Do You Save For Special Occasions?

As many people do, I have savings accounts for various different things. I currently have my main savings account which I save money in for all different things – whatever I need to save for at that exact moment – and then I also have the savings account connected to my current account where I place 25% of my income for tax. Until this past year, I had never made enough to pay tax but I know that I definitely will be in a position to pay tax when it comes to my next tax return so am saving up to have the funds ready.

But do I save for special occasions? Do you? I do, depending on the actual situation. When you have one child born exactly three weeks before Christmas, then Christmas, then your daughter’s birthday exactly two weeks after (and then my birthday exactly three weeks after that!!), sometimes you do have to save a little to make that money stretch a little further. We have other birthdays in and around December and January also but our main focus is making sure we have money for presents for the children and then focusing on others afterwards – however, when it is your siblings and parents birthdays so soon after, you do have to spend a little and get them a nice present.

https://swiftmoney.com/  are currently in the process of creating an infographic talking about how we spend money on these occasions. Women are more likely to save money for gifts and men rarely do save. This is definitely true in my case – I am always the one saving up for gifts whereas Steve just tends to buy based on what is in his paycheck that month that doesn’t need to be spent on bills. With 68% of people saying there are societal pressure, I would have to agree. However we only buy for a select few people and a select few occasions and try to ignore any societal pressure that comes out way.

They have even found out about people’s thoughts on Christmas gift giving. 38% of people give food and drink as gifts – making these the most popular type of gift given, Whilst we don’t always give food, I can honestly say that drinks form a large part of our gift giving at Christmas, whether it be whisky, vodka or coffee! Gadgets are at 28% and I do buy those occasionally – but only for Jack and Steve – we don’t fork out for anyone not in this household unless we are splitting the cost with someone else.

I now save money and vouchers throughout the year for the kid’s birthdays and Christmas – if I didn’t, I’d never get them anything once the time rolls around. I also enter competitions for things I know people like and would want and give them as extra gifts. When it comes to Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Easter, we just see what is in our budget and what gifts we can afford – we have never had any complaint yet.

Do you save for special occasions?

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Staying Safe On The Roads

Whilst we all have our own budgets and stuff like that, safety is something we should never shirk on and is something that we should always be considering. When it comes to car safety and thus the safety of my family, of my children, money is no object. But just how safe are your cars? For instance, would you know when your car tyres need replacing?

Cox Motor Parts have created a fab infographic (read more about it here), talking about 10 warning signs that your car tyres need replacing. How many did you know?

Now I’m not the driver in our household but safety is paramount to me and I knew the majority of these. I must admit that I don’t think we change the tyre pressure as regularly as we should do which will be changing as of today and that I know of plenty of people who probably don’t even know half of these. So many of these things happen because people ‘don’t have the money’ to fix them – surely safety comes first?

It is important to have a budget but it is also super important to ensure the safety not only of yourself but your family, other road users and pedestrians too. Knowing what to look for when it comes to car safety is key to avoiding any unnecessary accidents. Why not pay the small amount to replace your tyres when they need replacing rather than run the risk of paying thousands if you have an accident or even paying with your life? It isn’t worth the risk. Get them checked.

How many of these did you know?

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Facing up to a retirement savings shortfall

When it comes to saving, a lot of people have good intentions. We might plan to squirrel away money into a savings account or make savvy investments, all with the intention of ensuring that we have an emergency fund in place.

Unfortunately, the actual process of saving isn’t always so easy; emergencies can deplete our funds, or we may simply not have enough disposable income to save effectively.  This means that savings aren’t always there when we need them, and it can be troubling to face a hole in our finances with nothing to fill the gap.

Retirees can feel this issue particularly acutely if they need savings to supplement their monthly income. Whether this income is from pensions or other sources, the fact remains that if savings are needed to keep topping up the pot, there may be problems when the fund runs dry.

Alternatively, pensioners may find that they simply haven’t saved enough to meet their needs. Either way, the concern is that many people with these issues may bury their head in the sand rather than seeking a solution.

If you’re retired and worried that you might be running your savings down too quickly, or you’re currently working but concerned you might not be putting aside enough money each month, then this is probably sounding a little too close to home.

Could your property bring you peace of mind?

Facing up to the fact that you’re having a savings shortfall, though sometimes uncomfortable, is an important first step towards finding a solution.

One such solution is equity release – a process which allows you to release some of the cash that is tied up in your home. Available to eligible applicants aged 55-95, equity release can be used to take a lump sum as well as, if desired, additional smaller amounts through use of a drawdown function. The most popular form of equity release is a lifetime mortgage, which is secured against your home.

Last year, the Financial Times suggested that the UK’s retirement savings may be falling short by around £11 billion each year, a concerning figure which suggests that people need to act sooner rather than later. Deciding that it’s time to take action is a good first step, but then it’s time to start fully investigating the available options.

Equity release will reduce the value of your estate and may affect your entitlement to means-tested benefits. This means that it is important to be aware that there are other options too – such as downsizing – although, of course, this would mean leaving your current home.

If you’re considering equity release it is recommended that you read ‘is it right for you?’ carefully.

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