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Planet Rating is a free online resource for people seeking advice for their financial woes. More importantly, we shall help you get to the root of the problem.
It is our mission to help you become debt free by giving you all the information you will need to get your personal finances in order.
Struggling with debt is perhaps one of the most stressful experiences a person can have. Not only does it wreak havoc on your finances, but it will also do significant damage to the other aspects of your personal life. This is precisely the reason why you cannot delay. Procrastinating will only serve to exacerbate the problem.
This article presents important advice for anyone currently facing a personal debt issues and looking at the psychology of debt.
Get a Handle on the State of Your Finances
You have to face facts. You cannot avoid the problem any longer. At this stage, you will need to have a clear picture of your financial status. Get all the relevant financial documents together – overdue bills, credit card statements, bank statements.
From there you can work out how much you owe to whom. Once you know the scope of the problem, it is only a matter of working out the ways to fix it. This way you can work out your strategy and prioritize which debt to address first. So, just remember to take things in stride.
We cannot overstate the importance of facing your financial problems. After all, acknowledging a problem is the first step towards fixing it.
The average family spends more than £50 per week at the supermarket. That’s £2600 per year. Nothing to sneeze at by any measure. If there’s a bright spot, however, it’s that food costs are typically some of the most flexible of our essential expenditures. All that’s really needed to reduce the amount we spend on meals is a little imagination, a bit of flexibility and a willingness to try new things. These kind of saving can also help if money is tight. With so many people having credit card debt and many other types of debt to pay off every penny counts.
In this post we’ve compiled some of our favourite meal time saving tips.
Reassessing Your Approach
People tend to have a straightforward relationship with food, especially when it comes to meals prepared at home. They go to the supermarket, peruse the aisles for things that look good, wind up cooking the meals they always cook and leave leftovers in the fridge until they’re no longer edible and need to be tossed. We’re going to suggest you reassess this approach and then put some or (ideally) all of the following tips into practice. We’re confident that if you do you’ll save money and eat better.
- Buy in Quantity – If you have a large freezer always buy larger quantities of meat. For instance buy whole chickens instead of individual parts (legs, breasts etc). In fact buy 3 chickens and freeze 2 for later use (just make sure you use them). Buy a 10kg bag of rice instead of a 1 or 2kg bag. Buying in quantity is slightly different than buying in ‘bulk’ but we make the distinction because not everyone has access to one of those fancy-schmancy supermarkets where bulk is all the rage and the cashiers smell of patchouli oil.
- Plan Out Your Meals for the Week – By knowing what you’re going to be cooking you can do a more targeted shop when you finally get to the supermarket. If you shop without purpose you’re bound to pick up items that will languish in the vegetable draw until they’re soggy and black. When you know what your meals are going to be there’s less chance of purchasing items you’ll never use.
- Practicality: Thy Name is Slow Cooker – The slow cooker will let you get the most out of less expensive cuts of meat like roasts and bottom rounds. If you don’t have a slow cooker you should invest in one pronto. They’ll turn those once tough pieces of meat into something that will melt in your mouth.
- Increase Your Veggie Consumption – Meat is typically the most expense item in any recipe. If you swap out meats for plant based proteins once or twice a week you’ll enjoy significant food savings and be doing yourself a massive diet-based health favour at the same time.
- Show Your Leftovers Some Respect – Leftovers rock if you give them half a chance. Most of the time that leftovers fall flat it’s because they’ve been incorrectly stored. Instead of just gathering a bunch of leftovers onto a plate and then covering it loosely with tin foil and putting it in the fridge, invest in some of those nifty airtight plastic storage containers. This will keep the food fresh as can be for days.
- Don’t Cook Too Much Food – Hey everyone loves to present a bountiful table but sometimes it’s just a waste of food. Cook only enough for the people you know are going to be at the table and if someone else shows up, augment the meal with some of those nice fresh leftovers from your new airtight storage containers.
- Cook Down the Pantry – While this sounds like the title of a Country and Western song it’s actually an approach to food consumption wherein you challenge yourself to create meals using only what you have on hand. Chances are you’ve got the makings for several good meals sitting on your pantry shelf and in the back of your freezer. Put them to use once a month or so in order to save money and keep your food stocks fresh.
- Shop Sale Items – Something is always on sale. Before you get into the real meat of your list (pun intended) go check out the loss leaders to see what the supermarket would like to move. You’re likely to find at least some items that dovetail nicely with your meal plan and others that are close enough that you can just tweak a meal or two to make them fit. Always take advantage of sale items with long shelf lives like mustard, as long as those items are things you actually eat. If you hate mustard then obviously you’ll want to give it a pass.
- Eggies! – Now that we know eggs aren’t liable to kill you as easily as was previously thought we need to put them to good use. Eggs are a kind of miracle food really. Veggie omelets are a winner any time of day, egg sandwiches are a great little snack and a hard-boiled egg added to your salad provides a welcome shot of protein while being low in calories. There are few foods that are as versatile and affordable.
- Don’t Shop Hungry – An awful lot of what winds up being eventually tossed from the refrigerator started its relationship with you as an impulse purchase. And most impulse purchases are the result of shopping when you’re hungry. If need be eat a banana or a poached egg on toast before shopping. The tiny bit you spend on that snack could save you big on impulse purchases you would just wind up throwing away.
- Discount Cards! – Most supermarkets offer discount cards for their regular customers. If you shop in the same supermarket every week and you don’t have one you’re throwing money away.
Saving money on meals isn’t rocket science. But it can help you become more financially independent. It’s common sense and careful planning. It’s tossing out your set in stone way of doing things and looking at meals from a practical point of view. If you follow the above tips there’s a good chance you’ll not only save money, but you’ll have a more interesting and well balanced diet as well.
Summer holidays can be wonderful; sun, beautiful locations, a break from day to day life – but your finances can put a squeeze on the enjoyment. You can also check out some of this ultimate list of money saving tips for 2017 that will help you save more for that summer holiday. Consider these 11 great money saving tips for your travels to maximise your enjoyment while you’re away!
- Mobile costs
You’re likely to have heard horror stories about people who have used their mobiles abroad and returned home to find astronomical bills, mobile providers are more transparent about costs now – but it still pays to be careful. If you’re going abroad let your provider know, they can almost always provide an add-on that will save you a fortune. Don’t leave it to chance!
- Transport options
If you’re heading for an airport or holidaying in the UK there’s a good chance you’re going to need to book parking, train-tickets or taxi rides. Consider your options carefully, the car might look the best bet until you add airport parking charges on top – and the train can be very expensive unless you book early. Consider the most budget -friendly options such as the coach – you’ll get there on time and it’s a big money saver.
- Flying? Look at indirect routes
Flying direct might be the hassle-free way of doing things – but if you can deal with a change or a wait for a couple of hours then flying with a stop-off can really reduce the cost of your flights – sometimes up to £100 per person. If you’re booking online make sure you’ve unticked the ‘direct flights only’ box, or if you’re talking to a travel agent let them know you’re keen to keep the price down and see what they can suggest.
- Change your money early!
If you’re going abroad try as hard as possible to avoid changing money at the airport or using cash machines abroad. At airports you’re likely to be charged a ridiculous exchange rate – this is the price you pay for not planning, and it can be a big one.
- Watch those bag weights!
Be honest! What do you really need to take? The temptation is to pack for all eventualities, but most people come back from holidays having worn less than half of what they’ve packed. Checking in hold luggage can really bump the cost of flights up – so if you can stick to your carry-on allowance you’re going to be making a big saving. Don’t forget that any children flying with you can take a carry-on bag too, share all the space, you’re likely to have at least one person who travels light!
When you’ve loaded those carry-on bags check, check and check again that you’re within the weight limits. You can get a luggage scale for a few pounds and the cost for checking a bag into the hold on the day can make your eyes water, so don’t leave it to chance.
- Wear and re-wear
It’s understandable that with the sun beating down you’ll want a fresh clothes for the following day – but rather than taking your risks with luggage weights – pack some travel wash. For a couple of pounds you can do a quick hand-wash of the clothes you’ve worn during the day – and if you’re somewhere warm, they’ll be dry in no time.
- Take a picnic!
We’re not suggesting that you pack a week’s shopping into your luggage! But taking some sandwiches with you to the airport can really save money. If you’ve ever eaten at an airport or on a plane you’ll know that the prices can be hugely inflated compared to what you would expect to pay elsewhere – in some instances a light lunch for a family of four can total upwards of £35.
You won’t be able to take bottles of fluid into departures – but you can take a couple of empty bottles that you can fill with water when you’re checked-in. Airports and planes are money making machines too – so be wary.
- Self-catering? Avoid unnecessary little costs.
Going self-catering can reduce the cost of your holiday from the outset, but it might mean spending on lots of things that you have sitting at home. It’s unlikely you’ll go through a full bag of coffee, tea, sugar and salt while you’re there – so take some with you.
- Book a car very carefully
There are often tempting offers on rental cars when you’re booking your holiday – but be warned, the costs can mount up incredibly when you’re trying to drive it away. If you’ve paid for the car upfront you’re still likely to need to pay for a full tank of fuel before you get the keys, on top of that, there can be additional insurances, mileage limits and road toll charges.
Research carefully and ask people about the experiences they’ve had, it’s not uncommon for unexpected rental charges to run into the hundreds.
- No car? Go by foot!
When you’re at your destination you can really trim back on costs by staying local and walking to where you’d like to go. Return tickets on a bus each day can mount up – it’s money that’s better in your pocket, and you’ll walk of any extra holiday calories you’ve been tempted by! If you’re staying in a city, walking can help you stumble across hidden treasures and amazing undiscovered places.
- Hungry? Take a few more steps!
As you stand marvelling at the beautiful view or site that stands before you you’ll probably catch the scent of a lovely coffee shop or restaurant strategically placed to draw you in at the most breath-taking points in your holiday. Resist and your wallet will thank you!
You’re almost always charged a hefty premium for eating or drinking in that prime location, so walk a few hundred metres and watch the prices drop significantly… Not sure if you’re in a ‘touristy’ café? If there’s pictures of the food on the menu they’re catering for people unable to read the language and the answer is probably yes!
- Check for apps!
Have a look for free money saving apps that are relevant for your location. Whether you’re in the UK or abroad there are thousands upon thousands of buy-one-get-one-free offers on meals, drinks, day out, attractions, museums and much more. Check some apps and see if there are deals in your planned location.
Enjoy your time!
Going on holiday is an ideal way to unwind, but don’t let worry about the spiralling cost ruin your enjoyment. It’s easy to get carried away, so keep a budget in mind to avoid worrying about debt when you return.
There is perhaps no situation more stressful than knowing that you have a personal debt problem. Tension is naturally high when the bills, mortgage, and bank notices start piling up. After all, you stand to lose everything you have ever worked for. This is why its imperative that you seen professional debt help and advice should issues arise. If you dont then not only your financial health will suffer, but potentially your physical health also which has been outlined in this article 7 ways debt can make you feel sick.
This article presents a few things you need to do if you ever find yourself in such a situation where your debts are getting out of control.
Keep Calm, Know Your Situation
The important thing to do in this situation is to not panic. You have to approach your debt problems with a level head, try and stay calm and seek advice for experts. There is a lot of help out there for people in these situations. You can also find lots of useful tips and help online.
Also dont be scared to speak to your family, its important that everyone knows your situation. If you’re struggling with work you may also want to make your manager or HR team aware of your current situation. As your employer may also be in the position to help you, whether it be giving you time off or offering additional support.
The first thing you need to do is get a concrete idea of the scope of your debt problem. Take time to review all relevant financial documents. This is crucial so that you can plan your strategy accordingly. This should also include all your existing income and expenditure, including secure and unsecured debts. Its also a good idea to have the contact deaths of each of your creditors at hand as if you apply for an IVA then these details would be required.
Stick to a Budget
Making a budget and sticking to it is the next crucial step. When crafting the budget, you should also ensure that you incorporate your debt repayment plan. Check out this article which includes a list of budgeting tips that can help you get back on your feet. Remember that overspending is how you got to this point in the first place. So, take care to avoid making the same mistake.
These two things are crucial if you want to solve your personal debt problems. So, make sure to remember them.