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Important Things To Consider When Hiring A Lawyer

There may never come a time in your life when you need a lawyer, and this is probably the case for most of us. A lawyer can be used for many types of cases but most people will never need to hire one for themselves. 

However, if the time does come and you need to hire a lawyer for a case, you need to know what to look for. Lawyers can be piranhas if you choose the wrong one and you need to take the selection process of a lawyer very seriously in order to make a good choice this year. 

Today we want to talk to you about some of the important things to consider when hiring a lawyer. 

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The type of case 

The first thing to consider before you hire a solicitors is the type of case you have on your hands. If you have a divorce to put through this will be a job for a family lawyer; whereas compensation for injury will be for a personal injury lawyer to take care of. Make sure you choose a lawyer that specialises in the right area of law because if you don’t do this they won’t be able to represent you to the best standard. Think of law like medicine – there are many different avenues to take and it is likely that a foot doctor won’t be versed in how to change the valve of a heart. The same applies to lawyers which is why you should find a specialist. 

Your budget 

Budget is a huge factor when choosing a lawyer and when doing just about anything. When looking for a lawyer it is important that you have a budget in mind and ensure that you only shortlist lawyers that fall within the range you want to pay. Be sure to not simply choose the cheapest or the most expensive before you speak to them though because the money they charge will not always reflect their quality. Take price into account but don’t allow this to be the be all and end all of your decision making. 

Their size 

The size of a law firm says a lot about them and it is something you need to consider. A very small law firm might not have the man power to provide your case with enough time and energy and you may not get the best service. A massive law firm might not have that personal touch that is required for certain cases and may treat you just like another number. Finding the happy medium between both of these things is important because you want a capable law firm but one that is willing to care about your case for you. 

Their personality 

Always have a face to face meeting with a lawyer at their office before you make a decision on whether or not to hire. Not only will you be able to see their facility and their resources when you go for a meeting but you can see what kind of people they are. The last thing you want when working a case is a lawyer who is cold and arrogant and seems to care about nothing but themselves. The personality of your lawyer is important because you will be liaising with them a lot and you need to build a rapport where you feel comfortable with them.

Tackling Your Finances Head On

Any time of year that you decide to tackle your finances is the best time of year. But, when New Year approaches, many people decide that will be when they make the most of the finances. 

Taking a real look at debts, income, and creating a budget.

It is important to remember not to put too much pressure on yourself. At the start of the year, people often decide to make many large changes and then can feel bad if something doesn’t go perfectly. When it comes to your finances, you can make changes, no matter how small, to significantly impact. 

Consider it like a snowball. It will start small and gather speed and size, meaning impact as you go.

Something that makes tackling your finances interesting is that it doesn’t matter how much money you have. Everyone can benefit from some actionable steps when it comes to their finance.

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Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

So how do you get the most out of it? And what can make your financial life more comfortable? 

Read on for some simple tips. 

Debt

It is very easy to push that to the back of your mind and begin to bury your head in the sand. Even though that is a massive source of stress and can be one of the things many people struggle with. 

Unfortunately, most of the time, that isn’t going to go anywhere, and it will need to be handled eventually. It is a good idea to note all of your debts, who they are owed to, the amount that is owed, and even looks at your original agreements.

You can find many template letters that can help you to get in touch with your creditors and freeze interest, reduced repayments, and come up with a monthly payment plan that suits what you can afford. If you don’t want to be contacted by phone, you can also request that all communications come via letter.

Depending on how much debt you have and what it relates to, you might get a debt management plan.

If you need some help, here is a useful guide that can help: Struggling With Debt?

Future planning

Is this the year that you begin to save for your forever home? One of the biggest things that they wish to purchase is a house or a new car for many people. These are new financial obligations that need to be carefully planned into your future. This means when you put your budget together, there should be a large amount allocated to these in terms of monthly repayments.

In the case of adverse credit, you might be required to speak to a specialist to see if there are alternatives to help you make your future financial dreams a reality.

Banking

Many people open a bank account, and rather than shop around for alternatives, they keep the same bank account for years. This is partly out of convenience and partly out of loyalty. 

You must remember that in the end, you don’t actually owe your bank anything, and they might not be providing you with the best possible service. It is very straightforward to swap banks in most cases. 

You can even swap your bank account online in some cases, should you need to. Use a comparison website to look at all of your bank’s different offerings compared with other banking companies. You might even find that you are paying higher charges or have a low-interest rate with your current bank.

Budget

A budget is not just something for those who are on a low income, or those looking to save money. Almost anybody can benefit from a well put together budget. A good financial budget can help you with that future planning that we just recently discussed, and it can even help reduce your debts.

One of the simplest ways is to set up your budget is to look at the money you have coming into your home and where it gets spent. 

You might find that you have more money left at the end of the month than you thought if you simply skip a few of those takeaways or reduced the number of times you use the car. 

It can be surprising just how much money you can save but putting a budget together.

Automation

You can often find that you can get a discount on utilities or services if you have an automatic payment set up. Another great thing about automatic payment is that they are usually taken on a regular date every month, making it very easy to work this into your budget. And you are much less likely to spend any money that is already allocated on automatic payment.

You can also set up automated savings. There are several phone applications, and even some banking services provide this now. 

They look at your income and outgoings, and using a special algorithm can work out how much you can save safely, and they will automatically put that into a savings pot for you.

The great thing about automatic saving is you very rarely notice it, and it can be as small as a few pence or cents at a time. Even a matter of weeks or months with the small automatic saving can give you quite a little pot of cash.

Credit card

If you are currently relying on a credit card for emergencies, then perhaps it’s time to start putting cash into an emergency fund. You can use the automatic payment system mentioned in the previous point to help you build up an emergency fund

This might mean that you will need to hold off on unnecessary spending or put all of your focus on paying off any current credit card debt. Then with your spare cash, start filling it into an emergency fund.

Finance can be scary, but once you understand all of your options regarding handling your creditors and putting yourself in the driving seat with a well thought out budget, you will have your finances ship-shape in no time at all. 

Tips For Saving Money On Home Renovations

Home renovations can be a costly expense. From knocking out walls to installing brand new flooring (read more here), there are some home renovation costs that cannot be avoided. Nonetheless, there are still ways to save money. It just takes a little creativity. If you have a costly home renovation coming up or you are wanting to do some updates around the house on a budget, here are some tips.

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Make A Budget And Stick To It

Creating a budget and sticking to that budget is one of the most crucial steps when it comes to saving money on your home renovations. Keep in mind that when you are on a budget, that does not mean that you are only doing what is cheap. You can still pay for quality, you just may have to pick and choose what you want to pay for. Think about how much money you are willing to spend and compare that with how much money you have coming in. From there you can start creating a budget that works with your income. It is also recommended that you add an additional 10 percent to your total amount for incidentals.

Pay In Cash

Pay your renovations in cash or with a debit card if possible. You do not want to take out a loan to pay for the updates. Loans are typically accompanied by high interest rates. It might make sense to borrow money to do some home updates if you intend on selling your home. You will likely get a return on your investment, but if you are only doing them just for the sake of updating the house, it is best that you pay in cash.

Pace Yourself

You do not want to rush any job, especially one that involves how your home will look. Pace your home renovations. Avoid rushing the process. Sometimes you do not have a choice but to pace yourself since you are gathering all the necessary capital needed to make the renovations happen. On the other hand, if you have all the money you may feel the urge to get all the renovations done at one time. Do not do this. Your home will look like a dusty mess in between the renovations.

Do Them Yourself

There are some home improvement jobs you can do yourself. Give it a try! Doing some renovations yourself will save you thousands of dollars. If you are not comfortable doing handy work and you insist on paying someone, there are things you can do to prepare for their arrival. Remember, you are paying them per hour. By setting up your home for their arrival, you will be saving money.

Use What You Have

Instead of gutting the entire room, consider using what you already have and repurpose them. For instance, if you are updating the kitchen consider repurposing the doors instead of swapping them out for new ones. You will be surprised what a good sanding and a fresh coat of paint can do to update a space.

How to Save Money on Dog Ownership

Dogs are an important part of our lives. They give us so much love in terms of companionship, love and affection but, often times, new owners can forget how expensive they can be. There are many costs to be mindful of when it comes to adopting and having a dog at home.

A new survey suggests that pet ownership in the UK is soaring – and is set to continue to grow.

In the wake of lockdown and as the Government encourages us to increase our physical activity overall, 80% of dog owners say their dog keeps them physically active. Around 40% of all owners also say that, as lockdown restrictions are lifted, they will take their dogs for more frequent and longer walks.

But it’s not all good news, the RSPCA is bracing itself for a surge of abandoned dogs – according to a June 2020 Kennel Club survey of 2,622 dog owners, 15% of the people who bought puppies during lockdown admitted that they weren’t ready.

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According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, the cost of pet maintenance is number four of the top ten reasons someone gives up their dog. Each year, people around the world spend billions on pets, including their food, supplies, medication, veterinary care, and other services.

These figures aren’t meant to discourage people from adopting pets. They’re simply useful information to be aware of so we can make sure we aren’t breaking the bank while trying to provide everything our beloved dogs need.

So, with that being said, here are eight money saving tips for dog parents.

1. Consider Adoption

You can start saving money from the very beginning by choosing to adopt a dog instead of buying one from a breeder.

Buying a dog from a breeder will usually cost upwards of £1,000 at the very least, with prices rocketing during 2020. Choosing to adopt a dog will likely cost considerably less.

Shelters often run discount events, and some animals get sponsorships that cover the cost of adoption, too. Check your local shelter such as the Dog’s Trust to find out when discounted adoptions come up.

Not only will you save money, but you’ll also change the life of a dog in a shelter looking for a home.

2. Choose The Right Vet

When it comes to choosing a vet to oversee our pet’s health, we often like to go to the one closest to us. But it might be best to research and see which vets are available nearby who are also affordable for you.

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Fees can vary widely, even if they’re located near each other.

Make sure to also research their payment and insurance policies, if available, that can help you bring down the cost.

3. Create A Budget For Your Pup

Even if you are on a tight budget, you know you need to track your spending and make sure you don’t overspend every month. Well the same can be done for your pup, as well.

Creating a monthly budget plan for your pet can help you and your wallet by tracking expenses and ultimately save money on dog ownership. That way, you’ll know when you can splurge on new toys and when you need to save up.

4. Groom Your Dog Yourself

It’s always important to make sure our dog is well groomed and clean. But deciding to go to a professional groomer can cost a lot.

The trip to the groomer’s can also add up depending how often you have to take your dog to them.

It might help to bathe and groom your dog yourself, between professional groomer visits. Not only is this cost effective for you as a pet parent, but you’ll also be able to bond with your dog while giving them a bath.

You can check out some cool grooming products here.

5. Keep Up With Dental Cleaning At Home

Just as brushing your teeth is important for your health, brushing your dog’s teeth is important for their health, too.

The best way to avoid a costly vet visit for dental care is to brush your dog’s teeth regularly and maintain good oral hygiene.

This will cut down on the need for a professional and also give a break to your bank account.

6. Stay Up to Date On Vaccinations And Parasite Prevention

It’s always a good idea to deal with things now that can potentially cause problems later. One of those things is making sure your dog is up to date with their vaccinations and parasite prevention.

These will help prevent diseases and infestations from the fleas, ticks, worms, and other parasites that carry them. If you would prefer to avoid nasty chemicals, WiserPet has a range of natural products for flea and tick prevention.

Prevention is better than cure and it’s usually cheaper in the long run than having to deal with a major disease or heartworms that will cost even more down the road.

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7. Be A Savvy Shopper

Whenever we bring a new dog home, we know they’re going to need dog gear, such as collars, leashes, beds, and so forth. Sometimes we’ll just head to the nearest pet shop and collect all of it, which quickly adds up.

But before you spend all your hard-earned money, make sure you do your due diligence and look at the best deals. You can also price match and check other pet stores for cheaper options or sales.

It might be more time consuming, but it will help you save money.

8. Train Your Dog

Training your dog is essential for them but taking them to a dog training school can cost a lot of money. Thankfully there are many ways to save and still teach your dog obedience and some cool tricks along the way.

Investing in dog training books and online programmes can save you more money than taking them to an obedience school. Your dog may still need some professional training, but you’ll be ahead of the game and might not need to spend as much cash if your pooch has a head start at home.

This is also an excellent way to bond with your pet and build lasting trust with them.

Do you spend a lot of money on your pet? Got any other tips to save money on dog ownership? Let us know in the comments below!

Diversify Your Investment Portfolio

One of the most sensible long-term steps you can take is to invest your money in something that has a good chance of being lucrative. If you already have one or two investments, that’s a great start. But there is a problem with only having a single investment, which is that it is much higher risk than having more than one. You should ideally have a range of investments active at any one time, so that even if one or two of them fail, you have others to fall back on. So how do you go about diversifying your investment portfolio?

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What Is Diversification?

So what exactly is diversification, and why should you make sure you are doing it? Put simply, diversification is when you add more streams to your investment portfolio. If you already have investments in gold, for instance, you might choose to add to that crypto or real estate. Any financial planner worth their salt will tell you that diversification ensures a stronger, safer economical standing, with much less risk on the whole.

Essentially, what you are doing here is blending different investments into a whole. As well as negating risk, it is also generally true that having a variety of investments yields a higher return on average.

Understanding Risk Types

When you go to diversify your portfolio, one of the best tactics is to ensure you have a balance of investments with different risk levels associated with them. It should be obvious that any kind of investment is either low risk, medium risk, high risk – or risk free. The aim is to increase your chances of landing a lucrative return with a good amount of high-risk investments – but back up those investments with a number of lower-risk and medium-risk investments too.

Exactly what balance you strike is up to you, but a good rule of thumb is to have slightly less than half of your investments in a high-risk strategy, and the remaining amount divided up between low, medium and no risk options. In this way, you are simultaneously maximising your profits and minimising your risks.

Let’s look at some of the more common investment options to consider when you want to diversify your portfolio – and discuss what risk level they are.

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Stocks

In general, stocks are considered medium-risk. A stock represents a portion of ownership of a public company. When you invest in stocks, you are hoping that the future of the company is a bright one – and as they earn more money and become more successful, your investment is going to become much more valuable too. To find good stocks to invest in, you need to think either about a business that is fairly certain – such as grocery stores – or one that looks likely to grow in the future – like AI, drones, or whatever else you might think of. Be aware: this is a medium-risk strategy, and you might lose all value you put into your stocks.

Bonds

The great thing about bonds is that they are a zero risk strategy – so there is really no reason not to invest in them if you are in a position to do so. They therefore provide a fantastic means of balancing out your higher-risk elements of the portfolio. Bonds are zero risk because they have a guarantee on them, so it’s kind of life a fixed deposit that is tradeable. As such, you are definitely going to make some return on it, even if it is small. Bear in mind that it is only government bonds that are zero risk. Investing in something like Tesla is much higher risk.

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Cryptocurrency

One of the more common forms of investment diversification in recent years is cryptocurrency, and it deserves a mention here as a possible way to make a lot of money. In general, you would probably put crypto in the medium-risk category, so it’s a great one to include if you want to both make your portfolio more potentially lucrative, but also keep relatively safe. The most famous – and still most valuable – cryptocurrency is the first one to have existed, Bitcoin, and investing in it is a simple matter of checking out the Bitcoin market performance, choosing a good time to buy some coin, and allowing it to develop value. You can also trade different cryptos, in a manner reminiscent of Forex.

Analyzing Your Portfolio

As you invest in different things, it’s important that you try to keep an eye on your portfolio as much as possible. In fact, you are going to have much more luck and chance of success if you make a point of analyzing your portfolio from time to time, and changing it up where necessary. If there is anything that isn’t bringing returns, or seems too risky, then you should think about swapping it for one of the other investments in the portfolio, and so on. Keep on top of it and don’t just let it sit there and forget about it.

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Look Out For New Opportunities

It’s also important to remember to keep your eye out for new opportunities, as ultimately you don’t really know what might be around the corner. The most successful investors in the world are those who managed to find a trend before everyone else knew about it, and capitalised on it at a good time. If you keep an eye out, you are more likely to be able to do that, and to make a lot of money in the process. If you want to make this more likely to work, you might even want to think about getting some help in the form of a professional investment advisor or trader, who can do it all for you while taking a fee for themselves. That is often a good balance to strike.

As you can see, there is plenty to consider as you try to diversify your investment portfolio, but it is absolutely worth your while and could mean that you have a much more lucrative future.