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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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    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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    Money & Happiness: What makes people happiest, and what role does money play?

    The link between money and happiness is one that... You're reading the blog post Money & Happiness: What makes people happiest, and what role does money play? that was written by and first published on Getting Loans and Credit & Managing...

    The link between money and happiness is one that has been explored and reviewed for generations. Are happy people wealthier? Are wealthier people happier? We’ve all heard the phrase that “money can’t buy happiness” but how accurate is that when it comes to the science?can money make you happy?

    What role does money have to play in our happiness?

    There is plenty of scientific evidence to suggest that money can influence the way that we feel about life. Although you don’t necessarily have to be incredibly wealthy to be happy, having enough money to be financially comfortable does make a difference to happiness. For example, one study found that well-being is connected to income and rises with income levels up to an annual salary of about £55,000.

    The link between income and satisfaction

    Most of the studies looking at money and happiness have found that there is a link between a rising income and levels of general satisfaction with life. However, it’s not a particularly straightforward equation. A rising income, for example, is likely to have much more of an impact on those who are currently struggling or living on a low income. An increase wages or pay will have less of a positive impact on someone who is already very well off. And most of the evidence suggests that, as income goes up, the impact that it has on levels of satisfaction becomes smaller, especially after the point at which we are officially ‘comfortable.’

    Are we happier for being richer?

    One interesting take on the role that money has to play in happiness comes from looking at happiness levels in different countries. Countries that are richer don’t always have the happiest citizens – and as wealth increases in a particular location there doesn’t tend to be a corresponding spike in happiness. The trouble is that we often expand to live within our means and so the impact of any increase in wealth is soon forgotten. So, you might be just about surviving on a minimum wage in one job and experience an increase in happiness when you move to another role that sees your income double. However, all the evidence suggests that, within a year, you are likely to have adapted to that new level of income and be looking for another pay rise. So, in a way the boost to happiness received from an increase in income has been lost.

    What actually makes us happy?

    According to research, the ‘happiness baseline’ that all of us will return to is made up of three critical factors:

    • Genetics (50%)
    • Thoughts and actions (40%)
    • External circumstances (10%)

    Many of us believe that being rich or having the right partner, for example, are essential for happiness. However, the science says that these things can only ever account for 10% of overall happiness. And while 50% of happiness is dictated by your genes – and, as a result, is a bit of a lottery – that still leaves a huge 40% that can be influenced one way or another by the way we think and by what we do. In order to take advantage of that statistic, happiness researchers tend to recommend steps like a daily gratitude journal, learning to love yourself, setting goals for your life and being able to forgive, both yourself and other people. Meditation is also thought to contribute to higher levels of happiness.

    The habits of happy people

    There are lots of different theories on happiness, some scientific, others not. However, there are some key habits that all happy people seem to share. These include:

    • Nurturing strong relationships with people who you trust and who will support you
    • Prioritising time over money – i.e. if you had the option of more time or more cash, recognising that time is the more valuable commodity
    • Taking the time to stop and recognise what you already have, especially when it comes to the good things in your life
    • Acts of kindness – they can be random or they could be something that you do on a regular basis (e.g. volunteering). Regularly being kind to others is something that happier people tend to do
    • Exercise – there’s a vast amount of evidence that indicates that exercise has a big role to play in making us happier. It can also be very effective when it comes to improving mental health
    • Prioritising the memories – spending money on experiences, as opposed to accumulating material possessions is something that happier people tend to do

    Although happiness is something that many of us look for, very few of us would probably say that we’d achieved “being happy.” However, the good news is that you don’t need to be rich to be happy – positive thoughts appear to be worth more than their weight in gold.

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    2019’s Best Money Management Apps

    If you made a resolution at the beginning of... You're reading the blog post 2019’s Best Money Management Apps that was written by and first published on Getting Loans and Credit & Managing Money.

    If you made a resolution at the beginning of this year – or even if you’re starting now – money management apps can help anyone to more proactively meet financial goals. As tech gets smarter and we become more focused on becoming better savers there is more drive than ever to improve what’s already out there. Whether you’re looking to upgrade from a money management app you’ve been using for a while – or try one for the first time – these are the best options in 2019:Money management apps

    Emma – practical guidance

    Like many money management apps, Emma groups all your accounts into a single location. What’s distinctive about this particular app is that it will also help you to avoid going into your overdraft and proactively help you reduce your debts. It’s also a great tool for working out where you’re wasting money, for example by cancelling subscriptions that are bleeding you dry but you’re not really using.

    Money Dashboard  – financial oversight

    Many of us have a wide range of accounts today, from savings to credit cards and investments. Money Dashboard is a fairly straightforward money management app that groups everything together in one place so that you can get complete perspective on your financial situation. You can categorise both accounts and transactions and see both right across your financial network. You can also set goals and plans, as well as create budgets that have automated notifications if you start to get off track.

    Monzo – proactive banking

    Monzo is, strictly speaking, a bank but its app is also very popular if you’re looking to gain more control over your finances in 2019. It has many of the functions that other money management apps have, including the ability to set budgets and see a straightforward summary of your spending. What’s even more useful about opting for the Monzo app is that you can also use it to bank proactively, for example setting up standing orders or direct debits and paying people. Plus, if you’re using Monzo abroad you can avoid many of the fees that other banks and credit card providers tend to charge.

    Chip – sneaky savings

    The Chip app incorporates artificial intelligence to apply machine learning to your financial transactions. This smart app will analyse your spending and then start helping you to put aside savings by transferring a small amount every few days into a separate account. It has read-only access to your transactions so can’t totally take over your banking – the idea is that it analyses what you’re spending to work out what you can afford to save. The savings account is 0% interest unless you start referring other people to the app – it increases by 1% for every friend you invite, up to 5%.

    Yolt – getting the best deals

    If there is one money management app that is really useful when it comes to removing the rose tinted screen we often see our spending through, it’s Yolt. This app not only shows you where all of your money is, by bringing all the accounts together in one place, but reveals where it’s going too. It can be quite a shock to see just how much you spend on a daily flat white over the course of a year. The app enables you to monitor predicted debt, bills and subscriptions and also uses your spending information to help you find better deals, for example when it comes to utilities like electricity and gas.

    Moneyhub (£0.99 a month) – advice over the phone

    Moneyhub also provides perspective on all your financial accounts and allows you to set specific savings and financial goals. Unlike many other money management solutions it includes investment funds in the categories of apps that you can add into the app. It also has a very distinctive USP in that it can connect users with professional advisers over the phone, transferring over the data that has been shared via the app so that insightful advice can be offered.

    Squirrel (£9.99 a month after first 8 months) – smart saving

    Squirrel cleverly separates what you need for bills from your spending money so that you can see a clear distinction between the two. Many people find this incredibly useful when it comes to ensuring that they don’t overspend before they next get paid. It can also take control of the money that you have access to, releasing what you need for bills at the right time, as well as handing over spending money in amounts that will still help you to reach financial goals.

    If you struggle with your finances then you no longer have to do it alone, as there are a wealth of money management apps here to help you get better at it.

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    The attitudes of major religions to debt

    Debt is very much a part of life today... You're reading the blog post The attitudes of major religions to debt that was written by and first published on Getting Loans and Credit & Managing Money.

    Debt is very much a part of life today – in the UK we owe £72.5bn on credit cards alone. However, despite this there can be a lot of shame and guilt associated with borrowing money. That’s especially so if debt becomes a problem that seems impossible to deal with. Many people in the UK follow religion to help steer them through the stresses and strains of daily life. So, what do three major religions say when it comes to the issue of borrowing, credit and the principle of interest?

    Christianity

    The bible and credit/loansThere are many different version of Christianity and even the words written down in the bible can be interpreted in different ways by those with alternative perspectives on an issue. There is plenty of confusing content in the Christian religious book when it comes to debt, including:

    “The wicked borrows and does not repay, But the righteous shows mercy and gives.” Psalm 37:21.

    However, overall there does seem to be a sense that borrowing money is not inherently ‘sinful.’ As the above quote indicates, it’s more about not repaying the money – this is when problems seem to arise. There are also a number of places in the bible where Jesus mentions borrowing in a relatively positive light, including:

    “Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.” Matthew 5:42.

    That being said, the bible does seem to urge caution for Christians when it comes to borrowing money.

    “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave” (Proverbs 22:7)

    …is one particular passage that apparently indicates to Christians that borrowing isn’t going to be the best outcome in terms of the position in life that it could put you in.

    Verdict: Christianity doesn’t preach against debt, more the need to be aware of the dangers it can present and to make sure that you pay it back.

    Islam

    Islam and loansIslam is another religion that also seems to take a fairly practical approach to borrowing money. However, there is a caveat that the money should be borrowed without interest. There is support for the idea of borrowing – and understanding as to why it might be necessary in a hadith:

    Sayyidina Anas bin Malik related that the Prophet stated: “During the journey of Me’raj, I saw written on the door of Jannah: ‘The one who gives charity is rewarded tenfold. The one who gives a loan is rewarded 18 fold.’ I asked Jibrail : ‘Why does the one who gives a loan get rewarded more?’ Jibrail replied ‘The one who gets charity (they usually posses a small amount already) and the one who seeks a loan only does so when he is in dire necessity.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, P175)

    Verdict: Islam is a religion that teaches people to give when they have plenty and to borrow if it is necessary. However, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that, like Christianity, Islam cautions against borrowing for reasons that are less than that i.e. where there is not a dire need for the money.

    Judaism

    Judaism and borrowingFor those who follow the Jewish faith there is also some (often complex) guidance about borrowing money. The Book of Ezekiel classifies the charging of interest among the worst sins but there is little evidence that being Jewish precludes a person from borrowing. However, Jewish Law makes it clear that this only really applies in the case of making loans to other Jews. When money is being loaned to someone who isn’t Jewish there is no reason for a Jew not to charge interest. It’s worth noting that both the Torah and Talmud encourage lending money without interest but there is some evidence that the idea of secured loans was disapproved of. There are passages in Leviticus that take a pragmatic view of individual circumstances, encouraging loans for those who need them, particularly focusing on how lending can help those in difficult circumstances to find their feet once again. 

    Verdict: Judaism also doesn’t rule out debt, as long as no interest is being charged between one Jew and another.

     

    None of the major religions take such a dim view of debt that it is prohibited. In fact, although all of the major writings on the subject are ancient, they all acknowledge the part that lending has to play in a society where not everyone is on an equal financial footing. Even all those many moons ago there were people who benefited from lending that would help them transform their financial situation. The key for all religions seems to be that money is borrowed for the right reasons and that anyone who takes on a loan also pays it back.

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    The most frequent uses of a personal loan

    Around £37 billion of personal loans are taken out... You're reading the blog post The most frequent uses of a personal loan that was written by and first published on Getting Loans and Credit & Managing Money.

    Around £37 billion of personal loans are taken out in the UK every year. We are a nation of happy borrowers, whether we’re borrowing a straightforward loan, a payday loan or something like a guarantor loan. However, while many of us have that desire to borrow in common, the reasons for doing so are not always the same. These are some of the most frequent uses for a personal loan for UK borrowers.Common uses of personal loans

    Consolidating other debts

    Many people with multiple debts find it difficult to balance all the repayments involved, as well as the interest. A debt consolidation loan offers a way to make this easier – and can also bring down the cost of debt too. Ideally, borrowers looking for a debt consolidation loan will find one with an interest rate that is lower than other borrowings. The loan is used to pay off an existing loan or credit cards so that there is just one payment left to make each month – and less interest to pay overall. According to research by VoucherCodesPro.co.uk, around a third of those who make an application for a personal loan do so because they want to consolidate existing debt.

    A life emergency

    This very wide category could include anything, from locking yourself out of the house and requiring a locksmith, to paying for medical expenses abroad. Around 9% of personal loans taken out are required to cover something like this, often where the borrower doesn’t have any savings in place to avoid borrowing. Payday loans are one of the most popular options for emergency borrowing – around 760,000 are approved each year for a short-term loan to help deal with something urgent.

    Making lifestyle improvements

    Personal loans can be used for just about anything and many people choose to borrow to make changes to their lifestyle. Paying for holidays is one of the main reasons that people borrow money in the UK, for example, while home improvements account for around 24%. Other popular lifestyle improvements that people tend to need to borrow for can include covering the cost of a new car and paying for luxury items and treats. Most lenders now insist that borrowing should not be used for items such as luxuries or to pay for holidays. However, this is still one of the most popular reasons for borrowers to make lending applications.

    The big life events

    Most of us are accustomed to the fact that we will have to borrow – via a mortgage – in order to make a big property move like buying a house. However, there are also a range of other big life events that we tend to turn to personal loans to help handle the cost of. Paying for a wedding is one of the most obvious. Around 7% of those making applications for personal loans – according to the VoucherCodesPro.co.uk research – are doing so because they need more cash for impending nuptials.

    Buying items for others

    Another very common reason to take out a personal loan is if you’re looking to make purchases for others. This is especially so around Christmas time when parents who don’t have that much spare cash might be tempted to apply for a loan to help cover the cost of Christmas presents, food and entertainment. Gifts for children – at any time of year – are a big motivation for borrowing, as well as for spouses and partners, whether male or female.

    Starting a business

    Getting a new venture off the ground can be incredibly expensive and for many people commercial finance is simply not available. That’s why one of the most popular reasons for making an application for a loan is to provide funds to help keep cash flowing through a new business.

    Making ends meet

    Around 22% of people are borrowing to help them simply cover the cost of living according to VoucherCodesPro.co.uk. This could be something as simple as using a payday loan to pay for a weekly food shop or borrowing a personal loan to ensure that you’re able to make payments to an energy provider. Although there are many people in the UK who do borrow for this purpose, it’s not a recommended reason to make an application for a loan. Sometimes, borrowing to make ends meet can actually make the situation worse – not only will you have the repayments on the loan to make but the cost of the interest too.

    The average loan size in the UK is around £3,500 but the reasons for making an application to borrow are incredibly varied. From emergency situations to buying items for others, as consumers, we are motivated by many different things.

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