Save Money by Regularly Reviewing Services

Written by Karen Bryan

£20 notes close up1 240 Save Money by Regularly Reviewing ServicesYou can save money by being on the lookout for deals and axing services that you no longer use or need. With so many household  bills now being paperless and paid by direct debit and auto-renewals on insurance policies, it’s all too easy to keep paying too much for your living expenses. I’ll illustrate how being on the ball can reduce your living costs with a few recent personal experiences.

I bought a Simply Mobile Broadband 50GB data SIM card, valid for 12 months, for £70 through a eBay Best Offer. This was a lot cheaper and more flexible than the £5 a month T-Mobile 1GB 30 Day data SIM card which I’d been using. I’d been on the lookout for a more flexible mobile broadband deal since T-Mobile charged me £3 when I exceeded the 1GB monthly allowance by 341MB. The Simply Mobile Broadband gives me four times more data for only £10 more a year. ,it would’ve been all too easy to forget to cancel that T-Mobile contract and direct debit and keep being charged for it.

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Free Trial of the Gourmet Society

Written by Karen Bryan

gourmet society Free Trial of the Gourmet SocietyI took up the offer of three month’s free membership of the Gourmet Society available through Nationwide’s ‘Simply Rewards‘. I really liked the fact that you don’t need to give any bank account or card details to sign up for the trial.

I received my membership pack through the post around one week after signing up online. If you want to use the app, you’re given an activation code as soon as you’ve signed up.

Included in the pack was a print out of the participating restaurants within striking distance of Berwick-upon-Tweed.

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Check all the Details Before Buying Cheaper Insurance

Written by Karen Bryan

house Check all the Details Before Buying Cheaper InsuranceWe’ve had our home buildings and contents insurance with Direct Line for a few years. Their ‘Home Insurance Plus’ includes cover, such as accidental damage, contents away from home, home emergency and legal protection, which incur additional charges with many standard home insurance policies. Direct Line ‘Home Insurance Plus’ also includes annual worldwide travel insurance.

The Direct Line renewal price was £253, £30 more than last year’s price of £223. I  was able to reduce that price to £219, a saving of £34, by getting a new online quote instead of accepting the renewal price.

I did some shopping around to check out home insurance prices from other providers. Initially, I thought that the £157 quoted by esure which appeared to offer similar cover to the Direct Line, apart from the annual travel insurance, sounded good. On closer inspection, the esure contents cover was for £30,00o compared to £100,000 , the contents away from home cover was for a maximum of £3,000 compared to £5,000  and the excess was £200 compared to the £50 on the Direct Line policy. I upped the home contents cover to £50,,00 and lowered the excess to £50, which increased the esure price to £166.

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My Money Podcast #93

Written by Karen Bryan

The My Money Podcast #93 summarises the recent articles below.

Subscribe to the My Money Podcast from Help Me To Save in iTunes

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BT You Should Make 1571 Opt In

Written by Karen Bryan

BT logo BT You Should Make 1571 Opt InIn the past we had telephone answering machines, but they’d always been problematic. Therefore we decided to use the free BT 1571 voicemail service.  The disadvantage of 1571 was that the only way you were alerted to messages was by a different dialling tone when you lifted the phone. Whereas most answering machine emit a bleep when there are messages.

We recently bought our first digital cordless phone, a BT 6500 which incorporated an answering machine, so we decided that we give it a try. I decided to cancel the 1571 service, so that it didn’t cut in before our own answering machine could take the call.

I logged into my BT account to try to cancel 1571. However, to my surprise, the following month a £1.75 charge for BT 1571 appeared on our bill.

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Review of Brantano

Written by Karen Bryan

brantano shoes Review of BrantanoI’ve bought shoes from a Brantano store on several occasions. However, I was put off making an online purchase by the £2.95 delivery charge. I like to try on shoes before purchasing. Although you don’t have to pay to return unwanted shoes to Brantano within 14 days using the Collect + service, I didn’t want to end up paying almost £3 to try on shoes, plus having the hassle of taking the items to the Collect+ drop off point.

When I spotted a Brantano promotion offering 25% off all prices (including sale items), plus free delivery, I decided to buy a couple of pairs of sandals. I had a good read through the returns section on the Brantano website, I established that there were three Collect+ drop off points in Berwick-upon-Tweed where I live.

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Check First Direct Debit Payments for New Credit Cards

Written by Karen Bryan

post office credit card Check First Direct Debit Payments for New Credit CardsWhen I received my Post Office Credit Card I phoned Customer Services to arrange to do a 0% for 18 months balance transfer. During the same call, I requested that a direct debit be set up to pay the minimum amount (5% of the balance).

The customer service rep advised me to check that my first statement said that payment would be made by direct debit. If the direct debit wasn’t mentioned on that statement, I would need to make the first payment manually.

I received a letter dated the 16 July 2014 to confirm that the direct debit had been set up. I also logged into my Halifax Reward Current Account to checked that the direct debit was listed.

In my first statement, dated 17 July 2014, it stated that first direct debit for the minimum balance would be paid by direct debit on 11 August 2014.

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Things You Didn’t Know About Wills

Written by Karen Bryan

will Things You Didn’t Know About WillsMaking a Will is one of the most important things you can do in your life, but, there are some things that people need to be aware of when it comes to a Will. Certain legalities need to be looked into to avoid confusion after you have passed away.

Even in the Modern Age Paper Formalities are Still Law

With the Wills Act 1837 and the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 still being in force, it is necessary for a Will to be committed to paper. This reflects a common complaint that the laws that govern Wills and Testaments have become somewhat antiquated. This is especially true in an age in which tablets, smartphones and electronic copies of documents are increasingly taking precedence.

In every case, it is also necessary for two witnesses to be present to watch you sign the Will. They must also sign the document to declare that they have done so in your presence. Many find the maze of legalities and terminology involved in making a Will confusing. Saga’s jargon buster is great for helping you to understand the relevant terms.
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Review of BT 6500 Digital Cordless Phone

Written by Karen Bryan

bt 6500 phone base set Review of BT 6500 Digital Cordless PhoneWe were finally prompted into replacing our two old corded landline phones with cordless phones when my husband read about the benefit of nuisance call blocking on the BT 6500 Digital Cordless Phone, which includes an answering machine.

We thought it’d be good to be able to use the landline phone in different rooms in the house and in the garden.

We’d been using the BT 1571 answering service. However, as you only know if you have a message when you hear a different tone upon lifting up the handset, we often didn’t pick up messages for days. Whereas with an answering machine a flashing light in the unit alerts you to messages.

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Too Many Instant & Easy Access Saving Accounts Have Restrictions

Written by Karen Bryan

yello piggy bank close up 150x150 Too Many Instant & Easy Access Saving Accounts Have RestrictionsI’ve observed a growing number of easy/instant access accounts which have restrictions such as limit to the number of withdrawals you can make, featured in the best buy tables.

An example is the United Bank Online Easy Access Account which pays 1.4% variable, but only permits one fee-free withdrawal per month. There’s a fee of £1 for each additional withdrawal in a single month. The account requires a minimum initial deposit of £500. When I looked at the United Bank website it’s proclaimed in large letters at the top of the page that this account offers unlimited withdrawals.  You need to scroll down the page, where in the summary box, in much smaller writing, it mentions that only one withdrawal per month is free of charge. To me, when I see unlimited withdrawals, I don’t expect to have to potentially pay to withdraw my cash; an easy/instant access account should do what is says on the tin i.e. give me access to my money when I need it.

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