The UK’s roads are a congested place to be. Some 30-odd million vehicles on our tiny island mean that getting from A to B can be a time-consuming process, and not without its frustrations. Yet until magic carpets become commonplace in our supermarkets, cars will remain the way to go for many of us.

Of course, getting your hands on a car – or, more specifically, the car you want – isn’t always a given. The prices of UK vehicles stack up somewhat favourably against the rest of the world, but, even still, the added costs of insurance, maintenance and fuel can leave you facing a steep hill to climb.

As a result, it is perfectly normal for a bit of assistance to be required. Fortunately though, the market for car finance isn’t the minefield it once was, and, owing to the increased diversity and competitiveness of lenders, the keys to your dream chariot are actually just a good-value, APR-friendly loan away.

Alternative finance and P2P lending

Indeed, the days of queuing up at the bank to fill out a pile of paperwork for a car loan which commands an extortionate amount of interest are behind us. Instead, the wave of alternative finance has brought a new dimension to the market for credit, and convenience and low APRs have become the name of the game. Chief among these alternative lenders leading the way are peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders, whose business model involves allocating the funds of ordinary consumers who opt to lend their money (as opposed to putting it into savings, or other investments) directly to those in need of a loan.

Such a streamlined matching process leaves no room for bureaucracy or inefficiency, with the platform itself merely serving to ensure that the proper controls are in place for the interaction to function harmoniously, and for the risks of borrower default to be minimised. For this they command a small admin fee, but ultimately such an efficient approach generates great value to both lender and borrower; the former getting a return on their money typically in excess of 5 per cent, and the latter paying off the debt at an APR not dissimilar to this rate.

As a loan applicant, there are additional benefits to the low interest rates of P2P; chiefly, expedience and flexibility. A quick sign-up and approval process means that if your application gets the green light, you can expect the funds in your account within two working days. You are also able to pick and choose both the amount you wish to borrow (between £1,000 to £25,000) and the period over which to pay off the debt (between 1-5 years). And for those in a position of strength down the line, some peer-to-peer platforms like Lending Works allow you to make overpayments and early settlements at no extra charge.

Time for the new car smell

What does it all add up to? In short, a rather favourable climate for taking out car finance, and thus a good time to start shopping around for a new wagon. After all, peer-to-peer lending is providing a great solution for consumers seeking credit, but there are numerous others coming to the party too.

So if a new car is something you need, and the fear of a loan is what is putting you off, then fear no more. Rather than having the shine taken off by the stress of crippling repayments, affordable car finance is making vehicle ownership as enjoyable and worry-free as it ever has been. So do your research, and study all the different options that are available. But don’t be too surprised if, after having done your homework, you come to the conclusion that a loan from a peer-to-peer lender holds the ticket to your new car.

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Book Review: 50 iPhone Apps to Earn Cash

Book Review: 50 iPhone Apps to Earn Cash

Emma Drew of fromalditoharrods has written an ebook entitled 50 iPhone Apps to Earn Cash.

If you want a comprehensive round-up of money-making apps, then this book is for you. Emma has found and listed  cashback apps, task apps, video apps and many more that will pay you for your time and efforts.

50 iPhone Apps To £arn Cash

I love the convenience of earning money with my phone. It requires minimal effort, I can earn while lazing in bed or relaxing on the sofa and it’s an ideal way to fill some free minutes. I’ve already posted some of the apps I like to use, included in this book are these and so many more. The book is 19 pages long but it is information dense with a  straightforward list of apps and a brief summary of each.

There was quite a few apps in the book that I hadn’t heard of before, and that I’ve downloaded after reading. If you feel that you know all the money-making apps, you probably don’t! Whether you want to be paid for your workouts or for completing surveys, you’ll find something to suit you.

Emma is really great at getting right to the point in her writing. There’s no messing around, the book is really accessible but highly informative. Emma is one of the reasons I made this blog, she is a total inspiration in the way she makes money from home, and she’s a great authority on money-making apps among other online earning adventures. The book is a great example of her expertise and definitely worth your time if you want to earn with your iPhone.

Buy the book today

If you think this is the book for you, it’s available for download on Amazon and is a steal at 99p. I highly recommend it and think it’s worth every penny.

* I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. This post contains an affiliate link but it in no way affects my views.

10 effortless ways to save cash

I’m a reformed spender. While my sister hoarded her money, I wanted this and that, right now! Realising I needed to grow up and start saving for my future, I started my savings small. As they say, pennies make pounds. Here are 10 effortless ways to save cash now, so you’ll be rolling in it later.

Create a budget

Get to grips with your finances; eliminate any nasty surprises by keeping on top of a budget. You’ll be able to see if there’s anything you could do differently to save yourself money.

Round up your bank balance

A little habit I’ve gotten into now and then is rounding up my bank balance to the nearest £1 and then putting that difference in cash in to my savings. When it gets to a certain amount I transfer that to my main savings account. It’s surprising how quickly it adds up.

If you prefer, there are a few banks that will do this automatically for you. See if your bank has a Save the Change system.

Have a jar for £1 or £2 coins

Get a nice savings amount going by saving all your £1 and £2 coins. Resist dipping into your savings by buying an Authentic Terramundi Money Pot, which you will need to smash if you want to get to your money.

Get rid of your coppers

If £1 or £2 coins are too much to part with, empty your pockets of shrapnel into a money-box at the end of the day. Collect any you find throughout the day, you’ll be surprised how many people just throw their pennies in the bin!

Always check for cashback and vouchers

Make it a habit of always checking for voucher codes of cashback offers before your purchase something. Check QuidCo, TopCashback and Shopitize for cash back. My favourite site for voucher codes is HotUKDeals.

Set up a direct payment from your account into a savings account

If you’re able to save a set amount of money each month, why not make it untouchable by setting up a direct debit. View it as just another non-negotiable bill that comes out and you’ll build up a nice amount in savings.

Get a credit card that offers rewards

It’s time to stop viewing credit cards as evil contraptions and take advantage of what they can offer. Use it to pay for something you’ll be buying each month anyway such as your Netflix bill, and reap the rewards. If you keep fully on top of the payments you’ll also help improve your credit score.

Plan your meals

Make a meal plan and shopping list, and try your best to stick to it. I use a Weekly Planner Desk Pad to organise my weekly meals, and save myself a fortune on wasted food.

Always check if there’s cheaper options

For example, when I rent movies on my Amazon Fire TV Stick, I will choose standard definition, rather than high-definition. This gives me a saving of at least £1 every time, and the picture quality is still miles better than any DVD I own.

When viewing select “More ways to watch” and then select rent in SD.

This could also include swapping down a quality level on food in supermarkets. If you usually buy premium items in supermarkets, try swapping for the normal items for a change.

Check if you can find it online free, first

Completely not condoning illegal activity, sometimes a quick Google search will turn up what you’re searching for. I can’t count the amount I saved during university by checking Google Books or Goodreads for free copies of my texts.

Do you have any other ways to effortlessly save cash?

OnePoll

Complete quick surveys with OnePoll

OnePoll is a survey site with a difference, every survey is short and sweet and pays between £0.10 and £1.00.

OnePoll has a higher payment threshold than most survey sites. You can cash out to BACS or PayPal once you’ve made £40.00. OnePoll’s FAQ states that it can take 28 days for your money to reach you, but in my experience it was less than two weeks.

Refreshingly, each survey is quick to screen you out if you are unsuitable, so you’ll never have to waste any time on surveys that don’t credit! Make sure to bookmark the site on your phone; unlike other survey sites OnePoll surveys don’t use Flash so are convenient for completing on the go.

My experience

I’ll be honest, I did get frustrated at the £40 cashout goal. It felt so difficult to reach. I left the site for a while, and just picked it back up when determination struck! So hang in there when it seems like a long shot, you’ll get there.

onepoll

There’s a nice chunky account balance graphic, it’s quite motivating to see the numbers grow.

As survey sites go, OnePoll’s very straight forward. There’s no fancy Flash surveys, just plain multiple choice boxes or text boxes. OnePoll requires some patience, but it is ideal if you just want to spend a couple of minutes a day making money.

How do I join OnePoll?

Head on over to OnePoll to sign up.

How do I refer my friends?

OnePoll doesn’t offer referral codes, but you can enter ten email addresses (in a handy form like the one below) to refer your friends.

onepoll refer

When you refer someone to OnePoll you will receive:

  1. £0.50 when they complete their first survey.
  2. £1.00 when they reach £20.00.
  3. £2.50 when they reach £40.00.

You have the potential to earn an extra £40.00 if all ten people you refer reach the payment threshold!

Please leave a comment if you would like a referral from me.

11 simple ways to accelerate your swagbucks earnings
With any online money-making adventure, you want to make the most amount of money in the least amount of time. So I will now tell you my own 11 simple ways to accelerate your Swagbucks earnings

Complete your daily goal

You have two daily goals. The first when reached counts towards your winning streak, which gives you a bonus of up to 300SB a month. You’ll also get any daily bonuses added on top of this. So makes sense to reach them every day.

Use their search engine

A great way to make a bundle of Swagbucks, is using their search engine. Make sure to Space out your searches to once in the morning and once in the evening for the best results. It’s very unlikely that you’ll get two search wins  close together. You’ll learn by trial and error which searches get the best results for you.

Lately I only aim for the one search a day, and usually make around 8SB per search. I have made 50SB in the past.
Capture

Download the Swagbucks video apps

One easy way to earn Swagbucks is to download their video apps and watch the videos.

Each app has a different earning amount, between 10 and 36 SB daily, with bonuses available if you keep watching. Look out for the shortest videos and favourite them by swiping right over the video, you can then watch it on a loop in your favourites! Reddit has a good list of the shortest videos.

Check Facebook for codes

Most days Swagbucks will list a code that is redeemable for a couple of SB. Codes are usually active for an hour. Most days the code is available about 8PM GMT, but sometimes it’s in the early afternoon. It’s a matter of checking the Facebook page regularly, those codes add up fast, but they don’t last for long :(

Twitter games

Keep an eye on the Swagbucks Twitter feed, where you can find the occasional game and code.

Pick the best surveys

Look through all the available surveys before starting, to find the one with the shortest completion time and the highest Swagbucks.

The easiest are called ‘daily surveys’ and are often the most fun (in my opinion) to complete.

Skip low paying surveys and videos

I make it a rule to skip the low paying things unless it’s a slow day and I’m finding it hard to reach my daily goal. Your time is worth more than some of these offers. For example, some of the Peanut Labs surveys are quite low paying, so I will only attempt them if they’re under 10 minutes to complete.

Download apps

AppFly is quite well-paying, and good for slow survey days like Sunday. You get 45SB for downloading an app, which is quite a sweet deal for the short time it takes you to download. Find links for this and others on the homepage, or in the offer pages.

Check out the offers

This is the section I generally just skim through, while I look for apps and videos, but there’s some seriously great offers waiting to be discovered. If you know you’re planning on buying something, check to see if there’s any cashback offers for that item. You never know, and you could make back a tidy profit.

Complete tasks

There are Crowdflower tasks available to complete. Once you get used to them, you can complete them quite quickly, and potentially make a bundle of Swagbucks.

Refer your friends

Refer your friends and you get 10% of what your friends earnings for life. On that sweet note, if you want to sign up with my referral link I’d be happy as a clam!

Do you have any tips or tricks to accelerate your Swagbucks earnings? Let me know below!