Building societies are now a common sight on the high street, while we always hear about shifts in the stock market on the news. So many of us have personal savings accounts and pension pots set up now too. But have you ever thought about where these came from, or how each savings initiative has changed over the years? In the following infographic, personal pension specialist True Potential Investor has taken a step through time with this question in mind.

Did you know that the first known building society formed for groups of individuals who were looking to help each other to buy property? Or that the Bank of England was founded towards the end of the 17th century to fund the war effort against France? How about that the Amsterdam Stock Exchange was believed to be the world’s first stock market?

Discover even more fascinating facts by browsing through the full infographic below…

 

Saving

How to manage your debts may be an issue that is causing you sleepless nights. Even worse when you wake up the postman may bring unwelcome letters demanding money that you cannot afford. You will feel anxious and that emotional pain will ripple out to your other family members.  The good news is that you can learn how to manage your debts effectively. There is debt management help and advice you can tap into.

How To Manage Debt

Acknowledge the extent of the problem

Too many people who are struggling financially put their heads in the sand. Nothing will change unless you take action. Do not look at just the debt where the creditor is pushing you for money hardest. Acknowledge and record the full extent of your debts of whatever type. Write down the amounts you owe, the interest rates if any and the contact details for the creditors.

Work out your priority debts

When working out how to manage debt, you need to work out which debts are priority and which are non-priority. The way to do this is to find out the sanctions different creditors have available to them. For example, if you do not pay your rent or mortgage, you may end up losing your home making this a priority debt in most cases. Non priority debts are things like overdrafts, personal loans and credit card bills. Usually, if you contact your creditor, arrangements can be made to pay these off at an affordable rate over time.

Come up with a budget

Do you know how much you are spending and on what items of expenditure? If you don’t you cannot come up with a workable budget. So take some quiet time to list all the things you spend money on weekly or monthly. Include essential items such as housing costs, fuel costs, water bills, food and clothing. Be aware that you may need to curtail spending on socialising, cigarettes and other non-essential items. You can return to these when your debts are under control. Think about all the stress that will be relieved when you know you have a debt management plan in place.

Decide between self-help and seeking support

It is possible to help yourself when working out how to manage your debts. However, most people do not sort out their debt issues straightaway so tension has built up. You may feel better handing over your case to a professional money adviser.

Solutions to debt issues

There are a wide range of solutions to debt issues depending on your individual or family circumstances and the types of debt you have. Most people manage to come to an agreement with creditors where they are paying back but over a longer period than originally agreed. Other possibilities include debt relief orders, individual voluntary arrangements and bankruptcy.

It’s also important to note that things can and do get better. Keep the faith and seek support when you need it.

How To Manage Your Debts Effectively

My Random Musings

It often falls to the lady of the house to balance the family’s budget and ensure there is enough in there for all the bills to get paid, for food, for fun with the family, and enough to cover any other unexpected costs that may pop up. Of course, unless you have a hugely generous budget getting things to balance can seem like a constant struggle. Happily, I have some tips that can help make things easier in this area. Keep reading to find out what they are.

Dealing with emergencies

First of all, if you think that you won’t encounter any unexpected costs or financial emergencies at some point or another, you are misguided. After all, life does tend to throw things at us, often at the most inopportune times.

Therefore it’s useful to have a plan of action in place in case you do get landed with a cost that you aren’t prepared for. For some folks, this will be uses money they have previously saved. However, it may also be necessary to take out a small loan or amount of credit to cover the immediate cost.

However, if you have a poor credit rating, such a loan may be difficult to secure. That is unless you go for a provider that can offer a bad credit short term loan to you. Something that can help get you out of a fix, and then be paid back quickly.

Saving pots

Another great tip when it comes to balancing the family budget is to have different pots for savings. These can be physical pots or folders, or virtual ones that link to your bank account online. The idea behind this is that you can much more easily see your progress toward a particular goal.

Also, by doing this, it can stop you from overspending and eating into money that would be of more use to the family saved.

Planning fun ahead of time

Next, if you want to get good at balancing the family budget, getting organised can really help. In particular, if you start to plan and book in which activities you will do for family fun time, it makes it much more simple to budget ahead of time for these.

In fact, booking such things in for the future can also act as a great deterrent for impulse buying things like takeaways and other unnecessary things that just drain money. Then you will know, there is something good to look forward to coming up that you need to preserve finances for.

 

Shopping frugally

Lastly, when it comes to balancing the family budget, it can make a considerable difference to start frugally shopping for groceries.

Luckily, there are several tactics you can use for this including shopping with the offers, as well as using coupons and vouchers. Oh, and don’t forget that batch cooking and freezing meals can make a huge difference when looking to save money in this area as well. Something that can make balancing the family budget much more straightforward.

Balancing The Family Budget

Mum Muddling Through

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

Picture source

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.

Tips For Rebuilding Your 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