Buying a new home to renovate

Buying a home that needs a lot of improvement can be quite a romantic idea – you’re reviving a once lovely house and making it your own.

Then again, it might be the only way you can get onto the property ladder in the area you want.

Whatever your motivation, there are things to be aware of when you’re buying with a view to renovating – so we’ve put them into a list, so you don’t find out the hard way. 

Be realistic

Our first tip is one of caution – be realistic with what you can achieve.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t be ambitious – but if you’re buying with a £20,000 budget set aside to spend on improvements, you need to know what that will get you – because getting rid of damp or having roofing works done could see that gone in the blink of an eye.

If this is your first ‘buy-to-renovate’ then start small – and if you’re not willing to start small, at least enter into the task with your eyes (and wallet) wide open…

Develop the house with the right proportions in mind

At some stage it’s likely you’re going to want to sell – or perhaps remortgage. At that point you’re going to have someone looking around your home trying to establish a value – and if you’ve got 6 bedrooms but only 1 small shower room, you’re going to severely hinder your asking price or what can be borrowed against the house.

When you’re planning your expansions or improvements, see if you can keep them in line with the other properties on the market that your renovated home will be compared to should the time ever come to sell.

Do you need planning permission?

Planning permission can be very difficult to obtain – so if you’re buying a property with a view to expanding its footprint or anything else that requires local authority permission, you need to know before you put your signature on any paperwork.

It’s not uncommon for planning to take months – and it can sometimes take years, if the plans are authorised at all. Can you live with the property without your planned improvements? Buying without planning permission is a risky move – but one that can pay off financially if you hit lucky…

What do lenders say?

Lenders are very much about what a property is worth right now – simply because it’s their only security – and plans on paper don’t equate to money in the bank should they need to take possession.

With that in mind, you need to ask if they’re willing to release the full value of the property up front? Or whether they’ll lend as and when improvements are made or the home itself comes together?

Watch the budget

Renovating a home isn’t something you can do without a financial plan – unless you want to see your costs spiral out of control.

The process is likely to be absolutely chock-full of unexpected costs – a replacement carpet might expose work needed to the flooring, a renovation of windows might lead to replacements being needed – the list could go on and on.

Ideally you should spec each job that needs to be done out fully before work begins. Professionals know what hidden problems you’re likely to come across – so accounting for the worst now means you’re only going to be pleased if there’s less worked needed when you get moving.

On the other hand, if you plan for the best and run into problems, it can lead the whole project to a standstill if you haven’t budgeted the amount you’ll need to fix the problems…

Adding value?

Closely related to the budget of your project is the fact that you’re probably wanting to add value to the home

Now, adding value might be easy, especially if you’re buying somewhere that’s in a state of disrepair – but adding enough value to cover the original purchase price, the work done and your time might be a bigger challenge.

If you’re planning on living in the house long term, this might not be as much of a concern for you compared to someone who’s buying with profit in mind – but for your own financial security, it makes sense to talk to an estate agent about what they anticipate the property’s value to be assuming you complete the work you’ve got in mind.

Who’ll do the work?

There’s a chance you’ll be able to do some of the work you’ve got in mind for your new house – but there are some things you’re unlikely to be able to handle alone.

Many tasks relating to renovating a home require skilled tradespeople – from builders and brick-layers to plumbers and electricians. At the very least, work that’s done in a home will often need certifying by professionals so that you meet with lender, insurance company and legal requirements.

Try to work from recommendations about tradespeople from friends or family. Don’t always plump for the lowest price – instead, look for people who have a track record of getting work done on time – and at the price they quoted.

Can you live-in while you’re working?

A really big consideration when you’re renovating a property is whether or not you’re going to be able to live in the house while work is being done.

For small scale internal works this should represent no problem – but when there’s significant structural work being done, the house might not be safe or practical to inhabit for days – or even weeks.

Have you got a back-up plan if this is the case? Can life continue with minimum disruption even if you need to base yourself somewhere else for a short period? It might not happen, but you need to be prepared in case it does…

Can you work in stages?

There’s a temptation to really ‘go for it’ when you’re renovating a home, starting by tearing up carpets, pulling down walls and making your new property a clean-slate from which to work.

While the attraction of this kind of ‘ground-up’ renovation is obvious, it might not be the most practical route to take.

Is this renovation project going to be more comfortably achieved if you work one-room at a time? Could half of the house be habitable with work is carried out on the other half? Breaking the task down into stages can make a lot of sense logistically – as well as meaning you can keep an eye on your budget – and allowing you to slow down progress if needed.

Where to turn when you need debt support

If you’re facing financial worries the world can feel like quite a lonely place.

Wherever you live, debt is often still seen as a taboo subject – a dirty secret that’s hidden from polite conversation – bizarre really when you consider that almost all the adult population owes money to at least one lender, and around a 1 in 6 of us are facing ongoing financial hardship.

The reasons why we keep debt hidden from most of our friends and family can be found deep human psychology, we’ll take a look at what they are – and where you can turn when debt worries become too much to handle.   

Why do you feel alone when you’re in debt?

The introduction of social media into our world has done something strange to the way we present ourselves to other people.

You might scroll through your favourite app and see smiling holiday pictures, luxurious new purchases and general feel good news – but the way most people present themselves is quite different from reality.

Behind many expensive purchases, holidays and new cars there are large monthly payments – but that’s the part we don’t see.

Of course, it’s not just social media that’s created this gap between real issues and the way we present ourselves, but it’s certainly amplified the issue. People are generally social creatures – we thrive when we’re around others. Bringing up the subject of debt can be risky as it can often feel like a reason we’ll be rejected or looked down on by others.

Specialist debt counsellors will confirm – it’s normally the fear or rejection that stops us being frank with our money issues.

With that in mind it’s worth repeating some debt statistics:

  • Almost all the adults in the country have some level of debt.
  • Around 1 in 6 adults have persistent debt that they’re struggling to get out of.
  • 75% of people will experience a large unexpected outlay every year.

There is no shame in debt – and there are plenty of people and services who can support you to get yourself back on your feet.

Your doctor

The last 10 years have the largest amount of studies ever done into the relationships between debt, mental health and physical health.

The conclusions are clear – debt is one of the biggest contributing factors to stress, depression and anxiety. There’s also a huge amount of evidence to suggest links between these conditions and a person’s physical well-being.

Debt can make you sick – physically. Talk to your doctor about what you’re experiencing and they’ll be able to support you and point you in the direction of many resources that can help.

Debt charities

Debt charities can be an excellent source of support and are often people’s first stop when they’re looking at finding some help. Many charities are focused on breaking the silence around debt – so they’ll talk to you about how you can find support and counter any feelings of isolation.

Some charities can even point you in the direction of their own – or independent – counselling services – non-judgemental professionals who have supported thousands of people to explore the issues that have led to uncontrollable debt in the first instance.

Online resources

For many people, the internet is little more than the home of social media and online shopping – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t great resources to support you with financial issues if you’re feeling the strain.

Many charities and companies have people staffing their websites around the clock – ready to reply to your questions or offer support. Not all online resources are created equal though – so it’s worth checking out a few reviews from independent websites, like this one from Face The Red – or discussing with friends which sites they’re found useful.

Support with gambling

For some people, debt reoccurs because of an unhealthy relationship with gambling.

While it is not the typical type of addiction that many people associate with substances – it’s is still a medically defined condition and there are a number of places you can turn if you feel like gambling is stopping you from getting back on top of your financial situation.

Again, talking to your doctor is a good first step. If that’s not possible – seeking support from specialist gambling support groups and charities can also be beneficial. Gambling and debt are closely linked – so you’ll find a lot of experience supporting people with debt issues from the same people that support with gambling problems.

Support with substance abuse

Substance abuse takes many forms – and in a lot of instances there’s no definition of what constitutes a ‘problem’. That said, if you find yourself facing financial issues because of money that’s being spent on drink, drugs or any other addictive substance, it might be time to look at finding some support that can offer you an objective view of your situation.

Again, addiction can be another taboo subject that people don’t want to bring up, so finding medical help, support groups, charities and other people who are facing the same issues can be a good first step to opening up about the associated financial problems you might be facing.

Friends and family

Although it’s not an option for everyone, people are often surprised by the reaction they get when talking to friends and family about the money worries they have. Remember, an enormous number of people have issues just like yours – so it’s highly likely that the people close to you are keeping their problems under wraps too.

With debt, there’s a lot of truth to the idea that ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ since there’s an enormous amount of relief to be found when it turns out you’re truly not alone with your problems.

Friends and family can give you some accountability for money issues – and they can be there to support you if you have to have difficult conversations with creditors and other people you owe money to.

Remember, you make up the majority of people in the country by having debt – and most of those people will face get into money worries at some stage in their adult life. People want to help – but they won’t be able to unless you look for that support.

Five Top Tips For Getting Life Insurance If You’re A Senior

Getting life insurance is usually something that is best done when you’re younger, many people even get life insurance when they get married or have their first child. It’s understandably not something everyone will want to think about but there are a number of great benefits to getting life insurance and that applies to everyone regardless of age.

It might be more advisable to get life insurance while you’re younger after all it will give you more options when it comes to choosing your policy. But that doesn’t mean seniors even those aged 70 and over shouldn’t get life insurance.

Now, first of all, I have some good news for you people aged over 70 can still get life insurance, there might be less options available, but things have changed a lot recently. And there is a lot of competition between insurance providers and agents when it comes to getting seniors a life insurance policy.

You can check out the Life Insurance Guideline for more information about getting a policy. But while getting a policy might be easier these days you still have to consider the expense. This is going to be one of the main driving factors behind your decision to get a policy or not, but we can help you there.

Below we’ve listed five top tips for getting a life insurance policy if you are a senior for a much cheaper price. Age is one of the biggest factors when it comes to getting life insurance but just because you’re older doesn’t mean you should have to pay a lot of money for insurance. So, without further ado let’s take a look at our top five senior tips for getting life insurance.

Don’t Overbuy!

This is a mistake many people make no matter their age but it’s especially important when it comes to seniors. You need to make sure you don’t overbuy when you’re getting insurance because that can quickly leave you out of pocket. The older you are the less financial obligations you should have and therefore you should be looking for less coverage.

Have you paid off your mortgage? Or maybe it’s nearly paid off so then you won’t need to worry about paying extra for your insurance to cover the costs. That’s just one example there are a lot of ways you can reduce the price of your policy so don’t overbuy.

Getting a policy that simply includes too much insurance is an easy mistake to make so before you go scouting for insurance policies/ plans make a list of what you actually need insurance for. For example, do you simply want to help with funeral costs? And once you have that list use it as a base for your search.

Get Plenty of Quotes

The next tip we have links into the first once you’ve got an idea of what cover you want to go out there to all the insurance providers you can find and see what quotes they give you. Now while more insurers are giving plans to seniors even those that aged 70 and over don’t be put off if a few turn you down.

You’ll still fine plenty of providers willing to give you a quote and I would strongly recommend you get a lot of quotes before making a decision. Getting a quote costs nothing and you have nothing to lose but a lot to gain by getting as many as you can.

Don’t Be Afraid To Negotiate

Another tip that follows along from our first two once you’ve got your quotes an important thing you should remember is to not be afraid to negotiate. Competition between life insurance providers is very fierce so some gentle negotiating could net you an even better deal.

Many people (no matter their age) could get a much better deal on their insurance if they just haggled a little. This can work particular well if you are dealing with an insurance agent directly, so don’t be afraid to negotiate even if the quote is already good you have nothing to lose and a possibly a lot to gain.

Consider Group Insurance

Now this is only a tip you can follow if you are still working and even then, your employer will need to participate in a group plan insurance policy. The good news is that many employers do offer this and even if they don’t you could always suggest it to your boss.

There are a number of benefits to group insurance plans and it’s a great employee benefit so if your employer does offer it you should join it. As it will usually be a less expensive option and should provide you with the cover you need.

However, before you join it you need to make sure you can maintain the policy once you separate from the service. In the majority of group insurance plans this is covered though so you should be able to maintain cover even when you stop working.

Stay Active and Healthy

Finally, the last tip is easily one of the most beneficial and it goes beyond just helping you get a better deal on your insurance as well. Age is one of the most important factors when it comes to life insurance but so is your health and by staying active and healthy you can get a much better deal on your life insurance.

Now we know staying active and healthy is easier said than done and it becomes more difficult the older you get. But there are a number of ways you can stay fit and healthy when you reach older age, try to keep a balanced diet, do some light exercise and quit any bad habits you have like smoking.

Staying fit and healthy as a senior isn’t as hard as it may seem, and it will certainly help you get a better deal on your life insurance. Many insurers will include a medical check-up as part of their policy arrangements so by staying fit and healthy you can drive the cost down. 

What is the average American perception of success and why is it wrong?

It is only natural that we should want to be doing more than just survive, financially, and that is why so many of us are more than ‘happy’ to sacrifice our personal lives and keeping running on that treadmill as we continue to plug away at work. It is kind of ironic then that when it comes to actually reaching financial success, our priorities are seriously out of whack with what they really ought to be.

A recently conducted survey, to try and gauge just how the average American would define success. The results of the study were a little surprising, or not, as the top three things that were associated with success in that study were:

Enjoying frequent vacations

Purchasing the latest gadgets and electronics

Eating out at lavish restaurants

Now, nobody is saying that we don’t deserve the occasional treats but the rather disturbing thing about this little sample, of the top of the list, is that we seem to be completely sidelining one key element of actual success – financial security. Without financial security, how are any luxuries possible at all? Setting priorities right means assuring financial freedom and there is no way around that.

The majority of Americans do not have financial stability

Dreaming of extravagances and luxuries, and hoping to be able to one day afford these things is one thing. Seeing these things as measures of success, however, only serves to highlight just how disconnected we have become with the realities of financial stability and the difference between being able to pay for something and being able to afford it.

Instead of chasing luxuries, we as individuals should be focusing more of our efforts on acquiring something much more more valuable and long lasting – financial stability and security. It is more important now than ever that we do focus on this because most Americans simply are not there yet, and if their future is to be secured then they need to be. To put into perspective just how dire this situation is, you should consider the fact that a massive 57% of people have less than $1,000 in their bank account at any one time.

That’s not all, as around 39% of all Americans have no savings at all. Add to this the fact that the majority of the population are also behind on retirement savings, and you have a recipe for disaster as at least two generations are walking into a retirement black hole. Having so many people, so close to the breadline is not conducive to a happy and healthy poplulace.

Also, with no savings, it can make things far worse if an unexpected emergency means that a fast injection of cash is needed. In many cases, if that does not happen, the future becomes a little bleaker. Of course, loans are an option if you can afford repayments and you could take a look at these reviews of rise personal loans, but saving is naturally the preferred option.

Consumer debt is on the increase

It isn’t just the fact that the majority of adults do not have the savings to make them financially robust, but they are also not too shy about borrowing either – not there is a lot wrong with it, of the repayments are affordable. Consumer debt is at the highest it has ever been, sitting at over $1 trillion, with the average sized household having a credit card debt of around $16,000.

All of this borrowing leads us to another figure, and a rather sad one at that: well over 16 million households in the United States have what is known as a negative net worth. What does that mean? It means that a household’s debt is worth more than the household’s total income. Yes, student loans are partly responsible, but credit cards and mortgages have a role to play also.

We need to get our priorities straight

If you are among those that place fancy restaurants and vacations above financial stability in the ‘success’ stakes, then here’s a headliner for you: fond memories and souvenirs of these great nights out and vacations in the sun are not going to be worth anything in the event of a financial emergency. What if your car breaks down, you can’t afford the repair and you wind up losing your job because you can’t get into work? Are your holiday snaps going to keep your family fed, the lights on or the bank away from your home? No, of course not.

Those shiny new gadgets won’t help either unless you are planning to sell them in order to try and pay off those mounting debts. That’s no way to live, by anyone’s standards; by far the best way to go is by having an emergency cash fund. By being financially stable and secure.

From the above, you would naturally assume that staying clear of all borrowing is the best way to go but that is not necessarily the solution. Sometimes, unless you have an exceptionally well paid job, borrowing is just something that cannot be avoided – especially when it comes to mortgages, of course. Instead, there is another way, a more practical and realistic way.

By living below our means, consistently, we create a situation where we always have a little extra cash left over when we have finished with our monthly outgoings. Every little helps when it comes to stowing money away for a rainy day, and when you have the equivalent of 3 months paychecks saved, to cover emergency situations, you can start thinking about a ‘little me time’.

Everybody deserves a little treat once in awhile, just be sure you are not potentially shooting yourself in the foot to do so.

Personal Injuries Cases – Should I Settle Out Of Court?

After suffering a personal injury you’ll go through a lot of stress and depending on the severity you could be in the hospital for quite a while. But you shouldn’t let that stop you making a claim for compensation and seeking a law firm for injury accidents, this isn’t just about money either it’s about getting justice.

Compensation takes more into account than just a loss of wages it takes the effect the injury has had on your mental and physical health into account as well. For many people compensation is about getting their life back on the track.

Of course, we can’t ignore the financial element though, after suffering a personal injury you’ll feel the financial impact in a number of ways. You might not be able to return to your old job at all in more serious cases or could have diminished capacity meaning you’re unable to work full-time anymore.

This will vary from case to case, but the fact of the matter is if you’re injured in an accident or possibly during a crime that wasn’t your fault you deserve compensation. There are a number of ways you can go about getting compensation after suffering a personal injury but for many, it will mean using a solicitor.

Now let’s jump ahead a little when your solicitor starts putting your case together you might be asked to settle out of court. This is more common than you probably think it is, especially for personal injury claims but the hard part is knowing whether you should take the deal or not?

It’s very much like the prisoner’s dilemma isn’t it, do you take the deal or go to court? If you take the deal and settle out of court things will be over much quicker but in the end, will you feel like you’ve gotten justice?

But then again what happens if you turn down the deal and then go to court only to lose? It’s certainly a gamble but what’s the best option? Well, let’s take a look at the pros and cons and see whether we can work that out.

The Case For Settling Out Of Court

According to statistics, up to 90% of personal injury claims are settled out of court, some research even puts the figure higher at around 95%. This is American courts, but I think it’s fair to conclude that the UK is likely in a similar position with more people preferring to settle out of court.

However, just because that’s the majority opinion doesn’t mean it’s the right decision for you, does it? Maybe not but it can’t be denied that there are some appealing benefits to settling out of court and when you take them into account it’s easy to see why people do.

For one thing, the process is much quicker, there is no one set amount of time a personal injury case will take. You could be waiting a long time to go to court and that could be the first of many trips and then there’s the possibility of appeals as well.

This also means that settling out of court is much easier on you as well, going to court is scary I doubt it is something people will get used to and it can be very stressful. People who have suffered a personal injury of some kind will already be in a bad way health wise so the added stress of going to court is not going to be a comforting thought.

When you think about how much quicker and easier settling out of court is it starts to look more and more appealing doesn’t it? You might not make quite as much money when compared to making your case in court but health wise it can seem like the best option. 

The Case For Going To Court

I think it’s fair to say there are certainly some benefits to settling out of court but that doesn’t mean that it’s the best option for you. Going to court might be more difficult at first but it comes with a greater reward at the end and I don’t just mean money.

By going to court you will get a greater sense of justice and feel like you’ve actually gotten some closure. But while no amount of money will ever make up for a personal injury especially in the case of more serious ones the financial impact of a personal injury is also very important.

And by going to court you could achieve much higher levels of compensation if you win your case. Remember when you’re claiming for compensation a lot of factors are involved things like emotional stress, pain and suffering all count and all too often when you settle out of court it can feel like you’re just getting reimbursed for your loss of wages.

Yes, a court case will take longer and be a more difficult journey, but it will usually come with a better outcome at the end. We can’t say whether it’s the right thing for you to do only you will know that, but we can say that settling out court might seem attractive at first but once you’ve settled it could be something you regret later in life.

What Should I Do?

This isn’t an easy one to answer the financial impact of a personal injury can have long-lasting consequences and compensation can help lessen the financial impact. If you really don’t feel like you can handle going to court or wait that long, then there’s no shame in settling out of court.

However, you should also be aware that once you’ve made that decision there’s no going back, you need to be 100% certain that you’re doing the right thing. Going to court might be tough but you could end up with a great sense of closure and much more compensation.

If you’re having difficulty trying to decide what is right for you don’t be afraid to consult a solicitor and ask their advice. They’ll be able to tell you what your chances of winning in court are and advise you on your settlement.

Finding the Best Precious Metals IRA Companies

When investing in the future, it has become normal practice for many to look at several different options rather than rely on paper-based assets alone. Of the most popular ventures can be investing in precious metals. This is often done via a Precious Metals IRA company, that can look to aid you when starting a Precious Metal IRA. However, to ensure we’re getting the best results we need to ensure that we only considering the best Precious Metals IRA companies. You can check out the review of the top rated IRA company at

Read a Company’s Reviews

The first port-of-call for many will be to check out the reviews for companies that are of interest. With many customers keen to share their experiences with other via numerous online platforms. These platforms could be social networks or dedicated review sites but either way, you should be able to garner just how professional a company really is when it comes to dealing with your investments in precious metals.

Find Out What’s on Offer

When looking at the options available, it can be tempting to go with companies that appear to offer the best rate, but it’s important that we’re paying for a service that’s of use to us. For example, when a custodian is appointed, you could find that your precious metal is stored independently, or mixed with other assets. With this in mind, you need to balance how much you will be paying in line with the service you require.

Check the Company’s Creditionals

In order for an IRA company to look after your investment, it has to be in receipt of the necessary licenses. The majority of providers will have no issue in supplying copies of the relevant data you’re looking for. However, if you find they’re a little hesitant in supplying you with information, then you might be better placed elsewhere.

You can also look at the Better Business Burea, Trustlink and the Business Consumer Alliance to check a company’s feedback.

Avoid Schemes That Seem Too Good to Be True

When browsing the Internet for reputable precious metals dealers, you will probably come across some schemes that seem a little too good to be true. One of the most famous schemes is one that is known as an LLC IRA.

What this means is that potential investors buy gold and other precious metals via a company that they’ve setup, as well as taking care of any storage requirements.

While there is no legal issue in setting up an LLC company to purchase gold, there is an issue in people assuming that gold stored within their home vault complies with IRS regulations. As such, the person running the LLC can be caught up in a backlash of tax payments and fines should anything seem out of place.

The problem with schemes like this is that they can be very presumptuous, without much evidence to back it up, which is why such schemes are currently on the IRS’s radar.

Find a Fee Structure That Works for You

When choosing a precious metal IRA company, you need to ascertain how its fee structure works. While the majority will offer a clear snapshot of what fees will be incurred, others can mix into a mass of paperwork, making it unclear as how much you will l actually be charged

The general rule of thumb is to opt for a company that charges fees per annum. This ensures that there are no hidden fees being charged throughout the year. Choosing a scaled fee structure means that you could potentially be paying thousands for your Precious Metals IRA as time goes on.

Great Customer Service Is a Must

There will be many of us who have fallen foul to customer services, be it a delivery or a service provider. However, when it comes to investing in our future, excellent customer service is a must. The financial world in general can be very confusing, so we need to ensure that if any questions do arise, we have someone on our side who is able to help.

Some people interested in investing in precious metals have been given misadvice, which again has ramifications on our financial future. We need to ensure that the company we’re dealing with is professional, reliable and knowledgeable.

You will also need to ensure that you’re able to find out about your portfolio’s performance without any hindrance. Many companies will mail quarterly statements that highlight your current progress, whereas others may be able to offer online access.

How Long Should It Take?

The time it takes to open a Precious Metals IRA can vary, but as an average, you would probably see an account setup and transfer made within five days. However, there have been reports of accounts taking 60 days to complete. While you don’t have to find a company that offers an immediate service, it’s important that we’re able to get the process finished within a reasonably quick turnaround.

Finding out the basic details of what each Precious Metals IRA company can offer will ensure that you’re in a position to make an educated decision when it comes to your financial future.

The importance of staying healthy and safe in working from home jobs

Given that road accidents, slips, trips and falls make up a massive amount of the injuries sustained by any workforce, you might think by not leaving the house you mitigate any risk to your health. However, working from home jobs come with their own set of fairly unique risks – and it’s important you keep them in your awareness for the good of your health, other people’s well-being and associated organisation’s business interests.

Although the two are undoubtedly linked, we’ve broken the things to consider down into two categories – firstly your physical health, secondly, your mental well-being.

Physical health

There are some fairly obvious elements to your physical well-being when working at home, for most people being based at home means long periods in front of your computer and the associated risks to health that come with posture – but there’s a lot more to be considered.


If you spend a lot of time in front of a screen your eye-sight can suffer – referred to simply as ‘eye strain’ – the toll that your screen takes on your eyes can lead to headaches, brow-ache, migraines, twitches and pulling sensations from deep in your eye.

There’s no substitute for professional help if you’re getting problems that you feel might be associated with your eyes, but even if you’re not, it’s good to stay aware – try some eye-exercises or resting from your screen every 30-45 minutes to reduce the strain.

Vitamin D deficiency

It might sound quite severe to think your job means you’re lacking in vital vitamins, but for home workers it really can be the case – especially considering the lack of commuting that would normally get you outside. This is because vitamin D is produced by your body after exposure to sunlight.

A lack of vitamin D can cause aches and pains, low mood, weakened bones, excess sweating and feelings of general weakness. The good news is, you can bolster your vitamin D levels with some fatty fish, egg yolk, supplements and some other enriched foods. If you’re feeling any of these symptoms and would like to make sure you’re not deficient, talk to your doctor about your concerns.

Inviting clients to your home

While we’re sure you’re an excellent judge of who you work with, it pays to be careful when you’re inviting people to your home. If you’re ever uncertain or meeting with new clients – it might be prudent to meet people in a public location, you can always make an excuse about family or a boiler repair meaning home isn’t feasible.

It’s always worth letting a colleague or friend know you’re meeting with a new client. While we’re sure the overwhelming majority of meetings pass without any issue, it’s always better to be safe.

Health and safety in your home

Ah, ‘health and safety’ – Even though it’s what you’ve been reading about it up to this point, the term still strikes boredom into many people! Don’t worry, we’ll keep the formality quick.

Generally speaking, health and safety responsibility falls to you if you’re working from your own residence. If you do have colleagues or clients visiting it can get a little more complicated – especially if they were to injure themselves. Talk to your company HR team if the situation arises – if you’re self-employed, think about putting some public liability insurance into place.

Mental health

As Briton’s our mental well-being is something we don’t traditionally bring up – especially not in the workplace. As a result, our lack of awareness and intervention lead to some of the highest levels of stress and diminished mental health in all of Europe. We’re not here to diagnose – but we can offer you some things to keep an eye on…

Watching your mood

It can be difficult to gauge your own mood, for many of us it takes a loved one or colleague to tell us we seem ‘a bit off’ on any given day. Taking some time out of your day to consider your mood can be the key to catching stress, depression and anxiety as early as possible.


If you’ve heard about mindfulness it might sound a bit ‘kooky’ – it’s essentially taking a moment to work on quietening your thoughts and focusing on how you physically feel. Some people refer to it as ‘meditation’ – which can have religious or hippie type connotations. The reality is very different though, modern takes on meditation (aka mindfulness) are deeply researched and medically recognised and recommended – they’re often the first stop for people experiencing low level mental health issues.

You won’t become a mindfulness master overnight – nor should you aim to be, but learning a little about the practice means you stand a very good chance of becoming more objective and aware of your moods – which is the first step toward taking control of them, rather than moods controlling you.


Many people find it useful to start their day by ‘journaling’ their thoughts, ideas, worries – or anything else that spring to mind. If you can imagine your mind as being a huge and messy desk with no order – journaling can help to rationalise some of your quick-moving thoughts. For some people, giving their mood a mark out of 10 can be useful in tracking your feelings on a particular job, task or project. For others, it might be useful to think about positive things in life as a focus to begin the day with.

There are some great guides and apps to help with journaling – and there are no hard and fast rules, keep looking until you find something you like, your brain is likely to thank you for it.


Working from home can be lonely – it actually doesn’t matter whether or not you’ve got a house full of family, being cut off from your company and colleagues can feel deeply unpleasant. If you’re a remote worker and you’re not feeling great, you might want to start scheduling calls with colleagues or managers to feel like you’re part of the bigger picture.

If you’re self-employed, stay in touch with employees or your business partners. Don’t be afraid to invite yourself to the offices of companies you work with. Call friends and family – even better, video call them so you can see their faces.

Awareness is everything

This is not an exhaustive list of the things you might come up against when it comes to your health and working from home. If you’re feeling the strain in any way, let your doctor know, all your conversations are confidential and they’re not going to kick up a big fuss – it’s more likely that they’ll help you find the right resources to keep you on the right track when home is your office.

Need a loan quick? Follow these tips!

There are many reasons you might need to get your hands on some money as soon as possible – whatever they are, if time is in short supply, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve done everything possible to make the process quick and easy.

You can get an instant decision from Oink Money – but there could be other factors you haven’t considered. Check over this list and make sure you’ve removed as many barriers as possible!

Are you looking at the right type of loan?

Depending on the amount you’re looking at borrowing you’re going to need to choose between a secured or unsecured loan. Unsecured loans are normally aimed at people who are looking to borrow a small amount, generally between £1,000 and £25,000. If you’re hoping to borrow more, you might need to look at securing the borrowing against your property.

Will you pass a credit check?

Almost all lenders will want to use your credit score to check that you’re likely to pay the money back. There are lots of reasons your credit score can be lower than expected – and many of them are quickly fixed – for example: Are you registered on the electoral register at your current address? If not, you can fix that by registering online.

Not everyone’s credit history is totally accurate, so if you can, checking it over before you apply can be helpful. If there’s something on there you don’t recognise or thought was paid off, you can contact the company it relates to and ask them to check their details. Human errors do occur, so it’s worth making sure your credit score is 100% right to stand you in the best position possible.

Do you have the appropriate ID and information?

A lot of companies will accept your application for a loan ‘in principle’ – meaning you’re required to prove that the information you’ve submitted in the application process is accurate. You’ll usually be required to provide the following information:

  • Your residential address for the past 3 years
  • Your annual income before any deductions
  • Details of your monthly incomings and outgoings
  • Your employers name and contact details

Sometimes, lenders will want to see bank statements, proof of your current address, proof of ID and recent payslips – every lender is different so having these things saved in one place means you don’t have to search or request copies.

Can I find a guarantor if I need one?

A guarantor is someone who will pay your repayments should you be unable. Often this is a family member or friend who’s willing to help you out. A guarantor needs to know that you’re going to put their name forward for the position before you do – especially as most lenders will do a credit check on this person to make sure they’re suitable.

Your guarantor is normally required to be someone who’s a homeowner. Sometimes, that guarantor is required to sign paperwork at the same time and location as you. On that basis, it helps if your guarantor is someone close by, if not, it could mean a big journey for them!

Checking that someone would be happy to help you out in this way before applying means you don’t have delays after the application if it is required.

Shop around

Even though time is important you could fall into the trap of choosing the first lender who accepts your application. This can often mean paying a lot more in interest when a quick search would have saved you a significant amount over the full term of the loan.

Using a comparison site like Oink Money means you get the speed that you require – while still being able to compare similar products. Lots of comparison sites work as a ‘credit broker’ – meaning you don’t borrow the money from them directly, instead, they look for the best products for you with numerous lenders.

This can be really helpful if time is of the essence – if you’ve ever filled out loan application forms you know that they can be time consuming, so comparing 40+ lenders would take untold amounts of time! And most comparison sites won’t cost you a penny as their revenue is created by finding borrowers for the loan companies.

Got all that?

If you’ve thought about all of those points then you’re in a good position when a lender says yes!

How to Save On Your Bills

The cost of running a household is out of control with many of the population now having increased debt and many having to put debt solutions in place such as a Trust Deed to help them manager their personal finances. There’s no doubt about it. Even heating oil – which was relatively inexpensive for a couple of years – has resumed its inexorable upward climb. With wages stagnant or barely keeping pace with inflation and the cost of nearly everything increasing on a monthly basis you need to find relief wherever you can get it.

To most people that means cutting back on both the basics and the finer things. But is that always necessary? Or are there ways you can reduce your monthly bills without the quality of your life suffering and while staying financially independent? In this post we’re going to look at ways you can trim your monthly expenses without having to give up the things that enhance the quality of your daily life.

Think Like a Corporation

One thing about large corporations that average folks hate but shareholders love is that they are experts at identifying what they consider waste and cutting it from their books without a second thought. But although corporate execs are experts at slashing jobs and services they’re also experts at holding onto the perks that make being a corporate exec so desirable. If you want to reduce your monthly bills while maintaining your standard of living use corporate execs as your role models and target waste. Aggressively. Here are a number of ways to do that.

  • Eliminate the superfluous – That means take a cold-light-of-day look at the things that are costing you money and ditch those things that don’t add value to your life such as extended warranties and various types of product insurance.
  • For example: did you purchase insurance on your mobile phone? Why? Cancel it and just be careful with your phone. You could save £100 annually. Credit monitoring services are another complete waste of money. If you think your credit information has been compromised there are plenty of services that will provide you a free credit report so you can check for yourself thereby saving £100 to £200 per year.

Ditch the loyalty – Product loyalty had its place back in the day when companies cared about their customers and employees. Today though it’s dog-eat-dog and the customer be damned. This is one area where you can definitely learn something from those downsizing-obsessed corporate execs. They’re no more loyal to you than they are to the long-time employees they sack. So take a page from their book and if you can get a better deal somewhere else, drop them like a hot potato.

Use Skype – Do you make a lot of long distance calls? Do you currently pay for broadband? Then download and install Skype and start talking to your long distance friends for free. It won’t affect your broadband costs and it will save you a bundle on long distance calling charges. Why everyone doesn’t use Skype for long distance calls is one of life’s most enduring mysteries.

Switch energy tariffs – The average UK homeowner can save hundreds of pounds off their yearly energy bill by switching out their energy tariff. The fact is there’s a small army of energy suppliers out there tripping over one another to get your business. In all likelihood you’re paying substantially more than you need to. So shop around. You’ll be glad you did.

Always pay on time – Every year UK consumers waste billions of pounds on late fees because they forgot what day it was. Late fees represent a huge transfer of wealth from working people to staggeringly rich companies but it doesn’t have to happen. Whenever possible arrange for direct debit payment of your monthly bills. If you are currently going through a difficult financial period talk to your creditors and negotiate payments you can afford. You might think this will hurt your credit score but if you’re late paying your bills your credit score will take a hit anyway.

Reduce your broadband and cable charges – Most people have broadband contracts that are out of tune with their usage. They pay for a 20MB service when they spend 90% of their time on Facebook. Take a few minutes and do an honest assessment of how you use the Internet and then adjust your broadband subscription accordingly. You could wind up saving hundreds of pounds a year and not notice any difference in your online experience.

Also, a lot of homeowners/renters use one company for their mobile phone, another for their broadband and yet another for their digital TV. This is a classic waste of money. Ditch the individual providers and bundle up with a single company. It’s not only significantly cheaper but if you have any problems there’s only 1 company to deal with.

In addition chances are if you take a close look at your TV bill you’ll find you’re paying for subscription channels you never watch. Be realistic about your viewing habits and if you’re not watching this subscription channel or that, cancel them.

Mow your own lawn – Everyone loves the aura of affluence that comes with having the landscaper pull up to their home every couple of weeks to mow the lawn and trim the hedge. But by mowing your own lawn you’ll save hundreds, maybe thousands of pounds a year and get what is probably much needed fresh air and exercise in the process.

Review your council tax – There are literally hundreds of thousands of UK homes currently in the wrong council tax band. As such, it’s worth the effort to find out if you are one of those being charged excessive council tax.

Cutting your monthly bills is not always the same as cutting back on necessities. Most of the time it’s just a matter of eliminating waste. Take a page out of the modern CEO book, throw out the sentimentality and take a no-nonsense look at your monthly expenses with the express goal of trimming the fat wherever you find it. You’ll take a substantial bite out of your monthly bills and still keep all those things that make your life a little easier and more enjoyable.

Why hiding from debt is not the solution

When you’re in debt you can become very good at spotting the kind of letters that are sent by creditors. You’re not alone if you’ve hidden that letter away in a drawer and carried on with your day like it had never existed – millions of people admit to having ignored bills, reminders, collection agency letter and even court summons and not seeking debt help or advice which often leads to many people seeing a debt solutions such as an IVA to help with their debt .

Wishing the problem away

It’s nice to be able to continue with your day as if there were no problems – owing money is not a pleasant feeling, so pretending that the letter had not arrived, even just for one more day, might seem to remove that stress. If you’re realistic though, the following day is unlikely to be the day you decide to spring out of bed and start opening envelopes demanding money – so that day turns into a week – and the week turns into a month…

Unfortunately, no matter how much you wish it might, that drawer doesn’t make the issue disappear and soon, ignoring letters can turn into ignoring phone calls – and pretending you’re not in when a debt collector knocks at the door.

Must Read: 3 Practical Ways To Get Out Of Debt

The collection process doesn’t sleep

All creditors have a collection process they work through if they don’t hear from you – pretending the debt doesn’t exist will never stop this process. In fact, in most cases it will actually increase to the amount of money that is owed – with surcharges added by collection agencies, the cost of letters from solicitors and bailiffs often adding very large amounts for visiting your home. It is not uncommon for the charges added to an account to be greater than the amount of money that was owed in the first place.

So what about moving to a new house? Surely that will stop the letters? Again, no. If you haven’t given a company your forwarding details they will try to track you down in a different way. It’s not uncommon for customer details to be shared by credit reference agencies across industries for exactly that reason. In this modern world it is virtually impossible to become ‘invisible’ – the act of paying car insurance, taking out a mobile phone contract or paying a utility bill can all lead directly to companies locating you, even if you have changed you name – the debt does not just disappear.

The collection process continues regardless of your location or situation – not updating your contact details means the only person who is in the dark about the owed money is you. What’s more, if you miss a notification that court action is being taken, that court action will almost always proceed without you, meaning that important decisions relating to you and your money will be made without your input.

Delaying action is damaging

It is completely understandable why a person would want to pretend debt does not exist. Money worries are proven to contribute to mental health issues, physical illness, relationship and family troubles and many more areas of distress. However, professionals in any of those areas will always tell you that dealing with the problem is key to your wellbeing.

What’s more, professionals often link the denial of money problems with unhealthy coping strategies. When people can’t ignore the problem any longer it’s not uncommon for a person to seek other ways of coping, often with dangerous lifestyle choices – such as excessive drinking, gambling and even drug use.

The message here is clear – burying your head in the sand and not dealing with companies promptly is highly likely to make your situation worse.

“What can I do?”

The good news is, you have the key to stopping that process at any time – by picking up the phone. It’s completely understandable that the prospect of that might fill you with dread, but people are often pleasantly surprised at the reaction they get when they talk to the companies they owe money to. Remember, you are not in a unique position; there will be thousands, if not tens of thousands of people at any one time who owe that company money.

Often the worry is that picking up the phone will lead to a telling off, conflict, a demand for an unrealistic amount of money – or worse. The important thing to remember is that these companies want you to pay the money, so the chances are you’re going to be talking to someone very reasonable who will be looking to help you come to agreeable solution.

Talking can buy you time

In most cases making that call will stop whichever part of the process is next – if your debt was about to be passed to a collection agency then it’s likely that will be postponed in favour of the agreement you come to on the telephone. If the full amount owed is too high perhaps you could talk about paying smaller amounts over a period of time, or maybe you just need a little more time to reach payday. The person you’re talking to might have some other suggestions.

Debt can have huge implications for your life – the prospect of facing up to the problem can lead to many kinds of emotion – people often talk about feeling upset, angry or embarrassed when it comes to talking to someone. Try to keep your cool, the person you talk to won’t mind if you’re emotional, but being aggressive just won’t help. It is also vitally important that you’re realistic at this stage – telling the person on the other end of the phone that you’ll pay next week is just the same as hiding a reminder in the drawer if you can’t or don’t stick to the plan.

Acting now is important

The long-term consequences of ignoring debt can go much further than just damaging your credit score, so it’s important that you take action. If you don’t feel you’re able to make that call, perhaps talk to a supportive friend or family member who can be with you when you do. If you’re nervous you could ask the representative of the company to confirm your agreements in writing, so nothing slips your mind.

No one likes facing up to debt, especially if there’s a drawer full of letters – but the short term discomfort is a much better option than the consequences of pretending it’s not happening.