What checks do finance companies do when you apply for a loan?

Never underestimate the importance of doing your research before applying for a loan. This includes taking the time to research facts about yourself that the finance company will eventually see. When you know what the company will look for you have an opportunity to address potential problems or even have them removed before you apply for the loan.

Whether you apply for financing through loan brokers or directly through a finance company you can be certain about two things they will look up about you. The first would be your identity; the lender needs to know they are actually giving a significant amount of money to you and not an identity thief or fraudster. The lender will also determine if you are a citizen or a permanent alien in order to determine if you will remain in the country during the life of the loan. Your Social Security number, employment status and job history will be verified as well. More importantly, your expenses and income will also be verified. If you have any additional sources of income you want the lenders to be aware of then be sure to have documentation as proof.

Your loan application may also have a set of questions regarding your gender, ethnicity and race. However, these questions are strictly voluntarily and a lender cannot force you to answer them. In fact, these questions are not mandatory in order to reduce the possibility of discrimination. However, it is perfectly allowable for a lender to ask if you have been involved in any lawsuits, property foreclosures, filed for bankruptcy or if you happen to own any notes.

Any information requested beyond these common items will likely depend on the type of loan you are trying to obtain. For example, if you are applying for a loan from the Veteran’s Association then your service record will be verified. The government makes a number of loans available for uses such as college tuition or starting a small business. These types of loans also depend on special qualifiers such as academic background or industry experience.

It is completely natural to feel a little nervous when applying for a substantial loan. With a bit of diligence on your part you can be prepared for the whole process and address any concerns from the lender. An educated applicant is better suited to identify the good deals as well as the bad ones.

Why You Should Know More about Your Partner’s Credit Woes

­­Why You Should Know More about Your Partner’s Credit Woes

Entering a new relationship can be wonderful and exciting. But it is one that comes with a huge responsibility as well, especially for two consenting adults. While it is easy to get blinded by love, it is oftentimes wise to first know more about your partner’s financial standing, especially if talks of marriage start floating in the air.

In a recent survey, 500 men and women who are living in the United Kingdom were asked about what they think are the most important factors to consider when choosing a partner. Survey showed that 80.8% of the respondents indicated personality compatibility; 56% of them considered physical appearance; and 46.8% implied age. It was very noticeable that employment (15.4%), financial stability (10.4%), income (4.8%), and a good credit score (1.4%) are the least important factors of all.

These numbers are very alarming indeed, as it is a known fact that finances is one of the biggest sources of arguments between couples. The same survey also revealed that one-third of the British population is not even aware that the money problems of their partner could affect their own.

Such were the ‘nasty surprises’ that couples refer to. Worse, they may only come out after the knot has been tied. One partner will definitely be surprised if they got turned down for a loan or a joint bank account for no apparent reason. As you can see, not knowing that your partner was under a bad debt, has bank defaults, or had declared bankruptcy previously is going to be a huge problem. The third of the British population who chose not to discuss financial affairs before marriage is the group likely to face these issues.

The tides are somewhat better in the United States, where couples tend to tackle financial issues between each other more seriously. A similar survey was conducted among American adults and almost half of the respondents affirmed discussing credit scores with their partner, regardless if the relationship is getting serious or not.

While things tend to look too rosy and almost perfect for people in love, it is also important that, at one point, couples get back on their feet and face the realities of life. And one’s finances prove to be a huge reality to face. Have a serious talk about it over a cup of coffee. Even if finances play a major role in married life, couples who are truly in love should be able to work things out nice and easy. Without the nasty surprises, no profanities will arise; and even the worst financial issues may just slide. Think about it.

Debt Consolidation: The Best Option for Clearing Credit Card Debts

Debt Consolidation: The Best Option for Clearing Credit Card Debts

There is no doubt that credit card debts are the most difficult ones to clear. This is because those plastic cards tend to charge the highest interest of all. The average annual rate of a credit card is pegged at 19.1%. And that can add as much as 48.6% to your original credit card balance if you’re not looking.

There are several options currently available right now to clear out credit card debts. For one, there’s the 0% balance transfer to another credit card. However, that option doesn’t necessarily offer the best choice. Transferring your credit card balance to yet another credit card will only work if you can pay off your balance within the period the other card company requires of you. If you fail to do that, the same interest rates will apply. Worse, you will also have to pay for the 3% transfer fee.

The best option remains to be debt consolidation. This method involves the application of a personal loan that will cover all of your credit card debts. Even if you have more than three credit cards to clear out, this method will still work.

Debt consolidation is better simply because it imposes a very low interest rate on your outstanding balance. Instead of the usual 19.1% that most credit card companies charge, you will pay as low as 4.7% for this one. For a loan amount of £6,100 paid in a span of 5 years, your balance will only accrue a total of £801.19 in interest. That is way below the £2,924 that you’ll have to pay if you use the 0% balance transfer scheme or simply stick it out with your regular credit card payments. The only other charge that you have to pay is the £100 borrowing fee.

Debt consolidation offered through a personal loan is also more flexible. You can set the loan terms so you can further decrease your monthly payments. For example, you want to pay all of your debts in a span of 5 years. The amount that you have to pay every month will be duly computed along with interest. Using the £6,100 loan as an example, all you have to pay is £116.69 monthly for 5 years, and not £156, which is the minimum payment amount of your credit card. You can define the loan term by extending it to 7 years or shortening it to 3 years, whichever suits you best.

It pays to know how the interest rate on your credit card is computed so you’ll know if you are getting anywhere on repayment. If all you can pay is the minimum monthly payment each month, consider debt consolidation seriously. With it, you can shell out the same amount and yet clear out the debt much faster, simply because it offers a much lower interest rate.

A big thank you to Zopa who researched and provided the data for this article

bitcoin-battle

Bitcoin Battle – I’m not winning

Bitcoin Battle – I’m not winning

So it seems I chose one of the strangest times to make the decision to buy my first Bitcoin. After an apparent flaw in the code and constant threats of attack from hackers, buying Bitcoin became a nightmare. The vast majority of sites, like Bittylicious and Quickbitcoin, limited the amount you could buy to 0.1 Bitcoin whilst the problems and uncertainty were resolved.

This isn’t the only barrier which has raised its ugly head in my quest to buy this illusive Bitcoin. Things aren’t so straight forward when looking to get on the Bitcoin ladder, especially if you are based outside of the USA. Here in the UK, to open an account with most of these sellers, exchanges and wallets you must also send a vast array of sensitive documents so they can verify you are actually a ‘real person’. A scanned copy of your passport, along with a utility bill all accompanied by a 5 day processing and turnaround time leads to even more frustrations for my British brothers. It is now easy to see why so many people talk about buying Bitcoin yet very few actually go ahead and fight through the red tape, which has only appeared in the last 12 months from my understanding.

Finally, it seems the vast majority of Crypto-Currencies have seen a decline in their valuations too. I am aware of the volatile nature of the market, which is partly what wets my appetite for trading, big losses or big wins, however for the beginner this is yet another reason why I probably should listen to my instincts and call it a day like all the others. But no. I will do this. I will own my very own shiny Bitcoin with sugar on top.

The fact that Bitcoin is now being accepted in new places around the world making it possible to bank in South Africa, buy a beer in Australia or even a cigar in New Mexico, my mission will continue and this only fuels the desire and belief that there is some serious money to be made on an investment level.

I am going on holiday for a week now to freshen my enthusiasm, but vow to fight another day upon my return. I’ll keep you updated.

Why i’m going to buy 1 Bitcoin

Buying my first Bitcoin

On March 1st I’m going for it. I am going to buy 1 Bitcoin. I have just spent the past day or so reading up and trying to get my head around this topsy-turvy, roller coaster, make believe, fantasy currency and I am genuinely intrigued, so much so I have decided to buy 1 Bitcoin. Currently at time of writing the value of 1 Bitcoin is $705.59. What it will be worth once i’ve finished having my way with it is anybodies guess, but I figure if you don’t have a go and throw some money at phenomenons like this then the time could pass and I will be left to sit and wonder what would have happened otherwise. This same philosophy is also the reason why I have lost money in the past, through general curiosity, stupidity and a thirst for knowledge.

buy-1-bitcoin

Price of 1 Bitcoin TODAY

So why is this risky and potentially stupid? Well for one its a massive gamble with my own, hard earned £ and my day job pays peanuts. Fluctuations from minute to minute are all a daily norm, speculation spells fear amongst those that have already made a mint from this and noobs alike, but on a personal level, I reckon its here to stay. However, the risky bit is more about what I plan to do with this 1 Bitcoin….

…I’m going to invest in various other Crypto-currencies, play the market, have a dabble, what ever you want to call it, all in various currencies which don’t really exist. I plan to keep an eye on the market over the coming weeks, report back to you guys with my findings, trends and everything that I learn as I go along.

At the time of writing everyone is going crazy, or at least starting rumours about one of the newest, and I have to say more random currencies on the market and that is Dogecoin.

If you don’t know what Dogecoin is then visit the site link and simply watch the intro video that those guys have come up with to launch, its mental and I love it. As much as I love reading thrifty blogs and even write thrift posts of my own, if i’m honest with myself I don’t think my heart is in it. Life is too short to save pennies and live safe. If you enjoy saving money then that is fine by me and I applaud you for your efforts and sensibility, but this is something that the gambling nature in me has just coaxed out. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy my round ups and watch me squirm at losing money though, but if you could hold back the ‘Told you so’ quotes whilst I get to grips with this whole market mayhem i’d appreciate it.

Trading currencies

So as a reference point below you will see a whole bunch of prices as of today. I plan on following this religiously watching as meme currencies float into the clouds then hit the ground with a hard thump, only hoping i’m not riding them at that point.

# Name Market Cap Price Total Supply Volume (24h) % Change (24h) Market Cap Graph (7d)
1  Bitcoin $ 8,744,292,452 $ 706.22 12,381,825 BTC $ 61,990,339 +16.48 %
2  Ripples $ 1,839,357,871 $ 0.018 99,999,998,012 XRP* $ 123,921 +9.20 %
3  Litecoin $ 476,046,866 $ 18.59 25,606,104 LTC $ 17,656,769 +16.18 %
4  Peercoin $ 102,287,049 $ 4.84 21,135,818 PPC $ 1,523,214 +16.04 %
5  DogeCoin $ 80,449,195 $ 0.0017 48,024,933,770 DOGE $ 5,113,226 +45.73 %
6  Nxt $ 48,226,669 $ 0.048 999,997,986 NXT* $ 168,527 +10.60 %
7  MasterCoin $ 38,435,364 $ 68.25 563,162 MSC* $ 30,705 +23.76 %
8  Namecoin $ 36,628,205 $ 4.58 8,003,942 NMC $ 2,241,095 +22.43 %
9  Quark $ 19,285,213 $ 0.078 247,533,093 QRK $ 536,644 +7.20 %
10  ProtoShares $ 16,544,813 $ 11.38 1,454,374 PTS $ 304,741 +5.07 %
11  Megacoin $ 10,983,594 $ 0.50 22,123,175 MEC $ 34,905 +2.71 %
12  Primecoin $ 10,562,487 $ 2.41 4,385,831 XPM $ 212,177 +14.92 %
13  Feathercoin $ 10,465,050 $ 0.32 32,970,700 FTC $ 1,345,874 +75.10 %
14  Infinitecoin $ 9,289,334 $ 0.0001 90,103,603,725 IFC $ 28,258 +19.51 %
15  WorldCoin $ 7,744,837 $ 0.18 44,191,818 WDC $ 426,620 +10.27 %
16  Novacoin $ 7,738,968 $ 11.04 700,943 NVC $ 161,990 +23.78 %
17  Vertcoin $ 6,317,129 $ 3.78 1,670,000 VTC $ 227,846 +13.05 %
18  Devcoin $ 3,866,056 $ 0.00062 6,275,420,050 DVC $ 57,441 +24.02 %
19  YbCoin $ 3,356,433 $ 3.25 1,033,177 YBC $ 1,105 +6.92 %
20  Tickets $ 3,244,625 $ 4.9e-05 66,876,281,414 TIX $ 3,376 +19.59 %
21  Zetacoin $ 2,576,526 $ 0.016 160,048,307 ZET $ 15,569 +15.40 %
22  Digitalcoin $ 2,430,451 $ 0.18 13,174,006 DGC $ 61,230 +2.19 %
23  UltraCoin $ 2,079,810 $ 0.61 3,385,045 UTC $ 32,272 +8.76 %
24  Terracoin $ 1,962,025 $ 0.38 5,191,850 TRC $ 132,820 +89.67 %
25  Applecoin $ 1,917,110 $ 0.13 14,541,736 APC $ 110,968 +6.75 %
26  Mooncoin $ 1,903,334 $ 7.1e-05 26,743,059,588 MOON $ 50,611 +17.09 %
27  NetCoin $ 1,878,570 $ 0.0085 220,950,778 NET $ 4,443 +15.75 %
28  Anoncoin $ 1,802,411 $ 2.48 727,000 ANC $ 31,809 +9.05 %
29  Unobtanium $ 1,706,887 $ 11.37 150,120 UNO $ 99,184 +16.06 %
30  Kittehcoin $ 1,560,891 $ 0.00025 6,221,651,421 MEOW $ 65,491 +17.30 %
31  Freicoin $ 1,423,952 $ 0.038 37,338,899 FRC $ 248 +14.38 %
32  Copperlark $ 1,278,034 $ 0.20 6,256,249 CLR $ 1,000 +11.49 %
33  Ixcoin $ 1,269,646 $ 0.07 18,141,362 IXC $ 2,644 +8.47 %
34  FedoraCoin $ 1,067,183 $ 8.4e-06 127,156,869,870 TIPS $ 45,436 +11.50 %
35  SecureCoin $ 980,281 $ 0.82 1,201,871 SRC $ 64,288 +4.37 %
36  EarthCoin $ 927,661 $ 0.00075 1,238,985,643 EAC $ 28,674 +12.32 %
37  TagCoin $ 841,093 $ 0.99 849,494 TAG $ 84,659 +13.64 %
38  LeafCoin $ 828,183 $ 9.3e-05 8,878,845,406 LEAF $ 7,061 +31.89 %
39  Cryptogenic Bullion $ 795,630 $ 0.85 941,176 CGB $ 5,845 -4.19 %
40  LottoCoin $ 749,567 $ 0.00011 6,633,613,868 LOT $ 33,348 +18.04 %
41  BBQCoin $ 664,321 $ 0.021 31,739,264 BQC $ 2,409 +12.10 %
42  GoldCoin $ 639,850 $ 0.022 29,699,870 GLD $ 724 +15.78 %
43  Sexcoin $ 598,688 $ 0.01 59,540,325 SXC $ 11,706 +20.61 %
44  Extremecoin $ 570,906 $ 0.16 3,465,055 EXC $ 366 +5.18 %
45  Frozen $ 518,552 $ 0.092 5,645,844 FZ $ 1,752 +15.50 %
46  BitBar $ 471,603 $ 48.64 9,695 BTB $ 319 +13.44 %
47  MemoryCoin $ 445,921 $ 0.11 3,996,327 MMC $ 3,558 +9.49 %
48  NobleCoin $ 410,150 $ 0.00075 547,895,000 NOBL $ 6,843 +0.82 %
49  Fastcoin $ 371,806 $ 0.0064 58,169,274 FST $ 9,655 +29.39 %
50  RedCoin $ 365,070 $ 0.011 34,194,716 RED $ 1,257 +16.12 %
51  DigiByte $ 353,746 $ 0.00073 482,664,000 DGB $ 11,908 +20.03 %
52  I0Coin $ 349,523 $ 0.017 20,184,384 I0C $ 136 +19.92 %
53  FlorinCoin $ 319,800 $ 0.0079 40,698,100 FLO $ 2,302 +14.09 %
54  Junkcoin $ 297,503 $ 0.029 10,235,700 JKC $ 2,178 +1.05 %
55  VelocityCoin $ 289,753 $ 0.0064 45,425,949 VEL $ 1,214 -13.57 %
56  Karmacoin $ 286,673 $ 2.8e-05 10,148,151,955 KARM $ 29,692 +24.34 %
57  AsicCoin $ 281,895 $ 0.00065 431,082,934 ASC $ 6,222 +11.86 %
58  Datacoin $ 280,744 $ 0.16 1,713,492 DTC $ 629 +10.56 %
59  Deutsche eMark $ 279,294 $ 0.064 4,393,700 DEM $ 3,725 +25.75 %
60  Catcoin $ 274,465 $ 0.25 1,100,900 CAT $ 2,184 +22.42 %
61  Nyancoin $ 267,940 $ 0.013 20,449,497 NYAN $ 5,160 -0.17 %
62  Yacoin $ 264,366 $ 0.016 16,275,651 YAC $ 367 -3.98 %
63  QQCoin $ 262,507 $ 0.016 15,953,091 QQC $ 2,785 -10.81 %
64  Teacoin $ 253,121 $ 0.0071 35,441,300 TEA $ 10,451 +7.20 %
65  Franko $ 248,229 $ 2.22 111,583 FRK $ 5,725 +31.31 %
66  Philosopher Stones $ 221,255 $ 0.13 1,717,245 PHS $ 484 +24.47 %
67  Electric $ 218,678 $ 7.8e-05 2,814,966,226 VOLT $ 26,753 +43.54 %
68  USDe $ 214,815 $ 0.00083 259,978,850 USDE $ 4,364 +11.38 %
69  SmartCoin $ 202,912 $ 0.085 2,394,342 SMC $ 10,092 -3.18 %
70  GrandCoin $ 201,346 $ 0.0006 335,417,000 GDC $ 2,151 +11.30 %
71  HoboNickels $ 201,073 $ 0.069 2,934,927 HBN $ 1,079 +21.52 %
72  Bitgem $ 198,125 $ 7.94 24,937 BTG $ 16,165 +45.62 %
73  Coino $ 191,579 $ 0.038 5,080,044 CON $ 4,301 +1.86 %
74  Bytecoin $ 191,553 $ 0.094 2,028,696 BTE $ 3,590 +19.79 %
75  StableCoin $ 187,861 $ 0.018 10,363,830 SBC $ 7,160 +31.21 %
76  ReddCoin $ 172,906 $ 2.1e-05 8,161,110,000 RDD $ 3,943 -10.78 %
77  Argentum $ 166,874 $ 0.21 787,561 ARG $ 6,309 +28.94 %
78  Elacoin $ 162,828 $ 0.70 232,422 ELC $ 4,456 +29.78 %
79  RonPaulCoin $ 157,333 $ 7.04 22,363 RPC $ 4,064 +16.55 %
80  Diamond $ 156,363 $ 0.60 259,551 DMD $ 1,890 +21.78 %
81  42 Coin $ 153,906 $ 112,995 1.3620597 42 $ 6,071 +10.57 %
82  GlobalCoin $ 152,032 $ 0.0049 30,753,720 GLC $ 6,876 +33.26 %
83  KlondikeCoin $ 147,548 $ 0.033 4,405,940 KDC $ 9,338 -5.98 %
84  Luckycoin $ 137,926 $ 0.011 12,511,368 LKY $ 419 +9.47 %
85  CasinoCoin $ 135,409 $ 0.013 10,652,120 CSC $ 1,921 +15.48 %
86  BattleCoin $ 116,947 $ 0.014 8,185,684 BCX $ 4,887 +17.76 %
87  Pxlcoin $ 113,098 $ 0.26 432,825 PXL $ 8,186 +17.51 %
88  Xivra $ 100,877 $ 0.00029 351,630,000 XIV $ 1,952 +16.15 %
89  Grain $ 95,156 $ 0.00011 851,172,576 GRA $ 660 -5.38 %
90  Phoenixcoin $ 94,369 $ 0.0096 9,809,250 PXC $ 1,443 +8.34 %
91  Noirbits $ 87,509 $ 0.04 2,162,500 NRB $ 534 +13.32 %
92  eToken $ 84,205 $ 0.34 244,232 ETOK $ 9,618 +52.73 %
93  Joulecoin $ 72,693 $ 0.017 4,265,728 XJO $ 761 +15.33 %
94  TeslaCoin $ 72,521 $ 0.0034 21,304,644 TES $ 2,408 +22.41 %
95  CraftCoin $ 63,260 $ 0.19 328,030 CRC $ 1,294 +1.53 %
96  Astrocoin $ 53,615 $ 4.73 11,334 ASR $ 3,981 -20.50 %

Another reason i’m trying this out is because I think I may have lost my way in which direction I want to take my blog, and not really come across many people trying and testing the Bitcoin revolution so thought i’d give it a whirl.

If anybody else wants to join in the madness and buy 1 Bitcoin with me then feel free to comment on this and join in, i’m sure the ride will be more fun in numbers so we can share our findings etc. I read a good post by another novice named Sean Aranda who was just dipping their toe in this world and goes through the very basics and his experience of this whole world. His down to earth, skeptical approach encouraged me to jump in head first and see if I come out the other side. I plan on writing my own post similar to this once I get up and running. After doing my research it seems the most trusted place to buy from is Coinbase.com and one of the most secure platforms to trade is Cryptsy.com.

Anyways, whos up for the ride? It turns out it takes around 10 days to get everything setup so if you do want to join me on 1st March be sure to bare this in mind.

 

 

Have you got the right credit card?

Have you got the right credit card?

Did you know that 82.6% of consumers are using the wrong credit card for their circumstances?

But why is this? People tend to stick to the card they already have and the provider they know. This is fine as it makes life easier, but it also means that consumers are not getting the best deal on their credit cards.

UK consumers spent about £501.6 billionpounds on debit, credit and charge cards in the last year. Almost all of these purchases could earn rewards and cash-back at a typical return of 1% totalling £5.2 billion if consumers were using credit cards which earn cash back.

Credit cards are by far the best way to borrow money under £5000, if the right deal is used.

Have a look at the credit cards you have in your wallet. Do you know what interest rates you are paying? What deal you’re on? Do you get cashback on your purchases or any other rewards? If you’re not sure, or you know but don’t think it’s a very good deal, now is the time to compare your credit cards.

It’s easy to switch credit cards too. You may be worried about outstanding balances on your existing cards. Typically, these balances can be transferred to your new credit card which means that you can cut up your old card and start using the new one in exactly the same way as you are used to, but hopefully earning cashback for your purchases and paying off your balance at a lower interest rate.

Some people constantly switch credit cards, taking advantage of deals offering 6 months interest free credit – then once the 6 months are up, they switch credit card to another one offering the same deal. In this way, it is possible to pay little or no interest. These consumers are few and far between – only because it takes forward planning. Write the date on your calendar when you want to look at switching your credit card – every 6 months to a year is a good idea to make sure you’re always on top of the best deals available.

Somebody Loves You: Why Even Single People Need Life Insurance

For people who are married or have children, the need for life insurance is pretty obvious. A responsible provider wants to make sure that the people that love him will be secure no matter what happens, and a life insurance policy can protect a family’s financial stability in an extremely difficult time. However, for a single person with no legal responsibilities, the motivation for buying life insurance requires a bit more thought.

While it is true that single people technically has no one else to worry about, ideally there are people that still love them because they are required to, such as parents and grandparents. Single people often end up responsible for the care of these loved ones in their advancing age, and their potential inability to work could spell disaster if something unexpected were to happen and there was no one left to look after them. A life insurance policy can provide funding for final expenses as well as outside care for a senior in need of assistance.  Visit GIO at www.gio.com.au/personal-life-insurance, regardless of your marital status & learn more about their policies.

Another reason for a single person to have a life insurance policy is to cover any debts you may not live to repay. The people that love you have likely done a large number of very nice things for you over the years, and leaving them stuck with your mortgage payment and car note just because you’re not around to pay them anymore is no way to show your gratitude.

Even singles with less involved family lives can benefit from a life insurance policy. You love you even if nobody else does, and that means you’ll want to ensure your own financial security as much as possible before retirement. Some policy types allow the insured to draw cash value from the policy or double as investment tools that gain value the longer you hold them. Working every day until you collapse into the grave at 93 is no way to express your affection for yourself, and so a life insurance policy can be a worthwhile investment for a lone wolf as well.

A life insurance policy can have as much value to a single person as someone with a family of their own. There’s no time like the present and odds are you won’t always be single. The only difference is that by then, the rates will have likely skyrocketed. Nevertheless, even if you remain on your own and wonder why you would ever need life insurance as a single person, just remember: somebody loves you.

How To Tackle Budgeting for Fun

As regular readers will know I love to have a flutter and chance my arm at winning some easy cash. Budgeting is something that everyone should do but often doesn’t, myself included, however if you want to be able to enjoy your favourite activities like gaming, you need to know how to draw up a budget that allows you to have money set aside to play responsibly. Here are some simple tips I’ve put together that will help you stay on track financially, whilst still having fun.

Calculate Expenses

Before you buy anything or spend any money work out your monthly and weekly expenses, and be honest about them. An inaccurate budget won’t benefit you in any way, so it’s important that you add in every coffee you buy on the way to work and other little indulgences you don’t usually account for. For an accurate representation of your monthly spend keep all your slips for a few months, you might be surprised to see where your money goes.

Use Existing Resources

If you look around it’s amazing how many existing resources you have that can help you budget and save money. For example, your mobile phone can do so much more than just make calls; chances are you can download a variety of free apps that assist in creating a budget accurately, effectively and with minimal effort. Use your phone to track your daily expenses, monitor your spending and take advantage of having a free accountant with you, wherever you go.

Stick To Your Limits

Working out a practical budget is only one half of the job done; the other half is the self-control you need to exercise when gaming. The only way a budget will be successful is if you stick to it and there’s no point playing $100 when you only budgeted $50.

Stress-Free Fun

Lastly, remember that gaming responsibly is part of successful budgeting, and if you stick to your budget you will enjoy your gaming time far more than if you know you are overspending or have not budgeted correctly.

As you can see, it can be easy to create an effective budget and still game responsibly, and when you win you can always spend or save a little more!

How much is your Haggis?

How much is your Haggis?

The cost of the weekly shop will be pushed up for Scottish consumers if they choose independence in this year’s referendum, supermarkets have warned. I read this at the back end of last year and it has constantly played on my mind. A few qu9otes are in there, which to me most sound ridiculous. Let me know your thoughts. Haggis is important.

Morrisons told Sky News the amplified cost was down to a number of taxes to be imposed on Scottish retailers which would not apply to those in England. They also cited the higher costs of transport and distribution as well as the imposition of the public health levy by the Scottish government.

UK supermarkets currently absorb the extra costs in the interests of fairness to customers across the UK, but may rethink that policy that if Scotland becomes independent.

One executive commented “We would treat it as an international market and act accordingly by putting up our prices.”

Andy Clarke, chief executive of Asda, reported: “We believe in fairness, so the price the customers pay for a pint of milk or loaf bread is the same regardless of where they live in the UK.

“However, the cost of doing business in different parts of the country does vary.

“A ‘Yes’ vote in 2014 could result in Scotland being a less attractive investment proposition for business and put further pressure on our costs.”

The Scottish government, however, says there is “no reason” for retail prices to rise.

A spokesman said that plans for lower corporation tax and fuel duty would make Scotland “more competitive and less costly” than at present.

Energy Cheaper Than Expected

Energy Cheaper Than Expected

Finally; some good news from the energy companies. Four of Britain’s biggest energy companies have said bills will rise by around £50 less than expected this winter following David Cameron’s decision to “roll back” green levies.

British Gas said the average bill would rise by £70, rather than £123, after the government scaled back a programme to help poor households cut their energy usage and said it would pay for another subsidy out of general taxation.

Npower said it could now hold off increasing bills until 2015.

The third supplier to act was SSE, which said it would reduce its tariffs before April – still potentially allowing it to benefit from higher prices over the winter months.

Over the weekend, EDF said it could hold off increasing bills until 2015, having raised its prices less than other firms in anticipation of government action to cut levies.

However, the companies’ statements also contained caveats that their price freezes were contingent on no new rises in wholesale prices, network costs or policy costs – the three reasons typically used to justify price rises. Scottish Power has not yet made an announcement, while E.ON has not raised its prices in the latest round of increases.

The coalition came under pressure to act on energy bills after Labour said it would freeze bills for 18 months after the election if it won power, as it went on the attack over the rising cost of living.

Hopefully keeping warm this winter may be less expensive than originally thought.

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