Changes to Scotrail Club 50

Written by Karen Bryan

Scotrail like to trumpet their offer of a £17 flat return fare within Scotland to members of the Scotrail Club 50. This perk is now going to be available three times a year. It was twice a year until now.

Whilst it is a good offer, it’s pretty rare for me to make long trips by train within Scotland. Most of my rail usage is off peak day returns from Stirling to Glasgow, which cost around £7 (after the 20% Scotrail Club 50 discount).

But another Scotrail Club 50 perk of a free small bottle of water or a carton of orange juice and a sweet treat, has now been ditched. It has been replaced with a 50% discount on hot or cold drinks.

I doubt if I will renew my annual membership of Club 50 when it expires next March. As I will 60 years old in April next year, I will be able to buy a Senior Citizen’s Railcard which will give me a 33% discount on all rail fares. The Senior Citizen’s Railcard costs £30, double the price of the £15 charged for the Scotrail Club 50. But I reckon that I will more than the recoup that additional £15 bu the larger discount offered.

Review of Travelodge Ayr

Written by Karen Bryan

Over the years I have been a fan of Travelodge. They generally offer rooms of a reasonable standard at competitive prices.

Their room prices were lower in the past. Around ten years, I used to be able to regularly book rooms for £15 and even £9 during their sales. The cheapest room were always on the Saver non-refundable rate.

However, Travelodge prices have crept up over the years. It’s quite hard to find room priced under £30 a night, even if your stay is during low season and you book well in advance on the Saver rate.

I was keen to go down to Ayrshire to visit Dumfries House, the Burns Museum and a textile exhibition at the Maclaurin Gallery. It was too much to fit in one day, so I looked for a reasonably price hotel room. I thought that Sunday would be the cheapest night on which to stay.

I searched for a room one week before my proposed stay.

I found a room at Travelodge Ayr for £35 a night on the flexible rate, meaning that I could cancel free of charge until noon on my day of arrival.

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Renewing My Car Insurance With Direct Line

Written by Karen Bryan

Last year I took out our car insurance with Direct Line. They offered the lowest price of £234 which included no claims protection, a guaranteed hire car and a zero voluntary excess. I didn’t require breakdown cover as that is included as a benefit of my Nationwide Flex Plus current account.

This year, I received an automatic renewal letter from Direct Line informing me that the premium had gone up to £253.

I did a search on a couple of price comparison websites to see if I could beat that price. I did find a price of £237 for the same level of cover.

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Further Cut to Nationwide Flex Plus Account Benefits

Written by Karen Bryan

The cull of benefits for Nationwide Flex Plus current account holders continues.

The recent hike in the monthly fee from to £10 to £13 is to be followed by detrimental changes to the annual worldwide family travel insurance.

From 1 January 2019, the insurance will be only offered to customers aged under 70, versus the current benefit of coverage for customers aged under 75.

Holders of a Nationwide Flex Plus current account aged 70+ plus will then have to pay an additional £75 a year for annual travel insurance, versus the current £50 annual fees for those aged 75+.

Whilst this change does not affect me at present, I feel that older people are unfairly treated  by travel insurance products. These age limits don’t factor in an individual’s health. I know some 80 year olds who enjoy better health than 60 year olds.

In my opinion charging older people more for travel insurance, regardless of their personal health, may mean that older people are deterred from travelling.

5 Work From Home Jobs That Can Make A Lucrative Income

Written by Karen Bryan

Have you ever sat at your desk at your 9 to 5, staring longingly out of the window and wishing you didn’t have to be there? Have you ever trudged begrudgingly through the rain, feeling the droplets hit your umbrella as the wind blows it inside-out? Have you ever sat in a cramped, warm conference room, being lectured by your manager on your sales figures and desperately wanting to give them a piece of your mind?

If you answered “yes” to any or all of those questions, then working from home might be more to your tastes. When you work from home, you can watch the snow pile up outside your window and know you don’t have to make the arduous trek into your office. You can watch those engaged in the rat race as they scurry from train station to train station, sipping your coffee and knowing you don’t need to work for another hour or so if you don’t want to. There are plenty of reasons to work from home, but how do you achieve it? What jobs can you possibly do from the comfort of your own home and still make a tidy packet? Read on to find out…

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How To Cut Down On Long Distance Moving Costs

Written by Karen Bryan

Moving is difficult – not just emotionally but financially as well. Sure, bidding farewell to your old hometown can bring little tears to your eyes but thinking about moving costs will definitely make those tears bigger. It’s just that costly to move out of an old home.

That is, if you don’t have a trick under your sleeve.

Lucky for you, today we’re not just going to teach you one trick; we’ll be teaching you three. Moving out doesn’t have to be too painful on your pocket. I mean, you’re already carrying emotional baggage with you because of the relocation and all. The last thing you need is to worry about how on earth you’re going to pay for the move. You certainly don’t have the option to carry everything on a backpack (or, do you?) so the best course of action you can take is to simply follow our advice.
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Review of Premier Inn Dundee Monifieth

Written by Karen Bryan

I stayed at the Premier Inn Dundee Monifieth on a Friday night in early September 2018. I booked the room around three weeks before my stay. The room cost £31 on the non-refundable advance booking Saver rate. It’s unusual to find reasonably priced accommodation on a Friday night, even if you book months in advance.

The hotel is located just off the main road between Dundee and Arbroath. Premier Inn Monifieth and the adjacent Brewer’s Fayre share a car park. When I arrived around 6pm, there were still plenty of parking spaces available.

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Review of UK National Art Pass

Written by Karen Bryan

A National Art Pass offers free or discounted admission to many art related venues and special exhibitions in the UK. In Scotland, where I live, there are 21 galleries and museums which offer free entry to National Art Pass holders.

I’d been thinking about buying a National Art Pass for some time. The standard adult price is £67. If you sign up to pay by direct debit, you receive a 25% discount on the price for your first year of membership, bring the price down to just over £50.

If you have family or friends who would regularly visit art venues with you, there is an option to add Plus One for an additional payment of £38. It’s good that it’s not another named person on your membership, so you could take different people with you.
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How Leasing a Van in Your Business Can Save You Money

Written by Karen Bryan

More and more businesses every year are deciding to lease vans and fleets of vehicles as a way to save money in their business. Here, we are taking you through the main advantages of business van leasing and why we think it is definitely something that you should consider investing in for your business.

It Gives You More Money to Spend on Other Business Areas

Buying a fleet of vans is, as you can imagine, very expensive and so one of the great things about van leasing is that the money that you have left over from the company vehicle budget will then be able to be spent on other areas of your business. When leasing vans, you will be required to pay small monthly instalments and companies will only have to pay small expenses as part of their contract. This extra money can be used in variety of different ways such as helping to grow your business. However, we would recommend that you keep some of the money saved aside as you may be landed with a fee at the end if the van is in worse condition that the general wear and tear.
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Harry’s Ramsden’s Club 60 Meal Deal

Written by Karen Bryan

I  regularly stop in South Queensferry when I am driving from Stirling to Edinburgh for a walk and a drink from my flask. I’ve always thought that Harry Ramsden’s Three Bridges must have good views over the Forth estuary and bridges, either from the exterior or interior tables. But I’ve been in South Queensferry too early to want to eat there.

When walking past Harry Ramsden’s recently, I decided to have a quick look at the menu to check out the prices. I noticed that there was a Club 60 meal deal. For £8, you could have a hot drink, fish and chips, and either ice cream, or bread and butter pudding, for dessert. I thought that I should sample Harry Ramsden’s Club 60 deal soon, before the offer was withdrawn and before the end of the Summer.

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