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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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Running a home today is not as easy as it used to be. There’s more bills that need to be paid, and your broadband bill is one of them. It’s nearly impossible to do anything without broadband these days, so having an affordable, reliable broadband connection is very important. You need to know that your internet connection will be there when you need it and that you are getting a good deal.

Work Out Your Budget

The first thing you need to do is work out your budget. Take into account all your incoming finances, and outgoing expenditure. You find sites online where you can keep track of your expenses, you could print out a budget sheet and manually fill it, you could download an app, or you could make your own. However you choose to track your budget, you need to have a pretty good idea of how much you are willing to spend per month on your broadband bill.

Decide What You Want

Once you have your projected budget, you need to decide what you need from your internet provider. The first thing you need to consider is which providers are available in your area. Generally speaking, if you live in a city, then you will have a wide range of providers to choose from. However, if you live in a more rural area, then your choices may not be as wide ranged. You need to check to see what broadband providers offer services in your area.

Then you need to work out what your internet usage patterns are. If you only use the internet to check emails, check your Facebook, or browse websites, then you won’t really need a high-speed connection. If you watch a lot of Youtube videos, or stream movies, or TV shows, then you would need a little more internet speed. If you use the internet for gaming or downloading then you’re going to need a higher speed connection.

Your Usage Limits

You also need to consider usage limits. Many, or almost all, broadband packages are unlimited. So there’s no usage cap, but there are still some providers that have usage caps. You need to make sure that if you want an unlimited service, that that is the service you sign up for. A limited usage cap will give an allowance per month, and if you’re a light internet user, then you probably won’t go over the limit. However, if you do there are extra charges, and it can become a very expensive policy.
You’ll need to think about how many people and devices in your home will be connecting to your broadband. If you have a big family, then you will need to consider heavy usage service.

The Package You Want

Lastly, you need to consider what kind of package you want. You might want a bundle that includes a land line telephone, or television services. If you want a bundle that includes other services, you’ll want to consider what kind of phone package you want, if you want it to include free calls or reduced mobile calls.
Once you have decided what it is that you need from your service provider, and what your budget is, you should try a website that will compare all the best deals for you. Try Broadband Choices to search for the most current offers.

You should always keep an eye on the length of your contract with your service provider and always read the small print. Some services offer a reduced rate for the first few months, before going up to what your actual bill will be. Make sure that the full rate is within your budget and that it’s not only the introductory offer that suits you. You might find that once your contract is up, that you would get a better deal by switching to another provider.


The good news about finding a broadband service provider in today’s market is that providers offer a huge range of different packages, and there are a huge number of providers. There are also new service providers emerging regularly. With so many potential providers, there are many competitively priced packages available. You should be able to easily find the right package that suits your family usage, and more importantly, fits your budget.

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We’re all living longer. In fact, the average life expectancy of a UK resident is 81 years, according to the World Health Organisation (2013). It should be fantastic news, right?

However, you may notice some people’s eyes glaze over with fear at thought of a longer retirement. That’s because, well, long retirement is only a blessing if you can afford to see yourself through it to the very end. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case for a lot of people.

The New Working Order

LV= recently published a study that showed only one in three people at retirement age were not working at all.

The study, which was conducted with over 1,000 participants aged over 60 years, revealed that most people eligible for retirement were actually working part-time, or were taking up voluntary work. One in six people returned to work after retiring in order to make ends meet.

It may seem a grim prospect, but if you take the right steps, you can ensure that you don’t meet the same fate.

Retirement Starts in Your Twenties

Well, no, of course it doesn’t actually start in your twenties (unless you’re a young entrepreneur who can afford it), but planning for retirement does start here. Because the concept of retirement remains something of an abstract entity until it’s right there on your doorstep, many people – especially those in their twenties – sort of just turn around and pretend it isn’t there.

Don’t worry; you don’t have to put away everything your earn into a pot you’ll only spend 45 years later. Start with small monthly amounts in your early twenties when you’re just starting out on the career ladder.

Saving for things like holidays and a mortgage deposit teaches you the habit of saving before you get enough money to see that pot significantly increase in size. They’re sort of like the baby-steps towards the far larger savings quest of your retirement fund.

Be Tactical

Understandably, not everyone wants to slave away to earn money they won’t see until they’re too old to really enjoy it while sacrificing their short-term quality of life; heck, some people simply can’t afford to.

So how can you turn this on its head? You have to be tactical. When you hit your fifties, it’s time to consider some options that can see you accessing a lot of money in a relatively short period of time.

Some people access their pension funds prior to retirement in order to use them for investment opportunities. If done so with the proper advice, it can provide a passive income during retirement, allowing you to earn without having to work.

Another option is equity release. This is a great option for anyone who has poured a lot of investment into their home and doesn’t want the hassle of moving during retirement, as it can provide a large sum of money to help top up your pension.

Downsizing, however, is a fantastic method for some people. Hopefully, by the time you’ve hit your sixties, the kids will have flown the nest and you’ll have paid off the mortgage, meaning that you can sell your old home for a cosy new one and pocket the difference.

Retirement doesn’t have to remain that bleak grey patch at the end of your timeline. In fact, it can be a time when you can utilise the freedom you have from the 9 to 5 grind to go and see the world in your own time. If you plan them right, those years can be as good as you imagined.

The above post was contributed by Angela from ‘Sell Pension’ detailing some important considerations when preparing for retirement.

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Today we welcome our friend James Smith who has kindly written the following post to help you save money on your car maintenance. This is definitely something that would have helped us a month ago!

Working on a budget seems to be such a grown-up thing that many of us do not consider it to be a useful financial tool. This is a huge shame as a properly planned and adhered-to budget can see us coasting comfortably through the months, savings building slowly but steadily along, with a highly favourable credit report! The mistake many people make is to create a prohibitive and restrictive budget, aiming to save too much and cut down on all the little treats and pleasures that make life worth living – especially when cash is tight. Allow a small amount of your budget towards pleasurable pursuits, but do first make sure that you have covered all the necessary expenses; car servicing and repair being a significant example.

Budget from the Start

Include your vehicle in your budget from the moment you first get your car. Just as you start to put money aside for fuel and oil, you should put another amount aside for emergency repairs, hiring a replacement car if necessary and to begin to save for the vehicle’s first service. Make sure that you stick to recommended service deadlines, even if your vehicle is new and clean your car on regular basis. Should you need to resell the vehicle you will get a higher price if the servicing log is comprehensive, up-to-date and according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Make a List

Study your vehicle and work out which parts will need replacing at which intervals and mark this information on a calendar. Save a small amount every month towards these replacements and in this way, you will not be taken by surprise when wear and tear has its way with your vehicle, as it is sure to do. Replace tyres promptly, as your life can depend on those small, but vital pieces of rubber that keep the wheels turning sweetly. Check out sites like Point S Tyre Dealers to find the best deals for your make and model of vehicle.

Keep Your Savings!

The money that you put aside for car expenses must then be ignored until you have car expenses to cover. Never allow yourself to be tempted to use it for a night out, ‘borrow’ against it until pay day or lend it to anyone – who is to say car will not break down the moment you have handed your precious car fund over to someone who will not be able to pay you back for a month or more?

Know Your Insurance

Keep your vehicle insurance up to date, choosing a policy that is not necessarily lowest required by law. Some policies provide extra benefits to people who rely on their car every day for an acceptably small increase in the monthly premium. If you do not drive very often, you can perhaps get away with having just the basic coverage, but if so, you definitely need to make sure that you have a nest egg to fall back on in the event of something unforeseen befalling your car!


Track Your Expenses

Keep the receipts for every piece of work or spare part that you pay for your vehicle over a set period of time. This will help you to accurately work out the total cost of ownership of the car, not just the obvious expenses like fuel and oil, but every penny spent on the vehicle.

Finally, if your car is very old – usually over 10 years – it is time to invest in replacement. If you continue to pay for spares and repairs on a car this old, you will quickly find yourself spending more than your vehicle worth just on keeping it roadworthy!

Without treating our car with care, we soon found out why you need an emergency fund!


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...