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Keeping up with the Joneses - and why you shouldn't!

Sep 26, 2018
 
 

We all know those Joneses. Those people who live three doors down, who have the better house, the flashy car, and the nice clothes. They have a better everything. In fact, they have the life you wish you had. Does that sound familiar? If so, how do they make you feel? I’m guessing not great. And if you’re like the majority of folk, I’ll bet you often do something about it. In order to keep up with them I’ll bet you end up buying a load of stuff on credit to help you to look like them and feel like them; or at least to feel how we think they must feel.

But here's the rub. Most of the time, the life the Joneses have is all for show. When I was a child I was friends with a boy at school who was, together with his family, definitely Joneses. My parents really looked up to them because they had everything: the big house, the big car, the jewellery, the gadgets, even a Betamax video recorder (Yes, I realise that ages me somewhat!). They were the wealthiest...

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Why subscriptions cost you MORE than you think!

Aug 21, 2018
 

 

 
 

These days, more than ever, we all have subscriptions. Whether that be for a magazine, TV or gym membership, they're becoming more and more prevalent and that's because everybody seems to love them. We love them because it’s a way of having the things we we want without having to fork out a lot of cash, all at once, and the retailers love them because they know that, often, these relatively small monthly payments keep trickling out of our bank account without us noticing, which means they can go on for months or even years, even if we’ve got bored with the product or service we once we’re happy to pay for. Of course, the retailers make it so easy, don’t they? They often bundle in a load of free stuff to start, so that often these offers seem to good to be true, but the reality is that, once they’ve got us hooked, they make it incredibly difficult for us to cancel.

The worst culprits for this, certainly in the UK, are the mobile...

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The 4 Winning Ways to Deal with Peer Pressure

Jul 06, 2018
 

 

 

If you’re trying to improve your finances, there is one surefire way to derail your plans and that is falling prey to that ever-present beast that is peer pressure. Why? Because, it’s everywhere! Think about it. Whilst the obvious culprits might be pushy salespeople, often the pressure we face is more subtle than that because it comes from our friends, family, and especially our kids. On the whole, these people usually are very well-meaning, but the point is often they are putting pressure on you to spend money or to do something that meets their agenda rather than yours.

Let me give you an example. Suppose you’re on a night out and are ready to go home. No doubt some of your friends will say "Oh come on, just have one more drink before you go!” which basically means they don’t want to go yet and they want you to keep them company. Whilst there's no malice there, the point is, on a small scale, that's causing you to spend money in a way...

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The Ugly Truth About Extended Warranties

Jun 10, 2018
 

 

 

In this blog I’d like to talk to you about something which is a real bugbear of mine - extended warranties and guaranties, which have become commonplace over the last few years. I remember, growing up, that whenever you bought something, particularly something electrical, it would just come with a standard year’s guarantee and that was the end of it. Most of the time, if something was going to wrong, it would go wrong within the first two or three weeks and the shop would simply take it back and exchange it and that was end of the matter.

These days however, the retailers have cottoned onto a really good wheeze, which is they’ve managed to convince us that a year’s guarantee is no longer enough and so they always try and sell us an extended warranty. They'll say, for only an extra £10, £20, £30 (or whatever it happens to be), you can extend that guarantee for another two or three years. Of course, that's very appealing to most...

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Treat Yourself.....And Still Save Money

May 31, 2018
 

 

 
 
It's trick or treat time! Before you shout that it's not halloween, you'll be glad to know that this blog is not halloween related, rather it focuses on the tricks we play on ourselves to persuade us to treat ourselves. When it comes to treats, there are really only two questions to answer -  How often should you really treat yourself and how much should you spend? As someone who's spent many years helping people to manage their money better, this is probably the number one question I'm asked. Can I treat myself? How much should I spend? Is life worth living if I can't treat myself? And the answer to all these things is, yes!  Of course you can treat yourself, but there just needs to be some kind of framework around it.

The first thing to say on treats is that we all treat ourselves and quite often, we do it to make ourselves feel better. There's nothing wrong with that, but the reality is that for many people the act of buying a treat isn't the...

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Are You a Dessert Diner?

May 11, 2018
 

 

 

Are you a dessert diner? Do you like to buy things that you can't really afford right now, just because you want them right now? If so, you need to read this blog. Actually, this concept came to me when I was eating out last week. I've got a terribly sweet tooth and when I go to a restaurant my mind is always on the desserts before I even get to the mains or the starter. In fact, if I could get away with ordering just three desserts, I probably would! It was this desire that made me realise that's how many people spend these days.

Why? Partly because it's so easy, because everything is available right now with credit. Credit is everywhere.  Every retailer wants us to have everything right now because they're trying to make money out of us and every bank wants us to borrow money right now because they're also making money out of us. The problem is that's not actually good for us in the long term. If you're trying to build a secure financial future, perhaps pay off...

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The 30 Day Spending Challenge

Apr 28, 2018
 

 

 

Today, I’d like to start off with a question. Have you ever bought anything that you know you really shouldn’t?  I’ll bet there’s not one person reading this who hasn’t done that, including me. And do you know why that is? That’s because spending is emotional. What do I mean by that? Well, the truth is that we all spend with our hearts rather than our heads and whilst that can be fun, it can also get us into a lot of trouble.

If you take a moment to think back over the last few things that you’ve bought which, in hindsight, you wish you hadn’t, why did you do that? Quite often, we buy things not because we need them, but because something else is tugging at our heart strings: we might be feeling down and want to cheer ourselves up; there might a great promotion that seems too good to miss; or we might even be feeling peer pressure because we want to have the same kinds of things that our friends have. The reality...

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Winners are Trackers

Jan 23, 2018
 

 

 

Are you in debt or looking to become financially free? If so, then you need to become a tracker. Why do I say that?  Because, in my experience, all winners are trackers. If you think of anybody who's achieved any kind of significant success in their life, it’s rarely been down to pure luck. Whether that's in the field of business, entertainment, or sport, it’s usually because they have all been trackers. They haven't just achieved great success just by chance. In most cases they’ve actually come up with a goal and they’ve also come up with a plan for how to get there. And most importantly of all, they've actually tracked how they are performing against that plan and made changes along the way so they can become the very best at what they do. Take the UK Olympic swimmer Tom Daley for example. Do you think he’d have been able to push himself as hard as he did if he didn’t know where he was aiming for and then tracked how...

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Smart Supermarket Shopping

Dec 12, 2017
 

 

 

Have you ever been to the supermarket and come out having spent at least a third more than you intended to before you went in?  I know I certainly have, and so this blog is about smart supermarket shopping – i.e. how you can avoid that happening in the first place. I’m going to give you three simple tips that you can adopt straight away.

 

1.     Check those cupboards

That’s right, the first tip starts even before you leave the house. The reason is most of us go shopping and quite often we have no idea of what we’ve got in those cupboards (or freezer for that matter). There are two things wrong with that. First, you’ll end up buying things that you don’t actually need, which means spending money unnecessarily and, second, because you’re not using up those things, it’s highly likely that they’ll linger until they go out of date.

By spending five minutes whizzing through the...

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Night Out Nightmares

Nov 04, 2017
 

 

 

I’d like to start off with a question. How many of you have woken up after a night out, not only with a sore head, but also with a huge hole your purse or wallet? I can certainly put my hand up to this one and I’ll bet I'm not alone. 

If you're trying to build a solid financial future, secure your financial independence, retire early, or get out of debt, if you keep falling into this trap, you're shooting yourself in the foot, so you need to do something about it. The good news is I'm not going tell you to stop going out, because where's the fun in that? However, I am going to give you three things you can do on a night out to spend dramatically less money.

 

Tip 1 - Pay with Cash

In this day and age it's so easy to hand over your credit or debit card at the bar, often using contactless payments, and you’re able to keep buying rounds and rounds of drinks without realising how much you’ve spent until you either check your statement or...

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