Many of us have some sort of savings account. However. We may feel unsatisfied with it, perhaps because the interest is low or feel that we should look to switching because there is a lot of talk about it. It is good to understand why it might be a good idea to switch so that you can decide whether it is worth doing.
The interest that is being paid on savings is probably one of the biggest factors in deciding whether to switch accounts or not. Most savings accounts pay a very low interest rate, but you could find that if you swap to a different account you could get a bit more. It is easy to swap and so it could be worth it if you get a bit more interest, even if it is just a bit. However, if you change the type of savings account that you have, then you might be able to get even more interest.
Ease of access
Many savings accounts will be instant access. This means that you will be able to get the money out of it right away along with any £100 loans you’ve recently take out.. However, there are accounts where you need to give notice to withdraw your money. These might require you to give a months notice, for example. There are others which are bonds. These will require that you keep your money in for a fixed amount of time, perhaps a year or several years. With a bond you may be able to withdraw early and lose the interest but some will not allow this at all. You will need to think about what will be convenient to you with regards to how quickly you think that you will need your money.
Amount you can save
For some savings accounts there are restrictions in the amount of money that you can save. Some will only pay interest on a balance up to a certain amount and some may require you have a certain amount saved before they pay interest. You may even have to pay in a certain amount each month to get interest. Accounts that have requirements like this tend to pay more interest but it is important to make sure that you are aware of how they work.
There are some accounts that are tax free. However, it is worth noting that many people can earn up to £1,000 in savings interest per year before paying tax. This will depend in their tax bracket though, so you will need to check whether this applies to you. If you are not paying tax on your interest then it will not matter how you save. However, some people will be paying tax and so they might benefit form finding a tax free savings account. These include ISA accounts and premium bonds. It is worth looking at them carefully though as some accounts could possibly have a better interest pay out even taking into consideration the tax you will have to pay on the interest. It is well worth investigating.
So, as you can see, it is good to consider a lot of things if you want to change to a different savings account. It is also well worth noting that switching accounts is easy. You will just need to withdraw the money form one to your current account and then use it to open another one. If your money is in a notice account or a fixed term bond, then you will need to wait before getting the money out though or else you will lose interest or a bonus which could be worth a significant amount of money.
There are some websites and companies that offer cashback or vouchers other loyalty schemes where you can get money off the items that you buy. Sometime sit can feel like a big hassle, but is it worthwhile? There are different types of scheme it is worth understanding what they are and then you can decide if you think that they will work out for you.
Shops will issue a loyalty card and some you can sign up to online. If you give your unique number when you shop, either typing in at online checkout or handing over at the till, you will get some points added on depending on how much you spend. Then you will be able to spend those points or use them to get money off in the future. The cards vary a lot between shops and so you need to decide whether to get one depending on how often you shop in that place and what the reward is. Some independents will also have a scheme where you may get a stamp when you spend over a certain amount and then get a voucher or money off once you have filled the card. With some cards you will need to register the card and they will have your details. Then they will be able to monitor what you buy when you use the card. This is something that some people do not mind at all, but some people have a problem with it. So, you will have to decide what you feel about it. Some you get the card stamped and no details are taken so you might feel more comfortable with that. Think about whether you feel it is worth the hassle of carrying the card and handing it over or entering the number online (although if you register online the card number will be saved). It is always good to get a discount so you have to decide whether you think it is worth it.
Vouchers and coupons are less common than they used to be. It used to be the case that you found them in newspapers or circulars, cut them out and handed them over when you bought the products they were for. You can still sometimes get money off vouchers and voucher codes but it tends to happen more online. You tend to be able to print them off or use a code when you shop online to get a discount. These can save money, but they are often used to try to encourage you try items that you would not normally buy. So be careful that you are not tempted to spend money that you would not normally spend or to purchase things you do not need.
There are some websites that offer cashback on purchases. These will have a big list of retailers and if you want to shop at one of them then you visit the cashback site, find the retailer and click through to them from the cashback site. It will track your purchase and you will get paid cashback on your purchase. Sometimes they do not always track properly and sometimes the cashback is refused for different reasons. This means that you should only do it for shopping that you were going to do anyway and gain that bit of money back. If you do not get paid it will not be the end of the world as you wanted the item anyway and if you get the cashback it is a bonus. Be careful not to spend more than you planned because of the cashback – it will only be a small amount.
There are more choices for shopping these days and we may find ourselves wondering which might be the best options for us. This is because we may wonder whether we should be shopping online or on the high street. These are really the two main options for us but there are pros and cons to both.
Advantages of high street shopping
Local high streets are struggling at the moment. With so many people buying things online, it means that many shops are closing on our high streets. If you are happy with shopping online then you may not mind at all. However, these are places which employ local people and provide a service to those that do not have online access so keeping them open benefits more people than just ourselves. A high street can be a much more friendly place if it has lots of shops in. Shops encourage more people into town which encourage more shops to open and so there is a cumulative effect. A town with lots of good shops will even attract visitors or tourists. This extra shopping can really boost the local economy which can have a positive impact on all residents. It can help to provide more local jobs, mean more money is put into the area which could provide better services and generally make the place a nicer place to be.
Shopping locally also gets us out of the house. Many of us now spend a lot of time indoors because we can. This can be great, but getting a bit of fresh air and exercise while shopping can really benefit us. We also get the social benefits as we will chat to the shop assistants and we may also see people that we know that we can talk to as well.
It can be really good being able to see the items before we buy them. Being able to handle them or perhaps try them on in the case of clothing and shoes can be really helpful to us. It will also mean that you are less likely to need to return things, which can cost money as you may have to pay the return postage if you buy online.
Advantages of online shopping
When we shop online we have a lot more retailers to choose from. We can pick from sellers from all over the world. This means that we get a much bigger choice of items. This can mean that we end up buying a lot more and potentially spending more than we can afford but it also means that we have a better chance of being able to buy exactly what we are looking for.
There is a lot more competition online and so you may be able to find things cheaper, but you will have to hunt around quite a bit for the best deals, like you would in high street shops. You will normally have to pay for items to be delivered but this cost can be outweighed by the savings that you make on the items that you buy and some places will offer free postage anyway.
You can shop from home when you buy online. You do not have tow ait for a shop to open or make the effort to leave the house, but you can just shop at any time. So, this means you can shop in the middle of the night in bed if you wish to. Of course, this does mean that there is temptation all of the time, but it can be extremely convenient for anyone that works during shop opening hours and so wants to buy things when the shops are closed.
There is an attraction to some people of going self-employed. However, it is something which should be done with caution. There are lots of advantages but there are also disadvantages too. We need to consider both so that we are sure that it is the right decision for us.
If you are self-employed you are your own boss, you may freelance and work for other people, but at the end of the day it is up to you what you do. This means that you can choose your working hours, how hard you work and what you do. This gives you an element of freedom that you do not get with employment.
You are also able to charge what you wish for the goods or services that you provide. This means that you will be able to potentially get more money than you would if you were doing the same thing from an employer.
You could potentially do work as self-employed alongside your normal job and you might therefore be able to make some additional money.
Unfortunately, there are rather more disadvantages than advantages. Firstly, although you can choose your own hours, you will probably find that you will have to work more hours than in a conventional job. This is because you will not only be providing the good or service, but you will also be having to do the accounts, marketing and other paperwork that perhaps other people would do when you were employed. You also have to find the work, so either that means that you have to find people that are happy to pay for your services or buy the goods that you are selling.
If you can charge more then you will get more income but you will also have to potentially pay out more too. You may need premises, you may have transport costs, you might have to buy stock, employ people and you will have to save money up so that you can pay your tax at the end of the year. You will also not get paid holidays, or if you are unwell or for appointments either so you will need that extra money to cover those things too.
You have to be really motivated and driven as well. If you are the sort of person that needs someone to constantly nag you to get on with your work, then this will not work for you. If you are the only person responsible for doing anything, you will need to make sure that you get on with it. You might think you will be motivated, but it can be tricky to keep plugging away, especially if you are doing things like accounts, ordering stock, website design or promotion which may just not be something you are that interested in.
If you want to be self-employed alongside your regular job, you will have to check with your employer. Some companies do not allow this at all and some will allow it only if what you are doing is very different to what you do when you are employed. It is a risk going self-employed. There are many things that you will have to learn and it is a good idea to learn all of these before you start up. This is because once you get going, you could find that you will be really busy and there will not be time to be thinking about the new skills that you need to learn. This could mean that you make mistakes which could be costly. The freedom that you get with regards to what jobs you take on and what hours you work could be offset by the lack of stability that not having a guaranteed income can bring. It is therefore, well worth thinking hard about whether this will be the right thing for you.
A lot of us like the idea of supporting small businesses rather than large ones. Although large businesses may employ people that live locally to us, it can feel more worthwhile to buy from small independents as we are supporting small traders who will be depending on making sales to pay their rent or feed their family. However, it can be the case that they are more expensive. This is because they are unable to take advantages of discounts that are available to larger businesses but they often still have the same costs with regards to rent, employing staff, utilities and some taxes. This means that they need support to keep going as they cannot cover these expenses with people shopping with them. However, it costs more so should you pay more?
Should I pay more?
It is wise to think about what you can afford when you are shopping. If you struggle to make ends meet, then you could find that buying things form independent shops will just be too expensive for you. As much as you might like to help them, you need to be careful to make sure that you are not getting yourself into financial difficulties by doing so. If you cannot afford it, then you could talk to friends and family and encourage them to buy from them instead. This could help you to be able to still help the companies without buying form them yourself. You could also promote them on social media or in other ways.
However, if you can afford to pay a bit more then you might like to support them. If you are in control of your money and have plenty to spend, then paying more for things can be a great way to help independent shops and businesses without getting yourself into debt. You will need to watch how much you are spending though to ensure that you are not overspending.
Benefits of paying more?
It can also be worth thinking about whether there are any other advantages to paying more money to independents as well as helping them.
It is possible that you will get better customer service as they will be really keen to encourage custom and so will want to treat you really well. If they are local to you then supporting them will mean supporting your local economy. This means that your area can grow and with that more people will want to visit or live in the area, this means they spend more too and there is more tax paid so more can be spent by the local council on services. It can also just help to brighten up the owners life as your small purchase could help them to manage to pay their mortgage for that month.
If you really like certain retailers and providers then you will want to support them. These could be big businesses or small ones. It is a good idea to think about who you are supporting. In times when things are tough for all businesses it will be the ones that customers choose to support that survive, so whether you want independents, big business or probably a mix of both to make it through tough times, you will need to shop with them and show them all the support that you can by encouraging others to shop with them as well. However, when times are tough, it often means that all of us have less money to spend as well and that can mean that we will not be able to afford to offer independents the support that they need. We need to make sure that we look after our finances as well as theirs.