Offer of the Day!

The sun is shining so this morning I decided to get my legs out! If the thought of baring all scares the bejesus out of you, why not try these tights from Tesco which are an amazing £0.33 per pair.

I am totally in love with them and go into a slight panic if I don’t have a pair in my sock draw. I discovered them in a snagging emergency and have never looked back. They look so natural and people are often surprised when I tell them I am wearing tights. They are really comfortable and the waist band isn’t so tight that it creates a spare tyre around your middle. I have washed and worn them a few times and they still look great.

My top tip – If you are wearing open toe sandals, try cutting just above your big toe and above your little toes leaving a small piece in between to make sure they don’t ride up your legs. With most sandal toe tights costing from £5 and up, these are a real bargain and at 33p who cares if you only get one wear out of them.

 

Why not give them a try and let me know what you think?

Happy Shopping!

Love Nic x

Lowering tuition fees -The facts!

In light of the recent proposal by Ed Miliband to reduce student tuition fees to £6000, I wanted to clarify exactly what this would mean for the student population of the future.

Here are some facts from Student Finance England which may or may not change some of your views on the matter.

———————————————————————————————————————————

Students don’t pay any money to the universities upfront. However, once they leave university and are earning over £21,000 they will start to make repayments based on –

What they earn and not what they owe

I have included a table which shows how much students will repay. All figures are subject to final approval of the 2015/16 student finance policy

SFE repayments

Interest will also be charged on the loan and you can find out more information about this here

After 30 years any shortfall in repayments will be written off.

Example

Dave has completed a 3 year degree and starts a graduate job earning £21,000. Every 5 years his salary increases by £5,000. According to this year’s Student Finance England financial agreement, Dave would make the following repayments. (This doesn’t take into account any periods of unemployment)

SFE EXAMPLE

Scenario 1 – Based on Tuition fees at £9000 per year

Tuition fee loan =  £27,000

Maintenance loan =  £12,000

Total loan = £39,000

Shortfall after repayments = £9,570 plus interest

 

Scenario 2 – Based on Tuition fees at £6000 per year

Tuition fee loan =  £18,000

Maintenance loan =  £12,000

Total loan = £30,000

Shortfall after repayments = £570  plus interest

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As you can see from the example I have provided, lowering the tuition fees in Dave’s case would make no difference to the amount he would repay after the 30 year period, only the shortfall, which would be wiped.

Obviously not everyone’s situation will be the same but in my opinion, this change will only benefit high earning graduates who would pay off their loan in less than 30 years. Therefore based on the information I have gathered, perhaps it would be more beneficial to propose  lowering monthly repayments or the overall term of the loan.

I hope you have found this useful and I would love to hear your comments on this matter.

Love

Nic x

Offer of the day!

Buying out of season can save you £££. I picked up these snow boots at Matalan for the bargain price of £3!!

These will make the perfect addition to my ski wear from my first trip on the slopes earlier this year. I am already looking forward to wearing them on my next trip.

Have you picked up any winter bargains this spring? I would love to hear about them.
Happy Shopping

Love Nic x

 

 

Enjoy Easter for less!

The Easter holidays can be an expensive time of year for everyone. Here are my top money-saving tips to help you get by without burning a hole on your pocket.

Chocolate  

It wouldn’t be Easter without the chocolate, right?

bunnies

choc hen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These chocolate bunnies from Aldi are so cute and have the delicious price tag of £0.79

How adorable is this chocolate Hen from Lidl. You get much more chocolate than your average size egg for £2.99

Occupying the kids

Although I don’t have children myself, I understand that trying to keep the kiddies occupied without spending a fortune can be a real challenge.

Treasure hunt for under £10 – I discovered this a couple of years ago when I had my little cousins for the weekend and wanted to do something different. These are self-guided walks that usually take you around areas of local interest, looking for clues in order to solve the mystery. There are many different sites available but I used this one which offers treasure hunts in the Lancashire area and costs £6.99. You can either print the trail out immediately or it can be delivered by post. They suggest the hunt takes approx. 1.5 hours but we found that we wanted to spend more time at some of the locations along the way. We also took an hour to stop for lunch. Why not take a picnic to reduce costs even further. The kids really enjoyed it and I also learnt some interesting facts about my local area which I would never have known.

Arts and Crafts for £1 – If the rain comes pouring down and you find yourself stuck inside, why not get crafty with Poundland. They have some great activity sets including Easter egg paining, Easter egg hunt kit, make your own finger puppets and Easter bonnets plus lots more for just £1 each. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Occupying yourself

It’s not just the kids that get bored over the bank holiday weekend and if you’re short of cash it’s not much fun at all. When was the last time you visited the local Museum or Art gallery? They are usually free and can be much more interesting than you remember from your school trips. Alternatively, why not have a look at one of my previous posts points make prizes to find out how you can use your supermarket points for free days out.

Food

As well as the chocolate, Easter is the time for getting the family together and having a nice big roast. Don’t feel like cooking? Why not get yourself down to The Harvester and check out their meal deal which is £10 for Adults and £5 for children. As part of the deal you get:-

  • A selected main course
  • Unlimited salad
  • Unlimited soft drink
  • A Sundae Best ice cream

They also have an Easter Egg hunt to entertain the kids (check out your local Harvester for more info)

Whatever you decide to do this Easter, I hope you have fun!

Love Nic x

Make Ebay Pay

Following on from last weeks Spring clean your finances, I thought it would be useful to write about how you can make money from your actual spring clean. These days you can sell most things on Ebay. The trick is to get organised.

Inventory – Make a list of all the things you want to sell ensuring they are clean, presentable and in a saleable condition.

Pricing – Do your research by finding out what similar items are selling for. This will help you decide if you want to put it up for auction or use the buy it now option.

Photographs – Make sure you use a good selection of photographs to sell your item. You need to have good lighting, show different angles and focus on any flaws.

Description –  This is equally as important as the photographs. The more detail you add, the more informed the buyer is and therefore more inclined to make a bid. Include things such as the make/model, colour, style and also any specific measurements.

Postage – Make sure you are not selling yourself short by adding low postage costs. You can check the cost of postage here. Take the cost of the packaging and transporting it to the post office into consideration.

Hints and Tips

  • Some Ebay buyers will check your feedback rating prior to making a commitment. You can build up a good rating by purchasing items before you decide to sell.
  • Make sure your listing ends at a good time. According to Ebay stats, the busiest time for buyers is on a sunday afternoon.
  • You can list the first 20 items you want to sell each month for free. After this you will have to pay. If you have lots of items to sell,  look out for special weekends where no fees are charged.
  • Sell things that are in season. You will limit the saleability if you try to sell a swimsuit in the middle of winter.
  • Make sure you ask for proof of postage which is completely free. If a buyer claims they have not received their item you can use this in your dispute
  • Add as much info as you can in the title as this is what the search function uses
  • Check your emails – Buyers may ask questions about your item and you need to respond quickly to ensure they stay interested
  • If you are selling lots of items make sure you refer to it in your ad. Something as simple as ‘Check out my other items for sale’ will do the trick

Ebay doesn’t have to be your only option for selling your items. If you prefer something more simple where you can advertise your items locally for a fixed price try websites such as Gumtree, Preloved and the Loot.

If you have low-cost items of clothing/shoes that are in good condition but won’t make that much money, you can take them to a clothes bank. This one offers you 50p per Kg but there are many more options to choose from.

Do you have any designer shoes, clothes or handbags? Why not consider a dress agency? They usually display your items in store and take commission from the selling price. This agency has stores throughout the North West.

I hope you manage to make some extra cash by selling some of your unwanted items. Let me know how you get on.

Happy Selling!

Love Nic x

Spring clean your finances

The daffodils are out and spring is finally upon us. Traditionally this is the time of year we have a ‘spring clean’. A time to clean the house from top to bottom and get rid of all that junk that has built up over the last year. This year as well as donning the marigolds, I want you to have a think about having a good old sort out of your finances. This can be a tiresome never mind boring task but you could really reap the benefits.

Current Account

Are you happy with your bank account? Is your loyalty offering you any rewards? If not have you thought about switching?

Lots of bank accounts are now offering financial incentives to switch to them. This couldn’t be easier taking approx. 7 days and they now take on the responsibility of changing over all your direct debits. There are some great offers around at the moment so if you want to switch now is the perfect time

Clydesdale Bank – £150

Yorkshire bank – £150

Halifax – £125

First Direct – £100

Marks & Spencer’s – £125 M&S Gift card

*Make sure you check out the terms and conditions before you make any commitments

Premium Accounts

You all know the ones I am referring to. The one’s where you pay £10, £15 or even £20 a month for your account which in return usually offers you rewards such as travel insurance, mobile Phone Insurance, breakdown cover etc

Now I’m not saying that these accounts are bad as they can be very beneficial IF YOU USE THEM. If you are paying for one of these accounts, find out what rewards they are offering and check you are not doubling up else ware. The amount of people I have spoken to that have bought separate travel insurance or breakdown cover as they forgot it was included is baffling.

If you are not taking advantage of the rewards either start doing so or cancel it asap. If you are paying £15 a month that could be a saving of £180!

Credit cards

I truly believe that if you are paying interest on your CC in this day and age you need to a good shaking (and that’s being kind) 😉 There are 3 types of 0% cards you can apply for:-

0% on purchases – This is the best option for you if you have something expensive you need to purchase but don’t have the money up front. A perfect example of this is car insurance. Companies often charge you extra for paying monthly which is usually the best option for most. If you pay upfront using a 0% credit card, you cut out that extra cost and can arrange your own monthly payments. In the past I have saved up to £200 by using this method.

0% on Balance transfers – If you already have a CC or store card and are currently paying interest or your interest free period is coming to an end, it’s time to transfer. There is usually a small fee for transferring but this is a one off payment and can be as little as 1% if you shop around. This card is usually good for people who no longer wish to spend and want to start hacking away at some of their debt.  Some cards are offering 0% for up to 36 months which is fantastic!

0% on both Balance Transfers and purchases – If you want to transfer your balance but would still like to spend on your card, this is the perfect option for you. However the time periods for interest free can often differ for each option. For example they may offer 6 month on balance transfers and 12 months on purchases. Working out the different interest rates on these cards can be quiet confusing so I would tend to stick for one that offers the same qualifying period for each option.

Bad Credit – Having bad credit doesn’t necessarily mean that you are ‘bad’ with money. Sometimes it might be because you have no credit history. You can check out your credit history at http://www.experian.co.uk/. You can often get a free trial but make sure you cancel it after 30 days. If you have bad credit history then you may not be able to apply for some of the great credit card deals that are currently available but I guess we all have to start somewhere. Money super market provides a great (free) service where you can find out which are the best credit cards to apply for based on your circumstances. https://www.moneysupermarket.com/credit-cards/search/?goal=CC_CREDITBUILDER

Searching for the best credit card to suit you couldn’t be easier with most price comparison sites offering this service completely free of charge. If you’re really savvy about saving money choose a card that offers rewards from priority tickets to money off vouchers.

*REMEMBER APPLYING FOR SEVERAL CREDIT CARDS CAN HAVE A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON YOUR CREDIT RATING SO THINK CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU APPLY*

Household bills

Gas & Electric – If you haven’t switched in the last 2 years it’s very likely that you are paying over the odds. It’s fairly easy to do but you will have to dig out some information before you make a start. You will need details of your supplier, which tariff you are on and how much energy you are using. You will need to check that you are not on a fixed term contract as you may have to pay a fee to leave this early. Once you have all this information just go to http://www.uswitch.com/gas-electricity/ and see how much you can save!

TV & Broadband – If, like me, you can’t live without new episodes of The Walking Dead and have subscriptions to companies such as Sky, Virgin, TalkTalk etc. then you could be settling for prices that are over the odds. If you call these companies and ask for a discount there answer is likely to be no. However if you can no longer afford the subscription and decide to ‘cancel’ things are often very different. Most companies have customer service agents specifically in the cancelling department that are there to change your mind. They do this by offering you a much better deal. If you call to ‘cancel’ your account today, I guarantee you will come off the phone with a much cheaper monthly subscription!

Council Tax – Do you pay your council Tax over 10 months? It’s great at this time of year when you feel like you’ve got 2 months free but what about the rest of the year? Did you know you can now split your payments equally over 12 months? Although you won’t be saving any money, it might make your monthly outgoings a little more manageable as you could have an extra £20 or even more in your pocket each month. You will need to contact your local council for more information.

I hope you have found my tips useful and would love to know if any of you have saved any money by using these methods?

Don’t delay, start saving today!

Love Nic x