How To Keep Your New Year Resolutions

It’s that time of year again, new year resolutions!  The one where we make promises to ourselves to change our lives for the better. The Washington Post states that up to 40% of Americans make resolutions. But just how many of us actually achieve what we set out to do? In reality, less than half of us stick to what we hoped to change.  Sno how do we keep our new year resolutions?

In general, the most common resolutions that we make are:

  • Exercise more, or lose weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Save more money 
  • Learn something new
  • Relax or meditate more

Of course, these challenges we set ourselves are the most difficult to change.  This is why we often fail.  So why can they be so difficult to achieve and maintain?

Why most New Year resolutions fail

New year resolutions

We humans derive a lot of pleasure from food, socialising, watching films, drinking, shopping and some from smoking.   All are associated with spending money, in one way or another. Take that ‘pleasure’ away, and we are left feeling pretty miserable. We need our endorphin fix.  Who wants to feel like that?

Secondly, other obstacles in the pursuit of change can be financial.  Buying a gym subscription is not always cheap and may not be affordable.   Time is another.  Finding the time to plan how you will tackle your resolution to make it work. To create a whole new year takes planning, resources and time.  

Of the main resolutions we say each year, smoking is the only that gives an instant financial gain.  Smoking can put a big burden on your pocket.  Stopping will instantly give you the ability to start saving and release the pressure on your monthly finances.

As part of planning how you will achieve your new year resolutions, as part of the planning process.  Write down what you spend each month on what you want to change, or what you can save each week to make the change.  This will help give you a financial view of the changes your new year resolution will have on your wallet.

If you don’t have a lot of faith in yourself to begin with, you’ll probably attack your goals half-heartedly.  This isn’t the best start to accomplishing or changing a life goal. However you may go all in and try to make multiple significant life changes.  This can be just too much to process and track for most, one at a time is more achievable..

Meanwhile, there’s also the attitude that we are all familiar with .  “you had that candy at 11 am, so now you’ve ruined the whole day’s healthy eating.”   Therefore, you’ll start again tomorrow (or worse, next week!).   If you fall off the horse, get back on right away.

Missing a goal can be like that, it also seems like a failure. It really isn’t   So you’re a week late where you wanted to be?   That doesn’t really matter, because at least you are still committed to your change.  Its about keep going and not giving up.

If you give up completely in a fit of self doubt, you will never get to your goal. 

What Can You Do To Achieve Your Goals?

set goals

OK, so you know what you want to achieve, but how do you ensure that you get the end result? 

Plan, plan, plan … (and make sure you have specific goals)

Saving more money 

Rather than just say, “I’d like to save more money this year”, think about how much you want to save and plot how you will achieve it. Vaguely ‘hoping’ to save a little more than you maybe do already won’t help you succeed.   You must be realistic.

Firstly, work out what you get paid and what outgoings you have, to see what is left. Cancel any subscriptions or streaming services that you no longer use. Shop around for utilities and insurance quotes; it’s worth the effort to check you are getting the best deal. 

If you buy a coffee every day, consider making one at home instead and then putting that money away. Look into particular savings challenges, such as the 52 Week Challenge, even start planning ahead for Halloween and Christmas

Try to be specific about what you want to achieve, for example, “I would like $500 in my savings account by August 1st”. This kind of specific goal helps you work out what you will need to save monthly. 

Break up big goals into smaller bite-sized tasks, if even the thought of it overwhelms you. If you wish to run a marathon, you will need to start small and build up.  This relates for many other types of resolution too. 

Exercise more/lose weight

exercise more

Be realistic, how much weight would you like to lose? Let’s be honest, losing 10kgs in a month isn’t going to happen, so be reasonable with your goal so that you don’t feel like you have failed when the 10kg plan doesn’t come to fruition.

Plan how you think you can best achieve this. Diets are multi-million dollar industries because most of us begin one, lose weight and go straight back to what we ate before. Yet we’re still surprised when the weight goes back on, so we have to start again, or try a different one altogether, assuming the last fad didn’t work. 

For that reason, find something that suits you, your lifestyle.  One that you can stay consistent with for a long time, or even forever. Maybe it is counting calories, cutting down on carbohydrates, or simply stopping snacking. Embrace other coping strategies for when you have urges to slip into bad habits.  Go for a walk or call a friend if temptation becomes too strong.

By the same token, beginning an exercise regime doesn’t mean you also have to spend hours at the gym, or spend a small fortune on streamlining excise routines. Walk more, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and make use of free trials.YouTube is a fantastic source for some great fitness videos for all fitness levels – fun, calm, or high-intensity.  It is easy to find something that fits around you. 

Learn something new

Deciding to learn something new, does not appear to be as stressful as giving something up.   With this, you aim to gain something rather than take it away (such as candy and chips!).  This can make it easier to achieve, but not always. .

If you have a thirst for knowledge, the possibilities of learning something new are almost endless. You can learn a little about a lot – something new every day, or learn a lot about a little. A musical instrument, art lessons, cooking at home (which can help with the healthy new you!) or a language.

As with other resolutions, aim for something that is achievable, don’t set yourself up for failure from the start. Maybe you have a friend that also fancies the Italian lessons you’d love to start; doing this together is great support for both of you. 

Quit smoking New year resolution

quit smoking

There is no doubt that this is one of the hardest resolutions to see through to the end. Addiction, and habits in general are much harder to break.  They take a lot of mental stamina with physical effects that start the first day.. 

Be very clear about how you want to go about this. Cold turkey? Nicotine patches or gum? Medications that help the cravings? How you break the back of this addiction can be different for each individual. Talk to others who have conquered giving up smoking, join local or social media support groups.  Research different tactics to help override and ease the cravings. 

Anti-tobacco campaigners ASH have even said not to give up at New Year, but to start the mental preparation instead. Look towards No Smoking Day which falls on the second Wednesday in March, which is the 10th this year, 2022.

Clive Bates, Director of ASH (in the UK) said:

“Smokers that seriously want to quit should use New Years Day to make the resolution and start the mental preparation, but only take the step of cutting out the cigarettes when they are good and ready to do it.”

“Quitting is like a siege against addiction to nicotine, and you need to build up motivation, find out what will happen, get the best tips, plan some distracting social activities, talk to your doctor about drugs that might help, and make sure family and friends are onside.”

This resolution particularly deserves the time and effort of research, in order for you to benefit the most from it.   Then go on to win such a great achievement. 


If you are used to rushing around all day, eating on the go, and crawling into bed only to get up for work again. Repeating the same routine, you probably need some self-care. The same applies if you are running around after children.  School runs, meals to cook, homework to do, and generally doing everything for everyone else. 

You don’t have to join classes, although there is that option if you can get out of the house! Relaxation can take many forms, such as breathing exercises.  Short meditation podcasts or videos, even a pamper evening with a candlelit bath are all possible! 

Reading can help take your mind away from the day and transport your worries away for a time. Grab books from thrift stores, exchange with friends, and apps like Kindle have thousands of free, or cheap, ebooks to read.

YouTube has a wealth of guided meditations and such, for many types of worries and stress, and even may help you have a deeper sleep. 

Taking time out to create a journal can help a lot of people, just getting your thoughts and feelings on a page can provide a source of mental alleviation. Whether you prefer good old-fashioned pen and paper or a readily accessible app, this can stop those nighttime worries. 

This can help particularly to track other resolutions and see just how well you are doing or assess why you may have had that ‘bad’ day and make necessary changes.

Should I Just Not Bother?

NY resolutions

It has to be said, everyone has divided opinions on this matter from the ‘new year, fresh start’ camp to the ‘why does it have to be New year’ camp. 

One way of looking at this is, if you never set a goal, how will you progress and achieve one? Alternatively, does it have to New Year to make that change? If, at any point in the year, you feel ‘ready’ to do something, just do it. You will achieve nothing by waiting until the new year and not embracing changes when you are ready to begin right now in, for example, September

The secret probably lies in making it a resolution to begin on any date that you are ready. If you have spent time doing research before New Year, and feel January 1st is the day, then great! Maybe January 21st is better for the next person, or May 7th. 

Whenever you begin your change and you start to hit the small goals on the way to your ultimate goal, that is what gives you the boost you need to continue. It is not time-of-year dependent!

One thing to remember is that if you really don’t want to do it, just don’t. It is almost impossible to change something you really don’t want to change. You need a very determined reason to change something, such as giving up smoking. There has to be a significant part of you that yearns for the change, and solid reasons why you should implement the change. Just because you feel you should isn’t going to be enough of a reason to get you through. Keep chipping away until the ‘why’ becomes strong enough to act on!

Cool Christmas Facts

Christmas is a special fun-filled time of year for millions of people across the world. We are surrounded by everything Christmas – fairy lights, trees, gifts, and Santa and his reindeers of course! Have you ever stopped and wondered how it all came about? Here are some awesome Christmas facts!

Did You Know…?

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, churches all over the world hold special Christmas services. As December 25th is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. However, no one really knows the actual date of his birth. The Roman Catholic Church only chose this date after his death. 

Contrary to this, the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, Russia and Romania, Christmas Day is celebrated on January 7th. This is because those churches adhere to a different calendar, theirs being the Julien calendar.

Santa and Rudolph

Santa’s outfit hasn’t always been red with white fur trim. Up until the 1930s, he could be seen in blue, green, purple and tan. The change to the red costume we know and love is wrongly attributed to a Coca Cola ad campaign. The Santa we see today was cartoonist Thomas Nast’s invention for Harper’s Weekly.

Rollo the Red-Nosed Reindeer? Reginald the red-Nosed Reindeer? They don’t have the same ring, do they? Rudolph wasn’t going to be the world’s most famous reindeer’s name originally. But we’re glad really, Rudolph is perfect! Thankfully his glowing, red nose guides the way for Santa to deliver his gifts.

The biggest Christmas gift ever given was the 150 feet tall, 225 ton Statue of Liberty. It was given to America in 1886 from France. 

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are the most popular times of year to propose. Keep your eyes peeled for a small special gift box with something sparkly inside!

Jingle Bells

We all know and love the Christmas song Jingle Bells. Did you know it was never written for Christmas but was in fact first played for Thanksgiving in the 1850s? The lyrics don’t actually contain any reference to Christmas at all! It was also the first song played in space on December 16th, 1965, by the crew of Gemini 6A.

Eggnog has possibly been around since medieval times – monks in the 13th century curdled sweet or spiced milk with ale (or wine) and drank it hot, sometimes with eggs or figs, known as posset.

Having a Christmas tree originated in Germany as early as the 16th century. German immigrants began the tradition we now enjoy to practice in Pennsylvania in the 1750s.  Back then, trees were decorated with fruit and nuts.

Christmas Film

The highest-grossing Christmas film is….yep, you guessed, Home Alone starring Macauley Culkin. The film took $285.76 million at the box office, followed by The Grinch taking $270,620,950!

The National Retail Federation estimates the average American will spend $998 this year on gifts, food, decorations, and non-holiday items. 1.6 billion people still send Christmas cards and 22% of Americans believe Christmas spending will leave them in debt.

26th December is known as Boxing Day in the UK and also it is National Candy Cane Day in the US, with people spending an estimated $2 billion every year on treats such as candy canes, marshmallows, and even ice cream!

A Christmas wreath symbolizes life and love. The circular shape represents God and eternal life, and a candle in the center symbolizes the light that Jesus brought. The evergreen foliage is for the duration of life, including nature.

The Holiday

In 1836, Alabama was the first state to officially observe Christmas as a holiday. The last state was Oklahoma, some 71 years later in 1907.

Every year, approximately 15,000 individuals will visit the ER because of holiday-related injuries, such as falling from ladders, dry trees catching fire and even kitchen and cooking related.

In 1659, a law was passed in Massachusetts that forbade its inhabitants to do anything at Christmas, unless it was a church visit! Any form of celebration was illegal and seen as a “dishonor of God” and people could be fined five shillings. So much for a time of cheer and merriment!

Over 20,000 Santas across the USA are trained in advance of the holiday season and they can earn from $30 – $100 an hour. The 3-day training is rigorous, learning how to ‘become’ Santa; staying jolly under pressure, performing, grooming their beards, and learning the habits of reindeer. 

Christmas Tree

For Christmas 2021, the huge Christmas tree that dominates the Rockefeller Centre in New York comes from Maryland for the first time, At 79 feet tall, it will have 50,000 lights on it and will be topped with a 900lb Swarovski star, containing 3 million crystals.

Santa Claus has many names throughout the world. The jolly man we know today originates from the Dutch who settled in New York Many decades ago. Sinterklaas was part of the legend as the man who brought presents to children, celebrated back then on 6th December, a tradition that stuck around!

In Poland, you’ll find spider web tree decorations due to the belief that a spider weaved its soft silky web into a blanket for baby Jesus. Spiders are seen as a sign of prosperity at this time of year.

Another arachnid-related belief is from Ukraine, where once upon a time, a spider decorated the tree of a poor widow and her children. The extravagant webs, glowed silver and gold in the morning light, paving the way for tinsel as we know it.

There are zoos that will buy leftover Christmas pine trees, that are not dry nor chemically treated. Why? Because the elephants love to play with them, wear the branches as hats and finally strip them back to gorge on the tasty moisture-rich needles!

Hopefully, you’ve learned something fun today! If you feel like you’re struggling at Christmas, take a look at these blogs – helping you decide what to spend on kids at Christmas and how to make your Christmas budget plan and see if we can help.

15 Practical Ways To Save Money On Your Black Friday Shopping

Everyone is scrambling to find those last-minute ways to save money before Black Friday. Stop fumbling with research and overthinking the process. Instead, here are 15 practice ways to attack your Black Friday shopping that will leave you stress-free and save money in the process.

1. Create a budget

Before you’re ready to dive in headfirst with coupon clipping and mall shop planning we need to nail down your Black Friday budget. If you don’t already have a number in mind, getting one should be your priority.

Having a household budget will make this process that much easier because you’ll already know how much you have to spend. Assuming you don’t have one (shame on you) – here’s an easy breakdown.

Income – Expenses  = Savings

Once you know how much you have leftover after things like:

  • Bills
  • Subscriptions
  • Monthly payments
  • Holiday decor and meals

Only then can you know what you can afford to spend on Black Friday.

2. Use Coupons

Next comes all the coveted Black Friday coupons. You’ll want to gather as much of these as possible because, let’s be honest, it’s free money. Start by checking places like-

  • Online coupon websites
  • Email opt-ins
  • Holiday newsletters
  • Weekly magazines and newspapers

They’re everywhere and usually starting in November you’ll see them start popping up. Even if you don’t think you’ll use them, someone you know might and could be a nice bargaining chip for a coupon you need.

3. Prepare your purchases

Just like your budget is your financial plan, you also need a shopping plan. Know who you’re buying for and what you’re getting before setting off on a shopping spree. You’ll end up either broke or without a meaningful gift, neither is fun.

4. Do your research

Research is key to finding what you’re looking for at the price you need it. Places like are designed to help you in your research. You can Google online to find your favorite stores’ Black Friday deals usually by the end of October. Map out your route so you’re not just driving in circles wasting time (and gas).

5. Compare prices

Leading into our next point, use your research time to also compare prices between stores. There will be multiple instances where several places will have exactly what you’re looking for. You need to narrow down based on a few key points;

  • Price of the item
  • If they only show limited stock
  • When they will release the product

This is because stores have gotten into the habit of opening at different times or releasing products at different times for different prices. Plus you may come across a store that’s willing to price match so that’s a win-win for you. We’re just saying having prices compared gives you the benefit of knowing where you can find what you’re looking for and at what price.

6. Use cashback or rewards credit card

This one might be a bit painful for some to hear, and yes going into debt is so easy during the holidays but hear us out on this one. Many credit cards will offer either:

  • Cashback
  • Rewards
  • 0% apr for 12 months

All of which can be used to your advantage. For example, my current credit card offers 1.5 – 3% cashback for certain purchases with no interest for a year. If you know you have a big purchase, why not make some money back off of it in the process.

7. Shop on your credit cards portal

Another interesting fact that not many people utilize is their card’s shopping portals. Check and see if you have one. Most major credit cards offer some type of incentive such as travel discounts, shopping coupons, or rewards for using their portals. Again, this is potentially free money for you to pocket so don’t skimp when looking for the things you need and are going to buy anyways.

8. Prioritize your spending

There’s a good chance you may not be able to go everywhere and buy everything that’s stacked on your list. It’s time to prioritize your spending. What do you have to buy? What can you live without this year? What can wait for Cyber Monday shopping?

When in doubt, categorize your spending into “yes, no, maybe” piles to weed out the unnecessary.  Once this is done you’ll find that your budget goes further than before and you’ve saved yourself some stress in the process.

9. Look at last year’s sales

A favorite of ours when it comes to Black Friday shopping is to look at sales and deals from last year. If you’re a super early planner and have to get a jump start then this is the way to go.

While stores may not have the same deals and sales as the prior year, you can still get a feel of who offers some great deals and what categories they offer them in. Then you know whose sales to keep a better lookout for once those stores advertise their Black Friday deals.

10. Hit refresh

You probably read that headline and thought it was mistyped (hang in there for a moment). If you’re solely an online shopper these are for you and can be used on Black Friday and especially Cyber Monday.

We noticed that some stores (ehm Walmart) release deals by the hour to keep people coming back for their merchandise throughout the day. So if you have your eye on that exceptionally marked down 60” television but it says “sold out” – wait about an hour. Hit refresh, and most times they’ve released a new set of inventory to be bought.

11. Bring in the physical ads

Don’t we all hate misunderstanding ads and find ourselves paying more than we expected? Well, if you like to shop in stores be sure to bring along any physical ads or screenshot digital ads you saw with you. This way you have physical proof to show employees what you’re talking about, and maybe even get a price match.

Not only will this save you scrolling time, but how many times have you had to wait to load a coupon in stores? This way you also have them on hand at all times.

12. Look for doorbusters

Another favorite of ours is the doorbusters. Doorbusters are essentially deals that pop up right when a store opens and generally happen on Black Friday but many now do them twice. Once on Thanksgiving evening and another on Black Friday. This is another great way to snag a few great deals if you’re up for shopping that early in the morning or that late at night.

13. Save your receipts

There have been many times we’ve seen it happen, you buy something on Black Friday only to see it cheaper the following week. That being said, save all of your receipts at least a month just in case better sales are happening closer to Christmas. This way you can easily make an exchange and have the option to get your cashback.

14. Start Thanksgiving night

Did you know that there are some amazing deals that start the night before Black Friday? Be sure to check your local store listings to see what deals are popping up the night before, on Thanksgiving. If you’re lucky you might be able to get away with getting most of your list knocked out then.

15. Wait until the weekend after

As crazy as this may sound, it rings true. For example, places like Bath & Bodyworks have “OK” deals on Black Friday but their real bread and butter happens the weekend after. This is when all their candles go on sale, marked down from $25 to $8-$10.

This is where researching some amazing deals start from last year comes in handy, this way you’ll know what to get on Black Friday and what to wait for until the following weekend.

What Is Your Credit Score?

Any potential lenders may use your credit score to assess how likely you will repay before deciding if they will lend you any credit. There are three leading credit reference bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion that hold information for lenders to view about you and enable them to make their decision.

Each of the credit reference bureaus will score you differently; therefore, you will not have the same score from each of them. As a rule, the companies will look at your debt level, how consistently you have repaid it, and whether there are missing repayments. But each bureau may look at different data than the other, hence the differing scores.

Financial institutions can view a raft of information in your credit file. This can include:

  • Current debt level
  • Bills paid consistently on time
  • Any missed repayments and when they were missed
  • Repeated applications for credit in a short space of time
  • Length of credit history

The criteria that lenders look at varies between each lender, as types of credit vary, such as banks, mortgages, credit cards or auto loans, etc. 

Lenders also look for affordability, so they will likely request your income and expenditures to check that you can afford to repay the credit.

Your credit score depicts what is in your credit report. Your credit score is viewed as a number, and scores can range from 300 to 850. There are many factors in your credit report that contribute to your score, and the higher your score, the better chance you have of being accepted for lines of credit. The lower your score means you may have difficulty getting credit or getting good terms on your loan, such as a lower interest rate

What makes for a good credit score?

  • Pay your bills on time, every time.
  • Pay any credit card balance in full each month.
  • Utilizing less than 50%, or even 30%, of your available credit (e.g., if you have a credit card with a limit of $10,000 but you owe only $2,000, you are only using 20% of your limit)
  • Paying any debts off as soon as possible
  • Keep a credit card with a zero balance open, even if you owe a small amount on another. If you close the account, it lowers your overall credit limit. For example, if you have two credit cards with a total limit of $5,000 each ($10,000 total) and you owe $5,000, you are only using 50% of your total credit limit. If you close one account, that now leaves you with a total credit limit of $5,000, and now you are using 100% of your total limit.
  • A long and well-managed credit history
  • Utilizing different types of credit such as a credit card (revolving credit), installment loans, a mortgage, etc. to show you manage your finance well

What affects your score negatively?

  • Consistently missing bill payments when they’re due
  • Applying to a lot of different lenders in a short space of time, making you look desperate
  • A short credit history
  • Bankruptcy
  • Not having had any credit and therefore no credit history available for lenders to decide if you are likely to repay them.
  • Any mistakes on your report will work against you, so be sure to check your report regularly and contact the lender or CRA if any changes are suspicious. 

Positive information can stay on your report for up to 10 years. Credit card accounts etc. (aka revolving credit) will be on your credit report for as long as the account is open, which, when well managed, improves your credit score.

Negative information, such as bankruptcy, may stay on your report for as long as ten years. Other types of negative information may be on your record for up to 7 years. 

As a rule, your repayment history is what lenders and creditors will look at to see how well you manage your finances. They can see if you pay on time consistently or if you have missed any repayments and how often this occurs.

You are entitled to a free credit report once per year. If you applied to one of the three bureaus every four months throughout the year, that means you will get three reports a year. You will be able to view what is on record about you by all of them. You can get your annual credit report here at Annual Credit 

Keeping a close eye on your reports can help build an understanding of your score and check that it is accurate and up to date.

Advice To Help You Pay Bills During The Coronavirus.

With the Coronavirus outbreak rapidly progressing throughout the United States, and the world, it’s understandable that millions of people have severe concerns regarding their finances and their future. Many are looking for advice with help to pay their bills during the coronavirus pandemic so this article will benefit some people in their search for answers.

Try not to panic, firstly

During financial hardship, it’s very easy to become overwhelmed because of worry and anxiety. Ultimately this can hinder our efforts to be objective when it’s most needed. A clear plan is crucial at this time, to be able to see where you can cut back before looking into assistance programs that may be available. 

If you have lost your job

The first thing you need to do is ascertain what you are eligible for if you have become unemployed. Find your state’s unemployment benefit office here. Most states have made the application process easier and waived the waiting period before receiving any benefits. Apply as soon as you can because, although the waiting period may be waived, there is also an extremely high demand for the service at the moment. 

The federal relief package (CARES act) was announced at $2 trillion. It is aimed to make benefits more available to all workers, including part-time and self-employed workers. Beneficiaries will be given an extra $600 per week and an extra 13 weeks of eligibility. The maximum amount you will receive varies depending on which state you work in. 

Review your budget

If you don’t already budget, now is a good time to start. There are tens of printable budget planners available online. These help tremendously when looking to see where your money goes, once you receive it. 

Firstly, total up your income. This may be just a salary, but also include any enhancements or disability or unemployment aid that you receive.

Secondly, list every expenditure that you have, from a mortgage or rent payments, right through to subscriptions and memberships. There will be bills that are essential, such as rent, groceries, and utilities and some that are non-essential.

Are there any payments leaving your account for something that you no longer use? This may be a lapsed gym membership or a subscription to a magazine company. Now is the time to define necessity over luxury and ask yourself if you really need it. Cancel anything that you can live without. 


This is one of the biggest concerns of all- keeping the roof over your head. There may be different legislation depending on where you live, but see if there is an eviction moratorium where you are. Many states are rolling this out, so be sure to check. Essentially, this means that if you cannot pay your rent due to the coronavirus pandemic, then you cannot be ousted from your home. 

Contact your landlord as soon as you can and explain your situation. Your landlord may be able to organize an arrangement between you, where you have a reduced rent with a view to repaying when you are financially more sound. Ensure you know your rights beforehand regarding local legislation and evictions. 

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has also announced that it will suspend foreclosures on single-family homes, as long as they are FHA-insured. This ruling was announced on March 18th, 2020 and is valid for 60 days. If your home was already in the process of foreclosure, this too will be suspended.The Federal Housing Finance Agency have some further information here.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have said to call your provider and explain that you cannot pay your mortgage due to the coronavirus. Whether that’s due to unemployment or caring for someone who is sick, they aren’t asking for evidence. They may be able to defer repayments for as long as six months. 

Whatever your situation, do not just stop making your mortgage payments. Contact the company and they will advise you of your next steps.

Utilities eg. gas, electric, water and communications

The majority of states are demanding that energy suppliers (and water) freeze any likely cut-offs due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Check with your local offices to see how to go about this, such as how to call and explain your situation, and to see how long these freezes are in place. 

Look into comparing prices between utility providers. It may be worth noting that your current supplier, whether it be gas and electric or home internet, could implement a payment plan with you before you change companies. Many of these large firms would rather keep you than lose you. Having said that, you may be able to get a much better deal elsewhere; you have nothing to lose by asking around. 

Contact the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to see if you’re eligible. The website has a fact sheet that helps explain how you may qualify. They provide federally funded assistance in managing costs associated with:

  • Home energy bills
  • Energy crises
  • Weatherization and energy-related minor home repairs

For any concerns about your broadband and telephone connections, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have released a statement on their website. Their aim is to prevent anyone from losing their connections during the pandemic. On their website is also a regularly updated list of which companies have signed the pledge. 

Medical help and insurance

If you have lost your job and your health insurance was tied to it, it is critical that you try to replace it. You may find that the premiums are not affordable if your salary has been slashed. Being in the middle of the Coronavirus outbreak is not the best time to lose insurance.

If you become ill, you don’t want to be left with a 5 or 6 figure bill. If your partner or spouse still has an insurance policy, ask if you can be put onto that.

If you are aware that you will struggle to pay any premiums, contact your provider as soon as possible.They may be able to help by extending the deadline of your payments or at least not terminate your coverage at this time. If the total household income has changed, you may qualify for more savings than you did previously.

Look at the Affordable Care Act. This page has answers and links for most questions. A handful of states are extending the deadlines to help the uninsured enrol. 

If you now require insurance due to losing your job in the last 60 days, or even expect to in the next 60 days, you may qualify for a Special Enrolment Period. This also includes if you have lost coverage through a parent or guardian due to you no longer being  dependent. These special circumstances also apply to you if you have not yet signed up this year, 2020, to allow you to reconsider doing so.

To see if you qualify for the Special Enrolment Period, Medicaid or CHIP, you can click here.

COBRA can give employees and their families the right to continue group health benefits for a limited period of time during particular circumstances. This could include voluntary or involuntary job loss, a reduction in your working hours and other life events. 

If you require urgent treatment, your local hospital may have a financial department that could offer help or a solution.

Credit cards and loans

Contact the company that you have your line(s) of credit with and ask if they are willing to waive any fees and extend payment deadlines. Some are allowing you to skip a payment until next month in a bid to help, with others stating that they won’t inform the credit bureaus of late payments for two months. The three main credit bureaus are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. 

It makes sense not to overspend at this time if unnecessary, you will have to pay the debt back at some point, remember.

For students with loans, President Donald Trump announced that there will be a two month break on repayments at this time. If you have a federally-held student loan, then you won’t have to pay interest on that currently either. 

If you are concerned about missing payments on a vehicle, there is help available. As with all of the financial issues on here, contact the provider first. There may be a way to extend your lease or to defer payments for a certain amount of time, such as 90 or 120 days, depending on the dealer. Some dealers are suspending repossessions of vehicles in such circumstances.

Grocery shopping

If you are struggling, don’t be too proud to ask for help. Consider shopping at a budget store and only buy essentials. Use social media to see if there are any local food banks within your community, or any charities that can assist you. 

Organizations such as Feeding America and the Salvation Army have food banks across the USA. Simply enter your zip code to find where is the nearest one to you.

There are companies from which you can buy low cost food too. 

Some of the rules around government meal programs have now been relaxed amid the Coronavirus pandemic. For a more comprehensive list of what’s available, visit Food Assistance.

Plan your meals in advance. By doing so, you only buy what you need. If you can, batch cook meals and freeze them. This very often works out considerably cheaper.

Shop for reduced price or on sale items. Try the store’s own brand rather than the higher end named brand. Search for money-off coupons, there are many you can print at home to take to the store with you. 

If you’re home at the moment and have some time on your hands, why not have a go at growing some of your own vegetables and salad ingredients?

Relief is available, but you will likely have to ask for it. Whatever you do, ensure you contact the relevant organizations or companies first, rather than missing repayments; honesty is always appreciated.

You are not on your own at this time. You may struggle to contact the company by phone due to reduced staffing. If this is the case, use live chat or send emails. The process is ultimately going to be slower than usual, but have patience.

Eight tips for how to save on a wedding gift

According to the 2018 Wedding Guest Study by The Knot, an online marketplace, guests spent an average of $289 on a wedding gift

Add to this the cost of a new outfit, transport and possibly an overnight stay, it can be an expensive time.

Here is a handy guide to help keep some of those costs down:

  1. Set a realistic budget- This is a crucial first step. Whether a combined budget for everything- gift, clothing, transport and refreshments or just the gift itself, it is good practice to have a set limit or it can spiral out of control.
  2. Buy off registry- Take a look at the registry if there is one, you may be surprised at what is on there. Many people choose to pass over on the smaller, ‘less important’ items but they are on the list for good reason- they are wanted! Some of the utensils or crockery etc could make a great hamper.
  3. Buy discount gift cards/ experiences- There are plenty of websites offering discounted cards and experiences. They are great options to look into. Swagbucks allows you to take surveys, watch videos and do shopping online in exchange for free gift cards. Giftcardgranny offers discounts or cash back on your favourite gift card brands. Sites such as Groupon and Living Social are also sites worth visiting- you could purchase a couple’s spa day with massages or experience for whilst they are on honeymoon. There are cinema and dining deals for a romantic night out together post-honeymoon.
  4. Stockpile credit and travel rewards- If you travel a lot for pleasure or business, many hotels and airlines offer loyalty schemes/ programs. You can earn points and miles and some of the programs allow you to spend these across other programs. These could be used to upgrade the happy couple’s flights. Some credit cards also offer great rewards.
  5. Provide a professional service- Do you own a car that is the envy of everyone? Are you a budding photographer? Is baking your forte? Maybe you’re spectacular with hairstyling and makeup? Any of these ‘services’ could be provided by you, as your gift. The bride and groom would be saving a lot of money and so would you, win-win situation!
  6. Contribute to a cash registry- These can include honeymoon fund contributions or towards a large purchase such as a sofa, garden fund or even towards a deposit for a new home.
  7. Go in on a group gift- If there is a more expensive gift that is on a registry, could you and other friends or family members all put in together to purchase it? Bigger gifts are sometimes there with an expectation for people to pull together for it.
  8. Make something- A romantic night in? Pack a box set, a cosy blanket, some candles and snacks. Or it could be a jar of passata, pasta, herbs, candles and napkins for a meal. A honeymoon hamper- beach towels, sunglasses, sunscreen, fun beach games and a good book or two. If you’re very close to the couple and part of every step, maybe a scrapbook with pictures, fabric samples, wedding invites, order of service, photos and some personal messages from those closest to cherish memories of the lead up to it.
Lending Wing fast loans
© LendingWing. All rights reserved

The operator of this website is not a lender, loan broker or agent for any lender or loan broker. We are an advertising network service to independent, participating lenders and other advertising networks that may be able to provide amounts between $500 and $50,000. Not all lenders provide up to $50,000 and there is no guarantee that your request will be accepted by an independent, participating lender. This service does not constitute an offer or solicitation for loan products which are prohibited by any state law. This is not a solicitation for a particular loan. We do not endorse or charge you for any service or product. Any compensation we receive is paid by participating lenders or advertising networks and only for the advertising services provided. The offer you receive is based on the compensation we are paid and is not necessarily the offer with the best rates or terms.

This service and offer are void where prohibited. We do not control and are not responsible for the actions of any lender or advertising network. We do not have access to the full terms of your loan. For details, questions or concerns regarding your loan, please contact your lender directly. Only your lender can provide you with information about your specific loan terms, their current rates and charges, renewal, payments and the implications for non-payment or late payments. The information submitted by you on this website will be shared with one or more participating lenders or advertising networks. You are under no obligation to use our service to initiate contact with a lender, apply for credit or any loan product, or accept a loan from a participating lender. Cash transfer times and repayment terms vary between lenders. Repayment terms may be regulated by state and local laws. These disclosures are provided to you for information purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.

Some states have laws limiting the APR that a lender can charge you. APRs may range from 59% and 1386%. Loans from a state that has no limiting laws or loans from a lender not governed by state laws may have an even higher APR. The Annual Percentage Rate is the rate at which your loan accrues interest and is based upon the amount, cost and term of your loan, repayment amounts and timing of payments. Lenders are legally required to show you the APR and other terms of your loan before you execute a loan agreement.

Residents of some states may not be eligible for some or all short-term, small-dollar loans. Residents of Arkansas, New York, Vermont and West Virginia are not eligible to utilize this website or service. The states serviced by this website may change from time to time, without notice.

We do not make any credit decisions. Independent, participating lenders that you may be connected to may perform credit checks with credit reporting bureaus, obtain credit reports, or otherwise verify your Social Security Number. Typically, lenders may conduct a credit check through alternative credit bureaus to determine creditworthiness, credit standing and/or credit capacity. By submitting your information, you agree to allow lenders to verify your information and check your credit.

Loans provided by independent, participating lenders in our network are designed to be repaid within a short amount of time. Short-term loans are not a solution for long-term debt and credit difficulties. Only borrow an amount that can be repaid on the date of your next pay period. Consider seeking professional advice regarding your financial needs, risks and alternatives to short-term loans. Non-payment of your loan could result in collection activities. Late payments of loans may result in additional fees or collection activities, or both. Each lender has its own terms and conditions, and its own renewal policy. Please familiarize yourself with your lender’s policies for further information.