What To Do When The Going Gets Tough

It doesn’t matter what stage of your life you’re at, or how much money you’ve had previously. Sometimes the going can just get tough when you least expect it. When it does happen, it can be a little scary for some people. But the last thing you want to be doing is panicking. The only thing you need to be doing is thinking of how to get yourself out of the rut you’re in sooner rather than later. One of the main reasons why people run into money issues is due to the holiday season, which is now officially upon us. If you feel like you’re heading towards rough waters, have a read of our advice below to give you a few tips.

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Prevention

It’s unlikely that your money situation is just going to spiral within minute, unless of course an absolute disaster happens. For a lot of people, it’s a slippery slope until eventually they’re in a situation they can’t get out of. If you are some way down that slippery slope, there’s a few things you can do to try and halt your decent. The main being you need to figure out where you’re going wrong. Some people are blind to the spending issues in their life, and actually don’t realise that they’re the problem. Analyse your incomings and outgoings, and see where you’re wasting money. It could be that you go to the cinema every weekend, or go out drinking every Friday night. All of this adds up and up, and it’s money you can’t really afford to be spending over the Christmas period.

Help

Sometimes you really need to ask for help before things get out of control. There’s a few ways of doing this. The first being a loan. They get you out of the tricky waters you’re in, as well as relieving the financial pressure you’re feeling for a while. But personal loans aren’t to be taken lightly. They can get you into trouble, especially if you don’t make your repayments on time. If you know you’re going to be careful, check out sites such as GoBear for personal loan offers. Another, probably more safer option, is speaking to your family. If they’ve got the funds to help you, chances are they always will be there when you need them. It’s much easier to speak to someone you know, and to someone who can trust you to pay it back. Some people prefer this method due to the more relaxed repayments. However, some people prefer loans as there’s no awkward stage of having to ask to borrow money.

Don’t Overspend

A lot of people are serial overspenders, especially at this time of year. One treat leads to multiple, and before you know if you’ve ran out of money. Budget each month so you know exactly what you’re going to be spending on what. Then make sure you actually stick to it. Creating the budget list is only half of it, actually sticking to it is what people struggle with the most.

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4 Ways To Find The Best Shopping Deals

Everyone loves to find a good deal.  Whether you’re blessed with a six-figure salary or you’re struggling to make ends meet barely paying your mortgage, there is no one that prefers to pay more for something than less.

In order to be able to find the best prices as a consumer, it’s important to take things slowly when doing your price comparisons.  Many people make the mistake of assuming that the first price they find is the only one there is and add the item to their basket hastily.  However, by carefully looking at all of your options and applying the following tips, you’ll be sure to find the best deals possible when making your purchases.

Sign Up For Alerts

Modern technology has made it easier than ever to be able to find the best deals for your shopping needs.  Many websites offer alerts which let you know when there is a sale going on or if a price has dropped on an item that you have your eye on.

Signing up for these alerts ensures that you get access to the low price before the rest of the crowd.  This extra advantage will ensure that you are ahead of the curve and avoid the risk of the stock potentially running out, or missing the low price before it goes back up again.

Always Check Multiple Stores

It’s important to check prices at all of the stores which you can think of which carry the item which you are looking to buy.  Even though they may be known for higher pricing than other locations, you just never know when they may be offering a special deal on a specific item.

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[Photo courtesy of Alexandra Maria/pexels.com]

Although usually the current prices are listed online, you can never be sure if it’s up to date.  Therefore, don’t only depend on the price listed on websites and try to make an effort to visit the store in person to ensure they aren’t having a special in-store price.

The same goes for making sure that their in-store price isn’t more expensive than their price offered on their site.  Often stores will offer special exclusive online deals in hopes of clearing out inventory quickly.

Redeem Points

Many stores offer a points program which offers a certain discount or amount which can be applied towards a purchase after spending a certain amount of money.

Make sure that you stay up to date with how many points you’ve accumulated so that you know when the best time is to redeem them.

This way you can strategize the best time to use them towards your purchase, such as during a sale, or around Christmas time.

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Are You Overspending? Simple Steps To Get Back Into The Black

Are you guilty of buying things you don’t need or do you find yourself resorting to a credit card at the end of the month? If you’re overspending, it can be difficult to keep control of your finances. If you’ve slipped into the red, it’s advisable to try and take action as quickly as possible. We all have months that are a little more expensive than others, but if you’re consistently reaching for your card or going over your overdraft limit, it’s time to make some changes. Here are some simple steps you can take to get back into the black.

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Living by a budget

It may not seem like the most thrilling use of your time, but making a budget is so important. It’s virtually impossible to keep track of what you spend when you’re shopping online, making contactless payments or taking cash out of an ATM. If you’re not aware of how much you’re spending, your estimate of your account balance may be way off. If you’re familiar with the scenario of checking your balance and being greeted with numbers that are way below what you thought, now is the time to start living according to a budget.

Budgeting is very simple, and it can really make a difference to your financial situation. The aim is to work out how much you can afford to spend or save based on what you’ve got coming in and what is going out of your account. If you’re not familiar with these figures, there’s every chance that you’ll overspend.

When you’re budgeting, there are various methods you can employ. You can go rustic and get a pen and a notepad and jot down the numbers, you can use an app, or you can draw up a spreadsheet. Some people prefer the old-fashioned techniques, but it is often useful to have a computerized version, as this will enable you to adjust and adapt your budget as you go. Start by writing down all the payments you expect to come into your account, for example, your salary and any tax credits or benefits you receive. In another column, write down all the payments you expect to go out, for example, bills and insurance payments. Then note down any other expenses you incur on a regular basis, for example, gas and groceries. Finally, add one-off expenses that will affect your balance that month, such as a vacation deposit or your partner’s birthday gifts. Once you’ve got all the numbers in front of you, this will enable you to determine how much money you’ve got left. If you have a figure in mind, this will reduce the risk of overspending.

[Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Taylor Crul]

Reducing household costs

Do you struggle to afford your electricity bill or are you spending too much on your cell phone? If your household costs are too high, there may be ways of bringing them down. One of the best ways to do this is to compare prices charged by different providers. Take your energy bills as an example. You may find that if you switch electricity provider, you could save a lot of money. Many of us tend to stick with the same companies for years because it’s easier, but actually, if you take the time to do some research, you may find much better deals. Energy providers often save the best discounts and incentives for new customers, so if your loyalty isn’t rewarded, don’t hesitate to check prices online and consider switching. Apply the same logic to any other regular payments you make, such as car and health insurance and your TV and broadband package.

If energy bills are your main concern, it’s also worth considering how you could reduce usage. Are you spending a fortune on heating, for example? If so, look for ways you can make your home warmer without relying on radiators 24-hours a day. Plug gaps in the window frames, add brushes to the bottom of the door and use draught excluders to keep the heat in. It’s also advisable to replace traditional bulbs with energy-efficient light bulbs and to use a smart meter to enable you to see how much energy you’re using and how much you’re spending.

[Photo courtesy of  Michael Smith/flickr.com]

Cutting down on non-essentials

We all like to treat ourselves, but it’s essential to learn to live within your means. If you’ve got a credit card and you’re tempted to use it for non-essentials, try and be more disciplined. We need food and a warm home, but if you’re struggling to pay the bills, it’s not a good idea to make your financial situation worse by buying clothes or taking your card on a night out with you. Ask yourself if you need to make every purchase. Avoid impulse buys and eliminate temptations. If you find it hard to resist, switch up your social activities. Instead of going to a restaurant or taking a trip to the mall, organize a movie night or supper club at home or do a clothes swap with your girlfriends. If you really can’t control your urges, ask somebody you trust to look after your card for you or consider cutting it up. This may seem drastic, but you’ll soon get used to a new, more frugal way of life and you won’t regret taking steps to avoid adding to existing debts.

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Do you spend too much every month? Are you paying out more than you’re earning? Many of us go through periods when it’s difficult to balance the books, but if you’re consistently going over budget, you could end up in a difficult situation. Now is the time to start taking steps towards a more positive, stable financial future. Start by drawing up and sticking to a budget and taking more control over what you spend. Think carefully about what you actually need versus what you want. If you’re struggling to afford bills, there are ways to drive down costs. Compare prices online, try and negotiate better deals and resist the temptation to automatically renew contracts and policies. Even the simplest changes can make a big difference.

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5 Shopping Habits That Could Lead To Debt

There is always a new dress waiting to be bought, the latest color of nail varnish that we just have to have, or perhaps this season’s handbag. Being a fashionista can be an expensive business. Looking our best can be expensive, and that’s when we can find ourselves in money problems, and as a result fashion can suddenly seem a lot less fun! What shopping habits should we be avoiding if we don’t want to end up in debt!

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  1. Never buy something on impulse. I know we all love an impulse buy but it can be dangerous for a number of reasons. We don’t actually need it and we are probably paying over the odds for it. You should always make a list of what it is you are going to the shops to buy and then stick to that list! Less fun but far more practical.
  1. You don’t set yourself a budget! You go out and you just keep splashing that cash. That is a dangerous game to play! Yes, that dress might look amazing on you but you still have bills to pay and you want to keep a roof over your head. Make a spreadsheet and set yourself that budget.
  1. You pay for everything on credit card. This is a bad habit to get into. The problem with paying on credit card is that you lose track of how much money you have already spent. Then before you know it you find that have several credit cards with debts and you have no way of paying those debts back. If you ever find yourself in that situation then you can visit the website debtreliefprogram.co for further information. However, to avoid this situation in the first place you should pay with cash. I know that some people don’t like carrying cash because they worry about getting mugged. However, paying in cash is by far the most sensible option. Don’t flash the cash and you should be fine!
  1. You bury your head in the sand each month. You buy all of those lovely new clothes on credit card and then you refuse to look at the bills. This is dangerous! Before you know it you will have debts spiraling out of control. If you are going to use a credit card you need to keep a close eye on your debts and you need to be making decent repayments every month.
  1. Just one more dress. You find yourself constantly saying “just one more dress” and then you justify it by saying you need it for that work conference or a party that is coming up. Stop it! You will always find a reason to buy something. Stop kidding yourself and tell yourself – NO! You don’t really need that dress. What is going to happen if you don’t buy it? Nothing. The world will still be turning but at least you will still have some more money in your bank account.

Being a fashionista can be an expensive business. Sometimes we need to be more aware when we are shopping and we need to ask ourselves that old age question –

“do I really need this?”

Yes, we want to look good but we don’t want to go broke because of it. We can follow fashion but we also need to be sensible.

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