Top Personal Finance Blogs
Tuesday September 26th 2017

UK Economy on the Rise, But Not There Yet

The UK’s Office for National Statistics recently released their report regarding the second fiscal quarter for the country.  While is did show a fall in GDP, the level was slightly less than one half of one percent.  That’s significantly lower than their original estimate of a 0.7% drop.   In fact, they say that excluding the financial impact of the Queen’s  Diamond Jubilee, GDP may have held flat, or perhaps even shown a very slight gain.

Clearly, this good news is welcome, but perhaps not a reason to celebrate just yet.  Looking back over almost three years, the GDP is relatively flat, and there are still daunting issues like the ppi claims scandal to account for.

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Do You Need PPI?

Payment protection insurance (PPI) is a type of insurance that will step in and cover your  loan payments in specific situations where you are financially unable to meet your obligations.  The most typical scenarios include losing a work position to redundancy, accidents or serious illnesses.  (more…)


Finding a Contract Accountant

If you run a small business, you are probably an expert in your chosen field, and not a financial expert.  This holds true for me as well. I’m just an average joe that wants to improve his financial standing while delivering what my customers need.  Because I do have an interest in personal finance, many of my friends approach with questions, and I always recommend they do what I did…find a contractor accountant.   After all, I don’t answer legal or health questions…but I can point people to a doctor or lawyer that I trust.

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Arizona Congressman Wants to “Hang Up” Free Cell Phone Program

Ever get frustrated with your cell phone bill?  What if you could get both your cell phone, and a healthy number of minutes each month at no cost?  According to the experts at www.govcellphones.com, that’s all possible, and more, courtesy of the U.S. Government.  The “and more” is bonuses that are possible because of lax oversight of the program.   These loopholes get created because despite program rules that disallow it, applicants are able to apply for the benefit over and over, having multiple cell phones, each with free calling plans.  And, Arizona Congressional Representative recently shared his feelings with the popular website ” The Daily Caller“, saying this:

“…the program absolutely exploded and has become a nightmare…People are not only getting [one free cell phone], they’re getting multiples. There are reports of people getting 10, 20, 30 — just routinely getting more than one, selling them, storing them up, whatever…”

The annual bill for the program recently started to exceed one billion dollars, and is likely to soon be a point of contention with Congress, not to mention the general public.  The Lifeline program, as it’s called, was created with the purpose of  providing cost subsidized phones and service to lower-income Americans.  In the beginning, the service was restricted to home phone service via landline, but mobile phones were later added as a benefit.

Representative Griffen was so taken aback by the program’s state that he created a special page on his website to outline the issues at http://griffin.house.gov/lifeline.   Some interesting excerpts from the page:

“The evidence is stacking up: dead people are receiving free cell phones in the mail, eligible and ineligible individuals are obtaining more than one, and electronic kiosks have been stationed in convenience stores to spread the word about this ‘free’ opportunity”

Video: How the Government Cell Phone Giveaway Is Costing You Billions

The sad truth about this “free program”, of course, it’s that it’s not free for those that do pay for phone service. The Lifeline program is a large part of Federal Universal Service Fund, which was supposed to be replenished with payments from all telecommunications companies. In practice, the phone companies just pass the charge back to their customers…even labeling it as “Universal Service Fee” on most bills. This effectively makes the “free phones” an unofficial tax on anyone that does pay for phone service.


Should You Take on a Weekend Job To Make Ends Meet?

If you’re already working a full time job, adding a weekend job can be exhausting.  While it’s certainly a good short-term fix for temporary financial problems, it’s generally not a sustainable long-term solution. After a while, the never-ending circle of finishing up the work week only to work all weekend, and return to work Monday really takes it’s toll. So much time spent working cuts into things like family time,  your social life, and  psychically wears you down.

weekend moneyCounting on the income from your weekend job for general “cost of living” expenses is not recommended Many people pick up a “second job” to work on weekends as a solution to a specific financial problem, such as catching up on an a sky-high hospital bill, paying off high-interest loans or catching up on credit cards bills. Another common reason people pick up weekend jobs is to save up money for a specific event, like Christmas, rather than to pay off money that is owed. We’ve put together some tips, ideas, and general information for anybody that is seriously considering taking on a weekend job.

  • Consider all your options- Before you begin putting in applications and faxing resumes or building your own side business, consider all your options. What are the pros and cons of each? Do the pros outweigh the cons? If the answer is no, skip that option or cross it off a list. Travel time is commonly looked over, but it’s an important factor too. How far will you need to travel? How are you going to get there? It’s not breaking news that gas prices are high.Find the distance in miles you’ll need to travel, your vehicles mileage per gallon, and the average price for a gallon of gasoline to calculate how much money you’ll spend. If it’s more than what you make in an hour, it’s not worth it. If you’ll be using public transportation, make sure that the price spent on bus fare isn’t taking a large portion of your additional income.
  • First things first- Make sure your primary job is prioritized over your new weekend gig. Ensure that your productivity and performance at your first job isn’t affected by your 2nd job. It’s not worth the risk of losing your main source of income just to pull in a few more bucks over the weekend.
  • Be your own boss-You can always work a traditional job and pick up weekend shifts at a store or restaurant. These positions tend to have very specific hours, and leave little to no flexibility. For this reason, we recommend taking on something where you can easily set your own hours, and make the choice of when you work, versus being committed to a set schedule. Examples might include your own gutter cleaning service, or mulching flower beds in upscale neighborhoods.