My Money Podcast #99

Written by Karen Bryan

The My Money Podcast #99 summaries the articles below.

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Using Three Mobile’s ‘Feel At Home’ in the US – My experience using a Three Mobile ‘All in One 15′ Add-on in the US, which allowed me to access my UK plan free of charge.

How to Find the Cheapest Flights – Research indicates that booking your flight 7-8 weeks prior to departure, to fly on a Tuesday evening offers the biggest savings.

The ‘Tariff Comparison Rate’ Adds to Confusion When Comparing Prices – The best way to compare various energy tariffs is to enter your annual consumption, as it may greatly vary from the average.

Things to Take into Account When You Become a Freelancer – Remember to factor in things like lack of employers payment into your pension, holiday and sick pay when working out how much income you need to generate to replace a salary.

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Review of Vodafone World Traveller

Written by Karen Bryan

vodafoneVodafone World Traveller allows you to use your UK plan abroad in some countries outside Europe, for an additional fee of £5 per pay. As a regular user of Vodafone Euro Traveller, which costs an additional £3 a day to use your UK plan in most of Europe, I looked into Vodafone World Traveller prior to our trip to Chicago.

The countries currently included are:

  • Australia
  • Egypt
  • Ghana
  • India
  • New Zealand
  • Qatar
  • South Africa
  • USA

Considering that the standard Vodafone rates to use your UK mobile is the US are £1 a minute to receive a call, £1.05 a minute to make a call, 37p plus a the price of a domestic text and £3 per MB of data for up to 5MB then £15 for every 5MB after that, the World Traveller looks like great value. Calls and texts to either the UK or within the country which you are visiting are included.

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Scotland to Introduce Stamp Duty Replacement

Written by Karen Bryan

SAMSUNGStamp Duty is one of the most unfair UK taxes. For a start, the Stamp Duty threshold has been at £125,000 since 2006.  A one bedroom flat in many parts of the UK costs at least £125,000. Then there’s the fact that once you reach the threshold, you have to pay Stamp Duty on the whole amount, not just on the amount above the threshold.

In April 2015, the Scottish Government is due to replace Stamp Duty with a Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT). This is pertinent to us as we plan to move back to Scotland in the near future.

The LBTT threshold will be £135,000, £10,000 higher than the current Stamp Duty threshold. Personally, I think it should have been a lot higher, at least £163,000, the average price of a house in Scotland.

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Five Things to Take into Account When Becoming a Freelancer

Written by Karen Bryan

£1 coin stackThe UK is increasingly becoming a nation of self-employed workers, with many employees becoming freelancers, either by choice or circumstance. If you’re thinking of making this move, here are five things of which you should be aware when you are thinking about being a freelancer.

Pension Provision

If you’re a member of a workplace pension scheme, the chances are that your employer is making contributions into your pension pot. Once you become an independent contractor, it will just be you who makes contributions into your pension. Some employees have a final salary or career average pensions, which guarantees the amount of pension which you’ll receive. Whereas when you’re self-employed, the value of your pension pot is likely to be related to stock market performance.

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Tariff Comparison Rate (TCR) Makes Comparing Energy Prices More Confusing

Written by Karen Bryan

gas meterWhen I read about the new ‘EDF Energy Blue+ Price Freeeeze’ fixed rate until 31 May 2018 deal, I decided to take a closer look. Our current EDF fixed rate deal expires next year, so I’m on the look out for a new fixed rate deal.

As I’m already an EDF customer, I was able to log into my account and go to the change tariff option to get a costing for all the currently available tariffs. A Tariff Comparison Rate (TCR) was prominently displayed in the price comparison. I’d never heard of the TCR before. It turns out that it’s a figure based on the average consumption of 3,200 kWh/year for electricity and 13,500 kWh/year for gas.

Energy tariffs are so complex. Our current EDF fixed rate tariff is higher for the first so many units of gas and electricity that you use each year; once that threshold is reached the price per unit reduces. The EDF fixed deal until May 2018, has a daily standing charge and the same price for each unit of gas or electricity used.

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Tips on Finding the Cheapest Flights

Written by Karen Bryan

annual flight studyThe Annual Flight Study by momondo, the flight and hotel price comparison site, offers three tips to help you find the cheapest flights. These tips were based on examining 7.5 billion fares over 100 popular routes.

1 – When to Book Your Flight

The biggest saving can be gained by when you book your flight. Booking 53 days (around 7-8 weeks) before your flight can offer a saving of 29%. The most expensive time to book the flight is on the day of departure. I have booked several cheap flights more than six months before my departure date.

2 – Which Day to Fly

Flying on a Tuesday can save 13% compared to flying on a Saturday. I can see the attraction of Saturday flights to people who work traditional office days/hours, as a Saturday return allows you the Sunday to recover before going back to work on the Monday. Also, quite a few self catering properties are let from Saturday to Saturday. I’ve certainly bagged quite a few Ryanair bargain flights on Tuesdays, but I do like flying on a Saturday as there’s less traffic for the drive to Edinburgh Airport and the airport is quieter than on weekdays.

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Will Europe Reach Pressure Point?

Written by Karen Bryan

pressure pointThe short fictional story Pressure Point written by Thomas Hughes and published by ABN AMRO Commercial Finance, describes a future financial crisis in the European Union involving power politics.

The story is related in the first person by a German business man, Klaus Pinsel. Russia secretly builds a gas pipeline for supplying the Chinese market, to avoid being reliant on supplying the European market. This leads to several smaller EU members leaving the EU and bringing in protectionist policies. Inflation and rates of interest rocket, leading to recession and reduced investment.

The story is all too plausible with tensions in the Ukraine, the increasing appeal of the UKIP party in Great Britain and the current economic malaise of the EU, even extending to Germany.

My conclusions from the story are:

There are Always Opportunities to Make Money, both in Good and Bad Times

Klaus Pinsel first made money by building up a sanitary company which won the cleaning contract at Euro 2006. He then moved to London to set up a property business to take advantage of rising prices. During the crisis, he identified a gap in the market to build affordable housing for sale in Germany, in response to increasing rents.

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Using Three Mobile’s ‘Feel at Home’ in the US

Written by Karen Bryan

three mobileI’ve only travelled to Europe over the last few years. During most of my trips I activated Vodafone’s Euro Traveller, where I paid a daily fee of £3 to use my UK plan in the country which I was visiting. When I was planning a trip to Chicago, I did some research into the cheapest option for using my mobile phone in the US.

I knew about Three Mobile’s ‘Feel at Home’ which offered free usage of a UK plan in some countries including the USA. I didn’t want to take out a contract with Three Mobile, as my current Vodafone contract still had nine months to run. Therefore, I tried to work out if I could use a Three Mobile PAYG SIM to access ‘Feel at Home’.

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Review of Zanussi ZWH7149P Washing Machine

Written by Karen Bryan

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zanussi washing machineOur Bosch washing machine konked out after almost 9 years of use. Having been very happy with the low prices and free next day delivery offered by ao.com when we replaced our fridge freezer earlier this year, I started my search for a new washing machine on their website.

We were looking for a pretty basic washing machine, but it needed to fit into the space in our kitchen. We weren’t bothered about a fast spin speed, as my husband reckons that high spin speeds shorten the life of the appliance and we find that clothes come out too crushed.

We wanted a machine that had a rinse hold option. This suspends the wash load in the water of the final rinse, so you can spin at a convenient time.

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My Money Podcast #98

Written by Karen Bryan

The My Money Podcast #98 summaries the articles below.

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Why Should Taxpayers Subsidise Low Wages? -  I believe that employers should pay a living wage, rather than taxpayers subsidising low wages through in-work benefits.

Review of the MadBid.com Auction Site – Although a lucky few may win electronics items at rock bottom prices, you have to pay to bid on this auction site.

Saving on a Shoestring – Can old-fashioned budgeting methods such as Jam Jar and Envelope banking make it easier ot save money?

 

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