One in three grow vegetables at home

This may seem like a strange headline, but a recent study has shown that many more of us are now taking the food production process into our own hands, quite literally. The growth in this area has partly been driven by the increased cost of living causing many to look for a way to save money. Plus it’s good fun to grow your own produce!

Even if you don’t consider yourself to be blessed with green fingers, this course of action sets a good example of how we can take practical steps to cut expenditure. With budgeting continuing to be squeezed you may find it helpful to rent out a spare room, prepared a packed lunch and rent a DVD instead of going to the cinema. Think of practical ways that you can save money; you’ll be amazed at how much you can save!

Please read on for a summary of the top money stories for the week beginning June 23rd 2008.

Tuesday 24th June

Young under pressure to borrow – A survey of 16 to 24 year olds has shown just how much pressure young people are under to borrow. 77% of those interviewed said that they had received unsolicited credit offers in the mail. 47% said they had experienced debt problems with only one in ten believing that lenders had acted responsibly when issuing credit.

Try to live within your means. Our culture is one of buy now, pay later. In a way, we need to be counter-cultural. We need to recognise that the pleasure that we can get from buying something we don’t need, but no doubt would really like, now has the potential to cause us pain in the long-run if it causes us to live beyond our means.

Wednesday 25th June

Costly fixed-rate mortgages – The average interest rate charged on two year fixed-rate mortgages has hit a two year high. The average cost now stands above the seven per cent mark, compared to less than five per cent before the credit crunch struck.

Big drop in mortgage approvals – As a result of fewer numbers of people applying for mortgages, coupled with the fact that lenders are becoming stricter in who they lend to, the number of mortgages approved in May fell to just below 28,000, a fall of 56% compared to May 2007.

Thursay 26th June

Education over pension – A recent YouGov poll has shown that almost a quarter of parents are reducing the size of their pension pot in order help fund their children’s education. While a good education helps set a tremendous foundation for the rest of life, it is just as important to try to save enough money to live comfortably later in your life.

If you have not starting thinking about your pension or want to find out more, Moneybasics is here to help. We have sections on Pensions Planning, Annuities and Equity Release. It seems increasingly likely that an increasing proportion of the population will have to provide their own pension for their later years so it’s best to get planning as soon as you can, whether you are decades away from your pension or just a few years.

Prepared for Moneybasics by Jason Taylor, Advocacy Officer (Credit Action).