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Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Headlines
  • Tips to Getting The Best Title Loans - Want to embark on your own entrepreneurial commercial venture but do not have access to capital? Need to pay off some medical bills or put yourself through university? If you answered yes to the above questions, then how difficult did you find it to obtain a loan or raise funds,...
  • Getting A Divorce? – Everything You Need To Know - Getting a divorce even if it’s an amicable one will still be a stressful time and there are a lot of things you need to do to ensure both parties are satisfied. Getting a divorce isn’t as simple as it’s often believed to be either and television has done a...
  • The Truth about IVAs – Everything you need to Know - IVAs are the right debt solution for many people, but some financial advisors worry that customers are sometimes pressured into taking on an IVA without knowing exactly how they work, and what other options are out there. Below, we explain some of the most common myths associated with IVAs, and...
  • Clearscore credit score – what is it and should you use it? - What is a credit score? Your credit score is information accessed by any lender in order to decide whether you are a viable recipient for their type of credit. This could be a mortgage, a loan, a credit card or other financial service. Your application for any of these products...
  • How does Shpock work? - First things first – what is Shpock? Shpock is an online selling app based on a local marketplace. It is not a dissimilar concept to other trading websites such as eBay, eBid or Gumtree but instead of a web-based payment system or an auction facility, the buyer has the choice...

Money Saving Strategies – Our Top Tips For 2018

Hopefully, some of the tips elsewhere on the site have given you some ideas for areas of your life where spending could be cut. The next question to address is what the best way to save this money could be. There are doz...

Lifestyle hacks that are guaranteed to save you money!

Do you have enough time and energy in the day to earn more money? With our fast paced lives it’s not uncommon to feel like you don’t have time to sleep – let alone do something that’s going to mean you earn more ...

Insiders’ Tips for Buying Life Insurance – All You Need...

Trying to find the best deal for life insurance can be particularly tricky and because of this many people are buying cover that is not necessarily the best deal they could get.  As this is a concern to us, we want to h...

More of us are saving for vacation time rather than...

Most Americans, in general, are woefully behind when it comes to their retirement savings. It’s no huge secret that people think more about their next vacation than they do about what happens to them once retirement co...

Suffered an injury on the job? – What’s your next...

Whether you work a job that carries a lot of risk like a builder on a construction site or you work in a place that is thought to be considerably less dangerous like an office block the protocols are the same if you suff...

Finance

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Tips to Getting The Best Title Loans

Tips to Getting The Best Title Loans

Want to embark on your own entrepreneurial commercial venture but do not have access to capital? Need to pay off some medical bills...
Getting A Divorce? – Everything You Need To Know

Getting A Divorce? – Everything You Need To...

Getting a divorce even if it’s an amicable one will still be a stressful time and there are a lot of things you...
The Truth about IVAs – Everything you need to Know

The Truth about IVAs – Everything you need...

IVAs are the right debt solution for many people, but some financial advisors worry that customers are sometimes pressured into taking on an...
Mint vs Quicken – which finance app is best for you?

Mint vs Quicken – which finance app is...

In a day and age where technology is king and personal financial advice from actual humans is becoming a thing of the past,...
Remortgaging with bad credit: How, why and where

Remortgaging with bad credit: How, why and where

Wherever you look online, there are going to be plenty of warnings and cautionary tales from ‘experts’ about the risks of getting into...

Retirement

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Insiders’ Tips for Buying Life Insurance – All You Need...

Trying to find the best deal for life insurance can be particularly tricky and because of this many people are buying cover that is not necessarily the best deal they could get.  As this is a concern to us, we...

More of us are saving for vacation time rather than...

Most Americans, in general, are woefully behind when it comes to their retirement savings. It’s no huge secret that people think more about their next vacation than they do about what happens to them once ret...

Simple Tips to Retire Rich

Retirement and Pension Plans give abundant customary salary in retirement with the assistance of cash saved during work life. Your family can keep up its way of living without your general paycheck in spite of ...

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While there is no such thing as a perfect loan, depending on your circumstances different loans will suit you to different extents. Answering these questions may help you to work out what kind of loan would be ...

Top 10 Ways to reduce your outgoings

With living costs on the rise, more and more of us are struggling with debt and often leading to a trust deed . Fortunately, with a little effort, there is plenty you can do to stretch your income further. Belo...

Top 5 Ways to get out of Debt in the...

Being in debt can be stressful, and problems with debt are affecting people in the UK more and more. In 2016, average household debt in the UK stood at £13,200 according to a study by the Trades Union Congress...

Most Recent Posts


Tips to Getting The Best Title Loans

Want to embark on your own entrepreneurial commercial venture but do not have access to capital? Need to pay off some medical bills or put yourself through university? If you answered yes to the above questions, then how difficult did you find it to obtain a loan or raise funds, can you get a title loan without a job with TopLoanCompanies.com? Vehicle title loans were developed to cater to this very dilemma. Landing a car title loan may sound like a lot of hard work. The good news is that the advent of the internet has led to an explosion in the number of players that are operational in the market. Of course, there are certain factors to consider before starting a work client relationship with an entity and our tips may help you reach an informed decision.

Terms and Conditions

When you go window shopping for prospective loan service providers, do not let yourself get enticed by service features that would end up in a whopping fee. It will be disguised as giving you money even on the same day but remember that there is always a catch. Or a non-conventional financial institution could demand a huge fee upfront. There are other companies that may charge an application processing fee and not accept your application until you pay up. Obviously, you are in dire need and every penny counts. Hence, it does not make sense to waste your precious monetary resources on unreasonable fees that are absolutely unnecessary. Why take extra stress? There are loaning businesses that will happily take on your fiscal claim for free and zero fees. Just do your research and do not go for the first loan service provider you come across. You must appraise the terms and conditions attached to the arrangement and see if it matches your criteria.

Ease of Process

Typical loan service providers such as banks will bury you in mountains of paperwork. They will need a lot of time to assess your credibility, perform background checks and evaluate your financial history. Once they are done with that, then they will contact you to let you know if they have approved the loan or not. Title loans are much simpler, easier and faster to obtain. You select a company, give it a call to schedule an appointment at your nearest location, apply online or via your smartphone. There are numerous such businesses who have launched their own mobile application too. As a swift and smooth process, your title loan can be approved the same day as you apply. Either the money will be transferred to your bank account or you will be asked to come pick up a check or take cash. There are usually no restrictions on how you spend the loan money and as few questions as possible are asked.

Company Reputation

The internet has forced companies to increase their level of transparency and to provide high quality customer service. With information available at our fingertips, all you have to do to find out about an enterprise’s worth is to go online and look up reviews. You can easily determine what the company’s reputation is in the market and decide accordingly. This is especially important as companies now choose to forego having a physical office presence due to high fixed costs and choose to maintain virtual operations.

Applied Tools & Programs

As stated above, some loan service providers do not require you to come in personally in order to apply for a title loan- mostly because they do not have a physical location. Do you feel comfortable sharing your personal information online? Are you able to obtain answers to any possible queries that you may have? Is the company good at responding and providing clarity? Learn what kind of tools your chosen fiscal service provider is able to offer. If there are any issues down the lane, you must be able to contact them easily and work out an agreement. Do assess the entity’s flexibility as well.

Hidden Fees

One problem with title loans tends to be is the lack of flexibility in payment plans. For instance, if your loan instalment scheme extends to a year, but you can pay it off in less, it may not be possible. However, there are entities that allow you leeway and have a more supportive attitude. The terms and conditions should be designed as per your wishes and your needs.

Information Security

With the constant human consumption of technology in today’s day and age, it is imperative that you be able to trust the company with your personal data. Do your homework and check with the company in question what tools it has at its disposal to safeguard your information. The more questions they ask, the more paperwork involved and the more data they will own about you. If they are a smart business unit, they will have definitely invested in owning and implementing SSL technology at a company scale to ensure a high level of encryption to protect you.

Speed of Approval

How fast can your chosen company approve your title loan and actually disburse cash to you? A lot of non-traditional lenders make huge promises and state they will pay you soon. But what does the word “soon” really entail? You must have a clear conversation with the loan issuing company and know for sure.

Range of Repayment Alternatives

Despite facing personal issues or any form of financial crisis, try not to panic. The option to have a title loan is usually moments away via your phone or maybe a physical option is available near you. Check the number of ways you can meet your repayments. Is it only in person? Does it require you to go to their office and submit the cash in person? Imagine this scenario: it’s winter and it has just snowed, and you cannot get your car out to go to the store. What do you do? Your loan service provider should not slap a high late charge on you and have another option: perhaps a bank transfer, mobile transfer or something should exist that allows you convenience and ease.

Getting A Divorce? – Everything You Need To Know

Getting a divorce even if it’s an amicable one will still be a stressful time and there are a lot of things you need to do to ensure both parties are satisfied. Getting a divorce isn’t as simple as it’s often believed to be either and television has done a lot to make people believe getting a divorce is quick and easy.

But it isn’t! That’s something that can’t be stressed enough and while there are a lot of variables to it if you want your divorce to be as smooth and as amicable as possible it’s important that you go about it the right way. What does this mean exactly?

It means that before you do anything you have to make sure you’re thinking rationally. It’s very easy and in some cases even understandable to let your emotions overrule your head when it comes to filing for a divorce.

But you need to go about things the right way to ensure everything runs smoothly and to ensure you’re protected. Divorces can get very messy so follow our steps below to ensure you get divorced the right way.

Step 1 – Take Your Time Finding A Solicitor

OK, you clearly won’t be able to spend ages deciding which divorce solicitor to use, but you don’t have to rush either. Many people will understandably want to get divorced as soon as possible but rushing straight to your local solicitor can be a mistake.

If your divorce is going to go to court, then it’s important you have an experienced solicitor such as this family lawyers based in Glasgow who can fight your case. Now if you and your spouse can work together then litigation, of course, might not be needed, plenty of people do get divorced without going to court. But if you do need a solicitor take your time choosing one so you can ensure they can properly represent you.

Step 2 – Get Your Finances In Order

This part of the divorce procedure is never going to be fun, but is any part of a divorce really going to be? Seeing your marriage broken down into a bunch of figures can be stressful so make sure you are prepared for it. Thankfully getting your finances in order is usually much easier than many people think.

All you need to do is work out what you own and what you owe, certain assets will be owned by both you and your spouse, while others may be more debatable. But determining what you owe can be a little more difficult but it’s important to remember that in the majority of circumstances most debts will be split equally as marital debts.

If you or your spouse already owed a debt before you were married, then it may only apply to that party. Finances can cause a lot of stress when it comes to divorce proceedings but it’s important that you keep an open dialogue when possible and gather proof of incomes for both you and your spouse.

Step 3 – Deal With Your Joint Accounts

This step can be very easy or very hard it really all depends on the circumstances surrounding your divorce. Joint accounts can be very volatile when it comes to divorce proceedings so whatever you decide to do it’s essential that you are very open about it.

One of the worst things you can do is try to move money around in secret which is, unfortunately, more common than you’d think especially in more volatile divorce cases. One tip that may help both you and your partner is to split any savings in half and move them to new separate accounts in each other’s name.

You should also try to close any joint accounts before your divorce proceeding fully get underway, this will go a long way towards helping ensure things run more smoothly. Credit accounts follow the same process although if you are unable to pay the remainder of any credit debt of then you will need to negotiate with your creditors.

Step 4 – Plan Your Budget For After The Divorce

Few people really think about what they’ll do next after their divorce has been finalised, but it’s essential that you plan a budget. Your finances will likely be massively affected so you need to think about where you can live and how much you’ll have to spend on essentials.

A divorce is life-changing, so you need to be sure you can actually survive financially once your divorce is finished. If you and your spouse both currently share a home, then it would be advisable if possible to still live their together till the device is finalised. Of course, this isn’t always possible but when it is try to make it work, it will make moving on afterward much easier.

So, that’s our tips for getting divorced the right way, it’s rarely ever easy but try your best to make things work to ensure the best outcome for everyone involved.

 

The Truth about IVAs – Everything you need to Know

IVAs are the right debt solution for many people, but some financial advisors worry that customers are sometimes pressured into taking on an IVA without knowing exactly how they work, and what other options are out there.

Below, we explain some of the most common myths associated with IVAs, and help you to decide whether an IVA is the right choice, or if you would benefit more from a different solution.

How IVAs work

IVA stands for Individual Voluntary Arrangement. They are a formal, legally-binding solution to problem debt, which allows you to pay back a portion of what you owe your creditors in reduced monthly instalments, over the course of about five years.

To set up an IVA, you have to contact a qualified Insolvency Practitioner (IP), who will negotiate a reduced repayment plan with your creditors on your behalf. This is calculated based on what you can reasonably afford, after the IP asks you about your income and expenditure.

If your creditors agree to the terms of the IVA, you simply make the agreed-upon payments for five years. At the end of the IVA, any remaining debts you have are written off. In the IVA’s final year, you may be required to remortgage your home and put the funds towards your IVA, but an extra year of monthly payments, or a lump-sum payment, can be substituted instead. During the IVA, your creditors will no longer be able to contact you directly, but must communicate through your IP.

IVA Myths

Unfortunately, information about IVAs can be confusing, leading to the emergence of certain myths and misconceptions – here we dismiss some of the most common.

  • All of your Creditors have to agree to your IVA for it to go ahead

This is an understandable misconception, but it is not true. If creditors representing 75% of your debts agree to the IVA, then every creditor is bound by it, even if they voted against it. Once the IVA begins, your creditors must also freeze interest and fees on your debts. They cannot contact you demanding further payment, or take legal action against you.

  • You cannot take out any further Credit during an IVA

Some people are reluctant to consider an IVA because they fear it could stop them from accessing credit for a long time. There are restrictions on obtaining credit whilst in an IVA, but it is certainly not entirely banned! To borrow more than £500, you will have to gain permission from the IP handling your case, and finding companies to lend to you can be more challenging since they will be able to see you are in an IVA. This will affect your credit rating, since potential lenders can see that you have had trouble repaying debt in the past. However, getting credit is possible – you might consider an alternative to the high-street lenders, such as a credit union.

  • If you miss an IVA Payment you will be made Bankrupt

This is another myth which can be very off-putting to people who might actually benefit from an IVA. IVAs actually allow for a reasonable amount of flexibility – if you have been struggling with debt, things are likely to be tight financially, and your IP will take this into account. If you cannot afford your payment for a month or two, you will be able to take a break, and add them to the end of your IVA instead. If your circumstances change for the worse, it is also important to tell your IP as soon as possible. You may be able to arrange lower monthly payments with your creditors. Even if an IVA does fail, you will not automatically be made bankrupt. Your creditors are likely to agree to a new repayment plan rather than petition to make you bankrupt – it is important to get in touch with them straight away though.

  • IVAs are always better than Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy does come with certain restrictions which IVAs do not impose, but this does not mean that bankruptcy is never the right solution. For people who cannot afford the long-term monthly payments required by an IVA, bankruptcy can be an alternative which releases them from their debts in a relatively short space of time.

  • You must tell your Employer if you get an IVA

In the vast majority of cases, you will not have to tell your employer about an IVA, and can continue to work as normal. There are a few exceptions – you may not be able to hold certain positions in the financial industry, and you may have to disclose the IVA if you work for the Police Service or the Army. If you are unsure whether an IVA could affect your employment, speak to your HR department, or check your contract of employment.

Who should consider an IVA?

To be eligible for an IVA, you do have to meet certain criteria. You must:

  • Have two or more creditors
  • Have at least £6,000 of debt
  • Live in England or Wales (for Scottish residents, a Trust Deed is a similar solution)
  • Be able to afford monthly contributions, usually of at least £85

If you have a lower level of debt, an informal solution such as a Debt Management Plan could be a better solution. Because DMPs are not legally binding, they will have less of an impact on your credit score, and not limit your access to further credit. DMPs also involve making reduced monthly payments to your creditors. However, unlike with an IVA, you creditors can still contact you, and you will have to repay the full value of what you owe. Creditors may agree to freeze interest and fees on your debts, but this is by no means guaranteed.

For more on the truth about IVAs, and to find out whether one could be the right solution for you, click here.

Clearscore credit score – what is it and should you use it?

What is a credit score?

Your credit score is information accessed by any lender in order to decide whether you are a viable recipient for their type of credit. This could be a mortgage, a loan, a credit card or other financial service.

Your application for any of these products can be affected by how you score and can determine whether your application is successful or not. Those with a higher credit score are often seen as a lower risk to lenders so will generally be more successful in their applications.

All lenders use their own policies when deciding whether or not to accept or deny an application, and that they will invariably use different credit score agencies; often this means that different lenders will arrive at different decisions. If one lender declines your application, another lender might still accept you. If you have an application rejected you can check your credit score to see the activity and understand what the rejection was based on. Understanding these factors can help you improve them and raise your credit score accordingly.

How does it work?

Each time you apply for any kind of credit a search will be made on your credit report and a reference to this will be left on your file. Too many applications in too short a period of time will give you a lower score.

If you show lenders you are stable by living at the same property for an extended period of time then this will raise your credit score as will being on the electoral roll. Again, this gives lenders the assurance of stability.

Any long lasting credit agreements show that you can adhere to your commitments; again this shows a positive towards how you handle your financial commitments.

Alternatively, if you miss a payment, several payments or are late paying any of your credit arrangements then this will lower your score. Missing a payment has a much more detrimental effect on your credit score than a late payment. Missing a payment can stay on your report for up to six years (the maximum length of time any credit information is held).

How much credit you’re utilising is also a key fact in your credit score. Using up to half of your available credit limit is seen as an acceptable amount, whereas between half and three quarters will trigger warnings – using over three quarters of your total credit limit will more than likely have a negative impact on your credit score and your loan applications.

Any legal financial disruptions on public record will also be available on your credit score report. County Court Judgements, Individual Voluntary Arrangements, or bankruptcy will all appear and will have a negative effect on your credit report and credit scores. If you have any of these you must adhere strictly to any conditions applied in order to not warrant further reductions in your score. There are options to help rebuild your score once you have the debt back under control. Credit builder credit cards are one such means.

Any mistaken information appearing on your report can affect your score. Simple errors such as the wrong address or a spelling difference in your address or previous addresses can alter your rating. Your electoral roll information might be missing or information about a loan might not feature – all of these elements can be updated in order to improve your score.

Having no credit arrangements will work towards a negative score. Even if this means you have always been in credit the lack of a credit application or credit repayment doesn’t offer the lenders any information in how you handle a loan or its repayments. To gain a better credit score try to at least engage in one such activity.

What is Clearscore?

Clearscore is a UK technology business that provides its users free access to their Equifax credit score and report. It is the only free access service to Equifax’s credit reports and registered over 5 million users in 2017.

What’s the difference between Experian, Equifax and CallCredit?

In the UK nobody has a universal credit score so there isn’t a hard and fast way to achieve a perfect rating over the various agencies. In the UK everyone has three credit scores, each of which gathers their own information from various banking facilities. These three credit reference agencies use the information to offer a maximum score and each also has a different score and scale depicting what is a good score and what isn’t.

The three agencies are Equifax, Experian and CallCredit. Equifax gives you a credit score out of a maximum of 700 points, Experian’s score from a maximum of 999 points, and CallCredit from a maximum of 710.

Equifax’s credit scale dictates that scores between 0 and 279 are poor, between 280 and 379 are poor, 380 to 419 is fair, 420 to 465 is good and 466 to 700 is excellent.

The Experian credit scale however shows 0 to 560 to be very poor, 561 to 720 to be poor, 721 to 880 to be fair, 881 to 960 to be good and 961 to 999 to be excellent.

CreditCall give you a credit rating that they work out from your credit score where 1 is very poor, 2 is poor, 3 is fair, 4 is good and 5 is excellent.

Over 55% of all lenders, for example banks and finance companies, supply financial and loan information to Equifax, 77% of all lenders supply information to Experian and 34% supply information to CallCredit.

Not all lenders supply their information to the same agencies, some will supply their details to Experian only, some will supply to Experian and Equifax but not CallCredit, as will other lenders will choose their own choices across the three agencies and this is why each offers a different view of your credit rating, in turn leading to why one lender migh approve your application and another might not.

Should I use Clearscore?

Yes.

Realistically you should utilise all three of the credit score agencies to achieve a complete picture of your credit reports and scores and which instances over which agencies offer weak areas you can improve on.

So you should be using Clearscore to check your credit report with Equifax, CreditExpert or CreditMatcher to view your Experian score, and Noddle or CheckMyFile to view your CallCredit report and credit score.

You need to choose which of these website services offers the detail of information that suits your needs best and consider if you can get the same level of information from the free services provided

How does Shpock work?

First things first – what is Shpock?

Shpock is an online selling app based on a local marketplace.

It is not a dissimilar concept to other trading websites such as eBay, eBid or Gumtree but instead of a web-based payment system or an auction facility, the buyer has the choice of arranging to pay the seller face-to-face when collecting their chosen item in person.

Shpock, or the ‘shop in your pocket’ has branded itself ‘the bootsale app’ selling itself as the online equivalent to a local car boot sale. It’s an app and website where you can offload unwanted items or acquire new to you clothing, devices, sports equipment, cars, toys and more, and all in the area close to where you live.

You’re going to need an account

Whether buying or selling the first thing you’ll need is an account – so login using Facebook, Google or create a Shpock specific account using a valid email address and password.

You’ll be expected to provide a username and telephone number, they can’t be changed once you’ve confirmed them but your email address and profile picture can be updated any time you like.

Buying

It’s simple to use if you’re a buyer; you choose from pre-selected categories, of which there are nine to cover most eventualities; Fashion and Accessories; Home and Garden; Electronics; Movies, Books and Music; Baby and Child; Sport, Leisure and Games; ServicesCars and Motor; and ‘Other‘ – or you can enter exactly what you’re looking for in the search bar. There is an additional filter option to tweak your search further if you need to.

If you’re using the app then your search results will automatically correspond to items in your area using the location services built into your phone or device but if you’re using a web browser then you’ll have to enter your location or postcode manually.

All the items relating to your search will appear on your screen. When browsing the many items shown for each of which you’re interested in you can click through for further details. At this point you’re given two choices; you can message the seller or you can make a private offer. If the buyer likes your offer it gets accepted and all you have to do is arrange to meet and make the transaction. Alternately you will have agreed on a payment method and delivery costs if you’ve searched further out of your area than you can realistically travel to.

If you choose to message the seller you can enter into a debate about the item, its price, striking a deal and any haggling that may be involved in making your decision whether to buy or not.

Selling

Selling is easy. And why wouldn’t it be? Shpock want as many of us to use their apps and website in order to maximise their earning capacity so they’ve created an interface to make everything as easy as possible for its users.

To create a post in order to sell your item you simply hit the sell button. You’re prompted to upload a photo or a selection of photos of the item that you’ve taken yourself, not images you’ve downloaded from the Internet or another shopping site, and then complete the dialogue boxes for its title, description and choose the nearest of the nine categories that your item relates to (don’t worry if you can’t see one that fits, there’s an option for ‘other’ for those items). Once that’s taken care of hit the ‘sell it’ button and wait for the offers to come rolling in.

If you decide you need to change your product information you can enter the selling section of the app at any time, select which item it is you need to change and click the ‘edit’ option to access the information fields.

What can and can’t you sell?

This should be common sense really so obviously you can’t sell illegal items, counterfeit products, weapons, alcohol and tobacco products, animals or food. However, there is an option to sell pets in a small handful of European countries but you must abide by Shpock’s specific rules for them.

You also can’t sell social network pages, likes or followers, sexual services, lotteries and gambling systems and nor can you advertise job offers.

Are the sellers trustworthy?

As with any service dealing in pre-used goods you’re taking a risk so be careful – but after every transaction you get the chance to review the seller and the product you’ve bought.

This works on a 5 star rating system where 5 is high and 1 is low, you can enter a few words describing your experience which is available for any other user to review when they are considering making a purchase from the same seller.

You should always wait until the deal is complete; that you have taken ownership of your item and you are happy it is in good working order.

If you mistakenly give a rating you didn’t mean to you can contact Shpock and they’ll look into it and correct it for you if they think it appropriate. In the same way if you feel you’ve been unfairly reviewed then again, contact Shpock and let them know. They’ll investigate it and make a decision on a befitting way to resolve the situation.

If you have a particularly bad experience with a seller or any user then you can report the incident to the support team and they’ll look into it. You can report items that never got paid for, nor delivered, items that didn’t match the representation of them on the app or website, or if the seller unbefittingly disengages with you or uses inappropriate behaviour or language.

What does it cost?

It’s absolutely free.

There are a handful of paid features that can help promote your item if you choose to engage with them and these range from 69p to £13.99. There are also a few areas that feature ads but the Premium Membership running from £4.58 to £9.99 per month will remove them as well as allowing you to post up to ten photographs of your item instead of only five. With the Premium Membership you also get to utilise the Shpock Super Boost to further enhance your products chance of selling.

And if you fall out of love with Shpock…?

If you decide you really don’t want to be part of the community anymore you can email Shpock’s support team with your account details and the reason you wish to close your account and they’ll take care of the rest.

Mint vs Quicken – which finance app is best for you?

In a day and age where technology is king and personal financial advice from actual humans is becoming a thing of the past, our world of finance is becoming more and more competitive between software providers in giving you a new ease in organising and accounting your personal financing.

Having a piece of tech to organise your budget now is able to take practically all the stresses of the decision making process away from you and making it as simple as following a pre-set plan mapped out specifically for you by the robot in your pocket. Budgeting for this weeks wages, this months salary, your yearly life plan or indeed, for when you finally plan to retire and spend your spare time on the golf course or brunching – if of course you’ve made the right accommodations to be able to afford it.

Two of the leading options in the market are Mint and Quicken. Originally both projects were developed by the finance company Intuit but in 2016 Quicken was sold to H.I.G. Capital who took over the reigns and developed it into the product it stands as today.

Quicken, having been on the market since 1983, and being one of the first pieces of software to capture this market, has the reputation of a tried and trusted brand. Mint on the other hand has very much the feel of the new kid on the block, often described as ‘designed for millennials’ but that doesn’t necessarily make it bad for the rest of us, just that it’s modern, forward thinking and will slip in and out of your pocket as fast as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

What do they do? And what do they do different?

Budgeting

Looking at their features they both handle your budget incredibly well. Both options allow you to link all of your bank accounts, credit cards, loans and more into your account and from there each of the software packages automatically imports, stores and organises all of your transactions to give you a clear overview of your financial health.

Both present this information in a way is simple to understand, they’re clear, simple and up front with graphical representations that are just fine for any user.

You can see, track and pay all your bills from within these apps that organise your spending into categories, and then alerts you to how these will affect your budget offering ways to stay in charge and in the black.

Mint will offer suggestions on how to save money too, and this advertisement of financial products, from insurance to credit cards and more, is one of the key ways it makes its money.

Technology and security

They both offer their users mobile apps as well as browser access, all of which will sync with each other to keep you up to date with where you stand right now whenever and wherever you log in.

Quicken however, is generally considered a desktop-based option so your data is stored locally on your own computer. In many cases this is seen as the most secure option away from the probing fingers of hackers and data-thieves. Yet just how safe is your data on your desktop?

Unless you’re making cloud-based backups then it’s in a different danger of becoming lost in the event of a burglary, a fire, a computer breakdown – there’s a reason we put so much of our treasured information in the cloud. Maybe this is one of them?

Mint, being cloud based, offers the additional security measures you would expect it to take with your security needs; a two-factor authentication system and also utilising Apple’s touch ID fingerprint sensor for further secured access. An added feature is that Mint uses text messaging and email to let you know when a bill is due and suggests ways to save on any transactions you may be about to make.

Retirement and investments

Quicken, seemingly based at a more mature generation of user incorporates a retirement plan into its package. It offers many options for investment tools considering the performance of the market and assistance with buying and selling decisions from your investments, where Mint just doesn’t. Quicken will also advice ways to minimise the tax you pay on those investments too. Mint will only track your portfolio value without offering any tools or ways to save or profit from them.

It isn’t just your retirement that Quicken considers as a long-term investment tool though; you can prepare for college, weddings, holidays, and property purchases – in fact anything you need to consider in your future. Unfortunately Mint touches on none of these things and concentrates on being purely a budgeting tool for the now.

What do they cost?

Here’s a deal breaker for the age-gap in users. Quicken which has been around since the very beginning and has always come with a price tag for its services currently hits the market from £45.00 to £125.00 in the UK depending on what level of service you need from it and which of its applications are relevant to you. It offers simple personal budgeting to a business edition. The cost in the US reflects the same from around $40.00 to $120.00.

Mint though, is completely free of charge with no hidden costs. For the millennial who wants instant access from the app or play store can be up and running in no time with no hit to their wallet. This should be a huge plus to anyone really, but where once upon a time we believed in the adage ‘you get what you pay for’ we now live in a world where we can get so much without spending a penny.

This is the case with Mint. It offers an excellent service and product, and isn’t funded by you but by its advertisers and also by financial data providers who buy aggregate information (the averages of Mint’s total learning; they never give away any individual’s information or data) regarding consumer spending, saving, debt, what type of accounts, how many and then selling their analysis on to the companies who use this new data to fine tune their own products and services.

So who comes out on top?

It’s a tough call but the overwhelming decision is that it depends on who you are and what you want. It seems fairly obvious through this discussion that both apps are more than capable of handling what you need them to do, it’s in the details where you’ll be better off with one over the other.

Quicken seems to offer more functionality and security to who we might consider a more settled and mature user with its investment and long-term budgeting planning and tracking.

Mint, with its completely free service and product design appears to be based at a younger more in tune with the technology trends market; and for them it would seem the obvious and tailor made decision.

And for anybody stuck in the middle? Well, you’ll probably have to dig a little further into what your specific needs are, but why stop at these two? There are a whole host of free and paid finance management packages out there, all offering their own take – you just need to find the right one to manage your own personal needs that little bit better than all the others.

Remortgaging with bad credit: How, why and where

Wherever you look online, there are going to be plenty of warnings and cautionary tales from ‘experts’ about the risks of getting into debt or falling into bad credit. These warnings are not without merit, after all a bad credit rating can have a damaging effect your chances of being able to borrow when you need to and remortgaging with bad credit is often seen as a risk by lenders.

Gaining credit in the future, such as a mortgage or bank loan, is going to be more difficult if your credit rating is on the wrong side of acceptable. If you re looking to remortgage your home, then a bad credit rating is going to affect you too.

If you do happen to be at a point where you want to renew the mortgage your home but you also have a poor credit history, then you are going to struggle. You may get ‘lucky’ with your current lender and offer you a remortgage on the property, but if your credit is not as up to scratch as you might like then that could be a problem.

In order to offset the perceived risk that they would be taking, by offering a remortgage agreement to somebody with a less than perfect credit rating, then they will most likely make an offer at an increased rate of interest… Assuming they make an offer.

If you are not able to get a deal with your current lender, or you want to ‘shop around’ (maybe the increase on interest is too steep?), then there are alternative lenders out there if you do want to remortgage with bad credit such as The Loans Departement. Lenders that are more willing to offer deals to those with bad credit histories do exist and will still lend at higher rates of interest than the standard.

A bad credit remortgage, or a subprime remortgage as they are sometimes called, could be compared to payday loans; interest rates can be steep but sometimes they are the only option if you really do need the credit loan.

Why do people need or want to remortgage with bad credit?

There are lots of reasons why people may want to remortgage their home, even though remortgaging with bad credit can be difficult in of itself:

Raising funds

If your household income has increased, since taking out your current agreement, or the value of the property itself has increased, then you may be able to increase the mortgage. Money generated in this way can then be used to fund other things…

Improvements around the home

Home improvements can increase property value in the long term and it can be a smart investment in the future of the property. Aside from property value, improvements will also make living standards in the home that bit more comfortable

Debt consolidation

If you are remortgaging with bad credit then there is a chance that you have several debts. If this is the case, and you are struggling to pay them off, you can use money gained from remortgaging your home to clear them. Interest rates on mortgages can be lower than is found on credit cards, although this may not be the case with bad credit remortgaging (it is worth checking around with lenders and comparing against the rates you are currently paying on other debts).

The loan can be used for a whole host of other things such as new car, holiday, college and university fees… Just about anything that requires a substantial amount of money that you may not have immediate access to.

Can you repair your credit rating?

Further borrowing when you are already in a bind with poor credit may seem like a bad idea, but it can actually play a large role in repairing your damaged credit rating. All you need to do in make certain that you are responsible and keep up with the payments on the new remortgage agreement.

Keeping up with regular payments and not falling behind with any payments, generally keeping the debt under control, is going to help with improving your credit rating. Late or missed payments will have an negative influence on your rating so be sure neither of these things happen if you do manage to get a new agreement for your home.

Assuming that you are able to manage the debt responsibly, and pay off the loan, then you will be in a much better position later on should you need another loan and you should be offered the standard interest rate.

When should you consider remortgaging

The best time to consider remortgaging with bad credit, or even stellar credit really, is right about when your existing deal is approaching its conclusion. It is at this point when your payments are usually earmarked to rise too. In order to get the best start on your new arrangement, you should be aiming to switch before your current arrangement ends; this will help make the transition go as smoothly as possible.

Remortgaging with bad credit? Finding a bad credit lender

No all mortgage lenders are going to offer credit to somebody with a less than great credit history, possibly not even your own lender. You can search online for those that do though, and there are plenty to choose from.

That said, maybe you prefer to talk to a person rather than a search engine? In that case it can help to talk to a professional advisor about your requirements and individual circumstances. They will be able to talk to you about your options and help find the best deals for you.

Remortgaging with bad credit is not always the easiest thing in the world, and the interest rates are not as favourable, but if it is something that you need, for whatever reason, then it can be done. Remember though, not keeping up with repayments can put your home at risk but if you manage the loan responsibly, it can go a long way to repairing your credit rating.

Mental Health, Physical Health, and Financial Health: It’s All Linked!

Mental Health, Physical Health, and Financial Health: It’s All Linked!

You might think you are a healthy person, but did you know there are all kinds of health? And most importantly, that they are all linked?

Your physical health is what we traditionally think of as health; your body’s wellbeing, and your mental health is how your mind feels; your mental wellbeing. But, you also have another aspect that is often ignored, or prioritised too highly: your financial health.

Your financial health is your financial wellbeing. This means your financial security, your credit score, your debts, and your plans for the future. There mere mention of these things can cause many people to break out into a sweat. Money is very stressful, and this is what we mean when we say that they are all linked.

It’s All Connected

For example, studies have shown that your financial health is a very good indicator of your mental health. While some people find that there is a cyclical link between your mental and financial health. You might damage your mental health by worrying about your finances, but then your poor mental health makes managing your finances even harder. This makes you worry more, and so on, until you are completely overwhelmed!

Similarly, your physical health and financial health are very connected. One study found that people are more likely to save for their retirement if they are living a healthy lifestyle. Researchers from Washington University argue that both these attributes are typical of people who think about, and plan for the future.

Or perhaps, your physical health suffers from something outside your control? When you are injured, your income can sometimes take a hit, which could cause financial trouble or, at the very least, serious worries and anxiety.

Having a debt problem, for example, is not just a financial health concern. When you are in debt, your mental health takes a serious hit as you worry about bankruptcy, or sequestration. For some people, this can simply mean a few sleepless nights, but for others it can be severe depression, anxiety, and other concerns.

When you suffer from mental health issues, you often begin to neglect yourself; you might turn to unhealthy foods for comfort, or lose the motivation to exercise. Your financial concerns may also make it harder to afford healthy food, gym memberships and other healthy lifestyle choices.

What can I do?

There are all sorts of things you can do to make sure you are healthy in every way and every aspect of your life.

Value Yourself

  • Avoid toxic thoughts, about yourself, about your life, and about your money. Remember: your worth is not tied to your finances.
  • Don’t compare yourself to other people. People rarely show the difficult parts of their lives, so you are likely to be comparing your life to a fictional version of theirs, and that is a recipe for negativity.
  • Don’t buy things for the person you want to be, buy things for you (because you are already the best version of you!). So don’t buy clothes that aren’t your size that you will never wear, and don’t buy expensive yoga equipment, smoothie equipment when you don’t yet know if you like yoga or smoothies.

Get Debt Help

  • Even if you aren’t yet struggling with your debts, looking into debt management can really help your stress levels.
  • There are many debt solutions, such as Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA), Trust Deeds, or Debt Management Plans. There is almost definitely a solution to suit your situation.
  • It is also important to realise that debt is not inherently bad – some debt, such as student debt, is very manageable. Don’t let normal financial situations build up in your head.

Make a Budget

  • Your finances might stress you out so much that you just avoid the subject. But, that is never a good idea. But, don’t worry – you can start small. You don’t need to worry about understanding bitcoin, investing, or even your pension just yet.
  • Start by simply working out how much money you actually earn a month from your income, after tax, housing, and bills.
  • Then work out how much you need for food and other essentials and take that away.
  • Then make sure you are paying off your priority debts, and paying more than your minimum payments on your other debts.
  • If you have anything left, then this is money you use to make a budget for leisure activities. Don’t be too strict with yourself, you deserve to have fun, after all! But try to save as much as possible for financial emergencies and your future.

Healthy Food on a Budget

  • Don’t forget to continue eating healthily, even if you are on a budget. There is no point becoming financially healthy, just so you can harm your physical health by ruining your diet.
  • There are some great cheap food ideas around. You might even find yourself spending less on food by learning to cook and prepare cheap meals!
  • Try to learn to cook in season. In-season fruit and vegetables are not only often cheaper because they don’t require expensive greenhouses, but they can be fresher and full of more nutrients because they haven’t had to travel long distances.

Exercise on a Budget

  • Similarly, don’t let your new budget stop you from exercising. It might be a good idea to give up on that gym membership, if it isn’t great value. But, there are plenty of ways that you can exercise and not spend any money at all!
  • Parks are free! You can walk, or run, at your leisure!
  • Look around for cheap local classes, if you prefer taking exercise classes – not only will you get fit, but you can make some great friends too!
  • If you love lifting weights, and have the space, you might want to save for some home gym equipment. It could save you money in the long term, but remember: don’t buy things based on the person you want to be, spend money on who you are now! If you don’t lift weights now, a home-gym is likely to be a waste.

Money Saving Strategies – Our Top Tips For 2018

Hopefully, some of the tips elsewhere on the site have given you some ideas for areas of your life where spending could be cut. The next question to address is what the best way to save this money could be. There are dozens of saving strategies to choose from, so selecting the right method for you can often feel like a challenge.

Below are a few strategies you might want to try, alongside the kind of financial situation they are most likely to work for.

Pay Yourself First

  • How it works

This method is fairly straight-forward: treat your saving commitments as another necessary monthly expense just like utility bills, rent, or grocery shopping. Work out what you can afford to set aside each month, and set up a direct debit into a separate savings account, ideally to come out soon after you have been paid.

  • Good for

This technique is good for people who struggle to stick to budgets. By deducting savings from your income as soon as it is paid, you can easily see exactly how much you have left to live on for the rest of the month, and don’t risk dipping into funds which you had ear marked for saving. The method can also help curb the spending of impulse buyers; if your disposable income is not readily available, because kept in a separate account, you are encouraged to really think through each purchase.

  • Advantages

This is a simple but effective way to save, and provides a helpful framework for thinking about savings – as another necessary expense rather than a separate special effort. With this kind of discipline, you can amass savings fairly quickly.

  • Drawbacks

If you are not experienced in sticking to a fairly strict budget, setting aside some of your income does run the risk of leaving you short at the end of the month, at least until you adjust. You might also be unable to save the same amount every month, meaning an automatic transfer might not be the best option.

Save the Change

  • How it works

This time-honoured saving method can serve many of us just as well in the twenty first century. The premise is simple: whenever you buy something with cash, set aside any coinage change in a piggy bank or jar. Although this technique probably won’t build significant savings on its own, it can be a powerful supplement to your saving efforts, and is a pretty good habit to develop.

  • Good for

If you struggle to set aside larger amounts of money all at once, starting with this technique might serve you well. We tend to miss money less when it leaves our bank accounts in smaller denominations. This can be a real issue when it comes to spending, but it can be turned to your advantage with this kind of saving.

  • Advantages

The advantages of this technique are fairly self-evident: save small amounts of money regularly, and you will end up with some degree of savings without really noticing the money missing from your account.

  • Drawbacks

The main drawback of this method is the fact that our spending is, more and more, revolving around debit cards and online payments rather than physical cash. You could combine this method with cash-only spending, to encourage sticking to a budget, or consider installing an app which rounds up your transactions to the nearest whole pound and saves or invests the difference.

Try a Savings Challenge

  • How it works

The savings challenge can come in many forms – the 52 week saving challenge is one popular incarnation, but it could be anything from committing to save every five pound note you get, to cutting spending in a specific area and saving the difference.

  • Good for

Framing saving as a challenge is a great idea if you have a competitive personality – especially if others take the challenge alongside you.

  • Advantages

Completing a challenge is inherently rewarding, no matter what its nature, so using this kind of saving technique can be a lot more motivating than more traditional methods – an end goal is clearly and consistently in sight. Undertaking the challenge alongside others also encourages a supportive network to keep you going.

  • Drawbacks

The main drawback of savings challenges is that they might not be sustainable in the long term. If you ‘fail’ the challenge, you may also be put off further efforts to save in the future. Remember that challenges can always be adapted to better fit your circumstances.

The 50/30/20 Rule

  • How it works

This is a simple rule of thumb for how to split your income. 50% is spent on “needs” – necessary expenses such as bills, food, and rent or mortgage payments – 30% is dedicated to “wants” – eating out, cinema trips and the likes – while the final 20% goes towards savings.

  • Good for

This level of saving is most likely to be possible for people with higher incomes – who only need to spend 50% of their earnings on basic living costs. The rule offers a simple way to organise your finances without having to break down spending into myriad categories.

  • Advantages

Consistently setting aside 20% of your income is a fairly quick and simple way to build your savings, and the method also encourages users to think critically about their spending habits by distinguishing clearly between “needs” and “wants”.

  • Drawbacks

On a lower income, it is likely that more than 50% of earnings will be dedicated to “needs” each month. It is possible to adjust the percentages, but this does not really allow for any flexibility on a month to month basis.

Not all of these methods will work for everyone, but hopefully one or more will fit in with your own personal spending habits. It is also totally possible to combine or utilise a hybrid of two or more methods to maximise your savings.

If you are having trouble setting aside savings because of debt obligations, getting in control of this could be a more valuable step towards getting your finances under control. You can read more about solutions such as a Debt Management Plan, Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) or Protected Trust Deeds by following the links. Good luck saving!

 

Finding the Right Loan for You

While there is no such thing as a perfect loan, depending on your circumstances different loans will suit you to different extents. Answering these questions may help you to work out what kind of loan would be best for you.

 

What Do You Want from Your Loan?

The first, and most important, step in finding the right loan for you is working out what exactly you want from a loan. How much money do you want to borrow and how long a period of time do you want to pay it back over?

Once you’ve thought this through and have an idea of what it is you’d like out of a loan it makes it much easier to compare different lenders’ rates.

 

 

Do You Understand Interest?

The main thing to consider when approaching applying for a loan is the APR of that loan. APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate and is the amount you’ll pay each year of your loan. This is based on the interest rate of the loan and any additional charges you may have to pay.

A simple way of looking for the best loan for you might be to simply look for the lowest APR, as this incurs the least extra cost while paying your loan back.

 

Do You Know What You’re Getting from this Loan?

Once you think you’ve picked a loan which fits what you are looking for, it’s important to look further into it and make sure you know all the facts.

While interest rates are important, you should know the other features of any loans you are considering applying for. For example, are there handling fees that you have to pay? Can you pay your loan back early if you want to? These features can make loans more or less expensive so can be helpful to look at when comparing loans with similar interest rates.

 

How Much Can You Borrow?

Beyond the fact that you will have to pay back any money you borrow, there are other reasons to consider carefully how large a loan you are going to apply for. There are even ways you could decrease your interest rates by increasing this amount.

This is because many lenders charge less interest if you borrow more, and it may not take as much of an increase as you expect to enter the next bracket and pay a significantly decreased rate of interest on your loan.

 

Where are You Applying?

Many different places provide loans; banks, building societies and supermarkets all offer different options and rates can be very competitive. This makes it a good idea to do a lot of shopping around.

You should, however, be careful to apply to reputable loan providers rather than smaller companies you may not have heard of. These often have high interest rates and are less likely to allow you to pay off your loan early without incurring heavy penalties. You should also be aware that the advertised interest rate for the lender may not be the rate you get, depending on your credit history, employment stability and other factors.

 

Do You Have a Poor Credit Score?

The higher your credit score the more likely you are to be accepted by the loan you are applying for. This is why it’s a bad idea to apply to several loans at the same time, as the checks they perform on your credit record can damage your score if too many happen in too short a time.

If you are unsuccessful in applying for a loan it can also damage your credit score so it’s always a good idea to be cautious with where you apply. There are ‘quotation search’ tools which use your personal details to tell you what loans you are likely to be accepted for, a risk-free method of trying out the market without causing permanent damage to your chances.

 

How Long Will You Take to Pay Off Your Loan?

Borrowing can be done over a wide variety of time periods, five or ten-year loans being common though shorter periods are popular and longer-term borrowing is also available.

Although long term borrowing can seem appealing as it reduces the monthly payments made on a loan, it also leads to a build-up of interest which may make your loan much more expensive in the long run.

If you are looking for a substantial long-term loan, a mortgage may be the best option for you, rather than a personal loan. On the other hand, if you are looking for a smaller amount than is usually offered in a personal loan, a credit card may be what you are looking for. This is especially true if you get a 0% interest offer on a new card and pay off the card before the offer expires.

 

Does Your Bank Offer Preferential Treatment?

The best choice for you may be to stay with the same people who handle the rest of your financial business. This is worth considering both for the sake of convenience and the growing trend of banks offering deals on other products for their existing customers.

 

 

Do You Really Need a Loan?

While it’s likely that you have already thought this through, it is always a good idea to do another quick check to make sure this is the right option for you.

If the loan would be for paying off some form of pre-existing debt then it could end up pushing you further into that debt, making your situation worse. If this is the case, think very carefully about taking on further borrowing.

If the loan is for a large purchase, such as a new TV, car, or other expensive household item, then consider waiting until you can save some more money on your own. While this is a less risky situation then possibly putting yourself further into debt, it might not be worth taking the risk at all.