Tips for Cutting Down on the Cost of GiftsTips for Cutting Down on the Cost of Gifts

Most of us will buy gifts for other people at some point. This could be a birthday gift, Christmas gifts, anniversaries or things like this. We all tend to get them but they can cost us a lot of money. It is a good idea to think about ways that we can cut down though, particularly if we are on a tight budget or just want to save money.

Have a no Present Pact

It can be worth talking to family and friends about having a no present pact. This means that you will agree not to exchange gifts. This can be a good way for you both to save money. It is particularly good for people who do not know each other really well and therefore they end up giving things that the other person will not use. They might be really relieved if you ask because they may worry about the cost of buying gifts for you too. It is also a good way to be kinder to the planet which might be something they are concerned about as well.


If you receive gifts that you do not really want then it can be a good idea to hang on to them so that you can give them to other people that they might be more suitable for. You will need to be careful not to give a person back an item that they gave to you though. Also keep it in its original packaging and then you will be able to make sure that it looks new still. You can also regift wrapping paper if you remove it carefully, gift bags and possibly even cards. It might be possible to cut up cards to make gift tags, for example.

Look for Bargains

It can sometimes be worth looking for reduced items in order to get gifts that are cheaper. You do need to be careful though. Not all reduced items are really that cheap and you may even still find them cheaper elsewhere. Therefore, make sure that you are careful when you are buying them. You may also buy things when you see them on sale ahead of someone’s birthday and then put them away and forget about them or see other things which you feel will suit them better and buy those as well. Then you will end up spending more money rather than less.

Give Less Items

Some people always give more than one gift. They might give a selection of items because they think it is nice for someone to get lots of things or because they feel one gift is not enough. However, most people will feel that just one gift is enough. If you are buying for your children and they are young, then perhaps more gifts will be nice, but buying for adults should not mean that you have to buy lots of things. In fact, research has shown that buying one gift for a person makes it easier for them to remember what they have got compared to when they get a lot of presents from someone. This means that your present could stand out more and be more memorable.

Give Homemade Items

It could save money if you give presents that you have made to someone. Sometimes this can be more expensive but it depends what you decide to make. If you are good at cooking or baking you could make them a cake, cookies or jam. If you are artistic then you could paint a picture, make a sculpture or something like this. There are lots of ideas online and if you already have the materials then this will make it much cheaper.

Is it Better to Use Savings or Borrow?Is it Better to Use Savings or Borrow?

We can sometimes have a dilemma where we need some money and we can pick between borrowing it or using our savings. This is not a decision that we should take lightly though. There will be advantages and disadvantages of each and they may not be as obvious as you might think.

Advantages of Using Savings

  • If you use your savings it will normally not cost you as much. It is normally the case that a loan will cost you more money than you will lose in interest on your savings. You will need to check though as there might be a few cases where this will not be true. You want to make sure that you are not out of pocket or that you at least know whether or not you will be so that you can decide properly if this will be a good thing or not.
  • If you use savings then your credit record will not change. Borrowing will appear on the credit record and there is a chance that this will put off a future lender as they may feel that you have already borrowed enough.
  • You may struggle with the loan repayments. It might be the case that the repayments have to be made monthly and that you will struggle to repay them or at least find them rather stressful. If you miss repayments then you will have to pay extra charges and this will not be good. You do not want to have to repay more than necessary. It is wise to replenish your savings and you could make monthly payments as if you were repaying a loan in order to achieve this, but it will be much more flexible. You can allow yourself to pay less, skip payments etc so there will be no need to get stressed about it.

Advantages of Borrowing

  • If you borrow the money you will still have your savings to fall back on. If you are saving up for something specific, you will not be digging into that fund. It can be hard and stressful to part with savings, especially ones that you have worked hard to put together. Your savings may also be paying a good amount of interest. If you have the money tied up then it could be the case that you are earning a fair bit of interest and you may not want to be without that. Loans do vary in how much they cost as well. You will find that there are loans which are much cheaper than some other types and it is well worth comparing them. Find the right type of loan and then compare lenders so that you can use the cheapest one. Cobra Payday Loans is a great place to start if you’re looking for a short term finance option.
  • Sometimes borrowing money can actually be a positive thing on your credit record. If you can borrow money and repay it, it will show that you are responsible and lenders may feel they can then trust you to repay any money that they lend you. Of course, you will need to make sure that you do repay it on time though.
  • Loan repayments can be manageable. Make sure that you compare the different types of loans though and their rates as the amount you have to repay will vary. You will also find that there are some loans which do not work like this. For example, if you take out a credit card then you will only have a small amount to pay each month and then you can choose how much more you repay. Overdrafts have no formal repayment schedule at all.

How to save Money on Car InsuranceHow to save Money on Car Insurance

Everyone who drives has to have car insurance by law. This means that there will always be this expense associated with driving. Insurance can be expensive as well and so you might wish that you did not have to pay it. This is not an option though, but there could be things to try that might reduce the amount that you have to pay.

Compare Insurers

It is really sensible to compare the different insurers to make sure that you are not paying more than necessary. There are lots of companies that provide car insurance and they all really differ in how much they charge. Therefore, you could easily find that you will be able to save money if you switch to a different one. Therefore, make sure that you compare them and see whether you are paying too much. It might seem like a hassle, but it is actually quite easy and you could end up saving a significant amount of money, in fact this is probably the way that you can save the most money.

Even if you like your insurer and so not want to leave them, let them know how much you can save with other insurers in order to see if you can negotiate a lower price with them. It is worth a try even if they are not happy about it. Many will want to hold on to you as a customer and will therefore lower their price to try to keep you.

Drive More Carefully

It is wise to be careful when you are driving. Accidents are not always our own fault but if we can reduce the risk that we will have an accident by driving more carefully, then this will be really useful. We will hopefully be able to reduce the likelihood that we will have to make a claim. Each time you claim it is likely to increase your premium and so you will be better off being careful and trying to avoid this.

Avoid Claiming

You should also try to avoid claiming for other things too. So, if you get a small problems, try to pay for it yourself or else your premiums will go up so much you could end up paying for that claim several times over. As soon as an insurer feels that you are higher risk they will charge you more. You might think that because you have a protected no claims, then it will not matter, but having one of these will actually increase your premium.

Remove Unnecessary Things from Your Policy

It is a good idea to make sure that you are not paying more than necessary for your insurance. Often there are all sorts of optional things that are put in, which you can have removed. Obviously you will need a certain amount of cover and you will have in mind what you want to be covered for, but just make sure that there are not extras that you do not know about.

Increase Excess

The excess is the amount of money that you pay towards a claim. These vary and the larger the excess you have. The lower your premium will be. So, it is well worth considering whether it is worth raising your excess so that you can save money. This will also prevent you form being able to make smaller claims which the insurers appreciate as they do not have to pay out.

Have a Reliable Driver Named on Your Insurance

It can sometimes help you to have the name of a reliable driver on your insurance. This is particularly helpful if you are not a very reliable driver yourself and having them named might make it seem slower risk to take you on and therefore may mean that your premium is not so high. It is worth a try.

How to Spend Less on ElectricHow to Spend Less on Electric

Most of us pay for electricity and use quite a bit of it. It is extremely useful but it is expensive. Not only do we have to pay for it but we have to pay VAT on it as well and so the cost really adds up. You may wish that you could pay a bit less and there are ways that you might be able to achieve this. You could change supplier, use less electricity of generate your own.

Switch to a Cheaper Supplier

Electricity suppliers vary a lot in how much they charge and there are a lot of them to choose from. This means that there is a big chance that you will be able to benefit form switching. It might feel like a big hassle to switch over, but actually it can be straightforward. The suppliers sort out most of it by themselves, although you will obviously have to give some details to the new supplier and you may need to read your meter and send readings off to both of them. That really is not too tricky though, considering that some people can save hundreds by switching. It is therefore worth going to a comparison website or an insurance broker to find out whether you can save money by changing over to a different one. It is also worth checking every six months or so whether you are still competitive as this will mean that you can change again if there is a cheaper supplier than the one you are with. This is particularly important if the suppliers decide to put their rates up.

Use Less Electricity

Another way to save money is to lower your usage. An electricity bill is made up of two parts. One part is a standing charge which you have to pay regardless and the other is or usage and you will get charged for all of the electricity you use. You can reduce this part by using less. There are lots of ways that we might be able to cut down in what we are using. Switching things off when we are not using them and not using things on stand by at night (but turning them off on the socket at the wall) will save a lot of money in the long run. When you replace items try to use energy efficient ones to save money too. Also try to only use washing machines and dishwashers when they are full and only use a tumble dryer if you cannot dry washing outside or on an airer. You could also try more drastic measures like charging your mobile devices at other places such as work or college rather than using your home electricity, turning down heating and dimming lights and things like this.

Generate Your Own Electricity

It could be worthwhile considering whether it is worth generating your own electricity, perhaps by installing a heat pump or solar panels. You will need the right conditions for these and you will need to pay out a lot of money to start with to cover the cost of installation. It could be worth it though, but you will need to do lots of calculations to work out whether you think it is worthwhile. It can be cheaper to start with thinks like solar mobile device chargers. These can be expensive though and you may not save a lot of money considering what you buy for the charger. It will depend on the price of the charger and how much energy it actually produces as well as how much charging the device on the mains costs you.

Is it Worth Tying up my Savings?Is it Worth Tying up my Savings?

There are many different types of savings accounts and there are some where you will need to tie your savings up for a while. You might wonder whether this will be advantageous to you or not. It is a good idea to take a look at the pros and cons to decide whether you want to tie up your savings or not.


  • By tying up your savings you will normally be able to get higher interest compared with putting your money in an instant access account. If you compare the rates you will often find it is significantly higher so well worth considering.
  • There are different types of accounts where your money is tied up. For example, you could put your money in an account where it has to remain in the account for a year or a number of years. During this time, it will accumulate interest for you. These tend to have a fixed rate of interest which means that if the interest rate goes up while the money is in the account, you will not get any more interest, but they tend to be set at a pretty high rate anyway so they should still give a reasonable return. You can also use a notice account where you will have to give a certain amount of days notice, such as 30 or possible even 90 days. You will be able to get your money more easily but will still be limited and so interest will be higher as a result.
  • There is often flexibility with this sort of account and you will be able to get your money out even if it is supposed to be tied in. However, you will probably lose any bonus you were due or have a reduced amount of interest as a result.
  • Tying money up means that you will not be able to spend it. This can be really useful for anyone that is prone to spending more money than they can really afford to. So, if you are likely to spend money that you have hanging around, just because it is there, tying it up could be really handy. You will not be able to spend it and it will mean that you will be able to keep it by for when you really need it. It could be useful for saving up towards a wedding, house deposit, retirement or things like this.


  • by tying your money up, it means that you will not have immediate access to it. This means that it is wise to only do this with money that you do not think that you will need. Perhaps it could be a good idea to keep some savings in an account that you can get easier access to, but then tie some up so that it can get a better interest rate.
  • The rates on these types of accounts do vary and some will be better than others. However, once you are tied in, you will not be able to move the money to a different account with better rates, or if you do, you will lose interest as a result.
  • If you need the money in an emergency then you may not be able to get it. If you put it into an account which does not allow money to be taken out at all, you could find that you get into trouble and really wish that you had not done it. You really have two options if you are concerned about this and you could either pick a product that does has some flexibility or avoid tying your money up at all. It is worth looking at the terms on the ones that do allow withdrawals to see what they allow as they will all vary and it is wise to be sure of what you are signing up for.