Making Home Renovations Without Breaking the Bank

When we purchase a property, we tend to assume that we have to accept it in the form that we found it. The most major improvements most people make tend to be based around interior design. But this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. You can carry out home renovations for a whole host of reasons. They can make your house a more comfortable and appealing place. They can add value to your home if you are planning on letting it out or selling it. They can even be essential if you find that your property has certain structural, electrical, or plumbing problems. But whatever your reason for considering renovations, it’s important to bear in mind that your project doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank. Here are a few things that you can do to fund your venture!

Prioritise Work

Chances are that you have an extensive idea of how you’d like your property to look. However, after a few consultations with sales people and other professionals, your eyes will be opened to a whole new world of additional features that suddenly seem a necessary part of the renovation process. If money is tight or work is essential, you need to prioritise jobs stick to just getting what needs to be done. You can always indulge in the extras later down the line.

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Consider Equity Release

One major source of funds for home improvements is the money that you already have tied up in your property. Believe it or not, you can easily access this. You just have to engage with a process called equity release. Rather than taking out new personal loans with the bank or other high interest lenders, this means that you can dip into the money you have already invested into your home in order to improve it. Just make sure to use a professional company like responsibleequityrelease.co.uk to do this. This will ensure that you get all of the right advice before taking any major actions. 

 

Gather Savings

If you have time on your hands and don’t mind waiting for repairs to be carried out, you can always gather up savings to cover the costs. This requires a whole lot of patience, as the work is likely to be completed later rather than sooner. But it means you will literally pay for the work carried out without having to worry about high-end interest rates. Now, in order to save effectively, you need to focus on putting as much of your disposable income aside rather than indulging in luxuries. Sure, it may be a sacrifice. But it’ll be worth your dedication when your home is exactly how you’d like it to be!

While home renovations may well be a costly process, it’s generally worth the financial investment when your home looks and feels exactly how you want it to. Hopefully these simple steps can help you to get the work you want done without sinking into debt!

Your Dream Car Might Be Closer Than You Think!

We all have a dream car. That one incredible motor that we’ve fantasized about driving since we were young. Ever gotten that shiver down their spine at the sound of a roaring engine? Or caught themselves drooling against the window of a dealership? Then you know that exact feeling. But for a lot of people, it can feel like buying their dream car is just that, a dream. Most of us imagine that we’ll have to settle for staring from a distance as the car of our dreams drives off into the sunset. Someone richer or luckier behind the wheel. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are ways in which you can get that little closer to the car of your dreams. Here are just a few of them.

Do your research

Don’t just leap into buying a car in the first place you see it. Depending on the make and model of the car you’re after, it can be more or less common depending on location. The rarity of the parts for your vehicle can send the price shooting through the roof. In the same way, you should see if there are different types of the particular car you’re looking for. If you’re desperate for a classic Beetle then why not check to see which models are available. Is there one available from one of the years outside of what you had been dreaming of? If you head to a Vauxhall garage near you and speak the people there, you may end up being able to find something that is close to what you’ve always wanted, just at a much lower price. That way you could well end up getting a car that is almost the same as the one you always wanted at half the price.

Take out a loan

Now, getting a loan can always be a risky proposition, but there are plenty of benefits to it as well. Being able to pay back the price of a car over time can go a long way to cushioning the blow of the money you’ll be spending. It also allows you to budget around the price of the car over a longer period. Which is much easier than trying to figure out where you’re going to get a large sum all at once. Of course, the key to taking out a loan when buying a car is to be smart. Keep a close eye on the interest rates. The last thing you want is to end up paying back double what the car is worth because of a ridiculously high-interest rate. There are plenty of places that allow you to shop around and find the best possible loans for you.

Start saving

Sorry to say it but the most effective way to afford your dream car is just to start saving. It might not quick, and it might not be easy, but it’s the best way to set aside the money you need. Check your spending, see what you can cut back on and start paying money into a savings account so you’re not tempted to dip into it. See if there are things around the house that you don’t want or need anymore that you can sell for some extra money. If you’re smart about it, you’ll be able to get the cash you need more quickly than you might expect.

The truth is that any car is going to be a pretty significant financial investment, especially if you have your heart set on something specific. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that you can do to make life just a little bit easier for yourself.

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The rise in private parking fines

A new bill to regulate private parking is being backed by 93% of drivers, according to the RAC. Private parking firms hold a bad reputation with drivers and it’s thought to be because two-thirds of drivers think they are too aggressive when they try to collect fines. On top of this, 84% believe that the fines don’t reflect the offence.

The Daily Mirror has reported that millions of parking tickets aren’t in fact legal, meaning many drivers are able to fight for a refund. RAC Foundation Director, professor Stephen Glaister, said: “We estimate that in 2013 alone drivers might have been overcharged by some £100 million.”

Parking fines in 2017, are thought to have cost the British public a staggering £94 million, with certain cities having issued over half a million penalties in the past three years. According to UK Carline, Brent, Bristol and Croydon were the cities that drivers were most likely to be hit with a parking fine. All three cities had issues more than 250,000 fines in 2016. Brent soared ahead of other cities across the UK, issuing 537,128 fines across the three-year period. The top 10 councils with the highest number of issued parking fines is as follows:

Rank

City No. parking fines issued
(over three years)
1 Brent 537,128
2 Croydon 339,121
3 Bristol 267,913
4 Ealing 236,733
5 Newcastle 221,659
6 Enfield 189,619
7 Sheffield 155,552
8 Leicester 147,358
9 Bradford 141,692
10 Plymouth 121,429

 

It’s worrying that there was a total of 2,752,900 penalty charge notices issued across the three-year period, with 2016 alone seeing 941,888 tickets issued. If each penalty was charged at the maximum fine of £100 per offence, these penalty charges could be costing motorists an astonishing £275,290,000 per year! And further figures from the RAC suggest these figures continued to rise in the month running up to Christmas 2017 – with figures signifying there was a 10% increase in the number of tickets issued when compared to 2016’s figures, with around 17,137 tickets issued every day. Furthermore, ParkingEye Ltd was found to have requested the largest amount of data from the DVLA, with more than 533,000 records obtained in the most recent quarter, at a cost of £2.50 a record.

Steve Gooding, director of RAC Foundation, states that the data shows that private parking firms are “looking to maximise their profits from drivers out and about doing their festive shopping”. An opinion that seems fair to dish out, considering 72% of drivers say that parking terms and conditions notices are often hard to read or hidden in car parks – with a further 69% claiming parking charges were too high.

Further figures provided by UK Carline also highlighted that there seems to be a pattern on which days are most likely to see you issued with a fine. Their research shows that  drivers were most likely to receive a fine on a Saturday, while Sunday was the least likely. Figures show that just 235,584 tickets were issued on Sundays – a figure which still looks to be high but is significantly lower than the 430,035 tickets that were issued on Saturdays over the three-year period. Are drivers better behaved on Sundays? Or are parking firms more lenient?

No driver wants to see that big yellow envelope placed on their windscreen, or receive the dreaded letter through the post, knowing it means they are facing an unexpected charge for parking. The RAC suggests that there are areas which need to be addressed within the newly proposed bill in order for it to be a wide success, shifting driver attitudes towards a more positive consumer confidence in private parking firms.

Road policy spokesman for the RAC, Nicholas Lyes, said: “Importantly, this bill will facilitate a set of national guidelines which we hope will make the appeals’ process simpler, tighten access to the DVLA database and bring higher standards to a sector which clearly has a poor reputation among motorists.”

It’s a reputation that clearly needs to be worked upon, especially as over four in five drivers feel firms have a bad reputation.

In January 2018, it looked as though the future of parking and a reduction in harsh parking fines was positive, as the proposed Parking (Code of Practice) Bill from former Conservative minister, Sir Greg Knight, was expected to be heard by the House of Commons for a second time. The proposed new code of practice hoped to ensure fair treatment of motorists and parking firms alike – a practice that is clearly needed following data that shows ticketing has reached epidemic proportions. The RAC were pleased that the code of practice would mean that firms which did not comply with the new code would be blocked from accessing motorist’ information via the DVLA.

However, local authorities and councils could soon be part of the ‘war against motorists’, as a Conservative MP describes it, if the latest news from the RAC is anything to go by, with permits and car parking anticipated to rise by 45% in certain areas of the UK. This includes with the introduction of Sunday parking charges. With councils already racking up a huge £819 million in parking fines, fees and permits during 2016/17, how much could they be looking at making if charges increase by 45%? Motorists could be in for a shock – though also giving them more reason to fight back and support a bill to regulate private parking.

It’s clear that the cost of parking and fines is an issue that has been raised to the government, but could we see positive changes being made in the future? For motorists’ sake, let’s hope so.

This article was brought to you by Audi dealership, Vindis Group.

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