Car insurance premiums can bite sizeable chunks out of your finances, so it makes perfect sense to build up that no claim discount as quickly as possible and then protect it.
Driving safely not only helps keep you and your car in one piece, but the more accident-free years you have behind the wheel, the lower your car insurance premium will be. Here are some helpful tips for drivers of all ages and experience.
As well as being illegal, speeding gives you less time to react if you encounter anything unexpected on the road. So keep to the speed limits at all times and avoid rushing by giving yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.
Don’t exceed your comfort zone even within the speed limit, particularly on unfamiliar roads, and slow down well in advance when heading towards hills as you can’t always see what’s on the other side.
Braking should be applied gradually to avoid locking the wheels and be sure to approach junctions, bends, etc, fully in control having changed down through the gears. Bends can surprise even skilled drivers, especially in bad weather conditions, so slow down, maintain your concentration and keep your eyes on the road.
Make sure your seating position allows you a clear view of the road from all mirrors and your seat belt is worn at all times.
Awareness Of Other Drivers
You might be confident about your own driving ability, but other road users might not be as capable or conscientious as you. An important part of safe driving is an awareness of other drivers, so always be prepared for the unexpected.
Keep your distance when behind other vehicles and leave yourself plenty of space and time to react. Take extra care at junctions and roundabouts – so slow down and allow time to navigate them. Even if you have right of way, make sure the road is clear before pulling out.
Prevention is far better than cure, so regularly check the oil, coolant, water and tyre pressures. Also keep an eye on brake fluid, power steering fluid, wheel nuts, battery levels and lights. Consult the manual and ask a mechanic for help if you’re unsure.
If an unfamiliar sound appears, it could be a sign that something is wearing out or broken. If in doubt, have it checked out at a garage.
Wash your car regularly – the build up of dirt and grease can cause damage to the bodywork and cause rot.
Don’t be tempted
Don’t ever use a handheld mobile phone when driving – not only is it dangerous, but it’s also against the law. Set it to silent to avoid distractions.
Prepare for every eventuality by making sure you have the car insurance policy you need. And remember, being a safer driver can help to keep your premium lower.
The puzzles feature all the main characters from the show including Driver Dan, the story telling lion, Loopy the green stegosaurus and Precious the camel. Each design shows the characters within a brightly coloured setting, thereby ensuring plenty of puzzling fun as they assemble the scenes!
Available now from Amazon, the giant puzzle costs £8.99 while the 3-in-a-box puzzles are £6.99.
The National Childbirth Trust is currently promoting its Nearly New Sales. These are a great way for cash-strapped parents to buy high-quality children’s clothing and equipment for much less than they’d pay in the shops. At the same time it raises money for the charity to be able to continue its support work.
Nearly New Sales offer new and soon-to-be parents the chance to buy used toys, clothes and other products for up to a 70% saving on the brand new price.
It also offers other families the chance to clear out things they no longer need and make a bit of cash from it, without the hassles and uncertainty of online auctions.
Clothes and equipment must be in excellent condition, and most sellers make more than £60. Sellers keep up to 70% of the proceeds while the rest is returned to fund NCT’s vital services and support for parents.
The NCT reckons the Persil-sponsored sales prevent over 300 tonnes of baby clothes and equipment going to landfill. Often these items are of very high quality because they’re used for a relatively short period of time. Passing them on to another family helps everyone out, not least the environment.
The Sales are not just for NCT members and are open to everyone. On average, parents spend £25, which could buy bedding, a changing station, a moses basket, travel cot or baby bath.
Find out more at nct.org.uk/nearlynewsales or call NCT Enquiries on 0300 330 0770. There are currently over 750 sales organised each year so there’s bound to be one nearby.
A new survey carried out by debt advice charity Debt Support Trust has found that over half of people in debt had not spoken to friends or family about their money worries. The survey which was completed on the Debt Support Trust website by indebted individuals shows that 55% of people said they had not told their friends and family about their debt problem. Trustee of Debt Support Trust Stuart Carmichael said, “Being in debt can be a lonely and worrying time for a large number of people. When you feel you can’t turn to your friends or family for help it can sometimes help to speak to independent experts”.
The research also found that 65% of people had told less than two people about their debt problem. 77% believed their relationship with friends and family had suffered because of their problems with debt. Mr Carmichael commented, “Debt problems have far-reaching social consequences as well as being a problem financially. Vulnerable people who are dealing with their debt problem alone need help and support to resolve their debt issues in a structured and steady manner.”
This new survey demonstrates that people still feel there is a stigma attached to being in debt despite thousands of people entering debt management and insolvency solutions each year. People in debt worry there is no route out and they are trapped with their financial problem. Friends and family can be an excellent support when a person is in debt, however there are debt advice charities on hand if external support is needed.
A debt advice charity such as Debt Support Trust has qualified debt advisors who can provide telephone and internet based debt advice.
Other articles you may find interesting:
- Scottish couples’ relationships forced apart by debt
- Canadian couples say money causing real problems in their relationships
- Family counts when you go bankrupt
- UK “money over love couples” increasing, shows new research
That’s why the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) has partnered with Babybjörn to get the help and support they need when starting a family.
NCT has a long history of providing reliable information and support for parents and recognises the important role that dads play. According to NCT’s research by Ipsos Mori, 80% of adults (aged 15-45) think support given to new dads is just as important for the well being of the child, as support given to new mothers.
To help make life easier for dads, NCT and BabyBjörn have joined forces to provide more dads with the information and support they need. Dads coming along to NCT events will now get a welcome pack of information and resources specifically for them. Including a dads booklet and an NCT Daddy Cool DVD, dads can use the pack to help them handle changes to their lifestyle, and the major questions that fatherhood throws up.
NCT’s Director of Operations, Miranda Seymour Smith, said, “NCT recognises men have different needs to women when it comes to becoming a parent and that dads need help too – all too often the focus is on the mother.
“Our resources are a must for any man who is about to find out just what it means to become a dad. They’re frank, fair and realistically portray what being the father of a new baby is truthfully like.
“Dads have an important role to play and becoming a dad for the first time is a major life event – relationships change, finances are affected and there’s a whole range of responsibilities. It’s a time of joy, celebration and pride but can also be a time of worry. Our resources will help dads to understand that other dads have the same doubts and worries as they do and that it’s OK to be unsure and ask for help. With this new partnership we can make these resources available to more and more dads.”
The NCT dads booklet has been written by dads for dads. It explains the options available when making key decisions and covers topics such as understanding the different stages of pregnancy, developing a birth plan, changing lifestyles and relationships, juggling life as a parent, managing finances and the joys of fatherhood.
The DVD “Daddy Cool” combines reliable information from NCT experts with interviews from three dads-to-be who share their real-life experiences, as well as James McQuillan, BBC Apprentice runner up 2009 who commentates from his experience as a new dad. The DVD follows the dads through the final stages of their partner’s pregnancy, and covers live birth and the first six weeks of their new baby’s life. The DVD explores the dads’ roles and choices, the way they feel about becoming a dad and how they get to grips with their new responsibilities.
Here are some more resources you might find useful:
- Growing up without a father in the family home: New Australian research
- Father’s Day: don’t dismiss it as “too commercial” or “inferior to Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday”
- Dads Matter, but does British society really believe that?
- Business leaders shun fathers’ rights to longer paternity leave
- Does ‘Mumsnet’ encourage stereotyping of Dads?
- Dads lack of confidence in bringing up baby shows up as not taking responsibility
After all, the habits we pick up in childhood often stay with us into our adult lives. Studies into childhood obesity, for example, have been well documented and the general consensus is that an obese child is more likely to be obese in adulthood. It’s not a direct parallel, of course, but things like this do support the theory that picking up good habits early on can really pay off.
Here are some important money skills suggested by Ian Williams at www.thinkbanking.co.uk:
- Saving in a piggy bank. If your child can get into this habit, they will (hopefully) get a real ‘kick’ out of seeing their money grow.
- Budgeting. Limit what you give to your child and allow them to choose what they can afford to spend it on. They will probably enjoy the independence of spending their ‘own’ money and begin to work out the value of money.
- Spending their allowance. The amount you give should be appropriate for their age. Teenagers may benefit from a regular allowance – at the same time every week, to encourage living to a budget. If they think they can get money from you every time they ask, you’ll soon feel like a cash machine!
- Earning money. There is no harm in giving the occasional reward for good behaviour, but other ways to ‘earn’ money as a child or teenager include baby sitting, helping with chores around the house or earning interest in a savings account.
- Saving in a bank account. Saving can really encourage patience, which will be rewarded when they can afford to buy a treat.
Parents want the very best for their children, and it’s a big responsibility to pass on values that will give children the best possible start in life. It’s fair to say that parents want their children to be responsible members of society, form friendships and positive relationships in their personal and professional lives and ultimately grow up to be well-rounded individuals to be proud of.
Teaching youngsters basic money skills and all about the value of money could really benefit them when the time comes to open their first bank account and start applying those skills in a more adult way.
We are blessed that we have never chased finance and as a result weigh time as a greater commodity. Yet the value of BOSD (Bank of Step Dad) is far more than simply handing over cash.
Our cash flow is carefully counted, counted again and regular discussions take place over how this precious pot of gold shouldn’t be squandered. All would suggest that this is reasonable, yet as soon as the transaction between the lads and myself takes place all of the previous conversation goes out of the window.
Why would you waste hard earned cash on a foot long sandwich whereas the same product can be made in the house for a fraction of the price? Is there any need to buy the same pair of trainers again? How can it be possible for an otherwise reasonable person to wreck everything within two months of purchase?
All of which changes the way I view money and how it is earned. The more we earn the more it is wasted. I find myself regularly repeating phrases from my childhood. “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” “Do you think I have a bottomless pit?”
I have found that the best way to deal with this is to have a section in your weekly budget that is titled – waste. Write it off before you even draw it out from the charitable cash machine. Be prepared never to see it again. Be aware that it will not be respected and be sure that it will be taken for granted.
As the lads have grown up now and the eldest is working himself pulling in a reasonable wage, the dilemma takes a new twist. I’ll give you an example of this. Recently we went to a christening – my wife and I being god parents. I dropped the others at the front door of the party venue whilst I dropped the car in the car park.
I came in dripping wet to see the eldest at the bar quite happily ordering a round of drinks. Very nice. As usual I went to help carry the drinks to the table. Only to be left at the bar with the bill to pay! This continued when we went for a meal, all ordered, all drank, all enjoyed, all conversed yet only one of us paid.
I don’t particularly mind, yet it would be nice if they were to offer some cash towards the final price. Of course I would reject their offer but that’s not the point is it.
Is it a sign of acceptance that they behave in this way? Is it a way for them to show that they expect me to take on that role in the household? Or, more likely, it has become what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine too.
Photo by wwarby
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This is a guest article by Mark Davis from PiggyBankrupt.co.uk
Many people associate going bankrupt with financial loss only. Often approaching bankruptcy with this mind set can worsen its social consequences. This article explores some of the effects that bankruptcy can have on the whole family.
Making the decision to go bankrupt can be the role of an individual or the family as a whole. The way in which the decision to go bankrupt is arrived at can often affect family relations significantly. For example, going home one day and explaining that you have gone bankrupt with the risk of losing your house probably will not be taken very well. It is therefore important to consider planning a bankruptcy with the family.
The stress and anxiety placed upon the family during bankruptcy does not start the day an individual goes to court. Years before this the family may have been struggling. It is important to understand this to avoid blame during the bankruptcy.
Uncertainty can be introduced into family life, particularly if professional advice is not sought. Whilst it is easy to understand how to go bankrupt, it is not so easy to understand how the bankruptcy law will be applied to your particular circumstances. This uncertainty can cause problems.
Although the stigma of bankruptcy has reduced in recent years, it is still seen as a drastic step. Bankruptcy is serious and this can frighten some individuals, often leading to uncharacteristic behaviour which can lead to stressful environment.
Role reversal is often one overlooked consequence. This phrase is often used to describe the process of the “bread winner” role transferring from one partner in a relationship to another. The reason this can have an effect on a family is due to the gaining and loss of responsibilities felt by each partner in their new roles.
Bankruptcy is known as a public affair as there is a record of the bankruptcy available to the public. The bankruptcy is also advertised in the London Gazette and it may be advertised in a local paper at the discretion of the Official Receiver. This is a problem for some people or families.
A major topic in bankruptcy is the matrimonial home. If you decide to go bankrupt then the house is at risk. This is one very good reason to obtain professional advice. Dealing with your house in bankruptcy can be complicated and there steps that can be taken to ease the burden and reduce the stress.
When a bankruptcy order is made you will lose control of any assets that you own. As a result you may have to give up possession of some of those assets. This will not usually include household items. It will only include items of a significant value. A car is one such asset.
Bank accounts, often held jointly, will also be looked at in bankruptcy. Although the trustee will only be interested in the bankrupt’s share, the amount of this share can often be a matter of opinion. Obtaining a joint account after bankruptcy can obviously be a sticking point with one person being bankrupt.
Unfortunately bankruptcy is not entirely a fresh start. If an individual has a disposable income then they will be expected to hand that over to the trustee for a period of three years. This can prolong financial hardship.
When an individual has to go bankrupt their credit worthiness will be affected for many years to come. This will impede on their ability to obtain credit. This does not just mean obtaining a loan. It also includes obtaining a mortgage, mobile and other bills for service on credit that may be affected. Transactions that have taken place prior to bankruptcy, for example repaying a family member, may be investigated. As a result of the investigation the family member may be asked to pay over the money to the trustee.
Having an understanding of all the factors likely to affect you during bankruptcy is important. It will enable you to communicate with your family, hence reducing the stress and uncertainty. This is where obtaining professional advice with bankruptcy can benefit hugely. It will aid in reducing the social consequences of bankruptcy.
The UK government’s spending review has impacted a wide variety of departments and services. Here’s our potted guide to how it will affect families, parents and those in education.
- “Train to Gain” programme axed
- University teaching budget cut by 40%
- Further education budget cut by 25%
- Science budget to be frozen
- Direct funding to English schools to be protected, rising 0.1% in real terms each year, to increase from £35bn to £39bn
- School building budget to fall 60%
- £2.5bn ‘pupil premium’ for teaching disadvantaged students
- Funding for social housing cut by over 60%: new tenants to pay higher rents
- Savings to be put towards 150,000 new ‘affordable’ houses
- Retirement age for men (currently 65) to rise from 2018, reaching 66 by 2020. Same for women, meaning faster increase
- Child benefit scrapped for higher rate tax payers
- £2bn investment in new universal credit. Weekly child element on child tax credit to rise by £30 in 2012 and £50 by 2012
- Threshold on council tax benefit, and cuts for those on employment benefits
- Total benefits cap per family
Of course, other decisions may also impact families, such as job losses in the public sector.
See the BBC’s key points at a glance.
Following the backlash against yesterday’s child benefit shakeup, the BBC understands that the Conservative Party may be planning to introduce a married couples tax allowance.
This is completely unofficial, no details have yet emerged, but it would certainly fall in line with what the Tories have said in the past.
That said, political parties frequently go back on what they’ve said in the past, and we are also dealing with a coalition government where compromise is the dish of the day.
We’ll be very interested to see what tax breaks may be offered to married couples, and how unmarried couples hit by the child benefit losses will react to that.
It’s over ten years since the married couples allowance was scrapped. These child benefit cuts due to be implemented in 2013, and it would seem likely that any tax breaks would come into effect at the same time.
Families paying the higher rate of tax will lose child benefits from 2013, as one of the Conservative Party cuts comes into effect. Additionally, all families will lose benefits for the third and subsequent children.
The “absolutely necessary” decision is expected to save £1bn per year, though the three year grace period means that saving won’t kick in yet.
Government statistics suggest that the 7.7m families universally receiving child benefit currently cost the economy £12bn per year. This change would affect around one-sixth of (1.2m) families.
Chancellor George Osborne said, “It’s very hard to justify taxing people on much lower incomes in order to pay the child benefit to some of the better off in our society.”
As with all cuts, this will hit some families much harder than others. One particular anomaly is that a single parent earning over £44,000 (the first tax rate boundary) would lose benefit whereas a family with two parents earning just under £44,000 would keep the benefit.
Child benefit money will be reclaimed via the tax system, though Osborne urged higher rate taxpayers to voluntarily stop claiming the benefit, suggesting it would be the “most sensible” solution.
Children’s charity Barnados said that it “bitterly regretted” the cut, but that if it was necessary then it should be assessed on the basis of income.
The Child Poverty Action Group said it was unfair that families were yet again paying the price for a debt crisis not of their making.
Will these changes affect your family? Leave your comments below.