Donald MacInnes: I was fired for making up horoscopes and then my lifestyle deteriorated

Judging by the literally no emails my secretary Karen received while I was off, you welcomed my break from The Independent as much as I did.

If you’ve got a card in your wallet that charges a low standard interest rate, there’s less financial impact if you can’t repay your full statement balance.

Money Insider: Save money with the right credit card

Research from Sainsbury’s Bank Credit Cards this week revealed that 15 per cent of people making a large purchase on their plastic didn’t use one with 0 per cent interest on purchases

Playmobil

Bargain Hunter: Discounts at Playmobil let you give your children some retail therapy

Playmobil is offering 25 per cent discounts to Christmas shoppers

Last week was hangover time, when Stock Spirits, a vodka producer, distilled a profit warning that sent its shares crashing more than 25 per cent. (image: Rex Features)

No Pain No Gain: Vodka causes a hangover as shares in Stock Spirits slump

Last week was hangover time, when Stock Spirits, a vodka producer, distilled a profit warning that sent its shares crashing more than 25 per cent

Investment melting pot: the price of gold may have fallen but Artemis Strategic Assets believes its value cannot be debased

Mark Dampier: Strong returns can be found if you go the opposite way to the crowds

Investment melting pot: the price of gold may have fallen but Artemis Strategic Assets believes its value cannot be debased

Questions of cash: If Scottish Power could read, my bills wouldn’t be so high

Q | We have had continual problems since July trying to get Scottish Power to correct our electricity bills.  In the meantime, based on its error, it has increased our monthly direct debit based and keeps charging us twice as much as it should.  We are on a “twin heat” tariff with cheap electricity for three hours in the afternoon and four hours at night.

I usually submit meter readings online and had a reminder at the beginning of July to provide current readings. When I went on the website, I noticed the previous “day” readings were shown in the box for the “night” readings and vice versa. I emailed Scottish Power directly with the correct readings.

I received a reassuring reply, but when the bill arrived, the readings were switched around. As a result our monthly direct debit almost doubled to £180.  After I complained, Scottish Power made a partial repayment and sent an amended bill, which was again incorrect. 

I complained again and was given a complaint number, but our case was not looked at for several weeks.  In September I went to the next level in the complaints process. Eventually the company accepted the readings had been switched and our complaint was forwarded to another department. But the bills are still wrong.   BH, Aberystwyth.

The Bank of England announced that interest rates will stay at 0.5 per cent

Simon Read: Banks can’t blame the economy for their low rates

Interest rates are currently as low as 0.1 per cent

The schemes work by using collective power to negotiate better deals with gas and electricity suppliers

Simon Read: Don’t blow a fuse with your energy supplier, just switch

The energy watchdog Ofgem has slammed Scottish Power, while Citizens Advice reports a string of complaints about it

John Lush from Hampshire got into debt with payday lenders and had the help of a debt management charity to clear the £20,000 he owed

Simon Read: The only place for debt is out in the open, don't be afraid to ask for advice

John Lush from Hampshire got into debt with payday lenders and had the help of a debt management adviser to clear the £20,000 he owed

Weekly Money: round-up of the personal finance stories you may have missed 10-14 November

Overcharging on energy bills; payday lenders charge capped; Barclays’ savers warning; new credit card deals; cheap Eurostar trips; the stories we noticed this week.

Overdrafts: What you need to know about getting the right deal

Video: Simon Read tells you what you need to know about how to handle going into the red

Many savers are unknowingly stuck on rubbish accounts that pay practically nothing

Move your savings for more interest and beat the 0.1% trap

A common trick is to have a 12-month introductory bonus rate on savings

Hard-pressed families face growing energy bill worries

As the weather worsens, the number of warnings about hard-pressed people facing energy bill woes grows. More than 15 million households plan to ration their energy use this winter because of sky-high costs, the comparison service uSwitch said this week.

Bargain Hunter: Energy savings mean Christmas lights don't have to come down

LED Hut has launched a new range of Lumilife LED Christmas lights for 2014, and Bargain Hunter readers can get an exclusive 25 per cent discount on them.

Mark Dampier: We're not all doomed and shares in British firms have fallen too far

The years following the financial crisis have been uneasy for investors and fund managers alike. Wider economic, or macro, concerns have dominated news flow. These issues can be worrying, yet the interpretation of macroeconomic events by many commentators has been wrong.

Money
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Video: Simon Read offers some advice on ensuring you enjoy Christmas without the financial hangover
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The LED Hut range could help you cut festive bills for years to come
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Booming alternative finance; current account probe; payday loan ad banned; tax avoidance; energy bill woes: doorstep crime; the stories we noticed this week
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Bergans is among the ski brands whose prices are going downhill
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Gifts such as iPads have been used to tempt mortgage hunters, but the value should be in the home loan itself
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Spooky homes; Junior Isas; your Section 75 credit rights; tax avoidance; tax deadline: help with energy bills; the stories we noticed this week
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If you think that the kind of car dealer portrayed in Minder by Arthur Daley has been consigned to history, think again. If you can haggle on the forecourt, you can get massive discounts on a new car, reckons What Car? The magazine's mystery shoppers this month managed to negotiate a discount of 31 per cent - a saving of £18, 650 - off the price of a BMW 7 Series as it was about to be replaced by a newer model
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See How to Train Your Dragon 2 cut-price at a Vue cinema
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The Independent’s Personal Finance Editor Simon Read talks over the latest news with Luke Blackall
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An iPhone 6 is up for grabs in our competition
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The City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds is among the attractions
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