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Saving While Shopping – How To Shop Smart While Managing Debt

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People get into debt for all kinds of reasons a bad investment, overspending, an emergency that drained their savings, you get the idea. But however, you ended up in the situation the end result is the same, isn’t it?

There really is no sugar coating it if you’re in debt and have applied for an IVA your finances are going to suffer but that doesn’t mean you can just stop buying your essentials does it? Sure, those luxuries should be avoided or left behind for now, but you still need to buy food, toiletries, and other essentials, don’t you?

But managing your weekly shopping while you’re in debt is very tricky and it’s easy to make mistakes or fall into those old habits. So, to help you tackle your shopping trips I’ve outlined some smart shopping tips below. By following these tips you’ll be able to save more and budget better while also reducing your debt.

Get Your Essentials Written Down

The first thing anyone who wants to ensure they shop smart should do is write down a list of all their essential goods. Food, drink, and toiletries are going to appear on everyone’s list but then there are other things to consider.

Pet food, petrol, cleaning supplies (to give just a few examples) are all common essentials that people will need to stock up on every so often. Once you’ve got all your essentials worked out you’ll know what you need to buy has a minimum this will help when it comes to budgeting your weekly shop.

Avoid Impulse Items

Whether it’s a supermarket or a small corner shop they’ll likely be strategically placed impulse items all over the place. And avoiding them isn’t easy sure a chocolate bar or packet of crisp might not seem like a lot, but it will add up and when you’re trying to save money especially if you’re in debt impulse items are things you should avoid in all forms.

Impulse items aren’t just things strategically placed in shops either they can also be things you think you need. Which is why your essentials list from my first tip is so important, think carefully before buying anything that isn’t on that list because if you don’t need it it’s money that could be saved.

Special Offers Aren’t Always What They Appear

Shops rotate their special offers on a regular basis and while it might look like you’re getting a great bargain that’s not always the case. That 6 pint of milk might be on offer but if you don’t need that much, and the 2 pint is still cheaper is there really any point in buying it?

It’s also easy to start buying products that aren’t on your essentials list just because you’ve been enticed by the special offer message. Remember even if it looks like a great deal if it’s not something you actually need ask yourself whether you can afford to buy it first.

Shop Around More

There is no shortage of places to shop is there? And you don’t have to just stick to one place either. If you want to get the best deal on your shopping you shouldn’t be afraid to shop around at different places if you can. You should also try discount chains and shops to help you save more money on your essential goods.

Make A Shopping List

In a world with online shopping, dedicated shopping apps and the ability to pay using your smartphone using a shopping list might seem a little low tech. But they are great tools when it comes shopping on a budget and can really help you save money.

If you’re struggling with debts, then a shopping list can be a huge help because it will help you stick to your essentials. In fact, that list of essentials items from my very first tip can double as your shopping list can’t it?

Swap Out Expensive Brands

Even if you stick to your essentials you can still reduce the costs by moving to cheaper brands. If you like coke-cola, for example, why not switch it out for a cheaper brand? It might take you a while to adjust to taste differences in some cases, but it will also save you a lot of money.

Many supermarkets also have their own specially designed budget brands as well for all kinds of goods from soap powder to shampoo and much more. So, try searching those out if you want to cut the cost of your weekly shop.

Be Firm With Yourself

This might seem relatively easy after some of the tips I’ve mentioned but in the majority of cases, it is one of the hardest tips to follow through on. Even if you’re struggling with debt and trying to save money it can be very easy to fall back into old habits and end up buying things you don’t need.

So, you need to be firm with yourself and stick to your budget, if you’re really struggling to avoid temptations while you shop then consider shopping with a friend or family member. They’ll be able to help you stay on track. One other trick some people use is to go shopping with just the money they need to buy their essentials.

That way you can avoid buying anything you don’t need because you won’t have the means to pay for it. It’s an extreme method and I wouldn’t advise it every case but if you think it might work for you, by all means, give it a try.

Treats Should Be Earned

I’ve probably made the weekly shop sound like quite the gauntlet, now haven’t I? But you can still have fun and treat yourself even when you’re saving money just make sure it’s not something you do every week.

One good tip to follow is to make treats a reward for having a productive and successful month. For example, if you’ve met your savings goal for the previous month then reward yourself with a little extra purchase like some chocolate of a nice dinner, this way you’ll be more likely to make your savings in the future.

 

How to deal with Gambling Addiction and the debt that comes with it?

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Gambling is something that is inherently part of popular culture, it’s often portrayed in movies and media as a high-end sophisticated past-time that glorifies Las Vegas casinos yet we all know the reality is a lot different.

Online gambling has enjoyed a boom over the last 15-20 years or so but with this comes a rise in addiction. For the UK Gambling Commission and many other governing bodies the types of addiction that online gambling can be a lot different to what we think of in its traditional sense. In a survey carried out by the commission in 2015, studies found that 62% of people gambled, with 1% of people identifying as problem gamblers. A further 4% of people surveyed explained they were at a moderate to low risk of facing addiction or problems with their gambling.

Gambling addiction is an illness that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Addiction on the whole is something that can affect the relationships that you have with your friends and family but both your financial situation that can lead to issues with your bank or even lead to further mental health issues and things like that.

This article is designed to give you tips and insights into how to overcome gambling addiction and deal with your financial problems relating to your addiction.

Cut off your source of funding

If you’ve been sustaining your gambling with many different payment methods or multiple cards this is only enabling your addiction, try minimising the options you have to deposit, slowly cut-off your access to certain credit or debit cards or nip the source as a whole. Additionally, it’s also possible to stabilise your credit report which increases the difficulty of opening any new credit card or loan accounts to feed you’re playing habits. Recognising that you have a problem is the first step and often the eye-opener that you need that will aid the next steps of your recovery.

Don’t Chase your losses

The psychology of gambling is a very complicated phenomenon but at its most it boils down to whether you can walk away or not. The trick is to only gamble what you can afford and see gambling as a form of entertainment rather than a way of making money. For example, if you set £50 aside to play some blackjack or slot games then you can be safe in the knowledge that you have fashioned a start and end to your session. Setting strict depositing limits is a good way of maintaining these time and depositing variables.

If you do lose, don’t chase your losses. Accept that this is part of the risk and enjoyment of gambling. It’s a common occurrence for many gamblers to think their next spin or next hand will be the one where they recover, most of the time this never materialises.

Seek professional treatment

Looking for help from friends or family can often put you both in a difficult position, theirs feeling and emotions involved which often lend themselves to creating a lack of objectivity when it comes to treating your behaviours. There are many trained medical professionals who can talk through your problems and the psychology behind it. Once you understand the issues that lead your unhealthy behaviours you are separated from the issue and in pole position to amend the situation.

Once you’ve done this you can begin to create healthy habits. Why not create a list of people you owe money to and slowly look to pay back these debts.

Scott Manford, CEO of Easy Slots said: “We take the well-being and safety of our gamers very seriously at Easy Slots and always pay close attention to some of our players who seem to be developing a problem. We strongly advise players to set reasonable deposit limits and refer to our responsible gambling policy whenever they feel necessary. Learning how to minimise risk gambling is key”

Problematic gambling is a very real issue across the globe and can effect anyone, at any time. The more we can do to normalise the addiction the easier it will become to treat the problems that are at bay. Always understand that there are many means of seeking help for your addiction and developing healthy habits to curb your addiction.

The advantages of cloud based financial software.

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It has been a long-held belief that 50% of start-ups fail within their first year but that may no longer be the case. Recent studies have shown a much higher success rate for small businesses. The Small Business Association published statistics in 2016 that showed 78% of small businesses survive their first year which is a considerable difference and one worth noting if you are thinking of bringing your business idea to life.

The increase of small businesses success can be due to a number of factors but the biggest influence has been the increase of technology available to help simplify business operations. Technology designed to aid businesses success has never been more accessible. Hardware like credit card machines and software like inventory management programs are now much cheaper due to the availability of these tools and the amount of competition between suppliers.  These tools take what used to be complicated processes and make them simple to understand. This means that you don’t need to be an accountant or to hire one, you just need to know how to interpret the information within your finance software.

Digital financial tools remove the need for complicated ledger books and allow everyone to become the financial director of their own business. These digital financial tools aren’t part of a new movement sweeping across the business world, they have been around for the better part of 30 years. Although, when computers and computer systems became more accessible and more user friendly, so did the digital financial tools.

These days the majority of finance tools are cloud based which has many advantages over desktop software. Cloud software allows you to access your financial information anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. It also allows you to collaborate with other members of your team no matter where they are. This works well for businesses that may not have a centralised office or if members of a team are often away on a business trips. As long as they have an internet connection, they can still gain access to the data.

Cloud software also has the advantage of being cost friendly. Desktop programmes require an upfront purchase before you start using it. This may be an issue as the programme may not be right for your business and you won’t know this until after you part form your money. Desktop programmes often contain many features to suit all sizes of business but yours may never need those added features. Smaller businesses also may not have the ability to afford an upfront cost during their first few months of trading. Cloud software costs are generally dealt with on a month to month basis. This means that there is no painful upfront cost and you can assess if the software is working for your business each month. If it’s not, there is nothing stopping you from finding something else that works better.

Cloud software also receives regular software updates and automatic backups. This not only keeps your information safe but allows for peace of mind. You will never have to worry about when the last time you made a full back up was. On top of all that, cloud software often comes with a great online support network. This means that in the unlikely instance that you have an issue with the software, you have immediate access to a team that can support you and help you get back in running order.

There are many different product options available when choosing a cloud based financial software. You need to make sure that your financial needs are met but you also need to be sure that you don’t end up overpaying for services that you will never use. It is worth analysing your financial reporting requirements so you have a clear understanding of what you want from a cloud based financial system and so that you can identify what you don’t need or would never use.

As a general guide, most businesses require software that can handle; accounting procedures, budgeting processes, payroll management, inventory management, expense tracking and billing. It may be more appropriate to choose a few platforms over one software that can incorporate all the functions.

Many of these types of programmes will be able to connect and share data with each other anyway. Choosing to spread the duties among smaller, tailored programmes can help keep costs down and gives you more flexibility to change the way you deal with your business finance as and when your business needs change. You can also find some great tools out there that can not only pull all your accounts together to give you an idea of how your business is performing, but these programmes can do this through visual representation like graphs and charts.

There are many programmes that give you the ability to view your information on mobile apps so if you are always on the move and would prefer to not have to carry your laptop, there will most certainly be some options out there that will transform the way you deal with your books.

Whether you are a big organisation like Nestle-Good Food or a small business like Reid Brothers – Stainless Steel Banding, cloud based software can make a positive impact to the way you deal with your day to day finances. After all, business is about passion and bring ideas to life, not accounting. The easier we can make the boring stuff, the more time we will have to make our business dreams come true.

Can Debt impact your Career Prospects?

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Debt can have a huge impact on your personal life – from the stress of being contacted by creditors, to the strain which repayments can exert on your income. Studies have shown that struggling with debt can also have a profound effect on mental health, with anxiety and depression being the most commonly reported symptoms.

The stress which debt can cause has the potential to affect most aspects of a person’s personal life. What is less often taken into account, however, is the fact that our personal and public lives cannot be separated. Personal problems with debt can easily spill over into the workplace, and have an effect on general working life as well as future career prospects.

Debt and Career Path Limitations

Problem debt, in extreme cases, can lead to bankruptcy – going bankrupt can have a massive impact in your choice of career, and put it on hold altogether if you work in certain sectors.

Going through bankruptcy means that you cannot operate a business. If you already do, control of the company is transferred to a trustee and usually dissolved. Being bankrupt also means that you can no longer work as an Insolvency Practitioner, or in some jobs related to law, accountancy, or financial services. With these careers, bankruptcy causes you to be disqualified from the professional body you are a member of.

However, once discharged from the bankruptcy proceedings, it is possible to return to these positions after a certain amount of time.

Debt and Day to Day Work

Bankruptcy is usually a last resort for dealing with problem debt, but there are more subtle ways that dealing with less extreme debt can also have an effect on your career.

Firstly, the stress which struggling with debt causes can have a real impact on productivity in the workplace. Employees who have problem debt are more likely to experience anxiety – it is virtually impossible to stop worrying just by going from a home to work environment. Money worries can distract employees from the task at hand, which is likely to reduce their productivity.

On top of this, struggling with debt can have a negative impact on your career for more practical reasons. For example, if someone is being harassed by creditors, this is unlikely to stop simply because they have come to work. Taking time out of their day to respond to creditor phone calls or emails reduces the amount of time that an employee has available to work. Even a few minutes here and there can quickly add up to lost hours. The stress which such correspondence is likely to cause will also further knock a worker’s focus. Losing focus is problematic for most jobs, but for roles which involve a lot of physical work, or operating machinery, this can be dangerous as well as a nuisance.

Long-term exposure to stress can also have a real impact on a person’s mental health. Interestingly, people who experience mental health issues are far more likely than the population at large to experience problems with debt. This is likely because mental ill-health makes managing your finances more challenging, which in itself can lead to debt piling up, hence further stress, and worse mental health.

As well as this, many of the most common mental health issues – depression and anxiety included – generally lead sufferers to become more reclusive. As well as impacting personal relationships negatively, this also has the potential to affect professional relationships.

Opportunities for Career Progression

As well as the smaller ways that problem debt can affect your daily working life it can also, sometimes, impede progress.

For one thing, people struggling with personal debt, surveys suggest, are far less likely to consider a change of career – or even job – than their financially better off counterparts. Leaving a job with guaranteed, steady pay is a far more intimidating prospect when a large chunk of it is necessary just to pay the bare minimum on debts.

As well as this, the reduced performance which the stress of debt can cause could prevent you from being selected for – or even motivated to apply for – promotions. As addressed earlier, serious problems with debt can undoubtedly prevent you from taking your career in certain directions too.

Getting Help

Getting your finances under control could have a far-reaching impact on your professional life. The first step in overcoming debt is seeking help – it could be worth discussing any concerns with your employer’s human resources department if this is possible, or Citizens Advice if you are self-employed.

You might consider getting IVA advice, as this debt solution allows you to write off some of your debt without many of the career restrictions imposed by bankruptcy. With an IVA, you can even continue to run a business.

Debt can have surprising and extensive effects on career prospects, and levels of personal debt in the UK are on the rise. This means it is important for employers to be as supportive as possible towards employees who might be struggling with debt. Simple steps such as providing your employees with a quick debt awareness course can be a great way to encourage openness about problems, as well as decreasing the likelihood they will struggle with debt in the future.

Hopefully, in a supportive environment and with the best advice, those struggling with debt will be able to focus on their work fully once again.

Infographic by: moneyplus.com