5 Vital Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Accepting No Interest Deals

Deals with little or no interest are everywhere these days, and are particularly included with purchases in high end stores, like department stores and furniture stores. Sure, the no interest factor is appealing to almost everyone. However, what some people don’t realize is that there may be lots of hidden terms and conditions and potentially nasty hidden charges that can deem these no interest deals less than convenient. Below are the 5 most important questions you should consider thoroughly before accepting any of these deals.

Does my credit score qualify?

It is often the case to obtain no interest deals that you are required to have an almost impeccable credit score. A lot of the time, people do not realize this until the very last minute, when they have already gone through the entire process of signing up for the deal. By this point, they are then required to pay the original interest on whatever they were buying with ‘no interest’ in the first place. This seems awfully unfair, but it does happen. To ensure that it won’t to you, check that your credit score qualifies for the no interest deal in the beginning – this will save plenty of unnecessary stress and hassle.

How long does the no interest actually last?

On many products, the ‘no interest’ period does not actually last forever. It is important to check when you will have to start paying interest on the product, in order to be prepared to pay the extra money. On the other hand, sometimes the ‘no interest’ will last until your first purchase, and other times it may apply only to bank transfers. Whatever the case, it’s vital to check, because there is nothing worse than believing you will pay ‘no interest’ for good when in fact, you will not.

Is there anything I have to do to get no interest?

This is where the sneakiness of many ‘no interest’ deals comes into light. A lot of the time, lenders may require you to spend a certain amount of money within a certain time frame in order to qualify for the ‘no interest’ deal. This is a cunning way in which lenders will trap you into spending more money than you wanted to in the first place, just so you can get this deal. The question to ask is whether it’s worth it or not – usually, it isn’t.

Which purchases will qualify for no interest?

Another common thing that lenders tend to do is offering ‘no interest’ deals on selected purchases only, which does confuse many customers. For example, if you’re visiting a furniture store and come across an advertisement offering ‘no interest on selected sofas’, finding out which sofas do qualify and which ones don’t is key. Otherwise, you may make a purchase believing that you will pay no interest when you will.

What are your no interest limits?

Some lenders only let you pay no interest on balance transfers up to a certain amount, and if you transfer more than that, the offer is void. Asking about this before accepting the deal is important, and could help to save a lot of money in the long term.

Understanding Loans for People with Bad Credit

Many of you may be in dire need of funds and going up to a bank may not be helpful for many reasons. This could mainly be due to lack of a good credit score. Does that mean that it is the end of the road or are there any alternative sources for loans that are not hooked on credit scores and ratings? How do loans for people with bad credit work?

Companies that give out loans for people with bad credit are plentiful and very willing to help. These are often called private lenders, non banking financial services or simply alternate lenders. Banks are known for their impractical methods of time-consuming processes procedures and expecting high credit ratings. People with bad credit are often stranded without much needed funds. Banks also have set schemes and amounts in which they lend. They are not flexible with amounts and interest rates. That is when alternative lending steps in.

Tailor-made schemes that are very flexible in terms of amount and interest are the main USP of lending companies like Australian Lending Centre. Each customer is different and so has different needs. Their personal loans and loans for people with bad credit are tailored to suit your situation. Loans can be arranged for people with bad credit which still have competitive interest rates. Personal loans, mortgage refinancing, debt consolidation and caveat loans are some of the many available products.

Advantages of using an alternate lender to a bank

–          Banks are risk averse: The primary motive of a bank when it comes to handing out loans for people with bad credit is to avoid risk. Banks refuse to lend unless the customer has a solid collateral and a good credit rating. This means that banks reject almost one-fifth of all loan applications that they receive.

–          Options: With an alternative lender, there are many options in private finance and for loans for people with bad credit, so you are not just restricted to just one bank.

–          Expertise: Alternative lenders specialist in lending loans for people with bad credit. They have a strong knowledge of the circumstances that their customers face and therefore work hard to create loan products that suit their clients’ needs.

–          Different ways to get funds: Alternative lending companies work with a range of lenders, meaning they can shop around for you to help you find the best loan possible. For loans for people with bad credit, this means that you are given options, not last resort solutions.

So even if your bank refuses you a much needed loan, there are always lending companies that specialist in making loans for people with bad credit easily available. So do not let bad ratings halt your potential for growth, there are plenty of strong alternative options

How to get a cheap summer holiday with the children

The summer holidays are looming and many parents are looking at the thought of having bored children for 6 weeks with dread. Most families want to take the opportunity of this time together to head off on holiday, but it’s a well-known fact that prices for flights and holiday destinations always rise when the children aren’t at school.

However, there are a few tips which can be used to reduce the price a little. Whilst they won’t give you a rock bottom price, they will certainly shave a few pounds off here and there which all helps with the amount of spending money you have when you arrive.

Look to book a villa rather than a hotel. Traveling with a family usually means paying for multiple rooms and this all adds up. Whilst the idea of a villa may sound luxurious, it’s often cheaper in the height of summer than buying two or three rooms. Obviously there are no services as you’ll be self-catering, but you’ll be all together in one building and quite probably have your own pool with no other guests wanting to share.

Statistically speaking, the last 2 weeks of the summer holidays are the cheapest. ABTA figures show that because families are starting to look to return home as soon as they can in the summer holidays, late August and early September can easily see a price reduction of 25%. This is a great way to save money if you can be flexible with your dates and you might be able to haggle the price down more if you deal directly with the travel agent.

Look to book off the beaten track a little. There are stunning beaches in Bulgaria and Greece and you’ll find that comparable holidays much less expensive than popular locations such as Spain. Check for any political unrest though – whilst the advice currently is that holiday destinations in Egypt are comparatively safe and prices are cheaper than they’ve ever been, you may want to exercise caution with your choice in balancing cost and peace of mind.

Ensure everyone – even any babies who are traveling have an up to date EHIC card. This gives free emergency treatment in Europe and whilst it is never a substitute for buying travel insurance it gives the option if needed.

Book your car hire as much in advance as possible. As your holiday gets closer and the resorts fill up, car hire prices can rise by hundreds of pounds so ensure this is something you don’t wait to organise.

If you’ve already booked your holiday and paid a little more than expected, you could compare payday loans online at Payday-Choice.com. By doing this you can cover the budget shortfall this month and then repay the loan on your next pay day so you’ll know that you can go on holiday knowing your finances are in order and you’ve nothing to worry about.

Four Reasons to Have a Professional do Your Taxes

Ben Franklin once said “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Everyone has to pay taxes, and a lot of people make the choice to file their own rather than use the services of a professional. In many cases this approach is fine. If you haven’t had any major life changes, if your employer deducts taxes from your paycheck, and you don’t own any real estate, you can probably file your own taxes without any trouble.

However, if any of the above is not true, you could need professional help. Best case scenario, you could end up getting less of a refund than you should. Worst case scenario you could end up with a hefty tax debt, or even get audited.

IF the worst case occurs, you do have options.

If you have a debt, you can set up a payment plan with the IRS to help you pay what you owe;


  • If your debt is more than you can handle with a payment plan, or if you get audited, you can, and should, get assistance from someone like the attorneys at Authority Tax Service.


However, the goal to avoid any mishaps by getting it right the first time. Below are some reasons why you should consider hiring a professional tax preparer instead of filing your taxes yourself.


Changing tax codes and forms.


The Congress and the IRS make changes to the tax code constantly. In fact, there have been nearly 5,000 changes to the tax code since the beginning of the millennium. Additionally, if you go out to the IRS forms site, you can see that they revise and post new forms throughout the year – even at the height of tax season. All of these updates can make a huge difference in the outcome of your tax filing. A trained professional keeps abreast of the tax codes, and can give you the up-to-date information you need.


Problems with bookkeeping.


Doing your taxes well requires you to keep track of your spending throughout the year. This means keeping track of receipts and other financial documents. Not everyone is adept at tracking their finances, and this can make it difficult to file – especially if you have to take a lot of deductions. Improper bookkeeping can also put you at risk of being audited if the IRS notices any discrepancies. A seasoned professional can help you organize your financial documents, make sure that you are taking the right deductions, and reduce your risk of an audit.


Employment changes.


Changing jobs, getting a substantial raise, working in different countries for parts of the year, and becoming self-employed are just a few employment changes that can alter your tax bracket, and how you file. For example, if you get promoted to sales, you might need to start deducting your transportation costs, and food and travel expenses from your taxes. If your employer sends you to another country for part of the year, you could be liable for taxes in both countries. A professional tax preparer can help you minimize your tax liability when your employment situation changes, and for non-traditional work situations.


Family changes.


You may know that getting married divorced, or having a child can change your tax bracket and your filing status; but did you know that other family changes can also affect your taxes? The IRS actually has forms and rules for things like taking in your elderly parents, raising your sister’s kids, and even adopting children from foreign countries. If you have had any family changes within the year, you need the services of a tax professional.




The bottom line is that the using a tax professional can help you navigate confusing terrain and avoid any pitfalls.


However, if you do encounter any pitfalls, take heart; The IRS is willing to work with people to help them pay their taxes. There are also several organizations, Authority Tax Services being one, which can help you manage any tax difficulties.

Save Time and Money With an Insurance

In a previous article we discussed ways of getting life insurance when a company decides you are non insurable. Today we are going to discuss fine tuning your finances by finding the best price for all types of insurance.

The fact is that insurance pricing varies greatly from plan to plan, and provider to provider. Sometimes it depends on the type and amount of coverage but, often, even the same coverage can show great variations in price. You could go to each provider’s website and request a quote, but that can be time-consuming. Using an insurance service can help you compare rates between different providers.

What is an Insurance Service?

Unlike an individual agency, insurance services are companies that work with and represent several different insurance companies. Services like Mills Insurance Company do all of the research and comparisons for you, to help you get the best rates on a variety of coverage types.

Not only can they do the research and comparisons, they can also find you the plans with the exact coverage you need, be it home, auto, life, or any other type of insurance.

For example, if you need a health plan with a ten-dollar copay for doctor visits and prescription coverage, the insurance service will search all providers and only show you providers with those exact plans, as well as the pricing information.

Some insurance providers also offer discounts for carrying multiple policies with them, or with their affiliates. For example, a health insurance provider could offer an ACA-compliant plan, and a 10% discount, if you also get renter’s insurance through one of their affiliates, and order both plans through the insurance service.

How they work?

A lot of insurance services have websites where you can get insurance quotes at any time of day, or night, from anywhere you have an internet connection. You can also call the company and get a quote from a licensed agent; some places may even schedule office appointments where you can work with an agent face-to-face.

With most companies, the actual search and quote are free. There is no obligation to buy a plan through the company, but they can often get you better rates than if you were to buy the same plan somewhere else.

If you decide to purchase a plan based on their quote, you can usually sign up for coverage on the spot, unless that particular type of insurance has a waiting period. If there is a waiting period, then you can still sign up, and even pay the first month’s premium, but the coverage won’t start until a specified future date.

Still, if you find a good price, it’s a good idea to go ahead and sign up as soon as possible. Many quotes only last 30 days, and some less than that. If you let the quote expire before you purchase a plan you will need to get a new quote, and you could lose any savings or discounts included in the previous quote.

The bottom line is that you need insurance coverage. Rather than waste your time and energy searching for coverage, let an insurance service do all of the work for you. Not only will it save you time, it can also save you money.

What is the role of a finance broker?

We all want our money to go a little further in the current economic climate, and one of the best ways of doing this is by making sure you are getting the best rates on services. More than ever,  people are now using finance brokers to secure the best deals on home loans, ensuring that they save both money and time, and make the most of brokers’ expertise.

Brokers will work with clients to make sure the client gets the loan that is most suitable for them, based on their needs and finances. While the most common broker is a mortgage broker, brokers can also provide advice on other areas such as car loans, business loans and personal loans. The advice and guidance they provide can be invaluable for making sure that clients get the best and most suitable loans for them.

Brokers are accredited with particular lenders, and so can only offer loans from those specific lenders. Additionally, part of a broker’s remuneration can come from commission, and so it’s worth keeping in mind that the loan you are recommended may not be the right one for you. However, brokers should all adhere to a Code of Conduct, which includes the requirement that brokers act with honesty and integrity, and that they disclose any conflicts of interest.

There are a number of different firms who will broker for you, one of which is Lend Me finance brokers based over in Perth, Australia.  This firm is styled as a firm with a more personal approach, taking account of the improving regulations in the broking industry and building relationships to take into account the needs of the client rather that then interests of the lender.

It’s worth looking around to make sure the broker you choose is someone you can trust, and you feel you can have a good relationship with. Some brokers, including those at Lend Me finance brokers, will be happy to come to you, and you will be able to clarify your needs and circumstances and then decide who will be the best broker for you.

10 common mistakes new businesses make in the first year

Shockingly, up to 20% of new businesses hit the rocks within their first year of operation, and 50% of them do so within the first three. Starting a business is tough, but surviving long enough to build a viable brand can be harder still. It doesn’t help that many people who enter the business world are unprepared for the realities, and unfortunately make errors or judgment, which can be catastrophic to their company’s future. The sad thing is that the most common mistakes are well known, and are often easily avoided.

Disorganized document management

When it’s time to fill in your online tax form, it helps considerably if all your invoices and receipts are stored in one place. A business will accumulate hundreds of important documents during it’s first year alone, so keeping them all organized means less time and stress when something needs to be dug out. Document management software from companies such as  http://www.mclarensoftware.com/ is a reliable, cost-efficient solution.

Weak or Non-Existent Market Research

Just relying on your gut instinct that there is a ready-made market crying out for your product or service isn’t enough – you need solid, verifiable facts when you’re risking your own money or that of your investors. You need to know as much as possible about your customers – who and where they are, how much they spend, what they need and how you can meet that need. Additionally, you must look at the companies already tending that market – what are their strengths and weaknesses compared to your own? How can you be different? There’s a lot more to it than just these questions of course – if you have the money you can employ someone to research for you – if not, invest the time – it’s worth it!

Inadequate Funding

To stand a chance of getting a loan from a bank, or investment from other sources, you need to have a good business plan. It needs to be comprehensive and realistic to be taken seriously. Professional help is available, and there are also good resources online. Remember to develop a Plan B in case your finances go awry.


Entrepreneurs are often “ideas-people”, always thinking about the next big thing. It can be tempting to expand or diversify too quickly, neglecting your core product before it has had proper time to develop. But by stretching your company too thin you risk diluting your brand.

Assuming the competition will just stand still

Any well-run businesses, and you have to assume at least some of your competitors are, will seek to strengthen their own position if profits are threatened. During a business’ first year of operation, things can get very hectic, and it’s easy to take your eye off what the competition is up to, meaning you could be taken by surprise by new tactics. Regular monitoring of their activity is essential so you can stay one step ahead.

Bad employment decisions

If you make the mistake of hiring the wrong person it can be difficult to correct. That doesn’t just mean employing someone who isn’t right for the business – it could mean you hire the right person but on the wrong type of contract, or paying over what you need to. If you need to hire someone, do it carefully as this is one of the most important decisions you can make. Useful tips on hiring staff can be found on various sites including acas.org.uk

Poor relationships with suppliers and creditors

Choosing reliable suppliers is essential – delays in receiving stock or component you need can hit business profits hard. In the other direction, you also need to ensure you receive payment promptly, and are smart about who you offer credit to, so money flows in regularly.

Car Buyers: who will buy my car?

Selling your car can be a time consuming and potentially costly exercise if done badly. Here are some options to consider when selling your motor on.

Part Exchanging

Don’t be fooled by the cultural stereotypes, a car salesman is a savvy shopper and would likely know what they can and can’t get away with when it comes to selling you a car. Part exchanging is probably the easiest way to smooth your finances when selling your car, especially if I’m looking to upgrade your current model however I’m probably going to get the lowest price possible. The person selling you the car will already have an idea what they want to sell my old car on and what margins they can make. I’d only do part ex if I’m desperate.

Putting an ad in Gumtree

Classified ads such as Gumtree is a great way of selling a car however this could be a time consuming, painful downright tedious. Not only would I have to set aside a weekend/ after work to meet a total stranger who would more likely than not kick the tires, go over the car from head to toe as if they actually know what they’re doing and walk away if they’re not interested which is time consuming and quite frankly a waste of my time. I would rather spend time with family and friends then speak to some uninteresting stranger who may or may not buy the car.

Putting an ad in AutoTrader

This is pretty much like Gumtree but it costs a decent amount of money in the first place with not the greatest returns around. Reach is great but you would still have to wait around to see if someone would actually buy the car.

Getting a car buyer

A car buyer is probably the easiest way to have someone buy my car simply because you save time meeting people who may or may not buy your car. Also unlike part exchanging you get cash straight away and ultimately which gives you the advantage of being a cash buyer when you buy your next car.

Put the Credit Card Down! – How to Break Your Credit Card Addiction.

Sometimes, even the most financially responsible of us get into bad financial habits – such as credit card addiction. If you’ve accepted the fact that you’ve become addicted to using your credit card, and are looking for a way out, read on. Here are 5 ways you can break free from your addiction, and regain that control you need to stay financially secure.

1. Destroy as many as you can.

Although a little extreme, destroying as many of your credit cards as possible will stop you spending like crazy. You really don’t need more than one or two anyway, and so any more than this will most likely be causing you more harm than good. Also, make sure you contact your credit card companies and tell them that you’re cancelling your cards. This last action will further drill in the fact that your history of credit card abuse is coming to an end.
2. Speak to the experts.

It’s understandable that you may want to keep your credit card addiction to yourself out of fear of embarrassment. But sometimes, letting this concern go and speaking directly with financial experts such as Fox Symes can be the best thing you can do. They should be able to offer you more personalised advice on your specific financial situation, helping you break your addiction sooner.
3. Only use cash.

Start paying for everything with cash instead of plastic. This way, you’ll only be spending money you actually have, and in the long term, this will stop you from over spending with your credit card. Breaking an addiction means that you’ll need to change your behaviour(s). Switching cash for card will no doubt help you break free.
4. Stop watching shopping networks on TV.

The ease of purchasing items from the comfort of your lounge can only hurt your recovery form credit card addiction. If you can, block these channels, or make a firm commitment to stop flicking to the shopping networks.
5. Reward yourself for credit card free weeks.

Whenever you’ve had a week where you haven’t used your credit card, reward yourself with a nice meal, new dress or shirt, or tickets to see a show or play. Positive reinforcement can be an effective way to curtail bad behaviour and promote good ones. Of course, make sure you only use cash you’ve set aside for this reward, and not your credit card.

As with most addictions, the first step to recovery is plain acceptance. After that penny drops, it’s then time to implement practical strategies to break free and get back on the track to financial success. Destroy as many credit cards as possible, only use cash, and stop watching shopping networks at home. Furthermore, speak to financial experts for more personalised advice, and reward yourself for those weeks in which you successfully refrain from using plastic. Recovering from your addiction may not be an overnight affair, and you may find it difficult staying on the wagon at times. However, by consistent progress, sheer grit and determination, there’s no doubt you’ll break free of your addiction sooner than you think.

Should I challenge my parking fine?

Getting a parking fine can really ruin your day – especially if you feel it’s undeserved. But, unfortunately for us motorists, the appeal system’s not exactly designed in our favour…

Here’s everything you need to consider if you think you might want to appeal against a parking ticket you’ve received.


1)      Establish who’s issued the fine

The way you appeal against a parking ticket differs depending on who has given it out.

Private firms often go out of their way to make their tickets look like the ones issued by the council or police, so inspect it carefully and make sure that all’s as it appears.

Remember, too, that any tickets issued by a private firm are technically a contract dispute rather than a civil or criminal charge.

2)      Weigh up your options

If you feel that the ticket’s been issued unfairly, you have two options: give in and pay, or appeal.

Many drivers choose to simply pay the fine, and for good reasons: it’ll usually cost you half as much if you pay within 14 days, only 50% of appeals are successful, and the stress and hassle associated with challenging your fine can make it fell like a draining process.

Bear in mind, though, that paying the fine is an admission of liability and so there’s no going back once you’ve handed over your cash.

3)      Gather your evidence

If you decide that you might want to pursue an appeal, you need to get together as much evidence as possible to support your claim. While you’re still on the scene, take photos of any relevant road signs or markings (or lack of them), your car and the meter you used to pay.

Paperwork can also help to strengthen your appeal; for example, travel documents that prove you were away when a parking bay was suspended, or a doctor’s note that confirms you were ill. If there’s anyone around who can corroborate your story, ask if they mind providing a witness statement.

4)      Make your appeal

The appeal procedure varies depending on whether you’re facing a civil, criminal, police or private parking penalty, but you usually make an informal written appeal in the first instance. This must be submitted within 14 days, and you should include any supporting evidence.

If you’re very lucky, things will end there and the charge will be dropped – but there are usually a few more hoops to jump through first… Good luck!