Top 5 ways to break a shopping addiction

We often joke about being addicted to shopping or store cards. Comparisons to Paris Hilton or other famous shoppers, such as Cher from Clueless, are made in jest. However, the reality is that a shopping addiction can be a serious problem. In the US it even has a name – ‘compulsive buying disorder’ – and 18 million Americans are estimated to be affected. In the UK, the issue is just as bad – back in 2000, experts estimated one in five women to be a shopaholic and around 10% of the population as a whole to be shopping compulsively. Given the boom in online shopping, as well as the wide range of credit options that have developed since then, the likelihood is that in 2017 this problem is far worse. The consequences of a shopping addiction If you’re regularly and compulsively spending on shopping then you might find you experience a number of not too pleasant consequences: Often running out of money each month because you’ve spent it on shopping Never feeling satisfied with
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Your Guide to Reclaiming PPI – You have until August 2019

You’ve almost certainly seen ‘PPI’ mentioned in the press and online. It’s a term often used by companies looking to entice consumers in with the promise of free money. However, it’s not always as straightforward as it seems and you can often end up losing a large chunk of money receive for a successful claim. What is PPI? You could have been sold PPI (Payment Protection Insurance) when you took out a credit card or a loan. It’s a type of insurance that was designed to provide consumers with cover for making payments on the loan or credit card if they fall ill or are unable to pay for another reason. However, because this insurance was mis-sold to so many people it has become the subject of multiple compensation claims. You may not even realise that you were paying PPI and because of that there could be years of payments due, which could result in a fairly sizeable compensation payment. How much PPI is really unclaimed? Since 2011, banks have now paid out more than £23 bi
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A Guide to the new Innovative Financial ISA (IFISA)

Being a UK saver hasn’t produced much in the way of benefits over the past couple of years. ‘Miserable’ savings rates have made traditional cash ISAs and regular savings accounts almost not worth the effort. The volume of cash that we’re putting aside is down, and most people feel fairly disillusioned about the opportunities for earning income with saved money. So, a fairly gloomy picture – or is it? The Innovative Financial ISA (IFISA) went live in April 2016 but it’s only this year that we’re beginning to see the potential of this new savings vehicle. Could it be the change British savers need? What is the Innovative Financial ISA (IFISA)? All ISAs are tax wrappers that surround a form of saving or investment which mean any growth/profits are protected from being taxed. The new IFISA is simply the same tax wrapper around the relatively new saving/borrowing product of peer-to-peer loans (with the IFISA extended to include debt crowdfunding from late 2016). Returns subs
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How to run your life without a credit card

Credit is a part of life for many of us these days. Credit card debt is one of the fastest growing types of debt with a total of £68.23 billion owed on credit cards, as of March 2017. Sometimes, credit card use seems inevitable – but can you get by without one? It’s perfectly possible to run your life without a credit card. Credit cards in the UK In October 2016 there were 31.5 million credit cards in issue in the UK. Although this may seem like a pretty significant number in a population of 65+ million, by comparison, in October 2016 there were 100.1 million debit cards in circulation. So, in the UK there are almost three times more debit cards being used than there are credit cards. Which indicates that, if you want to run your life without a credit card, you should have no problem doing so. Why live your life without a credit card? There are a plenty of reasons why avoiding a credit card is a positive thing, but do keep in mind that when you use a credit card to make a purcha
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A Clear and Honest Approach to Short-Term Lending

Why is there a market for Short-Term Lending? Research conducted by the Money Advice Service in 2016 concluded that 40% of the UK’s working population have less than £100 in savings. This is a frightening statistic. It means that many millions of people have no buffer should they suffer even a mild emergency. Something as simple as their washing machine breaking down will cause them financial hardship. The lack of savings is only partly a function of income. Many relatively well-off households (income over £30,000 p.a.) who aren’t classified as “low income” struggle to save. On the other hand it has also been shown that nearly 25% of adults on “low income” (earning less than £13,500 p.a.) have managed to build up savings of over £1,000. The issue therefore seems to be more to do with a poor “savings habit” driven in part by today’s consumer society – after all we’re constantly bombarded with advertising messages tempting us to part with our cash. Perhaps we s
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Top 10 tips to protect yourself from identity theft

In 2016, figures from fraud prevention service Cifas indicated that identity theft rose by 57% in 2015 – 2016. In the UK, 148,000+ people became victims of this digital crime, compared to 94,500 the year before. Fraudsters are increasingly able to target people due to the wealth of information we share online, particularly on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. And the motivation is high – as banks and other financial institutions become more and more able to spot a fake identity, cybercriminals have more need to steal a real one. So, how do you protect yourself against identity theft? Adjust your privacy settings Social media is an absolute goldmine for identity thieves, particularly as platforms like Facebook keep changing privacy settings and leaving personal data unwittingly revealed. Regularly check your privacy settings across all the social platforms that you use and make sure that you’re not revealing more than you want to. If you want to ensure only
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Saving rates are low but we still need to save more

As incentives go, current interest rates don’t exactly have much in the way of motivation to offer. Even after years of putting cash aside you’re not likely to be able to grow your savings pot with a current Bank of England base rate of just 0.25%. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently revealed the savings ratio in the UK had fallen to a record low. The savings ratio is the proportion of disposable income in the UK that is channelled into savings. In May this year the ratio was down to 1.7%, from 3.3% in the previous quarter so for each £100 of disposable income we are saving on average just £1.70. Millions of people have virtually no savings at all. Why is the savings ratio so low? A number of reasons have been put forward to explain why Brits are no longer channelling money into their savings accounts. The first of these is that there is very little incentive to do so with savings rates so very low. The second is more unnerving – that
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