Anyone that has ever set foot inside zone 6 will know that London is famous for being much more expensive than anywhere else in the UK. Of course, the folks that live there just seem to put up with it, but for someone travelling from another city or country, it can be a big shock! Luckily, there are plenty of ways to see this beautiful city and experience what it has to offer that won’t clear out your wallet before you’ve even begun. Read on to find out what they are.

london

 

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Public transport

One of the best ways to see the city is to use the buses, trains, and tubes that crisscross its borders. It one of the cheapest ways as well, and much less expensive than using black cabs or even Ubers.

In fact, you can buy a day travel card that will allow you to use any public transport within zones 1 (central London ) to 6 (outer London) and in-between. You can even use your debit card at the touch ticket points now, and it will automatically take off the cost of your journey up to a set amount. Something that can be hugely convenient and save you money and that you can read more about here.

Museums and galleries

Now, one of the best things to do in London that will cost you nothing is to visit the many galleries and museums that are located there. Something that you can find out more about in my post here.

Of course, one of the most favoured being The National History Museum situated on Cromwell Road. There you will find collections and exhibits on Space, the Ocean, Human Evolution, and most famously Dinosaurs. The building itself built by Alfred Waterhouse in 19th Century is also noteworthy, and of course you can miss the Blue Whale skeleton suspended in main entrance haul, a site that is worth the visit alone.

 

Of course, the National History Museum is not the only place of note to enjoy for free. In fact, many people head straight for Bankside, where the Tate Modern is located in an old Power Station. Open from 10am to 6pm the Tate Modern is also free to enjoy, and you can augment your visit by crossing the Millenium Bridge over the Thames to get there.

London

The Tate Modern in an impressive structure.

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Once you arrive head in through the main entrance and discover whether there is a large-scale sculpture exhibition in the main turbine hall. Past ones include metal spiders, cracked concrete, and even twirling slides that allowed visitors to travel from the top to the bottom floor.

Deals and special offers

Now, not everything that is fun in London is free, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay through the nose either. In fact, if you are savvy and use deals, vouchers, and special offers you can do things that would typically cost a great deal more.

London

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For example, attending an event such as an expo, or taking a Thames river cruise can be made much more affordable by looking for a voucher first. You may even be able to see your favourite plays and musicals in London at a reduced cost by using a ticket website to check and compare prices before you book. Yes, you will have to pay out a little for such an experience, but if the rest of your trip is low cost and almost free, you can use such activities a the main event, and build the rest of your excursion around them.

A note on dining out

Lastly, something that is consistently overpriced in London is the food. This applies whether you are grabbing a sandwich on the go or sitting down to a slap up meal in a restaurant. That is why, if you are not using a voucher or coupon for meals your best bet is to visit a supermarket and grab come picnic items and then head to the nearest park.

Luckily, there are parks of varying sizes dotted all over London, some of the largest and most famous being Regents Park, Crystal Palace Park and Hyde Park in where you can check out the famous speakers corner, hire a deckchair, or feed the ducks with any lunch scraps you may have left over.

Rest assured that won’t be the only one eating alfresco there either unless it’s pouring with rain. Picnicking in the park is also fantastic way of saving the money you do have for more significant and exciting experience when visiting the city of London.

The Skinflint's Guide To London

You may not realize it, but your credit score is a vitally important record of your financial history that banks, credit card companies, mortgage providers, and all manner of other organizations make use of to determine whether you are a good credit risk. Your record will reflect how good you are at paying off borrowings, and the more positive information there is available, the higher your score will be. This gives you a far better choice when it comes to new forms of borrowing or taking on a rental agreement, and you may well be offered better terms and lower interest rates if you have a good credit score.

Checking your score

In the United States, there are three main credit bureaux who keep track of your credit score – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. If you haven’t already done so, you should register with one of these services and take a look at what is held on file in your name. Make sure all the facts are correct, too; it’s not uncommon for there to be an error in your history that could be affecting your rating – for example, a mark against your address because of the previous occupier’s missed repayments, which have nothing to do with you. In addition to having poor marks for missed repayments, excessive debts and so on, you may have a low score simply because you haven’t had credit before, meaning there’s no indication to providers of how likely you are to make regular repayments.

Building your score

Once you’ve checked your current score and made sure the information held on you is accurate, there are several ways to improve your rating:

  • Make sure you spend within your means and keep up repayments on any debts. Try to pay off more than the minimum on credit card borrowing each month if you can.
  • If you’re paying a mortgage, this will automatically be recorded in your account, but that’s not the case for renters. If you are paying rent, sign up for a service such as RentTrack that makes your payments for you and reports this to the credit bureaux. That way you will gain the benefit of demonstrating you can make monthly payments on time, and the RentTrack cost for this service is very reasonable.
  • Use a credit card to build up some history. This is a good idea if you have had debt problems in the past, or you have little or no history. Take out a credit card – there are specific cards available for people with low credit scores – and use it to pay for some of your regular purchases each month. As long as you are paying the card off on time, you will be adding positive history to your account.
  • Don’t apply for loans and credit cards before using a calculator that assesses the likelihood that you will be accepted. Making applications leaves a mark on your file, whether you go through with the offer or not.

Credit bureau services usually offer advice on how to improve your score, so it’s worth checking out what they recommend. Taking steps to improve your score will save you money and give you a far greater choice when it comes to financial decision-making, so it’s well worth making the effort.

Rebuilding Your Credit Score

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My Random Musings

When it comes to the time to buy your next car, will you choose a new car or go for a used one? Cars are one of the most expensive purchases families make so you need to ensure you make the right choice for your individual circumstances. You may be able to access finance or you may struggle due to credit difficulties. Car insurance and other costs need to be taken into account. Aviva’s insurance cover helps whether you go for a new or used option with cover for damage to your brand new vehicle or roadside repairs for an older and used car.

Car

Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of used and new cars.

Advantages of a New Car

My husband prefers new cars as they come with a warranty.
A new car is a good bet so long as you maintain it properly and carry out regular services. New cars come with better mileage rates and lower emissions. If you love your technology, new cares tend to hook up to your mobile phone and other devices that much more easily than used ones.
New cars also give you an ego-boost which an old banger just cannot do in the same way.

Disadvantages of a New Car

New cars are expensive. Not only that you lose money on them the minute you drive them off the lot. The depreciation costs in the first three years are huge. Always consider your other financial needs before investing in a new car both now and make some realistic predictions for your finances for the next few years.
If you take out finance options, do consider the terms and conditions carefully. In particular look at the total amount you will be paying back for that shiny ego-boost that you may come to hate in the future.

Advantages of a Used Car

The obvious advantage of buying a used car is that it is so much cheaper and you can set the budget you want to spend. You may be able to pay in cash which saves you laying out on the costs of finance. You can do research in advance and see if the model performs well or if it is known for particular flaws.
Insurance costs are likely to be lower on used cars so there is a financial saving there too.

Disadvantages of a Used Car

We all have horror stories about used cars. It is far better to take an expert with you to look at potential cars if you are not that savvy when it comes to car maintenance. Not doing so can result in so much stress and financial outlay. In extreme cases, there can even be a threat to life itself. Not every person selling a car has your best interests at heart. Just this week, my brother told me he bought a car on Ebay which broke down on the way home.
If you are buying a second-hand car, you may not get precisely the make, model or colour you prefer. You may have to be flexible about these things. It is arguable that a good history and mileage is far more vital than your favourite colour.

New or Used Car?

In the end the decision on whether to buy a new or used car has to be an individual one. Do talk to other family members and take their views on board. Do plenty of research before making that leap of faith whether you choose a new or used car. Ideally have a mechanic on hand to check over the car before you seal the deal.

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Aviva

We can get a little overwhelmed with our financial lives, and quite frankly I don’t blame you. Financially life can tick over. You get paid, your bills leave your bank account and whatever is left is yous to do whatever you want with. Save money, pay for holidays or treat yourself, it is your prerogative. But what I want to know is when was the last time you checked your financial situation more closely? You could be missing a trick with potential savings or better ways of doing things. I wanted to share with you some of the things that you could consider.

Personal

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Is debt strangling your finances?

One of the big issues anyone can have when it comes to their personal finances is debts, and they can sometimes feel like they are strangling your life in terms of lifestyle and how you feel about your finances. However, burying your head in the sand is not the answer, so you need to ensure that you do what you can to clear yourself of det once and for all. A good idea is to get yourself a plan of action, either consolidating your debts or balance transfering credit cards to new accounts with zero percentage offers. Doing these things can help you take control. However, if you don’t have these options then try and focus on the debt that is costing you the most, and plough any spare cash into those debt balances to bring them down once and for all.

Are you getting the best deal every time?

We often need to shop for things. It might be regular things such as food, or shopping for the change of season when it comes to clothes. But are you getting the best possible deal each time? We can be guilty of rushing things or buying them when we see them but if we are a little more savvy with our spending, you could find that checking out websites like moneypug could help you find the best possible price for the things you are trying to buy. It is always better to spend less than more.

Are you paying for things that you thought were cancelled?

When was the last time that you checked your bank account for what actually leaves your account versu what comes in? We can often avoid doing things like this, but regularly checking your statement could help identify payments that don’t need to be made. Giving you an automatic saving. It could also help you to understand exactly where your money goes and help identify further savings that could be made.

Can you physically do things to save money?

Finally, is there anything you could be doing to help physically save you some money each month? Simple things like planning your meals and only buying what you need from the supermarket, or switching providers for regular payments like energy or insurance so that you always get the best deals. Simple things that can make a big difference to your outgoings each month.

I hope that this helps you get to grips with your personal finances.

Run Jump Scrap

Our lives are made up of many minutes most of which just pass by without us even taking notice. That’s a mistake of course which comes home to roost when someone close to us becomes terminally ill or dies. There are also the key moments or milestones that always capture our attention. Interestingly these are often the very times when we should consider insurance cover from a company like Pure Cover to ensure we have great protection in place.

Milestone

New home

When we buy or rent a home, we need to ensure it is protected as things can and do go wrong. As a debt counsellor, I was always shocked how people on very low incomes did not invest in contents insurance. When things went wrong, they were  left without essential items and without the means to replace them.

Wedding

I did not take out wedding insurance and thankfully my Big  Day went without a hitch. However if you are making a big financial investment in your wedding, it is worth checking out whether wedding insurance would be a beneficial option for you.

Children

We want  to ensure our children are kept safe and looked after well. Sometimes life will throw curveballs our way. I remember really struggling financially on many occasions as myself and my husband worked in the charity sector. This tends to mean poorly-funded short-term contracts so redundancies came out way thick and fast. I experienced depression which stopped me working for a while. It is important as a parent to check out insurances such as income protection for times when the proverbial hits the fan.

Pets

I have always taken out pet insurance and I am so pleased. There was the infamous occasion where my just toddling son threw our puppy down the stairs. He did not realise what he was doing and the noise the pup made on landing was horrendous and  haunts me still. His back leg was broken and the vet bills ran into thousands but was fortunately covered by insurance.

Other important insurances

It is good to take time to check out your insurance requirements. I can save so much hassle in the long run so please do check out travel, health and  funeral insurance plans too.

Avoid the horror stories that not taking out insurance can bring and check out some policies today. Check out an infographic which guides you through life’s journey one insurance step at a time.

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