debt

Money calendar

Today I came across something I hadn’t considered before, but I think it’s a good idea. The BBC business website has an article they describe as a “Money Calendar”, which offers month-by-month tips to help you sort out your finances during the year. Some of the tips are simple forward planning (like saving up for Christmas earlier in the year), others are suggestions which have specific relevance to the month in question (like summer activities in July).

I think there are some great tips and points to consider in this article, in some cases with links to more detailed information if you want to explore further. At a time of year when we’re all trying to get our finances sorted out, why not take a look and see if it gives you any useful pointers?

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Wednesday, January 20th, 2016 Consumer Goods No Comments

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Trying to live cheaply

I was interested to read an article on the BBC news website today about the new benefits cap, which was trying to estimate how much money someone needs to be able to live (albeit cheaply). As well as some examples of how people can save a bit of money with cheaper options, it was interesting to me to see things that I wouldn’t necessarily have considered when trying to work out my weekly spend.

For example, they say that the average family spends £9.50 a week on furniture. Now, obviously, most people don’t buy a new piece of furniture each week, and I can’t remember the last time I did – but it is expensive and you will need to budget for some such purchases over the year. You might think that if you were living on a budget you just wouldn’t buy furniture, but it does wear out and does need to be replaced, even if it is replaced with a cheaper, second-hand equivalent.

Also clothing – not something I spend money on regularly, but if you have a job interview you will need a suit – and you’ll have to save for many weeks at a couple of pounds a week to afford it. Things like socks will wear out, shirts will get damaged – if every penny counts, it will be difficult to get replacements, even if you shop in budget shops.

Anyway, check out the link above to read the article in more detail. You might spot somewhere that you could economise!

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Friday, April 26th, 2013 Consumer Goods, Economy, Jobs No Comments

Loan Tutor website launched!

A new sister site to The Salary Calculator has been launched to provide information about loans and loan repayment.

Loan Tutor contains details about different loan types, such as mortgages, unsecured loans, debt consolidation loans and student loans. As well as a suite of tools for calculating loan repayment costs, there are also hints and tips and links to further information about borrowing money.

There will also be articles with suggestions of how you can save money with loans, including the first of these which explains how to avoid overpaying your student loan. Other articles and tools are planned for the future, including car loans, offset mortgages and credit cards.

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Tuesday, August 7th, 2012 About The Salary Calculator No Comments

Student Loan repayment threshold

Those of you who are repaying your Student Loan through PAYE might have noticed that this month your student loan deduction is a little lower than usual (£5-£6 lower). This is because the annual threshold for student loan repayments increased in April from £15,000 to £15,795.

Income-contingent Student Loans are repaid from the April after you complete your course, at a rate of 9% on any gross income above this threshold. This is similar to the way income tax is calculated – i.e. a percentage of any income above a certain “free” allowance. However, while the tax-free allowance usually increases by a small amount each year, the student loan repayment threshold has been steady at £15,000 since April 2005 – before that, it was £10,000. If you’ve been paying off your student loan for a few years now, you may be surprised to see this change. More information is available from the Student Loan Repayment site. The Salary Calculator is up-to-date with this change to the repayment threshold.

If you are repaying your student loan and you think you might be close to paying it off, this earlier blog post about Student Loan over-repayment may be of interest to you.

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Monday, April 23rd, 2012 Student Loan No Comments

Student Loan over-repayment

As you might have heard on the news or read in this article, £15 million has been overpaid this year by former students repaying their student loan – because the repayments have continued to be taken even after the full amount of the loan has been paid back.

The problem occurs because although the Student Loans Company (SLC) has informed your employer through HMRC that you should have student loan deducted from your payslip each month, the SLC doesn’t know how much is being repaid until the end of the tax year when your employer files its tax return. As you’ll see on the About page of The Salary Calculator, student loans are repaid at a fixed rate of 9% of anything you earn over £15,000 – no matter how large (or small) the balance of the loan. If you are close to repaying the total of your loan, deductions may continue for some time until the SLC realise that you have overpaid – and even then, they have to communicate to HMRC who then pass the “stop” message on to your employer.

There are things you can do to help prevent overpayment, however. The Student Loan Repayment Portal (which appears currently to be unavailable) will show the last known balance of your account, and allows you to enter information from your payslips to estimate how much is outstanding. If you are close to repaying the full amount, you can contact the SLC directly and pay off the remaining balance by debit card over the phone. When you do this you will need to make sure that the stop notice makes its way from the SLC through HMRC to your employer – if not, you will find the deductions continue to be taken even though you have repaid the loan. You may be able to get the SLC to fax confirmation of the stop directly to your employer, making sure it arrives in time for your next payslip – if you speak to the SLC about repaying your loan, you can ask them about this and discuss it with your employer.

Alternatively, you can arrange for your remaining balance to be taken by Direct Debit rather than by PAYE deduction – meaning that when the balance has been repaid in full, the debits stop automatically. Again, the SLC need to send a “stop” note to HMRC and your employer, but this happens before the amount is repaid and therefore if something goes wrong you are less likely to be trying to get a refund.

If you are repaying your student loan and you think this may apply to you, check out the Repayment Portal I linked to above and see how much is still outstanding on your loan. I repaid my loan earlier this year and I can tell you it is a good feeling!

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Wednesday, December 15th, 2010 Student Loan 3 Comments

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