How to make your money work harder for you
We all know how volatile the economy is at the moment. Talk of a double dip recession abounds and who is to know what painful effects the Government's spending cuts will have on the pound in your pocket. As for personal finances these are under acute pressure with savings rates at an historic low, loans often difficult and expensive to come by and deals appearing and disappearing again in the blink of an eye.
Against this backdrop it's important to be on the look out for the very best deal, have your wits about you; what topped the best-buy tables even a few weeks ago may now be an also ran. But don't give up hope, there are deals out there to be had, here's a guide to some of the best ways to make your money work a little bit harder for you.
Get paid by your bank
At present, most banks are offering extremely low or no interest on their current accounts. But that doesn't mean you can't make a bit of extra cash out of your monthly pay packet. Rather than searching for an account paying a favourable interest rate, there are a number of accounts with cashback incentives. Santander offers £100 to new customers to switch to the In-Credit Rate Account and First Direct also offers £100 to open a First Account. However, there are exclusions with both accounts related to minimum monthly deposits and existing customers. Likewise, Halifax pays Reward Current Account customers £5 every month they deposit more than £1,000.
If you're tempted by a fee-charging account offering supposedly better service and a few extras, the Co-operative Bank is offering a 12-month free trial on its Privilege and Premiere accounts. Currently costing between £9.50 and £13 a month, the Co-op claims the accounts offer benefits worth more than £600 and £800 annually respectively. If you are thinking of applying, the offer ends on 20 November.
Don't fall into the overdraft trap
True, cashback offers could be attractive for those who remain in credit on their current accounts. However, it could be a mistake to be blinded by the promise of cashback if you routinely go overdrawn. For instance, Halifax's tempting £5 per month becomes much less palatable once you factor in overdraft fees. Authorised overdrafts cost one or two pounds a day but unauthorised overdrafts cost £5 per day. If you know you will slip into the red from time to time, you could opt for Santander's Preferred Overdraft Rate Account and get an overdraft at 0 per cent for 12 months. With this account you can get an overdraft of up to £5,000 depending on your circumstances.
Be a regular savings switcher
Make no bones about it; the situation is pretty bleak for anyone who wants to build up a nest egg. Although options may be limited, there are nevertheless a few profitable avenues remaining. There are numerous accounts which pay an introductory bonus, normally for six or 12 months, which will beat the Bank of England interest rate. One word to the wise, though: at the end of the bonus period switch to another provider otherwise you will start to receive a much lower rate of interest.
Review your debt
Rather than giving equal attention to all your debts, you might want to think about "snowballing". Using this technique, you concentrate your efforts on paying off one of your debts – obviously it's wise to choose the debt with the highest APR. In the meantime, you make the minimum repayments on other debts.
As soon as you have paid your first debt, turn your attention to the next and keep going until you're debt free. This approach could help you feel you're making more headway with your financial problems as your creditors start to decrease in number.
Are you using all your credit cards?
As well as securing the credit cards for your borrowing habits, it could also be a good idea to get rid of those you aren't using.
Even if you don't have debt on a card, it could nevertheless have a damaging impact on your financial health. If you apply for credit, referencing agencies take into account the amount of credit you can currently obtain.
The greater the unused credit, the more potential you have to rack up debts. A card that has been sitting unused in your wallet for years could prevent you from obtaining a card with an attractive 0 per cent introductory offer in the future.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
- 1 What if 35 Palestinians had died, and 800 Israelis?
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 4 'Women should not laugh in public,' says Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister in morality speech
- 5 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star dies at age 45 after suffering from cancer
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Analyst, ALM Data, Halifax, ...
£500 - £600 per day: Orgtel: Java developer - Banking - London - Up to £600/d...
£400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Liquidity Reporting - Basel III - LCR - Ba...
Up to £50,000 per annum + Bonus + Benefits : Sauce Recruitment: We are repre...
Day In a Page
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000