How to make money in unusual ways

Everyone would like to have more cash but however, this is not so easy to happen. It is hard to find ways to increase your income, besides the obvious ones of finding a second job or selling your stuff on eBay or Amazon. Here are a few interesting ways to earn some extra money.

Get paid for your old car

Scrap metal prices are rising and this means a lot of companies will be interested in your old car and will be willing to pay a good sum for it. Examples for such companies are RewardRecycling.co.uk or CarTakeBack.com. Their scheme is that you get paid beforehand £100 for your broken-down car. The rest of the money that you will make out of this deal depends on the kind of car you have and where you are located in the country. Just for a quick comparison, CarTakeBack.com com will pay £160 for a 1999 Renault Megane Scenic in Glasgow, but only £115 for a 2001 VW Golf GTI Turbo in Bristol.

It is important that you get a Certificate of Destruction from the scrap firm you have chosen if you decide to sell your car. Fill section 3 of your V5C certificate and send it to the DVLA. This will serve as a proof that the car is destroyed and is no longer your concern.

Sell your hair

There is a high demand for wigs and hair extensions and this means many companies will be willing to pay for your hair. You need to put it into a ponytail, cut it off and then send it to the company. Prices depend on the length and the health of your hair. Just to get a understanding of how prices vary, Hairharvest.co.uk pays up to £60 for hair that is 12 inches in length or up to £200 for really long (19 inches or longer) locks.

Become a Model

You do not have to look like the models on TV in order to earn some money out of modeling. Adverts look for all kinds of people so it is worth having a look around in websites like SpiritModels.co.uk in order to find a modeling job that is suitable for you.

Move your direct debits

The usual way people set up their direct debit is to pay everything, like rent, bills, etc. at the start of the month when our wages arrive. However, if you move all the direct debits for the end of the month and then use a current account with a decent rate of interest, you will earn interest each month before you pay your bills. It is an option worth checking out.

Explore these options and you might find yourself earning extra cash in no time!

Saving on Energy at Home

It is worthy idea to invest in an energy-efficient home because it will keep your family comfortable while saving you money. You can choose between few simple steps or larger investments that will make your home more efficient and will result in lower energy bills; like using energy-efficient building materials. The savings that you will make will be worth the investment for improvement and will put money in your pocket. Furthermore, if you decide to sell your energy-efficient home at some point, it will be more attractive to buyers and might receive a better price.

Nowadays, a lot of energy is wasted through leaky windows or ducts, old appliances, or inefficient heating and cooling systems.  By wasting energy at our homes, we waste money that can be used for other things.

Here are 11 simple tips on how to save energy in simple low-cost and no-cost ways: 

1  For a batter management of heating and cooling systems, install a programmable thermostat to lower utility bills.

2.      Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle.

3.     When you are not in the room or not using them, simply turn things off (lights, TV, other entertainment systems, computers, monitors, etc.)

4.     Use power strips to plug home electronics, like TVs and DVDs and turn the power strips off when those equipment are not in use (the fact is that TVs and DVDs in standby mode still use several watts of power).

5.      Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 48 degrees Celsius.

6.      Substitute long baths with short showers and use low-flow showerheads.

7.      Don’t wash dishes and clothes in small batches.

8.      Air dry clothes.

9.     Ensure that windows and doors are closed when you are heating or cooling your home.

10.  When you drive fast and speed up or brake rapidly, it wastes unnecessary fuel.

11.  Look for label on light bulbs, home appliances, electronics, and other products that guarantee efficiency regulations.


The key to make the most of these savings is to take a whole-house approach. Your home can be seen as one energy system with different interdependent parts. For example, your heating system is not just a furnace — it’s a heat-delivery system that starts at the furnace and delivers heat throughout your home using a network of ducts. Therefore, if the ducts, walls, attic, windows and doors are leaky or poorly isolates, a lot of unnecessary energy will be lost.

Can we hope for rise in minimum wage?

Chancellor George Osborne has said he wants to see an above-inflation increase in the minimum wage.

In the beginning of 2014, Chancellor George Osborne proposed an increase in minimum wage in above-inflation level.  He claimed that since now economy is seeing better time, it can afford to raise the minimum wage from the current £6.31 an hour for people over the age of 21.

Before this claim was made, the Labour party had already criticized the government that the so propagated economic recovery has not transformed into better living standards for people. However, others have accused Labour for the low living standards up until now. Either way, the facts are the following:

·         About 1.35 million people receive minimum wage

·         The minimum wage has fallen in real terms since the financial crisis in 2008

·         The current rate of inflation is 2%

 

The figures that are being discussed now is for the minimum wage rate to raise from £6.31 an hour to £7 an hour by 2015. Thus, it will be return before the economic crisis that was experienced 6 years ago. Currently, the minimum wage rate for workers aged 18 to 20 is £5.03 an hour, while it is £3.72 for under-18s.

Politicians promise that living standards will improve for the whole country as the economy continues being fixed. The great recession has seriously hit the UK and therefore, people in many regions feel poorer. By calling for a minimum wage increase, politicians demonstrate concern over living standards and especially, those of the working poor. There were accusations that the parties did not act adequately in the 1990s when they did not want to increase the minimum wage rate and therefore, they are trying to correct themselves now.

There are other ideas for financial improvement of people that have been circulation around the political elites. One of them is a serious increase in the amount of money people earn before they have to pay income tax. £12bn are planned to be moved further from the welfare budget. The Government and Chancellor George Osborne in particular have claimed to support those who work hard by a welfare system which cares for the people.

However, Labour has often accused the coalition government for raising the prices of essential goods for life such as fuel and food. Furthermore, a fairer pay should be reached across all UK workforce in order for a real recovery to happen.

The rise of the minimum wage should be carefully thought and should reflect productivity so that it won’t end up in costing jobs and hurting smaller business.

Savers Dampened by Autumn Speech

Many savers have had their hopes of more prosperous saving schemes dampened by the Government’s Autumn Statement. The much anticipated changes to personal saving schemes and saving accounts did not take place. What was mean to be the highlight of the report concerned was the popular and much anticipated peer to peer lending which is seen by many in the industry as a good alternative to the tight pocketed banks in the current regime, which was not introduced.

It was further announced that Britons are moving away from their saving habits at a rate which has been the fastest since the 1970s. The Chef Executive of Nationwide, Graham Beale who’s bank is a major player in the market for cash ISA’s launched a fierce attack on the government by stating that the Chancellor had missed out on a huge opportunity where he could prove his support for the savers in our society by simplifying the ISA schemes. He went on to say that the disparity between equity ISA’s and their cash counterparts have a longstanding anomaly on the size of their limit which as a result has led to widespread confusion on how savers can make the most of their tax-efficient allowance on their ISA’s.

 

 

On the other hand, the report was welcomed by insurance company Skandia which expressed its relief that the Chancellor did not introduce a £100,000 upper limit on ISA’s which would have meant that investors who have benefited of strong, persistent growth in their portfolios would have been penalised unfairly and as a result forced out of the investment.

However, the general consensus was one of negativity as there was dismay that Chancellor Osborne once again ignored the calls by many to merge the junior ISA’s with child trust funds. At the moment an administrative headache is caused for parents by money invested in CTF which has to be kept apart from JISA’s. This has deterred many parents interested in setting up saving schemes from putting their money with new JISA schemes.

The managing director of the Chelsea Financial Services, Darius McDermott, stated that in his opinion he does not see why a child should be stopped from obtaining the best financial deal for its future simply based on his date of birth. He further believes this was a missed opportunity by Mr Osborne to sort out what can only be described as a ‘mess’ as well as labeling it ‘incredibly unfair’.

 

Knowing about Payment Protection Insurance

The nationwide PPI scam and the ensuing PPI claims in UK have revealed the unethical practices followed by the money lending institutions and banks.  A payment protection insurance (PPI) policy is taken to safeguard the mortgage, loan or credit card payments in case you are not able to pay the dues due to reasons like sickness, accident or being unemployed.

A PPI policy holder can claim on the policy as it denotes the insurer will take care of the monthly dues till you are able to pay yourself or a duration that has been agreed when the policy was signed. This is usually six months or one year. The fundamental purpose of a policy is offering customers peace of mind. There are many who have claimed with such policies and have lived comfortably when they were incapacitated due to illness, accident or unemployment. But PPI need not necessarily be taken with a mortgage, loan or credit card and when this was termed as a compulsory addition by banks, the mis-selling started thus resulting in the huge spurt of claims.

You can find out if you have a PPI policy by checking the following things:

  • If the PPI policy you have is attached with the mortgage, you can know about it from the premium payments you do annually.
  • In case of a loan, you can find from the details written in the insurance cover.
  • For credit card payments, the PPI cover might be mentioned in the monthly statements as a separate entity.

In case you are not able to locate these documents, or you are not certain about having the PPI with any loan, mortgage or credit card, you can contact a PPI specialist such as the PPI Claims Advice Line to help you find out if you have had any PPI at any point in the past 6 years.  Such a company would be able to assist you to get your insurance premiums paid refunded back to you from the bank – as most of these policies were mis-sold and UK customers are entitled by law to get PPI compensation.

CONSUMERS ALLOWED TO QUIT TELECOM CONTRACTS SHOULD PRICES GO UP – OFCOM

Ofcom, the independent regulator responsible for supervising the United Kingdom’s communications industry has announced that mobile phone users who have a contract with a service provider will be allowed to terminate their agreement mid-term at no extra cost should their service provider increase their pre-agreed tariff.

The regulator has announced that mobile phone customers are to be given a 30 day prior notice should any increase in their price plan take place including charges which fall within the level of inflation. If the customer is unhappy with the new fee affecting their contract, the service provider has a duty to allow that mobile user to terminate their contract without imposing a penalty as was previously the case.

This change of practice does not, however, make it unlawful for mid-term changes of price of the contract to take place but, what it does is require mobile phone companies to make their clients aware of the changes and make such the additional charges are made clear to telecom users.

No specific amendments are being made to the rules regulating mid-term price hikes, however the interpretation of the rules has differed amongst network providers. Ofcom has taken measures which offer assistance and guidance to network providers in order to clarify how exactly they are required to behave as well as to promote competition. The changes are to have effect as of three months’ time and are set to effect all new broadband, mobile or landline contracts as well as some specific bundles which are signed into when the new regulations come into effect.

In a statement delivered by the regulator consumer group director, Claudio Pollack, he said that they are as of now making it clear that customers who enter into fixed-term contracts for the provision of telecom services are to benefit from a ‘fairer deal’. The representative went further to say that the existing industry rules are functioning in the telecom provider’s favour and place consumers at a disadvantage.

Consumers under the current rules which will be abolished have so far been placed in a position where they are given to bad options of either accepting an increase in their contract charge or have to pay a fee in order to terminate and leave their contract. The new regulations would aim to trigger an opt out clause allowing consumers to abandon their contract should any monthly subscription fee be increased. Which? the consumer group, has begun a campaign which seeks a clarification on the new regulations from Ofcom.

Bank of England Governor Will Not Raise Interest Rates

Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor, will reiterate his pledge to keep Britain’s borrowing costs at record lows until the recovery is secured. This will be done, in the face of growing scepticism, when he gives his first public speech in the UK this week. Mr Carney will most likely use an appearance at the Nottingham University campus on Wednesday to challenge the sceptics in the City who doubt whether he can maintain interest rates at record lows until the year 2016.

Economists predict that the new Governor will repeat his predecessor’s warning that market expectations of an earlier rate rise are “unwarranted”. Under the central bank’s new guidance, it will reportedly not raise rates until another 750,000 jobs have been created in the UK economy. Rob Wood, the chief UK economist at Berenberg Bank, predicts that Mr Carney will assure business leaders in Nottingham that this will not be derailed by last Friday’s news that the UK economy grew by a stronger-than-expected 0.7% in the last quarter. “It is important that Mark Carney and his sidekicks at the BoE are able to keep expectations of the first rate hike from getting unhinged from the state of the economy,” said Wood to reporters. “Carney will probably lead the charge next week against unconvinced markets, with his 28 August speech likely to try and talk down interest rate expectations.”

The Bank’s most recent forecasts show that rates may remain at 0.5% for three more years, even though the unemployment peg has not yet had the desired effect, with the financial markets pricing in a rate rise in 2015. There are still many City experts that have yet to be convinced by Carney’s plan. James Knightley, an economist at ING Bank, explains to reporters that: “With inflation remaining sticky and the economy continuing to create jobs, we continue to believe that the first Bank of England rate hike is more likely to come in early 2015.”

A senior currency strategist at big bank Société Générale, Kit Juckes, believes this means the Bank is suffering from a headache of its own making. “It’s not the forward guidance that is misguided; it’s the reference to unemployment and inflation,” says Juckes. “The Phillips curve, which argued that there is a trade-off between inflation and unemployment, was based on UK data from the 19th to the mid-20th century. If you plot UK unemployment against inflation for the UK since the 1990s, the relationship is basically nonexistent.” Charlie Bean, a deputy governor of Mr Carney, told fellow central bankers and economists in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Saturday that the forward guidance pledge would make UK monetary policy more effective.

Moving House – Save on Moving Costs

Reduce what needs to be transported

When moving to your new home, be prepared; don’t send everything in the house. Try sending only what is necessary, and before the moving date try to sell some of your junk on Ebay, you never know what people buy for what price these days. An alternative to this would be to do a car-boot sale, or give some of it to charity.

Also, some charities actually collect large quantities of items, that could be useful to the less fortunate, which could save you the hassle of getting rid of your unwanted items any other way.

Don’t pay for packaging

The cost of boxes, bags, or containers could add up to a large amount. Endeavour in keeping boxes, bags or containers you find around the house or that just get pulled into the house, so that you can save on packing and transporting  costs. A good tip on this is that you can also get free boxes, bags and containers from shops and markets that throw them out anyway.

Ask for, and accept, help

Family and friends could be of help in these situations. They could help with transporting things, especially if they have a larger car or know someone who can get you a van on the cheap.  Family and friends also might be able to supply you with unwanted chairs, coffee tables etc. Its surprising sometimes what you might get if you ask!

Don’t pay extra for storage

Self storage is needed frequently when renting a house, especially if you are only renting for a short amount of time. When looking for storage try looking online for good deals, you can find the best deals there. Another good tip is to try to pay for long-notice access and away from prime locations as companies charge more if they are any one-or two of these things. Storage prices contrast very uncontrollably, so try to filter through different firms and look for the best prices.

And if you are buying… Estate Agents

Estate agents charge commission, typically 2% on the houses they sell. With the house prices averaging out at over £160,000 currently, that means that more than £3,000 is gone from the sale of your house.

Before agreeing to 2% commission, try comparing quotes with other estate agents, for estate agency is a competitive market so this could bring you in about £1,600 saved. The alternative to this is the new and growing in recognition online estate agencies.  These offer to take a few hundred pounds upfront, rather than a percentage of the final selling price.

Lastly, try to haggle on more than just the price if buying a property. Negotiate on any furniture or fixtures if there is something you want or need.  Sellers may be happy to part with certain pieces, you’ll only know if you ask. This could potentially save you hundreds off refurbishing your new home.

Mortgage payments fall, energy bills soar

Recent analysis of spending by households suggests that the prices of running a home are actually rising below the inflation level.

It now costs on average £9 590 a year to run a home, which is up 1.9 per cent from £9 411 the previous year, compared to the official consumer price index rate of inflation of 2.9 per cent.

Over a five year period however, the cost of running a home has increased by a mere 2 per cent, whereas consumer prices over the period have increased by a staggering 18 per cent.

The small rise in the price of running a home can be put down to the fact that mortgage repayments have fallen by an average of 21 per cent over the last five years, with every other aspect of running a home increased more or less with the rate of inflation. Mortgage repayments stand at 37 per cent of household costs.

However, while mortgages repayments are falling, energy bill are soaring; it is now estimated that 18 per cent of the total cost of running of a home is contributed to energy bills.  Five years ago, electricity, gas and other fuels made up roughly 12 per cent of household costs; this figure has now increased to 18 per cent.

Unsurprisingly, the highest average cost of running a home was in London, 26 per cent above the rest of the England and close to around 50 per cent higher than in Northern Ireland, where it is currently the cheapest place to run a home.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax commented on the analysis they conducted, saying: ‘Overall, the cost of owning a home has increased by two per cent over the past five years, representing a significant decline in real terms. Lower mortgage payments have largely offset increases in other items of housing-related expenditure, such as the substantial rises in electricity and gas bills.’

While the finding suggest the cost of running a home are increasing below the rate of inflation, it is important to acknowledge that the statistics only focused on mortgage repayment and not the price of renting. The price of renting has steadily increased over the 5 year time frame. While the analysis may say that lower mortgage payment are offsetting the rising costs, in reality, those feeling the pinch most are people who rent their homes.  And with the economy as it is, in particular for the younger demographic, those who rent are an increasing majority.

Buying Furniture on the Cheap

When moving home or redecorating, the cost of furniture can make a large bill even more expensive. Thinking a little bit out of the box can save you precious pounds. Follow these tips for furnishing your home on the cheap.

Pre-owned furniture

Consider buying pre-owned furniture. This can sometimes just be as good as new furniture particularly when it is well looked after. This will of course be cheaper than something brand new. You can start by putting the word out to friends and relatives that you are interested in some of their furniture and line yourself up to be the first option when they decide to sell it.

Also, advertisements for used furniture can be found on websites such as Gumtree and are also sold on online markets like ebay.

Alternatively, local newspapers, car boot sales and garage sales are great places to find older bits of furniture that can be renovated to something unique.

What’s cheaper than cheap? Free! Free – cycling is when you essentially trade your items for someone else’s. For example, if you are downgrading your home, you might swap your extra bed for a sofa- bed. This is a win-win situation where both your parties’ needs are served.

Online

When furniture is sold online, the shop cuts many costs associated with rental space and paying staff. In some cases, these savings are passed onto customers. This means you can bag yourself a bargain from the comfort of your own home.

Warehouses & Outlet Stores

Warehouses sell items in bulk to suppliers. In some instances, they allow individual customers buy from them at wholesale price which is cheaper than the store price. This is a good option when you want your furniture to be new but would rather not pay full price.

Similarly, outlet stores offer the option of buying new furniture at reduced prices. Items tend to be reduced if they are from a previous collection (this is particularly true with designer items) or if they still remain after the sales.

Another way to get the expensive furniture you’ve been eyeing up in the display at a fraction of the cost is to ask for it! Retailers always discount the cost of items that are used in displays.