Is a Smart Car a Smart Investment?

Smart Car
It’s hard to believe that the humble Smart car has been with us since the 1990s. Since 1997, the distinctive-looking two-seater has sold 100,000 units in the UK and is now a common site within heavily urbanized areas.

Even for city-dwellers who have access to a large public transport network, there are still plenty of times when the convenience of being able to take their own car somewhere comes in handy and a Smart car is the ideal solution.

Fuel Costs

The third-generation Fortwo is powered by either of two 3-cylinder engines: a 1.0-liter engine producing 71 bhp or a turbocharged 0.9-liter 89 bhp engine. Both models promise fuel economy in excess of 67 mpg and CO2 emissions below 100g/km. While an all-electric version of the third-generation isn’t expected to debut until next year, there is an all-electric version of the previous model. The UK government currently offers 35% off the cost of a plug-in car, up to maximum of £5,000. The Smart Fortwo electric drive is currently listed as one of the vehicles eligible for the grant


While the low-powered engine may not be able to to pick up speed on the motorway, it does benefit from being one of the cheapest cars around to insure. Smart car drivers rarely reach the kind of average annual mileage that other drivers do because these vehicles are designed for short trips around the city. When combined with their impressive safety ratings--both the 2007 and 2014 Smart Fortwo models have received four out of five stars from Euro NCAP--that means insurance companies are often happy to reduce the price of insurance dramatically. 

Resale Value

Despite their premium feel, one of the most common criticisms of Smart cars has been their high price. However, vehicles can be found on the used market from outlets such as Ridgeway for far below their original asking price. This means that you’ll still get the benefits of reduced fuel costs and lower priced insurance, but you won’t have to suffer the same costs of depreciation that the original owner did.

The benefit of Smart cars were always apparent. It’s small frame made it a breeze to nip around busy cities and find available parking spots that, until previously, only motorcyclists could dream of squeezing into. The Smart car has its other qualities too, though, and may just turn out to be a smart investment.

Why Choose a BMW

A car is a huge investment so you want to be sure you’re getting the right car for you, and that you’ve checked the model you choose is up to scratch. If you’re a professional with an appreciation of the finer things and an avid driver then you really can’t go wrong with a BMW. BMWs represent the perfect balance between speed, good looks, and luxury, without totally breaking the bank. So here’s a guide to help you choose the right used BMW for you. 

Perfect Balance

First off, let’s talk about why you should consider a BMW. Well, in short, it provides you with the perfect balance between performance and practicality. If you happen to be heading off to the German Autobahns it’ll happily do 90 MPH and upwards (and do about 43mpg while it does it!). And if you push it really hard, a 320d model for example, will even do as much as 130 MPH without blinking. That said, you don’t feel short changed on comfort or control, meaning you can easily use it as a touring car and enjoy the roads ahead on a long trip. 

Why Choose a BMW

Choosing a Model

BMW manufacture various styles of car across the whole spectrum of models, including coupes, sedans, hatchbacks, sport utility vehicles (4x4’s) and roadsters, so the choice can seem a little intimidating! Fundamentally BMW offer around 27 different vehicle variations per year, and around 432 model variants of those – such as saloon, convertible, sports and estate to name a few. Of course when buying used you also have the option of buying classic models and older discontinued models as well. Once you’ve chosen your perfect model you also need to consider whether you need petrol, diesel or hybrid car – or even a purely electric car. All in all BMW really do offer a full spectrum of options to suit all needs, so when choosing a model you can truly factor in your lifestyle, vehicle needs (such as how many passengers and how much luggage you’ll need to transport), and average annual mileage. 

Lease or Buy?

Once you’ve chosen the right model for you, you need to firm up your budget so you know exactly what you’ve got to spend. If you’ve got plenty of cash to splash then treat yourself to either a very new used car, or even a brand new one. If your budget is a little more modest don’t despair! Why not consider leasing as a more manageable option? Fixed costs are easier to manage and budget for than a big purchase cost, and leasing lets you make the most of this as while there will be a small initial outlay, the monthly cost will remain fixed during the period of the lease. Lease Car have a great selection of BMWs in a range of sizes and fuel options to make you and your budget happy.  

4 Funding Options for People with Less-than-Perfect Credit

Finding a way out of financial hardship can seem all but impossible when your credit isn't good enough to facilitate approval for a conventional loan or financing solution. The bills keep piling up along with your total debt owed, and without some form of assistance, it can seem like there is no end in sight. If this sounds like the predicament you're currently facing, you can at least take comfort in knowing that there are funding options available for people with poor credit. 

funding options

However, the loan terms and conditions are usually not as favourable as those offered to borrowers with good credit. Still, if you're in need of funds right now and you can't afford to wait until you've repaired your credit score, consider the following four funding options that can help people with less-than-perfect credit:

1. Taking out a Loan against Your Vehicle's Title

If you own your vehicle and it is a fairly new model, you may be able to borrow several thousand against your vehicle's title. However, keep in mind that if you are unable to repay the loan then the lender would have the right to seize your vehicle and take it into their possession, so there is some inherent risk involved in this type of loan. Furthermore, many car title loans charge very high interest rates in comparison to a typical personal loan, so it would be wise to make sure you'll be able to adhere to the proposed payment plan before taking out a loan of this kind. 

2. Applying for a Payday Loan

If you have a steady source of employment and can show proof of income you may be able to get approved for a payday loan, even if you have horrible credit. According to, these loans are only short-term solutions, as you'll be required to pay the loan back in full on the date of your next pay cheque.

As such, most payday lenders will require that you write them a cheque for the amount that will be paid back, so that they can cash it directly from your account on the date of your next direct deposit from your employer. If you repay these loans on time you'll only lose a small fraction of your pay cheque. However, if you fail to repay the loan, you'll end up owing several times the amount of your cheque in the long-term.

3. Peer-to-Peer Lending

Another way to take out a loan if you have not-so-great credit is to apply for a loan on a peer-to-peer lending network like Prosper. These loans are actually offered by independent investors rather than financial institutions or conventional lenders. As such, many of the lenders on these networks will provide small loans to people with modest credit scores, as long as you have a good reason for wanting the loan, a way to prove your income, and a halfway decent credit score, you may be able to borrow several thousand on a peer-to-peer lending network.

4. Starting a Crowdsourced Fundraiser

Finally, if you have an idea for a product, service, charity, event, or other worthwhile project that might attract the interest and investments of other like-minded people, you might want to sign up for one of the top crowdfunding sites and set up a detailed fundraiser page. Credit is a complete non-issue on these sites, as you're not actually borrowing any money, you're collecting donations to go towards the development of your project. With that said, this is only a route to take if you have a legitimate cause that needs funding.

There's an old saying that goes “just because you can, doesn't mean you should.” Many people with poor credit have made the mistake of making their financial situation even worse by applying for loans with incredibly high interest rates and over-committing to repayments that they know they won't be able to afford. With that said, make sure you have a feasible plan to repay any money borrowed before considering any of the above suggestions.

The Benefits of Investing in Private Equity Funds

One of the toughest things you can try and do on your own is make investment choices. There are a number of different investments out there and trying to find the right one on your own can prove to be very challenging. The best course of action when trying to find the right investments is getting the right professionals to help you. Usually, you will have a number of people who can help you in your area, which means you will have to do your homework. In most cases, the investment professionals you speak to will probably encourage a private equity fund in India or other countries. Here are some of the benefits you can gain when investing in private equity funds. 

Equity Funds

Relatively Low Risk

One of the first benefits you will be able to take advantage of when choosing to invest in private equity is the low risk factor involved. For most new investors, finding a low risk investment is a top priority due to their low level of experience. The last thing you want to do is deal with market volatility on your first few trades due to the stress you will have to deal with. 

Lots of Options

Another reason you may want to invest in private equity funds is the selection you will have. The private equity market is much more diverse than regular stocks. This means you will be able to look at a number of different accounts before deciding where to place your money. Make sure you talk with the professionals you are using to get some advice on what funds look the safest for you. The time you spend talking with the professionals about your needs is worth it when they are able to help you pick the right funds to invest in. 

Very Transparent and Easy to Follow

Yet another benefit you can gain when choosing to invest in a private equity fund is the transparency it allows. When dealing with these funds, you will not have to worry about any jargon or confusion. The rate of return on these types of investments is pretty cut and dry, which is ideal for most new investors. Make sure you talk with your investment professionals about what you can expect from the funds you have invested in. This will allow you to avoid any unwanted surprises during this process. 

If in need of help with your private equity investing, then be sure to contact the team at Excel Funds. They have a good deal of experience in this industry and can give you the sound advice you are looking for. Call them or visit their website. 

Small Steps to Create a Green Company

Turning a large company into a green, eco-friendly one doesn’t happen overnight, no matter what the business’s press release might say. Instead, emission levels should be measured and other factors taken into account for drawing up a long term plan to become more energy efficient over time

Green Company

Everyone in the company needs to chip in to achieve this and starting with small changes will make it easier. For new businesses this should be adopted from the start, while established ones can introduce them one at a time. Such adaptions can save money too.  

Employee Travel

A great way to save petrol money and reduce the company’s carbon footprint is to set up a car share scheme for those who drive to work. Encourage employees to use public transportation where possible but when it isn’t, offer incentives to those living close together to share lifts. 

If you provide company cars, cut back on the number given out, explaining to workers that it’s for the best of the car share scheme. This should result in cheaper fuel costs for employees as well as benefitting the company’s green credentials.  

Recycled Stationery

Every office ploughs through paper, printer ink and other items of stationery on a regular basis. Switching to use recycled paper, pens, pencils and more will have a positive impact considering the amount that is used every day. Some people worry that the paper quality may be inferior but the majority of times work related material is printed out it doesn’t have to be.  Reserve regular paper for such occasions. Refill old ink cartridges rather than purchasing new ones, which costs less as well. 

Set Up a Recycling Scheme

A recycling scheme in the office doesn’t have to be a complex system. Provide separate paper, plastic and can recycling bins along with one for waste food. All buildings should have council provided waste disposal (including recycling bins) which these can be correctly separated into at the end of the day. Food waste could be added to an employee’s compost bin. 

Green Web Hosts

Web hosting is important to a lot of businesses and there are a variety of companies providing these services with a green ethos. Green web hosting companies use renewable energy, plant trees and buy carbon offsets to reduce the environmental cost of running servers. These small changes may not seem much, but over time will make a good first step to reducing your business environmental footprint. 

Know your options: Rental car insurance on a credit card

We are used to have our cars covered to keep ourselves from dangers of the road.

When you rent a car on a vacation or a business trip, you have several options to put into the insurance box of the rental agreement. 

Rental car insurance

It helps if you have a primary insurance for your own car  - the same policy usually covers a rental car as well. But when travelling abroad, you are usually left with one of two options – a Collision Damage Waiver(CDW) from a rental car company, or a free CDW, provided by your credit card issuer.

Major credit card payment networks in US – VISA, MasterCard, AmEx and Discover offer that feature on their products, but the details are slightly different.


VISA offers rental car insurance on all types of VISA cards, making this benefit available to all VISA cardholders. The main limitation is that only 15 days for domestic travel is covered. For out of the country travel 31 days are covered by this policy which is in line with other credit card offers.

A good example of how VISA card can get your rental car covered is the Chase Freedom Collision Damage Waiver. 

Recently Ireland, Israel, Jamaica and Northern Ireland were excluded from coverage, but now VISA say that only the countries where such insurance is illegal are excluded. It’s left on to a cardholder to investigate if the country where you are planning to travel bans such insurance.

Master Card

MasterCard includes a CDW policy very similar to VISA’s into its Platinum, World, World Elite and Gold cards.  The only visible difference in coverage between VISA and MasterCard is that MasterCard covers a 9-seater passenger van, when VISA covers up to 8 seats only. 

American Express 

AmEx banks payment network offers a secondary policy, much like its larger peers, but in addition it can give you the option to buy primary type insurance for a fee. For a $24.95 you can get a primary coverage for 42 days (or 30 in a Washington State) with a $100 000 maximum.  


Discover is falling behind other major payment systems in terms of provided rental car piece of mind for its clients. Max coverage limit is only $25,000 and only the holders of More, Miles, Open Road and Motiva are eligible.

Loss of use fees is not covered, which is worse than VISA, MC or AmEx can offer.

Credit cards policies are a good and free option for that situations when your rental is not covered by your primary insurance. Travelling abroad is one of the cases. All credit cards require you to put the full amount of rental cost on a credit card, decline rental car collision coverage and authorize all drivers in the rental agreement. Complying this simple rules will let your credit card to ever you from unexpected when travelling and provide you with piece of mind.

Where to Save Money around the House

All good budgeting starts at home, and if you’re dead serious about cutting the costs of living, then take a tour of your home and find out where you’re spending more than you should, or more than you need to. You might be surprised just how much you could save each month just by making a few changes. Here’s a quick guide to get you started in different areas of the house.

Living Room

The living room is probably one of the rooms you’ll spend most of your time in, which naturally means that it’s going to be one of the ones that uses the greatest amount of electricity. As we all know, it’s fairly straightforward to save money on this bill. Make sure that all of your electrical items are switched off at the mains when you’re not using them. Your TV might have a standby mode, but it’s still going to be consuming power. Another thing to think about is heating. If you’ve got your sofa up against the radiators, then you might be wasting gas and electricity here, because the heat won’t properly circulate the room.

Where to Save Money around the House


Lots of people these days hire a gardener for an hour or two each week or couple of weeks to keep the garden tidy and looking good. It’s not so expensive, or so you might think. Add up the cost throughout the year. You’d be far better spending the money on a few tools like strimmers and clippers to do the job yourself. It doesn’t take long, and it’ll save you another bill coming out of the pay check each and every month. Similarly, you could wash your own windows with an extendable washer, rather than having someone do that for you.


With all of the electrical and gas equipment to be found in a kitchen, it’s no surprise that this is likely to be where the vast majority of power is consumed, and it’s very easy to save money. The oven for instance should always be at the correct temperature, and you don’t want to have excess cooking trays in their either. The fridge too should be no cooler than it needs to be. You can also hunt for cookware that you never use in your cupboards, perhaps that has been given as a gift; you might be surprised at how much you can sell it for. Brands like le Cruset especially.

Why a Crossover Vehicle is Perfect for Your Family

If you’re looking for a new car for the family, you’ll need something that has enough space for everyone, has great fuel economy, and, of course, is available for a good price. Their competitive pricing and all-in-one mentality makes them the ideal option families searching for a single vehicle to last them the long-run.

What Is a Crossover Vehicle

Crossover vehicles are a relatively new product range popularised in recent years by cars like the Ford EcoSport and Audi Q3. What makes crossovers unique is that they take features from sport utility vehicles (SUVs) as well as passenger vehicles, station wagons, and even hatchbacks. The result is specialist model that takes the best aspects from all of their competing vehicle categories. This strategy has seen them cut into sales that previously belonged to the SUV market, especially across the United States. 

Crossover Vehicle

What Are the Advantages

Comfortable to drive: The design of the crossover means you benefit from the high centre of gravity and high ground-clearance typically found in an SUV. The high seating allows you to sit in a comfortable, upright seating position, which improves outward visibility. While SUVs feature substantial suspensions designed for for off-road driving, on the road, these can often feel uncomfortable and more difficult to drive. Though many crossovers have the functionality for light of-road activities, they’re typically designed for road use. 

More storage capacity: Finally, what many families look for in a car is space, whether it’s to handle the weekly grocery shop or to allow the neighbours kid to hop in on the morning school run. The extra space allowed in SUVs made them very popular for this, but you can find the same kind of results with a crossover. The stylish five-door Audi Q3, available here, has an impressive 16.7 ft³ cargo volume, or 48.2 ft³ with seats down.

Better fuel efficiency: Because SUVs are typically built to fit onto truck-based platforms, they're much heavier than crossover vehicles that use a car platform. This extra weight can make SUVs tough to stop, and results in them having much less efficient fuel economy ratings than similar crossover vehicles. The Honda CR-V is the best selling in it’s class range over the last several years, and it’s two-wheel drive model gets a combined EPA rating of 24 miles per gallon.

Crossover vehicles represent the best choice for most families. For getting the best deal on your new car, take a look at our money saving tips for the frugal driver.

Is a Hybrid Really the Next Step?

With the popularity of hybrid cars growing in the UK, the decision to finally make the switch is becoming a more viable option for many individuals. Not only are you helping the planet, but you can also expect to save significantly on the cost of fuel. What’s not to like?

Hybrid cars

Well, with the extra money you’ll be spending on electricity, the savings might not be as large as you initially expected. There’s also the fact that hybrid vehicles often demand a premium over their standard equivalents. This means that those working on a tight budget may have to look elsewhere. Choosing a vehicle with a highly efficient engine, like the latest Ford Fiesta range, is the next best thing.

Ford EcoBoost

First introduced to us at the L.A. Auto Show in 2009, the goal of Ford’s EcoBoost technology was to create an engine with the level of power and torque consistency its customers expected, but in much smaller, more fuel efficient package. To tackle the inherent size constraints, the company used a combination of turbocharging and direct fuel injection in an effort to to offer a competitive alternative to the power output and fuel efficiency often seen in hybrid vehicles.

Potential Savings

Most people aren’t interested in the nitty-gritty details though. What’s important is how will it affect them or, more specifically, how it will affect their bank balance. Ford claims that cars using this new technology can expect to achieve approximately 20% better fuel efficiency and 15% reduced greenhouse emissions compared with vehicles of similar power.

Available Options

Thankfully, all of this comes at the same affordable prices we’ve come to expect from the company’s Fiesta range. The latest 2015 range starts from £8,995 or £148.79 on a monthly rental contract from Select Contracts. It’s three-cylinder, 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine can deliver up to 123 bhp with an EPA rating of 85.6 mpg. CO2 levels are down to the lowest they’ve been, clocking as low as 87g/km.

For those worried that in order to get this performance the Fiesta would have to compromise in other areas, such as safety, think again. The Fiesta received a four-star safety ranking from the NHTSA and features many of the company’s advanced safety features, such as Ford SYNC and Active City Stop technology.

Those in the market for a new car have a host of options available to them. For those shopping on a budget, though, the Fiesta may be the best option out there.

Don’t postpone saving money while going through tough economic conditions

According to recent reports we are aware of the fact that gas prices and the cost of groceries are rising faster than inflation. Everywhere people are feeling the pressure of the present economy and for most of them, the thought of saving money has become a distant dream. Yes, it is true that when times are tough, saving money is difficult as it becomes simply hard to make ends meet. After meeting all the basic necessities of life, where is the money to save? However, you should be sure that even while you’re living paycheck to paycheck, there are certain ways in which you can save money. There is no substitute to saving money and hence you have to follow certain rules in order to continue with this noble habit. Read on the concerns of this article to know the ways in which you can save money during tough economic conditions and avert the risk of falling into debt.

tough economic conditions

Start off with a small amount

Remember that saving money is not a sprint, rather it’s a marathon. When you’re planning to save $1000, this will certainly be easier when you obtain that goal in a year rather than a few months. So, if you wish to put your savings goal into work, you always have to start small. Don’t you think you can ultimately save $5 in a week to end up saving a huge amount in the long run? Saving $5 in a week won’t sound too huge and therefore this can be accomplished easier than saving $1000 in a year. So start small!

Auto-pilot your savings account

You must have heard about this tip before but if you wish to follow this tip, you need to save money at the first place. If you feel that you can only save money once you’ve paid for all the groceries and bills, you will always come up empty. The key to saving money is to treat your savings as a bill which is your obligation. Think of your monthly savings as an obligation that needs to be paid and pay it off before your money is spent on other items. Create an automatic savings plan where a fixed amount of money will be deducted from your salary account and transferred to your savings account.

Stop using your credit cards

Didn’t you know that your credit cards are the main reasons for the present debt situation in the nation? How about stopping the usage of credit cards in order to avoid falling in debt? When you have the option of carrying cash instead of credit, why would you carry your plastics when you’re sure that this would lead to a serious debt mess in the long run? Stuff your wallet with cash and let go of the habit of taking resort to credit when you can’t afford things with cash.

Strictly follow a budget

When the financial time is not smooth enough, you should stress on the importance of following a budget. Without following a budget, it is almost impossible to stay within your means in the present economic conditions. Once you’re able to live within your budget, you can soon start reining in your finances. The budget should be frugal where all the unnecessary items would be done away with. 

Evaluate the budget at the end of the month so that you may add some space for improvement for the next month. Resolve never to lead a life beyond your means and control your temptations to be on the safer side. 

Try your luck

Sometimes when you get failed to maintain your budget by doing everything then your luck can help you there. Now a days playing online games and earning money is very popular, so you can also try your luck there but the main thing to choose the right place to play. There are so many online gaming companies like on which you can trust. The only thing is authenticity which gives you the best results, so you must try your luck for once.

The Ultimate Guide To Getting Cheap Courier Fleet Insurance

Courier companies have to purchase a large fleet of vehicles if they want to become successful. While one man with a van might be enough for small local jobs, you’re going to need a more significant fleet if you want to win the biggest contracts. Having so many vehicles means that you will need to apply for specialist insurance from one of the UK’s top providers. Thankfully, there are lots of things you can do to reduce the cost of that cover for your business. By following this simple guide, you should have a lot more money knocking around that could be spent on more important matters. Increasing your marketing budget is always a wise move. 

Courier Fleet Insurance

Use the same provider for all vehicles

Some company owners make the mistake of insuring different vehicles with various providers. That is not a good idea if you’re watching the pennies. Insure Fleet and their competitors know that getting cover for individual vehicles can be expensive. So, they offer a service that allows you to get an all round policy that protects every automobile you own. Just make sure you always speak to your insurance company of choice at length before signing on the dotted line. Some of them will offer reduced rates, but the service you receive might be less than adequate. 

Play insurers off against each other

Presuming you have contacted one possible insurer and obtained a quote, you can then use that amount to drive down the deals offered by others. That is one of the best ways to lower the cost of van insurance today. Just remember that you need to follow a basic set of rules to negotiating successfully. We don’t have time to go into everything today, but there are hundreds of free articles available online. Keep searching, and you are sure to find one that contains all the information you require. 

Limit your working hours

Most insurance providers will offer a reduced rate if you vehicles are not on the roads at night. That can be an issue for some companies that pledge an around the clock service. However, smaller firms should have no trouble completing their deliveries by 5pm. Another great way of limiting the amount you have to spend is by keeping your vehicles on a locked car park. Adding alarm systems will also reduce your quote in most instances. 

Getting the best deal possible on courier fleet insurance is not an easy task. However, the tips and tricks listed in our guide today should stand you in good stead. At the end of the day, you just need a policy that will guarantee your company is always acting within the law. The standard fines issues to firms that fail to get appropriate insurance can range into thousands of pounds. Indeed, it is even possible for you to get a criminal conviction if you don’t fully appreciate the seriousness of the issue. 

Thanks for stopping by this afternoon. Please feel free to take a look around and pick up some more killer tips before you leave. See you next time!