My Money Podcast #121

Written by Karen Bryan

The My Money Podcast #121 features the recent Help Me To Save articles listed below.

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The Best Accounts for Children

Written by Karen Bryan

I’ve been looking into the best accounts for children in the UK. Below are my top three kids accounts.

The Santander 123 Mini Current Account

This account is available to 11 – 17 year olds and offers a cash or debit card. It’s a good way for young people to get used to managing their finances. However, it can also double as a savings account, as it pays a variable interest rate of 3% on balances between £300 – £2,000. For kids with savings under £2,000, this is a good dual purpose account. The downside is that with unlimited withdrawals allowed, it’s easy to dip into savings.

Read my full review of Santander 123 Mini Accounts for kids.

Nationwide Smart Limited Access

The Nationwide Smart Limited Access account is available for kids up to the age of 18. If the child is under 7 years of age, it must be opened by an adult. It pays a variable interest rate of 3% on balances between £1 – £50,000, meaning it’s good for children with any level of savings. If more than one withdrawal per year is made, the rate drops. Therefore, it’s more suited to long-term savings, allowing some access.

Read my full review of Nationwide accounts for kids.

Halifax Junior Cash ISA

The Halifax Junior Cash ISA is available for kids up to the age of 18.  The top rate of 4% (variable) on this account is only paid if a parent holds a Halifax Cash ISA. Otherwise, a variable rate of 3% is paid. The current annual allowance for a Junior Cash ISA is £4,080. It’s a good way to save up a sizeable sum for when a child reaches the age of 18, but the money is tied up until then.

Read my full review of Halifax accounts for kids.

Conclusion

As all of my selected best accounts for children offer variable rates of interest, you need to monitor the rates and be ready to switch (or transfer in the case of a Junior Cash ISA) to another account and/or provider.

A combination of these accounts for children could offer the best of all worlds.

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This article is based on my personal research and understanding of the accounts. Please check terms and conditions carefully before applying for any financial product.

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Money Saving Advice

Written by Karen Bryan

money saving adviceIt’s more important to stay frugal and try to save some pennies wherever we can. Below there are a is our money-saving advice to help guide you.

Observe and Monitor Your Spending

Make sure you keep a record of all the spending you do throughout the day. The best and easiest way to do this is to keep all of your receipts. Then at the end of every week go through these and add up all of your spending. Take a look through these receipts and see where you are spending the most money and where you are able to cut back. If you work during the week grabbing lunch is often a big expense that can be avoided with some careful preparation. The majority of people will be shocked how much they spend on lunch, snacks or a coffee. Taking these with you will save you so much over time.

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The Best Investments for Retirement

Written by Karen Bryan

investmentHere are my tips on the best investments for retirement. I recommend starting to save for retirement as soon as you start working, diversification to manage risk and regularly monitoring your investments.

A Workplace Pension

One of the most efficient ways to invest for your retirement is through a workplace pension, especially if your employer also makes contributions to your pension pot. You get tax relief on your contributions (up to 100% of earnings, to a maximum of £40,000 a year in the tax year ’15-’16).

The best types of workplace pension are when the amount that you receive for your pension is guaranteed, e.g. a final salary or career average scheme. Other workplace schemes such as the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) don’t offer any guarantees. The amount which you receive is dependent on the value of the fund in which your pension pot is invested. The earliest age at which you can access any pension pot is 55.

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Two More Instances of Not Being Able to Cancel Services Online

Written by Karen Bryan

laptopSince writing the article “If You Open an Account Online You Should Be Able to Close it Online” with regard to my Halifax Regular Saver account, I’ve encountered another two similar situations.

In January we signed up for a 12 month  contract with BT for a landline, UK  call package and Infinity fibre broadband. As BT were offering free BT Sport, I decided to activate that option online in case the service showed any tennis matches. As I haven’t watched anything on BT Sport over the last 6 months, when I read that BT were going to start charging £5 a month for the service, I decided to cancel it.

In my opinion, it’s wrong that a company should be allowed to start charging you for something it offered free. The law should be changed so that the customer needs to opt-in to receive the chargeable service.

I logged into my BT account but couldn’t find a way to cancel BT Sport online. It appeared as though I’d need to phone BT to cancel.

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What are Unsecured Loans?

Written by Karen Bryan

£10 and £20 notes alternative 240The differences between secured and unsecured loans are important to understand before you take out any kind of credit. There are of course both advantages and disadvantages of each type of loan, and there is no one-fits-all solution for what will be the best for you.

Secured Loans

A secured loan may also be named “homeowner loan” because you borrow the money against the value of your home. The amount you are allowed to borrow will depend on how much your home is worth and how much equity you have in it. The reason they are referred to as secured is because the lender has security when it comes to getting their money back if you can’t repay it. This means that you can lose your home if you are unable to keep up repayments.

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Looking for a Better Discount Vouchers Website?

Written by Karen Bryan

discountWhenever I am making a purchase, I always do a quick search to see if there are any vouchers or discount codes on offer for that product or service. I prefer to get a discount at the point of sale, than to shop through cashback websites, as cashback is never 100% guaranteed to be paid.

Annoyingly, many of the results which come up in my discount voucher search take me to websites with a mix of expired and/or useless vouchers, e.g. the offer of free delivery when all orders over a specific amount are delivered free to all customers.

If, like me, you are getting pretty hacked off with this time-wasting experience when looking for voucher codes, then you should take a look at the Better Vouchers website. 

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Are Plug In Hybrid Cars Becoming More Viable?

Written by Karen Bryan

plug in electric car chargerWe’ve always dismissed having an electric car due to range anxiety. Our two regular longer journeys are a 115 mile return trip to see one of our sons in Edinburgh, and a 200 mile return trip to see our other son in Glasgow. Both these journeys are too long for a single charge in most electric cars. It would be a pain searching for a charging point at our destination.

Plus, there’s the fact that many electric cars are so much more expensive to purchase, e.g. the Nissan Leaf costs around £21,500 (even after the £5,000 Government plug in grant has been deducted). That’s almost double what we paid for our similarly sized diesel-powered Skoda Fabia 1.6TD 75bhp, which averages 62mpg.

The problem of limited range can be solved with a petrol/electric hybrid car. But they also seem expensive to buy. The best known model, the Toyota Prius costs from £21,995 (after the £5,000 plug-in grant).

When I first read that the best selling plug in hybrid car in the UK, the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug In Hybrid Vehicle (PIHV) costing from £28,249 (factoring in the £5,000 plug-in grant), could achieve 32 miles on a full charge, I laughed. As it’s a seven seater sports utility vehicle (SUV), I wasn’t surprised it could only manage 32 miles.

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TSB Monthly Saver Now Pays 5%

Written by Karen Bryan

tsb montly saverThe TSB Monthly Saver account now pays a fixed rate of interest of 5% for 12 months. You need to have a TSB current account before you can open a TSB Monthly Saver. The maximum monthly deposit is £250.

I opened a TSB Monthly Saver last August, just after opening a TSB Classic Plus Current Account, At that time, the TSB Monthly Saver was paying a much lower fixed interest rate of 2%.

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The Benefits of a Flexible Loan

Written by Karen Bryan

working out financesWhen applying for a loan, you should first have a good think about how much you’d like to borrow and over how long a term. Ideally, you should opt for the shortest possible term, as this means that you will pay less in interest.

However, you need to make sure that you can afford the monthly repayments. There’s no point in not having enough money on which to live after forking out for the loan repayments. To work out how much you can afford to pay towards the loan each month, you need to draw up a realistic budget, making sure that you factor in irregular expenses such as Christmas gifts.

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