If you have spent any time in America you will be fully aware of the events that surround Thanks Giving and one of the most shop-aholic days of the year. Black Friday is said to indicate the start of the holiday season and with this comes many sales and offers in the shops.
Black Friday was traditionally an early morning dash to the shops to get the best deals that you possibly can, but in recent years the opening times of shops have changed and there is the chance that stores in your area might be opening their doors on the evening of Thanks Giving. This will mean that it will spread the visitors to the shops and it might stop some of the problems that have been associated with this day.
The trend for Black Friday is migrating too, it used to be something that just happened in America but some other countries are too trying to join in.
The last few years there has been an increase in the amount of advertising and trying to push the date in England. We don’t understand the concepts of the day or understand the purpose because we don’t celebrate Thanks Giving.
Understanding Black Friday
But understanding is more about having another great shopping experience it is about what the day actually means.
- Black Friday isn’t a federal holiday but it is often grouped together with Thanks Giving and the weekend to give an extended holiday period before the Christmas season begins.
- Cyber Monday is now building speed. The Monday following Black Friday is quickly becoming known as Cyber Monday and is the start of the crazy on-line holiday season, it is a great way to get the deals that they might have missed out on in the mad rush on Black Friday.
- The colour black has been used on many different occasions to describe different days and they are normally days that something bad has happened. Like the crash of the financial markets on Black Monday 19th October 1987, Black Tuesday 29 October 1929, and the Black Friday market crash on September 24th 1869. The only explanation for the colour is many shops have indicated that this is the time of the year that shops start to make money and they are no longer in accounting terms in the red, and is one of the reasons that it is called Black Friday.
- It is always the first Friday after Thanks Giving, which is always the fourth Thursday of November. It is unclear as to when the tradition was first started because the Pilgrims ate a Thanks Giving meal and had a few days of feasting but also President Lincoln declared that there should be a day of Thanks Giving during the civil war of 1863.
- There are more fires relating to cooking on Thanks Giving than any other day of the year. The health and well-being of your family should come before cooking your dinner.
Black Friday plan
What you must remember if you are going to go out spending on Black Friday that you need to be prepared. There are going to be a lot of people out shopping on this day and if you are prepared to go out and search for a bargain it is a good idea to have a budget and a plan what you are looking for.
Working out how you are going to pay for any item is vital; it means that you have thought about the item in question, you have worked out the maximum that you are willing to pay for the item. You are going into the throng of shoppers prepared.
It is not a good idea to go shopping on days like these without a plan, it can mean that you are lead into temptation for an item that you might not want or even need.
- Make a plan
- Make a budget
- Have fun
It is going to be an experience that you might wish you had missed if this is the case then it might be better to join the trend of Cyber Monday instead.
Causing financial hardship is not something that you should be considering even if it is the most sort after item this year. You need to consider the merits of purchasing each item that you are considering and only placing that item in the must have category because it will benefit your life in some way. If you are looking at making money and you have seen the item that you have been looking for and you know that it is something that you have been considering and you can get the item at a good price then you might need to consider braving the elements and the crowds to get this item. But be warned there is potential for serious damage to your person at some of the shopping centres that you might visit and you need to take all the areas under consideration before you take the plunge.
Black Friday caution
There are reports every year of personal injury of one form or another on Black Friday. The crowds can be very large and the usual calm seems to get left at home, it is like a fight to the death just over an item, it might be cheaper and you might think that it is worth the trouble, just make sure you have thought the product through and it is what you need and want.
If you are looking for a book with loads of new information then you will be disappointed. As with many books on saving money, there are only so many ways in which you can reduce your monthly outgoings and increase your income.
The ISBN: 9781847945969 priced £5.99
This book was published in 2011 and is marketed towards the UK savers. The setting of the book is quite unusual in that it gives plans to work towards each month to reduce the costs of your home.
The first section looks at the finances and states that whatever month you pick up the book you need to address finances first. This is great advice, you need to look at the money that you have got coming into the home and going out and truly understand this before you can hope to finds ways that shows you are saving or making more money.
The rest of the book is broken down into months and you can look at focusing on a few small tasks each month to change. At the end of the day they might make a difference in someone’s life and this is always a positive thought.
It is going to give you something new to think about with your finances each month and this can keep you going implementing the changes that you need to make your money work hard for you. It is not going to be a quick and easy task each month and with it split over the course of the year it will keep the ideas flowing, but this can work in the opposite direction too. It can mean that you forget the important messages in the book because you have to go back to it each month and then do something else and this could make you less likely to complete all the tasks that are there and this can be a waste. The tasks that might benefit you might not appear in the months that you have completed and this could mean missing some vital information.
But all the information that is in the book could have probably been found just as easily on-line. This is the most important thing with most non-fiction books, this information is there and it can be got with little to no thought and you can do this for free. The appeal of non-fiction books has to be how the information is laid out to the reader and if this has not been successfully completed then it can have a negative impact on the way the book is perceived by the public. It is going to be a difficult decision to get right and I am not convinced that this books layout will attract the readers that really need the help with straightening out their finances.
Finances and personal budgeting is not something that is taught very often in schools and yet we expect our youngsters to learn these skills in a world that is full of increasing spending and paying back that money over long periods of time. What hope have we got that this is ever going to be a possibility when we target the young adults in this way, and the teaching information doesn’t go far enough. There are some young adults who have large disposable incomes and they are being left without the training or the knowledge to know what they should be doing. I think this book has a place in the market but I wonder if that place is changing each day that by spreading it out over the course of the year the information will not be challenging enough. There needs to be more to help those that are going out into the world, they are less prepared and look to short term loans to get the latest technology without having to spend time saving and making sure that the money that they are making is being put to good use. Instead it is being used to line the pockets of those companies that are springing up with short term loans and high interest rates.
It is a great book and one that is filled with many different tips and it might be one that you dip into to get the odd idea from. Again I feel if the index was changed and it was designed more for the dipping in for information then it would give that advice that was relevant at that time. The key at the moment is focusing on getting people to realise that there is another way than debt. It might be difficult and challenging but it is one challenge that you should be considering and this might mean that you take this book and use it to go through the tasks and challenges as the need arises and not wait until the month that it has been scheduled.
It is relatively cheap to purchase and along with the high quality book it is one that you might like to try for some money saving tips and ideas. This could be a great book to break the ice with a loved one over how they are managing financially and to get them to talk and open up.
Money might not make people happy but without it life can be more difficult to live and this is why it is important that we should be teaching and talking about money and the best way to use it so that you are not living in an environment where using credit is the normal. It has to look at the value of money and what we are teaching others. It is not about keeping finances bottled up, yes they are private and yet if you don’t talk about how to use them then the next generation is going to be in an even worse mess than the generation that is living in a land of easily gained short term credit options.
But this book does fit a market and one that is ever changing so even though some aspects might not be the trend at the moment, it might help someone change for the better.
I am going to be actively seeking out this author to see how they have developed since this book was released. How they have altered their writing to fit with the modern world.
If you are looking for inspiration for your budget then this article might just be what you are looking for. It is full of inspirational ideas that will jog your memory, there is nothing worse than completing a budget and getting the figures just right and then remembering yet another bill!
There are some items that I totally agree with and others can be done without, but that is just my opinion on categories that you must include in your budget. What is important is remembering all those little bills that crop up over the year, so you are ready for them and prepared with the money when the bill arrives.
I have a separate account that I transfer all the money that I save up for bills each month and then when the bill arrives I have the money waiting. How do you store you bill money?
The most overlooked area when you are preparing a budget is the daily incidentals. It is a really important aspect that you must take into account. If you are looking to cut back your spending this is normally the first area that gets trimmed and this is alright, within reason. It is important that you build into your budget a small amount of money each week that you can spend on what you want. It is your money to waste and that way you can budget for that bar of chocolate or your favourite cup of coffee but it must be just a treat, something to make you feel good inside.
The article highlights another important area for budgets that are often forgotten, entertainment. It is important that you consider the time that you go out each month. If you factor in an amount each month or every other month a little bit of money so that you can have some time for fun. This will give you the chance to work out the budgeting blues. It can be very difficult to stick to a budget especially if you are trying to reduce debt, but it helps if you can have some money that will allow you to let your hair down if only for a night.
You might find that you become an expert in finding free ways to have fun. It is important to talk to your close friends and tell them that you are trying to save money. Those that understand and want to stick by you through the difficult times are truly great friends.
Subscriptions and memberships
Subscriptions and memberships are important and you must budget for these expenses as they can be quite large. But if you are looking for areas where you can cut back this area is one of the first areas that you should consider.
Do you use the gym membership that you are paying for? Work out how many times you have been to the gym in the last month and work out how much each of those sessions cost you. The more that you have used the gym the better the value you are getting for your money. But there are many people that are paying the gym membership and haven’t stepped in the gym for months. But beware many gym memberships can be difficult to just stop paying it is important that you read the agreement that you signed, you might need to give notice before you can cancel your membership. If you need to give notice make sure that you use it, you are paying for the membership you might as well use it.
You might be paying for a magazine that you no longer read, if this is the case then think about cancelling that too.
The article mentions a few sections that I tend to club together, these include travel and parking expenses. It can be difficult to judge how much you will need unless you spend the same amount each week on travel and parking. But remember to put in extra into this category if you plan to have a shopping trip. That way you will not need to take money out of your budget for the shopping trip to pay for fuel and parking.
Birthdays and holiday presents
This is one area that I have a set amount that I pay into each month and if I have any spare money it will normally go here. This is because no matter how organised you are there are always the little extra items that you need and this is always handy to have the money ready and waiting. My holiday fund and birthday fund is never empty it is an on-going account that I just pay into every month, and if I see something that is suitable for a present then I normally have the money already saved. If it is more than I have got saved then I just won’t buy the gift.
Banking and safety deposit boxes
This is an expense that is going to be something you just have to budget for. If you can take out your money from ATM’s that are free this is always a great option, but there are always going to be expenses that you will have to pay and if you budget for them then this will make it easier.
This is one area that I don’t budget for and I think it would be difficult to work out the areas where the money would need to go, apart from in the grocery area. If I have money over each month from the groceries it will just accumulate and this always covers for the extra groceries that we need. As for the extra on the electric and the other household bills I really wouldn’t know what to add to those. This has made me think and now I might need to adjust my budget to take into account of these increases.
For me irregular expenses come into a different category, the article uses the example of going to a wedding, I would put these expenses in the travel and gift area. For me irregular expense comes from my flexi budget, I put an amount into my budget and if an irregular expense comes up I have the money and if I think that it is going to become regular I would then start to include it in my budget, but if it is purely a one off I don’t bother.
The article just mentions car registration, for me it will also include insurance, maintenance and car service payments to. I know that if I save this money over the year I can save money because I pay it off in one payment and I can save on the interest that many companies charge for monthly payments, like insurance.
For me all these are in separate categories to, I know how much certain items are going to be and this makes it easier to budget. The ones where you just can’t work out I look at the previous year and then divide this amount by 12 and just start saving.
This category is really important; you need to make sure that you have money put aside so that you can take care of your pets. Our vets have just started a pet care plan and it saves money each year, I save around 20% of the costs by getting their flea, worm and injections paid for each month. But I still budget for their food and any other problem that might arise. You might want to include pet insurance to in this section.
This category is important and if you add a small amount each month it will mean when you need to replace an item of clothing you will have the funds there ready. If you have children the amount that you need for clothes can vary with certain times of the year more expensive than others. It will depend on your personal circumstances as to the amount that you need, but normally it is not as much as what you might think. It is easy to cut back in this area if you are looking to make savings in your budget.
If you need to make payments to your family then it is important that you take this into consideration when budgeting. As the article points out sometimes this is taken directly from your wages, if this is what happens for you then leave this out of your budget.
If you own your own home one area that is always forgotten is the up keep of your home. You will need to have a budget in place that will allow you to improve your home with decoration or when you need to put things right when things break. If you have a budget for this, even if you don’t use it each month it will mean that you are prepared for the expense. This is a good point in the article but I like to take this a step further. I have a section in my budget where I save for my boiler and its annual service, I have a section for decoration, a garden budget and finally my white goods budget, here I save money each month for when they wear out and need replacing.
It is important that you support a charity if you can, many charities wouldn’t survive without some form of support.
This article is great for making you think about the different areas that are required when you are making a budget. It makes you think about the areas that sometimes get missed off and yet can be vital if you want an accurate budget.
It is important that you consider all your options at this time of the year, the festive season is creeping steadily closer and this means that there are more people looking to purchase goods for friends and family. But before you turn to your old faithful credit card could you be getting a better deal from another supplier that gives you more in return for your money than what you are getting now?
There are many offers that are calling out for your attention and you might find that you can find a great deal that might save you money or even make you money.
What you must realise that if you are going to apply for a credit card that it will appear on your credit file, it doesn’t say if you were accepted or declined but having multiple credit checks will lower the rating on your report. It can affect the offer that you will receive from the credit card company. In the small print you can see something like 8.99% – 20%, this means that you are not guaranteed to get the lower number and you might end up with the higher APR on your offer. The chance of the lower figure offer diminishes if you have a poor credit rating, this can mean that a card looks good on paper but in reality it might not be such a good deal.
What you can do is to check your credit rating before you start applying for any form of credit and when you actually find the card that offers you the best deal then apply for this one. It is important that you do your homework first.
You will be bombarded with lots of different options from companies that are all trying to pull you into their product and they imply that they offer the best deals for your money. What you need to consider is if the product and the free offer that they are giving away is going to be beneficial to you, there is little point accepting a credit card that is giving away options that can mean free travel if you hate going on holiday, it is a waste of a free product, you will want to tailor the research to something that you are going to use and this will see that you are getting the best option that is right for you and your new card meets all of your needs.
If you are struggling to cope financially it doesn’t make sense to get into further debt, you should be looking at ways in which you can decrease the debt that you owe and a great way to do this is to find cards that offer a balance transfer, ideally you will want an option that is 0% and this will mean that you are not paying any interest for a set period of time. But check out how much they will charge you and add onto the debt that you owe with the fee that they charge. This is normally presented in a percent of the amount that you are transferring; you will have to work out the figure that they are charging for the service that they are offering. Once you have this figure then do the same with all the credit cards to see which company is offering the best deal. You might be surprised at the results that you find.
There are many different offers that are current at the moment and this list below just represents just a fraction of what is on the market.
Chase freedom Visa: This credit card is offering $100 cash back after spending $500 in the first three months of the card being activated. As well as getting cash back every quarter. The great news is that there is no annual fee for the card and they are offering 0% APR for the first 15 months for both purchases and balance transfers before the APR goes up to 13.99 – 22.99 APR. The value that you are offered will depend on the circumstances of your credit file, to get the great rates you will need to have a good credit rating.
Chase sapphire preferred: This card has an annual fee of $95 and the interest rate is 15.24%. There is no introductory offer for the interest rates but if you spend $3000 in the first three months you can get a 40,000 bonus points and this equates to $500 towards travel that you can take.
Marriott rewards premier credit card: This card has an annual fee of $85 and the interest rate is 15.24% again there is no introductory rate for this card but they have a great deal that you can earn 50,000 pints if you spend $1000 in the first three months and you also eligible for one free night stay in one of their hotels.
First national bank maximum rewards: This platinum addiction card has no annual fee but it does offer an introductory offer of 0% APR for 5 months on purchases and 12 months for balance transfers before increasing to 11.99% APR.
British airways visa signature card: This card has an annual fee of $95 and an annual interest rate of 15.24%. So the rates are not great but then this card has some great features if you are a traveller, it offers no foreign transaction fees when you use the card aboard and also you are able to earn bonus points too.
Capital one venture one rewards credit card: There is no annual fee for this card and the introductory 0% offer until 2014 before going up to 11.9 – 19.9 %APR. The great thing about this card is the 1.25 miles that you can earn for every single dollar that you spend on the card.
Chase sapphire: This card offers 10000 bonus points if you spend $500 in the first three months of the card being activated, this equates to $100 dollars. The interest rate is around middle of the road and stands at 15.24%.
Capital one quicksilver cash rewards credit card: There is no annual fee for this card and you can get a 0% APR until November 2014 for purchase and credit transfers. You can also get a $100 bonus if you spend $500 in the first three months.
Journey student rewards from capital one: This credit card has no annual fee and the interest rate is 19.8% APR. But this card is designed for students who want to start building a credit file that has some positive impressions.
Partners first reward visa card: This card has no annual interest fee and the 0% APR introductory offer is for six months on balance transfers, after this it can go up to 8.99 – 18.99 % APR the rate that you will be offered will depend on your credit rating at the time that you apply for the card.
Which card will you choose this year and why?
There are many banks in the UK that are fighting for their customers and they are doing this by offering new customers some great deals, and now that you can change banks in just 7 days it is a great time to get the service that you deserve and any perks that are being offered.
But before you jump straight into a move you must consider your financial position and to make sure that you are not about to re-mortgage your property or need a new loan, changing banks when these are just coming up might not be in your best interest. The reason for this can be your credit file, if you have applied for a new current account and you need to have an overdraft facility this will have required the bank to check your credit report and even though it can be great any new deals on their will have an effect for a few months at least.
Some of the banks seem to be throwing money at new customers and this can be great news but you will need to make sure that you follow all the terms and conditions carefully because you will not want to jeopardise your chances of claiming the money offered.
Some of the best deals that are around at the moment include:
First Direct – they are offering a £100 when you switch to them. There is no monthly fee with this account but there are restrictions that you must meet if you are hoping to secure the cash back offer. You will need to pay a £1000 into the account every month and sometimes this payment in must come from an outside source.
Santander – they are offering a 3% cash back offer on all the household bills that you pay including 1% cash back on their own mortgage too. Their catch is a minimum payment into the account of £500 per month and there is a £2 per month charge for the account.
Halifax – are offering with their reward current account the chance to make £160 over the course of the first year of banking with them. You are able to get this amount of money because when you switch you are automatically given the £100 switching bonus but this account also pays you £5 per month and this means over the course of the first year you have made £160. But, you must pay into the account £750 per month and have at least 2 direct debts set up and coming out of that account each and every month.
NatWest – select account is a free account but you can earn 1% cash back. This is with their debt card, you need to register the card and then in certain shops you will find that you earn cash back which you can have paid directly into your current account. The nice thing with this account is you are not tied to the amount that you have to pay in each month to receive the benefits there is no minimum.
Nationwide – This is a fee paying account and it is going to cost you £10 per month for the benefits of this account but it offers some great deals that if you purchased them separately then they would cost more than the £120 that the account costs. The other bonus of this account is the interest that you are able to get it is a whopping 3% on balances less than £2500. This is staggering because at the moment many savings accounts are paying out less than 0.1% in interest.
Co-operative bank -If you are looking for an account that is ethical in their approach then you might choose an account from the Co-op. This company has always focused on getting the fair deal and this is true for their banking too. You need to pay in £800 per calendar month to qualify for their current account.
Consider your options
As with all financial products you will need to look at the company that offers you the best deal for your money. Some banking companies will suit your needs better than others and you will need to take these individual requirements into your equation when you are deciding which current account is right for you.
You will need to be cautious as to the bank that you choose to use because if you swap accounts too frequently this will have a negative impact on your current credit situation. It is important that you look at all your options available and make sure that you apply for the one account that best suits your needs. You need to consider the overdraft facilities that the bank offers and the charges that they will make if you go over drawn. Because at first glance the Halifax account might look great with the potential to make £160 in the first year but if you are a frequent user of an overdraft facility any of the benefits of the account will quickly be taken up by their charges. You are looking at a minimum daily charge of £1 up to £3 if you are within your authorised limit this goes up to £5 per day if it is an unauthorised overdraft.
As with the financial difficulties that many of the UK banks have been facing over the last few years it is a good idea to check that you are not going to transfer to a bank with bad service and the potential to cause more problems. It is always a good idea to research the potential bank that you are thinking about transferring all your banking to. This will ensure that the customers that are already a part of that bank think that it is a good place for you to put your money. If you don’t like any of the local banks then your final option might be to check out your local credit union.
There are many of these popping up all over the UK and they offer some great ways to have accounts and not to be profiting some big banking organisation. They are non-profit organisations that are run for those people that invest their money with them. They are a great way to grow savings and to borrow money too.
Whatever option that you choose it is important that you think carefully before making your decision.
As always please comment below if you have any further insights into the UK banks that are offering something more for their customers.
There are many sites on the financial market are warning about the pressure that the UK is facing and how there might be more to the problems than many people are realising.
Is it possible that the economy in the UK might be on the verge of collapse? What is the likelihood that the economy will fall into a more difficult situation than what it already is? Many experts are warning that the markets in the UK are about to hit even bigger problems than what they are experiencing at the moment.
All the services that are run by the government in the UK would face the prospect of become sold off or discontinued. This would enforce the large dispersal of civil servants and the chances of these people being able to find work will be limited. Employment would decrease and the strain on the government would increase as people would seek the support in benefits to help them get by.
How will it affect the lives of the people?
But how will it affect the people that are living in the UK? At the moment the government are trying to save money but the problem is getting worse and not better. How can the ordinary people of Britain are expected to budget and manage their money when the government has not managed this task either. It is not just the UK that is trying to manage with ever increasing costs and trying to balance the books. The world is living in an imaginary world where borrowing money has become a norm and this had had an effect on the world that we are a living in.
How would people’s lives improve when the world in which we have spent the last 15 years of low interest rates will crash and the ordinary person will not be able to afford the debts that they have been able to obtain? There would be even more of a crisis with people being unable to afford life’s essentials and the possibilities of having luxuries would be a thing of the past.
There are thousands of people that are only managing to survive and are being trapped into the payday loan lenders because there is no other alternative. But what will happen to these people if the banks start to fail and the government can’t afford to bail them out this time? How much money will the general population lose?
If the banks start to fail then this will have a knock on effect to the stock market, the prices will crash and people’s investments will be wiped out, sending more people into a life without money with which they had built up there investments. It is those banks that have taken on large debts from some of the countries that are in the throes of financial crisis like Ireland and Greece.
These are just the beginning of what some people are considering to be the beginning of the financial crisis and not the end which many have hoped for. The bonds and the gilts that are provided by the governments seem riskier by the day. If the American government hadn’t agreed with their budget and raised the debt ceiling, they might have been facing the first default in their history in not paying the interest and the payments on some of the bonds that they had issued.
For many people around the world they are intense at following the volatile markets of the UK but are they forgetting some of the other debt laden countries that are looking very shaky at the moment with high debt to the ratio of money that the country can hope to generate with the worst country being Japan which holds the biggest debt in the world.
But it seems that governments around the world need to stop borrowing money at the rate that they are because if the interest rate was to rise then the payments that they have borrowed are going to sky rocket out of control. These governments that have enticed voters with the promise of better life and services and to pay for these they borrowed and they have borrowed at some low rates that have meant that they have had low interest payments to make. But what happens when the rates go up what will happen to these governments then?
Is the banking bubble set to burst again and are the banks going to get the rescue package similar to what many have had before? If banking institutes fail what is the best place to have your money? Is it going to be safer in the smaller institutions like credit unions? These can only be speculations as many people just don’t know what will happen if the banks around the world start to collapse. Would large amounts of money be stored in less secure places or would the value of money in general fall?
What should you be watching:
- stock markets
- pressures outside the markets that can have an effect on the markets
What to do
It is not a message to scare people and to tell them to withdraw from the stocks and shares in some of the countries that might be part of a ticking time bomb but to act with caution and to get advice from the professionals. Make sure that you are paying for the right advice, one that has looked at your portfolio and have listened to your concerns as to what might be the best course of action.
There are some people that follow the advice of to leave your money and you should expect for the ups and downs in any investments but there is a time when you need to consider if losing the capital that are invested in some of the areas that have the potential to burst is the right thing for you to do.
There are many reasons and the needs to be considered on an individual basis and it is going to have to be your own decision as to what you do with your investment portfolio, it might be the time to perform a view to make sure you are heading in the right direction.
What are your thoughts with the potential crisis that is seemingly being hinted at in the financial news?