Friday, 15 May 2020

Managing your Finances during Lockdown

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

We are now into 6 weeks of lock down and most people are seriously thinking about their finances. Whether you have a business or a job or are self employed, money is tight and our incomes have reduced so what can we do about it?

  1. Make a spread sheet logging all incoming money and another one for expenditure such as bills, mortgage, food, bills, car, insurance,medical fees, phone contracts and home maintenance.
  2. Look at ways you can reduce some of these costs, like looking for better deals for car/ home insurance, phone contracts and internet and energy providers.
  3. Make meal plans and shop only for necessary items.
  4. Talk to your bank for interest free loans, and over draft facilities.
  5. If you are renting see if your landlord will give you a planned holiday or let you pay in smaller installments.
  6. Check your mortgage and speak to your bank if you can change it or move it to a different type. There may be a few different options that you can opt for such as a reverse mortgage.

Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash

Everyone dreams about a comfortable life especially in retirement, but if financial problems are a more immediate reality, where do you turn? A reverse home loan is a viable solution for those who are 62 of age or above, and in need of a financial boost. 

How does a reverse mortgage work?

One of Two Ways
A reverse mortgage provided via a government program is called a home equity conversion mortgage, but if it is supplied by a private lender, it is known as a reverse mortgage. Both are subject to certain government regulations, which your lender will assist you with.

Reverse or straightforward home loans?
The main consideration is the loan term. A regular mortgage requires you to pay back the loan monthly for a predetermined period. This regular commitment can be stressful to honor, especially if funding becomes a problem.

A reverse mortgage, on the other hand, allows you to borrow without having to start the repayment process straight away. It removes the need for regular monthly payments, and you will not be bound to any loan period. You will not need to repay anything until you ever decide to move out of the home the loan is linked to, in which case the loan balance will become payable.

What Are The Qualification Criteria For A Reverse Mortgage?
The steps are simple, but the conditions are strict. Other than being 62 years of age or older, the conditions stipulate that you need to own and permanently reside in the house against which you take out the loan. The lending institution where you apply is liable for working out your capability for taking out the loan. This means that they will do a background and credit check, to see if you can afford regular maintenance costs and property taxes, insurance coverage, and other running costs pertaining to home ownership.

There are also conditions linked to the actual house. It has to be a main and permanent residence, and the person applying for the reverse loan has to be the owner. If it is a multiple-residence property, at least one of the homes or apartments must be the permanent residence of the person applying for the loan. Finally, the value of the house must be high enough to be able to cover the full repayment value of the loan upon sale of the property. Remember that the outstanding balance on an existing home loan will have to be settled with funds from the reverse home loan, before funds from the reverse loan become available for use.

Life With A Reverse Mortgage
Your lender can make the money in your loan available to you in monthly payments, which are useful for covering ongoing bills during retirement. If you qualify, you can get your reverse mortgage money any way you want. The other option is to make it available as a lump sum, to help you cover costs in the case of a major expense, such hospitalization, or you could organize a line of credit, to access it as you need.

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The Perfect Help To Move Online

Making an Impact on Your Business via a Professional Developer

During this unprecedented and challenging time, the internet is rapidly becoming the prime generator for business and adapting to the current climate. 

Not every company finds time to learn the ins and outs of setting up a powerful presence online and chooses to outsource the time and effort to external development professionals.

With the option to build your own online taking considerable time out of your business, let’s take a look at the positives of paying out for a professional web developer for your online presence.

The Right Look

Using online web building facilities to build your own may save money, but you are left with simple template designs that may not give your company a professional look.

With a professional web development firm handling your website, you get the look you envision and in some instances a much better look and feel than you envisaged.

Developers utilise in house programmers and graphic designers to strengthen the look and flow of your website ensuring that when people visit your page they are not experiencing glitches or spelling mistakes that can easily be overlooked by a business owner wanting to quickly throw a web presence out there.

Success Tools

With a professional service you are also provided with professional assurance from tools provided by them to make your website a success.

Eternal web developers provide a web hosting service as well as a guarantee of top security, speed and response for your website. This saves you time in researching the many options available as a professional developer will have access to the best for your business.

Also, with any downtime your website may encounter you can rest assured that the developer you are paying to maintain and run your website will fix the problems straight away and you will not be lost trying to call a helpline that may leave you on hold for a long amount of time and cost you business.

Consultation Services

With the landscape changing constantly, you will have no need to keep up with the changes and updates required as your web developer can keep on top of them for you and even advise you on any changes that could be made to strengthen your online presence.

If you are looking to change how you trade on the internet, a professional web developer can best guide you through what options are suitable for your budget. Remember, it’s their job to know everything in that sector of industry so who better to advise you on it?

The Developer is there to display the various options you have with your website and offer up solutions and alternatives to problematic areas that may occur. For a set up fee and a monthly price, your web developer is a safety precaution against your website suffering from slow response time, glitches and hacking that could occur that you are not prepared or qualified to tackle yourself.

Search Rankings

A professional website development firm comes equipped with many areas designed to boost your business.

A popular and utilised extra they provide would be SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which is a service to boost your online presence through search engines like Google, meaning your company will be among the first businesses advertised on a Google search for your industry.

SEO gives you an incredible boost as statistics show that most internet searches on Google end after the second page of results, meaning some other companies benefit from the service you provide if you don’t have it.

 Stockport website design companies have been among the most professional and long standing digital agencies for the 2000's and have not only advanced in responsive webdesign, but also are at the forefront of Search Engine Optimization.

Weighing up the time and money you spend on a professional website developer against the time and money you lose on building one yourself showcases why successful business owners rely on an outsourced identity to work with for their online presence.

Weighing up the time and money you spend on a professional website developer against the time and money you lose on building one yourself showcases why successful business owners rely on an outsourced identity to work with for their online presence.

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Thursday, 7 May 2020

My Top 10 Food Shopping Tips During Lock down

As we continue to be in lock down we are all spending more and more time in our homes and kitchen. We have all taken to shopping on line to get our food shop, treats, presents, basic essentials and indulgences.
The biggest shop that we all do is food. We are all eating at least three meals a day not forgetting the endless cups of tea and coffee and snacks throughout the day.

My top 10 tips for food shopping are:

1. Do a stock take of your pantry, fridge and freezer, making a list of all the items you have.

2. Plan your meals and make a meal plan and see if you have the required ingredients. Make a list of ingredients you do not have and what you will need to replenish. This way you are not buying random unnecessary groceries.

3. If you not in the vulnerable category and are able to go to the shops ensure you take with you plastic gloves, mask and wipes/sanitiser. I always wipe the trolley handle with my antibacterial wipes even if I am wearing gloves as I do not want to touch my purse etc with contaminated gloves. Have a shopping list ready so that you know exactly what you need to buy so to avoid impulse buys and limiting your time spent in the shop to a minimum. Ensure you take care of social distancing to stay safe.

4. If you self isolating due to health reasons, book an online slot for the groceries, check out local farm shops, bakers and fruit and vegetable vendors who offer delivery options. This also helps to support independent traders during the crisis.

5. Try and cook with fresh ingredients, making soups and pasta sauces from fresh produce is actually a lot easier and cheaper than you think. You can make these in bulk and freeze them too. Home cooked is so much healthier than tinned soups and pasta sauces. For inspiration check out this brocolli and sweet potato soup and baked pasta recipes.

6. If money is tight, which I think is for most of us have you considered going vegetarian or vegan? There are so many nutritious vegetarian and vegan recipes that are a lot cheaper to put together than having recipes with meat. If you are contemplating making the change, maybe start off as being vegetarian before totally changing to a vegan diet. If you do change to a vegan diet, or already are a vegan, I suggest you get a nutritional test done to see if  you are getting all the necessary nutrients from the vegan diet. If you are missing out on essential nutrients  you can start  to eat specific foods that will help to boost  the intake. There is a special 15% off  discount code available if you wish to take the test for yourself.

7. When shopping for ingredients, buy pulses, beans, grains such as couscous and quinoa. These can help to bulk up a stew or soup making it hearty and delicious at a low cost.

8. Sometimes larger packs of fruits and vegetables are often cheaper than buying  a small pack. Buy these you can always prepare them and freeze them for later use. Its handy to do this with carrots, peppers, swede, squash as all of these freeze well.

9. Tinned items and things like pasta and rice have long shelf life and are cheaper bought in quantity. Try to purchase the larger multi pack and split with your neighbour. Of course keep that social distance and leave it on their door step. You could also take it in turns to shop so you are limiting going out to the shops to a minimum.

10. Buy fruits in bulk and make your own juices and smoothies, they are much healthier and you can limit the amount of sugars in them. You can check out my ideas for smoothie packs for  the freezer.

How are you managing with your shopping, meal preps and cooking during this lock down? Do share your ideas and tips in the comments below.

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Tuesday, 5 May 2020

10 Fun Things You Can Still Do From Home during Lock Down

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Are you tired of being stuck at home? Do you want to find a way to pass the time? Then, this post is just for you as it looks at the top 10 things you can still do from home during lock down. These things will help the time pass and you will have a ton of fun in the process. Read on to find which things you can do to kill time.

1. Buy the Lotto online

If you have always wanted to win the lottery, then, this might be the perfect time to give it a try. There is no better way to let the time pass than with the thought that you could win a great deal of money be it for that dream holiday, or new business set up or a new car or home. Make sure you buy the lotto online rather than going to the newsagents since we at in a lock down, stay home and stay safe.

Image by Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

2.  Binge watch the latest Netflix series

With Netflix dropping the hottest series, there are plenty of Netflix series that you can watch to pass the time. From Money Heist to Elite Season 3, the options are endless. Browse through the latest series and choose one that suits you best. There is no better way to spend the time than by binge watching the latest Netflix series with a bowl of popcorn and bar of chocolate.

3. Take a virtual trip to your favorite holiday destination

Being stuck at home does not mean that you cannot see the world. It is about time that you used technology to your advantage and took a virtual trip to discover the world.

4. Read a good book

One of the best things that you can do at home is read a good book. If you have not read a good book for some time now, it might be just what you need. Head over to Amazon to shop for the hottest e-books or order a hard cover if you feel like it. The Works also offers a brilliant variety of discount arts & crafts, cookery and gardening books to help keep you busy and find new hobbies. Alternatively there are lots of options on kindle too.

5. Learn to cook new dishes

There is no denying that Indian food amongst other cuisines is delicious and its most peoples first takeaway choice on a Saturday night. Since we are unable to go out to dinner or get our favorite takeaway, why not try your hand at cooking the dishes at home. There are plenty of YouTube channels and free online classes and cook books you could refer to, that will help you cook up a delicious meal. It is just what you need to do to cheer yourself up in these dull times.

6. Catch a movie

There are many movies that you can watch since you are home. Watch the latest Hollywood film or a foreign movie. Besides, it will help you learn a foreign language.

7. Listen to music

Entertain yourself to some music. Many artists are even creating music dedicated to the situation. Hence, it might be a good idea to listen to some new music.

8. Play a video game
When was the last time you played a video game? Being stuck at home gives you the perfect excuse to take out your play station controller and to play some Grand Theft Auto. My personal favorite is Spyro the dragon.

9. Study online
With so many online platforms offering free courses or courses that cost a small fee, it is time that you learned something new.

10. Indulge in some spa time
Treat yourself to some spa time by giving yourself a manicure and pedicure. It will help you relax.
Photo by Camille Brodard on Unsplash

Are there any tips that you have that you can suggest whilst we are in lock down? Do share your ideas in the comments below, I would love to hear them.

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