to do; you might feel that it’s ruining your fun in some ways – but bear in mind that by making these small changes, you’ll be able to benefit by having better and more rewarding things in the long term. If you get your finances in order, you will have the spare cash for better things, such as holidays etc., so take care of your finances now for the results in the future.

 

Compare suppliers

Take a look at your current suppliers and see if you can get a better deal elsewhere. For instance, your gas and electricity, mobile phone and broadband. There are lots of price comparison websites out there, so there is no excuse not to get the best deal on the market. If you change your suppliers, make sure you do this via a cashback website, as you can pick up some ‘free’ money this way and make some extra cash.

 

Make savings

It is good if you can put some money away each month, but there are also other ways to make savings. Your bank account may be offering features which you didn’t realise and these could be saving you money on your everyday expenses. What about your Boots advantage card or store card, are you making use of these? These are all small savings, which can add up over the year, so check what your suppliers are offering, you’ll probably find that there are lots of benefits you were not aware of.

 

Find free activities

Just because you’re trying to save money, it doesn’t mean you need to lock yourself at home – there are plenty of activities out there to enjoy. A quick search for free activities in your local area will give you a good idea of what you can do, without spending much (or any!) money. You will probably find that there are lots of enjoyable activities out there which you would never have even thought of before and you might end up seeing more of your local area too.


5 Top Tips For Getting Onto The Property Ladder

 

5 top tips for getting onto the property ladder

Getting your foot onto the property ladder can be an achievement which feels out of reach for many people, however, it can often be a much more cost-effective than renting. It may seem that buying your home is unaffordable, but if you take these points into account, you may find that owning your own home can become a reality – even if you don’t have a massive deposit to spare. There is always a way if you have the desire to do something and this includes becoming a home owner.

 

The right location

It is important to consider the location, as you can dramatically reduce the cost if you choose to stay out of a busy city, for example. It may be that your dream home is situated in Central London and this would be a great location for getting to work etc., but it is one of the most expensive places to buy a home. You’ll find that prices will drop dramatically out with the city and it may make it more affordable to buy. Wherever you reside, it is worth looking at other areas nearby to see where you will get the best deal.

 

Government assistance

It may be that the government will be able to offer you some help with buying your own property. There are a lot of initiatives out there for first-time buyers, such as shared ownership, where you share the property with the government and pay more as you can. This is a good way to ease you into owning your own home. There is also the help to buy scheme, which is where you pay a lower deposit on your new property to make it more affordable. It is a good idea to ask around and find out what initiatives are running, as you never know what great deals you may be able to pick up.

 

Save your cash

It may seem impossible to get a deposit together, but if you try and put some money away each week, you could soon find yourself with exactly what you need to buy your home. If you save £20 each week, for example, you will have over £1,000 in a year. It is easy to spend £20 on things you don’t really need so make up your lunch for work, walk instead of driving and give up on your usual magazines for a while – and you will soon have the money you need to save for your deposit. Put your money into a regular savings account, ISA or even your own current account, as this will allow you to gain interest on all of your savings. You may need to be prepared to make some sacrifices for the things you really want and it will be worth it in the long run.

 

Joint mortgage

If you were intending on taking out a mortgage on your own and you really don’t have the cash to spare, it might be worth considering taking out a joint mortgage instead. You may have a partner who you can get a mortgage with, or perhaps one of your friends may be interested in this as an option if they are also struggling to get onto the ladder. It doesn’t need to be forever. When you get onto the property ladder, you may be able to look at other options in the future.

 

Borrow the cash

If you are certain that you will be able to pay it back and you want to buy your property sooner than later, borrowing the cash may be a good option. If friends or family can help you out, this is by far the most favourable option – as you (generally) won’t have the usual interest to pay back. However, if this is not a viable option, you may be able to take out a loan from your bank or local credit union. A payday loan could be another option if you can afford to pay it back when it is due. If you have a lot of other debt, it is advisable not to take out any more credit, but instead, try to save the required amount instead. The last thing you want is to start out your new life with a lot of debt hanging over your head.