Saving Money in a Down Economy

I sometimes wonder if it is even possible to save money in a down economy. Do you for example have any savings? When it comes to me, I do not know when was the last time I had some money on my savings account to spend on whatever I wanted to spend. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to have more savings. I know that the resolution might be a little ambitious, but I am not ready to give up just yet. This time I am going to try really hard to make sure that I accomplish my goals. I will try to go through the list of my expenses and see what I can reduce. I will try to let you know about everything I managed to accomplish.

It is not enough to plan your budget once and then leave it be. Your situation and your expenses might change often, even more often than you might expect them to change. You need to be flexible with your budget. I try to adjust my budget almost every month. I try to see if something has changed. Maybe I have one more extra expense or maybe there is something I decided not to buy anymore. If this is the case, it might be a reason to remove it from the budget and replace it with something else or nothing at all.

Why is it Important to get Your Contracts Reviewed?

When you run a business you’ll be dealing with contracts a lot. It’s rare for a small business to have dedicated legal staff or sales teams in its early days so as person in charge you are where the buck stops and it should stop with a contract.

Whether you’re securing your premises, a supply of raw materials and products or the labour and expertise you need to run your business, it’s foolish to trust to this a goodnatured agreement that isn’t formalised by a contract. However well the two parties may know and trust each other, a formal business contract gives both some legal certainty to rely on in the event of any dispute, allowing it be resolved more quickly, cleanly and with luck allowing them to maintain their good will and partnership. A contract dispute has protocols allowing it to be dealt with quickly: a broken friendship is much harder to work through.

It’s important these contracts are robust and cover the agreements you’ve actually made in negotiation. If the other party is responsible for drawing up the contract and it doesn’t cover some specifics you agreed in person, the legal document you’ve signed takes precedence.

The idea solution is to get every document reviewed by a trusted contract lawyer before you sign it. If you can access the services of such a professional, they will be able to advise on you on any ambiguous terms and make sure the document is a correct legal summary of the agreement you’ve negotiated. If it’s not, they can be an authoritative voice to ask for a redrafting to make it agree more closely with your negotiations.

It’s not as hard as it used to be to access contract review services. Many reputable online law firms have appeared in recent years, allowing smaller businesses flexible access to the services they need without needing to pay the hefty costs associated with high street lawyers.

If you can’t find or afford a contract lawyer, one way to check your contracts is to ask someone reliable, but with no prior insight into the deal to read it over. If they can read the contract and summarise a deal that sounds like the one you agreed, with no unpleasant surprises, you can feel more confident about it though.

Creating a good working relationship with a lawyer is by far preferable, however, so priotorise finding one within your budget as soon as you have the resources.

How Africa Uses Mobile Phones

If you’re using a mobile phone in Africa you’re likely paying for credit as you go, whenever you need the data or call time. Pay as you go credit is by far the most popular option for the majority of people across Africa, but mobile contracts are beginning to get a toehold in some places: mostly the larger cities, where leading smartphone handsets are starting to become available but are beyond the reach of the majority of people without structuring the payment through a contract.

In South Africa, the mobile contract market is still finding its level: while it’s cheaper overall to get onto a contract, the savings seem to be disproportionate to those paying as they go.

One writer noted that the data market in particular is very regressive in South Africa. As the country has some of the expensive prices for data in the world, people who can afford a contract get a much better price for their data over time than people who buy it only when they need it. It’s effectively more expensive to be poor.

As the majority of people in South Africa are still on pay as you go packages, rather than contracts, they’re at a profound disadvantage: not using one is hardly an option as so many vital services are available via mobile, including mobile banking, and health guidance and weather advice. The main problem here is that these services are disproportionately needed by poorer people in more rural parts of the country. Those in cities have access to physical banks, doctors’ surgeries and as a rule their jobs are less dependent on the weather.

Isolated rural communities have been increasingly revolutionised by their access to internet services, with mobile banking getting many people into the banking system for the first time which is much more secure than their previous need to keep physical money in their house or on their person.

While there’s clearly a large market for a contract that serves the needs of these people, a side effect of the pay as you go model is that it allows friends and family have migrated as members of the African diaspora to send credit home using international mobile top up services. This is a vital and popular way for people living abroad to make important contributions to the lives of the people they have left back home, and for now it’s not going anywhere.

How to Qualify as a Social Worker

Whether you’re doing your GCSEs or A Levels and thinking about your future, or feeling trapped in a stale career and looking for a change, you may want to look into social care jobs.

The Social Work sector is a chance to work with people who really need you, and go home at the end of the day knowing you’ve made a real difference to the world. In our increasingly digital economy, being able to see the results of your work so clearly is rare and precious.

If you’re interested in Social Work, you’ll need to qualify first: social workers need to complete a course approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Many universities offer such courses, so you’ll need to pick the one that feels right to you.

Picking a university isn’t always easy: it’s more complicated than looking at the league tables to find which ones provide the best results. You’re going to be at this institution for three or four years so you need to feel comfortable and at home there. This will govern whether you pick a quiet, studious university or one with a reputation for an exciting nightlife. If you prefer the diversity of a big city you might want to study in London, but if you feel this would provide a distraction from your studies or simply aren’t at home in big anonymous cities, a more enclosed, ‘campus’ university on the fringe of a small town will suit you better.

The social work degree will include classroom training on techniques, and the law governing social interventions, as well as hands on experience and work placements, giving you a clearer idea of what social work is like.

If you want to boost your chances of being accepted onto your favoured course and stand out later in job interviews, it’s worth looking into volunteering before you study. Charities offer aspiring social workers the chance to help out in their local communities. This could also help you decide if social work is really for you – as the realities can be different to your ambitions when you first begin training.

If you already have a degree you may instead be able take a masters or conversion course to help you being your career more quickly – Skills for Care is the industry body that can help to advise you on your best route into the profession.

Now is an exciting time to enter social care, with new approaches revolutionising the field, and helping to create new opportunities for everyone.