Category Archives: Money and Finance

How the Small Claims Court Works

This is the last resort. If you’ve exhausted all other channels of complaint and you’re not able to reach an amicable solution, you can take your case to the county court, or Small Claims Court as it tends to be known.

Don’t apply to the county court before you’ve given the company concerned the chance to put things right, as you could be penalised by the court. This may mean paying the other party’s expenses and costs in attending court if you’ve asked for the case to be held prematurely.

how the small claims court works How the Small Claims Court Works

How the Small Claims Court works

  • It’s set up to be quick, cheap and unintimidating; a user-friendly style of court.
  • You can represent yourself so there’s no need for expensive solicitors.
  • It’s meant for claims of $5,000 or less, although with per¬sonal injury claims the limit is lower – at $1,000.

Before taking your case to the Small Claims Court it’s worth getting legal advice. A cost-effective way to do this is by getting a list of local solicitors who offer a fixed-fee advice service from your local Citizens Advice. This will typically cost around $20 for twenty to thirty minutes’ advice. You won’t be short-changed on advice; this isn’t a watered down version of what they’d tell the full-fee paying customers, but a great way to get some legal advice if it’s a one-off issue you need to ask about.

Before you issue a claim
It is worth a quick game of bluff before you officially lodge your complaint, as this can often bring results and avoid the court process.

Contact your local county court for the paperwork (this won’t cost you a penny, as it’s lodging the claim that incurs a fee), fill them in and date them a week in advance. Then send a copy to the person you’re in dispute with, along with a covering letter, telling them that on this date you’ll be lodging the complaint with your local county court.

It’s a ruse I’ve suggested to people on consumer programmes and in several cases it’s worked, as the company concerned then realise (if they know they’re in the wrong) that they’re likely to come off worst if the case goes to court. So they usually pay up.

Before you make a claim consider whether the person you’re suing has the means to pay you if you’re successful. If they’re on the verge of bankruptcy, even if you win the case you may have to wait some considerable time (or forever) for your money.

A savvy consumer’s story
While the idea of going to ‘court’ can be daunting, taking a case to the Small Claims Court can mean the difference between get¬ting your money back or losing out, as this case from a successful claimant shows.

I’d asked a building company to repoint the side of my house. I paid a deposit but one day into the job they’d made a mess of it and walked off.
They’d got my deposit but wouldn’t come back to finish the job, and were quite nasty on the phone, threatening to sue me for the remainder of the money they said I owed them.

I spoke to my local Citizens Advice who suggested getting an independent surveyor to look at the work. He gave me a report saying it wasn’t done properly, so I filled in the paperwork to take my case to the Small Claims Court. It was very straightfor¬ward and a friend helped me. Just a week before the case was due in court, the building company settled ‘out of court’, giving me back my deposit and court fees.’

Making a claim

  • Get a claim form from your local county court or download one at
  • As the claimant, you can apply to have the case heard in your local county court, although it may be held in the defendant’s local county court, so be aware of where they’re based.
  • Complete two copies of the form and return both to the court along with the fee. Make sure you keep a copy for your own records too.

How much does it cost?
Fees are based on a sliding scale; for claims up to $3,000 there’s an $85 fee which you must send to your local county court with your completed forms. For claims over $3,000 and up to the $5,000 limit, it’s $108. In some cases if you’re claiming benefits you may not have to pay.

How Much to Spend on an Engagement Ring

Getting engaged is the first step to the married life. Engagement plans are really simple but a man feels that he needs to do it right. And no matter how secure one is of getting a “yes” out of the proposal, he will always feel that tiny nervousness inside him. What he does is he buys the ring, takes the girlfriend out, and pops the question. Buying the engagement ring may be a bit of a task. Here are a few tips on how much to spend on an engagement ring.

What is the 2 month’s salary rule? This rule explains that the engagement ring you must buy for your future fiancé is at least equal to your 2 month’s salary. This rule is not followed much because of practicality issues. Newlyweds and those who plan on getting married are advised to invest on more important things. This however, does not indicate that an engagement ring is of less importance. But say for example a man earns 4000 dollars a month. Would it be wise to buy an 8000 dollar worth engagement ring? If you think it is then go on with it.

Engagement Ring How Much to Spend on an Engagement Ring

Also, men consider other expenses like that of the wedding itself, the honeymoon, and wedding reception. A new house is important to many in starting their own families. It is good to spend money wisely. An engagement ring must be a sign of love for your future wife and not your monthly earnings.

Work on a budget. Before going around looking for an engagement ring, decide on how much you want to spend and stick to that amount. There are many jewelry shops that sell very good quality engagement rings that are not very expensive. A budget between 1000 to 3000 dollars can be enough.

Select a style and design of the ring. The style and design should complement your girlfriend’s hand. If you don’t know what to get a ¾ to 1 ½ carats diamond is your safe choice. The color and clarity of the diamond will affect the price. So don’t be surprised if a smaller diamond with better color and clarity can appear more expensive than a bigger one.

Shopping with your girlfriend is an alternative. Although a surprised proposal is romantic, it can be impractical when you chose the wrong ring size or the diamond looks too big on her finger. So if you want to eliminate these hassles, you can shop with her and she can select the type and design she likes. But remember to tell her you are sticking on a budget so you two can save up for your future as a new married couple.

An engagement ring doesn’t have to be very expensive. The ring signifies your love for the woman and that is what matters. Big things do come in small packages.

How to Calculate Exchange Rates

When you receive money from another country, you should know how much the money sent to you amounts to when converted to your own country’s currency. Exchange rates are good indicators widely used to determine a country’s economic performance. Many economists and investors look at exchange rates to define the strength of a market in a country. Here’s how to calculate exchange rates:

You must first understand how exchange rates work. You can calculate exchange rates by understanding the relationship between two different currencies from two different countries. Exchange rates are also commonly referred to as ‘fx’ or ‘forex’. There are many ways to determine economic progress. Exchange rates can determine the strength of a currency by determining the foreign exchange market rate where billions of dollars worth of currency money are traded every day.

Exchange Rates1 How to Calculate Exchange Rates

Two kinds of exchange rates are spot exchange and forward exchange. Spot exchange is the currency’s value in terms of the actual rate given at a certain time. While forward exchange is the value of a currency quoted and traded at a certain time but will be exchanged at a later date. Forward exchange can sometimes be adjusted with respect to time and inflation. However, most rules usually allow trade of the money as it was quoted.

The emergence of online exchange rate calculators has made it easy for us to determine the foreign currency’s worth in terms of local currency. People used to rely on newspapers and broadcasts to find out about exchange rates. Currency rates are usually listed on a long table with one unit of the currency quoted in an equal amount to that of the other currency. The exchange rates are accurate but they have to be calculated manually.

Online exchange rate calculators like or Web applications on the websites of several banks have made it easier for people to determine right on the foreign currency’s worth in local currency. If you wish to find out the value of a foreign currency, you can set the currencies and hit the ‘go’ or ‘convert’ button and it will show you the currency’s worth. It’s just that easy.

The currency values fluctuate and never remain constant. There is no set foreign exchange rate for every country. It is best to get the money converted when the exchange rates are high. This will allow you to make the most of the foreign currency when used locally.

How to Buy a Home with Bad Credit

Shelter is a basic human need. An individual needs a home for health and maintaining good living conditions. The problem is that when you have a bad credit rating, it is very difficult to get a home. The sellers will reject inquiry unless you have the guts to counter the consequence of your credit reputation.

Evaluate your credit score and your credit history. A credit score may be low in the sight of many creditors but it might be good enough to get a home loan. Review your credit score before you submit any application. You might find erroneous data and can correct them. The corrections will then raise your credit score giving you more opportunities to get that home loan you want.

Home2 How to Buy a Home with Bad Credit

Start working on your credit score. One with a low credit score has lesser chances in getting a home loan approved than one who has a competitive rating. A few months before or during application, you can start paying off the bills little by little. It would help if you try finding quick sources of income. Search for other ways on improving credit. Balance the use of cash and cards.

Search loans. Many people have bad credit and some credit firms have loan types that cater to people with bad credit. This may be risky on their part but this market is also one that needs attention and continues to be a growing market in times of crises. You can sieve all possible providers in your area and you will surely find a few of them.

Try to manage your finances well. Financial management is one of the best solutions to any financial problem. Proper allocation of funds, payment of debts, and purchasing can all be done with careful considerations. There are seminars that will guide you on how you can manage your finances. Another way to do this is to list down all the ins and outs of your money so you can determine which expenses go overboard. You can then start changing the habits gradually but surely.

Find a Co-signer. A partner to share the financial burden will make securing home loans easier. If the cosigner has good credit score, it will benefit you in many ways. Find a close friend or family member who can cosign the home you intend to start a loan at. Make an attractive deal that they will surely agree on.

Is getting a home worth all the trouble? Securing a home loan with bad credit is not a simple task. It requires serious work but will benefit you enormously at the end of the efforts exerted. Imagine living in your own home and lying in your couch while watching some good entertainment. It’s good to have a home sweet home.

How to Earn Money as a Kid

It is fascinating that even kids can actually look for ways to earn. So how is it possible? How can kids learn to earn money as a young as they are.

Tip 1: Work for others.

  • Ask for parents to give you tasks at a reasonable price. You may want to do the week’s laundry, mow the lawn, or walk to pet. Convince your parents by working neatly and giving them a cheap price.
  • Offer to help siblings for a very small amount. You can tell your younger brother you will help him with homework or clean your sister’s room.
  • Knock on your neighbors’ doors. Offer them your mowing skills or tell them you can walk their dogs. And if you are at a right age and are capable, you can watch for their little kids too.
  • Baby sitting is a good learning ground. You can baby sit kids when people know you are reliable and trustworthy with kids.
  • Pet sit. If you have a neighbor going on vacation, tell them that you are willing to care for the pet and give them a price lower than pet shelter rates.
  • Deliver newspapers. When you have nothing to do on the weekends, you can distribute newspapers in your neighborhood. Remember to wake up early.

Earn Money Kid How to Earn Money as a Kid

Tip 2: Be creative.

  • Create handmade jewelry and sell them to friends.
  • Create stationery with recycled paper and sell them to girl friends and family members
  • Create greeting cards. Greeting cards are always purchased for different occasions.
  • Bake. Bake goodies that your friends and family will spend a little amount for. Sell lemonade too.

Tip 3: Find a kiddie business partner. Ask your friend. You will earn more with more friends to join. It will be a lot of fun too. You can host a garage sale where you will all gather old things and make fliers to distribute to people. You may also sell other side stuff at the garage sale.

Tip 4: Make money work for you. Ask your parents to open a bank account for you. Deposit your earnings in the account. You can also try saving up your allowance and putting it in the bank. Don’t take out money unless it’s an emergency. Concerts, sales, new gadget releases are not emergencies.

Be money-smart while you’re young. Be fair and not greedy. Remember that there are still a lot of things money can’t buy.

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