Money Saving – Avoiding Credit Problems: Tips for Avoiding Future Debt Problems

Having a good credit rating is an important feature for any individual, and most people don’t realise how important it is. Although being weighed down by loans and seemingly impossible payment plans may not be your idea of fun, in some cases taking out a loan is an unavoidable element in life. There’s no real secret behind building and maintaining a good credit history, and doing so will ensure less difficulty in the future when you’re thinking about investments and applying for loans. Buying a house for example, is one of the biggest investments you can make. This also makes it one of the hardest to achieve with a bad credit score, as banks are forced to lay down strict regulations when offering home loans. A bad credit rating can mean not only higher interest rates when it comes to taking out a loan, but can also keep you from getting that dream job. This being said, it’s relatively easy to maintain a good credit rating, and many of the credit problems people experience are self-inflicted and avoidable. It starts with making sensible decisions and maintaining sustainable credit habits.

Spending your money responsibly is a great skill to have, especially when using a credit card. It’s important to buy only what you can cover with cash, and avoid buying things that you can’t afford. Whilst it’s true that having a credit card is a great tool for building up a good credit history, it also makes overspending particularly easy. It’s strongly advised that credit cards should only be used when you are sure that you can pay back the full amount on or before the due date. Failing to do this could lead to having large pending payments, and most of the time it’s harder to keep on top of your credit rating once things start going downhill. Making sure that you completely understand the terms of your credit card is just as important for avoiding debt and credit problems. Reading through your credit card agreement means that you will know how and why interest may be applied to your account, when fees will be charged, and whether or not your interest rates are set to increase.

The simplest way to avoid future credit problems is to pay your bills on time. It may sound obvious, but it’s surprising how many people have a bad credit rating because of this. Paying your bills in full is also important too, as minimum payments can see you stuck in a vicious cycle of increasing debt, which ultimately leads to bad credit. Increasing your emergency fund is another precaution that many people take to prevent future debt problems. Being financially prepared for the unexpected is vital in today’s economy. Having savings for unexpected emergencies is a really valuable thing to have, as many people without one will use high-interest credit cards or payday loans to fund inevitable expenses, which will only dig them into a deeper hole of debt.

Having more than one credit card is risky if you’re looking to avoid future debt problems. To put it plainly, the more credit cards you own, the more you can charge. Even the most strong-willed of people easily get tempted by thousands of pounds worth of available credit. To keep future debt and credit problems at bay, it’s recommended that you only use one credit card. However, if you do deem it necessary to take out a second or third credit card, don’t apply for too much too quickly. Lenders will query your financial stability if you apply for two credit cards, a personal loan and home equity in the space of a few months. Spacing out your credit applications by six months or a year will ensure you maintain a good credit rating, as well as staying in lender’s good books.

Following these simple tips is a step in the right direction to avoiding debt problems and bad credit. However, if you do see yourself falling behind with payments, it’s not the end of the world and there is a multitude of assistance available. Credit services such as Wescot, whose location can be found on MoneyPlus, establishes affordable and sustainable repayment arrangements and one-to-one advice for those who are in debt. They can help you manage the recovery of your debt on behalf of the bank or utility company by trying to resolve your debt issues as quickly as possible.

The bottom line is, the significance of credit today is important to recognise. Keeping on top of your finances can ensure a good credit rating, thus making life easier for yourself in the future. If in doubt, you can check your credit report for free.

Money Saving – Borrowing Responsibly: Tips for Avoiding Future Debt Problems

When it comes to finances, we are always advised not to use credit cards and to pay with cash, and borrowing money is seen as a bad thing. However, this isn’t necessarily true. In fact, borrowing money is actually a very clever move for your finances, when done wisely and correctly. The key is to borrow responsibly. Taking out a credit card or loan will boost your credit score and show that you can borrow and pay back money without acquiring any fees, and when the time comes and you have to think about future plans and investments such as buying a home or a car, a good credit history is an invaluable quality to have. Indeed, banks and lenders are responsible, legally and ethically to lend money to people. Yet, it is expected that those borrowing money do so responsibly, which is why it’s important to first of all determine the reason for borrowing. If you’re taking out money for a luxury holiday or brand new flat-screen television, you’ll probably end up getting yourself in a much deeper hole as these material goods will only depreciate in value once they are bought. On the other hand, borrowing money for essentials such as a home mortgage is favoured, because it can boost your credit rating.

Another tip before you take out a loan or credit card is to do your homework. Shop around a bit and work out which borrowing option is the best for you and your situation. Researching what each lender has to offer and getting advice from the experts may take a little time, but you’ll be paying the price (literally!) for years to come otherwise. Also, arranging your repayment plan before taking out the loan is a wise idea. That way, there won’t be any confusion or mishaps when you do come to repay the money. You can do this a number of ways, including putting aside a percentage of your future pay checks, or even taking a small amount from your emergency funds if need be.

Think about the duration and amount of your loan, remembering that it costs less to repay over a shorter time period. Borrowing responsibly means that it’s paramount to only borrow what you need or what you can afford to pay back. Although you may be approved for a high amount, you don’t have to take it all. To put it simply, the less you borrow, the less there is to repay. It can be really easy to fall into the trap of borrowing too much money, and then having to borrow more to pay it off. Juggling debts and asking for more money is not the solution and will only leave you in a deeper hole than before.

A huge part of your credit score is your payment history, as it shows how reliable you are when borrowing money. Making your payments on time is essential when you take out a loan or credit card, and failing to do so will be detrimental to your financial situation. There are ways for you to manage your repayments, including online services such as Wescot Credit Services, an organisation supported by Money Advice Trust, who can help you arrange affordable and reasonable repayment methods. They can also offer assistance about budgeting and what’s best for you in order to resolve your debt issues as soon as possible. Creating a budget, or setting up monthly direct debits to repay debts can also ensure that you are up to date with any pending payments.

Reading and understanding the terms and conditions of your loan is crucial when you’re borrowing money. Borrowing responsibly involves reading through everything, including the small print, and making sure that you know exactly what you are signing up for and how much it is going to cost you overall – it may be a lot higher than you first anticipated. Once you sign the document, you are the only one responsible for repaying the loan in full. Many of the terms associated with your loan will concern the APR (annual percentage rate) – how much of the loan will be added to the repayment. Be sure to look out for any information regarding late payment fees or prepayment penalties, which can easily catch you out if you are unaware.

If you choose to borrow money, the main thing to remember is do so responsibly. Making sure that you fully understand the terms and conditions, ensuring you repay on time and only borrowing what you can afford are the main things to keep in mind. With the right plan of action, you can make the most of borrowing money and use it to your advantage. Being a responsible borrower means that you will maintain a healthy credit score, as well as saving money in the long run.

Creative Ways to Save Money from Wescot

There are many ways in which the average household can save money, and most of us are familiar with being told to forgo our morning take-out coffee or buy store’s own rather than branded goods. As one of the leading debt collecting agencies in the UK Wescot realise that there are many far more creative ways than these to save money and avoid getting into unnecessary debt. The team at Wescot have therefore put together a series of creative ways to save money that are outside of the obvious and many of them are actually fun.


Grocery Shopping and Household Essentials

Everyone knows that good ways to save money include looking out for special offers and discount vouchers, buying store’s own products instead of branded goods and only buying what you actually need on each shopping trip. Here are a few suggestions for more creative ways to save money on your groceries and household essentials:

  • Buy in bulk to make savings wherever it makes sense. If you have the option to shop at a wholesaler then do so, otherwise get together with friends and neighbours and sign up to online wholesalers to increase your purchasing power by shopping together. Focus your bulk buying on household goods and food items with a long use-by date such as dried and tinned products.
  • Use comparison websites to work out the cheapest supermarket in your local area for your typical shop. Alternatively, the new Morrison’s Match and More card price matches your entire shop automatically with the same goods in all other major supermarkets including budget options such as Aldi and Lidl and gives you points worth the cash equivalent of any difference that can be cashed in as store vouchers every time you reach £5.
  • Buy herb plants rather than bagged herbs and create a window ledge herb garden that will last a long time.
  • Make a meal plan for the week or month before you do the grocery shopping to ensure you don’t waste money on non-essential items.
  • Have a weekly ‘no-spend’ day as a family. Get each family member to commit to not spending a single penny for just one day of the week. Make meals out of store cupboard food and put off any treats for another day of the week.


At Home

There are myriad ways in which you can save money in the home simply by planning more and reducing waste.

  • Make twice as much food as you need each meal-time and freeze the leftover half in single portion sizes to create home-cooked ‘ready-meals’. This not only saves on the price of buying pre-packaged food but also cuts down the amount of energy you use to cook.
  • Try swishing or swap shops with friends and neighbours. Organise a day or evening for everyone to get together and bring all their unwanted clothing, shoes, jewellery, books, DVDs etc. to trade. Everyone gets to clear out some junk and take home something that is more useful to them.
  • Get into homebrew. Making your own beer or wine is more cost-effective than buying it from the off-licence and it can be a lot of fun too.
  • Host a decorating party rather than paying someone to decorate for you. Get friends and family in to help to get the job done in a matter of hours and pay them with a home-cooked meal when finished.
  • Unless you really feel you need to watch shows at the time they are broadcast, ditch the TV licence. You can still watch catch-up television online for free and watch DVDs and you don’t need a licence for services such as LoveFilm or Netflix.


Luxuries may count as non-essential, but anyone who tries to cut all luxuries out will quickly tire of living to such a strict budget. Cut down on luxuries rather than cutting them out altogether and research ways of making savings on those that you really want.

  • Use professionals in training. Opt for the student hairdresser or beautician rather than the owner. Contact colleges and universities to see if there are students willing to work for free to fill out their portfolio for things such as wedding photography.
  • When you want to buy new items such as CDs or DVDs, purge your old ones first by selling them online through sites such as Music Magpie, Amazon or eBay to fund the purchase.
  • Use a Terramundi Pot (a money box you can only get into by breaking it) and put all your spare change in it. Once it is full, break it open and use whatever funds you have saved inside to buy yourself a special treat.
  • Have an ‘at-home’ spa day with soothing music, a relaxing bubble bath and a nice glass of wine rather than paying for expensive spa treatment centres.
  • Organise a series of ‘host-at-home’ nights with friends rather than going out to expensive restaurants and bars. Rotating hosts means that for each week a household has to pay for food and drinks they get several nights out in return absolutely free.

Restoring Your Credit Score

The complex world of finance is ever-changing, though there are many aspects that remain the same. Credit scores continue to prove a source of both pride and embarrassment for consumers. In today’s economy, your credit score is a reflection of how well you manage your money, particularly your debt and payments. Credit card companies and banks use credit scores to determine a variety of factors, some of which include interest rates and loan qualifications. When you hold a low credit score, you may be faced with higher interest rates. Landlords may find tenants ineligible for lease if their score is too low. Don’t underestimate the difference between a high score and a low score.

If you do find yourself in a situation where you are overwhelmed by mounting debts, know that there is a way out.

Make Payments on Time

The best way to begin your plan of action is to begin making your payments on time. This is imperative for a good credit score. Payment history accounts for 35% of your total score – a significant representation. Once you are late on your payment, you may be tempted to skip it altogether in hopes of evening it out with double the payment next month. Avoid this. Pay the minimum due as soon as the money is available to you. Missed payments and those 30 days late can drop your credit score.

Check Your Report for Errors

Some of the financial world’s leading consumer reporting agencies offer customers a free copy of their credit report every year. Take advantage of this and find out where you stand. Request a copy and review it meticulously for errors. If you do find any, they must be corrected in haste. Get errors off of your record as soon as possible to see an improvement in your score.

Don’t Borrow Money You Don’t Need

Don’t be blinded by card holder perks. Today, the average American carries five to ten credit cards in their wallet, making temptation all too present. Whilst many stores will offer a discount for opening a credit account, doing so unnecessarily will only prove harmful down the line. You may think it harmless to carry card after card with you at all times, but holding too much credit can make lenders nervous. Avoid the trap.

Call Your Creditors

Certain life events like a job loss or illness in the family may make your monthly payments seem impossible. In this case, contact your creditors right away. Whilst there does exist credit counselling services to aid in negotiating lower interest or payment rates, consumers can avoid the third party and do it themselves. Call your card company and insist on speaking to a manager with the authority to hear your case. Explain that you are having financial troubles. Often, the manager will help you set up a lower payment plan, freeze the interest or perhaps even forgive some debt altogether. Debt recovery agencies like Wescot, based in the UK, can prove imperative in getting your financial affairs back in order. Follow them on Twitter for more about the company’s services. Professional help can be a wonderful resource when you are in over your head in debt.

Pay Off Your Balances

Once you’ve done all you can to negotiate suitable payment plans for your accounts, you must begin the arduous process of paying off your debts in their entirety. Pay off what you owe, sending in as much as you can to the card with the highest interest rate. Proceed by making the minimum payments on your other accounts. Boasting a zero balance on your credit card bills makes you much more creditworthy to lenders.

Start Carrying Cash

Whilst it is indeed tempting to avoid the ATM line at all costs, doing so can prove harmful to your bank account in the long run. Constantly failing to carry cash on your person opens the door for abuse of your credit card. Swiping your card at the check-out is much simpler than watching your hard-earned cash fly out of your hand. A wonderful way to cut down on debt is to avoid using credit altogether until you find a solution that works well for you. If it’s a self-control issue you are facing, consider storing your credit cards in a place where they are not easily reachable. Drastic? Yes, but sometimes necessary in our world of accumulating debt. Whilst you may be tempted to close out your accounts once they are paid, avoid this. Closing an account with which you hold a good payment history can do more harm than good. Simply cut up the card instead.

Create A Budget

Creating a budget for yourself is the single best thing you can do to keep yourself out of debt for good. The first step is to determine your total income, and next you determine your expenses. Once you’ve estimated your living expenses, you can then begin to chip away at the things that in hindsight aren’t so important. From cutting down on monthly trips to the salon to choosing a less expensive cell phone plan, there are myriad ways to trim your costs when attempting to clean up your financial act. A poor credit rating opens the door to a host of financial troubles, including high interest rates and the inability to secure low-cost loans. Adhere to your budget at all costs to ensure your future financial success.

How you can Save Money with Wescot

Given the current economic climate, everybody is trying to save money wherever they can. This does not mean that we have to stay in every night, too afraid to turn the light on, but it is surprising to see just how much money you can save by budgeting right, prioritising your bills and seeking out bargains. Wescot has put together this guide to help you save money and manage your financial position whatever that maybe. Get started by making a truthful evaluation of how much disposable income you have each month and go on from there.

Many people today are wrestling with debt. Read stories by Wescot to unveil how this debt recovery company attempts to help rather than punish customers and recover debt in a responsible way. Instead of pushing families who are already struggling due to pressure from the UK economy, this debt management firm tries to aid them wherever it can in an appropriate way that suits the individuals personal circumstances.

Budget Smart

It is impossible to see where you can save money without first putting together a sound budget, marking all sources of income against all outgoings. First, determine your total income by combining all sources of monthly income, including wages, benefits and any pension income. Next, make a conservative judgement as to how much money actually goes out on food bills, utilities, rent and other necessary costs.

You should also take care to include in your budget any expenses that don’t occur monthly. For instance, you know that every year, December is going to be expensive, so add Christmas to your budget. Other irregular expenses might include veterinary bills or vehicle maintenance costs. Expenses like these can be included on a monthly budget by determining their total annual cost and dividing it by 12.

Prioritise Bill Payment

After you create your budget and determine whether you have a budget surplus (money left over at the end of the month) or a budget deficit (less money than what you need), you may need to consider which bills should be paid over others. Some monthly expenses are more important to pay on time, such as a mortgage or your rent, since failure to pay these bills may result in losing your home. Other high-priority bills include council taxes, child maintenance, gas or electricity and the telephone.

Paying high-priority bills on time can save you a lot of frustration and money as you avoid fines, garnished wages and other costly consequences.

Help with Food Shopping

Once you have set up a budget and taken into consideration all of your monthly expenditures, it is time to sit down and work out how to cut back on the essentials. Take food shopping as an example, it is certainly a necessity, but cutting back is surprisingly straightforward.

Planning beforehand what you are going to eat for the week is one of the best ways to reduce your food bill, and creating a menu can be fun too while ensuring that you don’t always eat the same meals week in, week out. Knowing precisely what ingredients you are going to need before you go into the supermarket will stop you from frivolously picking up whatever you fancy as you walk down the aisles. You can also keep an eye out for special offers and plan meals around these deals.

Shop Second Hand

Shopping smart does not limit you to the supermarket either. Perhaps one of just a few benefits of the credit crunch has been the rise in second hand outlets, from clothing to electronic goods. Just because inflation has been increasing over the past seven years hasn’t stopped refrigerators breaking or clothes unravelling. There are plenty of avenues to go down if you don’t mind picking up a ‘pre-loved’ bargain, saving money and the environment as you go.

Charity shops, vintage markets and online websites are perfect for getting your hands on essential items, most of which are of good quality and for a fraction of the price you would pay brand new.

Stay on Budget with Cash

Spending cold, hard cash is much more difficult than swiping a piece of plastic through a card reader. As part of the budgeting process, you should assign yourself your week’s disposable income in cash in order to prevent overspending. Imagine walking into a shop on the Tuesday and spending your assigned cash on a new pair of shoes. For the rest of the week, you will have to stare into an empty wallet, which would for most people, be a bigger deterrent than just seeing a digitalised number decrease the next time you check the bank.

Biting the Bullet

Budgeting is not easy to begin with; it requires having to face a few hard truths about where your money goes, but by the time the next payday rolls around, you will thank yourself. Swallowing a little pride is a small price to pay when it comes to saving money, and the above examples should demonstrate just how simple it is to make cut backs without stopping you from enjoying yourself.

How to save more money

Whilst looking for ways to save money might not seem like the most exciting task, it can make your life considerably more enjoyable. A little extra money in the bank can help you in many ways, not least of which is paying off some of your debt. Companies such as Wescot are regularly approached via their page on the site Yell, by people who are finding it hard to keep up with their loan repayments. Addressing this type of issue can be quite stressful, and as such, it’s always a good idea to do what you can to save some extra cash, and put that towards your debts. Of course, additional money can also be useful for things like home renovations, car maintenance, holidays, birthdays, Christmas, as well as unforeseen costs which could result from things such as major vehicle or property repairs, or unemployment.

If you want to save money on a regular basis, it’s important to adopt the mindset of a saver; this means maintaining an awareness of your personal finances at all times, and regularly looking at ways to cut back, or get a better deal. If you’re naturally more of a spender, you might struggle with developing the saving mindset at first; to help you adapt, why not enlist the help of a frugal friend? Create a saving competition, and see which one of you can save the most money each month or week. If you know a group of people who want to join in, you could take it a step further, and set up saving teams, in order to make it more competitive.

Even if you don’t consider yourself to be particularly savvy when it comes to money, there are lots of easy ways to start saving. One of the simplest is to leave your debit card at home, and only use cash when you’re out shopping. This will ensure that you stick to the limit you have set yourself. It’s also important to stop viewing shopping as a way to cheer yourself up when you’re feeling down; ‘retail therapy’ will only provide a short-term boost of happiness, and will leave a big dent in your wallet over time. There are plenty of free ways to pick yourself up if you’re a bit stressed out; examples include getting a new book from the local library, taking a relaxing bath, or watching your favourite television show.

Of course, whilst it’s a good idea to cut back on frivolous shopping trips, being frugal doesn’t mean that you have to give up on fun days out entirely; just make sure that you look for events and activities which are affordable, and preferably come with a sizeable discount. Make use of discount websites like Groupon and Voucher Codes to source special deals on things like holidays, restaurants, beauty treatments and entertainment events.

In order to save, you should also take a close look at your current spending patterns. Creating a spending diary, and using a personal budget spreadsheet, is a great way to become more aware of how much you spend on a weekly or monthly basis. After you’ve gotten to grips with your habits, look at which shops and brands you tend to stick to, and consider whether you might be better off shopping elsewhere instead. Loyalty rarely pays off, and you might find that you can, for instance, save a lot of money by using the supermarket version of certain branded foods.

Whether you’re shopping in person or online, it always pays to compare prices before you make a purchase; particularly if you’re buying something quite expensive. There are plenty of comparison websites which can show you where to buy the cheapest broadband, insurance, or phone contracts. Some of these websites also allow you to compare supermarkets, and see which one will help you to save money on your weekly shop.

A lot of the time, a weekly shop ends up being costly, simply because of those little extra things that you’ve popped into your trolley; items such as cut basil and rosemary can often be surprisingly expensive. If you’ve got some time to spare, you might want to consider growing your own herbs in your kitchen. These potted plants often cost no more than a pound, and provided they are well cared for, they can provide you with delicious fresh herbs for months on end.

If you discover that some food items that you use regularly on special offer, you might want to consider buying the in bulk. Provided you’re confident that you will actually consume the food in question, doing this can save you quite a lot of money over time. However, even if an item is on special offer, you may still be able to find it cheaper elsewhere, so make sure to compare prices before committing to buying them. It’s also important to check the items’ expiry dates if you’re buying a large quantity, as otherwise, you may find that they go off before you have a chance to use them.

When buying products or services online, don’t forget to make use of cash-back sites. All you need to do is sign-up, and then click through the cash-back website to get through to your online shopping destination. When you then make a purchase, you’ll receive a small percentage of that money back. Do bear in mind that it can take anywhere from a few days to a few months for these savings to be made available to you.

You may also be able to make some extra money by selling the discarded items you have lying around in your home. A number of websites offer cash for clothes, CDs, DVDs and old mobile phones, which they then recycle. You might be surprised at how much cash you earn, simply by clearing out some of the clutter in your house.

How to Manage Debt

Being in debt can be a stressful and trying situation to face. Often as one debt is amassed subsequent debts are then entered into in order to pay off other financial commitments. This spiralling circle of debt is what causes financial breakdown and in the end it can be difficult to know where to turn. No matter how arduous the thought of combating debt may seem, it is essential to remember that there is no debt situation which cannot be remedied safely and in a controlled manner. There are a number of key techniques which can be used to manage debt, reducing it in a consistent and continual way until any and all required payments have been cleared.

Top Debt Management Tips

The hardest part of managing debt is knowing where to start. Sometimes there can be so much of it from so many different lenders that the task seems impossible. Thankfully, with some research and diligence, any debt can be tackled.

Some of the most effective approaches to debt management include:

  • State of Mind: The first step is to cultivate a positive frame of mind. This might seem difficult under the circumstances, but with the knowledge that any debt can be cleared safely, there should be a level of confidence in such efforts to reduce it. Denial is dangerous and should not be used as a comfort blanket. The only way to combat debt is to accept that it will take a long time, but knowing that each small step will bring the goal of being debt free that bit closer.
  • Creating a Budget: Anyone in debt needs to know their budget. This is the amount of money a person has available to deal with their debt situation each month. This should incorporate any income from an individual, their spouse, supplemental incomes and interest from any bank accounts accrued each year. By adding all of these totals together an individual has a budget figure for making any financial decisions including reducing debt.
  • Listing All Debts: One of the most effective techniques used against debt is list making. It might sound fairly undramatic, but lists allow for more organisation and a systematic approach to debt reduction. After creating a budget, the next list should involve listing all debt payments which need to be made each year. There will be two figures which will be needed for each debt: the minimum payment required and the total amount owed overall. These will be used in subsequent steps. By doing this, an individual should now have an idea of how much money they need to pay out each month in order to remain financially secure. Sometimes the amount owed will be more than is in a budget. If this is the case, then there are still financial actions which can be taken and will be discussed in subsequent steps below.
  • Making Sacrifices: Here, an individual should make two lists. One list is for necessities, everything which has to be paid each month. This includes all minimum debt payments, food, energy bills, rent, travel to work and any other outgoings which cannot be sacrificed. The second list is for everything else, known to be a luxury. This can include television packages, non-essential food and drink, hobbies – anything which can be sacrificed and is not required to live. When the necessities total is taken away from the available budget this provides an idea of how much money is left to pay off any debts. This will also provide a clearer picture of whether or not some luxuries can be maintained; however, it is always beneficial to clear debt as quickly as possible, so individuals should be strict within reason.
  • Prioritising Debts: Looking at all debts, list them from most expensive to least expensive on a monthly basis. The most costly debt each month is the debt which should be prioritised above all others. For every debt, an individual should pay only the minimum amount required, which usually does not reduce the debt and simply pays off the interest. This might seem like a bad idea as those debts will not be reduced; however, any money left over from the budget should now be put towards the most expensive debt. This means that with each payment, that debt will be reduced quicker. Once this debt has been cleared, the money saved should then be put towards the second most expensive debt. This is called “stacking”, and it is a very effective way to systematically manage several debts at once.
  • Alternatives: Looking at the necessities and luxuries lists, it is more than likely that cheaper alternatives can be found. This is often the case with food shopping and other unavoidable expenses. By planning meals, buying in bulk, and using cheaper brands, a good amount of money can be saved which can then be put towards debt payments.
  • Debt Advice: If debts are still too difficult to handle, then it is best to consult a free debt advisor who will be able to renegotiate debts on an individual’s behalf, in order to reduce payments to a more manageable level. Other resources include conscientious debt collection agencies such as Wescot, who will do their best to find the appropriate solution for anyone in debt they have been instructed to speak with.

Stay the Course

Debt management is all about consistency and organisation. It can be stressful, but any debt can be dealt with appropriately, either by the above methods or through contacting a reliable debt advisor. The main point to keep in mind is that every difficult journey starts with just one step. With discipline and hard work, anyone can become debt free in the long term, they just have to stay the course.

Wescot considers how frugal living can help reduce expenses

‘Frugal living’ is all about finding ways to keep waste to a minimum and keeping expenses as low as possible. An important part of it involves avoiding spending money for its own sake and about approaching decision making when it comes to buying goods and services in a restrained way. It can involve a smarter approach to shopping; about staying well informed on special offers and the best value services. On a practical level it can involve taking a long hard look at existing spending habits and looking for smart ways to improve those habits to make an existing budget stretch further.

All of this can be especially useful for anyone whose household expenditure tends to be higher than their income or who are struggling to repay household debts. Wescot is a member of the Credit Services Association and is committed to shaping best practice for the debt collection industry. A snapshot of the company is contained in online Wescot profiles. The company recognises the important role played by independent debt advisory bodies in helping consumers to deal with difficult financial situations – including ways to reduce the cost of living. Here, Wescot considers some of the ways in which outgoings can be reduced to help balance household budgets through frugal living.

Ways to reduce the cost of bills

With some services, there are so many different providers and price plans available, it can be difficult to identify the best deal. This is the case across a range of areas including car and household insurance, gas and electricity providers, credit cards, supermarkets, phone and broadband. With so much variation in costs, consumers may find that exactly the same service is available elsewhere for much cheaper. Price comparison websites are a very useful starting point when looking at essential services. They typically allow consumers to compare hundreds of different products to choose the best deals to meet an individual’s circumstances. In particular, there is often plenty of scope for savings to be made when it comes to broadband and mobile phones. Providers can sometimes be unhelpful when it comes to offering customers the right deals to suit their circumstances. As such, it pays to check phone bills regularly to make sure that call time, text allowance and data usage is not consistently above or a long way below the allowance included in the existing deal.

Ways of living more frugally when it comes to food and drink

Smarter grocery shopping and considering carefully what to buy can go a long way in helping a household budget stretch further. It can bring health benefits too – as it often means avoiding those types of products that are both expensive and unhealthy. Opting for supermarket own-brand and basic ranges is often a very effective way of producing significant savings. What is more, as is often demonstrated in independent consumer testing, supermarket brands are often shown to be just as good – if not better than some of the better known general brands. It is also worth looking for supermarkets that offer good rewards schemes.

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to food shopping is in ensuring that there is as little waste as possible so that perishables do not have to be thrown out before a family has the chance to use them. Drawing up a meal plan for the week should mean that a family buys only those things it needs and is not left with wasted food. This approach also means that it is easier to take advantage of the cost benefits that can be gained through buying in bulk. There is room here to be flexible – for example by taking advantage of special deals that supermarkets offer from time to time. It is important, however, not to be duped by special discounts such as buy-one-get-one-free offers. Remember that a deal is only a good one if it is for an item that is actually going to be used – not thrown away.

Ready meals may be convenient, but very often they are high in fat, sugar and salt. Buying the raw ingredients for a meal not only tends to be cheaper, it is usually tastier and healthier too. The tastiest meals do not necessarily require the most expensive raw ingredients either. For instance, instead of heading straight for prime fillets, look out for cheaper cuts of meat. When cooked slowly, these cuts can form the basis of an appetizing meal at low cost.

Frugal use of fuel

The rising cost of gas and electricity over recent times has meant that for many families, fuel bills make up a significant proportion of household budgets. Frugal use of fuel and simple adaptations to a home can help cut the cost of keeping a home warm. This can be as simple as turning down the heat by just a small amount; taking control of the thermostat and reducing room temperatures by as little as 1 degree C could have the effect of reducing heating bills by almost 10%. A large proportion of heat in a home tends to disperse through the roof. Installing roofing insulation or else bolstering existing insulation could result in significant yearly savings. Replacing an old boiler may involve a significant outlay, but the long term effects of greater efficiency may mean that that outlay is soon recouped in the form of much lower bills.