Fathers Day, Are we Getting it Wrong? Our Fantastic (Cheaper….Cough) Alternatives to a Gift

Fathers Day, Are we Getting it Wrong? Our Fantastic (Cheaper….Cough) Alternatives to a Gift

Here at It’s Your Money, we believe that Fathers are more appreciative of a helping hand or asking him for some advice, rather than a bunch of flowers. Which coincides with the idea of frugality and also practicality. According to this article by the BBC

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40260169

Father’s Day facts

  • The modern Father’s Day is an American invention, with the first widespread celebration taking place on 1910, two year’s after the first Mother’s Day celebration
  • While Mother’s Day was officially recognised by the US government in 1913, Father’s Day had to wait until 1972
  • Unlike Mother’s Day, Father’s Day is celebrated on the same day in the US and the UK – the third Sunday in June
  • Portugal, Spain and Italy are rare exceptions, celebrating Father’s Day on 19 March, which is also St Joseph’s Day – the date chosen to celebrate Joseph, the husband of Jesus’ mother
  • Father’s Day started to be marked in the UK after World War Two
  • More than 70 countries now mark Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June

In Conclusion

We apparently spend a third more on Mothers Day gifts than Fathers Day ones, so I think our advice would be much more personal and well received. Alternatively there is always a Champions League Final Ticket for next year…….

Saving Money on Energy

Cheat Sheet on Energy Bills

Remember when you received that call regarding your energy bills from that chirpy telesales agent and you told them you wasn’t interested and slammed the phone down? Well, the chances are they might had been able to teach you a few things about your bill that your energy company was happy for you not to know.
Despite the continual rises in our costs, even when the energy firms costs have got cheaper, the vast majority of UK households are still buying their energy from the Big Six companies on their standard tariffs. Over a million consumers made the move to smaller firms last year and saved themselves a packet in doing so.

Isn’t it about time you started to understand your TCRs from you kWhs and stopped burning money too? I’m going to show you how to understand your energy bills better and save money at the same time.
What is a unit rate?
This is the rate that your gas and (or) electric is charged at. Energy is calculated in kilowatt hours, shown as kwh on your bill. If for e.g. your unit rate is 10.9p you will be charged 10.9p for every kilowatt hour you use.
What is a standing charge?
Is a daily rate you pay regardless of usage. For instance, if your property lay empty with no appliances hooked up to the energy supply, you would still continue to pay the standing charge. Some companies offer contracts with no standing charge but their unit rate is usually higher.
What is a tariff comparison rate?
Shown as TCR on your bill. Many see the Tariff Comparison Rate as energy’s answer to the money market’s Annual Percentage Rate (APR). This is because it is designed to provide an easier way to get an indication of how your rate compares to other plans and suppliers.
In the energy market, this is done by giving an effective price-per-unit rate for every gas and electricity tariff — a rate which factors in elements a normal kWh rate wouldn’t, including standing charges and discounts.

It is worth noting that TCR will always be calculated based on medium energy use— a household that uses 3,100 kWhs of electricity and 12,500 kWhs of gas per year. Keep this in mind if your household falls in the low or high gas and electricity user range.
In general, you should consider TCR as only a guidance to what you are paying or will pay.
Also know that TCR is not yet available for time-of-use meter customers, such as those with Economy 7 and Economy 10 meters.
Where is my TCR shown?
A TCR can be found wherever a gas or electricity tariff is outlined on your energy bills. That means the plan you’re currently on has a TCR, and any plan you may be thinking of switching to will have one as well.
In fact, the point behind the TCR is to compare your current TCR to the TCR of other plans on the market to get an idea of how competitive your plan is. So, how do find these figures?
The TCR will be outlined on energy suppliers’ own websites and on price comparison sites.

You can find your current energy plan’s TCR on your energy bill and on your annual statement.
Ofgem’s changes will also see your bill feature what is referred to as a Tariff Information Label. This label will include your current plan’s TCR, along with other helpful info such as your plan’s actual kWh unit rates, plan end date and standing charge amount.
How to use a Tariff Comparison Rate
Ofgem is very clear that a TCR is not intended to be an exact calculation of what a consumer can expect to pay for an energy plan.
Rather, it is intended to provide an indication of how the costs of one plan compare to another, and ultimately motivate the customer to perform a full-market energy comparison using an Ofgem-accredited price comparison website such as Energylinx, UK Power or uSwitch.
Accredited gas and electricity comparison sites will be able to provide a much more accurate calculation of your expected energy costs because you will be asked to provide information about your consumption and postcode — two factors that greatly impact your energy bills and their costs.
Economy 7 meters
An Economy 7 meter has a night unit rate as well as a day rate. At night, usually between the hours of 12-7, or sometimes 11-6, the unit rate is cheaper. You often find these in properties which have electric only and those with storage heaters.
Economy 10
Just like Economy 7 meters, these meters come with a cheaper rate at set periods of the day/night. The difference is that these come with one during the day too. The cheaper day rate can differ from meter to meter so always check with your supplier to see when the cheaper day rate is set for. As mentioned above, using timers to bring on appliances in the cheaper periods can really help to cut down costs.
What is a standard tariff?
It is a variable rate of energy, or in plain English, if the cost per unit of energy goes up with your supplier and you continue to use the same amount of energy, so does your bill. If it comes down then your unit rate/bill reduces. Anybody who hasn’t slept for the last decade will tell you the cost only comes down in the warmer months after the winter increases have taken place so effectively it never really comes down– yes your loyalty means that much to them.
What is a fixed a rate?
This means your energy is set at a fixed price for an agreed period of time that you and your supplier contractually agree to. This is usually between 12 and 24 months. N-power were offering a 4 year fix last year and the year before, but after the fiasco they’ve had with billing and customer service over the last 2 years it didn’t turn out to be a very good deal for many of their customers – unsurprisingly they sit at the bottom of the Which? energy supplier league table for customer satisfaction with a paltry overall score of 41%.
Be mindful that a longer fixed term will be set at a higher unit rate than a 12 month fix as the supplier will be offsetting it against the likely price rises to avoid taking too much of a hit on their huge profit margins.
What are early termination fees
Basically a cancellation fee. Most, not all, suppliers will charge you a cancellation fee if you leave before the end of your contract. They can range from £5 right up to £50 per fuel so make sure you check your bill or contact your supplier first before making any attempts to switch.
What is a Personal Projection
This is what your supplier thinks you’ are likely to spend over the course of a year. It is just an estimation and not an exact amount so please bear this in mind. For instance, if you we had an extremely cold winter, or even an extremely hot summer (here’s hoping), you may use more or less energy than predicted by your supplier.

Common misconceptions of energy bills
I will lose supply during a switch
You will not lose your supply whilst your switch is being processed. You gas and electric all comes from the same place, The National Grid. Your energy supplier purchases your energy from the National Grid and then they sell it on to us, the consumer, at a profit.
Your current supplier’s energy is no different to the next company. The only difference to you or me is the logo at the top of our bill and the rate we are charged. Ask yourself this question, would you buy a bottle of milk from a shop selling it for £30 or would you go to another shop selling the exact same thing to get it for £1?
I’ll be better looked after by remaining loyal to one company
If this were true nobody in the country would be on a standard rate of energy. If your supplier really wanted to reward your loyalty they would call you and transfer you to their cheapest available tariff. The reality is they are happy to leave you paying the standard tariff, and therefore paying way more than you need to, until you decide otherwise. The rule of thumb is loyalty doesn’t pay where energy is concerned.
It is always better to be with one supplier for both gas and electric
In most cases but not all. Sometimes when you have prepayment meters it can be cheaper by splitting the energy supply between two suppliers which is why you should always do a comparison to be 100% sure you’re are getting the cheapest possible deal.
I cannot switch if I have arrears on my prepayment meters
You can take a maximum of £500 worth of arrears for each fuel to another supplier if you pay by prepayment meter. Ecotricity have capped this at £200. Ultimately it will be down to the discretion of the supplier, but in most circumstances as long as you meet the criteria above, you can switch to a cheaper supplier.

Top tips to cut energy bills
Fix the price
There is no sense in paying more than you need to, it is expensive enough. Fix down the price and avoid any potential price hikes.
Pay by Direct Debit
You get a cheaper rate and it takes away the danger of running up arrears
Choose an online tariff
Your supplier will offer you a further discount for eliminating paper bills. It is also much easier to upload your meter readings, meaning no waiting in massive queues on the phone or navigating your way through annoying automated services! You also eliminates the possibility of losing your energy bills.
Give regular meter readings
I do it monthly on my online account. It means you never get into arrears and when it comes to switch your actual consumption shown on your bill will be accurate. It also means your energy bills will never be under or over estimated.
Compare your energy bills and switch regularly
At the end of your contract do another comparison. It could be that your supplier is the cheapest in the area again and you just simply fix down the price for another year with them. If not then switch supplier and remember the golden rule… LOYALTY DOESN’T PAY!
Ask your supplier for your exact annual consumption before starting a comparison
This means that any potential saving will be as accurate as possible. You can also find your annual consumption on your energy bills. Just be careful to check it is an actual amount and not an estimated amount.
Don’t believe everything your supplier tells you
When you attempt to switch you may receive a call from your supplier to try and convince you to stay. You may be even offered a better rate than you saw on the comparison sites. Don’t just take their word for it that this new price is the cheapest out there, have them email it to you and check it thoroughly yourself to be certain. Retentions agents, or whatever fancy equivalent they are known by, are trained to make you stay, whether it is of any real benefit to you or not.

Here are some dos and dont’s from Be Clever with your cash

Eight mistakes you make when switching energy

 

Is it woth switching to a water metre?

Is it worth switching to a water meter?

Step one – work out how you’re paying

There are two ways you can pay your water bill:
You pay a set price per year. This is called rate-able billing. How much you pay depends on your home –

You have a water meter. This means you pay for the water you use.
If you’re not sure how you pay, take a look at your bill. You can read more on https://www.thameswater.co.uk/My-Account/Billing-and-payment/Your-bill-explained


Generally speaking, the bigger your home and the fewer people that live in it, the more likely you are to save money with a water meter. But, don’t try to change without checking with the calculator!

Step two – work out if it’s worth switching
If you’re on rate-able billing, you can choose to get a water meter instead. This can be cheaper, but it isn’t always. To see if it’s right for you, use a water usage calculator.You can use the calculator on the Consumer Council for Water website.

http://www.ccwater.org.uk/watermetercalculator/

You’ll just need to estimate a few details about your water use – like how often you flush the loo – and it’ll show how much you could save compared to your current rate-able bill.
Use the Consumer Council for Water’s calculator.
If your water use changes – perhaps when the kids leave home – you might want to try the calculator again.
Can’t get a water meter?
If your water supplier can’t provide you with a water meter, they are obliged to offer you an alternative to compensate. This alternative is called an Assessed Charge , this is usually results in a saving of about 1/3 or on average £150 per year.
Some water company s allow you to change back to rate-able value based billing – Thames Water does allow this, Affinity Water does not!

If you have a metre, here are some tips on how to save water

https://www.affinitywater.co.uk/water-saving-programme.aspx

Also here are some free water saving gadgets

http://freebies.thameswater.co.uk/

If you are having problems paying your bill, below are some links for how to get help

https://www.thameswater.co.uk/my-account/billing-and-payment/help-paying-your-bill/customer-assistance-fund

https://www.affinitywater.co.uk/struggling-to-pay-your-bill.aspx

Save

How Easy Is it to switch Utilities ?

Tips on Switching Utilities

By now you’ve probably heard the message that switching can save you money hundreds of times. But still some people get put off, thinking it’ll be too much hassle and too complicated. But is it?

A survey by comparison site GoCompare has looked at just how easy people find switching, and found home and car insurance the easiest to change, with more than 80% of adults who have switched saying it was easy.
Switching your banking accounts – whether credit card, current account or savings account – were viewed as almost as easy, with around 75% saying it was simple to switch. Positive comments about changing gas and electricity were about the same.
Communications such as broadband, mobile phones and landlines didn’t fare as well, with under 70% feeling it was easy, while mortgages were viewed the most difficult. However, more than half (61%) still said it was easy.
The difficulties with switching
For those that struggled, the survey found a third of people thought it took too long to switch. A quarter also found the process too complicated.
How to switch
The process is different for what you’re trying to switch.
For most, including insurance, credit cards, energy and telecoms, it’s well worth using a comparison site. You’ll be able to filter by the different deals and find what works best for you.
You rarely need to tell your old provider you’re leaving them, but it’s important to check. Some, including insurance policies, may auto-renew if you don’t cancel.
Others, such as most phone and broadband switches, and all energy changes, will talk to your old supplier on your behalf.

Either way it’s worth checking your final bill. It’s possible you could be owed money by your old account and it’s not always sent back to you unless you chase them.
Current accounts are slightly different as you can have more than one account at any time. To take advantage of switching offers you need to make sure your new bank is part of the switching service which guarantees payments will be automatically transferred. You’ll also need to tick a box that says you agree to fully close your old account.
If you want to switch your mortgage, pay attention to the fees and charges with both your old and new lender. You might find it’s actually more expensive to move once these are taken into account. It’s worth talking to a mortgage adviser to help find the best deal for you.

How Easy Is It to Switch Utilities?

Tips on Switching Utilities

By now you’ve probably heard the message that switching can save you money hundreds of times. But still some people get put off, thinking it’ll be too much hassle and too complicated. But is it?

A survey by comparison site GoCompare has looked at just how easy people find switching, and found home and car insurance the easiest to change, with more than 80% of adults who have switched saying it was easy.
Switching your banking accounts – whether credit card, current account or savings account – were viewed as almost as easy, with around 75% saying it was simple to switch. Positive comments about changing gas and electricity were about the same.
Communications such as broadband, mobile phones and landlines didn’t fare as well, with under 70% feeling it was easy, while mortgages were viewed the most difficult. However, more than half (61%) still said it was easy.
The difficulties with switching
For those that struggled, the survey found a third of people thought it took too long to switch. A quarter also found the process too complicated.
How to switch
The process is different for what you’re trying to switch.
For most, including insurance, credit cards, energy and telecoms, it’s well worth using a comparison site. You’ll be able to filter by the different deals and find what works best for you.
You rarely need to tell your old provider you’re leaving them, but it’s important to check. Some, including insurance policies, may auto-renew if you don’t cancel.
Others, such as most phone and broadband switches, and all energy changes, will talk to your old supplier on your behalf.

https://www.uswitch.com/gas-electricity/

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/cheapenergyclub

Either way it’s worth checking your final bill. It’s possible you could be owed money by your old account and it’s not always sent back to you unless you chase them.
Current accounts are slightly different as you can have more than one account at any time. To take advantage of switching offers you need to make sure your new bank is part of the switching service which guarantees payments will be automatically transferred. You’ll also need to tick a box that says you agree to fully close your old account.
If you want to switch your mortgage, pay attention to the fees and charges with both your old and new lender. You might find it’s actually more expensive to move once these are taken into account. It’s worth talking to a mortgage adviser to help find the best deal for you.

 

Top Student Deals April 2018

Top Student Deals April 2018

Free Amazon Prime Student for 6 months
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amazon-Student-Free-One-Day-Delivery/b?ie=UTF8&node=2973324031

Free MS Office

https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/education/products/office/default.aspx

Streaming Deals

My rules to spend less on streaming film and TV

Sky Sports for the end of the footy season £20 for the month

Cheapest ways to watch Sky Sports without a subscription – inc £20 month pass | 30% off week pass| free day pass



£4 off Deliveroo
https://www.myunidays.com/GB/en-GB/partners/deliveroo/micro/online?p=AQI

Free Pizza
https://becleverwithyourcash.com/food-deals/?utm_source=Be+Clever+With+Your+Cash+Newsletter&utm_campaign=99475a98a7-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_11_16&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0dea6c5fc3-99475a98a7-37165285

Pringles Now TV free Sky Sports Day pass
https://www.bigmatch.pringles.com/

£15 cashback at Just Eat
https://www.quidco.com/incentives-just-eat-15-march/?

Free Mushroom Growing Kit
https://www.growwilduk.com/form/sign-your-fungus-teams

2 Chicago Town Deep Dish Pizzas for £1
https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/search?query=Chicago+town+2+deep&source=awin&awc=7052_1522842554_de62e2afec25dcc7836867615b2a441d&sc_cmp=aff*awin*ghs*Save+the+Student_95750&utm_medium=ghs&utm_source=affiliate_window&utm_campaign=aff*Save+the+Student_95750

Sub of the day is back £2.49
https://www.savethestudent.org/student-deals/food-and-drink/sub-of-the-day-is-coming-back.html

Free Greggs Bake
https://www.greggs.co.uk/rewards#878909099

Secret Sales Websites
https://www.savethestudent.org/shopping/the-best-secret-sales-websites.html

 

10 Energy Saving Tips

10 Energy Saving Tips

1. Turn off electrical appliances – leaving them on standby wastes energy and money. You could save around £85 a year by switching them off.

2. Turn down the thermostat by a degree – it’s simple but it could slice £65 off your bills each year. Chances are you won’t notice the difference.

3. Get insulated – the Energy Saving Trust reckons cavity wall insulation could save you up to £160 per year, and loft insulation could save you about £140 a year. Hefty initial outlay, though, so could be a few years before it pays for itself.

4. Invest in a lagging jacket – to put on your hot water tank and make it more energy efficient. It’s a good idea to insulate pipes while you’re at it.

5. Wash clothes at 30 degrees instead of 40 – it’s easy to do and could easily reduce your energy bills. Most washing powders perform well at lower temperatures.

6. Descale your kettle – to make it work more efficiently and last longer. Fill the kettle with equal parts water and vinegar and let it soak for an hour. Rinse it out a few times before using it again.

7. Replace your light bulbs – using an energy saving bulb instead of a traditional one could save you around £3 a year, or £50 over the lifetime of the bulb, says the Energy Saving Trust.

8. Upgrade your boiler – although it won’t come cheap, replacing your boiler could save you hundreds of pounds a year on your bills. Boilers are rated on a scale of A to G, with A being the most energy efficient. So if yours is at the lower end of the scale, it could be time to replace it.

9. Bleed your radiators – this will make your heating more efficient and keep your bills down. Follow our step-by-step guide.

10. Switch your energy tariff – head over to our comparison channel to check whether there’s a cheaper tariff out there for you. It’ll only take a few minutes and could save you hundreds every year.

Money Tips for Teenagers

Money Tips for Young Adults

https://www.mirror.co.uk/tech/amazon-prime-student-now-399-12173046

 

The world may be your oyster, but money still makes the world go round. So, whilst there’s more to life than finances, getting to grips with saving cash is essential for all young adults. Whether you’re saving for a new car, trying to get the deposit for your first house, or simply want to grow your nest egg, explore our six money saving tips for millennials.

Always Prioritise Debt

Regardless of why you’re trying to save money, it’s important to realise that paying off debt needs to come first. The reason for this is that debt accrues interest whilst it remains unpaid – quite often, you’re left paying off only the fees, and your debt sits unresolved as this interest piles up.

If you’re in a situation like this, consider moving your debt to a 0% balance transfer credit card. This could cut hundreds – or even thousands – of pounds off the cost of existing borrowing, making it easier for you to rid yourself of debt itself. Once you’ve done this, you can then start saving.

Make Saving Routine

It’s easy to say you’re going to put some money into a savings account each month, but how many of us really stick to this financial pledge? Rather than just adding small amounts to your nest egg, commit to saving a set percentage of your income every month.

The amount that you can afford to save will depend on your individual circumstances – including how much you earn, any debts you may have, and your living arrangements. Don’t aim to save so much that you’ll leave yourself short for the month. Instead, figure out your monthly essential spends – such as your rent and bills – and put aside a percentage of the money which remains. Again, don’t put all of this away: budgeting isn’t an exact science, so it’s useful to keep some additional money handy in case you’ve miscalculated things!

Stay On Track

An unchecked bank account after a month of unmonitored spending can lead to a very dangerous financial situation. From phone bills to the odd coffee out, all spends add up quickly. But that paralysing cocktail of anxiety and dread as you peer at your bank balance can be easily avoided. How? Simply by staying on track.

This involves budgeting, which is useful because it helps you to stay on track of your money before you burn through it! Make a note of all incoming and outgoing cash – no matter how small the amount – so that you are aware of how much money you’ve got to work with each and every day of the month.

Plan For The Unexpected

Saving money is financially proactive but, unless you’re saving it simply to grow your nest egg, the likelihood is that you’ll spend the money once you reach your predetermined goal. Whilst doing so is acceptable (after all, if you’ve saved hard for a new TV, you want that new TV!), it’s important to understand that leaving money saved in the bank is both sensible and essential.

The reason for this is that finances, like many things in life, are unpredictable. Whether you get hit with un unexpected bill in the post or are suddenly made redundant, being left in a vulnerable financial situation can be exceptionally worrying. To help safeguard yourself against such scenarios, consider setting up an emergency fund.

This saved money will come in useful should you ever fall on hard financial times! You can still save for other things – just make sure to leave your emergency savings as a backup rather than spending them on your next luxury buy.