COMMERCIAL FEATURE:  According to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), the UK economy is finally growing again by 0.8% - or more realistically, by 0.3% or 0.2% if we take out the extra spending due to the Olympics or the Queen’s Jubilee.

However, the prior double dip recession has affected people’s savings. Food and fuel prices are rising and many of us are struggling to manage our personal finances.

Despite this predicament, some urgent investments are still necessary – the fridge or personal computer, for example, tends to break down in the most inconvenient moments. Furthermore, Christmas is rapidly approaching and loved ones are expecting gifts.

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With the constantly rising fuel prices in mind, some might consider implementing measures to save energy, like investing in better insulation of their home. People who need a car to commute to their workplace might consider buying one which consumes less fuel. But before you can realise such savings you need to invest first.

So how do you get any extra money if your personal savings are stretched to the limit yet?

There are various options available to you when buying a new car or electronic gadget that will mean you don’t have to pay the full price up front.

You can choose between a hire purchase, a personal contract purchase or a personal loan. The last option, a personal loan, provides the greatest flexibility:  you can make arrangements with your bank before the actual purchase and then take all the time you need to look around and compare various dealers for your perfect car, laptop or whatever. You needn’t arrange finance at the dealership, and you could own your purchase straightaway.

Clydesdale Bank, with its proud history of support for Scottish industry and communities, offers a broad range of personal loans and credit tailored to your own needs.

However, since the credit crunch potential lenders have wanted to be sure you’ll pay the money back and will run a credit check.

To avoid disappointment you might therefore consider checking your personal credit report and score before you apply for a personal loan.

As a rule of thumb, you can normally say that the better your credit status the better your payment terms. If it doesn’t look good, there are various ways to improve it:

Register to vote at your current address. This enables a potential lender to get quick confirmation that you live at the address you gave

Close unused accounts

Install standing orders on your current account (e.g. for rent or mortgage, your mobile phone bill etc) as this shows stability

Last but not least, before signing for a loan compare various offers. Check the terms and conditions carefully and read the small print before your make your decision.