Archive for March, 2013
Not quite sure how this has happened, but half term is just around the corner again. Last month we gave you lots of free things to do with your children: trips to the park, indoor picnic, homemade pizza and even a room tidying competition. So for those of you that have exhausted that list, we have more to share with you.
Indoor Obstacle Course
We can never guarantee the weather so planning lots of indoor activities is always a good idea. This could be a messy one, but definitely something the kids will enjoy. Using sofa cushions, blankets and chairs you can create an indoor obstacle course, the kids get to build it and put it all together, play with it all day and then clean up at the end! You will obviously need to make sure it is safe and you watch over them, but this is one way to keep them busy and tire them out!
If you have any shoes boxes lying around these can be used to make shoebox scenes. A shoebox scene can be whatever your children imagine up; it could be a sitting room for a Barbie or a jungle for Ken. If you have lots of shoe boxes, why not create a whole shoebox house?
Depending on the weather your hunt can either be indoors or outdoors. You can create maps and clues and set them off on a hunt to find the prize. As it is Easter, why not do an egg hunt?
This can get very messy, but it can be a lot of fun for the children. Whether you decide to bake cakes, biscuits, scones or even bread you can all get very creative and make lots of yummy food.
Playdough is easy to make and is a lot cheaper than buying it from the shop! All you need is a cup of cold water and salt, two teaspoons of vegetable oil, food colouring, three cups of flour and two tablespoons of cornflour. Mix everything into a bowl, apart from the flour and cornflour, give it a good stir and then gradually add the flour ingredients. Remember to always store it in an air tight container in the fridge.
There is no hiding from the fact that times are hard and with the threat of a triple dip recession things will no doubt get harder over the next few months. It is therefore no surprise that we are all becoming more budget savvy and using any tools that we can to aid us with this, including Apps! With our friends on Facebook we have put together some of our top budgeting apps – from the free ones to those that cost a little bit extra.
My student budget planner
This app is designed for students but there is no reason why those of you that are no longer students cannot use it. You simply put in how much your income is each month as well as any regular payments such as mortgage, rent, council tax, gas, electricity and any other monthly payments you have. It will then tell you how much money you have to live off each week for things like food, socialising and additional living costs. You can add in all of your spending so you can keep track of how much you have left. The app is available from the iTunes App Store for free.
This app allows you to track everything that you are spending throughout the month. It has a function which allows you to run a report so that you can see how much you are spending in your key areas, which can help you see where you can cut back. This is great for people on the move, you can simply add a new entry and it will total your spending up for you. The only downside to the app is that it doesn’t allow you to track your bank balance so you cannot always have an accurate budget as you cannot add income. It is available to download for free from the iTunes App Store.
This app has been recommended by one of our friends on Facebook. It costs £2.99 to purchase from the iTunes App Store. Here is what Kim had to say:
“We got into financial difficulties because we didn’t keep a proper check on our finances. We didn’t know what was going out and when, and we also wasted a lot of money on things we didn’t really realise we were buying!
The MoneyWiz app lists all of your outgoings and the date they are due to come out. It also keeps a track of your bank balance and so at a glance you know what’s available and what is due to leave the account. I also log everything I buy so that I can see where our money is going. This way I can see where we can cut back and why we were falling short in the past.”
What budgeting apps have you used and do they help you keep on track?
If you are a Company Director you may be struggling with debt for a variety of reasons; perhaps a major customer has gone under owing you a lot of money or maybe customers are not buying as much as they used to due to the current economic climate.
A recent study of small companies found that one in every four is struggling to pay their debts, so you are not alone. To help support your business you may have taken out personal loans to give your company a cash injection, or the bank may have asked you to personally guarantee their debt which means you will be asked to make the monthly payments if your company does not.
The debt solutions available to you will depend on whether it is viable for your company to continue trading. This will largely depend on whether your company is able to make monthly payments to its debts. If you are unsure it is best to seek advice from a licensed Insolvency Practitioner.
You should seek advice as soon as you think you or your company is going to be in difficulties.
If you wait until payments are missed then it will lead to more interest and charges being added which will increase the amount owed and may also result in creditors taking legal action. Seeking advice early may also avoid bankruptcy. In bankruptcy you can no longer act as a Company Director without leave of the court which may mean your company cannot continue trading.
If your company can meet its debt payments but you have personal debts, you may need to consider a personal solution, such as an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) or a Debt Management Plan (DMP). These solutions will allow you to reduce your debt payments to a level you can afford while protecting your home and your company and allowing you to continue trading.
If your company cannot afford to make its full monthly debt repayments but can afford a reduced payment then it may be possible for your company to enter a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA). In an IVA or CVA you pay what you can afford, normally over a five year period. After this the remainder of the debts will be written off. Interest and charges would no longer be added to your debts and legal action would be stopped.
If your company is unable to continue trading, then you can put it into liquidation, where the company’s assets are sold to pay its debts and the company is then closed down. Alternatively, one of your creditors may apply to put your company into Liquidation. If you also have personal debts you may need to consider a personal debt solution; by seeking advice early you may not be forced into bankruptcy, but instead you could instead enter an IVA or a DMP which should protect any personal assets.
If you are struggling I would recommend seeking free, confidential no-obligations debt advice at the earliest opportunity. You do not have to proceed with any of the options discussed; however by seeking advice, you will be better informed of the solutions available.
Ask Payplan… What debts can Payplan help with?
Debts come in various forms and sizes! Along with the common unsecured loans and credit cards, you can also get payday loans, log book loans, secured loans, student loans, plus arrears on your rent, mortgage and council tax to name a few. With debt now taking on so many different forms, it is important to understand exactly what can be dealt with in a Debt Management Plan (DMP) or an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA).
This blog is going to explore different types of debt and look at how these can be dealt with.
Unsecured loans: these types of loans can be included in a DMP or an IVA as well as bankruptcy or a Debt Relief Order (DRO). An unsecured loan is where you borrow money and agree to a fixed sum contract where you will pay a set amount over an agreed period of time.
Credit cards: all credit cards can be included in a DMP or an IVA, as well as bankruptcy or DRO. When you borrow on a credit card, you agree to make a minimum payment each month and must pay the total balance off the card. Interest is applied on a monthly basis and will depend on your balance.
Secured loans: these cannot be included in any type of plan and you are responsible for maintaining payments. The required payment for the loan will be included as an item of expenditure in your budget so that you are able to afford the payment. Remember failing to maintain payments towards your secured loan could result in repossession.
Student loans: these cannot be included in any plan. Student loan repayments are deducted directly from your salary, and it is therefore your responsibility to ensure that repayments are maintained.
Payday loans: these are treated in a similar way to unsecured loans and credit cards and can be included in a DMP and an IVA as well as bankruptcy or a DRO.
Log book loans: these have to be treated extremely carefully as your car is at risk. This type of loan is not included in a DMP, an IVA, bankruptcy or a DRO and therefore an expense will be included in your budget to ensure that you are able to maintain payments towards the loan.
Arrears (rent, mortgage, council tax and utility): these cannot be included in any type of plan. However, they are a priority and therefore a payment will be allowed in your budget to ensure you are able to maintain payments.