Finding Funding – How to Get the Cash Together for a Major Purchase

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If you have a major purchase on the horizon, such as a new car or home renovations, the chances are you’ll need to borrow money to cover at least some of the cost. With most young people having little to no personal savings to cover thesebig expenses, sourcing alternative finance is the only option.

Times have changed a little from the days when your only option was to head to your local bank to borrow money. There are now a range of alternative ways to get a loan, and the major banks are having to step up their game to compete.

Here we’ll look at a few ways you can borrow money – some traditional, some a bit less so.

Personal Loan

Very much the tried and tested way of funding a major purchase, a personal loan from an established lender is one of the most straightforward ways of borrowing. Interest rates tend to be fairly low (depending on how much you borrow), and you may find it easier to get finance from a bank that you’ve used regularly in the past.

There are various tools for comparing the rates available from the major banks in your country, so you can shop around and try to get the best rate fairly easily online.

Peer to Peer Loans

An emerging market which looks to be a real threat to traditional lending, peer to peer loans involve other people loaning you the money instead of the banks themselves. Your risk level is calculated by a middle man, and investors are offered a return on their money for providing you with the loan.

It’s very much in the early stages, but it’s an interesting way of either borrowing money or, if you’re on the other side, investing. There’s always a risk with investing in peer to peer loans, but investors can usually set their risk tolerance to suit their investment style.

Credit Cards

If you have a good credit score it’s possible to pick up a credit card with a fairly low APR, with some even offering 0% on new purchases for the first year. The value of this approach really depends on what you’re being offered, as those with a poor or nonexistent credit history will probably struggle to get a decent rate.

If you take out a card with 0% on new purchases but you find you’re struggling to clear the balance within the year, another option would be to take out a 0% balance transfer card towards the end of the year and move the money across. Again, the credit offered to you will depend on your circumstances so it may not be a viable option for everyone.

Credit Unions

In the UK, many local areas have their own credit unions, who can provide a range of small loans for a fairly low interest rate. There will be a limit on how much you can borrow, and you will normally need to have some savings with them before they will consider your application, but it’s a great alternative if you’re only looking for a small loan.

There are a range of other financing options out there, and while some are higher risk than others there’s usually a way of pulling together the money you need. Take advantage of the internet to shop around for the right deal for you, as it’s easier than ever to find the right lender.

Four Must Have Software Systems for Small Business Operations

Four Must Have Software Systems for Small Business Operations Since small business owners are expected to manage all their responsibilities on their own, they rely heavily on technology to reduce their workload. They make use of multiple software applications and web services to manage even the simplest of tasks such as bookkeeping and documents storage. Due to this very reason, many engineers have created various software tools that will be of use for these entrepreneurs, some more important than others since they are required to complete everyday tasks. Listed below are some of the most used and in demand software systems for small business operations of 2015.

Accounting software

These tools are predominantly used for bookkeeping and financial management. One of the widely used accounting software is QuickBooks.  It enables the individual to transfer all financial records from paper to the computer. This not only ensures the safety of the information but also results in easy access as well. This way, tasks such as billing a client and inputting data is only a click away. The standard price of this tool is $200, which is reasonable considering the benefits it offers.

Backup software

All financial owners must back up files on a regular basis. Usually this backup is saved on a hard drive or a network attached storage system. In case of accident or a computer breakdown – which are completely possible scenarios – all data will be preserved and available for use. Mozy is a great backup tool that has gained a lot of traction among small business owners. It is very consumer-friendly since it automatically saves any information you require. The transference of files is also a fairly quick process. The service is extremely cheap as well, costing only $5 per month for any amount of usage.

Blogging tool

Blogging has become an internet phenomenon and a business trend over the past few years. It is the one of the easiest ways to provide up-to-date information about the company and its products to the consumers without spending too much on marketing and advertising. WordPress is used by many people across various countries due to its ease of use. It takes a very little time to install and it is quite easy to operate since the platform is highly organized. Furthermore, this service is completely free and requires very little labor.

CRM

Customer relationship management is imperative to all businesses to manage their customer satisfaction levels. These tools are used for various purposes including managing sales, tracking leads and ensuring timely follow-ups. Salesforce.com is one of the commonly used CRM software that enables small business owners to maintain a steady relationship with their customers. This software is extensive and thereby can be quite exhausting. It requires training for safe handling. The price range of this service varies according to the type of software used.

Other Software

Aside from these, software that ensures proper organization and monitoring of tasks can also be very useful. Project management software can be helpful in ensuring the successful completion of small to big tasks. This can also facilitate better communication within your team as it allows assigning of roles for every project listed in the software. Small businesses can have less burden, especially in meeting deadlines because time management is also an inclusive feature.

What are the Various Types of Mortgage Available in 2015?

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On the surface, it may seem that all mortgages are made the same. They are all, after all, long term loans against a property, right? Well a little deeper digging and you soon find that there is a whole range of different types and kinds. And, further, that the type of mortgage that you need will depend on your circumstances and the type of property you are purchasing.

The main variation with the different types of available mortgages revolves around how they are repaid and the way the interest is applied. The two main types are repayment mortgages and interest only mortgages; whereas the two main ways in which interest is charged are variable rates and fixed rates. These are summarized below: –

Repayment Mortgages

Repayment mortgages are the most common types of mortgage as they are considered to be the least risky. This is because with each monthly payment you pay off a chunk of the debt as well as the interest on it. This continues until, at the end of the term the mortgage is paid off.

Interest Only Mortgages

With interest only mortgages, on the other hand, your monthly repayments only cover the interest; they do not chip away at the debt. The advantage of this is that the monthly repayments will be substantially lower than a repayment mortgage. The difficulty, however, is that you will be expected to pay off the entire capital at the end of the term and the bank will not help you with this.

Variable Rates

A variable rate of interest means that you are changing the going rate of interest on your loan. Although this effectively means that your interest would change every time interest rates changed, what actually happens in practice is that the overall rate is calculated and altered once a year. Although you may start with a different kind of mortgage; it is likely that it will revert to this kind of mortgage eventually.

Fixed Rate

Fixed rate mortgages are mortgages with an interest rate that is fixed for a set period of time. This generally tends to be between two and five years. The benefit of this is that, given you know the amount of your monthly instalments; it will make it easier to budget. Further, if interest rates increase you will save money as your interest rate is fixed at the lower rate.

It is also important to note, however, that conversely if the interest rates fall you will actually lose money and you could also have a penalty applied if you quit. When considering this type of mortgage it is important to check how long you will be tied into this agreement before you can switch.

Given the huge commitment that a mortgage is and all of the different options that are available to you it is important that you obtain advice that is tailored to your individual circumstances and needs. You can obtain this advice from a mortgage broker or search for a lender, such as Saffron Building Society, who will provide this advice as part of their service.