Budgeting

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Study Abroad

There’s a lot to think about when you’re moving abroad to study in a new country; is your accommodation going to be ok? Do you have the right books for your course? Can you fit all of your clothes into that case!? The last thing you want to worry about is the hassle and additional cost of sending money abroad to pay for your tuition fees.

Studying abroad can be pretty expensive with annual tuition fees costing over £80,000 in some cases, therefore making savings where you can is so important. To help you save as much as you can when paying these fees, we have put together 5 things to check before you send money abroad:

1. Check The Exchange Rate and Time Your Transfer Accordingly

Exchange rates fluctuate all the time and it can be hard to know if you are getting a good deal or need to wait and hold out for a better rate. To assist you in this process, tere are many platforms that allow you to set up an alert system for your chosen exchange rate.

2. Check Your Bank Fees on Overseas Transfers

Check with your bank what their overseas transfer cost is for the amount you will need to send, this will vary between banks and commonly is not the most cost effective way to wire your funds. While in the grand scheme of things, the bank fee percentage may not seem too big, when you apply it to a large sum of money such as a tuition fee it soon adds up to a considerable charge

3. Compare Rates on a Money Transfer Service

Consider using an online money transfer service to send your money rather than transferring it straight from your bank account. There are many benefits to using a transfer service that not only make the process easier for you but also offer huge cost savings along the way. Currencies Direct are one of the largest suppliers of this service and offer a 24/7 strict no transfer fee policy, so you can be sure that you wont be met with any additional costs.

4. Understand Your Payment Window

If you fail to make a payment on time you can incur late fees. And whilst you need to hit the timing right on the exchange rate, it is vital that you know when your tuition fees are due each semester and ensure payment is made in time. This information should be available before the start your course and your education provider will also be able to inform you of this on request.

Many online money transfer services offer the ability to schedule your regular overseas payments to ensure that your money is transferred on time, this means you can set them all up at the start of the year. Be sure to give yourself a window of time before the payment date to factor in the money transfer time also, check this out with your provider!

If you’ve studied abroad before, do you have any other tips for this years students to consider?

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eBay deals

This weekend eBay.co.uk has announced a HUGE bank holiday sale, slashing prices on a wide range of new, branded household goods.

At Budget Breakaway, we love a good bargain and as much as we like to save, some of our smaller appliances inevitably need replacing as time goes on. The bank holiday period is the perfect time to hunt for a discount on these items. Especially if you’re looking for clothes, technology or kitchenware.

This time around, eBay is the place to feast your eyes. As in response to a recent survey they have landed some impressive discounts with major brands for the bank holiday period.

If you head over to eBay.co.uk/deals between 24th to the 28th August you’ll be able to find some serious bargains such as:

  • Up to 25% off KitchenAid with kitchenaid_outlet
  • Save £50 when you spend £200+ at dyson_outlet
  • Save up to £150 on top tech with currys_pcworld
  • Save up to 20% of Halfords with halfords_1
  • Up to 25% off Boohoo dresses, jumpsuits & playsuit at Boohoo_outlet

The biggest challenge whilst bargain hunting during national holidays is getting your stock. After browsing the Currys eBay deals this morning it’s clear things are flying off the shelves – act quick.

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save money on great clothes

We shouldn’t feel guilty about wanting to look good in nice clothes. However, take a walk through your local shopping centre and you could be excused for thinking that you need to spend a great deal in order to look sharp. Consider that expensive fashion brands can “buy” more publicity, says The Guardian‘s Hadley Freeman; there are plenty of inexpensive clothing options out there which would have simply slipped past your radar. Here is how you can take advantage of them.

Shop at charity outlets in upmarket parts of the country

Freeman acknowledges that coming across “good cheap stuff requires some nosing out on your part” – and some of the places where you could nose around include charity shops. You shouldn’t just pick any, however; stick to those in posh areas. Hadley enthuses: “This was one of the best fashion tips I got as a teenager and it has honestly never let me down.”

Presumably the reason why this tip works so well is that, in these affluent areas, people can afford high-quality fabrics – but, once they no longer want them, a charity shop is one of the first places that they consider handing those surplus-to-requirements clothes to.

Continue your shopping trip in… your own cupboards

Sometimes, it seems, you don’t know just how much you already have until you’ve had a good rummage. By having this in your home’s cupboards, you could come across various items that you had bought long ago but since forgotten about.

Maybe, on a trip to Paris five years ago, you purchased a souvenir t-shirt that, you could now realise, still fits. Alternatively, you might have accidentally wedged a jumper between a couple of drawers when hurriedly looking through them during a moment of urgency a while ago; now could be the time to pull out those drawers and retrieve that still-perfectly-usable garment!

Avoid trends… or, at least, ones that will be short-lived

Keeping up with fashion trends can undoubtedly be expensive, considering how often they change. Therefore, if you are in the habit of following them, you could, as MoneyAware advises, save money by dropping that habit… or tweaking it. You could, for example, stick to trends that should last a few more years at the least. Alternatively, you could opt for classic styles – think 1950s style – that typically take a while to go out of fashion. Marilyn Monroe has been a style icon in many decades!

When you buy new, buy quality

Sometimes we just can’t avoid buying new clothes – we might need them for work or an important event. A good rule of thumb for buying new clothes is to buy something that will last, something that will stay in good shape after washing and something you can where for a variety of occasions.

For example, if you are looking for a pair of shorts for the summer – think about whether you can get a quality pair that you could also wear to work and even in the garden. Dickies Life stocks a pleasing range of work shorts – including slim, multi-pocket and industrial varieties. Buying quality often means only buying once every few years rather than every few months!

How have you saved money clothes in the past? Any tips for catching a bargain?

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reducing car insurance

While tax might often seem one of life’s few certainties, there remain ways in which you can reduce how much of it you need to pay.

This certainly applies with car tax; however, there are numerous changes that have recently been enacted and, in the process, muddied the waters concerning how you can trim the amount you need to pay in tax on your car.

These are changes that have been made to Vehicle Excise Duty or VED, as it is officially called. There’s a rather complex picture painted by these changes, which came into effect on April 1, but one thing is clear above all: if you buy a new car now, you could end up having to pay much more in VED than you would have been responsible for under the old system.

In this article, we will detail how you can still take advantage of parts of the new system to save yourself significant amounts on car tax. We will also explain how even your car insurance policy could play a large part in minimising your car-related obligations to the Exchequer.

1. Use or buy a car that was registered before April 1 2017

One great piece of news is that, if your current car was registered ahead of April 1, you won’t be financially hit at all by the new rules, as Daily Post explains. Instead, you will continue paying VED under the previous system; the rate which you were paying, or soon due to start paying, won’t change from what was the case pre-April. The changes apply strictly to cars registered from April 1.

Also, these changes don’t apply to second-hand cars. Therefore, if you are in the market for a replacement for your current car, you could avoid paying tax under the new system by purchasing a used vehicle. Nonetheless, we emphasise that, before you buy this vehicle, you must check that it was registered before 1 April 2017; if it wasn’t, you would be paying under the new system.

If you are planning to go down this route, it might be better to buy sooner rather than later. Otherwise, if you go browsing for a used vehicle in the more distant future, you could find that the only used vehicles on offer meeting your needs fall under the same VED system as a new car.

2. Buy a zero-emissions car costing less than £40,000

The two main factors influencing how much VED is payable are the car’s list price and the carbon emissions that the vehicle will produce when it is driven. For deciding the extent to which emissions should affect VED in the first year that the car has an owner, the government has specified 13 different tax bands.

In the initial year, you would pay no VED whatsoever if your car falls into the lowest of these bands. However, the car would only fall into that band if it is a zero-emissions one, like an electric car. Furthermore, to stay exempt from VED after this first year, the vehicle would need to have a list price under £40,000. If the list price was above that threshold, a ‘Premium’ charge of £310 would need to be annually paid from the second year of ownership to the sixth.

3. Be careful when adding options to a zero-emissions car under £40,000

We’ve repeatedly used the phrase “list price”, but what actually is this price? It is defined as the car’s price before the addition of “on-the-road” charges like a new vehicle registration fee and delivery charge, plus fuel and number plates. Furthermore, it’s worth emphasising that it is the final list price that determines whether your vehicle crosses that crucial £40,000 threshold.

So, if you do seal the deal on a zero-emissions car priced beneath this figure, be wary of adding options that could lift the overall price higher than £40,000. What Car? warns that “an option costing a few hundred pounds could end up costing you more than £1,500 over five years in extra car tax costs.” This would remain the case even if the dealer provided a discount bringing the car’s price back down below £40,000, as this price would not be the list price.

4. Utilise clever tactics to cut your car insurance premiums

In November, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, announced that, from June, insurance premium tax would be increased from 10% to 12%. IPT, as this tax is otherwise known, is levied on roughly 50 million insurance policies, including those for car insurance. As a result, car insurance premiums will soon rise beyond £600, as The Guardian has reported.

However, as this tax is charged as a percentage of this premium before the tax, you can lower the payable amount of this tax by, quite simply, lowering your premiums. You can do this in a variety of ways – such as by adding a parent or spouse as a named driver or, peculiarly, fitting a tow bar to your vehicle. That practice could trim up to 20% off your premium.

When the time comes to renew your car insurance policy, you should shop around. Call Wiser can help you in this task – as, taking account of policies from more than 30 leading insurance providers in the UK, this Hampshire-based company can give you an attractive quote in a mere 10 minutes. It can significantly reduce the hassle of looking for a great policy.

Looking for more tips on saving on your car? Check out this article from This Is Money about reducing your car insurance premium.

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ClearScore

Last week Joe posted about 10 Ways To Boost Your Credit Rating, which really made me think how bad it is that I actually have no idea what my credit score is! I assumed it couldn’t be too negative, as I don’t have the obvious signs such as an overdrawn bank account or maxed out credit cards but I thought it was important to find out!

So I decided to check my credit score online and it turns out I’m actually not doing too bad! I used the ClearScore credit checker which was really simple (and free!) to use. I thought I would need a lot of information and paperwork to complete it, but it was completely haste free. Once I’d filled out some basic questions about my address history and income it gave me my credit score rating and clearly told me what was good and what was bad about it. It also told me where I stand in comparison to the average score of people in my local area and the average UK score – I was pleasantly surprised to find I’m above average!

ClearScore Coaching

One of the best things about ClearScore was the coaching platform it offers after you’ve completed your credit check. They have an automated instant message system that acts as a personal credit score trainer, that gives you advice on how to Build, Repair or Shape Up your credit score and the advice it gives is specific to you and your thoughts about you finances. As you go along it adds the tips to your own personal to-do list which you can tick off as you complete later on. The IM chat was really entertaining and combined valuable advice with a conversational tone and threw in some cat videos too!

As my credit score was looking good I went for the Shape Up plan. My IM chat had already added and bunch of things to my to-do list and it handily split them up by quick wins and tasks that would require a little bit more effort. Best of all, they offer some refuel advice to motivate you to carry on, mine included pug puppy videos – always a winner!!

ClearScore smashed it

ClearScore identified that not having a credit card was negatively affecting my credit score and my ClearScore coach directed me to some comparison offers of credit cards that were appropriate to me, with links to check my eligibility really quickly! This is particularly helpful as there’s nothing more frustrating than filling out all the fields on a huge credit application only to be declined after clicking submit.

I hadn’t realised how simple it was to check my credit score before and just how many things can affect it. Having the personal credit score trainer has really helped me to understand my next steps to not just improving my credit score, but my finances also! Have you tried out ClearScore, if so what are your thoughts?

RANDOM POSTS

Study Abroad

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There's a lot to think about when you're moving abroad to study in a new country; is your accommodation going to be ok? Do...