Money makes the world go round...

This blog can help you about the right management of your finances, tips on staying how to stay away from debt, and so many more.

Money makes the world go round…

This is an old saying that people believe and so people have jobs to suffice their daily needs and wants. However, people just keep on spending money and sometimes it is spent on what it is not intended for. Good thing that there are people who are financially educated, especially in personal finance management. They want to share their thoughts on things and they want to educate and inform others as well.

This blog can help you with the right management of your finances, tips on staying how to stay away from debt, and so many more.

What We Do

Personal finance is an important thing that every person should know; however, it is one of the ones that is usually neglected. Some people have not found its importance because they do not know its importance.

This blog aims to help those people who do not know how to manage their personal finances. They will be reading about tips on how to budget, how to save, and even how to stay out of debt.

The author of this blog is a financial adviser who was also lost to spending too much on clothes and shoes. This time, she is willing to share what she has learned and she is willing to guide people to the right financial path.

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10 Awesome Ways To Save Money

Is the aroma of beef steak lingering in the air and enticing you as you walk by your favourite restaurant? Is that black, sultry dress calling out your name as you stroll by a clothing chain that you love? Or is that sparkly new diamond necklace looking extra shiny in the jeweller’s window? If the answer to the above questions is yes, then do not worry. We have walked in your very shoes and can relate to the temptation that you are attempting to avoid.

After all, it takes a lot of willpower to just keep on walking and ignore the call of the consumeristic devil. Not everyone will have the same level of strength and be able to resist it. That is why we are here to guide you and offer a few tips that we have gathered over the passage of time.

  1. Record Your Expenditures

If you are not sure what your monthly budget should be-start out by recording all your transactions. Once you have gained an insight into the number of fiscal inflows and outflows that your lifestyle requires, you can take a step back and start reviewing what can be reduced. Not only this, it will serve as a clear snapshot of your spending cycle and demonstrate in a glance where the major amount of your expenses is going. Be it a coffee, a snack, a bottle of water or even a pack of chewing gum-note it down in your diary. This should allow you to count every penny that is being spent. To get a broader picture, classify your data by items such as mortgage, recreational activities, medical or groceries.

  1. Make a Weekly Menu

We all love to eat out and relish the exquisite taste of that burger at the joint by our office. Its just a few extra dollars, so shouldn’t really matter. Guess what, every penny counts. Those twenty-dollar burgers once a week could potentially save you a thousand dollars annually. Just do the math! Mind-boggling, isn’t it?

Dedicate a few hours every week to design your weekly menu-food that you will cook yourself at home. Then, go grocery shopping over the weekend and spend a couple of hours prepping meals for the week. Knowing you have food waiting at home will encourage you to eat that only. Dining out is usually the biggest chunk of financial expenses in a household. So not only will you manage to save money, but calories as well as it is a much healthier alternative.

  1. Plan A Budget

This can stem from your recorded transactions as you will have a picture of what your expenses entail. Decide what percentage of your regular income you would like to save. Try to keep it a realistic figure so you do not get demotivated or disheartened if the numbers do not match up at the end of the month. Make sure you account for seasonal costs that do not occur on a frequent basis, for example, car servicing. When you plan for such charges            in advance, it helps you to organize your other outlays in an efficient manner.

  1. Save for That Big Holiday

Setting short term goals is an extremely effectual method to roll in the dough. It can be anything that your heart desire and can range from a summer holiday to a down payment for your first home. Estimate the length of time you will require to build up a pool of funds large enough to achieve your objective.

  1. Automate Your Savings

We live in a world where we are at the prime of technology. As a society, we are experiencing continuous innovation where advances in communication are made daily. Utilize this and enjoy the benefit of having your bank transfer a certain amount of money monthly and transfer it to your savings account. Most financial establishments offer this facility and you can avail it. Direct money transfer serves as a means to spend less overall and teaches you to live in the amount allocated.

  1. Track Your Growth

It helps if you are monitoring your savings account and ascertaining whether you are closer to reaching your target. Do this every month to observe the status of your progress and make any adjustments if required.

  1. Pick Your Priority

It is quite encouraging when you begin to see your saving pool grow. Do not forget your long term goals whilst striving to achieve your short term ones. It is imperative to remember that retirement is a reality that you should try to prepare for. Starting at a younger age will allow you to spread your numbers at a lower rate.

  1. Put it in the Bank

Received a nice, generous bonus from your company for those extra sales targets you achieved? Or is a nice birthday check coming your way from your magnanimous uncle? Do not blow it all on a beach vacation or on the latest Iphone. Reserve a reasonable chunk of it and deposit it in your savings account. Do this immediately so you are not tempted to spend it.

  1. Take Coffee From Home

As much fun as it is to go for a coffee with your colleague in the morning and then again once more after lunch, it makes a bit of a dent in the wallet over time. Imagine if you saved those $10 a day, that is $200-$300 saved a month. Start out slowly and commence your saving journey in this aspect by taking coffee from home at least 3 times a week. Feel free to invest in a few different brands and categories of coffee as it is still going to be cheaper than getting it from a coffee house.

  1. Work, Work and Work

We do believe in a strong work -life balance. However, it is true that if you work more, you will be too busy to think about spending money: be it going out for a movie or a meal.

How banks are looking at the rise of fintech and their use of blockchain technology

Why banks are testing new technologies

When new technologies were initially being developed it was with a view to create a method of keeping records that wouldn’t require a third party to oversee its regulation. By giving multiple users access to these shared digital databases via a distributed ledger and utilising up-to-date securities that would make entries and the information it held unchangeable by outside parties it created a new, transparent and labour free way to record financial transactions. As the blockchain technology gathered momentum it became the underlying system that has given rise to the world of cryptocurrency – Bitcoin and the rising range of altcoins has started a revolution in digital currencies we can choose to use over our current and limited typical fiscal currency options.

A secure and labour free system

Creating this secure and efficient method of registering transactions blockchain has become an obvious move towards how we should be organising our banking, reducing inefficient human contribution and error, making the transaction effortless, immediate and in effect cost-free. Reducing cost is what is going to make the blockchain system highly competitive in today’s financial market, so much so it could put the banks out of business if they don’t follow suit and join the revolution.

That’s why nearly all banks are investing heavily in fintech research. Blockchain obviously is the primary concern but it’s not the only tech the banks have to consider, they now have to examine every new technology that offers up real competition and to make important changes to keep in line with where the future of our finance is heading. There has been much published research by many of the global banking giants reporting their own research on blockchain technology but very few so far have constructed a blockchain based system of their own to replace current methods, despite having started to patent their own devised blockchain technologies.

It’s so much more efficient

The main advantages of the banks such as Cambr Banking implementing blockchain tech have been outlined above; it’s so efficient it will reduce the costs associated to current methods and save them huge amounts of savings. Santander has said that through their research they estimate savings of up $20billion per year by switching over to a blockchain system. It’s not only the ease of the transaction being handled by the technology instead of being processed by human operation but the amount of regulation issued by the government over the banking industry will also be handled autonomously by its own software processes.

Healthy competition – but for who?

The rise of the fintech companies who are already using blockchain systems to handle such things as international payments, savings programs, financial remittances and more, means that the banks aren’t the only players to consider now, and for the consumer that means they aren’t beheld to one set of costs but now have not just another option to choose from, but many. All of these choices are great for us, the saver and spender, but for the banks it means a much smaller slice of the pie in future – or no slice at all if they can’t cut costs and compete.

It also means that with the banks investing in new technology solutions it doesn’t just leave the door open to the fintech start-ups being the only ones to disrupt the banking industry; the banks themselves are getting into a position where they too can create new systems and business models using data solutions and artificial intelligence to organise those new advancements in their own industry that has so far been implemented by the outsiders and newcomers to the finance world.

Where next?

The blockchain tech is primarily aimed at reorganising an outdated system with a highly improved and technologically sound upgrade. But just because we can reorganise the way we monitor and transact with our current financial currencies by no means will the use of this technology end there.

With the introduction of blockchain technology the rise of cryptocurrencies has indeed been its main application, and even despite their rollercoaster rise to mainstream use they are now an established way of organising your wealth. Aside from it being a fashionable tech opportunity this new system has also been offering itself as a marketplace to trade in, giving its users an alternative way to make profit from their finances to challenge the banks steady decline of their interest rates applicable to your savings from their traditional investment methods.

Banks are going to need to continue their development if they’re going to keep up with the new fintech kids on the block, whether they work independently or join forces to pool resources and forge new ways ahead together, they simply can’t afford to get left behind.

The future for banks looks gloomy with research projecting that the new technologies could be responsible for a loss of revenue of up to 40% by 2025 for banks and between 15% and 20% of US banks could have fallen or been consolidated into the new fintech companies as soon as 2020.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom for those who are willing to keep up. Analysing the effects of fintech on the banking industry the consultancy McKinsey have forecast that progressive banks could innovate and introduce new technologies to compete that could increase revenues from new offers by 5%, revenues from new products and digital sales by 10%, and also lower their typical current costs by automated processing with digital transactions by 30%. Adding all these factors would give the bank willing to move into this new area a possible profit of over 45% that would translate into a much higher and competitive financial success rate.

It’s an important time for banks to assess and continue to re-assess their business operations – from their high street branches through to how they manage every product and service on offer. The traditional methods of banking are founded on the cornerstone of a branch their customers can attend to fulfil their needs. The fintech alternatives are very much automated online systems cutting out the need and the expense for high rents and staff costs. How the banks are to manage this change in trend is just as big a question they will have to ask themselves as how to change their technology systems.

The future for banking is changing, that there is no doubt, but who will come out on top, in charge and in profit, is something we’ll just have to wait, watch and see.

Moving House – The True Costs of Doing it Yourself

Who should consider a DIY move?

Ideally the DIY mover should be ideally suited to the smallest moves. One bedroomed flats and apartments, bedsits, house-shares, or small office moves; these are the candidates for hiring a van and doing it themselves.

If you’re going to DIY move then be realistic. As in any move plan early, make lists, stick to them, declutter so you aren’t taking any extra items you should have thrown away, sold, or got rid of that will only take up valuable time and space in your van. Leaving anything to the last minute will only add more stress.

What are the pros and cons?

Pros

If you’re going to do the move yourself the pros for this are many but the main one should be the cost. If it isn’t cheaper to do it yourself then why are you bothering? Get some quotes for a professional company and compare them to hiring a van and doing the work yourself. If it’s not too different then consider what the extra will buy you in peace of mind, energy exerted and in having someone else do all the worrying.

It’s going to be good exercise if you need to shed a few pounds. You won’t have strangers in and out of your property handling your belongings. You get to drive the van so you’ll get to pick the route, decide whatever stops you may need to make along the way, carry out any additional pick-ups and take whatever breaks you’ll need if you’re making a long distance move.

You will also get to the load the van how you want and if you choose to have friends help you you’ll also have someone to celebrate with at the end of the day.

Cons

You’ll be exhausted. It’s tiring and hard work. It’s a lot of lifting, carrying and climbing up and down stairs. With a professional you can leave them to get on with all of that extra work, and they will be fast and efficient. If you choose your friends and family to help there’s a good chance they’ll spend just as much time poking around your things reminiscing about bygone days.

Are you comfortable driving a large vehicle around town or over long distances? Do you want to drive multiple trips and have to load and unload at each end? And if you load the van badly are you happy to pay to replace or fix anything that gets broken? Or to take somebody to hospital if a badly packed van causes an injury to someone while unloading?

It will take much longer. Professionals know what they’re doing. They know exactly which corners to cut and which not to. They will take at least half the time; maybe even less? That could actually save you money over the course of the day.

Van Hire

When hiring a van you’re going to need better than good guesswork. How big a van do you need? A smaller van will be cheaper but if you get it wrong you’ll have to make more trips. A larger van might just save you money if you get it right first time. If you obtain the services of a professional removal company such as AMC Removals, who are an Edinburgh removal company then they always recommend that you make an inventory. Estimate how many boxes those items will fill. Then work out how they can stack and how much space that they’ll take up.

You will be guaranteed to have more belongings than you think.

You’ll also want to consider mileage, fuel costs and if your drivers licence covers the size of van you’ll need.

Ford Transit

A Transit or similar size from alternate manufacturers is a very popular model for the DIY move. It will carry around 800kg of items, large enough to fit most furniture and runs at around 35mpg. You can step up a model to a long wheelbase Transit that is 3ft longer, a little taller and slightly less economical at 25/30mpg.

Luton Box Van

The box van is synonymous with removals because of its high backed, square container. The bed of the van is often 2 or 3ft off the ground so heavy items may require a lift of some sort. The vehicle hire company should be able to advise or supply you with the equipment you require.

7.5 Ton Box Wagon

This is the largest self-drive you can command on a standard licence with a C1 category (you’ll need to take a test if you didn’t receive your licence until after January 1997). It’s the largest in size and capacity, will accommodate the greatest weight and is much better suited for long distance moves than smaller vehicles. However, it’s a lot bigger than your day to day drive so keep an eye out for bridges and walls; tall vehicles have a tendency to lean so some walls or trees might be in range of contact when you think they’re not.

Additional points to note

Make sure to ask about all charges and additional costs. A fixed allowance might be as little as 50 to 150 miles, which if you’re returning the vehicle to base that may well not be enough. What will it cost for each additional mile? Most companies charge between 8p and 12p but it’s best to be sure before you sign anything.

What does the insurance cover? Is it included? Will there be an excess to pay in the case of a claim? Do they provide breakdown cover? Will it be ok to take the van abroad if you’re moving overseas? And where can you hand it in? Does it have to be at the depot where it was collected? You’ll want to consider all of this before you make your decision.

When you hire a vehicle always do a thorough check with the agent. Make sure any marks or existing damage is noted so they don’t try and pass the blame on to you on its return.

Driving

A van handles much differently to a car. It’s bigger, has reduced visibility and bigger blind spots, they’re taller, wider, clumsier and will take much longer to stop when you put the brakes on. Be vigilant for cyclists and small vehicles. There are a lot more hiding places for them to drift into.

Weather

Not to be taken for granted but if you’re moving in winter it’s going to have it’s own challenges. The cold and slippery surfaces will play their part just as the red-hot sunshine will dehydrate and tire you faster if your move is in July or August. It doesn’t seem like much to consider but if you can prepare for every eventuality then there’s one less thing to take you by surprise.

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