Categories
Budgeting

Easy Ways to Reduce Spending

Many of us fear that we spend too much money, but it can be a difficult habit to break. There are many reasons why we might tend to spend more and it is important to try to figure out what these reasons are and then we will be able to work on changing our behaviour so that we can reduce how much we spend more easily. Below are a few possibilities to consider.

Paying too Much for Things

Many of us pay far too much for the things that we buy. Some of us realise that we are paying more but shop locally for convenience or to support our high street or we buy from certain shops because we like the customer service etc because we think it is worth the extra money. However, many people just do not think to check prices that much or just keep buying products assuming they are cheaper when there are cheaper alternatives. Therefore, it can be a good idea to think hard about whether you are doing this and if it might be a good idea for you to compare the prices of everything you buy and see if you can buy other things and make more money.

Getting carried Away When Shopping

It can be really easy to get carries away when we are shopping and buy a lot more than we intended to. It is easy to see products and buy them because they look great even if they were not what we originally set out to buy. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you keep in mind what you are going out to buy and stick to that. You may even need to consider taking a list so that you do not forget anything.

Being Tempted by Offers

It can be very easy to be tempted by special offers. They are there for the purpose of trying to encourage people to spend extra money and if you are tempted then they are doing their job well. Try to bear this in mind and think hard about whether you really do want this item or whether you are buying it because it is on special offer or whether it is actually something that you really need.

Not Setting a Budget

If you are shopping without a specific item in mind, perhaps buying a gift for someone or something like that then you may end up spending a lot of money because you have not planned how much you can afford. It is a good idea to set a budget so that you know what you intend to spend and that will help you to target your shopping so that you are looking at items in the right price range and only buying things when you are sure you can afford them.

So, these are just a few things that you could consider when you are shopping. It is not anyone’s fault if they spend too much, as marketing gurus work very hard to try to get us to do so. However, it is worth trying to make sure that we are not tempted to spend more than we can afford and that we do not fall for their tricks! It is great if you can find the item that you are looking for at a reduced price, but if you just find something cheap, this is not a good reason for buying it. Make sure that you think hard about whether it is something that you really need first. It is also a good idea to make sure that you compare prices to make sure that you are not paying out more than necessary.

Categories
Investments

Is it Better to Invest Money or Put it in a Savings Account?

If we are lucky enough to have some money to spend then we may want to put it in a savings account or invest it somewhere so that it can earn some money for us. It is wise though, to make sure that we are aware of the difference and that we make the right choice for us.

Main Differences Between Savings and Investments

A savings account can normally be found at a bank or building society. It is the type of account where you put in your money and you will get paid some interest perhaps every month of every year. You will be able to choose whether to have an instant access account which tends to pay low interest or a notice account that will pay more. With an investment the money is used to buy a product, perhaps a house, some art work or a share of a company. You may be able to sell at any time but whether you make money depends on the value of the item when you sell it.

How Much Risk to Take

It is worth noting that with an investment, you could find that the value of the item will drop or even become worthless so you could find that the value of your investment is nothing. However, the amount of risk will vary depending on what type of investment you take out. Many people use a financial advisor to help them and they will explain how much risk they are willing to take and this will allow them to point clients in the direction of an investment that will suit their needs. It is often the case that the more risk that is taken, the more likely it is that the investment will have a big return but of course there may be no return at all. The lower risk investments tend to have a lower return, however, they may still be higher than that from a savings account.

Access to the Money

If you invest, then it is best to be prepared to keep your money tied up for a long period of time. Investment naturally fluctuate in value and so to override this people tend to keep their money invested for at least ten years. With savings, people might want to tie their money up a little bit and there are bonds which will pay higher interest than regular savings where money can be tied up but it will much safer. There are also savings accounts where you have to give notice to make a withdrawal which will also pay interest that is a bit higher compared to instant access savings accounts.

It is therefore said, that you should only invest money that you are prepared to lose and can do without. This can be a bit extreme, as there are safer investments that you can try out and many people use these to make money for their interest only mortgages or retirement. It is always worth knowing exactly what you are getting into though and making sure that you are aware of the consequences. Of course, we all have different attitudes towards risk taking as well and that will have an impact on out decision. It is a decision that we should not make quickly. It is well worth talking it over with someone. If you do not have a financial advisor or do not want to pay one, then talk it over with a friend or family member and they may be able to help you. Try to find someone who has invested themselves and they will be able to help you out by letting you know about their experience.

Categories
Mortgages

How to Repay your Mortgage Easily

Getting a mortgage is a big commitment and no one will take one on without careful consideration. However, with all the will in the world, it is hard to imagine what it will be like to have to make a mortgage payment month after month for decades. It can get to the point where it feels like a real drag. Fortunately, there are things that you can do which should make it much easier and so it is worth considering whether any of these will help you.

Find the Cheapest Lender

It can be a good idea to make sure that you are not repaying more than necessary. You might find that there are mortgage lenders that are cheaper than the one that you are with and therefore if you swap it could be easily to repay as the repayments will be lower. It is therefore worth doing some investigating to see whether you can spend less on your interest and other possible charges that you have from your lender. There may a fee for switching and so you will need to bear this in mind and make sure that you do not have to pay out so much that it is not worth switching. You might be tied into a fixed rate and therefore not able to move. So, you will need to check this as well. Switching lenders should be straightforward and it can be the easiest way that you can make it easier to repay your mortgage.

Prioritise Mortgage Repayments

It can be easier to make the repayments if you make sure that you prioritise them. This means that you should perhaps make sure that the payments come out of your bank account just after you are paid. You should be able to set up a direct debit which will make this a lot easier for you. You will then not be at any risk of missing a repayment. If you already have one set up but it is not on a date just after you are paid, you should be able to move it to make things easier.

Earn More

If you feel that you need more money in order to make the repayments easier, then you could find that you will be able to achieve this by earning more. This might sound easier than it is, but these days there are a lot of things that you can do to get some extra money. You will need to check with your employer to make sure that they allow this though as some of them will not and you will not be allowed to earn extra money outside of your job. However, most people are allowed to do this and it means that you have a great chance of being able to take the opportunity to make more money. There are lots of ways that you can do this and some pay more than others. If you want something relaxing and easy, but does not pay much then doing free online lotteries or surveys could slowly accumulate to give you some money. You might be able to find some freelance work, online or offline, which will pay a bit more and tends to also be quite flexible and you can choose how easy it is depending on what work you take on. If you want a more secure income then you could find a second job, perhaps at the weekends or evenings, to fit in with your current work.

Spend Less Elsewhere

If you can spend less money on other things then it will be easier to find the money that you need to pay the mortgage. This will be easy if you compare prices and try to buy cheaper versions of what you already buy as you will not even need to cut down the amount that you are buying. However, you will need to also think about the fact that you might want to cut down some of the luxury items that you buy so that you can free up even more money.

Categories
Saving

How Can I Spend Less Money Without Feeling Deprived?

It can be hard at times to stick to a budget. We might feel like we should be able to spend whatever we want and having to think about our spending and cut back can make us feel like we are depriving ourselves of items. There are ways that you can do this though without having to feel like this.

Pay Less for What you Buy

If you can find a way to pay less money for the things that you buy, you will be able to still buy the same amount of items without having to give anything up and you will just pay less for them. This might still mean you have to make some sacrifices as you may have to shop in cheaper retailers or find cheaper brands, but it can mean that you will have the same amount of items without paying so much money. This might help you to feel less deprived. You may even find changing some items to cheaper ones, such as finding a cheaper insurer or broadband supplier will make no difference to experience at all and you will just spend less. It is worth comparing prices on everything you buy and although there may be some areas where you will not be prepared to spend less money, there will be other areas where you will be happy to spend less.

Concentrate on Why You are Spending Less

It is well worth making sure that you keep reminding yourself of why you are limiting what you are spending. You will have some sort of goal, perhaps you want to repay debts, increase the amount of money you have saved or buy particular things. You might just want to make sure you have enough money to cover the cost of everything that you need to buy. It is a good idea to make sure that you are always aware of this so that you feel less hard done by. Imagine how good it will feel when you have achieved that goal and how the sacrifices that you are making now will be well worth it in the future. Some people even benefit from writing this down and sticking it up in a prominent place so that they can easily see it and read it daily and remind themselves of this really frequently. Just make sure that you do read it through rather than just glancing at it. Reading it properly will be a much better reminder of the goal and reasons for setting it and is much more likely to help than just seeing it at a glance.

Reward Yourself

It is a good idea to reward yourself every so often. So even if it is something really small, it will give you something to look forward to and make sure that you feel better about having to give up the things that you are having to go without. It could be something that is free or almost free – like a country walk or a long bath or something that costs money. Obviously, you do not want to do this too often as you could significantly eat into the money that you are trying not to spend. You will need decide what will work for you are how often you feel you will need a treat to help you to stay motivated. iT might be that you want something each week, month or less often or you want to set a financial target to reach before you can have something. Give it some thought so that you can be sure that it will work properly for you.

Categories
Shopping

Is it Better Value to Buy Big Brands?

There are many of us that buy big well-known brands because we think that they will be better than other brands. We may have tried some other brands a whole ago and decided tat we like the big brands better or we may just see no reason to switch brands because we are happy with the one that we are using. However, we may not be getting the best value from the brands that we have chosen to use and therefore we should have a think about whether we are making the right decision by using them.

Cost

Often the big brands will cost more money. Even when they are reduced or on sale, it is often the case that they will be more expensive than generic brands or shop own brands. This means that you will tend to be paying more money for them than for an equivalent product. This is okay though, if you are getting a better quality product as a result. So, for example, if you are paying twice as much for something that lasts three times as long then this would be worth it, but if you are paying twice as much for something that lasts half the time then it certainly would not.

Quality

It is often assumed that a big brand will be a better quality than other items. However, this may not be the case and so it is well worth trying to find out. If it is something cheap, like a tin of baked beans, then you could try both and see which is best. It can be worth doing a blind taste test so you are not influenced by the fact that you will think the one you normally buy is nicer. If you are buying expensive items then you will not be able to do this so you may need to rely on reviews to help you. Perhaps asking people that you know what they think could also be good. You might be able to get some recommendations which will be useful for you.

Well-Known

Some people will go for a certain brand because it is well-known. They feel that a well-known brand will be better to buy as it is just assumed that they will be better. People think that they have a good reputation and will want to keep that reputation and therefore will work hard to make sure that they provide a good service or quality of goods and a competitive price. Unfortunately, this is often not the case as they can actually get away with providing a worse service and charging more as people will use them because they have the illusion that they will be better.

Advertising

If a brand is well-known this is often because they do a lot of advertising. This advertising has to be paid for and it is often the case that it is paid for by the fact that the prices are higher. So, it is very likely that you will end up paying more money for the items.

Peer Pressure

There is sometimes peer pressure to buy a certain brand. You may want to be the same or better than everyone else and this could mean that you will feel that you should buy a specific brand. The value for money might be more about being like your peers rather than whether that item actually is something that you feel is the best.

Value for Money

You should be able to work out when an item is good value for money based on the quality of it and the price. Think about whether you think that it is worth paying the money for the brand that you like or whether you should consider trying a different one or changing to another brand.