6 Great Alternative Funding Options for Small Businesses

Written by Karen Bryan

If your business is in need of cash to get it through a lull or needs money to expand, the first thing you’ll probably think to do is head over to the bank and apply for a loan. However, that is not the only option available to you today. Here are six great alternative funding options for small businesses.

Online Lending

A growing number of websites allow you to apply for a loan online. They may be located in your city or on the other side of the world. Online lending sites may let you apply for a loan at a lower interest rate than is available in your country, a major attraction if you’re afraid interest rates will skyrocket after Brexit. You can find loans for Ltd companies at very reasonable rates online, and you should shop around online before applying for a business loan at a brick and mortar institution.

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How to Make the Most of Restricted Free Entry to Museums

Written by Karen Bryan

We are fortunate that in the UK that it is free to visit the permanent collections of UK state museums and galleries. That’s not the case in many European countries, where the majority of museum and galleries charge an admission fee.

In the Spanish city of Malaga, many museums offer free admission from late afternoon on Sundays. If you want to try to visit more than one museum, the museums will have to be located close to each other, ideally with a few minutes walking distance. Also, you need to decide if you would rather see one or two museums or galleries in a fairly relaxed manner, or just take a quick look in a few. Another factor, is the time for which you will have to queue to gain free admission.

During my recent trip to Malaga, I decided that I would probably visit the Picasso and Carmen Thyssen museums when they were free to enter on the Sunday afternoon. They were located a 7 minute walk apart. The Picasso offered free entry between 5-7pm, and the Carmen Thyssen between 5-8pm.

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AO.com Too Pushy When Trying to Sell Their Extended Warranties

Written by Karen Bryan

Recently, I’ve bought several electrical products from the online retailer AO.com, including a washing machine, fridge freezer and a Humax Freesat box.

Their products are competitively priced, and AO.com offer free delivery on a weekday of your choice.

However, what I dislike about AO.com is their concerted attempts to sell their extended warranty.

With a couple of days of making the online order, sometimes even before my goods are delivered, I’ve received a phone call from AO.com pushing their extended warranty. The sales rep is always very persistent, implying that you’d be silly not to buy the extended warranty.

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The Cost of Living Abroad

Written by Karen Bryan

If you have itchy feet and are thinking about relocating from the UK, the Netflight’s cost calculator offers an insight into how much you would spend to live in various countries around the world.

In order to work out your monthly expenditure, you need to enter how much you spend on various categories living the UK. The first category is Food and Drink. I eat out an average of 8 times a month and spend £175 a month on food shopping. The next category is Transport. I hardly use public transport and never use taxis, my one expense here was 80 litres of fuel for my car. In the Lifestyle section, my sole expense was £50 a month on clothes. Working from home has the advantage that you don’t need to dress up for work. You can sit at the computer in your jogging bottoms and slippers. For the final category of Living, I live in the three bed property outside the city centre.

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The Best Budget Eyebrow Pencil

Written by Karen Bryan

I don’t wear much makeup, but I do like to define my eyebrows.

Until recently I’d been using Rimmel’s brown/black eyebrow pencil, which costs £3. I was quite happy with the quality of the Rimmel product. It was a good consistency, not too hard and not to soft, making it straightforward to apply it in light short strokes, avoiding harsh solid lines. It fairly easy to sharpen the Rimmel eyebrow pencil using a standard pencil sharpener. I found the brush on the tip cover very useful.

When I spotted two eyebrow pencils for £1 in Savers, I decided to give them a try. I could only find these eyebrow pencils in black. When I tried to apply the product, i ended up with black smudges everywhere. The built in sharpener in the pencil tip cover was useless.

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Unitended Consequences of 3% Stamp Duty Surcharge

Written by Karen Bryan

The 3% Stamp Duty Surcharge, introduced in April 2015, is having unintended consequences. It was meant to be an additional cost for buy-to-let landlords. There were few critics of the surcharge as most people thought that buy-to-let landlords were fair game as a source of additional tax revenue.

However, even if you have no intention of being a landlord, if you buy your new home before selling your current main residence, then you are slapped with this additional 3% Stamp Duty. The surcharge has to be paid upon purchase of the second property.

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How to Save Money on Your Business Car Effectively

Written by Karen Bryan

Want to save money on your business car? Then read on to find out how best to achieve savings:

Install a Telematics System

Install a telematics system in your business car, and you’ll have access to information that will help you better understand driving behaviour, route information, fuel usage, location and speed. Using this information you can make informed business decisions, which could ultimately help you to make savings long-term. Such systems can be integrated with other business applications to help you give better customer service, such as accurate delivery time information.

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Admiral Charge £5.95 If You Pay For Your Insurance by Credit Card

Written by Karen Bryan

When doing some research on home contents insurance, I was taken aback that Admiral charge a £5.95 fee for payment by credit card.

This seems excessive, especially considering that the quote was for £160. That’s more than an additional 3.5% for using your credit card to pay for home insurance.

I couldn’t believe that it cost so much for Admiral to process a credit card payment.

I did an online search for ‘average cost for UK merchant to process a credit card transaction’. According to an article on the This is Money site., the average cost is 0.8%. That’s way below what Admiral is charging.

I suppose that you need to put it into perspective. If Admiral do offer you the lowest price quote for insurance, look at the total cost you’ll pay if you pay by credit card. Or use your debit card, which incurs no additional fee.

Utility Saving Expert Can Help You Save Money

Written by Karen Bryan

With the price of gas and electricity increasing, comparing energy tariffs is just one of the ways that you can save money on your utility bills. The Utility Saving Expert price comparison website enables you to quickly search through the tariffs available with various suppliers.

Utility Saving Expert was set up in 2014 by Chris Richards, a social entrepreneur. Chris’ experience in a not-for-profit organisation helping people who were in debit with local authorities, highlighted that many people in debt spend a high percentage of their income on utility bills. Chris decided on a two-pronged approach. He developed an easy to use online tool to help people find the lowest price to reduce their fuel expenditure. Plus, 10% of the profit generated by Utility Saving Expert is donated to fuel poverty related charities.

If you are on a standard tariff at present, there’s a good chance that you could save money by switching to another supplier.

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Why Bother Running the Tram from the City Centre to Edinburgh Airport?

Written by Karen Bryan

It costs £1.60 for a single ticket between any two stops in Edinburgh, except for the Edinburgh Airport stop, when the price of a single ticket shoots up to £5.50 (£8.50 for a return). It’s not as though there is an express tram going to the airport, every tram halts at each stop on the route.

Why should passengers have to pay more so much more for a tram ticket to travel to the airport?

This pricing structure is incoherent, You can take a the 35 standard service Lothian bus to Edinburgh Airport from the city centre for flat fare of £1.60. This journey takes approximately 60 minutes. Unfortunately, the 35 doesn’t go along Princes Street past Waverley railway station, so it’s not that convenient for most passengers.

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