Be a smart-Scrooge at Christmas!

Some tips on avoiding excessive spending and debt this Christmas

By Alan Murdie, LL.B, Barrister, Chairman Nucleus Legal Advice

The run up to Christmas is expensive and some debt advice charities have already started issuing warnings how debt levels are rising; usually the effects start showing up at advice centres in February.

Some people are even dispensing with Christmas entirely on the basis they can’t afford it. But Christmas celebrations should what they should do is actually dispense with the idea that Christmas can only be enjoyed by having to pay out for it and that one’s only role is as a consumer. But who really wants to be Scrooge?  Rather, the thing to be is a Smart Scrooge…

The following are some money saving tips for the season

  • Free food and entertainment – many churches, clubs, charities and organisations are holding seasonal events including carol services, parties, talks and storytelling. Many are free, are designed to be fun and come with refreshments which sometimes act as a bribe to people to come to the less-well attended ones. Or why not volunteer yourself in helping organise such events? Even where a charge is imposed for refreshments there’s usually a surplus at the end, and waste in today’s economic and environmental conditions is wrong.
  • Saving winter fuel –  if you live outside London it’s probably OK to have a real fire if you have a chimney to heat your home as an alternative to turning up the heat. Alternatively, if you’re forbidden from lighting a real fire, go to the nearest library or public building where things are warmer.
  • Food markets at Christmas time – worth travelling to late in the day when lots of perishable items are left over and being sold at reduce prices to ‘clear them up’. Also market traders are often in touch with the harsh realities and may spare you a few extra items if you mention how you’re struggling on universal credit or say how small the pensioner’s Christmas bonus is these days and that Pension Credit doesn’t go far.
Considering how to save Scrooge

  • Making gifts and decorations – A recent expose in the Sunday Mirror described the scandalous position of a single mum on universal credit who was struggling with rent, energy bills and who broke down when she couldn’t afford any decorations or presents for her children, nor much else.Sad and shocking – but don’t despair. Why not make decorations (it’s what millions of households did in the past). It can be done easily with cutting up Christmas cards and coloured paper and can be a fun learning experience for young children. Traditional sprigs of ever-green and the cheapest of candles(handle responsibly) can bring warmth to even the gloomiest dwelling).
  • Similarly with presents – a home-made gift carries a personal, meaningful touch and enables you to practice your craft skills. It is, after all, so often the thought that counts.
  • Plenty of charities are dishing out good cheer and food. If you can’t bring yourself to be a recipient, go and volunteer to dish up to help even those in even dire straits. A couple of years ago one project in Bury St Edmund s had more helpers than recipients, many of the poorest households and homeless persons having been driven out of town by housing benefit and other social security cuts. They often get fed too.
  • Watch out for shops, bars and businesses closing down at Christmas – they often sell off stock or products. (One bar-restaurant in Dorset is reducing its alcohol prices by 75% for customers on its last day of trading to clear up the stock). Places that are closing may be glad to overload other things too such as pieces of furniture.
  • Supermarkets –there will be some reductions in prices (e.g. overstocking on mince pies) but others are being inflated by the addition of some holly and robin decorations on the packaging. Remember to look lower down the shelf for the same or cheaper items. They will taste the same, without the addition of the Christmas-themed packing.
  • The Boxing Day and supermarket sales. Boxing day was traditionally a time for hunting to replenish the medieval larder after feasting. Today the place to raid for bargains is the supermarket with all the unsold smoked salmon, cheese, pies, Stollens and Christmas puddings (pizza – yes, some people munch it even at Christmas time).
  • Cook rather than have takeaways (Fakeaways)– learn a few simple curry recipes, boil your own rice and get a few spices you can save yourself pounds
  • If you can’t manage December 25th, remember the Armenian and Greek and other Orthodox churches celebrate Christmas on either 6th or the 7th of January .
  • Traditional foods– many of these are undergoing a resurgence and if you’re anywhere near one or a game and poultry auction can often be picked up at bargain prizes.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tips for saving money over the holidays

Christmas Money Saving Tips

It’s not an understatement when people describe the holidays as the happiest time of the year. The holiday season is all about enjoying the little things; like spending time with family, watching holiday movies, and overall making memories with the people who mean the most to you. Whether you’re attending a gathering, decorating your home or preparing for a festive family photo shoot, the holidays are bound to bring happiness and joy to all. Amidst these activities, a lot of money can be spent if you’re not too careful. The money used for purchasing presents, decorations or those cosy holiday pyjamas can add up faster than you think. But with the right preparation, mindset and these valuable tips, you’ll make it through the holiday season with minimal debt!

Create a Budget

Considering what to get your family and friends is one thing but analyzing the cost behind their requests can be quite intimidating. Everyone loves the thought of giving and receiving presents, so making someone feel special through the effort you put into their gift is essential. At the same time, your bank account could suffer from too many costly items. To ensure you don’t exceed your price limit, create and print a spreadsheet and take it with you on your shopping spree. If you’re a recent graduate or young adult who is pretty limited when it comes to spending due to college debt, consider refinancing to lower a student loan. That way, you’ll drop the price of a pretty heavy payment, and have more money to work with in your budget for gift giving!

Go DIY Instead of ‘Buy’

With DIY trends on the rise, there is no doubt that planning a ‘do it yourself’ present for someone is a great idea to save you some cash. Children and parents love receiving things that are homemade — there is more of an appreciation for your hard work and dedication to finishing a unique project. Search for a fun and creative way to incorporate the holidays into an arts and crafts activity.

Book Travel Ahead of Time

If you are required to travel during the holiday season to visit family, consider booking your flight or another form of transportation far in advance. When you purchase a plane ticket with a distant departure date, airfare is much cheaper, which can save you money for other travelling expenses such as a carry-on bag or a seat upgrade. If you’re not an over spender, consider a travel credit card to gain rewards. In the long run, you’ll save money that can be used for great incentives for future fights! Also, if your job has the benefit of paid time off, request this kind of time so your time away from the office won’t hurt your paycheck.

Invest in a Reusable Tree

Buying a fake tree is a great way to not only save money this year but to do so for years to come. Yes, going to chop down a real tree is a tradition for some, but a fake tree can be kept forever and re-used annually, making it a more economical option than buying a real one every year. If you’re worried about an artificial tree taking away from your holiday cheer, incorporate the scent of pine by lighting a candle, melting wax cubes or spraying a pine-scented air freshener.

Plan a Secret Santa for Your Friends

If spending time with your friends is the main priority throughout the holidays, finding and buying presents for each person individually can cost a lot. To help you all save some cash, suggest a Secret Santa event and determine a price limit. To put on a successful Secret Santa, write each participant’s name on a piece of paper and put them all in a hat or bowl. Whoever you choose, that is the only person you buy for. Through this activity, everyone receives and gives a gift, which makes it extra special!

Use E-cards Instead of Mailable Ones

Many families spread their holiday cheer through creating a holiday card and sending it to other family members and friends in the mail. Unfortunately, these can be quite costly and can take up to a week to complete and send out depending on the size of your mailing list. Manage your time by creating an email greeting card! This kind of service can be free, and if not, there are always coupons or discount codes to use to lower your total cost. If you want to add a little fun, incorporate music and display animation on your card for an interactive touch.

Don’t Spend on Extra Things

We all know that can be difficult to save money during the holiday months. The store shelves are stocked with candy canes, coffee shops have their signature peppermint blend and restaurants have their designated holiday dish to serve. The urge to buy is off the charts! Saving involves a major focus on determining what you really, truly need versus what you want. Instead of impulse buys like purchasing a morning coffee on the go, make coffee at home more often. You’ll be shocked at the amount of money you will save!

Do you have any additional money-saving recommendations? Comment down below with your favourite ways to save during the holiday

Saving on Shopping

Change your shopping habits

Stop making shopping mistakes! Here are six top tips for smart shoppers.

Number 1.
Spontaneity is all very well in action heroes but when it comes to shopping, it’s a big no-no. Plan your meals, make a list and stick to it. Supermarkets are dab hands at tempting you with tasty treats.

Number 2.
Buy in bulk. Dedicate one monthly shop to dried foods, cans and bottles. Keep your eyes peeled for mega-packs, which are usually far cheaper per hundred grams than small packs. This can save you up to 50%.

Number 3.
Offers, offers, offers! The buy-one-get-one-frees may sound like a bargain, but make sure they are actually cheaper than other brands. Beware the ‘end of the aisle’ specials, which may not be great value. The trick with these is to ask yourself one simple question – Do you really need it? Well do you?

Number 4.
Shop around! When it comes to shopping, loyalty can be overrated. You can’t rely on one single shop to sell every type of product at the best value. For your fresh weekly shop try markets, butchers and local shops, which can offer great value.

Number 5.
Throw shop etiquette to the wind and bring along a calculator. Or, use the one on your phone. Without a calculator labels can be confusing, making it nigh-on impossible to compare price per hundred grams. Premium brands of tea can be twenty times as expensive as cheap ones. So this tip can save you 95%.

Number 6.
This may sound unexpected, but don’t always buy the cheapest product. Some things cost more for good reason. Buy sausages and burgers with plenty of meat rather than fat, gristle and who-knowswhat. They’re probably better for you, cost just a little more and you don’t have to eat five of them to feel full.

This is a useful site to help you

Halloween Money Saving Tips

Halloween Money Saving Tips

Halloween is just around the corner. Many children are beginning to get excited about their favorite holiday. They are already talking about what they want to be this year – and the candy!







To help here’s 10 money saving tips for Halloween.

Table of Contents

1. Shop early!
2. Shop online
3. Get creative!
4. Buy ONE great accessory
5. Costume swap
6. Check out discount stores
7. Avoid a bestselling Disney character
8. Keep your costumes!
9. Buy candy in bulk.
10. Check out the dollar store.
11. Wait to buy your pumpkin.
Related Posts

1. Shop early!

As we get later into October, the price of Halloween costumes goes up as demand increases. My sister recently just purchased two Halloween costumes for her children at Costco. They each cost around £18 for a two to three-piece costume set.

2. Shop online

Check out amazon for Halloween costumes. Normal Halloween stores will charge you well over retail prices. Google the Halloween costume your child has their heart set on and see where you can purchase it cheapest.

There are all types of online costume retailers now. Check out Ebay! Search very specifically such as a Pottery Barn baby elephant costume. You could end up with an expensive costume for half the price!

3. Get creative!

Do you have a talent in sewing, can you reuse another child’s costume? If you have a talent at sewing check out Pinterest. There are a ton of sewing patterns and ideas on there for those who are crafty!

These crafty costumes can range from easy to hard to create. Get your kid involved in the crafting and help them design their own costume! This is a sure fire way to save some bucks.

Check out Pinterest for Halloween costume ideas!

4. Buy ONE great accessory

Sometimes all you need is one amazing hat to pull off a costume (eg: “Mad Hatter”) or maybe you already have pompoms and your daughter wants to be a cheerleader.

Look for that one amazing accessory piece to make the costume instead of buying one generic costume.

5. Costume swap

Swap costumes with friends, neighbors and family. This is an excellent way to recycle and reuse last year’s costumes.

Bring out your old costumes and invite friends and neighbors over for swap. Let the kids try on the costumes and choose one they like best. Everyone will come out a winner! Check out tips here.

6. Check out discount stores

Go to 2nd hand shops, TK Maxx. A lot of times these places carry fantastic pieces that will make up a great costume. Shop early, as others will be on the lookout come early October. Note the stores discount days.

7. Avoid a bestselling Disney characterhalloween costume

If you can encourage your child to choose a costume that is not this year’s “Pop Culture” character, you’ll definitely save a few bucks.

Suggest their favorite children’s book character, animal, or superhero. The pop culture costumes tend to be costly and hard to find

8. Keep your costumes!

Each year make sure to clean your child’s costume and either store or put in a dress up bin box. Next year your younger child may be interested in wearing it.

9. Buy candy in bulk.

The best way to save money on candy for Halloween is to buy the candy in large amounts. Purchase candy at your supermarketstore or at a discount big box store. Buy it early.

If you really want to save, buy the generic brand of candy or consider giving out other items such as small canisters of play-doh.

10. Check out the Pound Shop.

Kids really get excited about decorating for Halloween. They love monsters, ghosts, witches and anything that feels slightly scary!

For the best deal on decorations check out your local Pound store. They carry things like fake spider webs, skeleton bones, and black birds. You can also find trick or treat bags, and wreaths.

10 Money Saving Hacks

10 Money Saving Hacks

1 Set a limit on spending. You have to be rich to make a really grand anti-materialist gesture à la Nigella (Lawson). One year, she told her children that they could only keep one present: the rest were going to a local children’s hospital. An alternative is to declare a budget. I’ve warned my five children that there’s a £50 ceiling for their main present, though Santa may shove some bits and pieces into their stocking. So far they have taken the disappointment well: the budget is sufficient to get a Sainsbury’s cashmere cardigan (£35) or a Zara Basics belted jacket (£49.99). For discounted toys try, whose star buys section has an electric guitar reduced from £69.99 to £19.99, Baby Born dolls at £17.50, and Playmobil Pirate ships (£19.99). Under-a-tenner ideas include the following: turns photos of your nearest and dearest into hand-drawn cartoons for £3; a Glana four-photo frame from Ikea is £9.99; cushions from TK Maxx cost £9.99; a four-pack of tulip wine glasses at M&S are currently reduced by 30 per cent, to £9.50.

2 Make your own presents. Christmas mornings this year will resound with cries of “Oh, how lovely”, as people swap apple chutney. My sister has already been hard at work with her copy of Pam Corbin’s Preserves (Bloomsbury, £12.99), making raspberry vinegar, pickled shallots and quince-paste membrillo. I’ll go for preserved lemons: easy, cheap and a nice colour on the shelf; I’ve already stocked up on cheap Kilner jars; and sell them.

3 Let’s keep bookshops in business. If you want to buy someone a book, the answer is not always Amazon. Find the best price for it on WH Smith is selling Jamie’s Ministry of Food for £10, while the Guinness Book of World Records is £9 at Asda.

4 Choose useful presents, but don’t go too far. My sister’s godmother once gave her loo rolls. Oxfam shops are stocking some relatively fun ideas that can’t be deemed useless luxuries, including a Hippo Water Saver for £1.99. Placed in your cistern, it will save roughly a third of the water flushed down the loo; if the recipient looks unconvinced when they unwrap it, tell them it’s an item much-loved by Cate Blanchett. The charity also sells notebooks with recycled bright plastic covers bearing a description of what they used to be – cup, box or bag – at just £2.49 a pop. They also have an ingenious wind-up torch (£19.99) which will never need new batteries – an ideal gift for credit-crunched dads.

5 When it comes to lunch, plan ahead. I wish I had. I’ve missed the boat for raising my own turkey in a plastic coop in the back garden: June or July is the time to install a pullet to give it time to fatten up. Having to kill, draw, hang and pluck the bird would be a downside, but if the financial belt has to be tightened still further, it may appeal next year.

6 Serving Christmas pudding to my children has always been a waste of money; this year I’m copying the chocolate version from Nigella’s Christmas (Chatto & Windus, £25) – essentially it’s a normal cake recipe, except that it’s made in a bowl, steamed for an hour and a half, and served draped with chocolate sauce. That will stop the children hiding the heavy fruit version under their spoons once they’ve got the sixpences (5p bits) out. It is also comparatively cheap to make.

7 Waste nothing. When Sheherazade Goldsmith inadvertently boils the family jumpers, the wife of zillionaire Zac cuts the resulting felt into a cross shape and sews it into pencil holders. Another of the ideas from her Christmas Book (Dorling Kindersley, £16.99) is to pot up cuttings of your best plants. (B&Q sells 23cm terracotta pots for £1.) She decorates labels with glued-on seeds and leaves. Delia’s good at scrimping, too. In Frugal Food (Hodder & Stoughton, £17.99), she recommends using dry cider in place of wine to make coq au vin and boeuf bourguignon – everyone needs a break from turkey – and claims they have turned out “beautifully”. Alternatively, I freeze the dregs in wine bottles for cooking with another time.

8 Go on a booze cruise. Twice a year I head to Calais to stock up as duty on wine in France is 0.02p per bottle, as opposed to £1.46 in the UK. Majestic were the first to offer free Seafrance car ferry trips to customers – alternatively, they give cash back. See for details. Oddbins and Sainsbury’s offer similar deals. I went with a girlfriend; between us we spent just over £800 and got £96 back, which paid for the crossing and lunch at Le Channel near the port (four courses €21.50; 0033 32 13 44 230). Majestic’s best cheap blended plonk is Cuvée Richard (white and red) at £1.69. Five years ago, they mostly stocked beer and Liebfraumilch; the range now is much the same as in UK stores.

9 While in Calais, go to a hypermarket. There’s a choice: Auchan and Carrefour, as well as Sainsbury’s. Even with the dire euro exchange rate, there are some good buys: check online at and I load up with cheeses, pâtés, olive oil, apricot jam, tomato concentrate, mustard, vinegar, coffee, madeleines, powdered hazelnuts (good for meringues), lardons, jambon cru fumé, circles of ready-rolled pastry (why can’t you buy them here?), oysters, fresh yeast and tins of Bonduelle peas. Recent best-buys were a giant (32cm) Le Creuset-style cast iron casserole for €55.45, a salmon-sized (60cm) fish kettle for €29.95, and six one-litre preserving jars for €10.92. NB: diesel is still cheaper in France but unleaded isn’t – and I wished I’d bought petrol before going to the supermarket because the Auchan pump gave me a €5-off voucher.

10 Talking of money-off vouchers, dedicated discount hunters can chase up the best deals by going to Yesterday, they were showing 15 per cent off first orders over £25 from Littlewoods and 20 per cent off clothes from Asos.

11 Raid your garden. I was given a magnificent home-grown lettuce by a friend for my birthday recently – and couldn’t have been more thrilled. Complete with roots and wrapped in cellophane (see tip 19), it doubled as a table decoration until I had finished nibbling it.

12 The best gifts can be free. Famously thrifty pensioner Gay Cossins once asked each of her children for “just one hour of your time”. Each of them agreed to do a job for her , such as clearing out her food cupboard and helping her sort her wardrobe. A pledge to clean someone’s car would be similar gift. Get tickets for a favourite BBC show from (sadly, under-18s can’t go to Top Gear); ask for free samples when buying something from a cosmetics counter (they make great stocking fillers); or give away some of your treasures. I was thrilled when my sister gave me a dress she no longer wears.

13 Give presents that will provide hours of pleasure… How about “three-for-two” paperbacks this year? A more extravagant option that should ensure warm feelings all year is a subscription to a favourite magazine; cheap deals are available from (eg, National Geographic for a year for £29) or (eg, Harpers Bazaar for £24.99). A bottle of perfume lasts for ages, and you can get it cheap from or . Find discount make-up at

14… or gifts that support a good cause. Chit Chat is a double CD of interviews conducted for a talking newspaper for the blind, with old favourites (living and dead) including Peter Ustinov, Yehudi Menuhin and Spike Milligan. All proceeds go to Fight for Sight Eye Research (£10 inc p&p from Wienerworld, 020 8206 1177, ).

15 Make your own tree decorations. With a bit of effort and know-how, you can dress a tree on the cheap. Among the ideas on is one for wrapping up chocolate biscuits and sweets in silver foil and hanging them from the tree; it works best if there are no dogs in the house. Children can make little hard iced biscuits that make good tree decorations if dotted with silver baubles. If you’re not draping it in lights, make paper chains with pages torn from glossy magazines. Oranges look good, too, when turned into pomanders: stick cloves into the skin, and suspend them with ribbon. Make hearts by bending gardening wire and wrapping ribbon round it. Stars can be made by bending twigs into two triangles and tying them together. Make your own angels using sheepswool stuffing from craft suppliers

16 Don’t forget the jokes. The most memorable presents are often the cheap, silly ones like Smiffy’s extendable fork for pinching food from others’ plates (£4.50 from many joke shops, including Hawkin’s Bazaar (, 0844 5734000) has Gelli Baff (£4.99) which turns bath water into coloured goo (and then back into bath water). Another cheap bath joy is a glowing LED “glow in the duck” (£4.79) from; they also sell reindeer mugs with noses that light-up when you put a hot drink in them (£5.59).

17 Share the cost of Christmas by gathering as many members of the family together as you can. Each person can provide one element – the turkey, booze, puddings, etc. You could also set up a Secret Santa scheme. Each person buys a gift for one other person, chosen by ballot, spending to an agreed limit. Alternatively, make opening cheap treats more fun by putting them, wrapped, into a festively-decorated dustbin filled with shredded newspaper and turning present-giving into a Lucky Dip.

18 Christmas cards are a major expense. Send free ones online via Or take a child’s drawing along to a Prontaprint: at my local branch, 100 cards with envelopes costs £62.71 inc VAT. More expensive but memorable: print your own photo with personalised message, £6 for 4 from Or make your own using coloured card (100 A5 sheets: £3.79 from and potato cuts. (NB December 18th is the last day for second class postage.) I’ve never made an online calendar but I’m impressed when I receive one. is selling wall calendars half price (from £4.99). The cheapest delivery option is 21 days: £3.08 for one calendar, £3.78 for 10. Or make a calendar of your favourite recipes, £10 plus p&p from

19 Wrapping is another money guzzler but there are alternatives to expensive sheets and ridiculously short rolls. Use up left-over bits of wallpaper – not only is it decorative, it doesn’t rip when children inspect what’s under the tree. Alternatively, you can get a 300m roll of brown paper from for £19.59. I go to my local wholesale flower market for big florists’ packs of tissue paper but you can get 240 sheets for £6.99 from From the same source you can get 250 yards of thin curling ribbon for £0.75, and various kinds of fancy cellophane (from £10.56 for 120m). Add a touch of gold: a can of spray paint (£4.99 from will jazz up everything from twigs and pine cones to walnuts and apples.

20 I’m hopeless at decorating but Liz Bauwens – whose book Thrifty Chic comes out in March – has some good ideas. She makes door wreaths by cutting supple twigs from the garden – willow is bendiest – and binding them at regular intervals with wire. Disguise the wire with ribbon or raffia. Cheap baubles from a pound shop will add sparkle. She makes her own bigger baubles by winding coloured ribbon (see tip 19) around plain polystyrene baubles (10 x 50mm balls for £2.49 from She secures the end with a coloured drawing pin and hangs them in groups.

21 Holly is always expensive and hard to find but Posy Gentles, interiors expert and cash-strapped mother of four, finds good substitutes in local hedgerows. Rose hips are abundant, as are hawthorn berries. She also uses old man’s beard, a variety of wild clematis, to drape as fake snow from her tree. Make a few showy flowers go further by floating them in a dish as a centrepiece, as Sarah Raven suggests in her Complete Christmas (Bloomsbury, £25). Grapes dipped in egg white and sugar make a glistening centrepiece.

22 Cheap lights work out expensive: once one bulb goes the whole lot is useless. This year I’ve invested £69.99 in 10m (100 bulbs) of heavy-duty LED lights that won’t give up on me and are cheap to run (0845 370 0333, Make your home twinkle with 8-hour nightlights (£6.16 for 100 from

23 What to wear? My children have rumbled that the label “Atmosphere” means clothes have come from Primark, so I can no longer expect whoops of delight and they are suspicious if I cut out the labels. However, Ugg boots are cheaper this year than they have been for 10 years because the Australian dollar is low (AUS$2.3 to £1). A short pair is £40, plus £10 p&p, from Also, lists clothes for under £20. And there’s always for cheap versions of designer items. If in doubt wear red. It’s cheering, no more expensive than dreary black and Michelle Obama has given it the seal of approval by wearing it when she was shown around the White House. Research shows that men are more generous to women who wear red. When life gets gloomy I pull on some red suede Footgloves from M&S (£39.50).

24 Relax cheaply. Doing a jigsaw is a great way to unwind. I immerse myself in a 1,000-piece puzzle every Christmas. This year, I’ve ordered a Mona Lisa from for €15.99 . The Jigsaw Gallery (01420 525515, also has a huge selection. Or you can make a jigsaw from a photograph through Or play a board game. The new Cleudo (£14.99) is a hit in my house. “Colonel Mustard with the lead piping in the library” has given way to “ageing football star Jack Mustard with a baseball bat in the home cinema”, but it’s just as much fun. If that palls, watch It’s a Wonderful Life. I found it for £11.98 (£6 off the RRP) at Amazon.

25 If you want to get out, head for the nearest wind/rain-swept hill or beach. Or find a half-price restaurant meal deal from If you must escape abroad, check out

Mistakes to avoid

7 Common Money Mistakes to Avoid

Not having a budget

This is a key point to start everything off, once you know your income and outgoings each month, you can then start planning what to do with any spare cash you have left over at the end of each month (if any). Without a budget, you are flying blind as you cannot measure the reality of your financial situation, which can lead to debt, as your outgoings may exceed your income.

Not having an emergency fund

A rainy day fund or whatever you wish to call it, is essential to help avoid getting into debt. Today, the number of people in severe problem debt stands at 2.6 million. There are many things government and creditors can do to reduce this number but helping families build savings could be a key response to the crisis. Having £1,000 saved halves the chances a family will fall into debt. Unexpected bills or expenses are the main cause of your finances wobbling and getting into debt to resolve it.

The best way to combat this is to build up a reserve fund, this should be kept separate from your day to day account and your savings account.

Not Having Life Insurance

A lot of people place insuring their possessions above insuring their own lives, which amazes me to be honest. The one think you should ask yourself is: How would my family cope if I were not around? Life assurance is not very expensive, so you should look into it.

Relying on Credit to Get by Each Month

Being in debt can be very stressful and whilst it can be useful for bigger purchases, using credit to get you through to payday is a shortcut to financial disaster.

When you resort to quick credit offered by credit cards, or heaven forbid payday lenders you will be paying high rates of interest, that could ultimately cripple your finances.

Not making a will

Making a will is vitally important, as it allows you to have control over how your assets are distributed. A will allows you to decide what happens with your assets and even who you would like to look after your children in the event of your death.

If you die without a will, you die what is known as intestate and your assets will be distributed by the rules of intestacy which may differ considerably from what you wish to happen. See link

Not making the most of your savings

No matter how much or how little you have saved up, it is important to get the best return on your savings. The latest budget has increased the allowance to £20,000 from April 2017, so it is important to take advantage of this savings vehicle.

Not Insuring Your Possessions

Most of us will insure our car, but then leave our property and possessions under insured, or without any cover at all. Just a small unexpected loss can throw your finances off kilter. Even if you have insurance, make sure you are adequately covered on these policies, so that any claim will be paid in full.

Make The Most of your Dosh

Make The Most of Your Money

1. Mind the traps. We all tend to think we’re good at spotting a deal – but actually we will spend more money for a cheap car in an auction just because the luxury car sold before it went for a lot of money.

2. If you pay by card rather than cash you tend to spend more money and buy unhealthier foods. Try paying by cash more frequently for your smaller purchases, particularly at lunchtimes. Even better – make yourself a packed lunch.

3. Your personality plays a big role in how good you are at saving money. Sometimes people mistakenly think our attitude towards money comes from our upbringing and our parents, but have you ever noticed that siblings can have very different attitudes towards spending? Stable extroverts are more open, comfortable and carefree about their money. Whilst people who score high on conscientiousness are better savers.

4. The rule of threes: shops and online stores often lay things out in groups of threes. Imagine you’re looking to buy a cheap computer…there will be three items of a similar spec laid out in front of you. The three items will range in price from cheapest to most expensive. By showing you the one that’s more expensive, at least two out of three consumers will always buy the computer that is the middle price, rather than purchasing the cheapest item. This is the ‘compromise effect’ that most people fall for. We are most sensitive to disadvantages when shopping and often avoid the cheapest one in case the product is no good.

5. Not all money is worth the same. You will get more pleasure from winning £25 in a lottery one week followed by £50 the next, rather than £75 all in one go. Be mindful of your money and try and enjoy any winnings, no matter how much.

6. Beware the prices that end in a nine. £2.99, £3.49 or £59. People tend to think that these prices are better value, simply because the number nine is so often used to signal a discount. Amazingly, this will have the effect on people’s minds that if they see something priced at £39 next to something valued at £35, they’ll actually buy the one costing £39 because they think it’s a discount!

7. It’s not in a name. Some studies have shown that people will buy according to their name. So for example, if your name is Frank, you might be quite likely to go for something valued at £55 because of the letter ‘F’. Crazy, but true. Fortunately, only people with certain letters in their names need to worry about this one.

8. We care about fairness. A study was done about snow shovels and whether it was ok to double the price of a snow shovel when there has been a heavy snowfall and the shovel is in demand? People were fundamentally against this because it’s not fair.

Top Student Deals September 2018

Top Student Deals September 2018

Free Amazon Prime Student for 6 months

Free MS Office

Streaming Deals

My rules to spend less on streaming film and TV

Sky Sports for the end of the footy season £20 for the month

Cheapest ways to watch Sky Sports without a subscription – inc half-price month pass and £3 off weekly NOW TV pass

£4 off Deliveroo

Free Pizza

£15 cashback at Just Eat

Great Site

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