My Cash ISA with Birmingham Midshires Savings (BMS), which contained the majority of my savings, was coming to its maturity date near the end of the 2013-14 financial year. After this the money would be automatically transferred to another Cash ISA account with a very poor rate of interest.
I therefore made an appointment at my local Santander (STD) branch in order to start a new 123 Cash ISA with STD, to commence immediately after the BMS maturity date. Accordingly, a new Cash ISA account with STD was opened a few weeks before the BMS maturity date. At that time, I was told that I would receive confirmation of the transfer of the funds from BMS to the STD account in due course.
When I did not receive confirmation of the transfer of the funds and allowing for more than sufficient time from the agreed date of the transfer (for bureaucracy), I contacted STD to enquire what was happening. After a series of phone calls with lengthy waits, I was told by STD that the transfer had not gone through due to an error in the part of BMS. I was advised to contact BMS to sort it out.
The purchase was straightforward. I ordered a TraxTR1 Rigid Mens Mountain Bike with a 19″ frame costing £79.99. Topcashback.co.uk were offering a 3% cashback on purchases made on Halfords through the link on their site.
This bike had a very good number of mostly positive comments from previous purchasers. The bike was reserved for me and I could pick it up from between an hour and a week from my local Halfords, when I would pay to complete the purchase. I could have paid another £20 for assembly but, having done it previously, decided to assemble the bike on my own.
With a Sainsbury’s Double Up Nectar Rewards’ loyalty card promotion running from today until 12 August 2014, here are my tips for making the most of this offer.
During the Double Up promotions you can exchange your points for vouchers to double the value of your points. However, this is only for purchases of some categories of items e.g. clothes, electrical and homeware.
You need to have a balance at least 1,000 points, normally worth £5, which you exchange for a £10 ‘Double Up’ voucher to spend on a specific category. The maximum exchange per category is 4,000 points, normally worth £20, for a £40 ‘Double Up voucher.
We don’t have a Sainsbury’s store in Berwick upon Tweed. Most of my Nectar points were earned through making hotel bookings on Expedia (usually 200 Nectar points per hotel booking) and purchases at Homebase and eBay.
I spotted a Simply Mobile Broadband 50GB Data Sim, valid for 12 months, on ebay. Although £79 was a great price for 50 GB of data, I thought I’d see if I could save some more money by making a ‘Best Offer’.
This was my first attempt at making a ‘Best Offer’ on ebay. I settled on an offer of £70, a saving of around 10%. I didn’t see the point in offering too low a price, but at the same time I hoped to make a reasonable saving. The seller had 48 hours in which to accept my offer.
If the seller accepted my ‘Best Offer’, I was obliged to purchase the SIM. However, the seller also had the options to reject my offer or make a counter offer.
Early the following morning, I received an email from eBay to say that the seller had accepted my offer.
I’m encouraged to make more offers on eBay in the future to see if I can save some money when shopping.
The beautiful Scottish capital of Edinburgh is one of the reasons why you should visit Scotland. The city is easily accessible by train, bus, plane and coach. If travelling cheaply there is a priority, the GoEuro travel planner tool allows you to compare all the different modes of transport by time and cost for journeys within the UK to Edinburgh. On a journey between London to Edinburgh, the cheapest option is coach, but the journey takes 9 or 10 hours. You may be prepared to pay more to take a direct train, with a journey time of less than 5 hours.
Below are my tips for free things to do in Edinburgh.
Take a Stroll Along Portobello Prom
Edinburgh lies on the Forth Estuary. Portobello Beach is around three miles east of the city centre. I’ve occasionally seen people swimming there, but most stick to walking along the prom.
See One Million Pounds
You can see £1 million pounds in Scottish £20 notes at the Museum on the Mound. The museum is closed on Mondays.
As life expectancy increases, the age at which you can claim your UK state pension is rising. Already, the last women to receive a state pension at 60 have already done so; both men and women in their early 50s can expect to receive their pension at age 67; and anybody in their 20s and 30s will have to wait until they are 69 or 70. As the pensionable age seems to be getting ever more distant, the idea of early retirement becomes ever more enticing.
Ensuring that you have a comfortable and enjoyable early retirement will require some careful financial planning. Your pension will need to provide enough income to see you through decades, which may also include the cost of health care and support in later life.
I read that the Post Office Credit Card offered an 18 month period of 0% interest on balance transfers with a very low 0.7% transfer fee. To be eligible for that promotional balance transfer fee, you must apply for the card by 31 July 2014 and make the balance transfer within three months of opening. Many other credit cards charge balance transfer fees of around 3%.
Another benefit of the Post Office Credit Card is that overseas purchases don’t incur a fee. I wasn’t interested in that as my Halifax Clarity Card and Nationwide Select Credit Card offer this.
Running two websites when you’re not a very techie person can be a real challenge. I try to do as much as possible myself. However, there are some tasks, e.g. editing php files and dealing with MySQL databases, which, after a couple of disastrous attempts, I no longer tackle. I have a friend who helps out with technical issues, but I try to ask him to do as little as possible.
Recently, I had problems uploading photos to my travel blog. At first, I thought it was a plug-in conflict, but when I was also unable to publish new posts, I deduced, based on a problem a couple of years ago, that it was an issue with database capacity.
For my travel site, I’m on the 1and1 Business Package, which costs £12 a month and gives me unlimited webspace, traffic and MySQL databases, plus a free website builder. I logged into my account and sure enough the database was 50% over capacity. Rather than ask my friend for assistance, I thought I’d phone 1and1 to ask if they could increase the capacity of the overfull database. They told me that they couldn’t do that, but could transfer the existing database into a new larger capacity database. Read the rest of this entry »