Category Archives: finance


Can You be a Stay-at-Home Mum and Build a Decent Pension?

How to be a mum and still get a decent pension
The findings of a childcare survey conducted recently made pretty bleak reading for most of the families all across UK.

As per the research that took place, most of the parents shell out more than £6000 per year on childcare-this is double the money that they tend to spend on food and drink-with some of the families spending around 45% of their disposable wages on childcare expenses.

As a result, most of the parents, specifically mums halt their career in order to take care of their kids. This can in turn have huge financial repercussions on them, especially when it comes down to pension.

Also, savings cannot just be on the agenda, because they aren’t really getting any income. So, if you’ve lately quit a job and become a “stay-at-home” mum, then you need to ask yourself this: “How will I build up a decent pension, whilst being a stay-at-home mum?”

Of course, the outcome of quitting a job would come with a lot of fear regarding you and your kids’ future, yet you should not give up your hopes so easily.

If you are a stay-at-home mum who is reading this article, then we must tell you that you have landed in the right place. Here we have mentioned our top tips through which you can build a better retirement.

Protect your State Pension

The full state pension enables you to £8,296 every year and whilst this alone is not likely to be enough for you to live on, it could certainly be a better foundation for your retirement.

However, in order to receive this entire amount you will have to have paid National Insurance (NI) contributions at least for a minimum of 35 years.

Now, you may perhaps associate the National Insurance contributions with working (let us tell you that in a workplace if the contributions are not paid, then auto-enrolment penalty is issued on the employer), but do you even know that all the years spent away from your workplace could still meet the criteria towards the state pension? All you need is to be registered for Child Benefit.

Basically, Child Benefit is a type of payment that you can claim, especially if you are looking after a kid below 16 to 20 years of age, who is presently undergoing education or training. Even though if you or your spouse’s individual salary is more than £50,000, you might have to pay a certain amount of tax charge.
If this is the case and you do not really want to claim Child Benefit as a result, you can fill in the form anyway as it would protect your National Insurance credits.

Not to mention, you will also receive your National Insurance credits when you’ll make a claim for Child Benefit until your youngest child has turned 12. Although it might not solve everything, but protecting your state pension could be one of the best places to start with.

Look for any Lost Pots

It has been estimated that in excess of £400m has been “lost” in pension pots, which most of the individuals have forgotten about. So, it’s better to think back to where all you have worked in the past and start contacting those old employers or pension lenders.

Through some of the surveys that were conducted in the last year, it was revealed that approximately £40,000 was found in dormant workplace pensions.

So, why don’t you start tracking down all your old pensions too? You may be taken aback at what you’ll possibly discover. This way, it will also help you when it comes down to the next step.

Set a Savings Goal

Once you know what you actually want, it is time to begin with your future planning. There are a lot of pension figures bandied about- plenty of them might possibly give you cause for panic. Yet, if you are simply going after a comfortable retirement, then the numbers may not be that bad as to what you think of it.

As per some of the expert’s survey, an average of retired couple requires around £18,000 per year in order to cover their household expenses, such as utilities, food, housing expenses and transport. All these expenses have been increasing to £26,000, thereby allowing for additional stuff, like holiday and leisure activities.

Per person this is not too massive; it’s just £13,000 per year. So, if you are eligible to a full new state pension of £8,296 a year, then as per the research conducted you only require supplementing it with roughly £5,000 every year. Of course, that is not at all a small figure, but you can certainly reach it.

Combine and Contribute whenever You Can

The research that was conducted by some of the experts is done on the basis of attaining a cash pot of £210,000 so as to sit besides your state pension. Also, they have handily broken down how couples can reach this, on the basis of which age they begin with their savings. Some of the figures are mentioned below:

  • £131 per month from the age of 20
  • £198 per month from the age of 30
  • £338 per month from the age of 40
  • £633 per month from the age of 50

You need to bear in mind that all the above mentioned figures are on the basis of starting right from scratch. So, of you have got a lot of old pension pots, then these figures could be way too small for you. But, you can still try doing a few sums and find out how you can reach that £210,000 figure.

Other thing that is worth taking into consideration is getting all the old pensions together, in one “easy to access” personal plan. In this way, you get the liberty to contribute whenever it is affordable for you, not only that, it can even spare you from these hefty fees. Surprisingly, some of the lenders still entail all sorts of expenses even on dormant pensions.

Whenever it comes down to contributing, you ought to try seeing where you can trim down the expenses, as you maybe surprised to see what certain small sacrifices could do. In addition to this, if you ever come across some money-via legacy, perhaps- you can consider putting some of it towards your pension. Also, explore what kind of work you can do around your kids too, as you may be astounded with what is possible.

Above all else, do not panic; simply keep on saving whatever you can, because as it is said “something is better than nothing”. Additionally, bear in mind that every basic rate taxpayer has their own contribution into a pension boosted by 25%, thanks to tax relief. Put simply, it means that for every £100 that you contribute you will receive another £25 from your taxman.


How to Save Money: Record your Expenses

How to Save Money Tips
Collecting receipts and writing down costs is not so boring as you think.

Many of us have tried to record expenses, without obtaining any results. The first time, I didn’t know where to start and I quickly gave up. The second attempt was much better. Now that you are reading this article, you have no excuses to avoid starting. You need to know your expenses, if you want to well manage your budget!

Why is it Important to Record your Expenses?

Will knowing what I’ve spent help me to recover the money that I have already lost? Of course not! No one will return it to you, just because you write on a paper what you bought. However, by recording your expenses you make sure that no one is going to steal your future money. I’m going to explain to you this.

If you write down your expenses, after a short time you will know where your money is going.

You’ll also know when money was spent in each category: payments of house, clothing, food, entertainment…

Okay, but how this will help me to spend less?

Let’s be realistic! No one becomes rich just by scoring the daily spending. However, by writing down and then analysing the expenses, you can plan next month costs – this is what we call having control of your finances.

Writing down the expenses is a fundamental part of the family budget.

You can’t make a good budget without recording your expenses, because without this, you will not be able to well plan your expenses in the future.

Some benefits of recording your expenses are:

  • You will understand your financial habits and will be able to make more purchase decisions.
  • You will be able to compare the prices of products and pay less.
  • You will be able to plan your future spending and take control of your finances.

I don’t want to write down expenses!

What if I don’t want to write down my expenses?

If your financial situation is very good, if you feel that you have all the control, if you know where your money is going, if you have no debts and no problems with spending “too much”, then you don’t need to write down your expenses.

However, if you are here, you are probably looking to improve your budget and achieve some financial goals.

Collection of receipts!

This is the first and most important step. You must collect, not just some, but all the receipts you get. Collect receipts must become a family habit.

If you live alone, it will be even easier to put it into practice.

Your goal is to collect all the receipts, even the very small ones. You’ve spent only $1 at the store? Take the receipt. Sometimes this will seem ridiculous; but sincerely, do you always remember what and for how much you have purchased things? Small expenditures are those who quickly we forget of, but are also important for our budget.

What if the seller does not give me a receipt?

If you’re shopping and at the time of paying the seller does not offer you a receipt, don’t be afraid to ask for it. If you request it kindly, you get it almost anywhere.

I asked for it, but still didn’t get a receipt…

You must be prepared for such situations. What should you do? You can always take with you a pencil and paper, where immediately after a purchase, you will write: date, purchased thing and by how much. It is simple and effective.

Another option: If you take a cell phone with you, you can make a note of your purchase. Personally I use Evernote, but you can use any other note program.

Rule Number One: If you have not received a receipt, write down your expenses in a paper so you don’t forget them.

write down your expenses

How often should I write down my expenses?

In my case, what works better is the daily spending. At the end of the day I sit at the computer, take all receipts of the day and distribute my expenditures among the categories of my budget. The entire process takes me 5-10 minutes.

If you do this for the first time, it will probably take you a little more time. Don’t worry! Every day will be easier and faster. You have to be constant, and after only a few weeks, recording your expenses will become one of your favourite habits.

One big advice: You must be responsible with your annotations and designate the exact time to do so. For example, 9 pm each day. It’s like a meeting with your finances.

Where should I write my expenses?

There are a lot of options. In general, I prefer this 3:

  • Piece of paper
  • Any program or application
  • Excel file.

The oldest method of recording expenditures is to do it using paper and pencil. It is still a good way, but it is time-consuming, especially if you have many expenses and you like to categorize them.

Fortunately, there are many applications that make it easier to keep track of expenses and also to manage a family budget. These softwares allow you to categorize costs, create detailed graphical reports, etc.

Personally, I record my expenses in Excel, where I can analyse my expenditures each month and throughout the year.

Last recommendation: When you have the receipts, the best, is to simultaneously record expenditures in the appropriate category. Cost of food in the category of food, cost of clothing in the category of clothing… It is the only and best way to create a budget.

Now that you know how simple and fast is to record your expenses, there is no reason for not start doing it. Furthermore, recording the expenses of your business is a must. Some failed startups committed this terrible mistake, so please avoid it.