Is Airbnb Better Value Than a Hotel?

Written by Karen Bryan

When attending an Airbnb event in London in December, I received a £40 Airbnb voucher. This was handy as I wanted to attend the Edinburgh Travel Tweetup the following Wednesday, wearing my travel blogger hat on that occasion. The Tweetup finished at 10pm and I wasn’t keen to drive back to Berwick upon Tweed on a winter’s night.

I’d had a quick look at the Travelodge website for a hotel in central Edinburgh and found the Travelodge Edinburgh Princes St for £45 on a Flexible rate for the one night midweek stay. The cheapest Travelodge rooms are usually found by booking well in advance on the non-refundable Saver rate.

I was hoping that I’d find a private room with an en suite bathroom in a central location through Airbnb for around the £40 value of my voucher. I found a luxury snug in Edinburgh’s Queen St for £46, including the £6 Airbnb fee.

luxury snug queen st seating area

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Which Are the Best Cars for First Time Drivers?

Written by Karen Bryan

bluecarIf you’ve recently passed your driving test and are thinking about buying your first car, you’re probably wondering which car is a reasonable price to buy, economical to run and has a good safety rating. To help you decide, the infographic below from Click on Tyres features the top five cars for first time drivers.

The criteria used to rate the cars are:

  • Purchase price
  • Miles per gallon
  • Insurance group
  • Road tax band
  • NCAP safety rating
  • WhatCar? rating

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Getting Rid of Payday Loans

Written by Karen Bryan

£10 and £20 notes 240It is incredibly easy to find yourself in serious financial trouble if you have taken out payday loans. A payday loan is one of the most expensive ways to borrow money. Annual interest rates have been as much as 1000 per cent, sometimes even higher. This means that over a year, if the APR is 1000 per cent, for every pound you borrow you pay back £1000.

If you have been tempted by a payday loan, you were probably looking at the monthly interest rate, which may have seemed quite low. However, if you did not pay back the loan within one month, you will have had to refinance it, so you will have borrowed the same sum again plus the interest you didn’t pay back on the first month. In this way, your loan became substantially bigger as each month passed. A loan for a relatively small amount, such as £250, could swell to as much as £6012 in just ten months at an APR of 4670 per cent.

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Perseverance Pays to Get a Discount on BT Infinity Fibre Broadband

Written by Karen Bryan

BT logoWe’ve been thinking about upgrading to faster fibre broadband for some time. Our current contract for BT standard unlimited broadband, line rental (I’d paid for 12 months line rental in advance through the BT Line Saver scheme) and unlimited UK calls, costing around £30 a month, was due to expire in a few weeks.

As I’ve been satisfied with the broadband and calls service from BT, plus I can use BT Openzone WIFi free of charge when I’m out and about, I phoned BT to ask how much they’d charge to upgrade us to fibre broadband.  I was informed that this would increase our monthly bill to around £45. I asked for a discount, but was told that this wasn’t possible if we upgraded to fibre broadband.  As I’d done some research, I was able to quote that I could get the services which I wanted for around £30 a month from other providers such as EE and Plusnet, plus cashback of up to £50, if ordered on the TopCashBack.co.uk website. However, there was still no offer of a discount from BT.

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Myth Busters that Could Save You Money on Your Energy Bills

Written by Karen Bryan

gas meterEven with the recent small drops in prices, energy bills are still one of the biggest outgoings for most households. If like most of us you worry about the cost of your energy, here are some helpful myth busters from Hitachi Personal Finance that could help you save the pennies.

Turning the Heating Up When It’s Cold Outside

It seems like a reasonable reaction to the harsh weather outside however, you shouldn’t need to do this as your home has a thermostat to maintain the home temperature whatever the weather.
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My Money Podcast #104

Written by Karen Bryan

The My Money Podcast #104 summarises the recent articles listed below.

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

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19 Months 0% Interest on New Purchases with M&S Credit Card

Written by Karen Bryan

M&S BankM&S Bank have extended the interest free period for new purchases on their credit card to 19 months. I was informed of this when I phoned the M&S Bank to open an M&S Montly Savings Account, which has recently become available to holders of an M&S standard current account.

I was tempted by the longer interest free period on the M&S Credit Card and thought that I might apply for it in the near future. But when I read that if you successfully applied for the credit card through the link on the Money Saving Expert website by the 28 February 2015, you could also get a £30 M&S voucher for food, wine and flowers, I was galvanised into action.

In order to get the £30 voucher, you need to use your M&S Credit Card at least once by 31 March 2015. The voucher will then be emailed to you by 30 April 2015.

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Playing the Forex Market: Tips and Experiences

Written by Demetrius Vouyiouklis

forexThe Foreign Exchange  (Forex) market tracks the ratios of exchange rates between currencies, with some examples of the most popular ones being the Euro to US Dollar (EURUSD), British Pound to Japanese Yen (GBPJPY) and Australian to Canadian Dollar (AUDCAD).

A typical punter (TRADER!) will guess which way the currency ratio will move (up=BUY, down=SELL) and will ‘buy in’ at a certain number of ‘units’ (PIPS: 1 PIP is usually the movement of the 4th decimal number of the exchange rate ratio by 1 point). If the ratio moves in the same direction (BUY or SELL) as the trader predicted, there is the possibility of a profit once the difference between BUY and SELL prices (the broker’s commission, also usually represented by PIPs) has been overcome – for this reason, ‘trades’ always start in deficit.

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Review of Travelodge Stirling M80

Written by Karen Bryan

I stayed at the Travelodge Stirling M80, in central Scotland, for a Friday night stay in mid November 2014. The room cost £21 on the Saver non-refundable rate, booked three months in advance of my stay. This is a good price for a Friday night stay, as most cheap Travelodge rooms are for stays between Sunday to Thursday.

I last stayed at the Travelodge Stirling M80 more than five years ago, when it was looking rather tired and worn. However, it’s been recently refurbished with the ‘New Look’, which means a decent ‘Dreamer’ bed.

traveldoge stirling M80 room

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20% off Selected Hotels on eBookers.com until 18 January 2015

Written by Karen Bryan

ebookersThere’s an eBookers ‘Crazy Weekend’ promotion running until Sunday 18 January 2015,, which offers an additional 20% discount on many hotel bookings, as long as you travel by 31 December 2015.

You need to enter the promo code ‘WELOVE20‘ into the space at the bottom of the search box

This was good timing for me, as I booked hotels for my forthcoming trip to Marseille and Nice in April. The majority of hotels which appeared in my search results did offer the 20% discount.  I checked the cheapest prices available for the hotels on the HotelsCombined comparison site, just to ensure that I was getting the lowest possible price.

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