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Debt Support Line > Blog > Finances

Getting a store card from your favourite retailer may seem like a great idea at the time but what your shop assistant won’t highlight is that these cards are a form of debt. Different to a loyalty card where you accumulate points, the use of store cards means you are purchasing using credit with an interest rate almost always attached.

Ideally, the best way to use a store card is to sign up, use the introductory discounts and then pay off the card so you’re avoiding all the interest. Many retailers offer a % discount on your first purchase or purchases over a certain amount. This is usually what entices people to take them on.

Store cards work very much like a credit card but you can only use them in one store. “Around two-thirds of the major store cards in the market charge over 25% interest” (moneysavingexpert.com). This is a lot more than any standard credit card. They are also often targeted at young shoppers. Stores such as New Look and Topshop have a younger footfall and this type of shopper doesn’t always have the knowledge of the consequences of these cards and their interest rates.

Advice from moneysavingexpert.com is that if you have a store card balance, you should use a 0% balance transfer credit card to pay it off before the 0% ends. Most store cards won’t offer any interest-free periods which is why this is recommended.

“The average Briton now owes £432 across 3 store credit cards or accounts” (express.co.uk). 

If you’re not careful, store cards can spiral out of control but they can be managed as long as you have all the knowledge available on how to use them effectively. If you’ve found yourself in a bit of bother with store cards, contact us today to see how we can help. Get in touch with us today on 0141 380 0588. 

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Learning how to manage your finances can be difficult and for many, it’s a huge learning curve. Avoiding big financial mistakes can save you money and stress. Here are some of the mistakes to avoid so you can make sure you stay on the financial straight and narrow:

Not making yourself a budget

It takes a lot of time and effort to budget for your monthly expenses so many people don’t. A lot of people will think they have enough money but will find themselves scraping the bottom of the barrel and end up relying on credit cards to make ends meet.

It’s a good idea to break down your spending and get to grips with your outgoings so you can make your own budget.

Not having an emergency fund

It’s ideal to have money saved away for an income emergency. If you get made redundant unexpectedly or you become ill, it’s good to have a financial cushion for your own peace of mind.

Experts say that you should have 3 – 8 months of expenses in your emergency fund. This will cover you for any events that you don’t see coming.

Not saving for your retirement

This isn’t something many people want to think about, especially those just starting out in their careers. However, it’s an important time in your life to prepare for. You’ll no longer have a steady flow of income, but you will still need to support yourself the same as ever.

Take your company’s pension scheme seriously and use it to your advantage. You can usually contribute a bit more each month than the standard amount or you could even set up a separate scheme for yourself and your partner.

Living payday to payday

You can never predict what is going to happen month to month. It’s always better to have a little cushion in case you need an unexpected car repair or accidentally go over your phone bill. It’s always best to be prepared and have a little left at the end of each month to pay for some unexpected costs in the next.

Quitting your job without having a plan

If you’re unhappy in your place of work, you should make plans to start applying for new jobs. Unless you really can no longer work for your employer, it’s always good to still have a steady income while you look for something else.

Quitting your job will most likely leave you short on cash and will also give you a gap in your CV. This can make it harder for you to find new employment – plus, having a payslip every month offers you financial security.

Making financial decisions out of pressure

Many people make big financial commitments because they are pressured into it. Some individuals or couples commit to buying cars, homes or even getting married because they feel pressurised to do so.

It’s important to remember you do have the option to say no and you should take time to think before making big money decisions.

Not having a get out of debt plan

Loans, credit cards and mortgages – they all take a toll on our finances. It can sometimes be easier said than done to make all of these payments, but you should have a plan in place.

Figure out what all your deadlines are and how much you can afford to pay back. If you’re struggling, get in touch with a debt advisor, like our team, to discuss the options available to you. Call us on 0141 380 0588 today.

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Many companies send out emails at the end of the month like this, which for a lot of people is payday:

Did someone say payday? Celebrate with this week’s top offer

Make-up payday pick-me-ups 

Our customers have told us that what they felt about payday wasn’t excitement or happiness, only dread. Many of you will wonder why anyone could dread payday.

When problem debts take over, minimum payments can become unmanageable and when expenses such as rent, mortgage, council tax, car insurance etc, exceed income,  the situation can become stressful and can make those involved extremely worried and upset. Why can’t your family go out for a meal? Why can’t you afford to go to your friend’s birthday?

Problem debts can ruin lives. But what we can do is repair lives. We manage those unaffordable debts for you, and in many cases, sometimes up to 80% of outstanding debts can be written off. There are many solutions out there – it’s not up to you to research and decide what solution fits best, let our expert debt advisers do that for you.

Let this be the last payday you worry about your debt!

Get in touch with us today and let us help you work towards becoming debt free.

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We all try to spend our money efficiently but most of us would struggle without a budget. It’s hard to keep track of all of our outgoings without one. So how do we come up with a budget that we’ll actually stick to?

Well, we need to identify where our money is being spent, figure out if all of our expenses are for legitimate reasons and then think about cutting some out. That all sounds easy enough but most of us absolutely hate to budget!

Budgeting is not fun unless you’re an avid organiser. When most of us budget, we’ll automatically look to make huge cuts which will not encourage us to enjoy our spending. The reality is, we should get some joy out of spending money that we’ve worked hard for without feeling guilty about it.

Let’s take a look at how we can start to make a plan.

1) Track your expenses. It’s worth looking to download, at a minimum, two months of your bank statements to see where you’re spending. New banks such as Monzo, are great for categorising what you spend each month. You can even use cards like this just for your everyday expenses, that way you can see a summary of exactly where you’re putting your money. If you have difficulty budgeting, this is a great option. If you want to use an app to track things, take a look at moneydashboard.com. You can put all of your cards onto one app and take a look at how things are going, it’s free to sign up so it’s worth a try to help you move forward!

2) Where can we make our cuts? Once you have evaluated all of your spendings, you’ll be in a better position to know what you can do without. Firstly, take a look at your earnings after tax to find your starting point. If you figure out you’re spending more than you’re making or even have very little left at the end of the month, it’s time to cut some things off. Perhaps, you’ve found that you spend a lot on lunch at work or your grocery bill is too high. Before cutting everything out of your spending, look to cut down on the price. Look at the cheaper options in the supermarket or perhaps you could reduce your phone bill to a lower plan? These are all things to consider. Then you can start to look at things to take out of your expenses such as expensive coffees or inactive gym memberships and any other subscriptions.

3) Continue to track your spending to keep on top of things. Budgeting isn’t easy but once you’re in a routine, you’re likely to feel much better about your finances. You never know, you might even be able to put some extra into your savings account for a rainy day!

 We’re here to help if you’ve been having difficulties with your finances and need any help with outstanding debts. You only need to give us a few details and we’ll be in touch to talk through the solutions available to you – launch our debt calculator.

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Unsecured debts such as: Credit Cards, Council Tax Arrears, Store Cards, Catalogues, Personal Loans, Bank Overdrafts. Credit Unions, Mortgage Shortfalls, Car Finance, HMRC Bills
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