Starting a family: how much can bringing up baby cost?

As you may have seen, the Duchess of Cambridge’s second baby is now here at last – Charlotte Elizabeth Diana was born at 8.34 am on Saturday 2 May. 

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Of course, for the Royals and all of us alike a new arrival is an exciting time – but for many of us it can be an expensive one.  Your little bundle of joy can come with a large price tag – but there are ways to give your child the very best start in life without breaking the bank.

Planning ahead can be prudent when starting a family. Some recent statistics from the CEBR (Centre of Economic and Business Research)* show that the basic cost of raising a child in the UK, up to the age of 21, has increased by 63% from 2003, with the average total cost in January 2015 standing at almost £230,000. Continue reading

The cost of home improvements

It’s been said that we’re a nation of DIY-ers. Before the credit crunch, the property boom saw many people buying new places, doing them up and selling them on for a profit. But in the years following the crash many were unable to sell, instead choosing to do up their homes and make them nicer places to live.

These days, we seem to occupy the middle ground. According to a 2014 survey by Lloyds Bank, 40 per cent of people undertake renovations to improve the look of their home, while 33 per cent do it to add value.

Continue reading

Money and relationships: Mrs Moneypenny’s tips

This is the third of three blog posts Mrs Moneypenny (Channel 4′s Superscrimpers) is writing for us, all about making better financial decisions in 2015 - @mrsmoneypennyft 

So, you’ve met someone special. They share your taste in music, love sci-fi films, and have a lopsided smile that you find incredibly cute. But how much do they earn? How much have they borrowed and how much have they saved? What is their attitude and approach to money? Continue reading

Ask your questions to Mrs Moneypenny: Facebook Q and A

 moneypenny-April-400Did you take part in either of our successful Twitter Q and As with Mrs Moneypenny on @ExperianExperts?

Well, we’re pleased to say she’s doing a third Q and A, this time on our Experian UK Facebook page.

Between 12:30 and 1:30pm on Friday 24th April, Mrs Moneypenny will be answering your questions live, about money and relationships.  

And that’s not all – the four most interesting questions put to Mrs Moneypenny in that hour will each win £50 of Amazon.co.uk vouchers, as well as a copy of her book Mrs Moneypenny’s Financial Advice for Independent Women.  You can find the full terms and conditions for the competition here.

You can also watch Mrs Moneypenny’s full video on how to make 2015 a financial success.

So that’s Friday 24th April between 12:30 and 1:30pm on Experian UK’s Facebook page. Hope to see you there!

5 ways registering to vote could help your credit rating

Are you registered to vote in the UK? April 20th was the deadline to register to vote in order to be eligible to vote in the general election, which is just days away now on May 7th. And did you know that being on the Electoral Roll also could help improve your credit rating?

Here are five things you should know about registering to vote:

1.            How can it help improve your credit rating? It’s important that your credit report includes your Electoral Roll details, as lenders use this information to help confirm your name, address and where you’ve lived before. This info usually has to be up to date before they are willing to offer a mortgage, a loan or any other form of financial account. Continue reading

PayPlan Q and A – with James Jones

payplan-JJ-image-500Got any credit-related questions you’d like answered? We’re joining forces with PayPlan for a Twitter question-and-answer session on Friday (17th April) between 12:30-1.30pm.

It’s your chance to ask our Experian Expert James Jones any credit questions that you have! You can submit questions to him @PayPlan in advance or ask questions to James directly during the hour.

You could also win a £25 Argos voucher in PayPlan’s competition if you submit a credit-related question – you can find details and full terms & conditions HERE. Make sure you mention @PayPlan and use #AskJames.

PayPlan is a provider of free debt management plans , IVAs, and free debt advice, Here’s Darren from Experian Experts with a guest blog on how to rebuild your credit rating when coming out of debt.

 

Are over-40s ‘too old’ to get a mortgage?

This week has seen news that a bank has been penalised for age discrimination after withdrawing a mortgage approval for a married couple in their 40s, on the grounds that the husband would be over 65 when the deal ended.

The Financial Ombudsman Service ruled in the couple’s favour and ordered the bank to pay them £500 in compensation, saying that the bank had relied on “untested assumptions, stereotypes or generalisations in respect of age”.

So should we be given the chance to keep up mortgage payments past the age of 65?   Continue reading

How to find a holiday bargain

Check out some great things we’ve learned about how best to save money on choosing your holidays this year – from when to go, to where to go and best time to book!
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Could smartphones soon spell the end for card payments?

smartphone-hand-300Trains full of commuters tapping away, diners sitting in silence staring at their screens – some may think smartphones are getting the better of us. However, Experian research has found that one in three Britons (33 per cent) believe that paying with a smartphone will take over from credit and debit card payments as the preferred method of payment by 2020.*

While cash and card payments are still the dominant force now, the survey found that people think the next five years will see a major shift, with 67% saying that cash will decrease in popularity, while two in five (41 per cent) think the use of credit and debit cards will plummet. Continue reading

Spring clean your finances – with Mrs Moneypenny

Mrs Moneypenny (Channel 4′s Superscrimpers) is writing a series of blog posts for us, all about making better financial decisions in 2015. @mrsmoneypennyft 

It was my birthday recently, and the bulbs I planted in the autumn have produced a beautiful set of colourful flowers to greet me in my garden. It’s that time of year when I want to shake off the winter blues and make everything clean and tidy, and not just in the garden and the house.

How long is it since you took some time out to spring clean your finances? Before you can do this, you need to assemble a list of all the bank accounts, building society accounts, credit cards and loan and mortgages you have so that you can decide what to tidy up and how. I always counsel people to buy a notebook, put all their information in it and then spend an hour a week with that notebook and an internet connection to help them get their finances in shape. Continue reading