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Savings

Is it Worth the Time to Look for Lower Prices?

There are some people that shop around all of the time. They look around to see whether there are any lower priced items than what they are buying to see if they can save money. You can compare prices in the bigger stores online so some people do this regularly to make sure that they are not paying too much money. But is it more effort than it is worth?

You may feel that if you compare the prices on every single item that you buy then you could end up spending lots of times looking from shop to shop but you may not have to do this. There are comparison websites where you can compare the process across the main retailers and you will be able to see whether you are paying more than necessary. There will be other shops that are not included online, where you may be able to save more, but even if you can save some money it could make a difference.

It is best to spend time comparing prices on the more expensive items that you buy. This is whey people swap their mortgage company, insurers and utility suppliers more often than their supermarket. However, even if you switch from branded to unbranded items or start shopping in a cheaper supermarket you will save money and all of those savings will all add up.

Whether it is worth the time is a very personal question. If you are struggling financially and getting stressed about it, then saving some money could be really worth it as it could mean that you will be able to repay those debts more easily. However, whether it is worth your time all depends on what else you will be doing with your time.

If you are using time that you would otherwise be using the earn money, then unless you are earning less money than you will save by finding a lower price, then it is better to work rather than compare. So with the more expensive things it could really pay off, but with the cheaper things it may not.

It is also worth considering your fuel. If you decide that you will split your shop between many different supermarkets to save money, it is important to cost in how much it will add on to drive to several places rather than just one. It will all depend on how much money you actually are saving as to whether it is worth doing lots of journeys. If you are on foot, then this is not an issue of course but you still have to consider whether you think that it is worth the time to walk from place to place to save money. You may consider the walking good exercise and be happy to do it, but it may take up time when you would rather be doing other things.

If you spend a lot of time worrying about money and how you will make ends meet each month, then seeking the lowest prices could be significant. It could help to lower your stress levels and could mean that you are happier. However, if you manage anyway, then perhaps there will not be so much value in working so hard to save money.

It can be worth just calculating which supermarket is cheaper overall for you and shop there. So do not buy certain items in certain shops, but just work out where to do your whole shop from that will be the cheapest. You will still save money but you will not take up so much time shopping and it will be more convenient.

You may feel that making these small savings is not worth it. However, each small saving adds up and it can make a significant difference at the end of the month or year. Overspending when it is not necessary is a waste of money and you could spend that on many other things which could potentially bring you a lot of pleasure. So start by looking at those big bills and see if you can reduce them and then look at the smaller things and you should find that eventually you will be able to save a significant chunk of money.

Debt

How Much Debt Should Each Person Have?

Debt is something that is often in the news and often estimates are made about how much debt each household has on average. These figures can be shocking for some and reassuring for others, but they mean very little as each household varies so much. Some individuals have no debt at all and others have so much that they struggle to manage to make the minimum repayments and so there are stark differences. No one wants to be struggling to repay, but is being completely debt free the best situation to be in?

It is important to remember that there are good and bad debts and that some people can afford debt more than others. For example, getting a student loan to pay for university can mean that you will have a better paid job as a result which can have a positive impact on your life as a whole. Borrowing to buy a home can also be a big positive because it can be cheaper than renting. Once you have paid off the mortgage you will be able to live without paying out each month, although you will have to maintain the home. However, the value of the home should increase with time and it will give you something to pass onto your children or something that you can sell to pay for care if you need it as you get older. There are other situations too, where borrowing can be a big help. However, it can also be a problem if too much is borrowed and repayments are difficult.

Before borrowing any money it is always wise to make sure that you think about how you are going to repay it. You need to consider how well you are managing your money and whether having that extra money to pay out will be a problem for you. If you are already struggling or even going overdrawn regularly then it is wise to rethink getting a loan. If you feel you have no choice and you really need the loan then you should think about where you can cut down your spending in others areas so that you can afford the repayments. If you cannot see any ways to cut down, then you should consider ways to earn more money so that you can afford it that way instead.

Deciding how much debt a person should have is difficult. It is wise, is explained above, to make sure that you can make the repayments. However, it is possible that the interest rates may rise and the repayments increase, so it is wise to have a bit extra just in case. If you think that you job is insecure, perhaps because your company is struggling or because you are on a zero hours contract, then it may be advisable not to get a loan unless you have to.

It is important to be able to control your debt as well. Make sure that you are aware of what debt you have, how much it is costing you, how much you are paying off and things like that. You need to make sure that you are happy about the debt you have and if you think that you have too much then see whether you can pay some of it off. If you have credit card debt, for example, you may only be paying off the minimum when you can pay off more and save a lot of money.

Deciding how much debt to have is a hard thing to do. You need to make sure that you can cope with the amount that you have and that it is not difficult for you to manage the repayments and that it is not too stressful for you. It is worth considering how secure your job is and whether you think that having debts is a risk if you are likely to lose your job and also whether you could cope if interest rates went up significantly. It is good to keep debts low if you can, but being scared of debt could mean that you miss out on opportunities such as university or owning a home, so you need to weight up the pros and cons.

Student Loans

Should Student Loans Stop You From Going to University?

There has been a lot of talk about student loans in the UK lately. With the costs of university courses rising and the interest on some loans going up it can make those that are coming up to university age worry about it. You may feel that you are in danger of being in a lot of debt if you take out a loan and it could put you off from studying for one.

It is worth remembering that a student loan is unlike other loans. Many other countries that run similar schemes do not call them loans but a graduate tax as effectively after graduating, some extra tax is taken, which is means tested, over thirty years so that some or all of the cost of the course is repaid. It seems that currently many students either understand this or are not worried about the prospect of being in debt because there are more and more students at university year on year.

It is worth giving the decision some thought though, because although there are rising numbers, you need to consider whether it is the right decision for you. If you are not sure what course to study, for example, could it be better to get some work experience first and then decide what to do. It can certainly be worth doing a lot of research about what sort of job you would like and what jobs the course will lead to so that you know that you are studying the right thing. You only get one opportunity to have a student loan, so you need to use it wisely. Do the wrong course and if you want a different degree you will have to find the money to pay for it yourself.

There are also ways that you can keep the loan costs down which could be worth considering, if you are worried about borrowing so much. You could do a shorter course, perhaps two years instead of three. This may lead to a qualification which is good enough to get you the job that you want, without you having to pay out so much money. You could go to a local university and live at home so that you have lower living expenses. You could work part-time while studying so that you do not have to borrow so much money.

It is worth knowing that if you do not earn enough money after the course, then you will not have to pay any back. How much you pay back is determined by your salary which means that you may not have to pay anything back at all or just a small amount. The idea is that it is affordable and that only those that have a very high income will repay the full amount borrowed plus the interest and most others will pay back a proportion with a few paying back nothing at all.

As the repayments come out in your tax code they make little difference to your credit rating either. You may feel this is unimportant as you will not want to borrow, but most graduates will want a mortgage before the thirty years is up after they have finished their degree. You will be assessed on your disposable income to see if you are capable of making the repayments and at this stage your loan repayments will be a factor, but if you are earning enough to be making the repayments then you should have enough money to manage mortgage repayments, the loan repayments are relatively small.

Some people do find debt stressful but as a student loan is very different it is best to think of it in a different way. Try not to think of how much you owe and how much interest is accumulating because this does not matter. Just think about the fact that you will be paying a bit of extra tax for thirty years, if you earn enough and that your education will have paved the way to a more interesting, rewarding and better paid job for you. It will also give you experiences you will not get elsewhere and hopefully open your mind to a lifetime of learning.