Aug 5, 2015 // by James Helliwell // Money Saving Tips // Comments Off on Don’t Get Short-Changed: Save Your Change
As business magnate Warren Buffett once said “do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving”. Easy to say when you’re a billionaire, but Buffett’s quote rings true to all forms of transaction. It is surely best to invest in the future with the money you have saved than spending all and having nothing to work with after. Perhaps the same could be said for the property industry and the way in which the digital age has paved the way for do-it-yourself listing. This has resulted in homeowners saving a lot more cash to invest in their property as opposed to covering the cost of estate agent fees. Below, I have included 3 top tips to help you save money when buying a new home…
1) Don’t limit yourself to one area
The golden rule when buying absolutely anything is to shop around, as there might be a better deal around the corner. This can literally be the case when searching for a home as some neighbourhoods close to the one you desire may be a bit cheaper. By limiting your options to a specific area, you may be disappointed with the budget required to rent or buy. Furthermore, local estate agents might not know too much information about the surrounding areas. Recently, the town of Wellingborough in Northamptonshire was named as the ‘most affordable town with easy access to London’. Sitting just a hour’s commute from the capital, the average house price was listed at £160,245 compared to over £700,000 in Central London. With an annual train season ticket setting the residents back just £5000, a pretty penny could be saved and invested for the future.
2) Compare estate agents in the area
Estate agents are forever competing to be the best. From both regional and online portals, estate agents are always boasting about their success and for making the lives of movers and buyers a whole lot easier than selling alone. But, do the figures ever show the details for the sale? Were the buyers or sellers happy with the service? Did they get a good price? And how long did it take to get the property bought or sold? With the help of The House Shop ‘Compare Estate Agents’ service, you can find out which estate agents would be best at selling your home. Simply input your postcode, complete the information about your property and relax as the system finds you the agent who will get you the best asking price in best amount of time. Who says selling a home has to be a chore?
3) Do your own sale and advertise online
Over the years, estate agents have developed a very negative stigma. Understandably, more sellers are taking on the task of selling their home by themselves. With the advancement of technology and the endless scope of possibilities made available by the internet, you can now list your home online in 24 hours. The House Shop brings together private sellers, online estate agents and traditional high street estate agents in the same place. Estate agents work with them to provide professional valuations as well as advertising their listings for sale or for rent on the site. This provides a gateway for both sellers and buyers, to allow access for interest and specified filtered searches to find a home in your dream neighbourhood. By using this service, you can even avoid hidden charges from estate agents including commission charges and for sale board construction.
Businesses around the globe continue to feel the pinch of the economic crunch. Is your business in this situation? We take a look at how you can gradually improve on the situation.
Cut the financial outflow where possible
Many businesses are struggling today because they did not take the opportunity to cut down on expenditure. Over time, the effect of this, coupled with worsening economy of recent years and the current holding back of sustainable growth, can put a business in a tough financial position. In what ways can you turn the financial corner and have a more profitable 2015?
Cutting the tax bill
It doesn’t matter what kind of business you run – taxes are always a challenge. Talk to your accountant to explore every possible means of cutting down on your tax bill. They will know the best ways to help cut your tax bill and can outline the best options available. It always pays to use a professional tax accountant.
Reduce cost of common purchases
Some businesses are paying very high prices for recurring purchases, and over time this will burn a hole in their finances. You can reduce your spending on vital purchases by as much as 40% by better negotiations and searching around more for the best deals. Imagine cutting 10% off your most regularly purchased supplies. The amount saved can add up to a tidy sum that can be moved elsewhere in a bid to improve cash flow.
That most wonderful time of the year (♪) is also considered to be the most costly for the average household due to the overwhelming cost of gifts, decorations, and food that is purchased.
Most families struggle to afford the holiday season, and only manage to get by with credit cards, loans, and overdrafts. Although it can be an important time of year to spend with family members and friends, the financial ramifications in the coming year can still linger and be difficult to repay.
To prevent yourself going into the red this Christmas, there are a few steps to take so that you only spend what you can afford.
Budget Your Gifts
The first step to take when planning for the Christmas holiday season is to make a list of Christmas gifts that you want to give. Write down a specific amount that you want to spend on each person and total the final amount to determine how much you’ll need to set aside.
Cut Out Some Luxuries in the Run-Up
Cutting out luxuries during the month of December as you pay for the gifts – although slightly painful to you – will help you afford the extra expense that you are undertaking. You don’t need to be going to expensive bars and eating out when you need the extra funds for gifts for loved ones. A little bit of self-control with yourself each day will really add up over the next few weeks.
But while this rumbles on, something more important has happened that could prove to be the genuine catalyst for competition in the market.
Faster energy switching has finally arrived.
Switching energy suppliers has always been an incredibly cumbersome process. Believe it or not, it can be quicker to exchange contracts on a mortgage than to arrange an alternative energy supplier.
Bosses at smaller companies have always been frustrated by this. If far more complicated products such as current accounts and mortgages can be switched more quickly, they say, why on earth can’t the energy industry do something about it?
Well, the breakthrough has finally occurred, ahead of what promises to be a tough winter. Energy giant SSE has now halved the switching time to just 17 days, with smaller provider First Utility also joining ranks.
It’s a change that’s been in the air for a while. Energy watchdog Ofgem said it hoped that faster switching would be in place by the end of 2014. There is little chance that all major suppliers will be co-operating by then, and the regulator is not known for its strictness over the major players in the market.
But what this breakthrough is likely to do is spark up genuine competition.
With winter drawing in, and numerous concerns arising about low national power capacity, it’s important that we consider as many energy-saving techniques as possible. We’re delighted to welcome back Louise McCurry of Meteor Electrical to share a number of energy-saving tips for around the home.
We all use energy in our homes, quite often without realising how much we use, to make our lives easier and more enjoyable. The majority of our energy is used for heating and lighting our homes, heating water, and providing energy to our appliances.
Energy is delivered to our homes from many different places. The most common form of energy is electricity, gas and oil. But a large proportion of our energy is wasted and we need to find quick and easy ways to cut down wastage.
When trying to decide which way is best to save energy in your home, it is probably best to check out your consumption – in other words, how much you use and what it has been used for. To do this successfully you may need to sit down and go through your previous bills or consult your energy meter.
Once you have done this, you can begin to take some steps to cut down your energy bills, such as those identified below:
It’s not often that we (or anyone else, for that matter) get to revel about being based in Leicester. But the city has come up trumps after being named as the most affordable destination for undergraduate students.
HSBC has found that students based in Leicester enjoy the cheapest surroundings, thanks largely to some of the cheapest university and private sector accommodation in the UK.
The bank’s research tots up the cost of living in the twenty towns and cities in the UK with the largest student populations.
It found that Leicester, Nottingham, Liverpool and Cardiff were among the most affordable cities for students to live. Unsurprisingly, London proved the most expensive destination for students, followed by Oxford and Brighton.
First-year students in Leicester are expected to shell out just £196 per week – a total which includes accommodation, weekly essentials, transport, and, yes… alcohol. (If there’s one thing we’ve been learning about Leicester recently, it’s that a generous alcohol allowance is required.)
It’s the only city in the survey where first-year students are expected to spend an average of less than £200 a week. By contrast, students at London universities, including UCL and Imperial, are expected to fork out over £315 a week.