Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How to survive on £50 a month for food

Although it may sound impossible, there are ways to shop very cheaply if your food budget is tight and it does not have to mean cutting back on meals. If you only have £50 to spend on food for a month, you will have to plan every penny very carefully, but it is possible to keep within this budget.

First things first, you need stock up on staples - those cupboard essentials that serve as the basis for any meal you prepare and give you the energy you need. These include rice, pasta, potatoes, pulses, eggs, fruit and veg. The best advice is to try and buy these staples in bulk, so they will last you the entire month and the price will invariably be cheaper. If you are on a tight budget, it is essential you shop around for the best price. Rice is expensive in the supermarkets, so the best place to buy rice and lentils in bulk is your local ethnic store, where 2kg bags sell for as little as £1.85. Here you can also pick up essential herbs and spices for a lot less too, as little as 39p a bag. For pasta and potatoes, ALDI and LIDL are your best bet, the latter of which is currently offering 2.5kg of King Edwards for just £1.

If you manage to keep your staples budget under £25, you are well on your way to frugal success. The other £25 will be earmarked for bread, dairy, meat and incidentals. For these items, the best advice is to shop for offers and discounts and sometimes the best stores for these kind of bargains are your local Tesco or Sainsbury's. With the recent recession, the discount shelves in these stores have become increasingly popular. You can buy a perfectly good loaf of bread for as little 39p (reduced from £1.40), if you are smart you will buy 3 loaves and freeze the other 2, which will give you your monthly bread supply for a little over a pound.

You will find large blocks of cheese are also often on sale. Although meat and fish won't be a daily indulgence, you will definitely find some incredible offers on the bargain shelves; bacon, sausages and chicken are often found for a fraction of the original price. Again, freezing your bargains is often the best way forward. The only items you're unlikely to find reduced are milk, butter and kitchen essentials such as olive oil - so you should factor up to £10 a month for these, depending on your needs.

Once you have managed to buy everything you need for the month, the key is to make your food last and not be wasteful. Eggs and bread are a great source of energy in the mornings and keep you full until lunch. The same goes for baked potatoes, vegetable stir-fries with rice and pasta dishes; just be mindful of saving your left over's for another snack. It is very possible to manage on a tight budget; it just takes a little more imagination!

Garry Hudson writes for Baines and Ernst - http://www.bainesandernst.co.uk

Best Debt Consolidation

Many people who have lots of debts see debt consolidation as a good solution. Debt consolidation is not the best thing for everyone but it could be a good answer for some people. If you are struggling to pay the minimum payments on your debts each month then you will probably be looking for a solution that can help you cope.

One way of doing this is to consolidate credit cards and your debt as well. There are many different ways of doing this, one of which is credit card consolidation. This involves paying off all your debts with a credit card and then having just one payment to make. This could be a ways of reducing your monthly payment.

If you can find a zero interest credit card then this can be a great way to start to tackle paying back some of the debt. While you will not have interest to pay, you can be using that money to pay off some of the debt. You do need to be strict with yourself though because the interest free period will not last for long and you need to take advantage of it. Once it is up you will be moved on to the standard variable rate and that is likely to be quite high. It is therefore a good idea to have the minimum debt possible by then so that you can pay the minimum interest possible.

You may even be able to transfer to another free interest credit card once the term is up on your current one. It is important to make sure that you check how much the costs are of the credit card. Even though it is interest free for a time, you may find that there are other charges that you will need to pay and these may end up making it dearer than using one with interest.

As with any financial product you should look very carefully in to it before going ahead. Make sure you fully understand the terms and conditions, how much money you will have to pay and whether you are tied in or not. You should be able to find several similar credit cards and so you will be able to compare them to find that one that will give you the right deal. Take some time making this decision, make sure that you are confident about your choice and you understand everything about the product and how it will change your finances. Unless you are completely confident then it may be wise not to go with the product though.

If you want to find out how to make sure that you are making the right decision about coping with your debts then it is a good idea to get help. You may find it difficult to even admit to yourself that you have made a financial mistake, but it is really valuable being able to talk to someone else about it. None of us is perfect and it is very easy to get in to debt these days, with everyone trying to get us to spend money and the bank’s lending so easily. Many of us had no financial education as we were growing up and so it is not surprising that many of us have got ourselves in to problems.

Do not feel bad about your situation; feel proud that you want to do something about it. Many people just bury their heads in the sand and ignore things until it is too late. By understanding you have a problem and deciding to do something about it, you have made a very brave step. There are many people out there who are capable of helping you and they will all be sympathetic. No one wants to be nasty about your problem but they want to be able to help you.

Go to a professional, who knows what the best thing to do is and you will find that you will soon learn how to get yourself back on your feet again. Even if you have done a lot of research yourself, you may need to check that it is still the right decision for you. Getting professional help is the best way to make sure that you are doing the right thing.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What Is Umbrella Insurance?

Umbrella insurance is an additional liability policy that can be purchased to enhance your insurance coverage. It provides extra protection in the event that you are sued for an amount above and beyond what your other insurance policies cover. Umbrella insurance, also known as "personal liability insurance," is a good investment in today's day and age where people are more likely to sue one another for just about anything. This type of insurance is named "umbrella" because it sits on top of your other insurance policies like a guardian, protecting you in the event they are maxed out.

Who Needs Umbrella Insurance?

It used to be that only wealthy people needed this type of insurance because they were more likely to be sued. It isn't that way anymore. Now nearly anyone and everyone should have this insurance. Umbrella insurance protects your home, automobiles, boats, and other large assets. It kicks in when your other insurance policies have run dry.

If you caused a bad car accident and several people were injured, your insurance company could easily be sued for well over a million dollars. In a case where you were liable, your insurance company would need to cover all medical bills, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs for the injured parties. This expense could easily eat up all of your insurance benefits leaving all of your personal assets at risk.

If you didn’t have an umbrella policy, the representatives of the injured persons could go after your home, cars, boats, jewelry, or even your salary. You could end up paying a portion of every paycheck out for many years, or even for the rest of your life depending on how large of an amount the claimants were awarded by a judge.

It’s not a bad idea for everyone to look into umbrella insurance. In most cases it doesn't cost much and it could save you a lot of money if something unfortunate were to happen. The peace of mind, knowing that you are fully protected, is worth the extra money.

Getting a Deal on Umbrella Insurance

Umbrella insurance policies are thought to be one of the best deals in the insurance industry. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't shop around when seeking out coverage. The same type of policy could cost you much more through one insurer than it would if you bought from another. Take time to compare prices and coverage levels before purchasing a policy. It is the only way to make sure you get a good deal and reliable coverage.

Guest post from Bailey Harris. Bailey writes about insurance and other topics for the Home Insurance Blog.