Personal Borrowing Problems? 5 Ways to Become Debt Free This Year

Written by Karen Bryan

£10 and £20 notes 240The scale of the UK’s debt problem is huge. Latest statistics from the Money Charity make for frightening reading – just a couple of sample facts are that the average total debt per household, including mortgages, was £54,080 in January and that figure is forecast to rise to £94,481 by early 2021. There’s more here.

However, we can change. So if you’re ready to remove that millstone of owing others from your neck, but wondering on the right approach, here are five actions to take now to get rid of those debts:

Stop Spending More Than You Earn

The number one rule in reducing debts is to break down exactly what money is coming in and going out, and hope that the former is a greater amount than the latter. A bank statement should tell you the simple answer.

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Santander Regular eSaver Pays 5% Interest

Written by Karen Bryan

santanderThe Santander Regular eSaver account pays a variable interest rate of 5%. The maximum monthly payment in to the Santander Regular eSaver is £200, which must be paid by standing order from a Santander current account.

You can make penalty-free withdrawals from your Santander Regular eSaver. You can only operate the account using online or mobile banking.

Yet, perversely, you can only open a Santander Regular eSaver in a branch or by phone. This is annoying. It took the best of 30 minutes for me to set up the account over the phone. Surely an account which can only be operated through online or mobile banking should allow customer to open it online?

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Will You Open a Peer to Peer ISA?

Written by Karen Bryan

fan of £10 notes square1From 6 April 2016, tax-free ISA accounts will be available to peer-to-peer lenders.

In my opinion, this is overdue. In February 2013. I wrote an article asking “Why Can’t Peer to Peer Lenders Offer ISAs?”

As an existing customer of peer-to-peer lender Ratesetter, I received an email from then asking if I would be transferring any existing Cash or Share ISAs into the new RateSetter Innovative Finance ISA,

Although I’m tempted by the higher rates of interest offered by peer-to-peer lending, I don’t want to risk my capital, as peer-to-peer lending isn’t covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

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Limited Editions Batman V Superman Meerkat Toys From Comparethemarket.com

Written by Karen Bryan

If you make a qualifying purchase (e.g. car, home, pet or life insurance, credit card, loan, switching energy supplier or taking out a broadband, phone or TV package) through the Comparethemarket.com website, you’ll be eligible to receive Heroic Rewards.

You can claim a free limited editions meerkat toy: either an Aleksandr as Batman, or a Sergei as Superman. Plus, you can join Meerkat Movies for 12 months, which offers two for the price of one on cinema tickets on specific days.

supermand and batman meerkat toys

These two superhero Meerkat toys celebrate the release of the ‘Superman v Batman: Dawn of Justice’ film on 25 March 2016. The toys even come with a certificate of authenticness to prove that they are part of the Meerkat Movies limited editions range of characters.

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Are Group Buying Sites Restaurant Deals Any Good?

Written by Karen Bryan

I find that the deals on group buying sites such as Groupon and Travelzoo are a bit of a hit and miss.

When I received a 10% off Travelzoo local deals code, I had a look to see if there were any restaurant offers in Edinburgh for a forthcoming trip to the city.

the potting shed edinburgh

Interior of the Potting Shed Edinburgh

There was a £29 three course meal for two at the Potting Shed. I’d heard that the food at the Potting Shed was good. I checked that the deal was available for the dates that I’d be in Edinburgh, and checked that there weren’t any set menu offers on the Potting Shed website. I then purchased the voucher for £26 (after the 10% discount was applied).

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Uber Annoyed Over My Supposedly Free First Ride

Written by Karen Bryan

uber appI used the directions facility on the Google Maps app on my Sony Xperia mobile phone during my recent trip to London.

At the bottom of the directions, there was always an estimate of the cost to make the journey by Uber  (an online taxi dispatch service), along with an offer for a free first ride up to the value of £20.

I was tempted to take up the free ride offer on a couple of occasions.

The first time was when I was moving from the Pelican Hotel in south London to the Ramada Finchley Hotel. I wasn’t feeling very well that morning and wasn’t relishing the thought of the bus from the Pelican to Tooting Broadway station, 50 minutes on the Tube to East Finchley station, and then another bus to the Ramada.

The estimated fare for that trip was around £34, meaning that I’d have to pay £14, after the £20 credit was applied. I worked out that taking two buses and the Tube would cost around £6. That’d mean that I’d only have to fork out an additional £8 to do the journey with no waiting at bus stops or carrying my case up and down steps in the Tube stations.

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20 Extremely Quick and Easy Ways to Save Money

Written by Karen Bryan

There are many ways to save money, some more difficult and time-consuming than others. Often it’s the small, incremental lifestyle changes that provide the biggest rewards. Here are 20 of the easiest, quickest ways to save.

two piggy banks

Use Reward Credit Cards

Many leading banks offer reward accounts with up to 5% cashback on purchases in department stores, supermarkets and even petrol stations.

Buy in Bulk

Few cost saving measures are more effective than buying in bulk. Whether you’re purchasing food or cleaning products, you’ll be able to lower costs on items which will always be needed.

Compare Supermarkets

Save money on your weekly shop by using the cheapest supermarkets. Price comparison websites will show you those that have the best prices and deals.

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How Can You Make the Most of the Volatile Markets?

Written by Karen Bryan

share-priceGlobal markets are going through a period of intense turmoil, sparked by worries over China’s economic slowdown and steep falls in the price of oil, among many other issues. With other major events on the horizon, such as a change of leadership in the USA and the EU referendum in the UK, we can expect the volatility to continue for some time to come.

While many investors look for safe havens during such periods, for spread bettors this is a goldmine of opportunity, with rapid and often violent swings in the market affording plenty of scope for fast profit. If you ever wanted to learn spread betting, this is about as good a time as you could hope for. But, before getting started, it’s important to know some key tactics that can give you an edge.

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How Getting Onto the Property Ladder Can Save Money

Written by Karen Bryan

housesSometimes getting on the property ladder in the UK can seem like an impossible dream.

It can be hard to save up a deposit and to find the right property at an affordable price.

While renting a home gives you flexibility, paying rent for decades can end up costing you a lot more than owning your own property.

There are some initiatives to help first-time buyers. With the Government Help To Buy scheme, you may only need a 5% deposit to purchase a property. There’s also the Help To Buy ISA, whereby you can save up to £200 a month, with the Government boosting your savings with £50 for every £200 saved, up to a maximum bonus of £3,000.

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Getting to Grips with UK Tax

Written by Karen Bryan

A ‘Complete Guide to UK Tax’ infographic from chartered accountancy firm Alexander & Co illustrates some of the ins and outs of the system.

At an average rate of 24.9%, the UK comes in at number seven in countries with the highest rates of income tax. Just under half of the people in the UK pay income tax, which accounts for 23% of Government revenue.

taxinforgraphic

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