Consumer Finance Growth in 2012 – Really?

Despite the generally poor economic situation the consumer finance market in the UK reported significant growth in 2012, according to figures collated by the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA). The figures claim a general growth in lending of around 6% over the whole of 2012, with certain areas showing more serious growth than others. The figures suggest that restrictions on consumer lending have eased of late, with more people than ever before borrowing at a time when the opposite may have been expected.

Cars and High Street

The main areas of growth appear to have been in lending on car finance and in high street shops – where store instalments are in growth – and there are other areas where people have been showing an increased propensity to borrow. Point of sale credit is among the fastest growing areas of borrowing, and it would seem that many people are looking to borrow to boost flagging incomes in times of hardship.

car finance

Car Credit Jump

The rapid rise in car finance credit – up by 22% over the previous year – indicates increased consumer confidence, while the 15% jump in in-store credit is also indicative of a change in the financial markets. Store cards, on the other hand, are showing a move in the opposite direction with a fall in uptake of over 15% in the year, perhaps indicating that there are better deals to be had with instalment credit and other forms of finance.

Credit Cards and Loans

The market for credit cards and personal loans, according to the FLA figures, is pretty much static at the moment with an overall fall of just over one percent, although there are signs that the loans market is about to take a turn for the better with interest rates at an all-time low. The ongoing financial crisis is still in full effect, but with these latest figures comes a sense of optimism that can only be described as positive. 2013 promises a sea change in the way we are borrowing if last year is any indication, and it will be interesting to see how things fare in the next 12 months.


Saving Money with Discount Codes

No doubt your friends have told you how they saved this and that by shopping online and using discount codes, but have you ever tried to use them yourself? Discount codes are available at many different websites and can be used for buying a wide range of products and services, and they are well worth investigating in more detail. Discount codes can be downloaded from many different places – is one of the best – and you may be surprised at how much you can save.

Secret Codes and more

There is a growing trend towards ‘secret’ discount codes, and these are being used by many companies as a major marketing campaign. The idea is that select customers will search for codes that apply to certain products, and the feeling that they are getting an exclusive saving is one that builds brand loyalty. Such codes are often then broadcast by websites, leading to more people than intended becoming the recipients of the offers.


Discounts in Stores

It is not only online that you can make savings on your personal finance expenditure, for many codes can be downloaded and printed out, and taken to the shop to be used on products in store. This is an extension of the ‘money off’ coupons that are often found on packets and boxes, and there are many to be had across the board. By using online discount codes you can make considerable savings on grocery products, clothing and other essentials, as well as services such as travel and holidays.

Exclusive Online Discounts

The presence of online-only discounts is something that has grown in popularity in the current age, and with many different companies offering great savings on a wide range of products this is a simple and effective way to cut back on your expenditure. Look for seasonal discounts on products – especially in the lead up to the Christmas period and summer holidays – and you can make savings in the most expensive times of the year. The more you look for discount codes, the more fun you can have in saving money.

Finding a Decent Job in a Bad Economy

Many people have had a difficult time finding employment in the current economy. Real unemployment is probably about 15% in the United States and considerably higher in some countries. Nearly half of Spanish workers under the age of 30 are currently out of work. Many of these challenges won’t go away anytime soon. Fortunately, people can still find good work if they take the right steps.

Current Landscape of the Labor Market

Many experts predict that the labor market will increase significantly as the economy improves. Unfortunately, there are a number of structural problems in the labor market which will probably not recover in the near future. People need to compete with workers overseas and many jobs are being destroyed by innovations in technology.

Workers in previous years didn’t need to worry about finding a new job. All they had to do was mail out a resume to a few prospective employers and they would almost be guaranteed a job. Those search strategies are no longer viable ways to find a job. You will need to be smarter to find work in this economy.


What You Need to Do to Find a New Job

Many people spend months sending resumes to companies over the Internet. You may get luck applying for jobs online, but it isn’t the most effective way to look for work. You will need to try these strategies to increase your chances of landing your dream job:

  • Tap the hidden job market. Most people spend all their time applying for jobs online. However, 90% of the jobs in this economy are never published anywhere. You will need to network with people to find out about positions that aren’t listed. According to one study, nearly 45% of new hires were referred by a previous employee.
  • Develop your skills. You will always need to be updating your skill sets to look more appealing to a prospective employer. You may be at a disadvantage when you have been out of work for a while. However, an employer will be more willing to hire you if they see that you have taken the necessary steps to invest in your career.
  • Network well. Most job seekers don’t spend their time networking. This is the best way to get into a new position. You will need to use every networking opportunity you can find, both online and offline. Use social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. You should also consider going to Chamber of Commerce meetings and business mixers. This will help you build the connections you need to get a job.
  • Focus on your value to the employer. Ten years ago anybody with a business degree could flaunt their diploma and get a job offer. Those days are gone. You will need to show that you can bring value to your employer if you hope to get hired. Tell them what steps you can take to help them grow their business.

Finding a job can be very difficult in a bad economy. Fortunately, you can still find employment if you put in the extra effort. Don’t get discouraged if you haven’t had any luck. You should try to change your strategy instead.