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Ways to Save Money – “This is Money”‘s top 50 money-saving tips – #32 – 50

32. Cancel your gym membership
If you pay your £40 a month by direct debit and you use the gym three times a week, great. If not, cancel your membership immediately. You’ll soon save enough to buy your own bike and, if you’re so inclined, a rowing machine. Consider running home from work three times a week. It’s free.
Saving: £100s
Link: Compare prices for rowing machines on Kelkoo

33. Use your library
The local library is a mecca for the money saver. You’ll never need to buy another cookbook, guidebook or lifestyle manual again and if you can bear to wait a few weeks in the queue for the latest blockbuster, you never need to buy books again. CDs and videos are great value too.
Saving: £100
Link: www.whichbook.net – find a book and check if it’s available at your local library

34. The three-for-two trick
Now, there’s a lot to be said for buy-one-get-one-free deals, especially if they pass the ‘Do I really need this?’ test. Then there’s three-for-twos; a particularly cynical way of stores to entice shoppers to buy an extra item they would not otherwise buy. The ‘offer’ is always priced into the deal so do your sums and shop around.
Saving: It’s a principle at stake here
Link: Discuss deals and scams with other readers

35. Buy clothes and presents in the sales
So you need a new suit and the one you like comes in at a cool £300. Wait! The chances are that you can pick it up in the sale – and there’s always a sale just around the corner – for £150. The same applies for birthday and Christmas presents. Buy in bulk in the sales and you not only save money, but you enjoy stress-free pre-Christmases and no last-minute birthday worries.
Saving: £100s

37. The Christmas lottery
Instead of trying to buy a present for every relative in your family, consider getting together beforehand and picking one name from the hat. You then buy one thoughtful gift for that one person rather than attempting to please everyone at considerable cost. Everyone gets a present, everyone saves money.
Saving: £100

38. The National Lottery – it won’t be you!
The odds of winning the Lotto jackpot are stacked 14m to 1 against each ticket. Some highly organised syndicates buy 14,000 tickets a week, which reduces the odds to 1,000 to 1 – but that’s no guarantee of a win. For the rest of us, the difference to the odds between buying, say, 10 tickets and one is so insignificant that you should limit yourself to the one and save the extra money in a Cash mini Isa.
Saving: £100
Link: Are you sitting on a winning ticket?

39. Use your Isa allowances
If you’re not already aware, you can save up to £3,000 a year in a tax-free savings account called an Isa (for the more financially savvy there’s also a stocks and shares Isa). It means you don’t pay any tax on the interest accrued so, if you have spare cash in your current account, this is the difference between earning next to no interest and up to £150 a year.
Saving: £100+
Link: Best Isa rates

40. Claim your benefits and tax credits
There was once a certain stigma in Britain attached to claiming benefits. Well, not any more. The Government has put benefits at the heart of the family budget and it’s your money so make sure you’re claiming it. That includes Child Benefit, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and other employee-related tax benefits.
Saving: £100s
Link: Confused? Ask a This is Money Expert

41. How saving £50 a month now can save you £120 next year
Do you pay your insurance premiums by monthly instalments? If you do, then consider this: you are probably being charged a premium of between 15% and 20% for the privilege. In other words, if your home and car insurance bill for the year is £600, you’re paying up to £120 a year in interest by paying monthly. If you are in a position this year to save up for next year’s premiums in advance, you can save money by paying the whole lot in one go.
Saving: £100+
Link: This is Money’s best savings rates

42. Do you need all those TV channels?
Britain is switching to digital-only television and time is running out for you to choose your new digital TV provider. The choice is already bewildering and with telephone-based services now being launched it’s going to get more complicated. Packages range from full the monty, including every sports and movie channel costing around £50 a month, down to Freeview, which is free. Choose wisely.
Saving: £100+

43. Bin the ready meals
If TV chefs such as Ainsley Harriott can knock up a meal from a bag of random groceries including an aubergine and a packet of sultanas – so can you. Ready meals may be convenient, but preparing your own food saves money. A visit to your library will reveal scores of books dedicated to cooking proper meals in minutes.
Saving: £100+

44. Take up a money-saving hobby
Hobbies not only open your mind to new experiences but they also take up your time – important if you would otherwise spend it in the pub drinking away your hard-earned money. If a painting takes 20 hours to complete, and you normally get through a pint an hour. That’s a saving of a least 40 quid a picture. Think about it. Get painting. Go fishing.
Saving: £100+

45. Avoid the payment protection racket
Banks and other lenders are selling expensive insurance policies to cover loan repayments to people who don’t need it. Don’t be a victim of the hard-sell.
Saving: £100

46. Avoid extended warranties
Electrical goods are more reliable than ever. If your new radio won’t last three years perhaps it’s not worth buying in the first place. Think about it: how many times has your fridge broken down in the last five years? And do you really need the hassle of claiming for repairs to a £15 toaster?
Saving: £100
Link: Read our guide to extended warranties

47. Shop online
The internet is gradually taking over. Online grocery shopping is getting better all the time and there are plenty of comparison websites to help find the best prices for bigger items. Give it a try, unless of course you like fighting your way through supermarket crowds.
Saving: Your sanity
Links: Online grocery service rated; PriceRunner – price comparison site

48. The Citizen’s Advice Bureau is your friend
If your debts are out of control please seek help immediately from your local CAB – their advisers can help you work out a sensible strategy to get you back on your feet.
Saving: It could save your life
Link: Find your local CAB

49. Have I missed any money-saving ideas?
You can now add your comments to the Money Saving Overflow
Link: Find out more at 50 more ways to save money

50. Save this article or send it to a friend
Use the links at the bottom of the page to send these money-saving tips to a friend or save it for yourself for later.

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50 Ways to Save Money – “This is Money”‘s top 50 money-saving tips – #23 – 31

23. Don’t pay full price for theatre or theme park tickets
If you are prepared to tolerate the unwieldy website and hit-and-miss customer service, lastminute.com regularly boasts some amazing deals for London’s theatres and the nation’s theme parks. At the time of writing you can see top West End show The Producers plus a two-course meal for less than £20 a head, a saving of £60 per person, and tickets for Chessington World of Adventures cost from £12, a saving of nearly £50 for a day out for a family of four.
Saving: £100s
Link: www.lastminute.com

24. Beat the ticket touts
Ticket touts earn their living by getting hold of tickets that are ‘otherwise unavailable’. Well, here’s the news: they are available to everyone when they first go on sale. You just need to know when they go on sale. Simply sign up to for the free ticket alert newsletters from the main agents to ensure that you’re first in the queue.
Saving: £100s
Links: Ticketline; Ticketmaster

25. Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses
Trying to keep up appearances is little more than a costly illness. Remember, you cannot judge someone by what they have because you don’t know how they got it. Chances are they’re in more debt than you are.
Saving: £1,000s
Link: This is Money’s guide to getting out of debt

26. Trade down your car
So, you bought an American sports utility vehicle (SUV) that nets 15 miles to the gallon on a whim. Obviously we’re all very impressed – especially by the personalised number plate. But can you honestly justify the ongoing expense? If not, get rid of it. Then visit a car supermarket, where you can choose from thousands of cars at knock-down prices. If you’re a true money saver, consider an ex-rental model which you can pick up for a fraction of the cost of a new one.
Saving: £1,000s
Links: Daily Mail find a car service; Cargiant

27. Ask yourself: do I really need this?
Imagine the scenario. It’s lunchtime and you’ve got an hour to kill. You find yourself in a department store and there’s a sale on. You pick up a beautifully packaged selection of barbecue tools and associated garden paraphernalia. And it’s half price. Now, stop! Ask yourself: Do I really need this? Exactly. Now, put it down and walk away.
Saving: £100
Link: This is Money’s money savers’ guides

28. Walk/cycle to the station/work
It maybe a bit of hippie notion to many people but it’s free.
Saving: £100
Link: Cycle Campaign Network

29. Get off the station before your usual stop and walk
We may be creatures of habit but isn’t it worth tinkering with the routine if it’s costing more than £50 a month in unnecessary fares?
Saving: £100
Link: Living Streets

30. Cut down your drinking
A few beers after work a few nights a week is a financially debilitating state of affairs. Set limits and stick to them.
Saving: £100s
Link: Calculator: Pleasures v treasures

31. Pack up smoking
Never mind the health implications, the guilt and the smell, your 20-a-day habit is costing you nearly £2,000 a year. Pack it in.
Saving: Nearly £2,000
Link: Givingupsmoking.co.uk

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Small Business Trends

Found this great site while searching the internet:

http://smallbiztrends.com/

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FREE Let Your Hair Down with The Christmas Party with Marsha

Marsha Wright is having a wonderful Christmas Party this Tuesday – can you make it?

It’s free but a charity event for the Nicole Scott Lupus Fund.

Nicole Scott is a 13 year old girl who is suffering terribly from Lupus and needs to attend treatment in America in order to have a normal standard of life.

She is currently in hospital and has raised nearly £1,000 of the £4,000 needed in January to travel for treatment.

We’re doing lots of activities it’s gonna be super fun! You can get a ticket or more information from: http://partywithmarsha.eventbrite.com.

There will be:

* Charades/Twister
* Karaoke
* Cashflow 101 board-game
* Competiton
* Food and Drink (bring a bottle or munchies please)
* Murder Mystery…

Sorry for the late notice but we only just heard about it and thought it would be nice to invite you too.

Hope to see you there,
Cemanthe

Contact Marsha Wright’s office for more info:
Web: http://partywithmarsha.eventbrite.com
Tel: 0207 1 830 930
Email: success.stories@marshawright.co.uk

and check out http://www.marshawright.co.uk

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50 Ways to Save Money – “This is Money”‘s top 50 money-saving tips – #20

20. Learn to say ‘no’
It’s easy to capitulate to the demands of a screaming child in a packed Woolworths on a Saturday afternoon. But don’t do it. Similarly, how often does a ‘swift half’ after work turn into a £40 drinking session? Saying ‘no’ a few times a year will do wonders for your bank account.
Saving: £100

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Be a Leader

by: Michele Milligan, Source Unknown

The following was written by a high school student writing an essay for her final exam:

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the quality of his actions and the integrity of his intent. In the end, leaders are much like eagles… they don’t flock, you find them one at a time.” Hard work, profound dedication, and encouragement toward others are what entitle an individual to be a leader.

A strong work ethic is one important quality of an adroit leader. As the saying goes: “There are always two choices, two paths to take. One is easy. And its only reward is that it’s easy.” Hard work and intense dedication can only make you better, both mentally and skillfully. If others see one person working as hard as they can 100% of the time, they will work harder for that one person. No matter how unmotivated people are, if just one person steps up and takes the lead, everybody else will follow. Leaders motivate others.

Many people find themselves working harder when they know that they get something out of it. Just by hearing a few pushing words that motivate and encourage, people force themselves to work harder. Leaders are usually the ones who ignore their own accomplishments to commend others for theirs. The leader keeps everybody’s head up at all times, as they work harder and harder, and more diligently toward their goals. The number one thing that a leader tries to avoid is making people feel guilty or to look down on them because leaders bring others higher in the world, usually with the result being success. As a noble person once said, “There are high spots in all of our lives, and most of them come through encouragement from someone else.”

Hard work from one person makes other work harder. Vehement dedication shows others the success that comes through it. Encouragement and support for others make others feel good about themselves and give them something else to work for. These are all very significant traits that a leader must possess. Don’t wait around for things to happen, make this world what you really want it to be, be a leader.

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London Business Survey (Autumn) 2009 Results

With thanks to Business Junction http://www.businessjunction.co.uk/ for sending this to my inbox! 🙂

London-based businesses across all sectors have responded to the autumn edition of the bi-annual London Business Survey and the results reveal that whilst most are confident they will see growth return in the first quarter of 2010, very few have plans to actively recruit new staff.

Present Government policies on tendering and business support are also criticised as being ineffective and in certain cases actually damaging to recipient businesses.

The survey, carried out by Business Junction and Clarity this November, invited companies across London to submit their views on how the recession and credit crunch has affected them directly and their outlook for 2010.
Many thanks to all the London businesses that took part!

The key findings of the survey are:

Ø  Business confidence is returning: 83% of businesses expecting turnover to increase or stay constant into Q1 of 2010 in comparison to 75% in Spring 2009

Ø  London businesses say staff numbers will most likely stay as they are now for the next 6 months, although 31% now say they expect to add to their workforce compared to 25.19% in Spring 2009

Ø  Business support programmes by the Government, LDA and Mayor’s office have a poor take up rate and where taken up by London businesses, the impact has been negligible

Ø  Only 13% of London businesses believe the current tendering process for Public Sector projects is a good investment of time and money

Ø  Payments for Public Sector projects are usually received later than 29 days from invoice – 9% took longer than 90 days!

Ø  53% of overdraft applications to banks are not approved and the attitude of banks to businesses has remained largely unchanged since August 2008

Ø  88% of companies are members of a networking organisation.

Economy
Although business confidence is slowly returning, with 83% of businesses expecting turnover to stay the same or increase into 2010, recruitment opportunities look poor, with less than a third of London businesses (31%) looking to add new staff over the next six months.

Support and training
Despite the Government’s efforts to use business support programmes to help London’s companies drive the economy out of recession, the take-up has been poor. Only 22% of businesses had accessed Government support schemes, with more than half (51%) of those who received support feeling it failed to have any impact at all.

This issue was magnified in the results for the London Mayor’s office and the London Development Agency (LDA). Only 3% of London businesses have accessed any support schemes run from the Mayor’s Office whilst 14% had accessed one of the LDA programmes.  Of those who received support through the LDA or Mayor’s Office, almost half (44%) felt it had resulted in a positive impact, over a third (37%) had felt no impact at all whilst almost a fifth (19%) felt it had actually had a negative impact.

Tendering for the public sector
Whilst around a third of London businesses had tendered for public sector work, only 13% of businesses surveyed feel that tendering is a good investment of time and money. The figures for CompeteFor also showed that whilst over a third (37%) had registered and a similar figure had tendered through the site (29%), only 4% had won any work.

Those who do work for councils, government agencies report that payments are still slow, despite government assurances to the contrary. More invoice payments take 30 days, with nearly a fifth taking longer than 90 days to sort payment from invoice.

Banks and small businesses
Over half of overdraft applications are still rejected by the banks and businesses report that the attitude of banks towards their business has remained unaltered since August 2008, when the lending crisis started.

Despite lending to banks being extraordinarily cheap, the rates passed onto businesses are excessive. Anecdotally, Business Junction hears of rates around 20% for small business lending, whilst accountants advice for small loans that credit cards and personal loans are cheaper and easier to sort.

Networking
Four out of five London businesses use networking to find new clients and suppliers for their businesses. This is leading to a sea-change in the ways London businesses structure themselves, with many companies now outsourcing functions, especially those within marketing or traditional back-office functions to companies within their networks.

For the full press release, please visit http://www.businessjunction.co.uk/londonbusinesssurvey. Press enquiries to Mark Herring (mark@businessjunction.co.uk).

For full results of the survey and analysis, please click here: https://www.clarityuk.net/register.php

Clarity is an online feedback company, producing surveys and market research for a range of clients across the UK. For more information, please go to www.clarityuk.net

Additional Information

BUSINESS JUNCTION is London’s leading independent business referral network, creating connections and trading opportunities for hundreds of companies across London and the south east.

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