28. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: General Blogs

No one can refute the fact that life is becoming harder by the day. We have to dig deeper into our pockets in order to make ends meet. In addition, the value of money is diminishing every other day. To get a better understanding of how the cost of living has gone up, it is beneficial to consider the following examples:

· Fuel Prices:-World fuel prices are always rising. This means that people have to spend more on fuel. Manufacturers, distributors or transporters will pass the additional cost to the final consumer. Furthermore, the consumer also has to spend more money fueling the vehicle or running other equipment such as generators.

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· Cost of Food: – A lot has been said about food insecurity. The population is growing while the food sources are somewhat stagnated. This means that the population has to fight for the limited food reserves. Additionally, climate and weather patterns have changed. This is affecting agricultural production hence lowering the yields.

· Shopping Expenses: – Part of living entails shopping for groceries, clothing, and other items. However, although the items remain the same, people are spending more money. This has forced people to come up with money saving initiatives. These include using shopping vouchers, buying foodstuffs direct from the source, and also minimizing the trips made to the grocery store.

· Leisure & Entertainment:-More money is being spent when going to the movie theatre or cinema hall. This happens when purchasing the tickets, driving to the venue, or buying the snacks. This probably explains why more people are finding it cost effective to rent a movie and watch it at home.

The volatile economy, market slump, and diminishing opportunities to make money are some of the main causes of the increase in cost of living. Unfortunately, from the look of things, this scenario is not about to change soon. Therefore, a consumer has no option but to tighten his belt. This entails looking at ways in which he may reduce costs.

10. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: General Blogs

Banks made life easier with the introduction of loans which can be accessed by any credit worthy person. There are several types of bank loans ranging from home loans to business loans which are offered by banks. Banks offer loans to people according to their credit worth. Credit worth is determined by the money in your account, the assets you own and the value of your business (es). This helps the bank determine whether you can pay off a loan and how fast you can do it.

Things to buy with a bank loan

· Car

· House

· Land

· Shares in the stock market

· Equipment or machinery such as tractors

Loans are not paid off with the same initial amount. Banks charge you a certain percentage called interest. Interest rates change from time to time depending on certain factors of the economy. Loan interest can be payable every month or annually. A common type of loans in the world today is the house loan, commonly referred to as mortgage. Mortgage loan is generally the loan that one is given to buy a house. Your credit worth is still important in this case. The bank buys you a house which you can afford to pay interest for every month. More and more people are opting to buy homes through mortgages instead of renting the same. Why? This is because the monthly interest payable to the bank every month could be more or less the same as the rent you’d pay for the same house. The only difference here is that the loan will eventually end and the house will become yours, unlike rent where it’s a ceaseless expense.

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Benefits of buying a home over renting

· Buying a home gives you sole ownership to that particular property; renting gives you partial ownership which only exists for as long as you pay the monthly dues.

· Buying a home gives you financial security in that, if unfortunately your employment or business fails, you still have a roof over your head as you continue searching for a new source of income no matter how long it takes.

· Owning your home gives you the freedom to do with it as you please. You could renovate, rebuild and replace anything you want in the interior and exterior.

· Ownership of a home gives you the sole responsibility of maintenance therefore you can have anything fixed as soon as you want.

· In the long run, buying a home proves to be cheaper than renting. This is because the house loan you pay will eventually end and the property will be eternally yours. Renting goes on for eternity since you’re just a temporary tenant in that particular property.

· With the financial freedom you experience after gaining full ownership of your home, you can invest the money you’d otherwise use for rent.

Owning a home has been made easier by the provision of these mortgage loans. This has led to many people being able to take up this process since they don’t have to save for a lifetime to own a home. Note that different banks have different interest rates on loans hence you should know all the details of a loan before applying for one.

05. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: General Blogs

Globalization and Internet have brought many countries together, and people closer. As the world continues to shrink, currencies keep playing a very important role to regulate forex markets and world economy. While credit and debit cards have made standard currency exchanges simple, it is important to have a better understanding of some popular currencies. In this post, we’ve discussed some of the most popular currencies in the world to enlighten you on the subject.

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US Dollar 

For many years, the US Dollar has been considered the foundation for world economy. In fact, a lot of currencies in the world are tied to the United States Dollar. 100 cents or pennies make 1 US Dollar. Some countries even access the United States Dollar as tender. The Bahamas and Solomon Islands are good examples. The symbol for this currency is $.

 Euro

Euro is the official currency of the European Union or EU. Euro is legally accepted and used in 16 countries in Europe. In 1999, 11 European Union countries officially adopted this currency. Even before the concept of legal tender bill came into existence, Euro was officially adopted by some countries.

In 2002, Euro’s cash form was officially introduced in the continent. This was done to replace some currencies like the German Mark and French Franc. Although Euro is accepted in countries like Denmark, the United Kingdom and Denmark, it has been unable to replace local currencies.

Pound

The British Pound was officially decimalized in the year 1971. Since it was converted to 100 per/pound, it could successfully match the US Dollar denominations. However, it was still not divided into shillings or pences. Until the Euro came into existence, the entire British empire and its colonies used the British Pound. Currently, it is the local currency of the United Kingdom, including England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Yen

The Japanese Yen officially came into existence in the year 1871. Since then, it has become one of the most popular currencies in the world. Just like other local currencies from that period, Yen’s total value was also directly attached to Gold. After the United States of America successfully occupied Japan post WW II, Yen’s value was attached to the United States Dollar. In 1971, Yen was released from the American hold and became the official currency of Japan.

The Swiss Franc 

Like Switzerland, the Swiss Franc has always been considered a neutral currency. However, it has still managed to become one of the most popular currencies in the world. In fact, the Swiss Franc is considered to be a safe haven within most foreign exchange markets. This is because the Swiss Franc always tends to move in a proper negative correlation to volatile commodity currencies like, the Australian and Canadian Dollars.

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In addition to this, the Swiss National Bank has also been very active in the foreign exchange market. This ensure the Swiss Franc trades with tight range. It leads to reduced volatility of the currency and keeps interest rates within reach.

Even in a tough economy, financial markets in most countries continue to grow and evolve. Forex markets and currencies will play a very important role in day to day transactions in future. Although these were the most popular currencies in the world, there are others which you can’t overlook. Some of these include the Australian Dollar, the Canadian Dollar, Yuan, the New Zealand Dollar and more.

23. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: General Blogs

The Bank of England today announced that there is to be no immediate rise in interest rates despite the unemployment rate touching the 7% mark set last year. The Bank of England had previously stated that it would not even consider raising interest rates until the rate fell to 7%.

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Figures released today show that the unemployment rate is hovering just above the benchmark at 7.1% but even if it does dip again there is no guarantee that interest rates will rise according to Paul Fisher, a member of MPC the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee, “low inflation rates are easing the pressure on the Bank of England to raise rates”, he went on to say “Even if the 7% unemployment rate threshold were to be reached in the near future, I see no immediate need for a tightening of policy,” he said, during a speech at SSGA, (State Street Global Advisors) in the City of London.

With inflation back at the Bank of England’s target rate of 2%, and UK economic output still below its pre-2008 peak, Mr Fisher said that “we are still some way off the point where it is appropriate to start raising bank rate and that when it is time, it would be appropriate to do so only gradually.

Although the UK economy has been strengthened lately it is still around  2% below the level of 2008, Paul Fischer also stated “there is still plenty of room for the economy to grow further before an interest rate rise was necessary” in his opinion.

Regardless of this there is still speculation floating around that interest rates will still increase later this year despite the MPC minutes making it clear that the Bank of England feels under no pressure to do so.

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Former Bank of England deputy Sir John Grieve told reporters that he thought there was “a reasonable chance” that rates could rise by the end of the year if the economy continues to strengthen. Adding fuel to the speculation is US Citibank who publicly stated that it expected the Bank of England to increase rates in the final quarter of 2014 and not in 2015 as originally thought. Speculation of an early increase in rates prompted the pound to rise to a two and a half year high of $1.6615 against USD (United States Dollar) in early morning trading.

17. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: General Blogs

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How much does a packet of 20 cigarettes cost these days ? £ 8.80 give or take a few pence depending on where you shop? So how come so called “I am on benefits and can not afford to pay my bills, clothe my kids or feed them properly” always have a fag in their mouth then!

Anyone been watching benefit street lately will know how frustrating and angry myself and my husband feel when we watch these people on television. I cannot believe how much they complain about how little money they receive (unwillingly) from us tax payers! The bloooming cheek of it!

They sit on their garden walls or doorsteps all day talking nonsense, complaining how little money they have whilst holding a can of larger in one hand and a fag in the other. The cost of smoking is not cheap neither is a bad drinking habit. How dare they be able to spend our hard earned cash on these selfish items. Their children are fed on cheep frozen rubbish what has no nutritional value what so ever. They sit on their lazy arse’s in there not so clean and tidy homes on the phone to their landlord with sob story’s on how they can not pay their rent because they have spent their housing benefit’s in the corner shop.

It amazes me how they have nothing to do all day but yet they have dirty house and feed their children convenient food. A bit of hard work with warm soapy water and a couple of cloths doesn’t cost much and standing up and moving around to be able to tidy up is believe it or not totally free ! Why live like this just because you are on every benefit going.

I feel sorry for the kids. You can go to supermarkets and buy quick to sell vegetables on the cheap because there is not much shelf life left. Slap them in a casserole dish with a stock cube and a bit of flour and hey presto ! A good nutritional cheap meal. But when your on benefits that seems like too much trouble . You can also get really cheap clothes these days too such as Primark. There is no need for children to walk around with holes in their clothes like most poor children had to in the 1930′s.

A lot of people have excuse after excuse…”My back always hurts”….well get a job where you sit down then!

” I’m too big and have problems breathing”..well lose some weight and you will see your health will improve, then get a job!

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Referring back to benefit street, the lady who calls herself” White Dee” is quite overweight so maybe if she cut out the ten chocolate cakes a day she would be a whole lot better of, yes, also she should stop smoking too. She seems to always have a cigarette in her mouth so I am guessing she smokes 15-20 a day, so that’s most probably fifty to sixty pounds a week saved there then.

In one scene she is telling a little boy off for swearing ! I have never seen such a rougher looking women in my life …overweight, tattoos and she could certainly do with her mouth washing out with soap and water. Then she lets her kids play out in the street to talk to the drug addicts and alcoholics. Why any responsible parent would allow your children to play out unattended in a street like that it beyond me. Of course I believe that children need to be outdoors running around, why can’t she clean the house when they are at school and at pick up time take them to the park where she can keep her eye on them. Also if she stopped eating so much and smoking she would have more money to be able to pay to put her kids in activity clubs so the don’t have to hang around on that terrible street.

I am not being stuck up or I am not just saying all this because I don’t know what it’s like because I do!

My husband was brought up on benefits, in a council house, and when we got together we ourselves had to get benefits. But with lots hard work from my husband and determination also wanting our boys to have a better standard of living, we have achieved our own home and a comfortable life.

It seems when watching this programme that they have given up on life and just simply “expect” all the help and handouts.

Enough is enough. Vouchers should be given for fresh fruit and veg, vouchers also for gas, electric and water, vouchers for children’s clothes. I.D to be given when using them and under no circumstances should the purchase of any alcohol or tobacco be allowed.

Guest Post by:Louise G.