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budget

HOW TO SET UP YOUR FAMILY’S FINANCIAL SECURITY

Anyone with a family knows that the future is uncertain. That doesn’t stop all of us working hard to try and make it a little more secure, especially for the kids. You might already be saving hard for the simple things, like a holiday, or a special event. If your kids are proving to be quite academic, you might even be putting cash away for university in the future. Is there any more you could do today that won’t break the bank?

 

If you don’t have a mortgage, chances are you haven’t spent much time thinking about things like life insurance. These policies are designed to cover the cost of the outstanding loan on your house should something happen to you. Sometimes they cover serious injury or illness too. Usually, you have to request extra cover if you want it to cover any additional health costs or your funeral.

 

 

So how can your family cope if something happens to you that means your income is no longer there? Well, a funeral is perhaps the biggest expense they will face straight away. You can avoid them having to deal with that bill at such a bad time by looking into pre-paid funeral plans. You might also choose an insurance policy that promises a prompt payout should it become necessary in the future.

 

Putting a little cash aside each month now can be an affordable approach to ensuring your family can manage if something goes wrong. Of course, these scenarios are, thankfully, unlikely to happen. Instead, you might be keen to find ways to make sure your kids have access to funds for things like their education. What about their first home, and their future wedding? Where should you put your cash for those things?

 

Trust funds are a popular option. This is because the money cannot be touched until certain clauses are met. This might be something like reaching a milestone birthday or graduating with a degree. You are in complete control of this side of things, and it means the money is safe. High-interest options are also high risk, but it does mean your money has a chance to grow while it is waiting to be used.

 

family finances

 

Do you need a Will? It’s considered to be a good idea if you have a family. It means that all your assets are listed and made available. A solicitor will usually take care of everything when the time comes and find the people listed on the Will. Generally speaking, your next of kin inherits everything. A Will gives you the chance to specify who gets what as well as identifying where your money is!

 

family finances

What about a pension? Some private and some company pensions do offer a payout or continued income for your partner and dependents if you’re not around. However, these are the exception, not the rule, so check what benefits are included in your pension plan. You can always set one up that is more suitable to your requirements. Take a look at your household budget. Can you be sure that these bills can be met if you weren’t around?

 

 

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DON’T SPEND ALL YOUR VACATION CASH ON FOOD

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Food is kind of annoying, right? I mean, yes, it is enjoyable. There are few things in life better than cake, after all. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could enjoy food without actually needing it? It costs money to fulfill that need, after all; that is, unless you want to go completely off the grid and grow all of your own stuff. Which most of us don’t want to do, really. So our only option is to buy our meals and ingredients.

 

food budget

 

This may not be something you think about all that much when you’re at home. But what about when you’re on vacation? That’s when a lot of us start to pay even more attention to what we’re paying in order to feed ourselves. Because we generally don’t have ovens, microwaves, or even refrigerators to hand when we’re travelling, most of us tend to rely on restaurants. Back home, restaurants are an indulgence, and they’re an indulgence for a reason – because they’re expensive. But when we’re on vacation, we often find ourselves in restaurants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

 

A lot of us don’t really calculate how much in total we spend on a given vacation. Perhaps it’s because we know the figure is going to be a little shocking. If more of us were to do this, perhaps we’d see something that we should really all be paying more attention to: eating while on vacation sees you spending hundreds per week – perhaps even in as little as a couple of days.

 

This should really call more attention to our need to find ways to save money on food when we’re on vacation. And this means doing more research and exploring your options.

 

Let’s say you’re going to stay in London for a week. Most restaurants in London are shockingly expensive. That’s why you need to do your research on the places to eat in your area. There’s a good list of budget restaurants at timeout.com. Instead of heading to the West End and spending ages wandering around for a place that looks cheap, find a good list beforehand. This will save you both time and money.

 

food

 

 

Even at the more expensive places, you have money-saving options. Consider looking for coupons for London restaurants at groupon.com. These usually work best if you’re going in a group!

 

Of course, even budget eats will end up costing a fair amount over the course of your vacation. This is why you might want to consider looking into renting an apartment. You can find short let apartments from londonservicedapartments.co.uk. This option doesn’t usually cost more than a hotel; in fact, it can be cheaper at times. But the main benefit in this context is that you’ll have access to the appliances you have at home. This means you can head out, buy your own ingredients, and cook up a batch of something to eat throughout the week – saving you tremendous amounts of money.

 

There are other strategies you can employ when you do want to check out a restaurant. In London, as in many places, the prices often rise quite considerably after 5pm or so. Basically, dinner is way more expensive than lunch. Consider eating a big meal at lunch and a smaller one for dinner!

 

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HOW TO SEE THE WORLD ON A BUDGET

travelling on a budget

Whether you’re doing a gap year or a sabbatical, everyone wants to take every opportunity to travel. The downside is that money eventually runs out, and travelling further than your own borders can get expensive quickly.

 

The idea of getting stranded in a foreign country with no money and no way of getting home can put people off the whole idea, but there are ways you can fulfill your dreams and stay within your limits. Here are just a few ways you can make this possible.

 

travelling on a budget

 

Work while you travel

If money is your biggest issue, then you should make sure you still have a way to support yourself while you’re travelling. It may be the last thing you want to do when you envisioned yourself sitting on beaches all day, but the beauty of working freelance all year is that you can decide what you do and what your hours will be.

 

You could teach English in the evenings, sign up to work at a hostel for a few months and explore in your own time, get paid to write freelance articles online, or you could even apply for an all-inclusive internship. There are so many things ways you can make money that won’t hinder your plans.

 

 

Alternative accommodation

You might not be able to afford 5 star hotels, but you don’t have to stay in crummy hostels either. There are plenty of websites to help budget travellers find a room for the night, so your cheapest accommodation while travelling should be nice hostels, or couchsurfing.

 

If you’re travelling due to an internship you could check in your city for all your available options; Homestay in London puts in you touch with host families close to where you’ll be working, so you can get the full experience of living and working in London. If you’re just freelancing, or hoping to find a job once you arrive, Airbnb can offer you a place to stay for a reasonable weekly basis. These options are flexible in case you get the urge to travel further.

 

 

Cheap travel

The biggest assumption about travelling is that you have to get to all your destinations by flying. While this might be true for your first stop, travelling by car, train, or bus is something that you should consider, if only because it is so much cheaper than flying all the time. It might not be as luxurious as travelling in style, but travelling by road is a great way to see more of the country you’re visiting.

 

The Greyhound bus company in America stops at 3700 locations throughout the US and Canada, and you could even take an overnight bus if you don’t want to waste daylight hours on travelling. However, if you absolutely have to get somewhere by plane, try and fly off-season to save money on plane tickets. Skyscanner can help you compare flight prices across a whole month meaning you’ll be able to see the cheapest days and months to fly.

 

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TRAVELLING IN STYLE & ON A BUDGET

You may have read the title and instantly thought that travelling in style whilst also on a budget simply can’t be done. You probably read it and thought something along the lines of ‘hogwash!’. You probably read it and thought it’s too ludicrous a notion to make sense.

 

But travelling in style doesn’t mean all private jets and caviar. It doesn’t have to mean first class flights or staying in a five-star hotel for the duration of your stay. It doesn’t have to mean shopping sprees and spa days. As well as this, travelling on a budget doesn’t have to mean bedding down in campsites or hostels. TravelLing on a budget doesn’t have to mean bag packing. These are preconceived notions of travelling that don’t necessarily have to be the truth. You can travel in style whilst on a budget, and here’s how.

 

HOLIDAY BUDGET

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First of all, you should set up base in a place that will help you reach everywhere you want to reach with ease. By choosing accommodation that sits right in the middle of the area in which you are staying you instantly cut down on the need to pay for travel expenses. And the money you save on your travelling budget can then be spent on stylish accommodation.

 

For instance, if you were travelling to Shoreditch, London to experience all the galleries, markets and boutiques it has to offer then you should choose a hotel that sits close to all the places you wish to visit. For instance, by staying in a hotel like the Dorsett City, London you afford yourself the opportunity to reach a plethora of places on foot. You could reach the Whitechapel gallery in eight minutes on foot. You could also reach Blitz London within eight minutes on foot too.

 

By saving yourself from having to dip into your budget to cover travel expenses you afford yourself more of your budget to play with. And the more you afford yourself to play with, the more stylish your accommodation can be. And you don’t even have to stay in these stylish hotels for long. You can stay in them for one or two nights if that suits your budget better. You just have to be prepared to get all your travelling activities and sightseeing done in that short period!

 

And you don’t have to bring one pair of clothes to last you as you travel either. Retaining a stylish dress sense is a must for some people. And if these people want to budget travel they can rest assured that there are fashionable travel hacks that won’t cost them. One hack is to pack your case with accessories. Accessories are small. Accessories are light. Accessories don’t play havoc when it comes to packing and bag sizes. And the best thing of all? Accessories can change the look of any style. You could wear the same shirt and jeans two days running, but different accessories on both days will make you look different on both of them.

 

Make sure to check out these five tips that will help you save on your holiday costs if you want to travel stylishly on a budget this summer.

 

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GROWING YOUR NEST EGG: TOP TIPS FOR BEGINNER INVESTORS

Tips for Investing

A guest post by The Retired Broker, visit his blog here: http://theretiredbroker.com/

Please follow him here: https://twitter.com/retiredbroker

 

 

Thinking of investing some of your cash?  Below are some hints and tips to think about before making a decision.

 

Paying for Financial Advice

First, you have a choice of whether to take financial qualified advice regarding where to invest your money.  The key factor here is cost as you will be required to pay for this advice which could cost you 2% which means if you get a return of 2% in the first year you are back to square one!  There are a lot of websites out there that can provide you with generic information, it may be best to make the most of these if you decide not to seek qualified advice.

 

Investment Term

The length of time you want to invest depends on when you might require your money back.  The timescale of 5/10 years is regarded as medium to long term, anything less than this is considered short term.  Generally speaking, the shorter the term the less risk you should consider taking.

 

Risk

Broadly speaking, there are two places to put your money, deposit and investment.

Deposit accounts of all varieties while reassuringly boring you will know exactly where you will stand and how much you will get with this type of investment.  So for example say a fixed bond of 5 years with a fixed rate of 2.4% you will get a return on your investment of 2.4% which could either be paid annually or month.  However it may mean in ‘real terms’ it could be lower depending on inflation at the time.  The main point to make is that if the interest you are earning is less than inflation then the buying power of your savings will be reduced.

 

With investment there is no interest, instead you are taking the risk that over time the value of your investment will go up.  It can also go down and almost certainly will fluctuate in the middle.  Check to see if the advantages of an ISA are worth investing in.

There are good reasons to consider it, but the main decision you have is the underlying stocks and shares themselves. One that invests in blue chip UK shares is generally considered to be a lower risk than one that invests in the shares of India or China. The attraction of the higher risk option is the chance of a greater return over time, but the risk of greater loss is also there. When you invest a lump sum into a stocks and shares ISA, you buy “units” of that investment at the value they are on that day. If this is the route you are considering you may want to look at regular savings options. By “dripping” in your investment you can take advantage of “POUND COST AVERAGING” Here is an article that explains it.
Now let’s me take a step back. There have always been a few guidelines when considering investments:

 

Clear non- mortgage debt. If you have any non-mortgage debt, then the interest you are being charged will outweigh any returns you may get on your nest egg by far. Consider clearing this debt.

 

Emergency fund. An emergency fund should be sufficient to sustain your family if the main earner is unable to earn for six months.

 

Consider clearing mortgage debt. Paying off part of a mortgage will create a monthly saving which then can be used to drip into an investment if you wanted to. You need to play with the figures to see if that is a runner for you.

 

Make a will. Whatever you choose to do, making a Will most certainly will ensure your plans are likely to go on even if you don’t!

 

Review your life cover.  If you have a family, there would be costs on death so it’s an idea to spend some time thinking about the financial consequences, sort it out to your satisfaction, then forget about it for a few years and then review it again.

 

Look at pension provision. The pension market has changed beyond recognition over the last few years, but the tax relief still makes pension plans worth looking at.

 

Children’s future. Think about whether you want to put any savings in your children’s names directly.
Finally, spend some and have fun. None of us knows what’s around the corner and time is a vicious thief, banking a memory now will give a guaranteed return forever!

 

Happy Investing!

 

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5 TIPS TO HELP YOU CREATE A BUDGET

how to create a budget

 

A recent survey by CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) and Close Brothers Asset Management found that 25% of workers reported money worries had affected their performance at work and feeling tired at work because of sleep loss was the most common way in which fretting about money affected job performance.

Families can find themselves carrying a lot of stress related to finances, having to juggle debt, mortgage, loans and day to day finances.

I believe it is extremely important to work to a budget, while it may seem a bit boring it is something that we should all do to take control of our finances and our life, it will also hopefully help you reduce the amount of stress you are under and at the same time allow you to consider reaching your financial dreams.

So how do you budget?  Below are my top tips on setting your own.

 

Focus

 We all have dreams for the future to gain control of your financial future start by writing down your financial goals.  This is a great way to allow you to visualise the goal.

 

Track your income and expenditure

To get a handle on your finances it is important to list your income and expenditure.  Below you will find an income and expenditure tracking form, download it today to help you.

 

First step is to know your actual income from your salary, benefits, child benefit etc.  Once you have this information you can then move on to your expenditure.

 

Note down your bills and whatever other monthly expenses you have including those trips to the coffee shop or the times you nip in for a pint of milk but end up spending over £20!  Check all you statements, your receipts and itemise them to understand where your money is going.

 

Once you have this detailed information you can create a realistic budget to help you keep track of your monthly budget.

 

Ways of cutting down

Once you establish your true income and true expenditure have a look and see if there are ways you want to cut down so you can start saving.  It may seem a daunting task but break it down in to manageable chunks.

 

Some tips I recommend is to consider re-negotiating your current services such as mobile, home insurance, broadband and cable TV services with your current providers.  However, before calling them visit a cost comparison site such as Go Compare and see if you can get better deals by getting a quote for each of the services.

 

With this key information to hand contact your current providers and ask them what kind of discount they could give you.  Pass on the deals you have found on the cost comparison website.  More times than not, they will offer you a discount.

 

Personally, I have saved hundreds doing this – I know you can too.

 

Do you have spending leaks?

Once you have established your income and expenditure and decided to get better deals on your household bills, the next stage is to sit down and assess what else you currently spend your money on.  You need to be honest with yourself.

 

Ask yourself the following questions: Why am I spending money on this item? Do I want or need this item? Is it worth that much? Is this purchase trying to make up for some area of my life that is lacking? Is there a less expensive alternative to what I want to buy? If so, why am I not willing to buy the less expensive alternative? What else do I want or need that this money could be used for?

 

Give your answers some thought. If you want to stop these spending habits then put strategies in place to deal with them such as setting a savings target for a holiday.

 

Whatever you decide to do, I recommend you keep your diary close and keep a spending diary so you know exactly where you spend your money.

 

Consider increasing your income

It’s not just about cutting back it is also about increasing your income.  There are many ways to do that.

 

Head over to the following blog posts to read more on extra ways to make money:

 

THINGS YOU CAN DO OR SELL TO MAKE EXTRA CASH

HOW TO EARN CASHBACK FROM SHOPPING ONLINE

MAKING EASY MONEY WITH SURVEY SITES

EARN EXTRA MONEY FROM CLICKWORKER

WANT TO MAKE MONEY WITH YOUR OLD RECEIPTS?  READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE.

WANT TO EARN GIFT VOUCHERS?  READ MY REVIEW OF SWAGBUCKS.  

INTERESTED IN KNOWING WHAT A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT DOES AND HOW YOU CAN MAKE MONEY?  READ MORE HERE.  

WANT TO GET PAID FOR COMPLETING SURVEYS?  READ MY POST ABOUT PROLIFIC ACADEMIC HERE.

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HOW TO SAVE MONEY WITH MEAL PLANNING

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Below I’ve listed some ways you can save money with meal planning.  Years ago, meal planning was something that I never considered but now it is a necessity as far as I am concerned.

Meal planning can help in so many ways, including saving you money and time overall.  It also helps you cut down on waste and can turn what becomes a boring dinner into a lovely feast!

People often say to me that they just don’t have the time to plan, well I’m here to tell you it doesn’t take that long and it will save you time – really!  Below I have listed the reasons why I meal plan so hopefully it will give you an idea of what the benefits are.

 

 

Weekly meal planning saves you time

Going grocery shopping without a list means wandering up and down the aisles trying to come up with recipes on the spot.  Or you think you have all the ingredients to make that meal at home, only to find when you get there you’re missing an essential ingredient.

Well with meal planning you prepare your list in advance so you don’t have to wander aimlessly up and down those aisles being tempted by offers you don’t’ really need.

 

Weekly meal planning helps you eat a more balanced diet

When you sit down to plan your weekly meals, it gives you time to consider adding in vegetables and thinking about the healthier options.  For us, we like to ensure we use the vegetables at the start of the meal plan so you get them when they are at their best and the freshest.  It also means you refrain from buying unhealthy snacks because you have your list in front of you!

 

Weekly meal planning stops you getting stuck in a rut

There are times when I can’t for the life of me figure out any more inventive ways to include vegetables in our diet so taking time to plan and look at recipes is great.

 

Indeed, as I will talk about below, signing up to Hello Fresh is a great way of keeping your meals interesting.

 

Steps to creating a weekly meal plan

Step 1:  Do a little recipe research or sign up to Hello Fresh.

Step 2:  Create a week-long meal plan – I’m offering you a free meal planner diary which you can download below.

Step 3: Make a shopping list from the meal plan AFTER looking in your fridge, freezer, and store cupboard.

Step 4:  Go shopping and stick to your list

 

After all this you will find that it will have taken you less time than if you’d been wandering around those grocery aisles, plus you will have planned your meals for the week, saved yourself money and set yourself a healthy eating plan.

 

Free Meal & Recipe Planner

I’m offering you a free meal and recipe planner to help you along your journey to meal plan.  To download just sign up below.

 

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READ HOW YOU CAN EARN CASHBACK FROM SHOPPING ONLINE –HERE

 WANT TO SAVE MONEY ON CLOTHING, FOOTWEAR, ACCESSORIES &  HOMEWARE?  READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE.

WANT TO KNOW HOW TO SET UP A BLOG TO MAKE MONEY IN 3 EASY STEPS?  VIEW THE POST HERE.

INTERESTED IN KNOWING HOW TO MONETIZE YOUR BLOG?  READ MY BLOG POST HERE.

WANT STUFF FOR FREE TO REVIEW ON YOUR BLOG?  READ MY POST HERE.

WANT TO MAKE MONEY WITH YOUR OLD RECEIPTS?  READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE.

WANT TO EARN GIFT VOUCHERS?  READ MY REVIEW OF SWAGBUCKS.  

INTERESTED IN KNOWING WHAT A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT DOES AND HOW YOU CAN MAKE MONEY?  READ MORE HERE.  

WANT TO GET PAID FOR COMPLETING SURVEYS?  READ MY POST ABOUT PROLIFIC ACADEMIC HERE.

 

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5 THINGS I’M DOING RIGHT NOW TO MAKE EXTRA CASH

 

 

Just a little over a month ago, I decided that if my family and I were ever going to get to have a holiday then I needed to seriously look at my income and expenditure.  I continually re-evaluate our expenditure but I wanted ways to increase my income at the same time as holding down a full time job.

 

I eventually came up with several ways of increasing my income, these I am doing now and would encourage anyone who is looking to make extra cash to also consider doing some if not all of them.

 

Currently I am undertaking 5 things that I believe will eventually help me achieve my goal of taking my family on a holiday.

 

  1. Blogging

My love for blogging I hope is evident to you.  I would encourage anyone and everyone to set up a blog.  The potential for making money is fantastic – although it will take a little time to get established but if you follow along with me as I post about how I am currently undertaking this, you will certainly do great!

 

The first step though is register with TSO Host to get your blog started.  Some articles that will help you out:

 

How to set up a blog to make money

How to monetize your blog

How to get free stuff in exchange for blog reviews

 

 

  1. Working as a virtual assistant

A Virtual Assistant is someone who helps out a business or business owner remotely – which is why it is referred to as ‘virtual’.  The assistant aspect is quite straightforward – if you think of a project assistant or a personal assistant – you will get the idea.

 

I registered with People per Hour and have started applying for contracts.  You too can register here and start making extra money.

 

 

  1. Mystery Shopping

I adore mystery shopping but only if the mystery shop meets my criteria which is

 

 

  • Where is it? If it’s on my way great, if not would it cost too much in petrol to get to the location?
  • Is it something I can made use of like a jumper or piece of jewellery?
  • With restaurants, am I able to take someone with me or do I need to complete the assignment on my own?

 

 

To find out about mystery shopping view my blog post here.

 

 

  1. Joined ClickWorker

As well as completing surveys another way of making some extra cash when you have a few minutes is completing tasks through ClickWorker.

 

I highly recommend if you are wanting to increase your extra income that you diversify your income streams.  So joining ClickWorker is another great way of making extra income.

 

ClickWorker is an excellent site for making extra cash.  The jobs are diverse and varied which requires you to complete small jobs from writing tasks, reviews, surveys and proofreading assignments. It is a very varied site and it can be very rewarding.

 

 

  1. Answering surveys

Answering surveys is a great way of making extra cash and vouchers.

 

Prolific Academic is a survey site but with a difference, it is mainly used by researchers from universities so the surveys you complete are that little bit more interesting – in my opinion anyway!

 

You are paid in cash so get registering today and find out how much you can make during your lunch break!

 

You can also earn vouchers as well with SwagBucksSwagbucks is a paid to click website which offers numerous tasks for you to do, some of these are surveys, daily polls and searching online.  Another great opportunity to save up vouchers for birthdays and Christmas.

 

 

So that is what I am up to at the moment to make extra cash.  I do hope you find something that inspires you or helps you earn extra cash.

 

Happy Money Making!

 

Elf x

 

 

WANT TO KNOW HOW TO SET UP A BLOG TO MAKE MONEY IN 3 EASY STEPS?  VIEW THE POST HERE.

INTERESTED IN KNOWING HOW TO MONETIZE YOUR BLOG?  READ MY BLOG POST HERE.

WANT STUFF FOR FREE TO REVIEW ON YOUR BLOG?  READ MY POST HERE.

WANT TO MAKE MONEY WITH YOUR OLD RECEIPTS?  READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE.

WANT TO EARN GIFT VOUCHERS?  READ MY REVIEW OF SWAGBUCKS.  

INTERESTED IN KNOWING WHAT A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT DOES AND HOW YOU CAN MAKE MONEY?  READ MORE HERE.  

WANT TO GET PAID FOR COMPLETING SURVEYS?  READ MY POST ABOUT PROLIFIC ACADEMIC HERE.

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