Virgin Money Increase Fixed Rate of Interest on Regular E-Saver

Written by Karen Bryan

I received an email from Virgin Money informing me that, from 1 September 2018, the rate of interest paid on my Regular E-Saver accounts would increase from 2.25% to 2.5%.

I was doubly surprised by this.

Firstly. many financial providers have chosen, either not to increase the rate of interest paid on their savings accounts at all, or to increase the rate paid to savers by less that the recent 0.25% increase in the Bank of England Base Rate.

Secondly, the Virgin Money Regular E-Saver was a fixed rate product, so Virgin Money was not under any obligation to increase the rate paid to savers.

I was already happy with my Virgin Money E-Saver accounts. Every other provider I’ve seen offering one year term regular savings accounts, only allow you to open one regular saving account per 12 month period. With Virgin Money, you can have one account per issue. As there is usually a new issue every two months, this permits you to hold up to six Virgin Money Regular E-Savers concurrently.

BT Increase Prices Again

Written by Karen Bryan

I received an email from BT to say that the price for our broadband was increasing by £2.50 a month from the following month.

BT last increased their prices in November 2017, only ten months ago. At that time, I phoned BT to say that I wasn’t happy with the price increase.

If signed up for a new 18 month contract, BT offered me a reasonable deal which, to my understanding, included a 18 price partial price freeze which only applied to the broadband part of my contract (but not the line rental or calls package).

That’s why I couldn’t understand why BT were telling me that the broadband price was going to increase by £2.50 a month from September 2018.

I phoned BT to query this. Upon checking my account, I was told that there was no price freeze on any part of my account. I said that I was pretty certain that there was a price freeze on the broadband element. I requested that the issue be investigated further.

The customer service rep asked me to hold saying that he would see if he could save me money on my current price, before he initiated the complaints procedure.

He came back with a price for broadband and anytime calls which was £3 lower than the price I was paying. Again that price was only available if I signed a new 18 month contract.

I am certain that BT will increase their price at least once, more probably twice, in the coming 18 months. But as I will be paying a lower price from next month, than I at present, I decided to sign up for another 18 months with BT.

If I hadn’t phoned BT to query the price increase, I would have been paying £5.50 a month more from next month.

Saving Money on Mobile Phone Contracts

Written by Karen Bryan

A consumer’s mobile phone contract is now a considerable part of their monthly spend. The national average salary is £539 per week, £2,335.66 per month making the annual average wage £28,027.99. The average monthly mobile phone bill in the UK is £45.60 per month. That’s a whopping £547.70 UK consumers spend on average on their mobile phone bill per year.

Quick guide to Reducing bile Phone Bills

Minutes, texts, cost of device and data allowance is how networks build their monthly tariffs. Understanding what you need helps guide you to the right tariff for you.

Most contracts now come with unlimited minutes and texts, it’s the data usage that drives the monthly tariff. Check out your previous 3 months usage on your device to understand your average monthly data usage. Most consumers are now within range of a free WIFI device so overloading your data plan can lift your monthly bill for no reason.
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Don’t Be Lured Into Spending By Supermarket Vouchers

Written by Karen Bryan

Despite cautioning about the temptation to spend money to save money, sometimes I still succumb to the lure of supermarket vouchers.

When I filled up the car at Sainsbury’s, I received two Nectar vouchers. One for triple Nectar points on my next Sainsbury’s shop within the following three weeks. The other offered 8p a litre off the price of fuel, if I spent a minimum of £15 at Tui (Sainsbury’s clothing brand).

I was tempted by the Tui fuel offer. I reckoned that I usually put around 40 litres of diesel in my car, so 8p off a litre would equate to a saving of around £3.20 at my next visit to fill up the car.

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I’m Disappointed by Charter Savings Bank

Written by Karen Bryan

I’ve generally been happy with Charter Savings Bank. At times, they have offered market leading interest rates on their savings account. I have also found them to be very efficient.

However, I am disappointed by their recent actions.

I had £1,000 in a two year fixed rate savings account which was due to mature earlier this month. Around three weeks before maturity of that account, I received an email from Charter Savings Bank asking me if I would like to transfer the proceeds of my soon to mature savings account into a new fixed rate account with them.

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Wumtu from Three Mobile

Written by Karen Bryan

I was prompted to download Three money saving app Wumtu to my mobile phone when I received a text message from Three informing me that I could claim a free Costa Strawberry Frostini that Friday.

I had an appointment that Friday at the Santander branch in Stirling top open a Regular eSaver account. It’s really annoying that I can’t open that account online, as only business savings accounts come up as I log into Santander through my business account. But I thought that free cold drink on a warm day would offer a bit of a pleasant distraction.

After downloading the Wumtu app. I had to register my phone. Three checked that my SIM card was a Three SIM. Then I was able to get into the offer.

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Fast Tax Refund from HMRC

Written by Karen Bryan

I finally got around to filing m online income tax return for  the tax year 6 April 2017 to 6 April 2018 on 15 July 2018.

I had worked out the turnover, expenses and profit for my online publishing business by mid April 2018.

But I waited to receive the annual interest statements from my various current and savings account before completing the return. Having to collate all that information is one of the reasons why I am tempted to ditch my high interest current accounts.

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Travelodge Aberdeen Central Justice Mill Review

Written by Karen Bryan

We stayed a the Travelodge Aberdeen Central Justice Mill on a Sunday night in early May 2018. I booked the room during a £10 off the price on Friday and Sunday nights promotion, which brought the price for the room down to £21 for the night.

The Travelodge website said that the hotel has a free car park on a first come, first served basis. I was hoping that by staying on a Sunday night and arriving at around 5pm, that we would find a space in the car park. But the car park was already full when we arrived.

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Is It Time to Ditch High Interest Current Accounts?

Written by Karen Bryan

I’m beginning to think that if’s almost time to ditch at least some of my high interest current accounts.

In the good old days, when the Santander 123 Current Account. Lloyds CLub Current Account and Bank of Scotland Current Account with Vantage were paying up to 3% on credit balances, it was a no brainer to hold these accounts.

But then the conditions for earning that decent rate of interest started getting more onerous e.g. you had to have a minimum of two direct debits paid out each month and/or the monthly fee increased. Plus the interest rate paid started falling, Santander led the way halving the top rate of interest paid on their 123 current account from 3% to 1.5%. Recently Lloyds and Bank of Scotland also reduced their top rate of interest to 1.5%.

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Art Evening Classes at Your Local College

Written by Karen Bryan

If you have an hobby or interest which you would like to develop further, you could take a look at the evening classes on offer at your local college.

I am really into art, so have attended two art evening classes at the local college. Forth Valley College (FVC) has three campuses, Stirling, Falkirk and Alloa I am fortunate that the art evening classes are held in the Stirling campus, a ten minute walk from our home.

I have looked at art classes at various venues in central including the House for an Art Lover in Glasgow and Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop. I’d say that on average these classes were more expensive than at FVC, plus I’d then have travel expenses and at least a couple of hours travel time door to door.

I decided to choose classes which offered me the opportunity try out things that I couldn’t do at home. Last year I did the screen printing art class. It was the most expensive evening art class, costing £200 for ten three hour sessions. But I’ve seen one day screen printing workshops priced at £70.

Later at home, I made collages from most of my screen prints.

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