Don’t Be Lured Into Spending By Supermarket Vouchers

Written by Karen Bryan

Despite cautioning about the temptation to spend money to save money, sometimes I still succumb to the lure of supermarket vouchers.

When I filled up the car at Sainsbury’s, I received two Nectar vouchers. One for triple Nectar points on my next Sainsbury’s shop within the following three weeks. The other offered 8p a litre off the price of fuel, if I spent a minimum of £15 at Tui (Sainsbury’s clothing brand).

I was tempted by the Tui fuel offer. I reckoned that I usually put around 40 litres of diesel in my car, so 8p off a litre would equate to a saving of around £3.20 at my next visit to fill up the car.

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I’m Disappointed by Charter Savings Bank

Written by Karen Bryan

I’ve generally been happy with Charter Savings Bank. At times, they have offered market leading interest rates on their savings account. I have also found them to be very efficient.

However, I am disappointed by their recent actions.

I had £1,000 in a two year fixed rate savings account which was due to mature earlier this month. Around three weeks before maturity of that account, I received an email from Charter Savings Bank asking me if I would like to transfer the proceeds of my soon to mature savings account into a new fixed rate account with them.

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Wumtu from Three Mobile

Written by Karen Bryan

I was prompted to download Three money saving app Wumtu to my mobile phone when I received a text message from Three informing me that I could claim a free Costa Strawberry Frostini that Friday.

I had an appointment that Friday at the Santander branch in Stirling top open a Regular eSaver account. It’s really annoying that I can’t open that account online, as only business savings accounts come up as I log into Santander through my business account. But I thought that free cold drink on a warm day would offer a bit of a pleasant distraction.

After downloading the Wumtu app. I had to register my phone. Three checked that my SIM card was a Three SIM. Then I was able to get into the offer.

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Fast Tax Refund from HMRC

Written by Karen Bryan

I finally got around to filing m online income tax return for  the tax year 6 April 2017 to 6 April 2018 on 15 July 2018.

I had worked out the turnover, expenses and profit for my online publishing business by mid April 2018.

But I waited to receive the annual interest statements from my various current and savings account before completing the return. Having to collate all that information is one of the reasons why I am tempted to ditch my high interest current accounts.

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Travelodge Aberdeen Central Justice Mill Review

Written by Karen Bryan

We stayed a the Travelodge Aberdeen Central Justice Mill on a Sunday night in early May 2018. I booked the room during a £10 off the price on Friday and Sunday nights promotion, which brought the price for the room down to £21 for the night.

The Travelodge website said that the hotel has a free car park on a first come, first served basis. I was hoping that by staying on a Sunday night and arriving at around 5pm, that we would find a space in the car park. But the car park was already full when we arrived.

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Is It Time to Ditch High Interest Current Accounts?

Written by Karen Bryan

I’m beginning to think that if’s almost time to ditch at least some of my high interest current accounts.

In the good old days, when the Santander 123 Current Account. Lloyds CLub Current Account and Bank of Scotland Current Account with Vantage were paying up to 3% on credit balances, it was a no brainer to hold these accounts.

But then the conditions for earning that decent rate of interest started getting more onerous e.g. you had to have a minimum of two direct debits paid out each month and/or the monthly fee increased. Plus the interest rate paid started falling, Santander led the way halving the top rate of interest paid on their 123 current account from 3% to 1.5%. Recently Lloyds and Bank of Scotland also reduced their top rate of interest to 1.5%.

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Art Evening Classes at Your Local College

Written by Karen Bryan

If you have an hobby or interest which you would like to develop further, you could take a look at the evening classes on offer at your local college.

I am really into art, so have attended two art evening classes at the local college. Forth Valley College (FVC) has three campuses, Stirling, Falkirk and Alloa I am fortunate that the art evening classes are held in the Stirling campus, a ten minute walk from our home.

I have looked at art classes at various venues in central including the House for an Art Lover in Glasgow and Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop. I’d say that on average these classes were more expensive than at FVC, plus I’d then have travel expenses and at least a couple of hours travel time door to door.

I decided to choose classes which offered me the opportunity try out things that I couldn’t do at home. Last year I did the screen printing art class. It was the most expensive evening art class, costing £200 for ten three hour sessions. But I’ve seen one day screen printing workshops priced at £70.

Later at home, I made collages from most of my screen prints.

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5 Ways You Are Not Saving Money When Buying Business Checks

Written by Karen Bryan

Buying paper checks seem like a trivial business expense especially when compared to major business expenditures such as rent, employee salaries, and utility bills. However, most successful business owners look for ways to cut down on spendings that do not add value to the firm. Even little cutbacks can make a huge difference. Earlier this year, United Airlines announced that they are saving 170,000 gallons of fuel just by making their in-flight magazines a little bit lighter. That’s a savings of $290,000 per year.

In this age of cutthroat competition, keeping afloat when the times are tough is all about keeping business operations lean and productive. Now, if you are still ordering printed checks from the bank for your business then you are forfeiting a huge opportunity to save. To ensure you always get the best deal when ordering checks, following are 5 things you are doing when ordering checks that are actually costing you money.

Not Buying Checks Online: If you still believe that you should always order checks from banks then you are in for a reality check. There is no legal mandate that states you need to buy checks from your bank. To top it off, banks almost never print the checks themselves. Banking institutions get checks printed by vendors and they sell them to you for a profit. Thankfully, a lot of these check printing vendors have their own websites through which they sell directly to customers. Not having to give the banks their cut, these websites can sell the checks at a much cheaper rate.  

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There’s No Winning With Car Insurance

Written by Karen Bryan

I recently had a close encounter with a wall when parking the car in the lane at the back of our son’s flat in Glasgow.

It was so stupid. I knew that it was tight to park there. I thought I was being careful, but as I turned in the back passenger door of the car scrapped along the edge of a wall. The car door was scratched and slightly dented.

I was cursing myself, but the damage was done. I wasn’t keen to claim for the damage through the car insurance. Although I had protected the no claims discount, next year’s premium would still increase. So although I’d get the same discount, I’d still pay more.

Initially, I thought that it would probably cost around £200 to do a repair. As the car insurance excess is £100, it seemed to make more sense not to claim on the insurance, but pay the garage directly myself.

I was amazed when I went to a local garage to ask for quote for the repair. They said it would cost £600 to £700. They told me that the cost would be higher through an insurance claim, as the door would be replaced, as opposed to being repaired.

It just didn’t make sense to spend so much on a repair, when the five year old Fabia is only worth around £4,000.

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Top 10 Ways for Making Some Fast Cash

Written by Karen Bryan

The reasons may differ from person to person, but most of us have found ourselves in some position or another where we could really use some fast cash. It could be personal or business, but the need is often too serious to wait and that’s where the following ten tips come in.

Look for Odd Jobs

Thanks to the likes of Upwork and Freelancer, people can sign up for odd freelance jobs near them whenever they need to. If you have a skill like photography, writing experience, cooking, playing musical instruments, coding, and designing among others, your chances of landing odd jobs with high pay are even better. Even if you don’t have any particular sets of skills, there is always work available if you are willing to put in some manual labour necessary for cleaning, basic construction work, moving, etc.

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