Everything You Need to Know About Writing a DIY Will

Thinking of putting together your own DIY will? There are a few things you should know before getting stuck in…

A DIY will is a viable option for some people when it comes to putting together their dying wishes. We say “some” as it really depends on your situation, including your relationship status, estate value, and more.

If you want to find a solicitor to write your will, this is usually the go-to option for most people. That said, it is completely possible to write your own will if you’re up for the challenge and if your position allows for it.

The question is, is this a feasible option for you? There are a number of caveats you should be aware of before starting this process, so don’t go anywhere if you want to know more…

Why Do I Need a Will?

Although many people will put off writing a will, it’s a really important document that needs to be put into action, no matter how young you are. As soon as you start to earn your own savings, have children, and buy yourself a property, a will should on the top of your to-do list.

At the end of the day, no will means you end up with no say over what happens to your money, property, and belongings when you die. But, as a newbie to all this, you’re probably wondering how you can do this? Especially if you’re young, you might not have any spare cash to get it sorted, so what’s the deal?

How Much Does It Usually Cost to Write a Will?

When making your dying wishes clear, most people will choose to use a solicitor. This will cost you anywhere between around £140 and £600, depending on your situation, and how complicated it all is. The prices, including VAT, may range between:

  • £144 to £240: you could get a will for this price if it’s a simple one, and you shop around to find a good deal.
  • £150 to £300: this goes for a complex will, where you may have children, or perhaps you’re divorced.
  • £500 to £600: this will be the maximum cost you might pay, and is only necessary for a specialist will involving overseas estates and tax planning advice.

You can also pay for a mirror will, which will normally cost a bit less than what you paid for your original one. This is perfect for if you have a partner or spouse who wants basically the same will as you, with just a few bits altered.

Can I Write a DIY Will Instead?

If you’re looking for a way to cut costs, you can choose to write your own will. That said, this comes with a number of stipulations, so if you want to know if this is the best option for you, read on…

Who Shouldn’t Write a DIY Will?

A do-it-yourself will is a really great way of cutting costs for anyone who has a very simple estate. So, if all a person’s belongings and money are going to their partner or children, it’s pretty cut and dry. That said, not everyone has such simple wishes, so doing it DIY should be avoided if you:

  • Are trying to reduce your inheritance tax
  • Own property abroad
  • Own any foreign investments, shares, or bank accounts
  • Have a share in a business, property, or estate
  • You own a business and want to leave your share to someone else
  • You have financial dependents that aren’t immediate family members
  • If you have any complex wishes that may be misunderstood

What Should I Include in my DIY Will?

If you decide to write your own, there are a number of different aspects of your life you should be including in your will. This includes your estate and any debts you have. Together, this will include:

  • Any property you own
  • Your monetary savings
  • Any premium bonds, shares, or investment funds
  • Any businesses you own or have shares in
  • Your insurance
  • Your pension funds
  • Your personal belongings, including jewellery, clothes, technology
  • Household items, like furniture and cooking utensils
  • Any vehicles you own or are paying off
  • Your mortgage
  • Equity release
  • Any student loans
  • Any bank overdrafts
  • Any unpaid credit card balances

Every part of your life, listed above, should be assigned to someone to inherit from you. This could be a family member, a friend, a charity or organisation, or even a stranger. It’s really important that all of this is assigned properly, using the correct wording, to ensure your dying wishes are met.

What is the Process for Writing a DIY Will?

Now that you’re aware of what should be included in your will, it’s time to execute it officially. So, you must be sure to get your assets, listed above, valued, then decide how you want to divide it all up.

You then need to choose your executors, which is the person or people who are in charge of making sure it’s all carried out. This should be someone you trust implicitly.

Once you’ve decided all this, it’s time to write your will. You need to ensure everything is spelt correctly and is signed and witnessed by two adults. Be sure to destroy any old wills you may have lying around, and then ensure your new one is stored in a safe place. Then, make sure your executor knows whereabouts it has been stored.

What Methods Are There to Write Your Own Will?

There are a number of ways you can go about writing your own will. Depending on the size of your estate, the number of beneficiaries, and anything else which complicates the situation, you might choose a:

Will on a Scrap of Paper

In essence, it could simply be written on a scrap of spare paper if you wanted it to. As long as it’s been witnessed by two adults present when you signed it, and someone knows where it’s kept, you’re good to go.

Due to the current pandemic situation, the government have even made provisions for socially distanced will writing. Now, it’s legal to witness a will remotely, via a video call, in England and Wales.

However, in these cases, you risk not covering everything and potentially using disputable wording. So, if you have numerous beneficiaries, it may be worth seeking a different avenue for your estate.

DIY Will Kit

Some other ways people may decide to write their wills is through using a kit. For example, a WHSmith will kit or a post office will kit are good alternatives for those who need a little more guidance. These provide more of a template, so you can be sure you’re covering everything important.

You can also buy a DIY will template online, which will usually cost between £10 and £30. This will help you to get all the wording correct, ensuring nothing is misunderstood.

Online Will Service

A much more official way of doing this, however, is by using an online will service. This will take you through, step-by-step, some questions to gauge the best price for your situation, including:

  • Whether you’re married or in a civil partnership
  • Where your estate is based, and whether you own anything abroad
  • Whether you own any part of a business or property

Once these are answered, you’ll then be provided with a list of potential prices. So, for an unmarried person, their will might range between £99 and £169, depending on what sort of service they’re after, be it economy, standard, or premium.

In your online will, you’ll be able to make unlimited gifts, as well as appoint child guardians, leave money for people, and make inheritance Tax provisions. They may then charge an extra fee to store the will for you in a safe place. Once paid, you can go ahead with it all, and can even link it up with your partner’s will too.

The Pros and Cons of Writing a DIY Will

Now that we know more about how you might go about writing your own will, what are the benefits and drawbacks of doing so?

The Pros of Writing a DIY Will

  • Great for anyone with very simple wishes.
  • Can be purchased for a fair bit cheaper than if you were to use a solicitor.
  • They will take up less of your time to write.

The Cons of Writing a DIY Will

  • Not for people with a much more complicated estate.
  • DIY wills can sometimes lead to contested estates.
  • You have to be really careful with using the correct word coding to be sure everyone knows what you mean.
  • Unclear clauses within the will may lead to family members turning against one another.
  • Any disputes may lead to expensive legal action for your inheritors and beneficiaries.
  • It might lead to anxiety that your final requests won’t be carried out properly.
  • It might not be stored safely.
  • You can be sure it’s legally binding.
  • Will writing services usually aren’t regulated, meaning they can be disputed more easily.
  • Amendments aren’t so easy to make on a DIY will.

Think a DIY Will is on the Cards for You?

As we’ve seen in this article, it is entirely possible to produce a DIY will. That said, although this might be a great way to cut costs, it’s important that you’re sure your estate can be divvied up in this way. If you have a more complicated situation, seeking the advice and help of a solicitor is probably your best port of call.

Ultimately, it’s your decision; if you want to be absolutely certain your wishes will be taken into account, going through the correct legal channels may be your answer.

Have you ever created a DIY will, or are thinking of doing so? What has your experience been with it all, and would you recommend it? Be sure to leave your stories and comments down below.

4 Tips On How To Be A Smart Online Shopper

From reading news online to communicating with our friends and family via various social networks, going shopping online has become the norm throughout the years.

One of the biggest advantages of online shopping is that people can buy anything from groceries to clothes to home appliances, all from the comfort of their home. For example, since the pandemic outbreak, about 74% of UK respondents across all age groups now feel comfortable buying products online.

The businesses also provide their customers with the same services and support they would if they go in-person shopping. Therefore, the growth of online shopping has become very impressive, and it doesn’t seem like it is going to slow down. For that reason, whether you are an active online shopper or you are just getting started, here are some tips you should look out for in order to become a better and a smarter online shopper.

Tip 1: Use online catalogues

One way through which online shopping has become immensely popular is with online catalogues. These catalogues are especially useful to those who don’t want to spend their shopping budget all at once or are going through some financial crisis.

Also, the catalogues do background checks to find out your credit history, and if you don’t have a bad credit rating, they allow you to pay for any product or service weekly or monthly. For example, if you want to make a large purchase, but you can’t afford to pay for it all at once, you can go for the weekly payment catalogues which allow you to pay for the service or goods in weekly instalments.

When you make the purchase, you will be given a weekly statement that will include the item you have purchased, the date of the purchase, the amount you have paid so far, and the amount and date of your next payment. This is very helpful because you don’t have to worry about saving up to pay all at once, but instead, you will be able to spread out your costs and get yourself something else in the meantime.

Tip 2: Shop from reputable websites

When you go in-person shopping, you can see how the retail shop or the grocery stores operate. But when you shop online, you can’t really know, and sometimes you come across websites that might seem sketchy to you. So, to make sure you are shopping from reputable websites, you must watch out for several things.

Firstly, the easiest and fastest way to check for the website’s authenticity is to look if the website is encrypted with SSL, which means that it must start with https://.

Secondly, check for the contact details. Every legitimate store must have a phone number, an email, and an address. These are very important because if you have questions about their services, you should be able to contact them immediately.

Thirdly, look for the payment logos, such as Visa, MasterCard, etc. These financial institutions do a thorough background check on shops that process online payments, so if these logos are present on the website, then it is legitimate. Lastly, if you want to go a step further, you can find out who owns the website using the tool WhoIs, which will give you the historical information of the website.

Photo by Burst from Pixels

Tip 3: Determine your needs

Another important tip is to figure out what you really need to buy, not what you want.

To avoid overspending your budget, it is recommended that you create a shopping list every week. For example, you can create a meal plan for the following week. This way, you will be able to buy what you need for your meals and avoid buying unnecessary products that you will not use or that will just go stale.

When you create a shopping list, make sure you adjust your budget, which depends on your income and your situation. For example, when you shop online, you worry about creating a gasoline budget. But, since you will be shopping from the comfort of your home, you can use your gasoline budget to buy something else you need. Just remember to stick to your budget.

Be careful with purchasing things that bring you comfort and definitely avoid buying anything you don’t need. However, if you end up with money left in your budget, you can always treat yourself with something you’ve wanted for a long time.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

Tip 4: Search for coupons

It is well known that by shopping online, you can save time and even money. You save your time by not driving to the stores or waiting in long queues, but you save money by using online deals such as coupons.

Many e-retailers use and accept coupons as a marketing strategy to attract more customers. For that reason, they are useful to both businesses and customers. There are several benefits of coupons.

Firstly, they are convenient to use. They can be valid for days or even weeks, so you can use them whenever you like.

Secondly, if coupons are offered with the products you buy regularly, that means that you can purchase these goods in bulk at a discount price.

Thirdly, coupons are offered occasionally. Because of that, customers can plan their shopping activities beforehand, which would lead to the perfect timing when they can use these coupons that have discounts, receive freebies and other deals. There are many websites you can search to see which offer great deals using coupons. Usually, e-retailers send out newsletters to their customers to inform them of these online deals.

Final thoughts

As we all know, the e-commerce business is on the rise, becoming an essential part of our everyday lives. When we shop online, we are offered many services and options, but also the opportunity to save our time and money. However, we must be smart about how we shop online.

Even though it appears to be more convenient than in-person shopping, following these four simple tips can make you a better and smarter online shopper. Planning and sticking to your budget or searching for online deals can really come a long way, so keep in mind that smart shopping leads to successful purchases. 

Business ideas you can start from home, today!

It’s safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has left many of us questioning if our careers are right for us. While others, having been furloughed or made redundant, simply don’t have much choice.

It’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed and confused at all the potential opportunities out there, however more people than ever before are embracing this opportunity to start their very own business from the comfort of their own homes.

There are many benefits to starting your own business; you can set your own hours, you’re in complete control of all aspects of your venture, there are very low overheads and it’s incredibly rewarding. Home business popularity is rising, and thanks to modern technology, it’s never been easier to connect with potential clients and get your business out there.

From building your very own media library of images and videos to creating and monitoring your very own website, handling your social media and marketing strategies – check out this free social media calendar to get yourself started – all this can be achieved with just a few clicks and a little determination.

So, what kind of businesses are people starting from home? Read on to find out.

Sell homemade products

Many of us have hobbies that could be incredibly lucrative. Whether that’s sewing, crochet, even paintings and sculptures – whatever you like to create, you can utilise your skills to increase your income and become your own boss. Enamel pins, clothing lines, candles, even jewellery – you could host your very own website and have people make online purchases, advertise entirely on social media and sell products locally, or even on sites such as Etsy.

The beauty of selling homemade products is that you don’t necessarily have to store lots of stock, you can make creations on demand, giving you more flexibility and control of your overheads.

Offer wholly online services

Tapping into today’s digitised world means good things for your bank balance. Working from home within the online services industry means that you have lots of flexibility and you might not need a constant flow of clients to keep your bottom line healthy. Just one or two clients could be all you need.

If you’re creative, then consider moving your skills online and creating your very own business from home. Freelance writing, graphic design, virtual assistance, bookkeeping and even data entry roles are good places to start.

A content creator

Do you already have a sizeable online audience? Maybe you’re a parent, blogging about your daily struggles or you’re a car enthusiast and regularly upload videos of yourself reviewing vehicles for your followers. If you’re a content creator, you could potentially monetise your success. Turning your blog into a business means building on your following and reaching out to brands and companies that are relevant to your ethos.

You could sell the advertising space on your blog pages, review products for fees in your online uploads or even sell your own products to your followers.

Final thoughts…

If you could start a business from home, what would it be?

Holiday Budgeting Suggestions For Low-Income Families

Paying for a holiday has become difficult for lots of families at the moment. Not only has the economy been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the travel industry itself is in turmoil. As job losses mount up, many are focusing solely on covering their household bills and squirrelling away enough cash to help them through the winter months.

On the other hand, it is the long summer holiday and with our kids having spent an unprecedented amount of time out of school and away from their friends, giving the kids some sort of break is just as important – not least to protect their mental health. Before the Corona Virus struck, many parent strove to take their children away at least once a year.  Creating family memories is really important.

So what can we do?

Cut back on spending as much as possible

If you sit down and go through your day to day expenditure, you’ll probably be surprised at just how much can be frittered away without you really noticing. Few of us have the discipline to monitor every single expenditure but creating a household budget is never a wasted exercise. You may want to consider a short term loan.

Firstly, it’s important to note that most families waste a fortune every single month. That happens because they don’t think hard enough about the purchases they make.  You’ll find some ideas for curbing your impulse buying in this post.

Food is a big expenditure for lots of us but there are ways you can save on feeding the kids during the summer holidays.

What about travel companies that allow payment instalments?

Some travel companies allow people to pay for their bookings in instalments – either on a pay monthly basis or, alternatively, with a low deposit so you can secure your holiday. All of which seems like a good idea were it not for the fact that you will pay a hefty APR for the privilege.  To give you an idea, Lastminute.com are charging an APR of 29.9%.  That’s not such a cheap trip.

With the travel industry currently severely impacted due to COVID-19, you’d need to be extremely careful if you want to travel abroad – both due to the financial security of the travel companies and the ever-changing quarantine rules for countries in Europe and farther afield.  Jobs are being cut left right and centre – British Airways, Hays Travel, EasyJet to name just a few.

You can find ABTA’s latest advice for international travel here and it doesn’t make for optimistic reading.

Then there has been the news that some companies have been digging their heels in when it comes to issuing refunds.  More excellent advice can be found on Martin Lewis’s Moneysavingexpert site.

All of which makes the prospect of travelling abroad a decidedly dodgy proposition – even if you can find someone to take your booking and actually deliver your holiday.

Have a staycation – explore the kids’ home country

Many would agree that a staycation at home in the UK is a much safer bet. We have some beautiful places on our own shores. Arranging a camping trip or something similar could ensure the children get a well-earned break. In most instances, the little ones won’t care about seeing the sights – they just want to spend time with their parents.

That doesn’t mean, however, that a UK staycation is cheap.  Far from it.  Rumour has it that accommodation in tourist hotspots such as Devon and Cornwall is booked almost up to September 2021! It has also been a boom time for Airbnb properties.

Your best bet is probably to scour the budget hotel websites to see if you can find any deals on accommodation for last minute travel.  A quick Google search for Budget Hotel Deals UK reveals plenty of options still available if you are quick off the mark.  Just make sure you know exactly what you’re paying for and check out their cancellation and refund policies.

You’ll find that the number of rooms available may be reduced to adhere to social distancing and yes, you will likely have to wear a mask in public areas.

You might also find deals on sites like Topcashback.co.uk or with subscription dining cards such as Gourmet Society and Tastecard.  Experience companies like Buyagift.co.uk and Redletterdays.co.uk may also have some offers for short breaks.

Don’t forget to check supermarket loyalty cards too like Tesco Clubcard.

Stick to day trips

Many of the UK’s tourist attractions are starting to reopen, although you will need to book tickets online and observe social distancing when you are there.  Generally, we have found toilets are available but no dining, just takeaway food.  It’s just as easy to take a picnic.

We recently visited Sudeley Castle in the Cotswolds and are planning another trip to Berkeley Castle next week.  Bristol Zoo and Clearwell Caves are also on our list.

At least with a day trip you have a lower financial outlay and if you do need to cancel it’s not such a heavy financial loss – although the kids will be disappointed.

You may be yearning for the beach but, having seen the pictures of Bournemouth Beach, Camberwell Sands and Durndle Door in Dorset,  I think we’ll be giving the sands a miss for quite some time to come.

A sand pit and a sprinkler in the back garden are cheaper options!

Finally, I think it’s important to explain to your kids the reasons why you can’t go on holiday and reassure them that they will be able to go a little later on (hopefully!).  Kids are pretty astute at grasping these things and we parents have enough to feel guilty about as it is.

Have you got any suggestions for cheap and cheerful holidays in these uncertain times?  Let us know!

3 Quick Tips To Generate Extra Cash With A Little Effort

Thanks to Covid-19, many of us have been digging through our old things and unearthing all sorts of trash and treasures. Most people know that decluttering can make you feel less stressed and more organized but they may not know that you can also make some great extra money from it as well. In this article, I will be sharing some ideas for turning your unwanted finds into cash.

Tip #1: Trade in unwanted gold for cash

Gold is a great commodity due to its stability on the market and consistent value. In fact, it is one of the oldest metals sold that has remained its high value. If you have unwanted gold pieces consider bringing them to a trusted gold centre. Gold price per gram in the UK can vary day by day but you can always check the gold price fix. This price is based on the Karat, or purity of the gold. For example, one gram of 14k gold can net around £ 27.53 /g.

If you already enjoy thrifting or going to estate sales consider the gold price per gram UK for your next trip. Many people give away gold jewellery because it is damaged or is lower quality but scrap gold is melted down and can earn you a nice bit of extra income.

Tip #2: Sell Your Clothes

If you have ever watched Marie Kondo help people declutter then you know most people have more clothes than they know what to do with. As you purge your clothes and shoes, set aside ones in good condition, vintage pieces, or trends as these can also be resold for profit. Here are a few places online that help:

  1. eBay – this online marketplace has it all literally and is a great place to shop and sell online
  2. ThredUp – this clever site lets you buy and sell high-quality clothes that are second hand
  3. Facebook Marketplace – this is a great place to sell clothing for all ages – kids clothes do especially well
  4. Poshmark – is similar to ThredUp and offers up to 70% of retail for upscale designer clothes

Tip #3: Sell Books

This is a great way to make some extra money and if you choose to you can make a reasonable amount doing it. First, start with your own collection. Most books can be dropped off and sold at a local used bookstore. Before you do, be sure to check on Amazon how much your books would sell for as you can get a much better price online.

For example, a set of Harry Potter books may get you a few pounds for the set but on Amazon, you can choose to sell them individually for more money or as a collection. Other ways to make cash selling books are going to thrift stores and libraries book sales. By stopping by the book section in a second-hand store a friend once made over 30 pounds from books she had bought for less than a pound!

In conclusion, if you are looking to clear out your things and would like some extra money follow these tips and trade in your gold to a trusted gold centre to get the best price on your gold. Trade in old clothes, shoes, and books online for some great ways to make money or get credits for your own purchases. It’s easy and fun!

10 Ways To Teach Your Kids About Finance

There are a variety of important things that parents need to be able to teach their children. One of these things is how to deal with finances and look after their money. After all, the last thing you will want for them when they are adults is to find themselves struggling to manage their debt. But the best way to approach this is to share your knowledge with them about the financial facts of life whilst hopefully teaching them some fun money lessons at the same time.

fun money lessons - a piggy bank wearing a graduation hat in a library

The trouble is, so many parents simply do not know where to start when it comes to teaching your kids about finance.

So, to help, here are 10 ways that you can teach your children to help them have a secure financial future.

Show them that money doesn’t grow on trees

A common phrase is that money doesn’t grow on trees. Something that as an adult, we are only too aware of. However, chances are that our children simply don’t understand this concept, that money is not infinite and plucked out of the air.

A great way to demonstrate this is to show your children how you withdraw money from a cash machine, whilst carefully explaining to them that this money has come out of your bank account. You could even show older children the cash withdrawal transaction on your bank statement so that they can see the money leaving your account.

Teach them how to budget

It is important that your child learns how to budget. Kids need to understand that they are unlikely to have enough money to buy ALL the toys they want and will have to choose the one that they would prefer to buy the most.

Set an example for them by telling them about the different things that you would love to buy and why you can’t go out and buy each and every one.

Encourage them not to rush out and spend their money

If your kids are anything like mine, they’ll have very little patience. If they receive money, they will want to be straight off to the shops (or online!) to buy that toy that they have always had their eye on.

Instead, you should encourage them to temper their impatience a little and teach them the pleasures of delayed gratification.  Easier said than done, I know!

A great way to show them that you take a careful approach to your spending is to show them that you are thinking about a bigger purchase. Shop around with them, ask them to help you to compare the different deals that are out there.

Explain that saving a little more will help you buy something better, of higher quality, longer-lasting and more fun.

It’s the difference between blowing their cash on the latest collectable and having the money for an Xbox game or even a console.

Teach them that saving is cool

Saving can sometimes get a bad rap, especially when compared to spending. It is a good idea to teach your child that it is cool to be a saver. Especially when saving gives you a reward such as the ability to buy something nice for yourself.

Teach your kids that it’s often the little things that are bought on a daily basis can add up to a significant item of expenditure over a year. Curbing your occasional spending can really help you to budget for bigger ticket items.

A simple way to teach kids about the power of saving is to have a savings jar that you as a family pay into. Show your child how the money builds up over time, and let them know when you are using that money, such as for a holiday or a new TV.

Make a game of it.  Try the Penny Saving Challenge by saving the same number of pence each day that matches the number of the day in the year.  So on the 35th day of the year, you add 35p to the savings jar, all the way up to more than £3.50 in December.

This will give the family around £667 extra cash to spend at New Year. It’s one of those fun money lessons that really will make an impact.

Help them to keep track of their money

Being able to monitor your spending habits is an incredibly useful skill to have in later life, and this is something that you can encourage right from childhood.

If your child receives pocket money on a weekly or monthly basis, why not encourage them to make a chart? This could contain the pocket money that they receive each time, as well as what they spend it on. That way, they can keep an eye on where their money is going.

Get them to write a wish list of things that they want to buy

Having something in mind is a great way to achieve a goal. This is particularly true when it comes to saving.

If your child is struggling with the concept of putting away their money, then why not ask them to create a wish list of things that they want to buy?

You can write down how much these things are going to cost, as well as how many weeks pocket money that is, showing them how long it will take them to save for it.

Tech-savvy kids could create a wishlist on Amazon which will not only teach them how much things cost but is a great resource for relatives wondering what on earth to buy for their next birthday or Christmas present.

On the subject of presents for kids, the Monopoly board game is a great choice if you want to teach your kids about money and how a little bit of a strategy can make you a winner!

We also enjoy the Payday board game – go through the working month buying and selling items and see if you end up the richest player.

fun money lessons - a retro robot

Teach them about the importance of charity

Charity is important, no matter your generation. However, if a child doesn’t understand why charity is important, or how to donate to them, then this won’t carry on growing.

Encourage your child to give a portion of their savings or pocket money to charity, not all the time, just sometimes. That way, they have some awareness of what is going on in the world around them, and how some people are not lucky to have the same money as them.

Always have some boundaries

We all love spoiling our children, there are no two ways about it, after all, we love them. But spoiling them can have a negative impact later on in life.

You should try and set some boundaries on spending and what they can get, as this shows them that you are not always able to get what you want, and sometimes you simply have to wait for it.

Open a bank account for them

Having a bank account is something that we all need to have later in life, so why not introduce this concept to your child from an early age.

Go with them to the bank to open their own account, and encourage them to pay money into on a regular basis.

This means, that when the time comes to open an adult bank account, it won’t be quite as much of a novelty for them.

Let them make their own decisions

You may be tempted to take charge when your child wants to spend out on a particular item. However, it is better to let them make their own decisions.

If after a couple of days or weeks they decide that they have made a bad decision, then they will realise that they have wasted their money.

This will encourage them to think more carefully about the choices that they make in the future.

We all want the best for our kid’s future, and one of the aspects to think about is their financial stability. By teaching them everything that they need to know about money, you are giving them a great start that they can build on.

How do you teach your kids about money?

How To Save Money On Everyday Activities

No matter how good a saver you are or how many jars of pennies you have lying around the house, there are bound to be some things that you just can’t seem to avoid spending big on. From entertainment to dining out, here are a few ways that you can save some of your hard-earned cash and still get the most value for your money.

Entertainment at home

Entertainment covers such a broad range of activities but for this post let’s stick to things we do at home to stave off the boredom. And as you can imagine, first up is the TV. Now, this is where a lot of people waste quite a bit of money each month so this is a really good chance to save a few quid. Consider switching from a live TV package to a subscription service such as Netflix. They have something crazy like over 5000 tv shows and films on there so you’ll certainly find something to your liking.

If you really can’t live without live broadcasting then think about trying NOW TV. They have tons of packages and you have no need to sign up for long contracts. So if the Olympics or World Cup is on, you could just get a pass for the month and save yourself so much money over the course of the year.

If gaming is more your thing then there are plenty of offers out there too. So let’s say you’re into bingo or online casinos, there are tons of casinos offering free spins for new customers. Even online battle games such as Fortnite are free to play so long as you avoid the in-game purchases.

Grocery Shopping

One word – coupons. Yes, you read that right. Of course, we’re not just talking about one or two coupons that you find in your local newspaper. If you want to save big, you need to take your coupon efforts to the max.

If you keep your eyes open and always collect every coupon you come across, it’s possible to save £10s or even £100s on your monthly shopping bills. Save £20 a week and put it away and you’ll have over £1000 at the end of the year.

So where can you get these coupons? Well, believe it or not, some of the biggest manufacturers have coupon websites where you can download or print off coupons that you can then use at any participating supermarket. And most big name supermarkets do take part. Proctor and Gamble (P&G) run one such website where they offer coupons for their own products. You can also find sites by other major companies such as Johnson & Johnson. Google is your friend so get searching!

Day Trips

Ah, the good old day trip. Great fun for everyone involved but not so much for the person footing the bill. Between travel expenses, tickets into parks or museums, and dining out, the day trip can cost as much as a weekend break!

So how do you cut those costs? The easiest way is to head out on cheap day trips to the beach, local forest parks, or even botanical gardens. But if the weather isn’t the best or you just fancy doing something a bit more interesting than sitting in the park, then it’s time to get creative with your scheduling.

There are many museums and national heritage sites that will offer free entry either one day a week or once a month. If you can plan your day trip around that, then you’ll save yourself the costs of entry. Theme parks and wildlife parks are also known to reduce ticket prices on less popular days so give them a call and ask if there are any discounted days planned in the near future.

Food, Glorious Food! There’s nothing quite like a nice homecooked meal, right? But sometimes you just want to have that meal prepared by someone else, even though it costs way more to dine out that it does to eat at home. Worry not, because you deserve that nice restaurant meal and here’s how you can get it cheaper.

Restaurants will often have special deals available during their quieter periods. You might get a two-for-one deal or a free appetizer, all depending on the time of day or day of the week you dine there. So choose your favourite five restaurants in the local area, check their websites and follow their Facebook pages. You never know when a great opportunity for a cheap meal might pop up.

Another tip is to skip certain courses. Don’t order a starter or dessert and you’ll be surprised at how much money you can save on a meal for four people. You can even take it a step further by only drinking tap water. Honestly, you’ll be shocked at the difference in cost.

Use the car less

Okay, this might seem a little too obvious but bear with us. Yes, you need to use the car to get to work, do the shopping, and for school runs but do you really need to drive to the shop that’s only a ten-minute walk away?

Put a notepad and pen in the car and spend a week writing down where you drove and what you needed. At the end of the week you’ll find that there are quite a few quick runs in the car that you really don’t need to do. Cut these needless trips out of your schedule and you’ll save money on fuel.

You can also choose certain days of the week to take public transport, get on your bike, or walk. The added benefit of walking and cycling is, of course, that you’re staying fit and healthy while also saving on fuel costs and lowering your carbon emissions.

So there you have it. Five ways to save money on everyday activities that usually eat away at your budget. Try out a few and let us know which ones worked for you. Now all you need to do is figure out what you’re going to spend all that extra cash on.

Snowball Debt Method – Could It Help You Pay Off Your Debts Faster?

If you are struggling with debt and can’t see a way out of it, the snowball debt method could be your way to financial freedom.

Dealing with a lot of debt can quickly become overwhelming and it can cause problems in every area of your life. You don’t sleep properly, your stress levels are through the roof and the financial struggle is causing havoc on your relationships.

However, help is available. No matter how much debt you have gotten yourself into, the snowball method could be an effective way out of it. Here, you’ll discover everything you need to know about the snowball method and why it’s been recommended by experts as one of the best ways out of debt.

What is the snowball debt method?

When you roll a snowball down a snowy hill, with each roll it gradually starts to get bigger. The more it rolls, the more momentum it develops. By the time it reaches the bottom, it’s reminiscent of a large boulder rather than the small ball it started out as.

The snowball debt method works very much in the same way. You start off small, then over time it gains momentum and you end up crushing your debt by the time you reach the end.

How does it work?

Using the snowball debt method is easy. You simply pay off your smaller debts first, leaving the larger ones until last. You don’t pay attention to the interest rates of the debts. Instead, you look at the overall amount due, listing the debts from smallest to largest.

You’ll then focus all of your attention on clearing the smallest debt first. You do this by making just the minimum repayments on all of your debts besides the smallest one. Throw as much money at the smaller debt as you can each month until it’s cleared.

Once that smallest debt has been paid off, it leaves you with more available cash to start paying off the second smallest debt. As each debt gets paid off, it leaves you with more available cash to throw at the larger debts. Keep using the method until all of your debts have been cleared.

Why is it so effective?

The main reason the snowball debt method works so well, is because it enables you to see consistent results. You can see the debt going down, which in turn boosts your motivation to continue.

When you’re trying to pay off a larger debt, it can take months to start seeing a major difference. This can leave you feeling like you aren’t really getting anywhere, draining your motivation to continue.

Once you see that first debt wiped off, it gives you a high you won’t forget in a hurry. This pushes you on to work to pay off your next debt, keeping the high feeling going.

It also starts to change your behaviour towards your finances. You’ll start making sensible purchasing decisions and develop much healthier spending habits overall.

Debt snowball example

To give you the best idea of how it works, let’s look at a quick example:

Sarah has built up the following debts:

  • £300 in medical bills
  • £2000 personal loan
  • £6,000 car loan
  • £15,000 student loan

To use the snowball method, she will start to make minimum repayments on the student, car and personal loan. She’ll then throw every spare pound she has each month at the medical bills. She manages to sell some old belongings and cut back to put £150 towards the medical bills in the first month, leaving just £150 to pay the next month. So, within two months the medical bill is gone.

She then focuses her attention on the personal loan, paying all of the money she would have had to pay on the medical bills towards the debt. Within 6 months that personal loan is gone. She continues focusing on the car loan and then finally the student one.

As you can see, the snowball debt method is very simple to follow. It’s also one of the most effective debt elimination methods you can follow. So, if you haven’t considered using it before, it might be worth a try.

You do need to understand the interest rates you are paying, however, and to ensure that you do not default on any of your monthly payments because this might affect your credit score.  A poor credit score will affect your ability to take out loans and even mortgages later on.

Whatever you do, make sure that rent or mortgage, council tax, utilities and any outstanding bills from HMRC are paid as a priority before you turn your attention to reducing your other debts.

I recommend putting together a good household budget and, if you are really worried, talking to your local citizens’ advice bureau and to your bank and loan providers to see if they can adjust your payments to help.

I would avoid payday loan companies and any loan provider charging exorbitant interest rates.  You may also need to examine your daily outgoings and cut back on unnecessary items – which, during COVID-19 hasn’t been too difficult to do for some of us.

Whatever you do, facing your debts head-on is the most sensible approach.

The Growing Trend For Cashless Payment Systems In Education

Think about your school cafeteria. Not so long ago, there were just two ways for students to pay the school lunch bill by cheque or in cash. But there is a more common trend in which other payment methods are becoming more popular. Specifically, in the UK, there is a common trend of using cashless payments like online payments, debit cards, PayPal payments, as well as innovative digital payment methods, rather than paying with notes.

The payment framework we have is world-class, and we have plenty of choices. And a lot has changed over the past ten years. Starting with Faster Payments, which processes payments via the online and mobile banking services in seconds, we now have the option to use contactless cards and even the ability to pay to relatives, friends and small businesses by just using our mobile phones.

Cashless payment services

Regarding schools, now we have online cashless payment services used particularly for parents. For example, one of the payment systems in the UK called ParentPay offers safe and fast online payments to more than 5,000 schools in 165 local governments in the UK. This payment option eliminates the requirement for physical money and permits parents to see statements from their account, also the payment history and check when payments are due. The app can also set the notification to advise parents when they need to pay for school costs.

On the other hand, 90% of parents who were using a different cashless system like ParentMail stated that they would rather pay for school things online, as this is more suitable than paying by check or in cash. ParentMail’s +Pay platform offers schools to inform parents via message or email about things they have to pay for and when. The app was designed with parents in mind to provide straightforward and easy school payments plus to encourage more parents to pay online, making the system even more cost-effective for schools.

A few years ago, they partnered up with one of the global leaders of cashless payment methods – PayPal. The seamless integration of PayPal as a payment option through ParentMail’s +Pay facility minimises the steps involved. It offers increased security by removing the need to provide credit or debit card information.

PayPal’s payment method, primarily trusted due to its convenience and reliability, has made an enormous impact in several industries like NGOs, civic and social organisations, retail, including the iGaming industry. Today there are even PayPal casinos that allow users to make safe and immediate deposits or withdrawals without revealing personal bank details.

In just over 20 years, PayPal has developed to have a client base of more than 300 million overall clients. The brand goes about as a payment processor for online merchants and has stretched out its worldwide reach to incorporate more than 200 nations. PayPal has just become a payment alternative among China’s 100 million clients of Baidu, and significant UK retailers like John Lewis, Next, Argos and Boots, now support PayPal payments. So, PayPal’s step in joining forces with ParentPay can only mean one thing – a cashless payments revolution in schools.

Cashless payments can positively affect schools in terms of reducing administrative and paperwork and eliminating the security risks associated with holding cash in the school while providing parents and students more flexibility. So, we could see many other cashless payments systems joining the ‘cashless school revolution’. For some individuals, cheques and money remain the favoured payment method, and with the increase in the number of free ATMs, cash will exist for many more years.

Cashless school payment solutions

Schools looking for a quicker and more proficient approach to collect recurring payments are going to advanced online solutions that improve their parents’ ever-expanding access to computers and portable devices. This is due to the selection of specific online payment applications that permit schools to receive instant payment through a website or mobile phone application, accessible to all parents and managed using school software.

Complete with a suite of apps that gives balance updates and helps clients to monitor what they have to pay and when. It also provides the facility to communicate directly with parents and guardians for a term. A socially universal and hassle-free payment system will offer wholesale benefits to schools, parents and students and will help create a fully non-cash environment.

Benefits to parents

For some parents, the main problem with punctual payments to schools is a quick notification when requests for money are often crumpled in a trouser pocket or the back of a backpack a few seconds before their child goes to school.

The online payment apps provide parents with direct notifications of the need to pay money and offers a fast and simple method to send funds. It also assists parents in the financial plan for school costs and oversee usual payments without sending money or go to the school facilities. This will ultimately provide parents with more time to focus on other important things like health, entertainment and communication.

Benefits to schools

Online payment systems permit schools to reduce the time significantly, work, and cost required to physically collect and track student and parent cash payments by mail and phone.

It is a very straightforward process, that is bound with user-friendly software packages. And it allows school staff to appeal, receive and note payments from guardians in a much simpler and more productive way, including reduction of the expense and impact of nature when sending many physical letters each term.

Four Ingredients for a Rewarding Life

What does it take to build a rewarding life? Everyone’s concept if different, but there are some common ingredients, like the right education, a career that suits your aspirations, a realistic plan for a secure retirement, and a way to give some of your resources to others, either through charitable donations or volunteering your time. Here’s a short description about each of the four components of a rewarding life. See how each one fits into your goals and which ones you need to work on.

A Career That Matches Your Goals

Many adults have a clear idea about what they want to do. Others turn to family, friends, bosses, teachers, and professional career counsellors to discover a job path that suits their skill and educational level. Take the time to research careers that interest you and ask some of the key people in your life for guidance. And don’t forget that it’s okay to explore more than one field before committing to a long-term avocation.

An Education That Prepares You for Life

If you have a general idea of what type of work is satisfying for you, then it’s relatively easy to decide on the kind of education that makes sense. For some, it’s law or medical school. For others, it’s a generalist degree in liberal arts or a technical one in a field like accounting or engineering. There are numerous paths out there; it’s up to you to choose the one that suits both your skills and aspirations. No matter the type of education is right for you, taking out a private student loan without a co-signer is a smart first step. Not only will you have the advantage of building a credit history in your own name, but you’ll be able to borrow enough to make college or grad school affordable. When you choose to finance your education without a cosigner, you’ll have options like selecting a lender that uses factors other than credit ratings and income to determine your interest rate. If you already have credit and regular income, you’ll have even more choices.

A Roadmap for Retirement Savings

You don’t need to be wealthy to plan for a secure retirement. In fact, the vast majority of the working population have some method for setting funds aside from each paycheck and earmarking that money for their post-career years. You can go about this task in several ways. The most popular is to set up an IRA and contribute to it regularly. Some employers offer special kinds of funds for their workers that feature guaranteed payouts upon retirement or matching provisions to make saving easier. It’s never too early to set up a long-term savings account whose sole purpose is to help you pay your bills when the paychecks stop coming.

A Way to Help Others

As you move through your early twenties and begin to assemble the pieces of a successful, meaningful job and lifestyle, keep in mind that you have the ability to help others who are just starting out, who never had the opportunity to attend school, or who suffered various setbacks on their own life course. Consider donating your time or money, or both, to assist others when you are able to do so.

Why Get Life Insurance If You are Financially Independent?

Life insurance is known as a form of protection from any financial loss. When something unexpected happens, insurance policies can help you to keep finances afloat. By paying a monthly fee, you can ensure that after you pass away the ones who depend on you and your income will have a stable situation – at least when it comes to finances.

How? The insurance will cover costs like educational expenses, mortgages, final expenses, or funeral services. Knowing that the life of your loved ones will not change as drastically as it could may give you peace of mind.

It does not make any difference if you are unemployed, owner of a charity or business, or an employee – you can always have life insurance.

There are two types of life insurance policies. Term life insurance provides full coverage of benefits during a specific period of time – usually between two and thirty years. It is less expensive, but it may be connected with a need for a medical examination. Permanent life insurance, as the name implies, covers you during your whole life. As you pay a monthly fee, you build up cash value over time.

Life insurance issues are connected with lots of decisions and processes. Your ability to be accepted for a policy depends on factors such as your income, social status, or health history.

If you are thinking about buying insurance, you should be aware of how and where you will source your provider.

There are lots of websites that offer insurance policies, but unfortunately, not all of them are reputable. That’s why you should always do research.

If you want to be sure that you choose a trustworthy and professional insurance provider, visit anorak.life. Thanks to this website, you can be guided through the whole process of getting insured and their advisers will help you to adapt your policy to meet your specific needs.

You might wonder if you need life insurance if you are financially independent.  You might not want to take on more expenditure as, after all, you are in full control of your money.

Once your income can cover all your expenses comfortably, life insurance may seem unnecessary. Even though you might have built up a nest egg to cover all eventualities, here are some factors that may make you think again.

First of all, Inheritance Tax – even though only a small percentage of estates located in the UK will have to pay inheritance tax charges, it is something worth considering. Inheritance Tax is paid on any estate whose total worth is higher than £325,000 – any amount of money over this figure will be taxed at 40% and the income tax bracket of the beneficiary plays no role in this. If you write your life insurance policy in trust, then the money paid out in case of your death will not be included in your estate, which means that the chances of your beneficiaries paying inheritance tax are much lower.

If, however, your estate still exceeds the £325,000 mentioned, a life insurance policy may help your beneficiaries pay the tax liability.

Thanks to life insurance, you do not have to worry about what will happen after your death. Whilst the division of assets such as real estate, art, or collectables is more likely to be tied up in Probate, it is much easier and faster to diversify your bequests by life insurance.

Life insurance will also give you peace of mind. Whilst you will have to budget for another monthly premium, you also guarantee yourself and your family security. You do not have to worry about what your life will look like in case something unpleasant happens.

Life can be very unpredictable. Although, one day, everything may seem perfect, the next day may bring a completely different reality. A car accident or terminal illness can irreversibly change your whole way of life.

A severe accident could not only take away the person they love but also the family’s income if you were their main provider. Not only will they have to mourn after a loss of a close person, but also think about how they were going to survive. Not a situation anyone wants to find themselves in.

Even if you have more than enough assets to cover your basic needs and some luxuries on top of that,  life insurance is still important. People who have a high net worth often forget about the fact that it all can change in a matter of days.

Of course, life insurance is not mandatory. However, that doesn’t change the fact that it is still worth having. Why? As it was said before, life insurance will pay some part of estate taxes. These policies, which can be, of course, adjusted to your needs, may help your family to maintain the same standard of living, no matter what happens.

How To Juggle Family Finances And Retirement Savings

Maintaining a family and still having money to spend can sometimes feel like an uphill struggle. There is a lot to manage when it comes to expenses and savings when you have to take care of your loved ones, but it is worth it. While it might feel like such a struggle to balance all of these financial matters and making sure your loved ones are taken care of, it does get easier – if you learn some money management skills.

Finding the right help for this can really improve your life and that is why you are here. These tips will help you manage your money like a pro.

Making a Budget

Budgeting is one of the most effective methods of managing your money. Knowing what expenses are a must in your budget include; rent/mortgage payments, groceries, utilities, car/life/medical insurance. Of course, these are only a few but they represent large amounts of payments that people usually make on a monthly basis. They take up a lot of your money but it is important to budget around the necessary payments.

Budgeting also includes spending on non-necessities. Things like entertainment (movies, dinner, events) as well as buying clothes or personal items. Being able to properly track these expenditures will give you a better picture of how much you have to spend or how much you can put away in savings for retirement or even college for your children.

Financial Tools

Thanks to the internet there is an enormous growth in how many financial planning tools are available. With the ease of access to these tools on your computer or on your mobile phone it is much easier to keep on top of finances and planning than it ever has been.

Just think of how little effort takes you to visit the site to consult your financial planning needs, compared to going to the bank and waiting in seemingly endless lines. Moreover, the security standards of budgeting apps are improving greatly and allowing a much more reliable service for users.

The ability to consolidate your financial budgeting into one area is a very attractive feature because it cuts down on the mess of paperwork or organizational work. It simply is all in one convenient location that can be accessed at any time.

Setting Goals

A problem that many people have when it comes to saving money for retirement or simply controlling their finances is that they feel lost and are not entirely sure what they are trying to accomplish. Setting goals is a good way to alleviate this issue.

When it comes to retirement, goal setting is definitely something that needs to be implemented. Whether you are planning for 10, 20, 30 or more years in advance, you need to have a solid understanding of how much money you are putting away to reach these time frames in a reasonable manner. It’s also good to be aware of pension freedom rules and pension mis-selling. Find out more at this site.

This means that you have a belief that you want to retire at 50 versus 65. In a sense, it is similar to budgeting in that you are comparing the amount of money you need to have put away or invested against your usual expenses like those listed earlier. In any case, setting goals and writing them down is a good way to visualize what you plan on achieving.

Unexpected Issues

Planning for retirement and having the financial freedom to provide for your family does not come without its own bumps in the roads. There are a lot of potential issues that may arise in your life that can be totally unexpected and really hurt your chances at early retirement or going on that family trip.

The use of planning tools and budgeting, or setting goals, is only as good as your ability to handle those unexpected problems.

Medical issues, deaths in the family, and economic downturn that can result in job loss are all issues that pose a threat to a straightforward retirement or living that financially free life for you and your family.

Setting up an emergency fund that can help provide a few months of relief is a smart idea in the unfortunate event something like this happens. It is also good to be realistic in knowing that sometimes life is not always fair, but it is possible to overcome it with the right planning.

Juggling the family finances and retirement savings can be hard, everyone struggles with it at some point, but it is not impossible. With the useful advice provided to you here, you can help make sure that your goals of achieving financial independence, providing a good life for your family, and having long term goals for your retirement are well within reach.