This week: Paying for Christmas, are you being cheated on your savings, how rising inflation hits home and bargain books for Christmas.
Paying for Christmas
Seasonal spending is expected to be up this year. That’s partly people are beginning to feel slightly happier about the economy, and after a long year are keen to enjoy themselves.
But for those worrying about how to afford Christmas this year, a 0 per cent interest credit card can come to the rescue, with some giving up to 20 months to pay off a balance interest free. It's important to apply soon, though, as the cards can take two weeks to arrive.
Are you getting cheated on your savings?
If you haven’t checked your interest rate lately, you could in for a nasty surprise.
There are some 80 accounts that pay 0.1 per cent or less. It means if you had £1,000 of savings, you’d get just a pound a year interest.
But if you were a bit smarter with your money, you could get much more.
Inflation hits savers
Inflation has climbed from 1.2 per cent to 1.3 per cent leaving only a fifth of deposit accounts beating inflation, while half of Isas do.
To beat inflation, a basic rate taxpayer at 20 per cent needs to find a savings account paying 1.63 per cent, while a higher rate taxpayer at 40 per cent needs to find an account paying at least 2.17 per cent.
Of the 619 non-ISA accounts in the market today, there are 137 that basic rate taxpayers can choose to negate the effects of tax and inflation.
ISAs, however, present a slightly better picture with 130 out of 209 offering rates that beat inflation.
Bargain of the week
Blackwell’s is offering 30% off its range of classic novels
F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, both down from £6.99 to £4.89. Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, meanwhile, is reduced from £7.99 to £5.59.