Are You Saving Enough For Your Child’s Future?

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Saving money for my children has always been a big thing for me – and for other members of my family. Jack was very lucky when he was born to be gifted quite a bit of money from family and friends and always gets some across birthdays and Christmas. Olivia, being the second child, didn’t get gifted quite as much but still receives some each birthday and Christmas too – although she is of the age that people tend to buy her clothes and toys!

They both have their very own savings accounts where they are saving their money for whatever they want it for in the future. We chose the bank they are using specifically for the benefits they get and can’t wait to see their final figure when they reach 18. But what I wanted to ask today is are you saving enough for your child’s future?

This infographic from Shepherds Friendly reveals some data they’ve collated – what are your thoughts?

Are You Saving Enough?Are you saving enough?

Survey results from 2,000 parents showed that only 43% of parents said they would consider opening a savings plan for a child – something I found very shocking!, 65% said they would only pay in between £10-£50 a month (not shocked by this, everyone has different budgets) and 32.8% are saving towards a housing deposit for their child.

We aren’t saving for anything specifically with our two children – we put money into their accounts, they put birthday and Christmas money in if they wish to save it and other family members put money into their accounts too – but what they do with it when they are older is completely up to them. Of course, we will encourage them to use it on something sensible such as a house deposit or a car but at the end of the day, it will be their money to do what they want with.

We are currently happy with the level of savings they have and what we are contributing however we do take a regular look at it to see if we can add more. Once we are completely debt free and our own savings accounts are looking a little more healthy, we hope to be able to contribute more but we are currently satisfied with what both the children have.

Are you saving enough for your child’s future? Do you believe in saving for your children or letting them save? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

How To Cut Costs on Mobile Data

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The means by which we can connect and keep in touch with our friends and family are increasing and developing every day. It seems like a new app is released every week, claiming to be the next big thing in the social media world – a way to comment and upload and like everything all the time. And on top of this, we travel more, and I for one know how difficult navigation can be at the best of times, never mind in a new and unfamiliar location. So out comes trusty Google Maps. 

Yet none of this is without cost. Everything you do online, even downloading a new app itself, requires an internet connection, and for that, you have to have the data allowance that makes that connection possible.

Chances are, no matter what kind of mobile phone contract or SIM you are using, the data you are allowed to use has some kind of cap. Any that don’t have a cap are classed as unlimited, and though this may sound attractive it does come at a price. If you exceed the cap in place, the excess charges are vast. In short, if you’re looking to cut your costs, data is definitely the place to start!  

Priscilla Du Preez

How You Can Cut Costs

So how can you ensure you use less data allowance and reduce the risk of overspending?

  • Keep an eye on anything you download. Downloading something means to pull it from the internet onto your phone – taking up precious data. Movie streaming, in particular, will drain your data allowance, so it is best to keep this at a minimum when you are not on Wi-Fi!
  • With all this focus on data (3G and 4G) on your mobile phone, we haven’t yet discussed WiFi. WiFi is the saving grace of internet usage, allowing you to go online without cutting into your data allowance, thus saving the data for a time when you really need it (for example, when you’re lost on that winding road in Switzerland with no map and no WiFi!) Free WiFi is becoming increasingly common in public areas from cafes to libraries and should be wholly taken advantage of whenever possible. But remember, public Wi-Fi isn’t always the most secure.
  • Switch off automatic updates, for example, mail refresh and news stories on push notifications. These are unnecessary when you’re not using them, and a complete waste of data.
  • App refresh is another unnecessary tool that you can definitely do without. Take Instagram for example, app refresh means that your Instagram feed is constantly updating itself even when you’re not directly using the app, resulting in data usage to make changes that you don’t even know are being made. Go into your phone settings and turn off the App Refresh option.
  • Data roaming is the one other area where people slip up all too often. If your contract or allowance doesn’t include free data roaming, the expenses for browsing online while abroad are eye-wateringly extravagant. To be on the safe side, unless you are 100% sure that data roaming is included in your existing fees (all EU countries should be free to roam), head into Settings and switch data roaming off. It’s highly likely that your holiday destination will have WiFi of some sort, so you won’t be offline for long…

Opting for the right contract or package will inform the amount of data you have at your fingertips. If data is the main call for your mobile phone usage, then it is probably best for you to steer away from Pay-As-You-Go. Though an excellent option for those hoping to watch what they spend and keep a tight lid on their allowance, this is not a cost-effective way to get a large data allowance as pay as you go is more suited for light usage and you will find you drain your PAYG top-up extremely quickly.

In this case, we recommend SIM-only or a traditional contract with a large existing network. The contract is where you will be best placed to find a deal that offers, if not unlimited, then at least a very high data package, though this does come with a price tag. If you do apply for a contract, don’t be afraid to try haggling and I recommend employing certain techniques in ensuring you get the best deal, including shopping around and bringing comparison costs up with your network. If data allowance is your priority, then ensuring that this is the focal point of your contract will be important to ensure you get the right deal.

How To Save Money On Household Bills In 2019

This is a collaborative post.

We all know how necessary bills are but how frustrating they can be. We all know that, at certain times of year, some bills are more expensive than at other times. Here is how you can save money on household bills in 2019.

Consider your homes energy efficiency

There are plenty of ways you can do this. Use energy efficient light bulbs rather than regular ones, turn off electricity and gas where possible when not using it – obviously some appliances have to remain plugged in but others don’t so take them out and turn the switch off.

It is also important to consider your windows. Heating is such a big bill for many, especially at this time of year, and often you will find that heat is escaping through your windows. Double and triple glazing not only keep the heat in but also keep the sound out. Consider double glazing for homes in Worthing & surrounding areas if local or look for a reputable business closer to you. The  soundproof windows by Newview Windows are great for efficiency – after all, you don’t want to be paying all that money for heating for it all to be escaping, do you?

Consider switching

Something you may not have considered when it comes to your household bills is the fact that you could potentially switch the companies you are using for those bills. Some companies offer you money or another incentive for switching – or you can, in fact, use a cashback site and actually earn money back from the switch. If you find your bills creeping up and not at what you believe you agreed, consider to switching to a company that is cheaper.

Meal plan and stop buying name brands

Some people consider this a bill, others don’t. I personally do as it is probably the most expensive out of all of our bills. I always take time at the beginning of the year to try to reduce our food bill down a little more, especially after an expensive December, thanks to Jack’s birthday and Christmas, of course.

A great way to save some money here is to meal plan – work out what meals you are having and when. Steve has darts on a Wednesday and Thursday night and Jack generally has a roast dinner at school on Wednesday so I know that we can all have something small on a Wednesday. The kids normally have a ‘treat’ style dinner on Thursday as Steve is out. Friday, Jack has a club so he sometimes has something different to us before the club or has something with us afterwards. All other days of the week we have the same meals. I then buy my food around the meal plan and this keeps our costs down.

These are just a few ways you can save money on your household bills in 2019. What steps you will be taking to keep your costs down?

Getting The Best Deals For My Family

Getting The Best Deals For My Family

I’m always looking for good deals when it comes to my family. I take advantage of apps for services I use that offer me good deals, I look out for good deals in the supermarket and I look on websites to find some good family deals.

With half term coming up, I’m trying to collate a list of things to do that won’t cost the earth. How am I doing this and keeping things affordable? By looking for decent deals, of course! Whether it is for a day out, a short break away or a meal with the family, I know that if I look hard enough I will find a deal for something we are interested in.

Just by a little bit of searching in the past five minutes, I have found a great half price family ticket deal for an adventure park that Jack is interested in and also some massive savings on one of those big supersized paddling pools – perfect for this heatwave that we apparently should be expecting!

Jonathan Brinkhorst

Olivia has recently developed an obsession with Peppa Pig too so I have been looking for some items with Peppa on without having to fork out a lot for it all. As they say if you look after the pennies, the pounds look after themselves and I am keen to keep on saving money where I can. Brands and companies make things so expensive when you have kids, unnecessarily expensive in some cases so why shouldn’t I take advantage of a good deal if I see one?

Being a parent is expensive enough as it is. I don’t want my kids to miss out but I equally don’t want to spoil them by spending lots of money on them when I don’t need to. Does it matter if I got that item a little bit cheaper? Not to anyone else but me – it has saved me those extra pennies that I can put towards something else or perhaps even in the kids moneyboxes.

So this is what I will be doing in the lead up to half term – looking for some fun almost free things to do with the kids! What have you got planned?

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How You Could Save Money By Remortgaging

How You Could Save Money By Remortgaging

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As someone who is yet to own a house, you would think that I probably didn’t know much about mortgages or any of the terms around it but in fact you would be wrong. In the past few years, multiple family members and friends have bought or sold properties, some even remortgaged. We have even applied for a mortgage in the past – let down by Steve’s credit rating and now will be applying again in the not too distant future hopefully – fingers crossed!

I wanted to talk about how you can save yourself some money by remortgaging. Now remortgaging isn’t for everyone, let me say that first off. Remortgaging can come under two umbrellas – it is essentially taking out a new mortgage on a property you already own but it is either a) to replace your existing mortgage or b) to borrow money against your property. Now quite clearly b wouldn’t be saving you money in the long run as you’ll still be paying it as you’ve borrowed against it so I wanted to talk about why you would want to remortgage and replace your existing mortgage.

Did you know that around a third of all home loans made in the UK are actually remortgages? I bet you would never have considered that so many of them would be! So why should you consider it and how can you save money by remortgaging? I’ve been looking at an online mortgage adviser, Habito, to see how remortgaging could work for some people.

Annie Spratt

Most people find that their mortgage is their biggest financial commitment/monthly bill. If you could make that debt smaller, you’d take that chance, right? So why should you consider potentially remortgaging?

Has your home increased in value?

If your home has increased in value exponentially, then remortgaging maybe something you want to consider. You may find that you aren’t but you may also find you’re in a lower loan-to-value band and therefore could be paying much lower rates.

Is your current deal about to end?

Some mortgages that seem great are only short term deals and you’ll find that once that deal ends, you will be paying a lot staying in that same mortgage. Many of the best ones only last from two to five years and you don’t want to be put onto the variable rate. It is bound to be higher than your previous rate and much less affordable than a remortgage to a cheaper rate.

You want to pay off your mortgage as soon as you can

Why would I suggest remortgaging if you want to pay it off quicker? Simply put, some mortgage providers won’t allow overpayments and if getting that mortgage out of the way is important to you, it may be worth remortgaging to a different one. You should be able to reduce the loan size this way and get a cheaper rate too – it is important to keep an eye out for early repayment charges though and factor these into your sums before making the leap. Also think about potential exit fees – this is something you also need to account for.

You want to change the type

Many people start on an interest only and want to switch to a repayment mortgage. Most lenders will be happy to move you across but if not, then remortgaging may be an option for you. Interest only mortgages work out much more expensive in the long run so why wouldn’t you want to make the switch?

Here are just a few ways you can save money by remortgaging – but remember, it is entirely up to you. It isn’t for everyone and I wouldn’t suggest doing it unless you feel absolutely sure it will work for you and your family. Is this something you have ever considered?