MoneyAware is 5 today – get the party hats out!

posted by Peer in Inside StepChange Leave a comment

Yes, the blog’s five years old today! In the last five years we’ve had 2.1 million visitors looking at just under 5 million pages and 1,000s of comments on over 650 articles.

From what was originally a six-month experiment, I’d say it’s been a bit of success…

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What are the 2016 benefit changes announced in the Autumn Statement?

posted by Peer in benefits 2 Comments

If you’ve been worried about the effects of the changes to tax credits due in the spring, then you’ll hopefully be breathing a sigh of relief today. The Chancellor George Osbourne announced a U-turn on the proposed changes in the Government’s Autumn Statement yesterday. But what else was announced during his 80-minute speech?

The Government’s Autumn Statement and Comprehensive Spending Review isn’t a page turner. But it affects the finances of a lot of people up and down the country. That’s why we asked our Policy team to try and explain the changes in language that even the MoneyAware team would understand.

At a glance it looks like this…

Potentially positive for you:

  • Reversal of tax credit cuts
  • Pension payments will increase
  • Extension of the Warm Home Discount to 2020-21

Potentially negative for you:

  • Changes to Universal Credit (UC) announced in the Summer Budget will still go ahead from 2016-17

Other things to be aware of:

  • There are changes to benefits paid to the self-employed
  • There are some small changes to JSA ‘conditionality’

Let’s look at these in more detail…

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Debt and money news – November 2015

posted by James in Debt, Economy Leave a comment

Welcome to November’s debt and money news, your one-stop-shop for all the latest goings-on in the world of finances. This month’s installment covers wages going up, payday loan refunds, George Osborne’s autumn statement, our new service in Ireland, Black Friday scuffles and this year’s most wanted toys.

As a special bonus, if you make it to the end there’s a link to a video that will show you how to make your own Tracy Island! Continue reading »


MoneyAware’s £3.21 Secret Santa challenge!

posted by StepChange MoneyAware in Budgeting, Money maximising Leave a comment

This month’s challenge is to buy a Secret Santa gift for a colleague for exactly £3.21. Why £3.21? Because we like to make life difficult for ourselves! Also, by setting a strict price limit it means you have to put that little bit more effort and thought into your gift buying.

‘Secret Santa’, if you’re not familiar with the concept, is where everyone picks a name out of a hat and has to buy a gift for the person they picked. It’s a good way to reduce present buying, as you only have to buy one gift, rather than getting something for everyone.

Feel free to use this article for inspiration if you’re doing a Secret Santa yourself this year. Just don’t hold us responsible if your gift choices make you unpopular!

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Black Friday – Waste of time or useful way to save cash?

posted by James in Inside StepChange, Opinion, Special events Leave a comment

Black Friday has a bad reputation for scuffles and unpleasantness, but it’s meant to be an annual shopping event to help people “save money”. It’s something UK retailers have imported from America, falling on the Friday after the Thanksgiving holiday in the US. But what we want to know is this: Is it worthwhile?

Like other American exports, such as David Hasselhoff, Halloween and going to see “movies” instead of “films”, Black Friday has had a mixed reaction as it’s crept into our national consciousness.

We’re divided in the MoneyAware team – Rory argues against it and James makes the case in favour.

But do you think it’s a waste of time or a good way to save money? Add your thoughts to the comments section once you’ve read the article…

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Watch out for this Facebook scam targeting MoneyAware readers!

posted by Laura in Inside StepChange, Social Media 14 Comments

“Don’t talk to strangers” is a line that parents often drill into their kids from a young age. For me the phrase still brings to mind the image of the Child Snatcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which terrified me throughout my childhood.

With the rise of social media, baddies can find out information about you at the click of a button. Knowing who we should and shouldn’t trust is even more important. The trouble is, not everyone out to scam you will look like undertakers dressed as clowns trying to entice you with free lollipops.

This time though, they’re targeting MoneyAware followers…

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9 foods you didn’t know you could make at home

posted by Laura in Money saving Leave a comment

The supermarket shop tends to make up a substantial part of most people’s monthly expenditure. When you’re on a tight budget one of the first things you might look at is how to reduce your family’s food bill, whether that’s by swapping to a cheaper store or planning your meals in advance.

But the savings don’t need to stop there!  What if you could recreate some of your favourite shop-bought items in your own kitchen and get the same flavour for a fraction of the cost?

‘Impossible’, you say? Dust off your pinny and prepare to eat your words. Continue reading »