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 »
Hobbies are incredibly popular in the UK, with the majority of the population having at least one pastime they turn to as an escape from the pressures of the world. That popularity has made them into a big business: a study in 2013 revealed that Brits collectively spend £18 billion on hobbies every year.
But can your expertise in a particular pastime translate into expertise on the stock markets, and successful investment? There are plenty of hobbies that have a clear impact on the markets, and where major occurrences have led to major stock fluctuations.
Cinephiles have a hard time of it nowadays, as multiplex ticket costs rise alongside extra expenses like 3D and IMAX. There may be good news though, as paying close attention to the film charts and predicting the next big blockbuster (or, indeed flop) can lead to some good investment insight.
This year’s biggest box office so far has come from X-Men: Days of Future Past, the latest in the long running series of comic book movies from 21st Century Fox. Released on May 23, the stock price of Fox rallied as the film dominated the charts, rising 4.4% in the two weeks after the film was released.
When I was staying at the Premier Inn Dundee North, I noticed that one of the nearby restaurants in Camperdown Leisure Park, the AshokaShak, did a £7 Indian buffet lunch from 12.30 to 3pm, excluding Mondays and Tuesdays. The restaurant location is handy if you’re driving through Dundee, as Camperdown Leisure Park is just off the Kingsway ring road at the Coupar Angus junction.
The weather forecast for the next morning was rain dying out by around 11am, with more rain by mid afternoon. I planned to visit Camperdown Park during the dry slot in the late morning and then have lunch at AshokaShak, before driving on to Stirling to check in at the Premier Inn Stirling City Centre.
A couple of the highest rate instant access accounts have restrictions on the number of withdrawals and/or can only be operated in branch or by phone. I want an account which has unlimited withdrawals and can be operated online.
The current issue of the Halifax Online Saver only pays a rate of 0.9% on balances between £1 and £19,999. In the past, the Santander eSaver paid a good rate, but it’s now only paying 1%.
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Are You Ready for Retirement? – I was a coach at the recent AegonRetiready Bootcamp in London, giving tips on how to save money on everyday expenses to enable higher payments into a pension pot.
Real Returns on Cash ISAs Half- I worked out that real return (the rate of interest minus inflation) on fixed rate Cash ISAs has almost halved in the last two years.
How to Make Your Own PPI Compensation Claim – With Personal Payment Protection (PPI) claim companies charging a fee of around 25% plus VAT of the compensation payout, you could pocket more cash by doing the claim yourself.
There’s been a lot in the media about claiming compensation for mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI). This product was usually sold alongside credit cards and loans to cover the credit card or loan monthly payments, typically for 12 months, due to circumstances such as illness or unemployment.
However, in some cases, customers were given misleading advice about why they should buy PPI, e.g. it wasn’t made clear that purchase of PPI wasn’t mandatory, or that self-employed workers weren’t covered. That’s the basis for reclaiming the PPI premiums paid, plus interest and a penalty.
You don’t need to use a PPI claims management firm, you can make a claim for PPI compensation yourself. This means that if your claim is successful you will receive the whole payout. Whereas, if you use a claims management firm, their fee of around 25% plus VAT of the payout, will be deducted from the compensation paid to you.
My Santander two-year fixed rate Cash ISA paying 4.1% matured on 1 July 2014. In the weeks prior to its maturity I was on the lookout for a new Cash ISA into which to transfer my savings.
Considering that the Bank of England base rate has remained static for more than five years, it’s disappointing that the rate of interest paid on savings account has dropped so much in the last two years.
The highest rate which I could find for a new two-year fixed rate Cash ISA was 2.3% in a Santander 123 account (you need to hold a Santander 123 Current Account or Credit Card to open the account). I read that existing Santander Cash ISA customers had unti.l 31 July 2014 to fund the account, so I opened an account on 2 June 2014 in order to secure the 2.3% rate. I’m glad I did, as the rate dropped to 2% on 9 June 2014.
Recent research conducted by Aegon highlighted that 9 out of 10 people in the UK aren’t prepared for retirement, with many people underestimating for how many years they’ll live and overestimating their pension income.
Using the AegonRetiready online retirement planning service can help you prepare for retirement. It only takes a few minutes to answer questions such as your planned date of retirement, current payments into your pension and desired income in retirement, to give you a score out of 100 to indicate if your retirement expectations are likely to be fulfilled.
If your retirement aspirations are not looking achievable, you can go on to the Retiready online tool to create a plan, so that your can attain your retirement goals.
I was one of the coaches at the recent Retiready boot camp in London. Along with investment consultant Robert Gardner and healthy living expert Julie Parry-Jones, we gave tips to three people – Derek, Joe and Angela, to help them get ready for retirement.
The latest findings from the UK Disposable Income Index, conducted every three months for the ISA provider Scottish Friendly Society, reveal that households have a higher disposable income (money left every month after paying for essentials such as housing, fuel and food).
In the previous Index, UK households had an average of 5% of take home pay remaining as disposable income. This figure has risen to 8% in the most recent Index. It appears that people are not spending this additional disposable income, they are choosing to save more, with 60% are now putting some cash in savings, up from 55% in the previous Index. Maybe this is in order to build up a buffer against future lean times after suffering through the recession and a change in attitude to debt?