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: See how much you could save by switching credit cards. Compare now
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
From rainforests and reefs to beaches and boat trips
comedy'Fresh Meat' star sees off stiff competition from Alan Carr, David Mitchell, Graham Norton, Lee Mack and Sarah Millican to win top prize
- 1 Pensioner James Gray places advert in newspaper for company on Christmas Day
- 2 Australia incest case: Deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 3 Physicists discover 'clearest evidence yet' that the Universe is a hologram
- 4 Woman who miscarried in private prison 'made to clean up after herself,' court told
- 5 Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £60000 per annum + Bonus + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Risk Managemen...
£Attractive Package: Citifocus: This is a new role offering the successful can...
£250 - £300 per day: Harrington Starr: Help drive the design, utilization and ...
£32000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Desktop Support (client facing, 1st/2nd Li...
Day In a Page
A six-bedroom farm house with separate, detached cottages and 371 acres of land
A two-bedroom cottage with parquet floors, chunky beams and an open fireplace
A Grade II-listed home with six bedrooms, secluded landscaped gardens and views across Hadley Green
A Grade II-listed mansion with two apartments and a cottage, near Gretna Green
A three-bedroom Grade II-listed mews house with vaulted ceilings and roof garden
A spacious Grade II-listed family home with annexe and equestrian facilities among four acres of land in Itchingfield
A four-bedroom home with exposed brick walls and open fires in the picturesque village of Northill
A Grade II-listed property with five bedrooms and unique tower, overlooking Hastings Old Town
A charming five-bedroom detached family home, set within half an acre in Kew
A two-bedroom maisonette set on the top two floors of a period building, close to Kentish Town Tube.
Take advantage of the extra space provided by former stables and outbuildings at this five-bedroom farmhouse.
This three-bedroom Victorian terrace is near to Queen’s Road Peckham station, Nunhead station.
A five-bedroom modern house with terrace, swimming pool, Zen treehouse and large carp pond
An unexpected gem with four bedrooms, remarkable vaulted reception and a galleried study area
A five-bedroom house in one of Lymington's most sought after tree lined avenues, moments from the marinas and sailing clubs
A grand early 19th century B&B close to the historic harbour, with four en suite bedrooms
A four-bedroom, 17th century home with walled gardens, a landscaped terrace, cellar and open fires
A six-bedroom house with five bathrooms and four reception rooms spread over 4,000sq ft of luxury living space
A stunning three double-bedroom apartment with two decked terraces in the exclusive gated community, Bromyard House
A 10-bedroom period, family home amid beautiful surroundings in the centre of the Wentworth Estate in Longcross village
A stylish three-bedroom apartment with two bathrooms and private landscaped garden, moments from Fitzroy Square
A Grade II-listed Elizabethan barn with landscaped gardens, exposed elm beams and four bedrooms, all with lovely views
A six-bedroom family home, dating back to 1280 with four reception rooms, barn, swimming pool and tennis courts in Harwell
A spacious two-bedroom flat, refurbished to a very high standard with private landscaped garden, close to Kentish Town station
An exceptional two-bedroom apartment with balcony and underground parking in the centre of Richmond
A one-bedroom, luxury, duplex apartment in the grand landmark building, Imperial Hall
Run a fabulous boutique shop, live above it in a one-bedroom flat and let a second one-bedroom flat that comes part and parcel
A Grade-II listed, thatched cottage in Hundleby village, with five bedrooms, a coach house and three and a half acres
A spacious two-bedroom flat in the heart of Hoxton Square with wooden floors and roof terrace
A five-bedroom family home with stunning pool and gym complex set among two acres of land
A six-bedroom period house with heated swimming pool and a separate two-bedroom annexe cottage in Townlake, £795,000
A spacious and contemporary two-bedroom flat arranged over three floors, with garden patio close to St George Square, £600,000
A one-bedroom flat in a beautiful Regency building opposite the beach in Kemp Town, £190,000
A two-bedroom flat with London skyline views close to Surrey Quays. £395,000.
A seven-storey tower with three bedrooms and a stunning roof terrace. Guide price: £850,000.
A 16-bedroom country pile with nine reception rooms, four self-contained flats and a 13th century Peel Tower. £850,000.
A classic six-bedroom Victorian Manse house 10 miles from Edinburgh. £495,000.
John Lennon's childhood home in Liverpool to be sold at auction. Guide price: £150,000-£250,000.
A six-bedroom detached period property with secluded gardens, ample parking and a double garage in Rye, £675,000.
A large split-level property with three double-bedrooms and roof terrace, close to Crouch End Broadway, £625,000.