Money Insider: After a festive high time you may need a safety net
Saturday 11 December 2010
Don't let an early Christmas payday turn into a New Year charges nightmare.
The run-up to Christmas is the most expensive time of the year for most people so it's probably a great help if your employer enters into the festive spirit and pays your December salary a week or two early.
However while this might initially prove to be a boost with all those presents to pay for plus additional parties and nights out celebrating with family and friends, getting paid earlier than usual means it's even easier to lose track of your finances, particularly when your next payday could be six weeks away.
If you fail to keep a close watch on your current account balance and adopt a "worry about it later" attitude, you could run out of cash and be faced with a big bank charges bill come the first few weeks of 2011.
If you don't have an agreed overdraft, or think you need a little more financial breathing space, contact your bank or building society and arrange an authorised overdraft to see you through to January payday. It's usually a pretty pain-free process and can be arranged very quickly either online, by telephone or popping into your local branch.
Once you've got your safety net arranged, make sure you check your account on a regular basis – there's no excuse not to these days with the information available 24x7 online, on your Smartphone or via a cashpoint machine.
To emphasise the importance of staying within your agreed limit, I looked at how much it will cost if your bank agrees to pay two £75 cheques that take you £150 over your limit and then your account remains overdrawn by this amount for seven days until your January salary is received. The numbers are quite scary, with customers of Santander facing a bill of £95.83, Lloyds TSB £75.54, Nationwide Building Society £50.54 and Barclays £22.00 – so be warned.
One of the biggest problems with unauthorised overdraft charges is that there's no common policy among providers, some charge daily, some charge monthly, some do both and the level of charges varies widely, but whichever tariff you're signed up to, it can end up hitting your pocket hard.
Stay within your agreed limit and the charges you incur will be minimal, and by keeping tabs on your money at least you won't give the banks the charge to play Ebenezer Scrooge this Christmas.
Savings double from Yorkshire Building Society
There's been a flurry of activity in the fixed-rate savings market over the past three weeks, with most action in the one-to-three year products.
This week Yorkshire Building Society joined Northern Rock and the Post Office at joint No1 spot with a three-year bond paying 4 per cent. The account can be opened with a minimum balance of £1,000 and is available in branch, by telephone and online.
This launch follows hot on the heels of the Christmas Saver account paying 3.5 per cent gross launched by Yorkshire the week before.
I appreciate it is probably difficult to get your head round saving for next Christmas when you haven't even finished your shopping for this year yet, but it's certainly worth considering.
You can put away any amount up to £100 every month between now and 30 November 2011 when the account matures.
The account can be opened with as little as £10 and there is no minimum monthly investment required, you can accumulate up to a maximum of £1,200 over the account period and deposits can be made by standing order, cash or cheque.
The Christmas Saver account is also available at all Chelsea and Barnsley building society branches, featuring the same product details and also paying 3.5 per cent gross.
With savings rates at such low levels it's not going to make you rich overnight, but this time next year it could save you having to rely on your overdraft or your trusty plastic.
Savings compensation limit to increase
Currently savers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme to the tune of £50,000 (£100,000 for joint accounts), should their bank collapse.
From 1 January the limit will be raised in line with compensation levels in Europe. A €100,000 limit will be introduced in the UK but, rather than the sterling equivalent fluctuating on a daily basis and causing widespread confusion, it has been agreed to fix the ceiling at £85,000 per individual for the next five years.
This is good news for savers, many of whom are still mindful of the impact of the Icelandic banking crisis and the issues it caused to people over here.
Andrew Hagger is a money analyst at Moneynet.co.uk
Mark Dampier: 'We're on our own in retirement. They've pulled pensions to pieces'
Donald MacInnes: 'I have to have £500 a month spare from now until at least 2035'
HSBC becomes first bank to offer five-year fixed rate mortgage with interest rate under 2%
Crippling PFI deals leave Britain £222bn in debt
Pension freedoms: How to deal with cold calls from scammers
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...
£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...
Day In a Page
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
This four-bedroom home has exposed brick chimneys and a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining - the doors open to the patio and garden.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with grounds that span to approximately 2.5 acres, as well as two large patio areas and a double garage.
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
A boutique mews house, set around a central courtyard, with three bedrooms and a private roof terrace
A four-bedroom farm-conversion with three bathrooms and two reception rooms
A two-bedroom detached house with ensuite bathrooms and a sun-drenched decked terrace, £750,000
A modern and spacious two-bedroom, penthouse flat with two bathrooms in a prestigious development
A beautifully renovated five-bedroom terrace with three reception rooms and a courtyard garden, £700,000
A four-bedroom period house which has been extended to provide almost 2,500sq ft of living space, £675,000
A pretty three-bedroom Georgian home with a 22ft drawing room and a master suite with a balcony, £525,000