Nearly half of UK households say that they would struggle to cope if their monthly outgoings rose by £99. We look at how you can create some financial 'breathing space' to help you out if you lose your job or become ill.
DIY spending falls to record low
DIY spending falls to record low
Spending on DIY has fallen to its lowest level in 15 years.
That’s according to new research by Lloyds, which found that households spent a total of £7.8 billion on DIY in 2011, the equivalent of around £300 per household. That’s the lowest level since Lloyds began tracking DIY spending in 1996, and is about half the £15.5 billion spent in 2004.
Let’s take a look at how spending habits have changed over the last decade:
Materials - £bn
Tools - £bn
Total DIY Spending - £bn
Spending on Trades Services - £bn
Total Spending on Home Maintenance (DIY plus Trade Services) £bn
Ratio of DIY Spending to Spending on Trades Services
% Change 2010-2011
% Change 2001-2011
While the amounts spent have dropped significantly in recent years, many of us will still be looking to do some form of home improvement work over the bank holidays in May and June, and indeed throughout the summer.
The big question for many of us is how to pay for that work.
The best way to pay
Undoubtedly, the best way to pay for improvement work is out of your own pocket. If you know that work needs doing, start saving. Stick your cash in a decent easy access account, and then you’ll be able to get your hands on it once your pot is sufficiently big.
However, that’s not an option for many of us.
Going with a credit card
For spends of less than £5,000, your best bet is probably a credit card that offers a period of 0% interest. You have two options here: you can take out a card offering 0% on your purchases, and do your DIY spending on that card. Alternatively, you can spend on your existing card, then move the balance over to a 0% balance transfer card.
The latter option will give you a little more breathing space before you’ll start paying interest on your debt, as the tables below demonstrated:
The top five credit cards offering 0% interest on purchases
M&S Money MasterCard
The top five credit cards offering 0% interest on balance transfers
*Existing current account holders only
The Barclaycard 22-month Platinum is an even better option in May, as you’ll get a £30 discount on your transfers. As I explained in this article, that discount can make a serious difference.
For bigger spends
If you need to borrow larger amounts, then a personal loan is probably your best bet. The good news is that you can now borrow £7,500 for less than 6%, an incredible rate. For more, read Top personal loan rates fall to 5.9%.
More on borrowing and banking:
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