Archive for July, 2012
There is no hiding from the fact that children are expensive. A recent survey by Liverpool Victoria estimated the cost at £218,024 from birth to 21 years old. Clothing was one of the most expensive items on the list, with an estimate cost of £10,781 over a 21 year period.
This got us to thinking about ways in which you can make the most out of your children’s clothes, what to do when they out grow them and other basic tips for sorting out their wardrobes.
With the help of our Facebook and Twitter followers, we have put together some top tips!
- Clear out the wardrobe and drawers every few months and split clothing into piles: good condition, still wears =keep. Bad condition and still fits = keep for playtime. Good condition and doesn’t wear or fit = pass on. Bad condition, doesn’t fit = throw away.
- There is nothing wrong with hand me downs when the clothes are in good condition.
- If you don’t have any children to pass the clothes onto, you can donate them to a family member of a friend who can make use of them. Alternatively you can donate them to a charity shop.
- If you want to make some money out of the unwanted clothes, you can sell them on eBay or at a car boot sale.
- When they grow out of their trousers or these get a hole in the knee, you can cut them and turn them into shorts.
Have you got any tips for us? Why not comment on the blog or visit our Facebook page and join in the discussion.
In the current climate, families are finding it more and more difficult to afford all of their outgoings. It is in times like these that voluntary organisations, such as food banks, provide much needed help to those that need it.
The Trussell Trust is a registered charity that relies on donations by members of the public for non-perishable foods such as rice, pasta sauces, tinned meat and fish and biscuits and snacks.
Their website provides a shopping list of foods that they are in need of most, meaning no food gets wasted. The shopping list may also be displayed in your local supermarket, which will help shoppers see what food they can purchase to donate.
Food banks aren’t open for everyone, which means that they can only be used by those that are in the most need of food parcel. People are identified by GPs and by other frontline care professionals, as being vulnerable, and they are issued with a voucher, which they then take to their local food bank centre.
The Trussell Trust states that 13 million people live below the poverty line with people going hungry every day due to low income, redundancy or receiving an unexpected bill. They are then on hand to supply the neediest with three days’ worth of emergency food. In 2011/12 Food Banks fed 128,687 people across the UK, 109% more than the previous 12 months. They currently have more than 200 Food Banks across the UK.
If you are struggling to feed yourself and your family, the Trussell Trust may be able to help you. All you need to do is visit your local GP, see a health visitor or social work or visit your local CAB.
If you would like to donate food to your local Food Bank, visit their website and find out where your local centre is.
It is no secret that for many, payday just can’t come quickly enough.
Families are struggling with wage rises frozen, but the cost of living on the up, and many are turning to payday loans or credit as a way to deal with essential payments. At the end of last year, almost £60 billion of unpaid consumer debt had been passed to debt collection agencies according to Credit Services Association.
As of March this year, it was calculated that the average household debt, excluding mortgages, is just under £8,000 but including the mortgage is approximately £56,000, according to Credit Action
It’s fair to say that most households could benefit from making a few changes to reduce their monthly outgoings. Alterations to your spending can more often than not be the difference between paying the bills on time and spiralling into debt.
To help inspire you and make some positive changes, we asked the voices of social media for their best money saving tips and advice on how to reduce outgoings.
- I’d suggest they buy own-brand food from supermarkets. This can save up to £15 on a typical monthly shop – @FANewsdesk
- My advice is to barter! We got 50% off AA breakdown cover that way – @Demystifyadvice
- Learn to darn and make soup. Mending clothes and using leftovers are money-saving investments with immediate returns – @CashQuestions
- Leave your debit/credit card at home. Just take a bit of cash with you when shopping. This should help reduce overall spending – @DeniseB_102
- Salary exchange on your pension is a good start whether you’re an employer or employee – @PensionsGuru
- Do your research and book holidays in advance. The first price you find for travel is not necessarily going to be the best – @Travelzoo_UK
- Fill in a budget planner. It’s the first step to controlling your finances – @HelenIFA
- Focus on the big things. A few less Starbucks won’t save you as much as switching car insurance or energy supplier – @ForgetDebt
- Grow your own vegetables and walk to as many places as you can, saving on petrol and gym fees – @AllotmentAli
- Step 1: Record everything spent for a month. Step 2: Formulate a spending plan cutting all the fat. Step 3: Live it out – @MattJabs
- Hang out with friends and split more stuff! – @BudgetsAreSexy
- Reviewing a mortgage or life insurance is always a good idea – @Mortgage_Stu
- Online banking = time and money. Sometimes you forget to pay the bills. Set up automatic payments in order to avoid potential late fees – @RealtyRegina
- Try a vegetarian diet! Meat is expensive. Replace with cheaper veggies to save money and get healthier! – @MrsEnergySaving
- Brown bag your lunch! Save money by not going out to eat and preparing lunch before work – @JamesWileycpa
- Try to focus your spending on items that gain value, not lose value, or on items that have deep meaning for you – @WomenMoneyMag
- Look at buying second hand for a whole range of items, from clothes to cars. It helps to recycle too! @PrelovedUK
- We could not survive without the monthly spreadsheet. We always know where we stand at all times – @Shaunkirtly
- Take public transport instead of the car. Don’t mix them as you’re paying for both. If possible, cycle – @evmarnel
- Learn how to cook to avoid the cost of regular takeaways – @phlegmian
- Avoid buying the latest fashion and technology – @phlegmian
- On a purely selfish level, I’d say stay with friends that live away to get an instant babysitter! @stevendhewitt
- Switch to free or cheaper hobbies – @QueenThrift
- Ask your mobile, TV or energy providers for a better deal. Don’t wait until the end of the contract, do it now! @AnnGSP
- When you get unexpected cash, do one thing with it that saves money in the long run – @MonroeOnABudget
- Shop online! You’ll stick to a list easier and it’s more time efficient – @clarethinkmoney
- You can cancel obsolete recurring payments. Don’t let your bank tell you otherwise – @AnnGSP
- Stop using your tumble dryer. It eats up electricity – @AnnGSP
- Do a weekly shop instead of going every day to reduce temptation – @AcornFinancial
Our frugal Facebook users gave some family orientated tips on how to keep within budgets.
- Don’t go for brand names unless you have to. The cheaper ones are just as good these days – Nicola Barnett
- Work out ‘offers’ carefully. If you stop to look at individual prices, you are not always saving as much as you think, and often the second lot gets wasted as it goes out of date before you get to it! – Michael James Hamlyn
- Do a ‘reduced-to-clear’ run around the supermarkets. Around 7pm is a good time as they massively reduce prices then. Much of it can be frozen on the day of purchase so it’s okay to eat past its date – Sharon Matthews
- Before you buy something, try and see if you can find vouchers first – Victoria Bayford
- Have a money-free day each week – Ceredigion CAB
- Give meter readings online. This will save on having a paper bill, plus giving the actual reading saves a lot – Emma Collins Dunbar
On the web
Some of our trusty Twitter followers pointed us in the direction of some fantastic websites dedicated to money saving tips. Here are some of our favourites from various sites.
- Give up smoking. On top of the benefits to your health by quitting, you could also save thousands a year depending on how much you smoke. It’s a filthy, and expensive, habit.
- Visit free resources. If you love to read, get down to your local library.
- Try to eliminate bad routines. It may be avoiding your daily coffee on the way to work, or a vending machine snack in the office. These amounts soon build up. Buy in bulk from a supermarket to significantly reduce costs without sacrificing your treats.
- Free texts are not free. Mobile phone contracts can make a huge impact on your outgoings. If you don’t need all those minutes and texts, reduce your monthly tariff.
- Quit doing the lottery. You are statistically more likely to be hit by lightning than hit the jackpot. Why not put that weekly pound in the savings jar instead.
- Don’t be too shy to use coupons. But make sure you use them on items you would only normally purchase, or else you’re filling up cupboards for nothing.
- Don’t automatically renew anything! This is where companies make big bucks. Just by calling and asking why it’s higher than you expected, more often than not they will offer you a better deal if you threaten to go elsewhere.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It doesn’t have to be cold hard cash but you may be able to get a free babysitter from time to time, easing your childcare costs.
- You may be entitled to tax credits without even knowing it! Check with the HMRC. What have you got to lose?
- Pay off your most expensive credit cards first. This should help avoid any high charges.
- Check on eBay before you purchase anything. You may find a bargain.
- Try going to your local market instead of the supermarket. Reduced overheads mean more savings for you.
- Appearance isn’t everything. Don’t buy stuff just to impress others. It is a complete waste of money. If they’re doing the same, you could both end up in debt for nothing.
- Stop drinking in the week. Not only does this have health benefits, but a few pints a week can really raise your weekly outgoings.
- Downgrade your car. Motoring is a huge outgoing for most households and with the rising cost of fuel, saving to a more fuel-efficient motor could save you hundreds of pounds a year.
- Or perhaps you should scrap the car altogether and walk or cycle to work. If you live near enough to your workplace, ditching the car could save you money and help you get healthier, even giving you good reason to cancel your gym membership as well. Double savings.
For people living in Scotland they have other debt solutions available to them to help when they are in financial difficulty. A Trust Deed is one of these solutions and allows you to pay your creditors back at an affordable rate.
A Trust Deed is a formal agreement, and providing it becomes ‘Protected’ it will provide you with the security, as your creditors cannot take any further action against you or force Sequestration upon you. A Trust Deed will usually last between 3 and 5 years and any included debt remaining will be written off, leaving you debt free.
Starting the process to becoming debt free can be daunting, we have therefore put a brief guide together that should hopefully provide some guidance to anyone starting the process.
The first thing that you need to do it to do your research and find a recommended company…
- Contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or contact National Debtline who will be able to provide you with a list of recommended companies.
- Speak to friends, family or your employer as they might be able to recommend a company for you to go to from their own experiences.
- Visit forum or review sites to see what other people have done in your situation and find out about their experiences with different companies.
Once you have found a company that you are comfortable with you will need to gather the following information together in preparation…
- A list of all of your creditors, including account numbers and amounts that you owe.
- A list of your income and expenditure, as this will help to determine what surplus you have available to pay your creditors.
- Gather information about your assets such as your car, home (including your outstanding mortgage balances and value) and savings.
This should help you in preparing to start your journey to becoming debt free through a Trust Deed.