Nuisance calls: 5 things other countries do that should happen here

posted by StepChange Debt Charity in Bad advice, Dodgy practice 1 Comment

The telephone rings. You pick it up, and at the other end of the line is somebody trying to sell you a payday loan, or help you reclaim PPI, or telling you how to get money for an accident that wasn’t your fault (and, amazingly, one you didn’t know you’d had).

Annoying isn’t it?

But it’s not just annoying. It’s also harmful. These calls can leave those in financial difficulty vulnerable to making decisions that will make their situation worse. That’s why in October 2013 we launched our Got Their Number campaign; to increase the level of protection offered to hard-pressed families.

So how have things progressed over the past 18 months? And what do other countries do to stop the scourge of nuisance calls that we should do here?

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20 more weird and wonderful ways to make money

posted by Rachel in Budgeting, Money maximising 1 Comment

Just when you thought it was safe to make money like a boring person, we come at you with 20 more creative, compelling and crazy ways to generate some extra dosh. Ain’t we swell?

Our first round-up of weird money-making methods last year proved so popular that it would’ve been criminal not to follow it up with a second list, and here it is! From selling your story to setting up Twitter for your local chippy, there are lots of unusual ways to get an extra bit of cash flowing.

It’s time to shake your money-maker once more…

(Fancy seeing some nice photos? You can also check out 10 of these weird and wonderful tips on SlideShare.)

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Don’t leave home without these 5 money-saving apps

posted by Rory in Budgeting, Money saving Leave a comment

Among your games, messaging and social media apps there should always be a dedicated money-saving section to fire up whenever you’re looking for a bargain.

However with so many apps out there, which ones offer you genuinely quick, easy ways to save money?

We set out to do the hard work for you by testing a heap of different apps to see which offered the best value, discounts and ease-of-use.

Here’s our round-up of 5 free apps you shouldn’t leave home without.

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5 cheep ways to make Easter egg-stra special

posted by Laura in Childcare, Free things to do Leave a comment

Easter was one of my favourite holidays as a kid. Sweets were usually rationed in my house, so we all looked forward to the one day a year when we could eat chocolate for breakfast!

Looking back on it, I now see why my mum limited our sugar intake. For anyone looking after kids this Easter; good luck.

Having two energetic nephews to entertain this Easter myself, I realise that luck probably isn’t enough. That’s why I’ve put together a list of my favourite thrifty egg-themed Easter games, DIY activities and recipes (as well as many egg-related puns) to give you a few ideas for the long weekend. These activities will help your little ones blow off steam (and the sugar rush!), and they’re pretty good fun for adults too…

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March’s top debt and money news stories

posted by Rachel in Council tax, Debt, Economy 1 Comment

Debt news

March 2015 debt news

It’s been a busy month for debt news, not least the staggering 372% jump in council tax arrears our clients have seen over the last five years.

And in other news, unions have warned that wages have plummeted in Scotland over the last six years, at a rate not seen since the 19th century.

It’s not all doom and gloom, however. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) plans to scrap automatic fines of £100 for late tax returns, which will come as a relief for many self-employed people.

Read more in this month’s round up…

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Council tax arrears on the rise: Tell us your story

posted by StepChange MoneyAware in Council tax, Debt, Priority Household Bills 3 Comments

This week we launched our latest report on Council tax debt (PDF), which shows a worrying rising trend in the number of people getting in touch with us because they’re in Council tax arrears.

Back in 2010, 13,353 people who contacted us were in arrears to their council; by 2014 this number had risen to 63,016 – a staggering 372% increase.

The consequences of falling into Council tax arrears can be serious. Although councils can’t add charges and interest to Council tax arrears, they have a lot of power to make people pay.

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Rent-to-own stores “rip people off” say MPs. We highlight the alternatives

posted by StepChange Debt Charity in Budgeting, Debt, Rent-to-own Leave a comment

Rent-to-own

Rent to own now, keep paying much, much later?

Have you ever bought a TV from BrightHouse or a sofa from PerfectHome? Then you might be interested by news that MPs have called for a crackdown on these kinds of stores. This comes after feedback you provided to us last year.

A cross-party group of MPs says the regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), needs to take urgent action to stop people from being “ripped off”.

Firms like BrightHouse charge APRs of 94.7% and make customers fork out for expensive cover that can treble the price of household goods.

For example, a washing machine sold for £295 at Co-Op Electricals will cost a whopping £1,092 at BrightHouse once insurance and interest payments are added in.

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