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Top Causes and Cures for Financial Headaches

Most of us are guilty of spending money irresponsibly at some point or another, whether it is ploughing it in to that dazzling fruit machine down at the local pub or whether it is blowing it on impulse buys when we head into town.

money thoughts

In this day and age, particularly in the current financial climate, it is vital for the average person to be far more responsible when it comes to spending. A few of the ways in which you can do this include:

Don’t spend more than you can afford

Trying to lead a champagne lifestyle on beer money is a recipe for financial disaster. Before you know it, you will have maxed out your credit cards, exceeded your overdraft, and wiped out any savings you may have had. It is vital that you only spend what you can afford and live within your means. This means no frivolous spending on items you don’t need, no impulse buys, and no splashing out on the credit card or other forms of finance when you run out of money in the bank. If it is already too late and you’ve already found yourself in a mess with credit cards and other forms of finance, make sure you speak to experts such as the counsellors at Consolidated Credit.

With these three simple tips, you could find that it is far easier to be responsible about how much you spend, which means that you can benefit from making your money stretch further.

Keep track of your spending

When you pay for things on your debit card and you also have various payments going out on direct debits or standing orders, it can be easy to lose track of what’s gone out of your account. This can lead to spending money that is not yours to spend, as it is earmarked for payments that are due out of your account. This, in turn, can result in hefty bank charges and a cycle of overspending and being charged. Keeping track of what is coming into and going out of your account means that you will always know what you have left to spend and can therefore manage your account and your finances more responsibly.

Switch and save

Many of us end up paying more than we need to on various services and products, such as insurance plans and utility bills. Remember, we live in a very competitive world and with a little research and effort you could find that you can shave a fair amount off the money you pay out each month by switching. Take time to regularly review things such as your gas, electricity, and car insurance plans and take a look to see whether you can cut the cost by switching to a better deal.

With these three simple tips, you could find that it is far easier to be responsible about how much you spend, which means that you can benefit from making your money stretch further.


Save Money Going on Holiday

Below we share some top banana money-saving travel tips from Sweet Circle Travel on how to save on where you’re going to stay, what you eat, what you see and how you see! on holiday.

Save on accommodation

1. Home swaps

If you want to go on holiday but are tired of the usual hotel chains and expensive, soulless rooms then why not consider a home swap? It may sound daunting but it gives you the opportunity of paying virtually nothing and getting to visit a new country whilst enjoying all the comforts of a home.

2. Do ‘chic on the cheap’

Generally expensive destinations like Paris or New York needn’t be out of reach for those on a budget. There are plenty of ways to rub shoulders with the glitterati without spending like them; cheap hotels, hostels and value eateries all allow those on modest budgets to enjoy a visit to these destinations too.

Save when you’re there

3. Eat like a local

Not only is tasting new cuisines part of the joy of travelling but you’re likely to eat better, as well as saving money, when you eat like a local. From £1 bowls of noodles in Vietnam to backstreet French bistros, produce is usually locally sourced and tastier, rather than being imported. If they’ve had to ship a tin of baked beans 4,000 miles, it’s not going to come cheap!

4. Don’t worry – be ‘appy’

In this era of technology and gadgets, your smartphone can be a handy money-saving travel buddy. There are apps on the market for everything, including travel guides, maps, phrasebooks and even torches!

Download these and you’ll make significant savings on paper copies of these essentials and also save space in your case meaning less chance of excess baggage charges!

5. Save on foreign currency exchange

Withdrawing money abroad can cost a lot in charges as well as not getting the most favourable exchange rate. Although using a debit card can be cheaper than a credit card, be aware that most banks will charge for each cash withdrawal on top of a commission fee. So if you’re going to do this, it’s better to take out larger sums so you’re charged less frequently but take care and don’t keep all your money in the same place.

Getting your currency before you arrive at the airport is also a way of securing the best rate you can and almost always works out a cheaper.

6. Get paid

If you’re off on extended travels it’s possible to entirely fund your trip or even come home with some extra cash in your pocket if you’re able to work as you travel. From grape picking to teaching English, there’s a whole host of options available. Alternatively, if you’re the creative or eloquent type, there are companies who may be able to offer some kind of sponsorship or payment in exchange for writing something about your destination.

7. Volunteer to travel

In an era where more of us feel a sense of social responsibility than ever before, helping the most needy can be both an inspiration and a chance to see the world by paying with your time rather than your money.

With so many opportunities out there from trips that last a few weeks, to two years or more, everyone can discover new places and do their bit for building a better future and see the bigger picture as they go!

More Saving Tips

8. Cheap ski holidays

Love skiing but get nervous about mounting costs? Fear not, there are many ways to cut the costs of a snow trip. Choosing a cheaper resort, going right at the start or end of the season and budget accommodation will allow you to enjoy the mountains for less.

9. Weigh your luggage before you leave home

Last but not least, some of us get to the airport to find we’re over our baggage allowances and end up paying excess and/or excessive charges. Avoid this by weighing your bag before you leave home and take out any unnecessary items if you find you’re over the limit. “Travel light” is always sound advice!

Top Banana Tips – Find Affordable Fashion

When times are hard, it is difficult to feel like you can keep up to date with the latest fashions. It might be difficult, but it is the time to begin thinking outside of the box. Here are some ideas on how you can shop on a budget, maintain your individual sense of style and keep up with the fashion from the catwalk.

Trawling thrift stores

There is a stigma attached to shopping in thrift stores, but there shouldn’t be. These clothes are in good condition and some of them have probably only been worn a few times. Here you will be able to escape the overpriced clothing stores and if you search for them you will find some little gems.

Going to factory outlet stores

Factory outlet stores are stores which sell items produced by a certain company, but you will find that they are significantly cheaper than when they appear in the shops. Factory outlets will often sell products from lines which have been over-manufactured or returned to the factory with no noticeable damage.


Swapping your clothes is a perfect way of updating your wardrobe and helping a friend to do the same. You can do this with your friends face to face, or you can swap your clothes online. By swapping online you can open your choices up to a wider range of clothing.

Making your own clothes or adapting those you already have

You might need to read up on some methods, but making your own clothes could be the perfect answer to getting new fashions cheaply. You will be able to find materials and patterns for much less than buying the finished item. This also applies to making adjustments to clothes that you already own. It might be small changes or you could use the fabric to make a whole new garment. Experiment and you could discover a new talent.

Using accessories to turn an outfit around

It is easy to become bored with your wardrobe and this feeling may spur you to rush the nearest mall to max out your credit card on new clothes. You don’t need to do this! A range of accessories can change any outfit and make it seem like a brand new one. It is possible to pick up necklaces, brooches, hats, belts and scarves cheaply and create a whole new look.

Don’t be afraid to shop everywhere

Never discount somewhere because you think it won’t possibly have something that might interest you. Always visit discount/thrift stores, but also visit the more expensive shops as you can never predict what you might find.

To buy or not to buy

Try not to go shopping crazy! Sometimes this is easier said than done, but being selective about what you buy will pay off in the end. Discount stores that sell their products are bargain basement prices may seem appealing, but buying in bulk from these stores will not work out well in the long run. Panic buying like this will result in your purchasing a lot of clothing that you probably don’t even like that much and that you won’t even wear very often if at all.

Be prepared to repair

You always hear that shoes make the man (or woman), so don’t just keeping wearing rundown shoes because you can’t afford new ones. Take them over to a cobbler for repair. A new heel and a great shine will make your shoes look new. They repair handbags and even luggage too.

Consider alternative to dry cleaning

Dry cleaning regularly is expensive and often not necessary. Use dress shields to avoid getting sweat stains on clothing and try out at home options for cleaning your garments.

Guest author Kelly Leah is a woman on a mission – that mission is to help people to lower their monthly spend and to save more. Her advice is designed to allow you to put more into savings products, ensuring you have looked for the best ISA rates first of course because these days you are not even guaranteed a good return with the banks.

Show them your money

Coutts Bank now requires new customers to have investable assets of overa million pounds, up from its previous guideline of half that a report in the FT revelaed.

Wealthy clients must be able to be place assets exceeding a cool £ million with the bank straight away.

This increased minimum assets required comes as Coutts looks to grow its investment management services. In February, Coutts said it intended to move away from conventional credit and deposit banking services.  The management team hope to attratct new custom from entrepreneurs and offer family business advisory services to new wealthy clients looking for advice about their investments and other financial opportunities.

Increasingly young people are motivated to generate wealth – and Coutts recognises that it is exactly these young people who will be potential customers that want to benefit from a private bank.  They have set in motion a Solution for the Next Generation:

The programme offers an opportunity to learn and to meet peers in an open environment where young people can share their ambitions and experiences. From money management to entrepreneurship, we provide support on almost every aspect of earning and managing wealth

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