Monday, 30 December 2013

Tips for Job Hunters

Ashley Park Financial Solutions offer job hunting tips

The unemployment rate in the UK has recently fallen to 7.6%, which is the lowest it’s been for four years. Ashley Park Financial Solutions think that’s great, but we realise there are still lots of people struggling to find suitable employment. We thought we’d bring you a few tips to help you out if you’re currently looking for work.

If you’re on the hunt for a job, remember that word of mouth is a powerful ally. Tell your family and friends that you’re looking for work. But don’t stop there! Mention it to everyone – you never know when your name might crop up in conversation with someone who’s looking for a hard worker like you.

Make the most of the resources you have available. The internet is filled with thousands of websites advertising jobs. Upload your CV to all of them and if there’s an option to allow employers to review your credentials, make sure you check the box. is a great place to search and filter jobs according to your preferences.

Get a professional-sounding email address. Employers are much less likely to reply to an email from a ridiculous sounding address. If you still have the same email handle you made when you were 15, it’s probably wise to make a new, more sensible one now you’re an adult.

Set up a LinkedIn profile. Employers who are interested in you CV are highly likely to search for you online nowadays, so it’s important to have a strong, well-presented online presence. If you haven’t heard of LinkedIn, it’s basically an online CV service through which you can connect with potential employers and recruitment agencies who may be able to find work for you. You can list your education and employment history as well as your hobbies and interests. Your connections can then endorse your personal and professional skills to give anyone viewing your profile a well-rounded view of your attributes.

Similarly you should be aware that potential employers might look for you on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Obviously these sites are more personal than LinkedIn so if there is anything you’d rather a boss or colleague didn’t see, be sure to set your profiles to private.

Have several different CVs. If you’re applying to a range of industries that require different skill sets, it’s always best to tailor your resume to the job description. Save copies of different cover letters too so all you have to do is tweak them to suit the role you’re applying for.

Finally, have a list of referees at the ready. If you’re called for interview, take them with you so your employer won’t have to ask at a later date. Give their names, addresses, contact numbers and email handles. And make sure your chosen people know that you intend to use them as referees!

We’d love to hear from you if you have any other advice for job hunters. You can comment before or follow Ashley Park Financial Solutions on Twitter

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Christmas Dinner on a Budget

According to the annual Christmas survey from Good Housekeeping you can treat your family to a fantastic festive dinner this year for as little as £21.85 for a family of eight, which works out at just £2.73 per person! Here at Ashley Park Financial Solutions, we think that’s an absolute bargain, so we thought we’d share where and how to shop to get the best Christmas deal this year.

The full Christmas dinner, according to Good Housekeeping, includes turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, sprouts, carrots, potatoes, mince pies and brandy butter. For the best one-stop shop, bargain hunters are best to head for Lidl, where you can get everything for £27.33. Morrisons offers it all for £30.54, with Aldi coming a close third at £31.30. Tesco, who have struggled to compete with budget supermarkets this year came in fifth at £34.03, after Asda at £33.12.

Surprisingly Iceland, usually included in the list of budget shops has a slightly more expensive Christmas dinner priced at £35.75, though it’s still far cheaper than Marks & Spencer and Waitrose, who top the bill at £51.29 and £53.15 respectively.

Anyone aiming for that awesome price of £21.85 will need to shop around though, heading to a number of different supermarkets to pick up the components separately. For more information, click here.

Bear in mind though, if you’re going for a budget bird, you should be careful. Sometimes during the cooking process the meat can “shrink”, which means you’ll actually get more meat for your money with a better quality, slightly more expensive bird. You could also think about making your own mince pies. There are some fantastic recipes available online, and a bit of Christmas baking is bound to get you in the festive spirit! Similarly, you might like to try whipping up a Christmas cake. You could even get the kids in to help you decorate. Check the cupboards to see if you have any leftover dried fruit, nuts and marzipan before you start and save even more!

Friday, 6 December 2013

Personal Finance Course from the Open University

Last week it was announced that the Open University Business School has opened a new personal finance research centre, which will offer three free open-access modules to help people get to grips with managing their day-to-day finances. The team here at Ashley Park Financial Solutions think this is fantastic news and the course could benefit thousands of people across the UK.

The first modules, Personal Finance: Understanding the Basics, will be available from spring 2014 and is primarily concerned with household budgeting. Students will also cover borrowing and debt management; insurance cover; starting/managing a pension and smart savings and investments.

The second and third modules have yet to be fully defined, but will offer teaching on investment and risk, consumer rights and the financial industry in general. These modules will be available later in 2014 and 2015.
Each module has been put together by academics and industry experts who have in-depth knowledge of the financial system and the emotional effects that the mismanagement of money can cause.

At a time when so many people in Britain are struggling to pay their bills with no means of saving for the future, it is vitally important that everyone is as educated as possible when it comes to their personal finances. This announcement along with the fact that school children in England will be taught about personal finance through “financial mathematics” as of September next year, are certainly steps in the right direction towards educating the nation on sensible money management.

Making the right decisions in terms of your finances can be a daunting process with many complex things to think about. A course like this one is suitable for everyone and Ashley Park Financial Solutions certainly think it will allow the nation to feel much more confident in their financial choices, which can only be a good thing!

If you’re worried about money, visit our website for the full range of our services.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

How to save money on your holiday

Going on holiday can be a big expense, especially when things are tight. But here at Ashley Park Financial Solutions, we think that getting away from it all can be the perfect way to relax and unwind, leaving your troubles behind you. So if you’re struggling to figure out how to pay for a holiday next year, we’ve got some great advice that should see you towards the perfect break.

If you’re thinking about a summer holiday, start planning now. With Christmas and the New Year coming up, you’ll need to keep a careful eye on your finances to make sure you have enough to see you through. If you’re thinking about a big family holiday in the warm weather, it might be a good idea to scale down your Christmas plans and add the savings to your holiday fund. For families with children, you can explain that the holiday will count as part of their Christmas gift.

Think about destinations you might be interested and do your research early, so you know exactly how much it’s likely to cost and where you’ll get the best value for money. Remember, the further you decide to go, the more expensive the holiday will be. You might like to consider a staycation and holiday here in the UK. There are some fantastic attractions right on your doorstep for a fraction of the price.

If the draw of somewhere overseas is too strong though, choose somewhere with a good exchange rate. Also, don’t buy your spending money from the airports, stations or hotels because it’s likely you’ll end up paying commission. Buy in advance from somewhere like the Post Office.

Be flexible over your dates. Try to avoid peak seasons, because holidays are almost always more expensive during those times. If you have children, obviously school holidays hit all peak payment times, so perhaps think about taking them out of school at a different time. You shouldn’t really do this more than once though, and you need to make it really clear to the kids that they’ll have to catch up on the work they miss.

Go for discount airlines and book online to avoid agency fees. Book as far in advance as possible to get the cheapest deals. If you can, fly mid-week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) when the prices are much more reasonable – the weekends are very popular so usually the cost goes up accordingly.

Look out for good package deals, as it’s usually cheaper to buy everything together. To really save on your accommodation, consider going for a hostel options, or even a holiday home. If you favour the latter, it means you can cook your own meals instead of eating out every night and even do your own laundry if you need to. You might even want to check out house swap programmes, where you go and stay in someone else’s house while they stay in yours – what a great way to get to know the community you’re visiting!

For more great money saving tips, be sure to find us on Twitter and Facebook

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Money Saving Tips for Students from Ashley Park Financial Solutions

Anyone considering higher education now will have to be very careful about their spending patterns to make sure they avoid falling into unnecessary debt. Now that Fresher’s Week is out of the way, you might be looking at your bank balance and wondering how you’ll make it through to January, and you’re not alone!

But don’t worry too much; Ashley Park Financial Solutions have put together some money saving tips that should keep your bills in check.

Sample sales events
Most students are keen to keep their wardrobes well-stocked with so many different occasions to consider. With various clubs and societies, sports teams, nights out and end of term balls, some people may find themselves struggling to pay for it all. But! If you can bring yourself to get out of bed early and join the queue, a sample sale could be perfect for you. You can find some amazing bargains, often with up to 70% off.

Designer brands like Reiss and Paul Smith often run events from their warehouses to sell off-season clothing. Though most events happen in London, it’s a good idea to check out what’s going on in your local area.

Keep up with your favourite brands online
Following your favourite retailers online can prove to be very fruitful. With everyone vying for your attention, lots of companies are offering incentives to gain custom. Sign up to newsletters and follow companies on Facebook or Twitter to stay abreast of any on-the-day offers.

Shop in the sales
You’re a student, which means you can get away with being off-season when it comes to your wardrobe, and it’s okay to set up camp in the “whoopsie” aisle of the supermarket. You’ll certainly appreciate a 10p bread roll if it means you can buy an extra pint at the weekend. And remember where possible, buy unbranded foods! For the most part they taste the same but come with a much lower price tag.

Avoid big cash blowouts
Though it might be tempting to splurge when your loan comes in, don’t do it! Save towards the end of term and celebrate then instead.

Get the best deal on your overdraft
If you’re going to allow yourself an overdraft, make sure it’s at 0% interest. Try not to go anywhere near the overdraft limit because if you do go over it the charges are huge and you’ll end up in a vicious cycle as you try to pay them back. Also, don’t choose your bank based on who offers the best free gift at sign up! These are just gimmicks. Look into who has the best banking deals for you.

Invest in a Student Discount Card
These days you need an NUS Extra card to indulge in money-off at certain stores. It costs £12 per year, but over 160 retailers offer discount with it, and these savings can really add up. It also includes 10% off groceries at the Co-Op, so if for example you spend at least £120 there in a year, you’ll more than make your money back (and trust us, you’ll certainly spend on groceries!).

Look at free computer software
Instead of MS Office you can download LibreOffice, which you can use for documents, presentations, spreadsheets and databases. And anyone in need of image editing software that can’t afford Photoshop might like to try Gimp, another free-to-download program that offers fairly advanced tools and great add-ons.

Get a 16-25 railcard
You’ll get a third off rail travel, which can make going home for the weekend that bit less painful. If you’re a mature student never fear! You can still get a student railcard if you take along proof of your course. Railcards currently cost £30 and can be purchased online or at your local train station.

Not that we’re going to encourage binge drinking in any way, but if you’re planning a night out, enjoy a few drinks before you leave the house to save paying for booze in the pub.

Check out our previous blog for more general budgeting tips, or visit our website for details of our services. Feel free to follow us on Twitter for regular updates!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Ashley Park Financial Solutions: Things to do on a Money-Free Weekend

If you’re trying to live a little more frugally, it can be difficult to find fun things to do that are within your budget. The team at Ashley Park Financial Solutions have come up with a few ideas that will help you to enjoy a few money-free weekends as you try to get your financial situation in order.

On these specified “money-free” weekends, you might want to go absolutely money-free to really try and cut costs. So that means no popping to the shops to buy extra food; no spending on entertainment; no sending messages or making calls that aren’t included in your monthly plan etc. It’s entirely up to you. But hopefully you’ll find a few things that appeal to you amongst our options!

Local Community Events
Often there are free events going on in your local area, including galas, fetes and markets, which can be a great way to while away a few hours enjoying some of the entertainment on offer.

Visit the Library
While most people only imagine books at the library, nowadays you can get your hands on some top DVDs, often with a lot of new releases thrown in. You can also find story time events for the kids, film nights and book groups into the bargain, all usually free.

Community Sports
Instead of paying for sports on Sky, why not head down to one of the local games to get your fix? It’s much more exciting to be involved in the atmosphere of a real game, and you might even decide to sign up for training yourself!

Board Games
This might sound a little old hat, but can be a great way to bring the family together and will challenge the old brain box a lot more than vegging out in front of the television.

Home Baking
Often people already have everything they need in the cupboards to whip up a quick batch of buns. And if you have kids, it can be a great way to get them involved with cooking and keep them busy for a few hours.

Sort out your Media Collection
Over the years we all seem to amass a huge collection of media “stuff”. You could use a money-free weekend to sort through all your old DVDs and CDs then take them to somewhere like Cex, where you might even make some cash.

Go out Walking
Fresh air and exercise are free to everyone and heading out for a walk in the wilds can be a fantastic way to relax. You can take a packed lunch and make a day of it.

Head to a Free Museum
Many bigger cities have free access to museums and heritage attractions, which can be a great day out for the whole family. And if you’re thinking of heading to a National Trust venue, remember that while it may cost money to get into the attached building, the grounds are free to roam around and often have a play park for the children to enjoy.

Tidy the House!
Boring as it might sound, a money-free weekend can be the perfect time to get the house looking spick and span.

There are tons of places around the country that are always looking for volunteers to help out. Countless hospitals and nursing homes need visitors to provide long-term patients and residents with much needed respite. It can be really rewarding for both parties. And don’t worry too much about CRB check costs; a lot of institutes offer to pay for their volunteers to get the accreditation.

Obviously everyone is different so we understand that these activities may not appeal to all personalities. If you have any suggestions, we’d love to hear from you on our Twitter of Facebook pages so that we can share them with everyone.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Debt Solutions offered by Ashley Park

Discover the different debt solutions offered by Ashley Park

Ashley Park Debt Solutions offer a range of financial services to help you with your finances, below we explain a little more about these services..
1. Debt Management Plans
Debt management plans, or DMPs as they can be referred to, are informal arrangements between you and your creditors. If you enter into a DMP with Ashley Park we will aim to freeze interest rates and charges, and lower your monthly repayments to level that you're more comfortable with, we do all this without the need for further credit. Find out more >>

2. IVA
Individual Voluntary Arrangements, or IVAs as they are more often known as, are formal alternatives to debt management plans. Once you've signed up to an IVA interest and charges that you are incurring should stop and the plan will last for around 5 years. When the IVA comes to an end any money that you still owe is wiped clear and you are deemed debt free. Find out more >>
3. Consolidation Loan
A debt consolidation loan is a form of borrowing that is used to repay all of your existing debts. This means that you will only have one repayment to make, making it much easier to manage your finances. By taking out a consolidation loan you will also stop those annoying calls from existing creditors, all you will need to focus on is making a single payment each month. Find out more >>
4. Trust Deed
Trust Deeds are only available to people living in Scotland and they are a viable alternative to Bankruptcy or Sequestration. The Trust Deed is a legally binding agreement which allows you to reduce your debts and existing payments with creditors through the use of a third party, known as a trustee. Find out more >>
Are you struggling with your finances and considering other alternatives such as bankruptcy and Debt Relief Orders? We can still help and offer you advice.
For help with any debt, no matter how large or small contact Ashley Park Debt Solutions today on 0800 043 3535 or apply online now.

About Ashley Park Debt Solutions

Ashley Park Debt Solutions…

Ashley Park Debt Solutions
Ashley Park Debt Solutions
…is based in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, we specialise in helping clients recover from debt problems with the help of various solutions including Debt Management Plans, IVAs and consolidation loans.
Ashley Park Debt Solutions was created with the aim of helping people in financial difficulty. We work with individuals and commercial organisation and feel that no debt problem is too big or small for us to help with.

If you have financial difficulties and are struggling to repay the debts you owe you should speak to us today to see how we can help.
At Ashley Park Debt Solutions we are proud to offer a best advice policy. This means that we will only ever recommend a financial solution that’s right for you and your personal circumstances. To find out more about how we can help you and the services that we offer visit Ashley Park Debt Solutions now.
As well as our main website we also contribute to various blog sites including this – our very own Ashley Park Debt Solutions blogger page.
Our blog has been created to offer financial advice and money tips to everyone, whether you are in debt or not.

The award winning Ashley Park Debt Solutions

Over the course of the past six months Ashley Park Debt Solutions have won two different awards!

At the end of 2012 Rita Dagless from Ashley Park was awarded the title of Debt Advisor of the Year from the Debt Resolution Forum.

And in 2013 we were awarded the 'Best Debt Solution' provider from the Financial Reporter.

Ashley Park Debt Solutions’ Favourite Sites…

The internet is a big place and is filled with many great websites all offering great advice on money management and financial tips. Below are a few of our favourite sites and blogs:
Norton Finance – Ashley Park, along with Price Sterling and Express Debt Solutions are part of the larger Norton Finance Group and offer a range of secured and unsecured lending.
The Money Principle - This brilliant blog is written by Maria and John who tell the story of how they paid off £100,000 of consumer debt in three years.
Modest Money - Another insightful finance blog that covers everything from how to save money, tips on investing and how to grow your wealth.
Reach Financial Independence - This is another great blog about finance and money management. The writer, Pauline, also shares the fantastic story of the renovation of her home in Guatemala.
Money Saving Expert - Martin Lewis is becoming something of a British institution with his great money saving tips and informative emails. The site is filled with great advice and the forums offer a great place to ask any questions that you may have.
Hot UK Deals – The bargain hunters best friend! Hot UK Deals is filled with fantastic deals and offers and you can often find yourself spending hours browsing through the forums hunting for a deal.
Ashley Park Blog - This is our most commonly used blog page and offers money saving tips and advice and also offers information as to how you can grow your income.

Want to know more about Ashley Park Debt Solutions?

If you would like to know more about the company or have a question about our services or something ont he blog you can reach us on Twitter and Facebook or email us at