Running your own business can be a costly exercise, no matter how big or small it is. Luckily there are plenty of ways to cut costs down to make sure you’re not spending when you don’t have to.
Comparison is part of business and home life. Keep an eye out for special deals at the bank or building societies, for example, get free bank accounts for the first 24 months. Seek out the best broadband deals and mobile phone contracts to make sure you’re getting the added value from shopping around.
Yes, it continues to be headlines news: energy and fuel bills. We have to meet them, but as the costs have gone up, so we have to find ways to manage them. There are many ways to save energy in the office, you could install energy saving light bulbs or install a smart-meter which some of the “Big five “energy companies recommend. Tempt staff to switch off when they leave for the day by giving a prize out when quarterly bill goes down. It’s a win win.
The classic is leaving equipment on stand-by, so go on, turn it off and be kind to your business and the environment. Even self adhesive thermal strips around doors can keep out drafts which account for nearly 10 per cent of heat loss. Technology continues to help businesses in this area, so apply daylight sensors to lights to maximise the use of daylight which is free.
Travel costs and pooling resources
Many large corporate companies have car sharing schemes. It can be scaled up and down depending on size of business. Shared travelling is brilliant for saving on costly fuel consumption, and means fewer car parking spaces are required.
Conference calls are another way of cutting costs; why not check in with your clients on a conference video call? It’s almost as good as being in the boardroom without forking out on train tickets and petrol.
There’s a shift in thinking that small businesses have to buy all their own equipment, so join a small business consortium to share the expense.
Purchase second hand
Be clever, look out for second hand office equipment sales. Perhaps you’ll be lucky and find a couple of designer office chairs at knock-down prices. Business loans can help in the short term to get these essential things.
Today, perhaps more than ever, the gambling industry is willing to give money away to new customers in order to get them to sign up. Whatever site you’re thinking of joining you’ll find there’s free cash available. And if there is free cash up for grabs, and you’re going to spend money on gambling anyway, why not take advantage of these offers?
For example, if you enjoy casino games like roulette or blackjack, you’ll find that every casino sites offers new players a welcome bonus when they first make a deposit. On some sites the bonus level can be up to 200% or more, depending on how much money you first put down. It’s a way of getting us to spend more, of course, but as long as you are sensible with the amount of your own money that you put in, you can really increase the ‘bang in your gambling buck’ by cashing in on these kinds of bonuses. £30 will go much further than the original £10 you were planning to put in.
And if you enjoy having a bet on the horse racing or other sporting events like the World Cup or Wimbledon, there are always free bets to be had when you join a betting site too. For example, at Betfair at the moment, new customers who place a pre-match Sportsbook bet on any of the World Cup quarter-finals will have their bet refunded as a free bet if the game goes to extra time. And on top of that, Betfair is offering another free £50 matched bet which can be placed at any time. If you’re going to be watching France vs Germany on Friday this week, you may as well have a free bet on the match to keep things interesting. Mind you, if the game’s anything like the quarter-final between the same two countries in 1982 – an epic which led to the first penalty shoot-out in World Cup history – it should make for pretty interesting viewing with or without a bet on!
For those people who like to place sports bets as much as they enjoy playing gambling games online, the best solution is to find a site that offers a bit of everything, with a choice of games and a sports book as well. While you could in theory get better value out of opening a number of casino and betting sites accounts and taking all the bonuses you can, it becomes far too complicated keeping track of your spending that way. Far better to adopt a cleaner approach and have one account for all your gaming and betting spends in one place.
The golden rule to remember when gambling, of course, is that you shouldn’t play with money you can’t afford to live without. And if you can keep that in mind, you can’t go too far wrong.
Living in debt is never easy. Managing multiple payments and dealing with numerous creditors takes its toll on a debtor and can affect the whole family. To make keeping on top of your debt more straightforward, debt consolidation can be a lifesaver. One of the more popular debt consolidation loan options of the moment is to use peer-to-peer lending.
Peer-to-peer lending, otherwise known as social lending, works by bringing individual savers and borrows together to get better rates on their spare cash or debts. Debt consolidation loans at Zopa bring together lenders from all walks of life, from students and young professionals to pensioners and business owners. Borrowers in need of low rate loans are matched with savers who want high interest rates on their savings – both can make the most of rates they may not normally receive through a traditional bank.
A debt consolidation loan is one of the easiest ways to reduce your total debt cost. By taking a lump sum loan you can immediately pay off all your outstanding debts, leaving just the cost of one loan repayment to worry about each month from there on. With just one repayment, household budgeting is simpler and the cost of your total debt will be cheaper too. When paying the minimum payment for individual credit cards or hire purchase each month, you may be dealing with just the interest element of each debt. As soon as you consolidate your debt, you will only need to pay one, lower, interest rate on the full amount.
Peer-to-peer lending enables access to cash without even setting foot in a bank – a relief for those who have had stressful experiences dealing with finance professionals in the past. There’s a real sense of community when borrowing from your peers, for those who just hate traditional banking, its ideal. However you need to remember that with peer to peer borrowing it’s not suitable for everyone as there are tight criteria to fill.
Lenders must have a good track record of repaying debt in the past and need to be able to prove identity and a UK address history for at least 3 years. Using social lending providers like Zopa, you can apply online and have a team of underwriters make a decision for you in just 24 hours. If your application is successful your loan can be paid directly via BACS within just 3 days.
A bit about Zopa Peer-to-Peer Lending
Zopa is the leading social lending service in the UK. Launched in 2005, to date they have lent over £434 million with over 45,000 active lenders signed up and 71,000 borrowers. Social lending, also called peer-to-peer lending which you see referenced above, is the practice of lending money to unrelated individuals, or theoretical peers, but without either the lender or the borrower going through a traditional financial intermediary such as a bank. Zopa are one of the UK’s leading peer to peer lending sites, matching individuals willing to loan money with borrowers looking to borrow money for things such as debt consolation.
Zopa were voted Moneywise’s ‘Most Trusted Personal Loan Provider’ for the past 4 years.
The country is finally beginning to recover from the effects of the economic recession. It has been a long, hard slog, but things are improving and people are starting to think once more about building their savings instead of struggling to pay the bills every month.
According to NS&I’s Quarterly Savings Survey, the amount of money Brits are storing away has increased to over £100 per month. For last winter (2013), the average British saver put £101 aside – £3 more than they saved that autumn and £13 more than that spring.
In relation to income, women save a higher percentage of their salaries than men – 8.36% against 7.84% – and the overall trend is that saving levels are at their highest point for sometime (although shockingly almost a fifth of both men and women still fail to put regular money aside each month).
While saving levels being back on top is good news for everyone, the most important thing to consider is how you can keep them there.
It’s good to save
Putting money aside for a rainy day is something we all should do – but sadly not everyone lives by this simple rule and too many people spend everything they earn. Having a decent amount of savings in the bank will act as a safety net in the event something unexpected happens. After all, we never know what life is going to throw at us, so have you considered how you would cope if the car broke down or you lost your job?
Stick to a sensible budget
It is impossible to save if most of your income is frittered away on gym memberships, meals out, clothes, holidays and all the other things you can live without. If saving money is proving to be a tough cookie, you need to start budgeting.
Start by cutting back on luxury expenses and look for cheaper alternatives to your favourite hobbies. Invest in a second hand exercise machine to bring the gym into your home or go for long walks and runs in the outdoors for free. Limit the number of meals you have out to only cover special occasions and sell clothes you no longer want or need to afford new ones. You can also holiday with friends or family to cut costs on your trips away.
Set yourself a sensible budget that is manageable for your situation and invest excess money in a savings account. It’s important to be practical when setting your budget as trying to live on a pittance will only affect your chances of successful saving and thus impact your motivation.
Being in debt makes it difficult to put money aside for a rainy day. One way to minimise the impact of debt is to restructure it so that you pay less in interest. A consolidation loan is a good way of dealing with debt as it lumps small debts under one umbrella and reduces your monthly payments in the process. A poor credit history can make securing a consolidation loan difficult so you may want to consider guarantor loans such as those offered by Buddy Loans where a family member, friend or work colleague stands as guarantor for the money you borrow.
You can also use these loans for unexpected costs or emergencies – something which will stop you dipping into your savings and ruining all your hard work!