64 articles Articles posted in Money

Find Money You Might Not Even Know You Had!

MoneyWith the summer holidays just days away, a lot of us will be thinking about how we’re going to afford all of the days out and activities that we’ll be wanting to do with the kids. It would be nice to be able to do a different thing every single day, but with the best will in the world, that’s just not in the budget for most of us. There might be, however, some money hanging about that you didn’t even realise you had, and we’ve got some suggestions of how to find it:

Outstanding PPI?

It’s hard to believe that anyone could still have any outstanding PPI claims with all the reminders on TV, radio and in the papers, but there are still a whole bunch of people who still haven’t claimed. It’s a simple process that could see you entitled to hundreds, even thousands of pounds!

Old Accounts

If you’ve changed bank accounts over the years, there could still be accounts in your name, laying dormant, with money in them. Write to the bank who you were once with and ask for details of any old accounts and you could be in for a surprise windfall!

Premium Bonds

If you’ve got Premium Bonds and haven’t seen much of a return, you might actually be better off cashing them in for an injection of cash now, rather than hoping they’ll come up long term. If you are hoping to win the top prize you probably need to know that the odds of winning £1million are 1 in 35,926,766,878. So I wouldn’t count on a payday anytime soon.Even winning the lowest prize of £25 is a 1 in 24,500 chance!

Pension Plans

If you have a pension plan that you don’t pay into any more, it’s worth having a look at the terms, as some plans will allow you to release the funds early, before the term is up. Have a think about any plans you may have paid into and contact the companies to see if it’s possible to withdraw the money. a

Cash Around the House

This one might be slightly less lucrative, but still worth a try. Gather up any old purses, handbags, wallets and money boxes and pillage them to see if there’s any cash that you forgot about. My kids own about 20 money boxes each and have managed to gather together the cash for some desperately needed toy on more than one occasion!

Don’t forget, the PPI deadline is 29th August, so you’ll need to get your act together if you think you might be entitled to claim!

Are You Sitting on Hidden Treasure?

treasureUnless you’re one of those people who’s a sensible adult with a savings account or an emergency credit card, there’s a good chance that you’ll come to a point in your life where you need quick cash and struggle to find it. There are, however, a few raise to raise some funds and most of us have things in our houses which we no longer use but are of value to someone else. Here are some suggestions of things you could sell to make some cash:

Jewellery

While I’m not suggesting that you flog your family heirlooms, many of us have jewellery boxes full of outdated items that we basically never wear, and there’s never been a better time to recoup some of the value in your items. It’s simple to get cash for gold and you could get a decent amount if you sell enough of it.

 Art

I’ve watched enough Antiques Roadshow in my time to know that the most valuable art is often the smallest, most unassuming pieces which don’t look like much which are worth a small fortune! If you’ve got any paintings which look like they might be originals, have them evaluated by an expert to see if they’re worth anything.

Bags and Purses

Bags and purses hold a surprising amount of value if they’re designer pieces, or even if they’re just made from decent leather. Look on eBay or other selling apps to see what sort of items sell well and to get an idea of what sort of price you’re looking at, and then sell anything that you’re not likely to use again.

Retro Games Consoles

If you’re the sort of person who puts things away nicely and stores them in the loft, and you have retro games consoles squirrelled away, you could be sitting on a small fortune! Retro games consoles are incredibly collectable and the more games and accessories you have with them, the more the bundle will be worth.

Vinyl

A lot of vinyl isn’t worth much these days, purely because there’s only a limited amount of collectors left and the condition isn’t always great. There are, however, particular albums which are worth a LOT of money, especially if they’re ones which are printed on a special vinyl, like clear or coloured records. Go through your collection and see if you have any of the valuable ones.

Indispensable Money-Saving Tips for Moms

It’s not easy to save money, especially if you are a working mom. Not only will you be responsible for your tasks at work, but you will also be expected to take on the responsibility of budgeting and to manage your time for your family.

At first glance, it looks undoable. But with enough patience and knowing the right decisions to make, you can turn around your budget and make sure to save up at least a few hundred dollars.

Here are a few ways working moms can save money for their families:

Create and Stick to a Budget

First, you will want to start a budget. If you’re new to creating budgets, the first thing you must do is determine what your expenses are for each month. Next, take your monthly salary and subtract all the costs that need to be made.

Doing this can give you a rough idea of how much money you spend each month. It can also show you what you can take out of your expenses to free up some money. Here, you can determine what can be cut out and what can be replaced with a cheaper product with the same quality.

A budget also lets you determine how much you can set aside each month and put it towards something like a vacation to Newcastle or even car finance for a new car.

Buy in Bulk

Buying items in bulk can benefit you in two ways: fewer trips to the grocery store and a fully stocked pantry of supplies and more.

When you purchase wholesale, it saves you money as a lot of stores offer their wholesale items at a lower price compared to retail. With that said, having a supply of household items like detergent, soap, shampoo, and some canned and boxed foods, can help you and your family stay on track.

Generic is Your Friend

Some people say that the branded goods are always superior. But that is just not the case. Some generic brands are just as good as the branded ones.

There are several products you can choose to get generic including baking powder, spices, sugar as well as produce and dairy products. Cleaning products and over the counter meds are also some of the most frequently bought generic items.

Look Out for Sales

Aside from buying in bulk, you should also watch out for sales. Grocery stores and malls often have deals, and it’s an excellent opportunity for you to get what you need for your family.

Other than watching out for sales announcements, you can also download grocery shopping apps like Weekly Ads & Sales or Grocery IQ. These apps will let you know of any current coupons.

Packed Lunch

Nothing beats a home-cooked meal. Make it a point to prepare yourself, and everyone else lunches to bring to work or school.

That way, you won’t get sucked into buying a cheeseburger for lunch, and you will always know what your kids will be eating when not at home. You can also go the extra mile and invest in a travel mug so you can prepare coffee at home and take it with you to work.

Coffee and lunch brought from home will not only help keep some of your money in your wallet, but it will also be useful for your health overall.

Saving money is possible. All it takes is discipline and your determination to make your finances better for your family.

Keep these tips in mind and start saving money on your expenses today.

5 Ways to Save Money Ahead of Summer

save moneyI don’t know about you, but for us, this always seems to be an expensive time of year. Between birthdays, holidays, needing to spruce up the garden and all the other expenses that pop up, I seem to be spending money hand over fist at the moment. Because of this, I’ve been thinking about ways to save, so that we’re not skint by the time summer is over, and these are some of the things I came up with:

Shop Around

Recently, we needed to buy a new tumble drier, because our ancient one wasn’t really up to the job anymore, and because it was a big purchase we decided to shop around to make sure we got the best price. There are sites to look up the cheapest prices in the UK for just about everything you want to buy, and we scoured these before making our purchase.

Check Your Tarrifs

This is a great time of year to make sure you’re not paying over the odds for all of your bills, including gas, electricity, mobile bills, internet and TV. Providing you’re not at the beginning of a new contract, there is often room to negotiate with your service providers and could find yourself saving a significant amount each month (I recently did this with our BT will and am saving almost £40 per month on that one bill!

Scrimp on Fuel

Do you take the car on unnecessary short journeys where it would actually be possible to walk instead? I know SO many people who drive when they could walk and they’d save loads across the course of the month if they left the car at home. There are also websites and apps which tell you which petrol stations nearby are the cheapest, allowing you to get the best value there, too.

Use What’s in the House

We’re naughty when it comes to food and tend to buy our meals on a day-to-day basis, but recently I decided that we were going to actually use up what was in the house. It meant a few days of slightly odd meals that you probably wouldn’t eat ordinarily, but it saved us from buying new stuff and helped make space in the cupboard and freezer for new shopping.

Check Your Subscriptions

I know so many people who subscribe to the full TV package and never watch the channels, or have services like Netflix, Disney Life or Amazon TV and rarely use them. Do a stock-take of all of your subscriptions, including newspapers and magazines, and ditch any that you barely use.

How do you save money?

5 Must-Read Books For Managing Your Personal Finance Better

How many times have you received financial advice from a friend, family member, or even a complete stranger?

We’ve all been there before whether it was solicited or not. But how many times has the advice been useful?

Let me tell you the good news:

You don’t have to search all over the internet for personal financial advice.

Instead, I’ve found five books that will help get your finances back on track.

Let’s dive in and look at each of the books!

1) The Total Money Makeover

Dave Ramsey has written over five personal finance books, and the Total Money Makeover combines a lot of Ramsey’s advice into a seven-step plan.

What do the seven steps do?

They’re designed to help to get you out of debt and stay out of debt as well by changing your attitude about money. There is also advice from Ramsey on investing for your future, saving, and increasing your income to pay off debts.

I know what you’re thinking, how does this book help you?

Dave provides a series of real-life success stories throughout the book from people that you can relate too.

For each step in the book, he also provides worksheets and budget forms so that you can apply the lessons to your own life.

One of the strongest statements in the Total Money Makeover is a quote from Dave:

“Would you fire yourself if you managed the money for a company like you manage your personal money?”

 It’s a statement that really hits home and makes you reevaluate your current financial life.

2) You’re So Money

Live within your means. It’s sound financial advice that many of us have been given, but not always followed.

But what if I told you that you could live beyond your means without going broke or deeper into debt?

That’s what financial reporter and author Farnoosh Torabi try to teach you in this book tailored towards individuals who want to enjoy some of the finer things in life.

So what’s the big secret?

Farnoosh teaches you tips on prioritizing your expenses and making sacrifices on the lower priorities. For example, spending hundreds of dollars on a promotion dinner might mean getting a loaf of bread and peanut butter for the rest of the week.

Most importantly she shows you where to find places to save money and enjoy life without draining your bank account.

3) I Will Teach You to be Rich

We’ve all been in a situation where a financial emergency comes up and we need to come up with some funds. But what if you had the money saved to handle those emergencies?

Ramit takes you through a six-week program that gives you a beginner’s guide to personal finance and investing.

Even if you’re experienced in finances, you will find tips and tricks that you can implement into your daily financial life.

Ramit takes the time to break down some of the most complicated financial issues that you might be facing. He then turns them into actionable and manageable tips that you handle each week. That way you have financial tools that are flexible and workable in a variety of situations.

The major take away from this six-week course is automating your finances. How can this help you? By automating different tasks, you can make sure that bills are paid on time, spend less time and effort, and even save money without noticing that you’re doing it.

4) The Richest Man in Babylon

So who was the richest man in Babylon?

What originally started as a series of informational pamphlets in the 1920s was put together into this book back in 1926.

But Clason looks at tips and financial advice from even earlier from a series of parables from ancient Babylon.

Through each of the parables, we’re introduced to a man named Arkad. Each of the parables provides a relatable story and provide advice on how to handle your finances.

What makes this book different from others is that it also talks about some of the financial failures that can happen.

So what are some of the takeaways from this book?

Clason’s Babylonian parables provide a lot of inspiration to the readers while focusing on hard work, a positive attitude, and self-discipline to complete your financial goals.

5) Your Money or Your Life

This last one features a nine-step plan that is one of the best books about living on a budget. It focuses on two types of jobs. One that pays well but you may not enjoy, and another one that pays less but is something that you love.

Many of us are stuck in the typical nine-to-five job where we don’t enjoy the work. Some of you may even dread the work. This book takes that notion and turns it on its head. Instead, it focuses on doing what you love and trimming your budget so that you can be paid less without being miserable.

I hope that you enjoyed this article on these five must-read books for managing your personal finances. It was important for me to find books that can give you useful tips so that you can complete your financial goals this year easier.

I’m always looking for another book to read on my shelf. If you know of any other personal finance books, I encourage you to let me know below and share this article with your friends and family so that they can enjoy some financial freedom as well.

Your Clutter, Their Treasure: Downsizing Can Help You Stay in the Black

It’s a daily struggle for many people to pay their bills, feed their families and have a little extra for other necessities, much less extras.  Luckily, there are many ways to stretch your budget a little further by simply using what you already have.

It used to be that to make any money off of your unwanted items, you had to have a yard sale.  Now, however, there are many more options where you don’t even have to leave your house except to get to your mailbox!

From online downsizing to installment loans, when you need the money most, you have options.

Declutter Your Home With Direct Selling

Do you have kids that outgrew their clothes, or never even wore that shirt they just had to have?  Xbox games no one ever plays anymore, or movies you have seen a hundred times and don’t want to ever watch again?

Those hot items and more are easy money makers through online direct sales sites such as eBay and Letitgo.  Sites like eBay allow you to sell your goods at a price you agree on, and all you have to do is post it and ship it once it’s sold.  Because of the shipping aspect, eBay is more geared towards smaller items, but there are options for pickup of larger items.

Letitgo and other marketplace type apps are more direct, where you post your item online and meet with local buyers in person.  This type is better for larger items that would not be cost-effective to ship.

Let Other Resellers Do the Work For You

Other resale companies, like Declutter and thredUp, will pay you directly for your items and then sell them for a profit, keeping you out of the direct transaction but allowing you immediate funds.   They even pay for your shipping.

The con of this is that generally your take is much less than had you sold your product directly, but the pro is you don’t have to sit around and wait for it to sell.

Stick With the Tried and True

Sometimes the old standbys are the best.  Yard sales are still as popular as they ever were, but technology has helped increase profits because now you can advertise online.  From posting about your yard sale on your social media to advertising on online garage sale sites, it’s much easier to get the word out for early birds and bargain hunters to come buy your unwanted stuff.  Remember, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure!

Emergency Loans

If you are looking for bigger amounts of money fast, there are options available as well in the form of installment loans.  These are typically high interest loans and therefore should only be used if all other avenues are exhausted, and if you know that you can repay the terms of the loan on time.

Installment loans are easier to get due to their high interest terms, and can be applied for and received completely online, depending on the company.  However, their repayment terms can be steep, so shop around before you settle, and be sure you can handle the terms.

Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees, But You Can Find it in Your Backyard

When you need a few bucks, look around your house, your yard, or your car, and see what’s been sitting unused for months or even years.  Chances are, someone somewhere is looking for that particular item, and you can have a win/win:  declutter your house and make some money, and make someone else happy they got a deal!

 

How to Always Be Prepared for a Job Loss

Most of us will lose a job at some stage in our life. It can be a stressful time, particularly if you have a family to provide for.

Even if you’re in the twilight of your career, think your job is secure and you’re excelling in every way, you could still find yourself being made redundant due to external factors.

Unless you own or run the company, some things are just out of your control. Because of this, it’s wise to be prepared.

By applying the following 11 tips you will survive losing your job and be in a good position to find the next one.

1) Assess Your Finances

First thing’s first, you need to assess your overall financial situation. How much are you being paid, how much are you spending now, and how much do you require to cover the essentials? Do you have any assets or a mortgage? And how many people depend on you? What about savings and investments?

If you are in debt and/or spending most of your wages or salary (living pay check to pay check), you will be hit hard if you lose your job.

2) Have a Budget

Once you’ve assessed your finances you are now in the position to create a budget (if you don’t use one already). This will allow you to stay informed about your finances moving forward. Should you lose your job you’ll know exactly where you can tighten spending.

3) Build an Emergency Fund

The time to build an emergency fund is while you’re in a secure job. It should be able to cover at least 3 months of essential expenses (or longer for added security), but the exact amount to save will depend on your individual situation. You will be able to rely on these savings if you lose your job.

Even though saving can be tough, you’re only doing this until the pot is full. And remember, if you cut into the fund, don’t forget to top it back up again.

4) Assess Your Job Prospects

 Even if there’s no sign of losing your current position, it’s always a good idea to regularly overview your skills and qualifications, and update your CV. How quickly could you find another job if you lost the current one?

Take a look at the job market for positions you are qualified for and could apply for. If there aren’t many available or requirements have changed (sometimes you might find yourself disqualified from your current job on paper), you might want to prepare for a career change or even some retraining.

5) Consider Insurance

Income protection insurance is a form of insurance that pays out when you lose your job (though certain requirements have to be met). Typically, you will be issued regular payments (much like a wage) for the time you are out of work or for an agreed period. Other policies pay out a lump sum.

Unlike a straight savings plan, you could be paid out much more than you paid in. However, if you never lose your job you do not have access to the money you paid in.

6) Know Your Employer’s Benefits and Policies

To properly prepare for a potential job loss, you should become familiar with your employer’s severance policies and other benefits.

Do you get severance pay if you’re laid off and if so what is the criteria? Does your health insurance plan continue under COBRA if you lose your job?

7) Be Ready to Downsize your Life

Even if you have an emergency fund and other sources of money that can tide you over until you find a new job, you’re still likely to need to cut back on your expenditure and learn to live frugally. That means no more meals out or impulse buying.

8) Get a Side Gig

One hedge against losing your job is to have another one on the side. For example, you might start freelancing online during the weekends. Of course, if you are in a fulltime job you won’t have time to make a lot of money, but if you lose your job you can dedicate more time and immediately fill that income gap.

9) Maintain Good Credit

If you lose your job and need to borrow money to stay afloat, a good credit score is going to help. It will provide the widest possible range of credit and loan options, with the best interest rates and other terms.

10) Maintain Your Network

The old saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” is still very much applicable. Always keep in contact with your close clients and work colleagues, as you never know who could be offering you a job in the future.

11) Learn New Skills

Just because you have a job doesn’t mean you can’t continue to learn new skills and get new qualifications. In fact, that’s how a lot of people progress in their career. Some firms might pay for extra training in the hope that you stay with them and move up the ladder.

If there’s not much room to progress in your current job, you should still advance your skills in your own time. If you lose your job, you may end up with a better one!

Even though losing a job can be one of the most stressful times in your life, with good planning it doesn’t need to be.

How to Start an Emergency Fund from Scratch

The future is full of unknowns and many things can happen to us that are beyond our control. That also extends to our finances, so it’s wise to have an emergency fund to help cover unexpected expenses.

Are you prepared if you lose your job or get sick? What would you do in a natural disaster? If your car or household appliances break down, can you fix or replace them?

An emergency fund is an answer to all of these questions. But how do you get started from scratch? Our four tips will help …

1) Prioritize

To successfully build your emergency fund you need to make it a priority. It’s all too easy to skip putting money aside one week because you tell yourself that the likelihood of an emergency is low, but it’s that mentality that will leave you stranded when one occurs.

Choose a set amount to put aside and treat it as a necessity like the electric bill or paying rent. You could even set up an automated bank transfer from your checking account to a savings account so you stay committed.

Another trick is to formulate a budget that excludes your emergency savings from income. If you pretend you never had $20 every week, you won’t miss it. And such a small sum will grow to over $1,000 in one year!

2) Budget

 You can’t save efficiently without having a firm understanding of your finances. That’s why it’s so important to budget, and it really isn’t that difficult to do. Whether you use an app or a good old-fashioned pen and pad, note down all the money you have coming in each month and all the expenses you have going out.

This should include your salary or wages and any other regular income, and all the regular expenses such as your mortgage, rent, utilities, car payments etc. It is also wise to estimate more sporadic income and expenses (you an average this out if you keep track over several months). For example, going out to the movies and buying new clothing.

With your budget clear, you now know exactly how much money you have left over each month and can choose a realistic amount to put aside for emergencies.

3) Set the size of your Fund

Ideally, your emergency fund should be able to cover your basic living expenses for three to six months. This gives you plenty of time to find a new job if you lose it, get your health in order if it takes you out of work, and re-settle in the case of a natural disaster.

The pot will also be big enough to cover other emergency expenses that don’t directly impact your income or home situation.

Of course, everyone’s situation is different and you may have a particularly high and stable income, home equity, and a great credit rating – all of which decrease your odds of a financial emergency. In that case, you may set a lower amount for your emergency fund.

On the flipside, if you’re renting, just starting out in your career or do not have stable work, and you have poor credit or are nearing your credit limits, then it’s wise to build a larger emergency fund to fall back on.

Note: Your fund should always be full, so if you tap into it, remember to start saving again. You might even choose to jump ahead of your savings schedule by using guides like ‘how to make 500 dollars fast,’ to give your fund a quick refill.
4) Make it Work for You

 Having some cash on hand is always a good idea for emergencies, but you don’t want the bulk of your fund under the mattress. The best option is a savings account that gives you full access at any time. This way you will earn some interest to make saving easier and you’ll still be able to withdraw as much as you need at any time during an emergency.

You may decide to put a percentage of your fund in a less liquid account, such as a mutual fund or even physical precious metals like gold and silver. Diversifying is always wise (bank collapses do happen), but you want the bulk of your fund accessible on the day you need it.

By following this simple advice, you will be able to create an accessible insurance policy to protect you and your family from any and all financial emergencies.

 

Why Passive Income is Your Road to Financial Independence

Most of us have to work daily to earn enough income to fund our lifestyle. Unless you are one of the fortunate few that are born into wealth, true financial independence is often a distant dream and the primary goal is to make it to retirement.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Changing your perception of what work is can be a radical first step to financial independence. What if you didn’t have to work for somebody else? What if income wasn’t tied to the daily grind?

Enter passive income – your road to financial independence.

Once an initial contribution of energy, time, and financial investment is made, you can earn income passively. This means the money continues to come-in consistently, automatically, and with little ongoing maintenance.

If you can create a passive income, especially when young, it is easy to see why financial independence looks more attainable.

Passive Income Is Everywhere

Passive income opportunities are everywhere; from affiliate marketing online, to renting out property, to getting paid dividends from stock. The trick is to make your career and financial decisions revolve around potential passive income streams. Take classes in real estate, not history. Invest your savings, don’t leave them in a regular bank account. Work extra hard now so you can reap the benefits later.

Here are 4 of those benefits that passive income can bring you …

1) Prevent Financial Emergencies

A core piece of financial advice is to create an emergency savings account that you can turn to if you lose your job, are faced with unexpected bills and expenses, get stuck in a natural disaster, are going through a divorce, or a faced with any other kind of financial emergency.

You can also find 1,000 dollar loans online via sites like WeGot1000 to help bridge the gap.

While this advice is still solid if you have a passive income stream, you may never even view any of these situations as true financial emergencies and you might not even need a loan. Not only do you have a safety net, but that safety net keeps on replenishing itself regardless of your circumstances.

If you lose your day job, you can rely on passive income until you find another. If that car payment comes out earlier than expected, you can bridge the gap. Need to ditch everything and get away from a hurricane?  You still have money coming in.

Of course, every situation is different and even with a passive income you can still end up struggling, but you’re in a much better position than those who rely solely on a weekly or monthly wage, tied to their ongoing effort.

If the potential for financial emergencies is reduced, your road to financial independence is a lot smoother.

2) Create Investment Opportunities

A lot of people like the sound of investing. Who doesn’t want more money? The trouble is to invest you need capital to begin with, and you need to be prepared to risk that money because even the soundest of investments can result in a loss.

If you have a passive income alongside a regular job, you can use the passive income to invest. Your wage or salary covers your day to day lifestyle and your passive income can be used to experiment and generate more wealth in the long-run.

The main point is that passive income gives you more financial freedom.

3) Allow You to Find Other Revenue Streams

Usually, when you work a regular job (even a high-powered one), it takes up the majority of your time. You may find if you’re particularly driven that you can get something else going on the side, but there’s not much else you can do after that. There’s only so many hours in a day.

However, if you use your extra time to create a passive income stream and eventually you find success, you then have the freedom to repeat the process. This is because passive income, once it is up and running, takes minimal effort to maintain.

In theory, you can have an unlimited amount of passive income streams, or at least until the point where you’ve found a balance between maintaining them all and not feeling overwhelmed.

Of course, by then you can probably afford to …

4) Allow You to Quit your Day Job

If you have built a stable passive income that can sustain you, then there’s no reason to be working a regular 9 to 5 job. Financial independence is all about having enough wealth to live on comfortably without working. Passive income can accomplish this.

That’s not to say you’ll get there right away, but as you venture on the journey, things will get easier. Before quitting your job outright, you may have the freedom to quit a dead-end job and do something that you enjoy that pays less.

 And even if you don’t retire as the head of a billion-dollar empire, whatever passive income you do have will continue into old age if managed correctly.

It’s a Snowball Effect

As you can see, the brilliance of passive income is that it creates a financial snowball effect. A small passive income on the side gives you the freedom to create another, which gives you the money to invest, which earns you enough to quit your job, which gives you more free time to develop more passive income streams – your wealth continues to accumulate and you reach financial independence.

Now you have the time to travel, start a family, be creative without the pressure of making money, and thoroughly enjoy life.

Start Your Journey Now!

Now you know what passive income can do for you, it’s time to start. The best mindset to have is that of a bodybuilder – no pain no gain. In the beginning, you need to force yourself to live frugally and save every last penny, to have enough capital to get started.

The rest is up to you.

5 Ways to Boost Your Finances in 2018

No matter what happened in 2017, a new year has begun. For many people, organising theirfinances will be a new year’s resolution. After all, Christmas is an expensive time of year and we can end up spending huge amounts of money over the festive season.

January can be a tough month for finance, but it doesn’t have to be. PPI claims, gathering unwanted gifts and reviewing your current account is all part of the plan to have a healthy bank balance in 2018.

It’s important to have some extra money to pay for financial emergencies and events throughout the year. Thankfully, there are some great ways to boost your finances this year — and these five ideas can all be done right now! So, why put off getting that cash boost?

  • Try a New Way of Saving

The website Apartment Therapy came up with a new way of saving in small amounts. It’s a simple, yet effective way for people to save money from the very first day of the year to the very last. It’s not too late to start either! It’ll be incredibly easy to get on schedule quickly if you start soon.

The idea is simple: For each day of the week, you save some money. You increase the amount saved each day, but when the week restarts, you start all over again. The amounts below are the recommendations about how much to set aside every day:

Sunday £1

Monday £2

Tuesday £3

Wednesday £4

Thursday £5

Friday £6

Saturday £7

When Sunday arrives, you start back at £1. This way of savings means you will have £28 a week, equating to nearly £1500 by the end of the year. Find a big piggy bank or set up a direct debit to a savings account and add £28 a week. You’ll be so grateful by the end of the year and taking it out in small amounts every week can make the saving that much easier.

  • Make a PPI Claim Today

The PPI deadline is getting ever closer. While we’ve all seen and heard the adverts about payment protection insurance claims, the reality is that there are still thousands of people who haven’t claimed PPI. Many consumers were unaware that PPI was sold to them alongside a mortgage, credit card or loan. It’s so important to check old bank statements and find out if you’re due a refund. It could well be thousands of pounds; a substantial amount to boost your 2018 finances. Even if you no longer have the paperwork, you can still find out if PPI was added to your account.  Make your PPI claim today before it’s too late!

  • Sell Unwanted Christmas Gifts

Are there still some Christmas gifts at home which you know you won’t ever get around to using? Those bath salts from your secret Santa might be lovely, but you’re not really a bath person. Selling unwanted Christmas gifts is an excellent way to make some extra money and make sure the gift doesn’t go to waste. Using eBay or even Facebook to sell gifts can be a good boost of income and is very simple.

  • Cash in on Gift Cards

Instead of presents, you may have received some gift cards for Christmas. Some of these can be really useful, but, if you got a gift card for a shop you rarely use, you can cash it in online. Websites such as Zeek will show you various options about how to get cash for your gift cards. Although you’ll never receive the full price, the cash can sometimes be much more worthwhile than the card.

  • Switch Current Accounts

Years ago, the thought of switching current accounts was too much effort. Now, however, thanks to the Current Account switch guarantee, changing current accounts is swift and easy. Most banks are signed up to the switching guarantee, making it a painless experience.

The best part about switching bank accounts is the great rates that banks offer to entice you. Rates do change regularly and there are terms and conditions, so be sure to check on websites such as Money Saving Expert for the best deal.

So, why put off getting some extra cash in 2018? Whether you’re possibly due a huge refund from PPI claims or can sell £50 worth of unwanted Christmas gifts, making use of these finance-boosting tips can make a huge difference. Start making money today!