4 articles Tag cost

Saving for the Summer

Saving for the SummerWith the summer holidays fast approaching, many of us have started to think about our finances over the coming weeks. Keeping kids entertained for six weeks isn’t cheap, and the cost of summer can seem truly daunting. With that in mind, I thought I’d look at some things you can do to top up the funds, ahead of this expensive time of year.

Get a Part Time Job

Childcare can be super expensive, but if you’re not currently working and need some extra cash, there are lots of part time jobs out there which can fit around family time. From courier work to bank nursing at your local hospital, out of hours options are there, providing you’ve got someone to watch the kids in the evening.

Get a Loan

While I wouldn’t usually suggest getting yourself into debt, as long as you’re sensible with making your repayments on time a loan can be a useful buffer at this time of year, and getting a loan can even help to repair bad credit if you ensure you stick to your repayment plan. There are also loans for bad credit if you don’t have the best credit rating.

Cancel Any Services You Don’t Use

This is a great time of year to take a look at your finances and cut back on anything that you really don’t need. I currently pay £10 a month for a gym membership, which I barely use, and although a tenner doesn’t seem like much, it’s enough to make your eyes water when you think about it as £120 a year!

Streamline Your Shop

If you’re like us and end up wasting food because of less-than-savvy shopping, this is a good place to start when it comes to money saving. Sit down and look at HOW you shop (weekly, monthly, day-by-day) and work out where most of the waste is coming from. You could also think about WHERE you shop and whether there’s a cheaper option out there, like Lidl or Aldi. Meal planning is also often a good way to help you to be more frugal. 

Get Your Walking Shoes On

Many families are guilty of jumping in the car for short journeys, which would actually be more than walkable. Unless you’re in a massive hurry, try to make any journey of a mile or less on foot – or even better, get the bikes out and get the whole family cycling. As well as cutting your fuel costs, it will get you all moving and will also reduce your carbon footprint – everyone’s a winner! 

Do you have any fab money saving or money making tips for my readers? Do leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you. 

The Rising Cost of Funerals

This time of year always has us thinking about slightly upsetting things as two family members have passed away in October of previous years. Thinking about losing family members always makes me feel introspective and often makes me think about the practicalities of dying, such as writing a will and the cost of funerals. SunLife has put together an infographic which shows the average cost of a basic funeral in different parts of the country and how those costs have risen over the years. Take a look:

Infographic-cost-of-basic-funeral

Although cremation is still the cheapest option, the overall cost of a funeral including burial OR cremation has almost doubled in the 11 years since 2004. It’s an alarming statistic which definitely makes me think about investing in a funeral plan at some point because £5k is an awful lot of money for a family to try to come up with in the event of a tragedy.

I often think that funerals are more for the living than the dead – when I pass away (hopefully at some grand-old-age, after having done everything I want to do in life…) I’m happy for any viable organs to be used and I don’t really have a preference over what my family do with me once I’m gone as my body will simply be an empty vessel. One thing I do like the idea of is the tree pods, which uses your body as food to grow a new tree – something about living on as energy in a tree really speaks to my beliefs about the cycle of energy on the planet, but I’m not sure if it’s something that can be done in the UK.

The saddest thing about the info that SunLife has gathered is that 1 in 6 families now could not afford a funeral for a loved one and that over half of people need to borrow money to afford a “send off” if no previous arrangements had been put in place. The weight of responsibility on the people left behind to feel like they’ve given their loved ones a decent funeral can be huge, although so many people don’t make any arrangements at all because of some feeling of tempting fate by contemplating ones own mortality.

When it comes to it, if I were to make provision for my own funeral, the only thing which would really bother me was making things as easy and painless for my loved ones. I don’t mind what they do with me or if they decided to commemorate my life with a wake or a headstone, I just want to ease their upset as much as I can, and if that means ensuring that they don’t end up saddled with debt or money worries, then it’s something I definitely need to consider.

Be Ruthless About Your Wedding Budget!

With the average wedding now costing around £22,000, controlling your wedding costs has never been so important. But how can you have a day to remember whilst on a budget? Don’t worry; it’s entirely possible with some forward planning. Let’s look at several easy ways to trim the costs.

Don’t tell organisers that you’re having a wedding

Make enquiries instead under the guise of a party or event, as some suppliers automatically bump up the costs when they hear the ‘W’ word!

Keep the guest list under control

You only need to invite close friends and immediate family; avoid inviting long-lost relatives and people you haven’t seen in years. Simply explain that you are keeping the wedding small. Some people choose to exclude children as well, although they tend to be less costly guests than adults.

Consider going abroad

It can actually be less expensive to book an overseas wedding package for a small group of people and it saves on honeymoon costs too. Look at Eastern Europe, Italy and Morocco for popular destinations that do not cost the earth.

Pick your days

Saturday is the most expensive day by far for a wedding and you will pay a premium. Try to book your wedding on a Friday or Sunday instead and you’ll pay less for the venue. Consider having the entire event at one venue too, which saves on décor, transport and hire fees. You could even have a marriage later in the day, which would avoid the need for a sit-down dinner and allow you to serve just one buffet meal.

Choose food carefully

Apply wisdom to your choice of menu. Do you really need to serve a full sit-down dinner, or could you arrange a cheaper, quirkier choice? Options include a Sunday fête-themed buffet, a vintage tea party or even an Asian-inspired meal. Do you need dessert when you have a wedding cake?

Avoid an open bar

This is a quick way to damage your wallet, particularly as many venues will charge high premiums for their bar drinks. People also tend to drink too much when the booze is free! Instead, consider offering to pay for everyone’s first drink. Remember too that sparkling wine is just as good as Champagne for toasting – and costs far less!

Funding the day

Avoid getting into costly and complicated credit card debt and consider a secured loan from a specialist such as Evolution Money so you can manage the repayments within a certain time-frame and avoid having the debt hanging over you for many years afterwards.

In collaboration with Evolution Money

Too Average for Education.

Back in 2009, I decided that I wanted to use my experiences with Sausage’s birth to help other people in a similar position. I realised that I probably wouldn’t be allowed to do that without qualifications, so I embarked on some formal education in the form of a Psychology degree with the Open University. Despite not having A-levels, I was able to complete an access course which eased me into higher education and provided me with 60 of the 360 points needed to gain my degree.

I finished the course, passed, and enrolled on more as soon as I could. I started two at the same time, one a 60 pointer and another a short course worth 15 points. As often happens, life got in the way and I decided to quit the 60 point course and finish the short course before taking a break. I’ve done various things between then and now, working for myself, being a lady of leisure, working in a couple of offices, but it’s always been a niggly thing in the background, my unfinished degree so I made the decision to try to get it done.

I went to the OU site, chose a module, registered and waited for the forms to turn up. When I started the degree a 60 point course was, on average, between £650 and £750. This new course I want to do? £2500. And it seems all of the courses have gone up by that much. So, that means that from beginning to end instead of costing between £3900 and £4500, that very same qualification will now cost  around £15,000. Put simply, the cost has almost tripled.

Now, were my household income below the threshold or we were in receipt of certain benefits, I’d get the full amount paid for me. As it stands, I’d get a partial award of around £600 towards my course fees, so I’d still need to find about £1900 for the rest of it.

I’m not saying that I think I’m entitled to a free education, but I really feel like the message is all wrong here.

For a start, I’m 28. Not everyone wishing to embark on a degree is a grown up, most are 18, fresh out of sixth form or college and looking to improve their life prospects. This means that either they take student loans and get themselves in a ton of debt (really not what we should be encouraging, in light of our current economy), work while studying and put more pressure on themselves, or turn to their parents who’ll need to find several thousand pounds to pay for the education, not to mention food and shelter for their children. I feel sorry for anyone with more than one kid at this point.

The fact is that by increasing the fees by this much, the majority of ‘average’ people are simply unable to afford to better themselves. £600 is a help, but I simply don’t have a spare £3800 a year, which means I just can’t complete my course. I have no choice but to remain incomplete, no way of increasing my earning potential, a vicious circle if you will.

All I know is, as much as I try to stay away from politics on this blog, I’m genuinely despairing of this government. It’s patently obvious to anyone who takes the time to notice that the Tories are doing everything they can to keep the ‘lower’ classes in their place (menial labour and servitude, I’m guessing?) by depriving them of a chance to education and we’re just letting them do it.

I’m not condoning the riots, but the people who were rioting were doing so because they felt disenfranchised and abandoned by their country. That was a relatively small group but one by one, the Tories are managing to make other social groups feel that same level of frustration and abandonment. I hate to think what will happen if that, much larger, group decides to take matters into their own hands to make themselves feel listened to.

Welcome to Tory Britain.

Welcome to the Middle Ages.