What is Economy 7?

Written by Karen Bryan

When browsing the energy market for a cheaper tariff or deal you will have probably heard of the Economy 7 energy tariff. Economy 7, as it is known in England and Wales (Scottish readers should look up White Meter), is a differential or two-tier energy tariff. A differential tariff allows the price you pay per unit of energy to vary with consumption and time throughout the day. Typically you are charged a lower rate

Put simply this means that you will be charged different rates for energy at different times of the day. On an Economy 7 tariff this means that you will be charged a cheaper electricity rate for a 7 hour period each day. Typically this lower rate is charged during ‘off-peak’ hours, such as midnight to 7am. To compensate for this economy 7 customers typically pay more for peak rate hours.

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Another Moving of Goalposts for Pension Planning

Written by Karen Bryan

retirement-signI am absolutely sick fed up of the UK Government’s constant tinkering with pensions.

There’s all this talk about how people should put a higher percentage of their earnings into a pension to ensure a comfortable retirement. But when you try to plan your retirement, the goalposts keep changing.

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An Update on Simples from Comparethemarket.com

Written by Karen Bryan

In July last year I wrote about my roadtesting of the Simples tool from Comparethemarket.com. Simples is a really handy online tool allowing you to store and access all your insurance policies. So if you ever need to get details on your cover, you don’t need to start searching for policy documents.

In the last few months, the Simples website has become even better. You can now upload policies from a broader range of car, home and travel insurance providers. There is a video guide on the website explaining how to set up your Simples account, an updated welcome page, dashboard and policy details page.

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Review of Cairn Hotel Edinburgh

Written by Karen Bryan

I stayed at the Cairn Hotel in Edinburgh for four nights in November 2016. Initially I booked a two night stay from a Sunday to Tuesday on the Venere website. The combination of a member discount and a 15% off voucher resulted in a price of £47 for a single room for the two nights.

cairn-hotel-exterior

A few days later, I decided to extend my stay by another two nights. This time the lowest price that I could find was £59 for a single room on the eBookers website. That was after deducting a ££2 eBookers Bonus+ credit and a 15% discount voucher.

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Is Peer-to Peer Lending Running Out Of Steam?

Written by Karen Bryan

£1 coin stack2When I read that the Zopa peer-to-peer lending website was no longer accepting new deposits, I wondered if peer-to-peer lending is running out of steam?

Zopa decided to stop accepting new deposits in response the reduced rate of interest being paid to lenders, the increase in time for new deposits to be left out and the seasonal reduction in demand from borrowers.

I assume that peer-to-peer websites have been flooded with cash from savers looking for alternatives for the very low rates of interest available on the standard savings account offered by banks and building societies.

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4 Ways Group Video Conferencing Can Increase Profitability

Written by Karen Bryan

Having large group meetings is a time consuming and often technically involved process, and if done the wrong way, can be a huge time and brain drain on everyone involved. However, holding meetings the right way can have just the opposite effect, and is often enhanced by today’s video conferencing capabilities. Using video to streamline different process within your company can substantially increase profitability, whether through staff time saved, better hiring decisions, or actual operating expenses. Here are four ways that group video conferencing can help you increase your profit margin.

1. Going Global Is More Efficient

Tweak Your Biz states that many companies now have remote office business strategies, expanding ever more into the global marketplace as new strides are made in business communication technology. Remote workers offer a benefit that on-site staff doesn’t. Not only does this mean that employees can work from home, which is a widely coveted benefit, and also means people are less stressed, but you also have an entire global pool of talent to pull from when you’re hiring new staff.

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Have You Overpaid On Your Tax?

Written by Karen Bryan

Build Income Tax Savings Into Your Budget

Thousands of taxpayers are missing out on claiming assorted tax reliefs and allowances from HMRC for work-related expenses, according to the leading tax specialists at Tax Rebate Services.

Like many others, you might think that tax relief only applies to high earners or self-employed people – but the refunds are available to anyone who pays UK income tax. This includes PAYE employees, as well as part-time and full-time staff, and those who have more than one job.

Are You Overpaying Your Tax Bill?

Many taxpayers shell out for items that are solely for work use, and the government acknowledges this with an array of different tax allowances and reliefs. This means that you can reclaim all the tax you have paid on these items, at the rate of tax you pay (whether that’s 20%, 40% or 45%).

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Know Your Options for Planning a Budget

Written by Karen Bryan

We’ve all been there – drowning in a sea of debt. There isn’t anything much more stressful than being in financial dire straits.

There’s nothing worse than those ghastly creditors hounding you to pay-up. It is at times like this that many people are sorely tempted to take on even more credit. They look at it as a lifeline – a solution when in fact all it does is tighten the noose of debt and stress around your already vulnerable neck.

Paying off Debt or Investing?

Unfortunately, your debt isn’t going to miraculously disappear. There is so much financial advice on the Internet, some of it conflicting. Should you pay off debt first or invest the money and have your money work for you? It’s an issue many face -looking for ways to extra money and to cut expenses.

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Redeeming My Free Flight in the Jet2 Competition

Written by Karen Bryan

In November 2016 I won a free flight in Jet2 Name That Destination competition. I had to phone Jet2 to claim my free flight. It was a free phone number with lines open Monday to Friday from 7am to 9pm . I thought that it would be a lot simpler to have been able to book the free flight online.

I had a good look through the Jet2 destinations from Edinburgh during low season, as I didn’t expect to able to redeem a free flight during peak season.

I decided that I’ll like to go to Split in Croatia. I have been to Croatia previously to Zadar and Istria, and always said that’d like to return to visit a different area.

I decided to check accommodation prices in Split for various off peak dates. I concluded that early October would be a good time to go.

I phoned Jet2 to book my free flight and was dismayed to be told that there was an embargo on free flights from Edinburgh to Split from mid September. I asked the customer service rep if she could give me an indication of which destinations were available for which dates. She informed me that she was unable to do this, suggesting that I phone back with a choice of dates for several destinations.

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A Seamless Transition from GB Energy to Co-operative Energy

Written by Karen Bryan

electric meterGB Energy, our gas and electricity supplier, ceased trading on 26 November 2016.

Reassuringly, I read that according to Ofgem safeguards our supply would not be interrupted, and that our credit balance was safe.

At the stage, I wasn’t sure of the exact amount of our credit balance. The most recent bill had come through when I was in Edinburgh for a few days. I planned to log into my GB Energy account upon my return, But that was the weekend that GB Energy ceased trading, and I couldn’t access my account. I estimated that the balance was around £100.

I also read that Ofgem would appoint a new supplier. At that time, it was suggested that it might take a few weeks for the new supplier to be organised.

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