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April 5, 2013

Financing Your Perfect Wedding

Marriage FinanceWhat springs to mind when you think of the perfect wedding? If you’re a woman, it may be your dress, the flowers or your first dance. If you’re a man it might be the car you’ll arrive in, the colour of your cummerbund, or not falling over during your first dance. But one thing that no-one likes to think about – but which no-one can ultimately avoid dealing with – is figuring out how much your dream wedding is going to cost.

The Increasing Costs of UK Weddings

Weddings in the UK have a long history of being a big affair, however this doesn’t mean that the cost of a wedding was always as high as it is now.

In 2013, the average cost of a wedding in the UK is approximately £18,000 . This is a significant increase on the average cost of a wedding in the 1950s of just £70 – which would be the equivalent of approximately £2,000 by today’s standards. To put it further into perspective, the cost of a wedding in 1950 was approximately seven times a person’s weekly wage, whereas the average UK wedding in 2013 is more than 30x the average weekly wage.

Portrayal of weddings in the media – including televised Royal weddings – as well as changing fashions and an increased importance being placed on extravagance, are all factors which have contributed to the rising costs of UK weddings.

How to Finance Your Big Day on a Budget

For many couples, the thought of spending up to £25,000 on a wedding is simply unthinkable. However pressures from friends and family to have a big wedding, unexpected costs, or simply the effort of trying to recreate the dream wedding scenario you’ve had in your head since you were little, can all conspire to escalate the costs of your wedding without you realising.

Thankfully there are many ways in which weddings can be financed, quickly and easily, so you don’t have to compromise on having the day you’ve always wanted. From trimming unnecessary guests to having a friend do the photos, there are plenty of ways in which costs can be cut from every corner. And when you make many little savings, you’ll soon find that you’re able to save a decent sum of money overall.

Of course, if you’ve made all the savings you possibly can but still come in over budget, there are many other ways of gaining additional financing for your wedding. From asking relatives for help to applying for secured homeowner loans, sourcing additional funds can be quick, easy and headache-free. Just remember to sort out your finances well in advance of your wedding, so the only thing you’ll have to worry about on the day will be the groom’s dancing.

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February 21, 2013

Things to Consider When You’re Short on Cash

Short On CashThe unfortunate truth is that many people will find themselves short on cash at some point this year. Even the most financially responsible individuals may run into hard times, and they may need access to a quick source of money for a few days. For example, when your child is sick or you are in a car accident, you may be faced with lost income as well as various expenses. This and many other events can and do happen, and they can be costly. Some people may have enough money saved in their savings account to get by, but if you don’t, what should you do to get over this rough patch?

Credit Cards

Credit cards may be the source of quick money that many people initially will consider. You may have one or more credit cards in your wallet right now that you can pull out and use at a moment’s notice. However, keep in mind that a cash advance on these cards can be very expensive, and often, there is a higher interest rate and an extra fee associated with this. Furthermore, if your cards are maxed out, this is not an option for you. As a final note, consider how long it may take you to pay your credit card balance off. Any new charges to your account today will increase your minimum monthly payment until the balance is paid in full, and this can affect your budget for months to come.

Paying Bills Late

If you don’t have money available to pay your bills, it may have crossed your mind to simply not pay those bills. Eventually, you will get caught up, and you can pay your bills as funds become available. However, keep in mind that there are costs associated with simply not paying the money that you owe to your creditors. Many creditors will add a sizable late fee to your account balance, and they will continue to add onto the total you owe. For example, if you owe $100 to a creditor today, that creditor may charge a $30 late fee for not paying your account. Next month, you may owe $200 plus the $30 late fee. This can be a costly route to take, and it can result in you digging yourself into a financial hole that can be difficult to get out of. Furthermore, your credit rating may be ruined if you fail to make your payments on time, and this can affect your ability to obtain affordable financing for many months or years.

Short-Term Loan

A final option to consider is to apply for a short-term loan. Canada cash loans from www.CashLoans.ca are one of these options. These loans do have typically higher interest rates than long-term loans, but they have a short term and can provide you with access to the cash you need in a short period of time. You will not have to contend with late fees, increases to minimum monthly payments or how much credit you have available on your credit cards.

Each financial situation is unique, so it is important to consider how each of these options may be applied to your life. Ultimately, many individuals will have access to one or more of these options, and you may keep these points in mind as you make a decision that is best for you.

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May 10, 2012

Cut the costs associated with your commute

If you commute to work every day, you know how much of a headache it can be. From traffic to the cost of gas, tolls and parking, just getting to the office every morning can be extremely stressful.

Fortunately, there are many ways you can reduce the cost of your daily commute, according to a report from the Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, version of the local news site Patch. One of the easiest ways to do this, for millions of people across the country, is to start relying on public transportation more often. These options are becoming very popular again because of the rising price of gas, but can also provide you even more savings because in some states, you are allowed to use a tax deduction for an annual discount of up to $500 on your federal filing. Your car insurance company might also give you a discount.

Taking public transportation will obviously not only help you save significantly on the gas you buy every month – even if you still have to drive a short distance to your nearest train station, bus stop or park and ride location – but will also give you more time to relax either before or after office hours, or even get some extra work done.

Of course, another great way to save money on your commute is to stick with an old standby: the carpool, the report said. Finding three people or more from your office who live in your area to share a ride to work sometimes or even every day can help to significantly reduce the amount you pay for fuel every month. Think of it this way: If you get four other people to drive to work with you every week, you’re only driving your car one day instead of five, saving not only on gasoline, but also on wear and tear on the vehicle. In addition, some states also have ride-sharing programs that allow consumers to find other people in their area who would want to participate in a carpool. Some states even incentivize participation by providing gas cards to consumers who enroll for the first time.

“From taking transit to carpooling, there are many ways commuters can save time and money getting to work,” Barry Seymour, executive director of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, told the site, adding that these measures also have a positive impact on the environment.

But even if those measures won’t work for you, and you still have to head to the office by yourself every day, there are still a number of ways to save, the report said. The simplest is to change your driving habits so that you’re not using as much fuel. During a commute, it can be easy to fall into aggressive driving habits like speeding, braking hard and so forth in order to get to work faster, but doing so also burns significantly more fuel. In fact, aggressive driving tactics often cost consumers as much as 33 percent of their vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Further, having a lot of junk in your car can also slow the vehicle down, with every hundred pounds reducing its efficiency by as much as 2 percent.

If you want to make sure your car is running in tip-top shape, you should also stick to the routine maintenance schedule provided by its manufacturer, as well as making sure your tires are properly inflated and using the right kind of oil, the report said.

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May 7, 2012

A Quick Guide To Repairing Your Finances After College

If you are the super sensible type of college grad who spent all of your time at school working hard to stay afloat, you might well have come out with your diploma as well as a nice pot of savings – or at least not too much debt.

If on the other hand you didn’t (like 99% of your peers, myself included) then congrats, you have just arrived at that point in life where you need to repair and rebuild and start your journey to financial stability.

Step 1: What Are Your Key Goals?

When you have lots of debt and little income you have 2 overriding goals; so these are what we will focus on:

1 – To pay off your debts, so that you can begin saving.
2 – To repair your credit rating, ready for when you need it.

So before we get started, your first task is to write down all your debts – this won’t be fun, but you need to know your starting point. So make a list of who you owe, how much and what it’s costing you (ie, interest rate).

Step 2: Paying It Off

You need to prioritise which debts are paid off first. In general store cards, then credit cards and overdrafts, loans etc come last.

Paying off the high cost debt will save you the most money, money which can then be used to pay off more debt. As soon as a card is paid off you can destroy it and cancel the account.

High Risk Strategy:

If you can take a relatively low interest loan to pay off all of your cards this might be a good idea, it will save you money and give you a much more manageable repayment. Be careful though, if you end up taking out new cards you will just get further into debt. Only take this option if you are sure you can trust yourself and if the numbers add up.

Use Your Credit Cards

Long term credit card debt is bad for your credit rating, so pay these off first. Once you have paid them off though, using your cards occasionally will help to improve your credit rating. Again, this is risky and should only be done if you trust yourself to pay off your balance in full every month.

If you can’t use a card responsibly just get rid of it, slip ups will cost you, and you can’t afford that right now.

Be Vigilant

For the time being you are going to be constantly close to your limit, because all of your income will be working hard to pay off debt. It is important to watch your finances closely and be careful to avoid dipping into your overdraft (or at least going past the limit). Set aside 10 minutes every other day to review your progress so that you always know where you are.

Step 3: Getting Them Paid Off

If you have multiple debts, keep an eye on the balances. Sometimes it is worth paying off a smaller debt as soon as you can, even if it is not a high interest one. This isn’t optimal financially, but being able to cross off a debt is great for your motivation.

In the long term you just need discipline; it can be very hard, but as long as you can see progress being made you should be able to stay motivated and keep at it.

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March 1, 2012

7 Strategies to Save Money On Travel

There are many benefits to save money while traveling. Among them, people can often go on trips that otherwise would strain the budget, by reducing the trip’s cost. Here are seven strategies to save money on travel.

Go Off-season

Most travel destinations have two distinct seasons: the peak season and the offseason. During a destination’s peak season, prices everywhere will be much higher than the rest of the year. Hotel rates can double, even triple. Many restaurants will require reservations, and deals will be hard to find. By traveling during the off season, people will face much smaller crowds and lower costs. Prices across the board will be lower. Yet, these savings do have a cost. During the offseason, weather conditions might be harsh or major attractions might be absent.

Some people do not want to travel during the offseason, but would like to save money while traveling. For this demographic, the shoulder season can be perfect. The shoulder season is just before and after the peak season. During it, crowds start to dwindle. Prices reflect the reduced demand. At the same time, most businesses are still open during this period. The shoulder season typically lasts for a couple weeks, but varies by destination

Pack Light

Packing light, especially when flying, is essential. Airlines are continually raising rates for checked bags on both domestic and international flights. To avoid these fees, try to bring only carry-ons along for the trip. Reducing your luggage by a single checked bag will save you at least $50.00, in most cases.

While travelers who are flying will save the most by packing light, everyone will save a little money. Extra luggage in cars will reduce gas mileage. The added cost at the pump likely will not be $50.00, unless you are going on a cross-country road trip. Yet, every little bit saved helps.

Leave Room

Leaving room in your luggage for purchases will save you money on the return journey. Anything bought or received as a gift will have to come home, somehow. These items can either be added to the luggage or shipped. Whether bringing an extra suitcase along for souvenirs and gifts, or shipping everything back in a box is cheaper, varies. If there is room in a suitcase, the most cost-effective way is to pack purchases in a suitcase that needed to be brought anyway.

Fly Weekdays

Airfare is one of the major costs of many trips. It also has one of the greatest opportunities to save money. Airfares differ greatly. Some factors that determine their prices are subject to when the ticket is purchased, when the flight is and the cities being flowing between. Generally, purchasing tickets in advance and flying during the off-season will save people money.

Travelers will find that the lowest airfares are often on weekdays, specifically Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. By flying on these days, people can save anywhere from a few dollars to hundreds. The exception to this rule is holidays. When flying for a holiday, typically the holiday itself is cheapest. Outside of that, airfares will be oriented around when the holiday occurs in the week.

Call the Hotel

By calling hotels individually, people can often get the best rates on hotel rooms. These rates often beat any deals found online, and they certainly will be lower than those offered by the reservations line. Call specific hotels and ask to make a reservation with them. If you are referred to a reservations line, call the hotel back and talk with an employee of that hotel again.

Eat In

Eating out becomes expensive very quickly. The solution is simple: eat in while traveling. Sometimes, purchasing an upgraded room, which has a kitchenette, will pay for itself. The easiest meal to eat in is breakfast. Look for accommodations that offer a free breakfast. If you cannot find any with breakfast included, stop by the local grocery store for a pack of muffins or donuts.

Public Transportation

Renting a car is not always wise. In large cities, it can become a burden to find parking, and drivers can get lost easily. In addition to the rental costs, you must pay for fuel and parking. In big cities, relying on public transit can save travelers money. Become familiar with the public transportation system, before departing.

There are many ways to save money while traveling. A savvy traveler can save hundreds or thousands, depending on the extravagance of the trip, with these tips.

Author Bio: Zach Daniel writes for Morocco Tours, a travel company that provides private Morocco tours that allow people to fully experience Morocco.

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