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The Do’s and Don’ts of Budgeting

Posted by Debbie Fletcher | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 07-08-2013

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Since 2008 and the global financial melt down we’ve all had to learn how to tighten our belts and budget responsibly. Sadly, this is something we’re still living with today. These are the top do’s and don’t that lead to the success or failure of most people living on a budget.

The Do’s…

Do take the time to record all your monthly outgoings. By sitting down for 20 minutes each month and looking at exactly how much came in at the start of the money and what went out you can gage how well you’re doing. Even by doing this with a pen and paper you can identify your areas of over spend and correct.

Do look into how you can spend less. This can be as simple as opening up your cupboards and making a note of next time you shop what branded items can be swapped for cheaper own label items. Or it could mean a change in behavior, such as, limiting alcohol intake to one night a week.

Do shop around. There are every day spends and larger necessary investments you will still need to make. But by getting a feel for the whole market you can judge for your self if you’re getting good value for money.

Do understand what you’re paying for. This is especially important for larger spends. Taking the time to unearth what goes into a costing, such as, understanding car insurance rates, can help you save hundreds.

Do look into how you can supplement your income. This could be as small scale as starting to sell items on eBay or getting a part time job. If you have a particular passion and a flare for writing setting up your own blog and monetizing it can be a good earner, although this is a long-term strategy.

The Don’ts…

Don’t panic. Something much easier to say than it is to do, but essential to conquering your budgeting crisis.

Don’t take the time to identify your areas of over spend then go ahead and ignore what the numbers are telling you. You will never be able to effectively budget until you can realize the impact your spending has and then be able to make a meaningful change in your behavior.

Don’t slip into the habit of indulgences. Until you’ve reached your goal and you’re back in the black don’t reward yourself. Harsh, but it really is as simple as that. Once you’ve broken your resolve you’re destined to be a repeat offender and let unnecessary spends creep back in.

Don’t be fooled by promotions. Price promotions in store contrary to popular belief don’t always offer you the best value for money. This can be a ploy by branded products to convince you that you’re getting their quality for less, but take the time look beyond the sticker and see what’s your best price to the weight of the product.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There resources at your fingertips set up by the government to help you out of your financial situation. This also means to a certain extent, swallowing your pride and accepting help from others. For example, you could save a fortune in child-care costs if you could agree a day each week for friends or family to look after your child.

How You Can Begin Reclaiming Your Money

Posted by gladstonebrookes | Posted in Forex Trading, Uncategorized | Posted on 26-06-2013

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These days in particular, many people are looking for ways to boost their bank balance or at least hold onto what they already have. What many of them do not yet realise however is that one of the best ways to do this is to reclaim what has already been taken from you. In many cases, charges and hidden costs – especially those from a bank – are unwarranted and disproportionate, meaning you are well within your rights to request a refund; saving you money with minimal effort.

Bank charges

Banks will often charge their customers for services they would take for granted; such as using a debit card abroad, having insufficient funds when attempting to make a payment or dipping into their overdraft. In most situations however, such charges are overinflated; seeing the customer landed with a fee much greater than the rate of the offence. If this is the case, you are entitled to contact your bank via letter, phone or visiting your branch, explaining your reasons for the incident and requesting a refund. Generally, you have six months from the time of the charge to make your claim.

External help

Even when banks refuse to pay-out money that their customers are entitled to, all hope of a successful claim is not yet lost. Services like the Financial Ombudsman or independent financial advisors can offer impartial advice and assistance in the formal process of reclaiming money. They will generally assist people affected by the following circumstances:

  • The charges made were deemed disproportionate and unfair.
  • The claimant is experiencing financial hardship.
  • The claimant was disabled, ill or unable to work at the time of the relevant incident.
  • The claimant cannot afford to make the payment.
  • The claimant has experienced a sudden drop in income; such as the loss of a job.

Thus, if contacting your bank directly proved fruitless, contacting a relevant external organisation and requesting assistance can boost your chances of getting your money back into your own hands.

PPI

Payment Protection Insurance – commonly known as PPI – is one of the most widely reported reclaim opportunities of modern times. Most people have heard of it by now but many still fail to make a claim when they are fully entitled to. The policy’s purpose is to ensure monthly payments for loans, credit cards or mortgages are upheld should the recipient fall ill or be unable to work. The problem is therefore not with the policy but the way in which it was sold. Customers paid for PPI without agreeing to the terms and in many cases received cover that was unsuitable for their needs, rendering the policy useless. Thousands of people have already made successful PPI claims, totalling millions in reimbursed money but many people sit idle, not realising that they too have money being held by the banks that is rightfully theirs.

Dormant accounts

Many people have money sitting in a bank or financial institution that they are not even aware of, having forgotten about it over the years. From pensions for previous jobs to old savings accounts, thousands can be sitting unaccounted for, simply waiting to be claimed by its owner. If an account is not accessed for a significant amount of time, your bank will likely try and contact you to ask if you wish it to remain open. If a response is not received, this money will be placed into a dormant state until the owner resurfaces. Thus, checking through your old paperwork and contacting banks regarding old accounts and policies can lead to a hefty pay-out of extra cash.