How much debt do you have?

Most of us are managing debt of one form or another, but often we don’t appreciate the scale of it, or the variety. It builds up – a store card here, a credit agreement for a new computer there – and before you know it, you’re in trouble. 

Take me for instance, which we should, as I created this blog especially so that I could be the centre of attention at all times. I don’t think of myself as having a lot of debt; I don’t have a mortgage, I’ve paid off my student loans, (woohoo!), and I don’t have any store cards. Brilliant! And then I remembered that I have a few thousand pounds left on a loan from when I bought a new car a couple of years ago. Not so debt free now am I? And then there’s my new Mac, which I bought on credit a couple of months ago – I have 10 months left to pay that off in full. Oh, and I have a couple of credit cards don’t forget – they don’t have much on, but maybe a couple of hundred pounds each. And then there we are, approaching the £5,000 mark, without even trying.

My point is that debt can creep up on us, and it’s very easy to get in trouble without even realising it, which is why PayPlan have put together a very simple online test to see how well you’re managing your debt and to help you spot any danger signs. PayPlan has been offering free, comprehensive advice, guidance and support for anyone struggling with debt since 1992, so they know what they are talking about.

You know I love a test, especially if it involves a certificate, (which this one doesn’t I’m afraid, but that’s no reason not to make your own), so I got stuck in.

You can take the test yourself here. Do it now, and then come back so we can compare results. View Post


saving tips Aviva

So last week I did this quiz.

It was put together by Aviva, and the idea behind it was to make you think a bit more about your attitude to savings. My result came out as ‘The Enlightened One’ – I apparently have a good instinct for saving, but run the risk of being a bit complacent about it.

I think this sums me up pretty well. I know that I could do most things, if I chose to put my mind to them, it’s just that most of the time I choose to let things tick along as they are and sit down and watch repeats of Alan Partridge instead.

It’s not that I’m lazy…

Heck, who am I kidding? I so am. View Post


financial personality quiz Aviva


You know I love a quiz.

Ideally it’s maths based, with a certificate at the end, and the heartfelt praise of a teacher, but anything will do. The quiz I took I about my potential adult ADHD was a bit scary, but we’ll brush over that one.

A few months ago I did a big overhaul of my pensions. I had accumulated seven separate pots from various jobs, and wanted to get them all in one place so that I could keep an eye on them properly without needing an entire filing cabinet. As part of the process of choosing how to invest, my financial advisor made me do a quiz about my attitude to risk. At the end she was very impressed. Apparently I had one of the highest scores she had ever seen. I’m not sure this is necessarily a good thing when it comes to planning for your retirement, but it’s fun. Fingers crossed for me for the Japanese small company market.

I was very excited then to have a go on the Aviva financial personality tool. I think a lot of us go through life without paying a lot of attention to exactly how we manage our money, other than whether or not we pay the bills on time, but understanding your attitude to money, and your strengths and weaknesses, is actually really important.

So, to the quiz. View Post


save money on utilities bills

When was the last time you had a proper overhaul of your utilities? I mean a really good look at it, not just turning your heating down a degree or switching suppliers through a comparison site, just for the free Meerkat.

The average combined family bill in the UK for electricity, gas, water and sewage services, is now over £1,800, which is a hefty chunk of your expenditure every single month. With bills this high though, the good news is that this means there is plenty of scope for savings.

When it comes to utilities, it’s often a combination of lots of little things that work best, rather than one big change, so why not see how many of these you can tick off?

Understand your bills

One of the biggest reasons that we overspend on bills and services is that we simply don’t properly understand what we’re paying for. This video from Home Energy Scotland helps you get to grips with exactly what your bills mean, so you can feel in control of where your money is going. View Post


Today I welcome back Jon from The Money Shed. Jon has written a couple of popular posts for me already – one about earning money from home without having to go near a survey, and another guide to matched betting, and today Jon has a few motivational words for you. I know for a fact that he recently went to America on his earnings from these work-at-home jobs, so he knows what he’s talking about.

ways to earn money from home

I chose this image especially for Jon as I know he’s a big fan of my cheesy stock pictures

Whether you are a stay-at-home parent or you work full time you probably feel that you’re pretty busy. It can be very easy to convince yourself that you have a lot on your plate and no time to take on anything else. Frankly this is untrue. 

Watching daytime TV or spending half your work day on your mobile phone is NOT being busy. It may feel important, at the time, as you’re desperate to know what the DNA results are, but you could be putting your time to much better use. View Post