How to find the Best Rates for your Savings

These days, with interest rates low, it can be difficult knowing where to put your savings so that you can get a decent rate. It used to be the case that your own bank would probably offer a reasonable instant access account and possibly an ISA and maybe even a fixed rate account so that you can choose where to put your money within your own bank and get a reasonable rate. However, these days choice is limited and you may have to look further than your own bank if you want to find a decent rate for your savings. Knowing what types of accounts are available should help you to make the right choice.

Types of Accounts

It is wise to think about what types of accounts there are because different types are likely to offer different rates. For example you will find that if you are prepared to tie your money up or give notice before you withdraw it, you will get a different rate. There are also some tax free accounts that may be useful to you.

– Fixed term Accounts – these accounts will require you to tie your money up for a fixed period of time. This could be for a year or several years, usually up to five years depending on the specific account. With this sort of account you are agreeing to keep your money in the account for that time period without making any withdrawals. Therefore you will need to use it for money that you do not need to spend in the near future. Often you will need to pay in a fixed amount and just leave it in the account. Some will allow you to take a withdrawal during the fixed term and others will not. You will be able to get your money back but depending on the terms, it is likely you will not be paid interest unless it is kept in there for the agreed period of time. These types of accounts tend to pay out more money than instant access accounts as the provider has the security of knowing that your money will be invested for a certain time period.

– Notice Accounts – with a notice account you will need to let the provider know when you want to make a withdrawal and then wait for a certain time period before you get your money. The amount of time that you will have to wait to get your money will vary depending on who you decide to use. It can often be a minimum of three months or could be even longer. Usually the longer you are prepared to tie your money up for; the better the rate you will get. Some will also restrict you on how many withdrawals you are allowed to take per year and possibly how much you can withdraw and pay in.

– Tax Free Accounts – It is important to know that interest on savings accounts is now tax free for some savers up to a certain amount. If you pay no tax, then nothing changes, you would never have paid tax anyway on interest on savings. If you are a basic taxpayer then you are able to earn up to £1000 without paying any tax on that money. If you are a higher rate taxpayer then you can earn up to £500 in interest before you have to pay tax on that money. However if you are a top rate tax payer, then you will still have to pay tax. This means that having a tax free account may not be of any advantage to you, depending on your personal situation. If you are a top rate tax payer or a higher rate and already receive over £500 in tax, then you could benefit from a tax free account, if you can find one at a good rate. A Cash ISA or Premium Bonds would be examples of the types of account that do not attract tax. If you are married or have a partner on a lower tax rate than you then it could be better to put savings in their name and use their tax limit rather than use a tax free account. It will all depend on the rates that you can find.

How to Save Money When you are Shopping

Spending money is something that we all have to do and there are some things that we have no choice over spending specific amounts of money on. These are things such as tax, where there is no way to avoid it or to make it any cheaper. However, with most things there are ways that you can spend less on them and it is worth finding out how to see whether you can save money.

Only buy what is necessary

It can be really easy to be tempted to buy more than we really need. This can apply to anything that we are buying. We might see a special offer on something and decide that we really want it even though it is not something that we had thought about buying before. Even if things are not on offer we can see them and then be tempted to buy them even if we do not really need it. It is wise to think about whether you really need the items that you are buying and to consider if you would really benefit from them or if you will be better off without it.

Cheaper supplier

When you are buying things like electricity, mobile phone packages, insurance and loans, then it is extremely wise to compare prices to make sure that you are not paying significantly more than necessary. You may feel loyal to certain companies or feel that switching could be a hassle but if you can save a significant amount of money then it could make a big difference. It is worth looking at the prices of different companies offering the same service that you are buying to see whether you are paying more than necessary. It may be possible to do this on a relevant comparison website but you could also look online at some specific companies to get quotes too.

Cheaper retailer

Some retailers will be cheaper in general than others and so it can be wise to try to shop at those rather than the more expensive ones. People tend to do his when they are shopping at supermarkets and want to save money as they turn to the budget ones rather than the premium ones. This should also be applied to all retailers, so whatever you are buying you should check whether there is somewhere that you can go which will have lower prices. Obviously some shops have some things that are cheaper than others and some things that are dearer but overall some are generally cheaper and if you are buying a lot of things then you will tend to spend less overall. It can be worth checking online, if you can and comparing prices that way. Some people will visit a lot of shops before buying something to make sure that they get the cheapest. This is particularly sensible if you are buying something really expensive where a price difference can be big. However, if you travel to lots of different shops to pick up the cheapest items, you do need to bear in mind how much the cost of travel is. This is not so much of a problem if you are on foot, although you will still be using time, but if you are driving take into account the distance that you are driving in case the cost of the fuel is more than the money you are saving.

Cheaper brand

It can be worth comparing different items when you are in a shop. Supermarkets particularly will carry different brands and these will have different prices. So it is worth taking a look at these and finding out whether there are any cheaper items that you can consider buying. Often a shop’s own brand will be cheaper than other brands, but never assume this as it may not be the case all of the time so make sure that you check. It is worth considering value for money as well though. If you buy something cheaper and it does not last so long then you will have to replace it more often. If what you are buying has a one off use, such as a packet of crisps having a smaller one may not matter as you will only eat one anyway, but if it is something you use lots of times, like a pair of jeans then you want it to last a long time rather than wearing out quickly.