Managing your finances better
The days of generous corporate ‘defined benefit’ pension schemes, related to final salary and index linked, are numbered (at least for the private sector) and increasingly people are in charge of their own pension arrangements and financial affairs generally.
Are you up to it , and are you up to date, or would some financial education be a wise investment?
Even if you are quite familiar with dealing with a ‘defined contribution’ pension plan or a Self Invested Pension Plan ( SIPP), are you remembering to review the asset allocation of your financial reserves from time to time?
There are a variety of investment seminars and training sessions available if you want to take an interest in managing your finances. Some may be poorly disguised sales pitches for your custom, but a bit of common sense and caution should enable you to identify those.
Set up by the FSA, the Money Advice Service gives free unbiased advice on retirement.
The Government website on 'managing money' is:
Backgound reading and courses on personal finance
http://www3.open.ac.uk/courses/bin/p12.dll?C01DB123 Open University distance learning course on personal finances
www.berkshirehathaway.com for the wit and wisdom of Warren Buffet
Checking the market for prices
There are a growing number of 'comparison websites' which compare the prices of a range of products.
www.switchwithwhich.co.uk is the 'Which' site for comparing energy prices
www.moneysupermarket.com : a price comparison site covering money (savings and mortgages), insurance,travel, motoring, gas and electricity, mobile phones and broadband
www.ft.com/yourmoney everything from travel insurance to bank accounts
Motley Fool gives an independent comparison of financial products from credit cards to insurance to mortgages
www.moneysavingexpert.com if you are interested in the minutiae of how to get the cheapest rail fares, telephone calls etc this site may interest you. There is an associated blog at http://blog.moneysavingexpert.com
www.kelkoo.co.uk compares prices on any branded product
www.uSwitch.com compares prices for gas , electricity and water suppliers,also covers broadband, phone and TV
www.petrolprices.com register on this site to find the cheapest fuel in any particular area
Cheaper Air Fares
It may be cheaper to book international flights through a US agent :see Cheap flights.
Getting a discount on your purchases
www.vouchercodes.com Voucher codes are discounts provided by retailers when they want to increase sales on particular lines. This site accesses the discounts available from a wide range of well known retailers.
Cut down the cost of eating out
Be a food critic and eat for free in restaurants in UK and overseas. www.mysterydining.co.uk
Swap your books after reading
See www.readitswapit.co.uk. You just pay the postage on the book you send away.
Blogs on this subject. see http://www.webcabcomponents.com/iom/blog/ - a Maths Phd's views on aspects relevant to personal investment.
For information on how to recognise a scam (viz an offer which sounds too good to be true and indeed is not true) see http://www.oft.gov.uk/OFTwork/consumer-protection/campaign11-12/scams
'Phishing' scams are designed to steal your identity by getting information from you such as account details and passwords. For information on these see http://www.banksafeonline.org.uk/
Debt If all else fails and you need a free confidential service to help you with your debt problems, see www.nationaldebtline.co.uk which is run by a charity, Money Advice Trust, and is backed by the Treasury and the DTI.
Lost bank acounts. www.mylostaccount.org.uk is a FREE central tracing scheme spanning banks, building societies and NS&I. It draws together the three central tracing schemes first introduced in 2001. It is designed to help where the customer is unsure of which bank or building society holds an account to which they have entitlement, including instances where the bank or building society has since closed or merged. NS&I investments can also be traced using the online application form.
Saving on electricity bills The Energy Saving Trust has a calculator which will help you find out how much you could earn and save through solar electricity panels, wind turbines, hydroelectricity and micro combined heat and power systems using the Feed in Tariff scheme.
. See http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Generate-your-own-energy/Cashback-Calculator
NEW Saving on Grocery bills www.approvedfood.co.uk say that 'short date shopping' (buying food close to or past its 'best before' date) could save up to 80% off grocery bills.