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  • Lisa Kleiman
  • July 27, 2016 03:56:58 PM
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A Little About Us

Why are some people better at saving money? Could your pension be at risk? How to kick start your business with a guarantor loan? Find out the answers to these questions and more from the independent loan broker Solution Loans, with lots of money saving tips and expert financial advice on a range of issues, from family budget travel to cheap home improvements and more.

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    Actions we all need to take now to combat global warming

    Climate change has risen to the top of the... You're reading the blog post Actions we all need to take now to combat global warming that was written by and first published on Getting Loans and Credit & Managing Money.

    Climate change has risen to the top of the global agenda this year. With climate emergencies being declared in multiple locations and global protests led by groups such as Extinction Rebellion there is much more awareness than there has ever been of the need to take steps to combat climate change and reduce CO2 emissions. We are now beginning to appreciate that, alongside the work that governments needs to do, there are household lifestyle changes that will also make a big difference.Household actions to reduce climate change

    We all have to make changes

    A report by The Committee on Climate Change has identified that the UK should be aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 in order to make a real impact on halting climate change. This target would mean that the UK could make a serious contribution to preventing global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5C in the long-term – this is thought to be the threshold for dangerous climate change. However, such a transformation requires considerable commitment from every household. Focusing on reducing corporate emissions and business energy waste simply won’t do it – consumers have to get involved as well. Eventually, achieving this kind of target will mean some drastic changes, such as:

    • The use of green electricity across the country for all energy needs
    • Eating less meat & dairy and switching to other sources of protein and fats
    • Investing in electric cars so that there are no petrol or diesel vehicles on the roads
    • Phasing out reliance on gas boilers in all homes across the UK
    • Switching from vehicle based transport to walking and cycling instead

    What we must do right now

    While the more drastic changes are likely to take some time to implement, there are steps that every UK household can take right now to make lifestyle changes that will have an impact. These include:

    • Changing how you eat. Plant based diets have been much in the news for their potential health benefits. Many people also believe that a plant-based diet is one of the best ways to have a positive influence on climate change. For example, switching from a high meat diet to one that has low meat content could help to reduce your diet related emissions by 35%.
    • Opt for a different approach to home heating. One of the recommendations in the Committee on Climate Change’s report is that households looking to help in the fight against climate change turn down the thermostat to 19C in winter. This is a step that should be taken at the same time as identifying ways to make the home warmer, such as improving insulation in the loft and cavity walls. You can also consider investing in a low carbon heating system if CO2 emission reduction is a priority for you – something like a heat pump, for example.
    • Re-evaluate the way that you travel. Long-haul flights are some of the most problematic when it comes to damaging emissions so it’s crucial to try to minimise these – and to think carefully before getting on a plane. On a daily basis, leaving the car at home and walking and cycling instead can be better for your health as well as the planet. If a car is a daily essential could you car pool with others? Most of us make journeys with wasted space in our cars because we don’t share.
    • Make your home more energy efficient. The less energy your property wastes the more efficient it is. The more efficient a home is, the less it costs to run and the more of an impact it’s possible to have when it comes to combating climate change. There are lots of small steps that can contribute to making a home more energy efficient. For example, you can invest in draught-proofing areas such as doors and windows, opt for energy saving light bulbs and choose appliances that rank highly in terms of energy efficiency ratings.
    • Buy an electric car. As prices have begun to drop and the UK has a more extensive charging network it’s more feasible than it has ever been to run an electric car, as opposed to a diesel or petrol model. You can get the best value from an electric car if you charge it in a smart way, for example at night when the energy grid is in low use.

    The time for action has arrived – no longer should we suggest we can delay. Kicking the environmental can down the street has to stop. We all need to make the lifestyle changes now that will prevent the Earth’s climate from warming beyond the 1.5C limit. We know we can do it – it’s about changing long-held habits. We managed it with plastic bags; now we have to do it on a larger scale with our energy, transport and food consumption. Start now!

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    Top tips for going Self-Employed

    For many people, being self-employed appears to be living... You're reading the blog post Top tips for going Self-Employed that was written by and first published on Getting Loans and Credit & Managing Money.

    For many people, being self-employed appears to be living the dream. Whether you’re looking to escape an unpleasant boss or get away from commuter life, switching to the self-employed lifestyle looks – on the surface at least – like a much healthier and more enjoyable way to work. However, that’s not always the case and many freelancers find it a tough and unpredictable life.being self employed

    If you’re planning to go self-employed and you want to make sure that it lives up to expectations then it pays to be prepared. Here are our top tips for success:

    1. Start with savings. Before you make the leap to being self-employed it’s a good idea to do some groundwork first. The most important thing is to ensure that you having savings. It can take some time to get established in a new career, especially one that is a self-employed business and you may need funds to pay up front for networking, marketing or investment in essential equipment.
    2. Plan your move. While you’re saving up to go self-employed it’s a good idea to look into the viability of the way that you’re hoping to live in the future. Research the sector that you want to enter and identify your potential competitors, whether the market is saturated and who your clients and customers might be. Decide how you’re going to find work, what kind of pricing structure to use and whether there are any specific laws or regulations that you need to take into account.
    3. All work and no play. Many self-employed people struggle to set boundaries when it comes to building their business. If there’s work to do at 11pm on a Friday night and you need the money then why not just do it? It’s crucial to start out by creating separation between work and non-work in your life if you want to be positively self-employed. Decide what your working hours will be and turn off emails after that time. Don’t work weekends and keep special occasions free. If you don’t then burnout and exhaustion await.
    4. An accountant is essential. If you’re used to having tax, National Insurance etc dealt with by an employer then it’s very easy to get into a bit of a mess when all of that becomes your responsibility. Although you’ll still have to get to grips with the basics of this yourself a good accountant can help you navigate the waters of self-employed finance, from whether to operate as a company to what expenses can be set off against tax.
    5. Integrate tech into your life. Technology can be enormously useful for the self-employed today, enabling you to work from just about anywhere, whether that’s a hot desk or a sun lounger. The key is to choose the technology that will genuinely benefit your business and don’t take on so much that using it becomes another chore to manage.
    6. Get good at managing your money. It pays to be skilful when it comes to self-employed finances. You might have incredibly lean months so it’s important to have some cash set aside as a buffer for those times. You’ll also need to get used to putting aside a proportion of your income every month to make payments on an annual tax bill.
    7. Use credit cards as a back up. It’s easy to get into trouble with credit cards and if you’re self-employed and you have a few lean months you might be tempted to use them for essentials. However, the totals can soon add up and if you don’t have a 0% deal – or that deal comes to an end – life could get very tight, very quickly.
    8. Don’t waste money on non-essentials. For example, it’s a good idea to regularly audit your direct debits to check what’s leaving your account. Are you still paying for subscriptions that you don’t really use that are essentially now a waste of money? If so, that’s cash that you could be using in your business, or as a financial back up instead.
    9. Shop around for good deals. It’s even more crucial to pay less for something like a mobile phone or broadband when this becomes a business cost that could eat into your profits. So, shop around to make sure that you’re paying as little as possible for the services that you use regularly and take advantage of any discounts.

    Being self-employed can help you to create a flexible lifestyle with a lot of freedom. However, it also comes with a responsibility for every aspect of your working life, from paying tax on time to defining your working hours. If you’re prepared for the leap then it could be the start of a wonderful journey.

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    How to save a fortune on car servicing, maintenance and repairs

    Buying a car, whether new or second hand, comes... You're reading the blog post How to save a fortune on car servicing, maintenance and repairs that was written by and first published on Getting Loans and Credit & Managing Money.

    Buying a car, whether new or second hand, comes with a range of responsibilities. One of the most important of these is ensuring that the car is regularly serviced and that any necessary repairs are carried out. This can be a costly business. However, it’s worth the time and resources required to carry out servicing, maintenance and repairs properly. Not only will this ensure that you’re safe on the roads but it will also help the investment you’ve made in the vehicle to hold its value.low cost car repairs

    Servicing – why bother?

    Regular servicing means that all the key components of your car are in good condition and functioning properly. Depending on the type of servicing you opt for, this includes checking the brakes to ensure that they are fully functioning, assessing the engine and examining the tyres to make sure that they are at the right pressure and there are no issues, such as damage from the road. Other key areas for servicing are the steering, lights, suspension and windscreen wipers, as well as air and oil filters, spark plugs and fuel filters. There are a number of good reasons for committing to regular servicing, including:

    • A regularly serviced car will run more efficiently when it comes to fuel consumption
    • You’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that you’re not going to have to deal with engine failure or preventable tyre issues while out on the road
    • If your vehicle isn’t regularly serviced then you may have problems making a claim under the warranty
    • The car will function better and be easier to drive if it gets regular attention

    Arranging servicing for your car

    The more often a car is serviced, the easier it will be to keep in good condition and the more peace of mind you’ll have when out on the roads. When you buy a new car you’ll normally receive a recommendation from the manufacturer about how often you should get the car serviced. However, if you’re planning to sell the car on in the future it’s often worth arranging a more frequent service. Remember that an older vehicle is likely to need more regular servicing – try to avoid putting this off because of concerns about condition or cost.

    Standard interim or full car service?

    A full car service is usually recommended every 12 months or 12,000 miles. In between that you can take the car for an interim service. The interim service usually takes around 30 minutes to complete and is designed just to focus on the areas of the car that get the heaviest use, such as the clutch, gearbox and battery. A full service takes a lot longer – upwards of three hours – and will take into account not just the parts of the car under the most strain but other components too. The full service is intended to identify any issues the car might be undergoing due to regular driving and often results in the need to order new parts, make replacements or carry out repairs.

    Cutting the cost of your service, maintenance and repairs

    • Shop around to make sure that you get the best price. If you’re planning to get your car serviced at a branded dealership then this is often the most expensive option when it comes to any kind of work on your car. Independent garages may be able to offer cheaper deals but make sure that they have experience with your type of car.
    • Identify exactly what you want to have done to the car. The easiest way to approach this is often to simply produce a list of bullet points and then ask each of the garages you’re looking at to quote for the same work. Be specific about what you’re looking for, as it’s common for garages to add on extras to increase the overall cost.
    • Look online. There are comparison sites for car servicing and repairs (e.g. Book My Garage) and these can not only help you to find the right garage but also one that will do high quality work at the right price.
    • Ask around. Recommendations from friends, family or colleagues can be invaluable when it comes to identifying a great deal on service, maintenance and repairs. You’ll also be able to find out about quality standards and any issues that others experienced.
    • Look for accreditation. This won’t impact so much on what you pay but will ensure that a certain standard of work is being carried out on your car.

    Servicing, repairs and maintenance are all necessary for a responsible car driver. However, you can cut the cost of these if you know how.

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    How to get the best deals for back to school 2019

    Summer 2019 is almost coming to a close. Despite... You're reading the blog post How to get the best deals for back to school 2019 that was written by and first published on Getting Loans and Credit & Managing Money.

    Summer 2019 is almost coming to a close. Despite a last minute reprieve on the weather front it will soon be time to go back to school. For most parents that means a shopping list of items, from technology through to uniforms, sports kit and stationary. It can be an expensive time of year for anyone with children as a result. So, how do you make sure that you get the best value for Back to School 2019?Back to school deals

    Technology deals

    If you’re not shopping in the run up to Black Friday it can feel like technology deals are going to be hard to come by. However, there are plenty of them around for those looking to provide new tech to go back to school with. Curry’s, for example, has a range of offers on at the moment, including 30% off certain laptops. Dell is offering discounts of up to 33% on its back to school range of laptops and there are also deals available from Apple, including discounts on Applecare and free headphones.

    Uniform and clothing essentials

    Everything, from underwear to socks, can get a lot of wear and tear when kids go back to school so saving money on those initial purchases is always a good idea. Sainsbury’s clothing brand TU has created multipacks for school essentials that recognise your child is going to need more than one of everything and help you to save money as a result. There are offers on everything, from jumpers to polo shirts in a wide variety of different colours. Clothing retailer Next has also developed a back to school range with prices that start from as little as £3. Easy iron shirts and knitwear in multiple colours are all part of the range. There is also a ‘Uniform Builder’ tool that shows you all the options available in the correct size for a child’s age. M&S has run a fairly extensive campaign for its Back to School range this year, which includes some great deals on uniform. Prices for shirts start at just £4 and trousers at £5.50.

    Stationary

    Whether your child has a bit of a stationary obsession or you just need to buy them the basics there are some great deals around. Paperchase is offering 3 for 2 across its entire Back to School range, which includes some low prices, such as a pack of 8 highlighters for £8. WH Smith is offering £5 off when you spend £20 or more, as well as half price deals across a wide range of Back to School items. Staples’ stationary discounts are all between 15% and 25% off with free gift offers available too.

    Shoes

    Children go through shoes at an astonishing rate, especially when they’re spending breaktimes running around a playground. If you’re looking for great deals on school shoes this summer George at Asda has options from just £12. Clarks currently has a shoe sale on with up to 60% off – many of the shoes are summer sandals but there are also options that work for Back to School. The footwear retailer’s regular school age range starts from just £10.

    Bags

    There are a lot of retailers who offer great prices on Back to School bags, including many of those mentioned above. Claire’s Accessories stocks backpacks from just £10, as well as a range of other accessories, from scrunchies to purses. JD Sports has a wide selection of bags and offers a 10% student discount. Smiggle does Back to School bargain bundles that include items such as lunchboxes and rucksacks with savings of up to 34% in total.

    Sports kit

    Shoezone has kid’s trainers from £9.99 and if you sign up to the VIP club you can get a £5 discount when you spend £25 or more. There are lots of children’s PE kit items in the sale at Decathlon right now and the retailer stocks a range of low cost sports kit, such as trainers starting from just £6 and football shorts from £2.99.

    As well as going direct to retailers for Back to School discounts there are other ways to save cash on these essential purchases. For example, the cashback site Quidco is offering up to 17% cashback on a wide range of back to school items, from stationary to shoes – so, you can earn money as you restock for the new term.

    Back to School doesn’t have to cost a fortune if you know where to look for the best discounts and how to earn rewards as you go.

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    Repairing rather than recycling – the rise of the Repair Cafe

    The general trend among shoppers today is to buy... You're reading the blog post Repairing rather than recycling – the rise of the Repair Cafe that was written by and first published on Getting Loans and Credit & Managing Money.

    The general trend among shoppers today is to buy less. Or, if that’s not possible, to buy something that can at least be recycled when it stops being useful, as opposed to ending up in landfill. The UK generates more than 222.9 million tonnes a year in waste and under 50% of this is recycled. Although huge progress has been made towards reaching targets such as recycling half of household waste by 2020, what happens to the rest of the unwanted items we buy? A new phenomenon is trying to teach consumers to see old, broken or damaged items differently. The Repair Café is an idea that has started to gain popularity for those looking for an alternative to simply throwing things out.Repair your broken items

    What is a Repair Café?

    It’s an idea that has been put into practice in a number of locations, including Reading and London, by those trying to drive change in consumer attitudes. Rather than taking items such as a damaged vacuum cleaner or jeans that have seen better days, to the tip or a charity shop you can go to the Repair Café instead. There, you’ll be able to find a new lease of life for items that might otherwise just have been thrown away. The Repair Café works like this:

    1. Identify items in your home that have seen better days but are not completely unsalvageable. Broken bikes, old pieces of furniture, damaged clothes or shoes and equipment like sewing machines are common.
    2. Book a 30-minute repair slot at the Repair Café.
    3. Take your item along to the Repair Café and speak to a repair specialist, watch them as they work and see how your item is transformed from old and broken to exciting and usable again. With the added benefit that you won’t have to buy a replacement, so saving you money and/or helping to stop you going further into debt.

    Most Repair Cafes book on a first come, first served, basis so if you’re keen to get your items looked at then it’s worth getting in there early.

    What can you take to a Repair Café?

    These are just a few of the most common items: crockery, furniture, toys, bicycles, electrical appliances, clothes and shoes. As long as you can transport it to the Repair Café then you can take it in.

    What are the benefits of the Repair Café?

    • You don’t just drop the items off. Instead, you’ll be sitting with the specialist while they carry out repairs on whatever it is that you’ve brought into the Repair Café. This can be a great learning experience and provides a form of training so that you can potentially carry out your own repairs in the future.
    • Giving a longer life to household items. Simply because most of us don’t have the skills to carry out repairs ourselves, we often throw out items that still have a lot of life left in them. Taking them to a Repair Café instead means that you can avoid going out and having to buy new items by reusing older ones in this way.
    • Understanding more about the products. As well as receiving some repairs training, you’ll be able to get more of an idea of how your items function. This includes the processes and materials that go into the manufacturing of products.
    • Benefits to the environment. When items are repaired and reused we don’t tend to buy new. The process of manufacturing – and, to a lesser extent, recycling – generate harmful CO2 emissions, which are detrimental to the environment. If demand for new items drops then so too does the CO2 that is produced in the process of manufacturing them.

    Where’s your nearest Repair Café?

    They are currently popping up all over the country. For example, you’ll be able to find them in Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest in London on various weekends from the end of September. There are Repair Cafes in Kent, Berkshire, Manchester, Oxfordshire, West Sussex and Wales – you can find most of the details online via the Repair Café website. As the phenomenon grows and more people become interested in repairing, rather than recycling or throwing away, it’s likely that even more of these Repair Cafes will appear.

    The Repair Café marks a new approach to the way that we treat the items that we buy. It is hoped that, by showing people how to carry out repairs themselves, we will come to value the items that we buy more. The idea is that we start to move away from wasteful consumerism and a disposable mindset towards something more considerate, long-term and environmentally friendly instead.

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    PPI August 29th deadline is approaching – Apply Urgently

    We’ve all become quite used to the ads encouraging... You're reading the blog post PPI August 29th deadline is approaching – Apply Urgently that was written by and first published on Getting Loans and Credit & Managing Money.

    We’ve all become quite used to the ads encouraging us to “reclaim PPI.” You may also have received calls and texts, as well as flyers and letters from claims management companies. However, the window of opportunity in which to check whether or not you’re entitled to anything won’t stay open forever. In fact, if you haven’t yet started the process of making a PPI claim you have less than a month to do so.

    What is PPI?

    PPI stands for Payment Protection Insurance. If you’ve had any type of credit (such as credit cards, loans or mortgages etc) at any point in the past 30 years then it may have had a PPI policy attached to it, which you would have paid for. The purpose of PPI was to provide some security for the lender. In theory, the policy would have paid out if you were unwell, made redundant or met with an accident and, as a result, were unable to make repayments. The issue with PPI arises from the mis-selling. Often, these policies were sold to consumers without their knowledge – or they may have not even been eligible for the cover that the PPI policy should have provided. The PPI issues are so extensive that even if the policy was sold properly, the 50% commissions many lenders took mean that most people who had PPI will be eligible for compensation. So far, Lloyds Banking Group has been the lender facing the most significant bill. It is predicted to receive around 13,000 complaints a week between now and the PPI deadline on 29th August. Already, Lloyds has paid out more than £19bn in response to consumer compensation claims.

    Is it really worth making a PPI claim?

    So far, the amount of compensation paid since January 2011 to people who were mis-sold PPI is £35.3bn. In April 2019 alone, banks and other financial firms paid out £334m. The total number of PPI policies thought to have been mis-sold in the UK during the eligible timeframe is more than 64 million – your credit card, loan or mortgage could easily have been among these. As many consumers weren’t even aware that PPI was being added on to their borrowing, for most people, it is certainly worth investigating whether a claim could potentially be made.

    If you have yet to make a claim for PPI compensation, your time is running out. The deadline of 29th August is unlikely to be extended and the FCA has made it clear that any claims submitted after this time simply won’t be eligible. So, the clock is already running on the potential for compensation that your PPI claim might have.

    Should you use a claims management company?

    No. A lot of PPI claims management companies sprang up in the wake of the FCA ruling on PPI mis-selling and they can be very aggressive when it comes to trying to convince consumers that they are the best option for collecting compensation. However, the process of claiming PPI – and even checking whether you’re eligible for compensation – is very simple and you don’t need a claims management company to help you do it. One very good reason to avoid claims management companies is that they charge a fee, which can be a substantial proportion of the compensation that you could be eligible to receive.

    Check now to see if you’re eligible for PPI compensation

    The relevance of the August 29th deadline is that after this date it won’t be possible to make a claim for PPI mis-selling. No matter how big your claim might be, after that point it won’t be possible to do anything about it. So, it’s crucial that, if you think you might have been sold PPI at any point, that you check now. You can do this in a number of ways:

    • Submit a claim using a free online form. These are available in various locations online, including the Which?
    • Contact a lender directly via letter. You can download a letter template and then send the letter off directly to the lender you borrowed from.
    • Use the lender’s website. As PPI has been an issue that has affected so many people, many lenders have set up dedicated space on their websites to deal with potential PPI claims.

    Once you have made a claim for PPI compensation your lender will have eight weeks in order to respond. They may ask for extra information or documents if you have them. As long as you make a claim before the 29th August deadline then the lender that you contact will have to process it.

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