(This is a Guest Post)
Thousands of people in the UK have an Individual Savings Account (ISA), which allows them to save a certain amount every year without paying tax on the interest their savings accrue.
If you have an ISA or are considering getting one any time soon, bear these tips in mind to help you getting the most from a cash ISA:
- Fill up your ISA early in the year – this will enable you to fill your account and fully use your cash ISA allowance for the year, without rushing to get everything sorted in April (the end of the tax year). If you leave it too late, your ISA allowance for the year will be gone.
- Consider putting money from other savings accounts or current accounts into your ISA. As the interest in an ISA is tax-free, you will be able to make your money go much further than in a standard savings account.
- Never take money out of your ISA, even to transfer it to another ISA. This will result in you losing all the tax benefits associated with cash ISAs.
- Make sure you understand the interest rate on your ISA. Is it variable or fixed rate? If you know your interest rate, you can work out how fast your savings will grow and also figure out if it’s time to move your cash (i.e. if your interest rate drops).
- How can you access your money if you need it? Some ISAs are instant access, whilst others lock your money away for a fixed period and can charge you a fee or a proportion of the interest on your savings for withdrawing money early.
As the country’s economic slump has continued, many people are finding themselves facing aggressive calls from the nation’s debt collection industry. Some of these people actually owe money that they cannot pay, but some people do not owe anything and are the victims of sloppy record-keeping or mistaken identity. Even if you do owe money that you are unable to repay, you have rights. Here are some techniques that you can use to protect yourself and limit the amount of contact you have with debt collectors.
Know What Your Rights Are
Many debt collection companies deliberately mislead debtors or omit information that could help a debtor reduce the amount of contact they have with debt collectors. If you know what your rights are under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you will lessen your risk of being taken advantage of or being deceived into paying money that you do not owe. Debtors’ rights vary by state, so do your research and keep yourself informed of the debt collection rules for your area. If you believe that a debt collection company is being deceptive, report them to the Federal Trade Commission, the Better Business Bureau, and the Attorney General for your state.
Request Everything In Writing
One little known fact is that a debt collector cannot legally pursue you for a debt unless they provide you with a written statement outlining your debt within a certain time period of contacting you, typically five days. If this statement is requested and not provided within the time period and you are still receiving calls from the debt collector, you may have grounds to sue the company for harassment. These time period can vary by state, so check your local laws to learn what the specific time period is for your location.
Send The Collector A Cease-And-Desist Letter
The Fair Debt Collection Act gives you the power to demand, in writing, that a harassing debt collector stop calling you, so take advantage of this technique if you feel as if the calls are getting out of control or you are being called for money that you do not owe. Get the name of the company that is calling you and their address if you can, then send the company a cease-and-desist letter by certified mail requesting that they stop calling you to collect on the debt. After this letter has been received, the debt collector may have no other option than to try to sue you in court for the amount that they say you owe.
Scrimping and saving can be a big pain, especially if you have limited funds or your monthly bills eat up most of your income. In order to save more of your money without having to dramatically change your quality of life, you can adopt some simple habits that will help you spend less each month. By making a few tiny changes to the way you shop, save, and invest, you can increase the amount that you are able to place into your savings account by a significant amount.
Learn How To Cook
Purchasing your meals from restaurants and diners can get very expensive very quickly, so learning how to cook is in your best interest financially. Cook books do not cost much and you can pick up pans and cooking utensils at any mass merchandiser for a fraction of the amount that you would pay eating out for two weeks. You can buy the ingredients to make your favorite meals from the grocery store for less than half of the amount you would pay to purchase them from a restaurant. You can tailor the meals to your particular taste and eat better than you may have purchasing similar meals from other locations.
Stay Away From The Name Brands
It doesn’t matter whether it is brand name clothing or nationally branded grocery items, the name on the label will cost you more. If you take the time to try some generic or store branded items, you may find that you are paying less for nearly the same taste and quality. Truthfully, you may not always like the generic versions of your favorite items, but by switching the ones you can stand, you can save 25% or more on your purchases.
Buy Items That Are Discounted
If you get into the habit of purchasing items that are on sale, you will routinely save money off of the prices of the items that you decide to buy. Many stores announce sales where they take 30% or more off of the prices of certain items and clearance merchandise gives you even more of a discount. By tailoring your purchases to what is on sale, you will never pay full price for merchandise again.
Choose To Stay In
If you want to have a good time with your friends or family, consider inviting them to your home for a night in instead of going out somewhere. You can get just as much enjoyment from renting a movie and ordering some pizzas as you can spending your money at the local watering hole. Involve everyone by making it a potluck event or having a couple of people bring movies and vote on the order they will be watched. There are many ways to entertain yourself and your friends without spending a lot of money, so explore your options and expand your horizons.
(This is a Guest Post)
Short of selling your car, the easiest way to make a serious dent in your annual driving costs is to reduce on fuel consumption. With oil prices the highest they have ever been (and still set to rise) there are only so many ‘non-essential’ journeys that can be saved. Anyway, driving a car is not meant to be about not driving places, is it?
The latest news is that cars for sale in the UK are now focusing on the latest generation of dual engine hybrids – with the new Honda CR-V about to hit the market you’ll be quids in at the petrol station. The tweaked, refined and aerodynamically overhauled version of the world popular CR-V is one of the most fuel efficient cars of its class, style and power to be launched in the UK.
If you’re not yet familiar with hybrids – the semi-electric motor uses so much less fuel than a conventional engine that it would be almost insane to not look in this direction for anyone about to buy new. Hybrids take the middle road between diesel/petrol engines and all electrics and come in all shapes and powers: tiny smart city cars to family SUVs all the way to high end luxury sports cars.
At the same time as using less fuel, the latest generation of cars for sale in the UK have better eco credentials than ever before – with the Honda CR-V clocking up a lower C02 rating than any previous model. With conventional cars currently producing half of all transport CO2 emissions (which in turn add up to 16% of all CO2 contributions to green house gases) – these more eco friendly fuel efficient cars are one of the most viable ways all big car manufacturers are now looking to reduce their own carbon footprint as well as that of their buyers.