Using the ebookers App to Book a Hotel

Written by Karen Bryan

ebookersYou can earn a 3% reward on hotel bookings made on ebookers through their Bonus+ scheme. You then redeem this reward as a reduction in the price of your next booking at a qualifying hotel on ebookers.

However if you book a qualifying hotel on the ebookers app, a higher reward of 5% is earned.

I was looking for a hotel in the Stirling area in central Scotland for a one night midweek stay.  I had a 15% discount code to use against my next hotel booking, earned from writing a hotel and location review for eboookers, plus £3.79 in Bonus+ rewards to redeem.

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Nationwide’s Profit Up 54% While Rates Paid to Savers Drop

Written by Karen Bryan

nationwide signageI’m really hacked off with Nationwide.

In April 2105 Nationwide slashed the interest rate paid on the Loyalty Saver for members of 15+ years from 1.5% to 1.2%.

Today, I read that Nationwide’s annual profit has increased by 54%.

Yet, Nationwide have the cheek to claim on their website that their “only focus is on you” and that “everything we do is with our members’ best interests at heart”.

Anyone can earn a rate of 1.35% from Tesco Bank’s Internet Saver Account. So how on earth can Nationwide justify offering long standing customers a lower rate of only 1.2%?

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Thank You Three Mobile Customer Service

Written by Karen Bryan

three mobileOne of the big attractions of being with Three Mobile is that you can use your UK plan abroad in 18 countries with no additional charges through their ‘Feel at Home’ scheme.

As France is one of these countries,  I switched on my mobile phone on arrival at Marseille Airport, expecting to be able to get online.

However, my phone kept displaying either ‘No Service’ or ‘Emergency Calls Only’. I was mystified, as I’d used Three’s ‘Feel at Home’ when I was in the US last year.

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Increase Your Home Equity With a Pre-sale Makeover

Written by Karen Bryan

home makeoverIs it time to sell your home? We all want to achieve the best price possible for our home. However not everyone values your home as much as you do and it is very likely that you will receive a few low-ball offers.

To overcome this problem and to increase the equity in your home, consider investing in a pre-sale makeover, which might cost you some money upfront, but will be well worth it when you home sells for your asking price or even above this value.

For a pre-sale makeover to add equity to your home, you need to focus on these three key areas:

Low maintenance sells houses

No-one wants to move into a home that looks like it will take a lot of time and money to maintain. So take a serious look around your home and fix everything that has been on your maintenance and fix-it list, but you haven’t had the time to address yet.

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Review of Britannia Hotel Edinburgh

Written by Karen Bryan

I was looking for a cheap hotel in Edinburgh on a weekday night in mid April 2015, as I had an early flight from Edinburgh Airport the following morning. Although I’d have preferred to stay at the airport, the hotel prices there started at a hefty £90 a night. I decided the best alternative was to stay in a central location in Edinburgh with easy access to the airport express bus.

The cheapest hotel which I could find was through Expedia Secret Saver Hotels, priced at £37 a night and described as being a three star hotel in central Edinburgh.

Upon booking, the hotel was revealed as the Britannia Hotel Edinburgh, formerly the Travelodge Edinburgh West End.

britannia hotel edinburgh exterior

Exterior of Britannia Hotel Edinburgh

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My Money Podcast #114

Written by Karen Bryan

The My Money Podcast #114 discusses the recent Help Me To Save articles below.

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

  • Earn a £25 Welcome Bonus If You Lend £1,000 on Ratesetter –  Click here to get a £25 credit to your new RateSetter account, if you deposit and lend out at least £1,000.
  • Beware of Vodafone’s Disappearing Discount– When I queried why my £8.75 half price discount hadn’t been applied on my final bill fo a 24 month Vodafone contract, I was told that I was lucky to have received the discount for the previous two months, as it’s evidently Vodafone policy (although they don’t inform the customer) to withdraw the discount for the final three months of a contract.
  • Proposal to Abolish Class 2 National Insurance Contributions – While the proposed abolition of Class 2 National Insurance Contributions paid by the self-employed is being touted as a tax cut and a simplification of the system, I’m wondering how low earning self-employed people are going to qualify for a full UK State Pension.

 

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6 Hidden Fees and Charges for Borrowers to Avoid

Written by Karen Bryan

£10 and £20 fan close up 500Borrowing money is always expensive. Some loan companies are a lot more competitive than others and it’s always worthwhile being aware of some of the perils of borrowing. Here are six pitfalls that you can avoid.

1. Always check for hidden fees

When looking for a short-term loan, make sure that you have factored all interest rates and fees into your budget. Many customers have been caught unaware by not fully understanding the contract that they are entering into. If a loan company website isn’t transparent, move on to another. Ask if there are any additional costs on top of the loan repayment sum and interest rate charges; some hidden fees may cost you more than the original loan itself.

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Why You Need to Start Planning for the Future Now

Written by Karen Bryan

The ‘Preparing for the Future’ infographic from AXA Self Investor highlights a rather alarming lack of financial planning in the UK. I appreciate that it can seem hard enough to stay afloat in the present, never mind thinking about preparing for the future. However, time passes quickly and it’s prudent to get to grips with your finances right now.

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Why I’m Concerned by the Proposal to Abolish Class 2 National Insurance Contributions

Written by Karen Bryan

calculatorThe UK Chancellor announced the proposted abolition of Class 2 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) during the next Parliament in his March 2015 Budget.

Class 2 NICs are paid by self-employed workers at a flat rate of £2.80 per week (for the tax year starting on 6 April 2015). If your self employment earnings are less than £5,965 per year, you can claim a small earnings exemption from paying Class 2 NICs. Paying Class 2 NICs counts towards building up the 35 years required to receive a full State Pension from 2016.

Self-employed workers earning above £9,060 a year  pay Class 4 NICs at a rate of 9%. However, Class 4 NICs don’t count towards building up the 35 qualifying years for a full State Pension.

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Beware of Vodafone’s Disappearing Discount

Written by Karen Bryan

vodafoneWhen I checked my Santander 123 Current Account, I was surprised that the monthly amount I’d paid for my Vodafone mobile phone contract had increased by almost £9.

I logged into my Vodafone account to check the bill. The reason for the increase was that the £8.75 monthly discount, agreed at the start of my 24 month mobile phone contract in mid May 2013, had not been applied.

I contacted Vodafone through online chat to query this and request a refund for the £8.75.

I was informed that any discount is not applied for the last three months of a contract in order to improve the upgrade options available to customers and that I was lucky to have received the discount for the previous two months.

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