7 handy tips for cooking on a budget

1. Work out how much money you’re spending each month
That way, you can identify items you can cut back on. And yes, I do mean that cheeky latte from Starbucks.
2. Check what’s in you cupboards
Before shopping, always check to see what you already have at home. Do you really need three jars of marmite?
3. Make a list
A good tip is to write out all your meals for the week and extract ingredients from your planned meals. You will avoid buying unnecessary items that increase your weekly food shop.
4. Shop around
Whilst it might be easier to get everything from one place, it can often be cheaper to buy your weekly shop from a number of different locations.  Also don’t forget your local market and butcher, often sell produce for less than in a supermarket and can recommend cheaper cuts of meat that you may not be aware of.
5. Beware of special offers
Our previous article highlights how many ‘special offers’ don’t actually save you money!
6. Don’t impulse buy
Keep to your list and think carefully about adding the extra item to your shopping basket.
7. Make the most of Vouchers and Cashback Apps
Discounts and vouchers can go a long way with your monthly finances. Cashback Apps can be downloaded to your smart phone and can be used to give you money back on items that you are buying. Remember, it is only a saving if it is on your shopping list!

If you need further help with your finances and managing budgets tap on the chat button and speak to one of our mentors.

 

 

 

Cooking on a budget? We can help you save money!

Did you know that paying for your weekly food shop is one of your largest household expenses? If you’re looking to make your money go further every month, cooking on a budget could be the best way!

We will be running a series of articles to help you cook effectively on a budget. This week we will be looking at

 Special Offers! Special Offers. Are they really that special?

You know what it’s like. You get to the supermarket and every aisle is screaming
SPECIAL OFFERS. Nearly 40% of items that we buy from the supermarkets are promotional offers. Yet are these offers really thrifty bargains?

  • Check the Unit Pricing
    A good way to see if you are getting the best value for money is to check the unit pricing. This is the little tag under the item and will show you the price per unit (in Kg’s, ml’s etc).  This is a good way to check whether items of different sizes are good value for money.
  • Price Cuts- but is it really?
    You’ve seen the signs, 30% off, was £40 now £25. You name it, supermarkets do it. Yet often, there hasn’t actually been a price reduction. There are times when an item was marked at a higher price for a short time before, meaning that you are actually only paying normal price. Supermarkets often price things higher for a short period then reduce the cost. You might think you’re getting a bargain but actually you’re paying normal price.
  • Multibuys- get one free? Why not?
    These are your classic Buy One, Get One Free offers. if you need more than one of a particular item then these offers can save you money. If not,  you are spending more money for no reason, think milk, fruit, it all goes off very quickly!  Sometimes retailers will increase the single unit price during a promotion to make these offers appear more attractive.
  • Packaging
    Sometimes bigger packs are often labelled as a ‘Value Pack. ’ This makes you think it will be cheaper overall.  However, sometimes it is cheaper to buy smaller packs! Its time consuming but it’s good practice to check the unit pricing (above) to compare the  price.

Should you have any concerns or questions regarding food poverty and how it might be affecting you please tap the chat button and speak to one of our Dosh Mentors.

Cooking on a budget- We can help you save money!

Did you know that paying for your weekly food shop is one of your largest household expenses? If you’re looking to make your money go further every month, cooking on a budget could be the best way!

We will be running a series of articles to help you cook effectively on a budget. This week we will be looking at

This week’s theme: Special Offers! Special Offers. Are they really that special?

You know what it’s like. You get to the supermarket and every aisle is screaming SPECIAL OFFERS. Nearly 40% of items that we buy from the supermarkets are promotional offers. Yet are these offers really thrifty bargains?

  • Check the Unit Pricing
    A good way to see if you are getting the best value for money is to check the unit pricing. This is the little tag under the item and will show you the price per unit (in Kg’s, ml’s etc). This is a good way to check whether items of different sizes are good value for money.
  • Price Cuts – but is it really?
    You’ve seen the signs, 30% off, was £40 now £25. You name it, supermarkets do it. Yet often, there hasn’t actually been a price reduction. There are times when an item was marked at a higher price for a short time before, meaning that you are actually only paying normal price. Supermarkets often price things higher for a short period then reduce the cost. You might think you’re getting a bargain but actually you’re paying normal price.

    Multi-buys – get one free? Why not?
    These are your classic Buy One, Get One Free offers. If you need more than one of a particular item then these offers can save you money. If not, you are spending more money for no reason, think milk, fruit, it all goes off very quickly! Sometimes retailers will increase the single unit price during a promotion to make these offers appear more attractive.

    • Packaging
    Sometimes bigger packs are often labelled as a ‘Value Pack’. This makes you think it will be cheaper overall. However, sometimes it is cheaper to buy smaller packs! Know its time consuming but it’s good practice to check the unit pricing (above) to compare the price.

 

Should you have any concerns or questions regarding food poverty and how it might be affecting you please tap the chat button and speak to one of our Dosh Mentors.

 

Basic Bank Accounts

If you’re worried that your credit rating might be too low to set up an account, fear not, this is where Basic Bank Accounts come in.

What is a basic bank account?
Unlike current accounts, you can still set up a basic bank account with a ‘not so good’ credit rating.

Basic bank accounts do not come with a credit check, the only eligibility criteria are:
• that you’re 16 or older;
• live in the UK and have a permanent address; and
• have documents proving your identity, like a passport, driving licence or utility bill.

How do they work?
They are not too different from current accounts in that they will allow you to do the following: –
• Use a bank card – some accounts will offer you a debit card, which you can use to make purchases, others will offer a cash card, which you can only use to withdraw money from cash points.
• Pay Bills – you can set up direct debits and standing orders to cover regular payments. This can include, gas and electricity bills, Council Tax or transfers into a saving account.
• Receive Payments – your employer or the Job Centre Plus can pay your wages/benefits directly into your account. You can also receive other bank transfers or pay in cash/cheques.

How is it different to other current accounts?
The main difference between current accounts and basic bank accounts is that basic bank accounts do not come with an overdraft facility. This means you can only spend what is in your account and you cannot borrow additional money from the bank.
You will also not receive any interest on the money you hold in a basic bank account.

How do I get one?
Most banks and building societies now offer basic bank accounts. Bear in mind, banks don’t generally advertise them, so you will need to go into a branch and specifically ask for one; alternatively you can apply online. Below is a list of the top 15 providers compiled by independent consumer magazine, Which?

 

Reducing Household Bills. How to switch energy provider

Did you know that your household could save around £300 a year by shopping around and switching energy providers? Here are some frequently asked questions to help you make that change.
Can I switch if I am renting?
Yes, if you are responsible for paying your energy bill directly to the utility company, you should check your tenancy agreement to see if there is a ‘preferred supplier’. This won’t stop you switching supplier, but you should inform the landlord/letting agent if you do switch.

If energy bills are included as part of the rent, then you will need to get your landlord/letting agent’s agreement first. However, remember, they don’t have to agree.

You may have to return the account to the original supplier when you end your tenancy, so speak to your landlord/letting agent about this.

What about if I’m on a prepayment meter?
Yes, you can, but the market isn’t as competitive as with standard meters, and most providers will offer just a single tariff for prepayment meters.

Can I change my prepayment meter?
Yes, you can replace a prepayment meter with a normal meter and you don’t need to get your landlord’s permission to do this. You might have to return any meters back to their original state at the end of your tenancy, as this would count as an alteration to your property, so it’s a good idea to speak to your landlord/letting agent about this.

How do I switch?
A good place to start is a price comparison site. Remember that not all sites will offer balanced views or the complete list of every available deal, so make sure you use an Ofgem-approved site. And it’s worth checking two or three sites to make sure you are getting the best deal possible.

When switching, make sure you know about your current tariff and your current use. Keep your bill handy.

Remember, don’t just consider the price: you may want to think about Customer Service, how easy the bills are to read, as well as value for money. Which? Have produced a customer satisfaction list which you can find here.

Still too difficult?
Use an energy-switching app like Flipper or Voltz and they will do the work for you. They require some information from you and Flipper will cost you £25 per year to use but you will save money overall.

 

Funding your future

Our Enterprise Programme is now entering its 6th year of supporting, funding and mentoring residents in to starting their own businesses.

The programme, which starts this September is broken down in to bi- weekly workshops where residents can training and guidance, covering a wealth of topics such as; Generating business ideas, Presentation & pitching skills, creating a Business plan, plus much more.

At the end of the workshops, 5 successful entrepreneurs will get the opportunity to pitch for up to £5,000 investment toward their business at our Dragons Den style event.

Link to 2017 final

Interested? Email community.investment@a2dominion.co.uk for more information!

 

Kerry Hector, MovieMobil
2016 Dragons Den Finalist

“The programme has changed my life massively and offered me an amazing opportunity to begin turning my idea into a reality.

The mentoring support is priceless and you really will achieve something great- the exciting thing will be finding out what that is as you journey through the process… Just do it!”

Credit Card debt piling up? 5 top tips to help you out.

1. Switch to a 0% balance transfer credit card
Is the interest rate on your credit card stifling your finances? Well, you’re not alone.
The average interest rate on credit card debt has reached an eye watering 18%.
If you feel like you’re paying too much, why not switch to a 0% balance transfer deal? The best deals currently offer 28 months, interest free. A comparison of all the best deals can be found here.

2. Reject increases in your credit card’s annual interest rate (APR)
If your credit card company contacts you saying they’re going to push up the interest rate on your existing debts, well, that’s not your problem!
Legally, you have 60 days to contact the company and reject the increase. You won’t be able to commit to any more spending on that card; however, you will be able to repay any existing debt at your old, lower rate.

3. Avoid payday loans and opt for more ‘friendly’ local credit unions
QuickQuid. Wizzcash. You name it- don’t use them.
Loans from local credit unions offer MUCH more friendly interest rates and by friendly I’m talking 3% max!
Plus, you won’t have to pay any set-up fees, admin costs or early redemption fees. Have a look at Which? guide for borrowing from a Credit Union.

4. Get an authorised overdraft
Do you feel like you’re always dangerously close to your overdraft limit? Contact your bank ASAP. They might be willing to increase your limit and you can avoid those horrendous bank charges that are often more expensive than a payday loan.
Best banks accounts for authorised overdrafts can be found here.

5. Free help from A2Dominion’s expert, finance mentors
We have three dedicated mentors who offer free, confidential advice with your finances. If you would like to get in touch and find out more click here https://www.a2dominion.co.uk/find-out-more