How to strike the best deal with your mobile phone contract

The enormous range of mobile phone contracts available can make it seem difficult to find the right one. However, this also means that you have a lot more choice – and that’s a good thing. Make sure that you’re getting the most from your mobile deal so that you pay less and have access to more. Even with the big mobile providers it’s not that difficult to do – sometimes it’s just a case of if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Read the small print Some phone contracts can seem very appealing on the surface but it’s the small print where everything goes awry. For example, you might have free calls and minutes but if you go over your monthly allowance the charges go through the roof. Make sure you read all the limits, allowances and penalties. If you don’t like any of them, or you think that they might cause you problems, ask to have them lifted or changed. If the mobile phone provider won’t do this for free they might offer you the opportunity to add on some extra usag


How to pay for a domestic emergency or unexpected expense

Statistically, we’re all likely to face at least one unexpected expense per year. Domestic emergencies definitely fall into that category and, depending on the incident, can be very costly. Whether you have burst pipes, a break in, an car breakdown or the boiler finally gives up the ghost, the amounts of money involved can be very intimidating. So, what do you do if you need to cover the cost of a shortfall created by an emergency like this? Savings You might be saving for a trip around the world but, if a domestic emergency arises, that’s the first place to turn for funding. Most money saving experts estimate that around 20% of monthly income should be put into a savings account. This will help you move towards life goals and also provide some buffer if things go wrong. However, statistics tell us that 16 million people in the UK don’t have savings of more than £100. So, if you haven’t yet managed to start putting the cash aside, you’re not alone. Credit cards Depending on

Save loads by using Voucher, Discount and Cashback websites

Vouchers codes, discount and cashback sites have become very popular in the UK. Although there is a perception that getting real value from them is time consuming and requires serious dedication, that’s not the case. In fact, it doesn’t take that much effort to generate serious savings from these sites. And the impact on your finances could be significant. How Do You Get the Savings? There are a number of different ways to make online savings work for you: Voucher codes – sign up for access to money off vouchers across a broad range of products and services (e.g. Voucher Codes). Some websites don’t even require a sign up and the codes can be used in return for basic information or none at all. Deals could be as simple as £5 off your shopping, to a percentage off an expensive meal or experience. Discount sites – websites that sell otherwise expensive products at seriously knocked down prices. Pay less for designer clothes and accessories, kids’ and baby clothes, furniture

UK Housing Market Forecast for 2017

House price rises slowed significantly during 2016 and experts are warning that this sluggish growth is likely to continue this year with uncertainty about Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. Meanwhile, changes to stamp duty in 2015 are continuing to have an impact on the very highest end of the property market where the cost of buying a home has increased dramatically.  Furthermore, higher rate duty charges on second homes came in in April 2016 and it is expected that these will have a further depressing effect on prices. So what will happen to prices this year? The latest national figures for house prices are for October 2016. Released by the Office for National Statistics, these show that UK prices rose 6.9 per cent in the year to October which was the lowest overall rise since the end of 2015 with the average UK house now costing £217,000. Growth has slowed across all housing sectors with virtually every index now suggesting that the slowdown will continue throughou

What industrial action could cost you if you go on strike

Industrial action has been much in the news recently. So far in January we’ve had tube strikes and train strikes to contend with. And that’s before the year has even really got under way. Whether you agree with the companies or the strikers – or you’re just sick of both – there’s no doubt that strikes don’t really benefit the public. However, what few of us rarely consider is the cost of striking for the strikers. How much does a walk-out really cost the average worker and where does it impact the most? Cash cost The most obvious loss is salary. Going on strike is a breach of the terms of employment. So, for every day that you’re striking you’re not going to get paid. That includes any pay that is normally received, from a regular hourly rate through to overtime. Sick pay and holiday pay can’t be used to cover the loss of salary during a strike. Times are pretty tough at the moment and that kind of reduction of salary could have a pretty significant impact on the a

Been asked to be a Guarantor? Here’s what you need to know.

Guarantor loans were one of the fastest growing areas of the UK credit market during 2016. That is hardly surprising given that these loans have extended credit to hundreds of thousands of people denied lending by the major banks because of financial mistakes they have made in the past. Guarantor loans are based on the principle of security being provided by a third party – somebody who is willing to guarantee the loan payments should the borrower get into difficulty at some point during the lifetime of the loan. Anybody (well, there are a few rules) can become a guarantor for somebody else and most guarantors are family members, close friends or colleagues of those who apply for a new loan. But while you may be clear about your responsibilities when it comes to applying for a loan in your own name, you may be unsure about what is involved when you guarantee somebody else’s borrowing. While you’ll probably be keen to help somebody close to you who is unable to borrow with their

A buyer’s guide to gym membership

If you’ve ever thought about joining a gym, January is the month you’re most likely to do it. Overindulgence at Christmas and the need for a new start sends thousands of us to a local fitness spot at the start of the year. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that, for many of us, these New Year’s resolutions just don’t last. By the summer many of us won’t have seen the inside of a gym for months and we’ll be paying membership for nothing. To avoid the guilt of an unused gym membership and wasted fees how do you choose a gym set up that’s right for you? Look for free trial days Most gyms will offer you either a free trial period or a couple of days when you can drop in and try out the facilities. Although this won’t ensure you stay committed all year, it will give you an idea of whether this gym is somewhere you’ll want to be. Go and try out the machines, experience peak times and do some of the classes. What do you think of the changing rooms, are the facilities br