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Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Mini-Cash ISA's - A Guide

Welcome to my guide to saving with a mini-cash ISA, I know I've been promising it for weeks now but it's finally here, so lets begin

If you're in an envious position for a student, and actually have left over money, maybe you work and could do with stashing it away somewhere, you should seriously consider putting some aside in a mini-cash ISA, this guide will tell you all you need to know about ISA's and some tips on the best one's out there, so keep reading.

What is an ISA?
Basically an ISA is a savings account, where the interest you earn isn't taxed, therefore you earn more interest for a year on up to £3000 cash. So to clarify, if you put your money into a mini-cash ISA (up to £3000), the taxman can't touch it.

ISA's Explained
A lot of people don't know much about ISA's, or often get confused about some aspects, so here are some facts: -
  • You may only put up to £3000 in your ISA during the year.
  • Money can be withdrawn at any time, without losing your tax benefits, for example if you put £2000 in, withdraw £1000, you will still have £1000 tax benefits left, regardless what happens after this.
  • You get a new ISA tax allowance each tax year
  • Only one mini-cash ISA account per year
The Market Leaders
As you probably have heard on the news, the bank of England have raised the interest rates to 5.5%, so these are some picks at the time of writing, just email me if you would like to know the latest best offers at a later date.

There are some good deals to be had out there, but also some poor one's, here are my picks.

  • Egg Cash ISA - Egg are an online bank who currently offer an outstanding 6.05% AER on amounts from £1 to £3000, not only that but they guarantee to at least match the bank of England base interest rate until 2009, so your always going to get a good rate. Other benefits include, you can setup online in minutes, keep track of your account 24/7, no charge for moving your money around from Egg
Other offers out there
  • ING Direct - 6.55% but only for 6 months, ideal if you want a short term measure
  • NSandI - 6.05%, but you'll need to invest an initial £1000
But remember offers are always changing as long as the interest rates keep changing, keep tabs on this site for updates, I'll do my best to alert you of the best deals out there.

So that way my guide, I hope you found it helpful and have encouraged you to start saving over the summer holidays for the all importance next year in university or collage. Have Fun!

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Haggle your Way to a Great Deal

Hello there! A slight change to the promised ISA's Explained post, don't worry, this will come tomorrow or the day after, just doing some last minute tweaks, Anyway....

Pretty good day today, basically my contract phone with three ran out last month, and to be honest I haven't enjoyed my experience with them at all, in fact it's been one of my worst, so I decided to give them a call to cancel my contract, they did the usual 'we have some great offers', and I did my usual stubborn 'I don't wanna know!' act. After a while they offered me a great deal (even though I wasn't going to admit that!), 500 minutes and 1000 texts, usually £35, mine for £27.50. Anyway, after a few minutes I got them down to £25, and then hey presto! A brand spanking new Sony Ericsson's k610i, a great contract, 6 months free insurance, next day delivery, all for £20 a month, I think this is a very good deal, and just goes to show what you can do by acting like a bit of an arse and being really grumpy on the phone.

So this has taught me a lesson....challenge people, and they will move just to keep your custom!

I will get going and create a guide for haggling yourself a great deal on almost anything!

Saturday, 5 May 2007

A Student's Best Friend

Sorry for the lack of updates lately, been very busy!

Anyway this might be an odd post but I find these little devices so handy and probably use it every day, what is he talking about? I hear you say.....
Yes, I'm talking about a USB Flash/Pen drive.
I'm not really sure what to call them because they seem to have numerous names and don't have an established name definition, pen drive, flash drive, usb drive...whatever, their brilliant.

They are very common these days, but in my opinion they are essential for every student

A student can use one of these tiny little devices for a wide array of uses, the most common would be to transfer your work from home/dorm to your university to keep working, submit or to print. It's quick, reliable and fits in your pocket.
Another use would be to transfer your music/files/movies to another computer to listen to or to burn.

Where to find one
As I said before, they are very common now so most electrical stores including computer hardware stores will stock them, they can now even be found in large supermarkets, although I would highly recommend looking online at such places as eBay and Dabs, even amazon

Available from 32mb to around 16gb, even more in some cases. It all depends on what you want to use it for

Prices vary from the amount of storage you want, the average price for the average user, say 512mb would be around £5-£10, where as a heavy user, say 2gb would look to pay around £15, even though there are some great deals out there at much lower prices, just shop around

I hope you do take my advice and purchase one of these things, they are truly so handy.

I am currently working on a number of posts which will go live soon. The closest one to the finished article which will be posted in a couple of days will be a free guide to saving and investing with an ISA account

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

A roadpath to eBay Success - Part 4

Well folks, here it is, the last post in our series of articles on how to succeed online with auction sites such as eBay. We have delved into picking your category/niche, sourcing your products and listing your items. Today we move on to customer care during and after sales, also we will be dealing with postage and packaging

Setting your P&P Price
When you list your items you will be asked how much you would like to charge for postage and packaging, let me get this straight, if there's one thing I hate it's people wildly overcharging for P&P. Sometimes you will see someone charging £4 for posting a DVD, it can get ridiculous so don't do it, trust me you will put customers off. So take into account how much it will cost to post and the packaging you will use, maybe round it off and stick to that price, the customers will have more respect for you and there is a higher percentage chance they will come back.

During Auction Customer Service
During some auctions, customers will ask questions. They will ask questions about the item itself, postage, payment, service etc. Answer these questions as quickly and as honestly as possible so the customer will remain interested and know what to expect if they win the item.

P&P your Items
Package your items as soon as you can, use strong packaging with bubblewrapp especially if you have fragile items. Also something I like doing is slipping in an invoice and a thank you message with your contact details, just to make the whole thing more personal. Once payment has come through, post your items as quickly as possible, people hate to wait a long time for something they have already paid for. Customers will be much happier if they receive their items quickly.

After-Sales Customer Service
Sometimes a customer will have a question or a complaint about the product you have sold. Again answer as quickly and as honestly as possible. It isn't a complaint, make sure you offer a return and refund, this will do wonders for your feedback and keep the negatives down. Remember the customer is always rite.

There we have it, it's all done now, some things maybe amended but I hope you have enjoyed the series and have found it helpful. Good Luck! Remember if you have any questions or comments to make, please don't hesitate to contact me on

Sunday, 22 April 2007

A roadpath to eBay Success - Part 3

Welcome to part 3, yesterday we looked at product sourcing. Today we will be looking at the next step, listing your items correctly and honestly.

I can't stress enough how important this part is if you want to be successful, this is the stage where you communicate with your potential customers and your listing will usually show how you come across to those potential customers. Your listing and description could also be important for when the customer chooses to buy an item from you or your competitor.

Before you do anything you will need to research your products correctly, this is because it will enable you to fully understand what you are selling and describe it as accurately as possible. You could do this by reading the information on the packaging or even check out the company website, write everything down and pick out the most important information you will need to include in your listings.

One part of the preparation is now done, so now to the next, you will need a digital camera to take high quality photos of the products, I always find when the seller takes their own pictures it's more appealing. Make sure the product is clearly visible and high quality.
Plan ahead before listing, take the information from your research and describe the item as accurately as possible so the customer knows exactly what to expect, remember if the item is not in very good condition or has any blemishes, include it as this makes you more honest with the customer and again there will be no surprises when the item arrives, if you have to, take a picture of the marks or scuffs. You may also want to use some powers of persuasion in your listing, but not too much or too heavy. It also doesn't harm to say who you are and what your all about, this will give you listing a personal touch.

Now to the actual listing, you will need to choose the relevant category remember, nothing worse than getting this wrong. Choose a title which describes the item in the best possible way. I always find flamboyant templates annoying so just try keep it clean and simple if you can which is usually easier for the reader, remember to also leave your contact details.
Your start price is very important or your buy it now price, you will need to think about it very carefully, I usually find 99 pence starts usually do the best as the bids get a chance to accumulate and people start bidding against each other.

That was part 3, the last part will follow shortly, which will deals with postage, after care and customer service, enjoy!

Saturday, 21 April 2007

A roadpath to eBay Success - Part 2

Welcome to the second part in these series of articles on selling your items on eBay the right way!
Today we will be dealing with product sourcing, this is where most people fail because of a budget, can't find items cheap enough due to the prices on eBay being so low or literally can't find anyone who will deal with them because they are new!

For product sourcing you need to plan ahead, make a little spreadsheet if you will. You should already know what you want to sell, so now you need to work out the quantities you need to start up. Then you need to work out what's the highest unit price you can afford, this is decided by how much profit margin you will need to make and also the price of these items selling from your future competitors, as well as this you will need to stick to your overall budget.

Sourcing Products
This part all depends on how big you want to turn this project into. If you just need some casual extra cash, there are plenty of ways you can get your hands on all kinds of second-hand products at cheap prices which will sell on eBay. The way I started making a bit of money on eBay was visiting car boot sales on a cold wet Sunday morning in the middle of a field! You'd be surprised what some people will sell. You can find anything at a car boot sale, often for a very cheap price, just remember one thing.....always haggle the price down, these people are there to get rid of their unwanted stuff, so their much more likely to accept a lower price just to get rid of them. Other ways would be a local newspaper, garage sales, classified ads websites and papers, friends, there are plenty of places! You could even search eBay for people who are selling items in bulk, then you could split the items into individual lots and resell them on eBay for a healthy profit!

If you plan to get a little more serious with your selling, the best route would be to go wholesale, check out your local paper or the yellow pages for wholesalers advertising their services. You could even check out the Internet, there are thousands out there. It won't be easy getting started, you will need to negotiate a quantity and a price with them, but because you are new, don't expect any huge discounts because it ain't gonna happen! Just be confident, polite and pitch to them your idea correctly and you'll be laughing.

There are plenty of ways to get your hands on products to sell on eBay, just remember to stick to your budget or you'll end up in deep doo daa's, good luck.

Next up is part three, where we will be giving you some ideas and advice on listing your products on eBay the correct way so stay in touch

Friday, 20 April 2007

A roadpath to eBay Success - Part 1

Welcome to the first of four articles on the correct way to make a go of earning cash on eBay.

Everyone has heard of eBay, and I would take a good guess that most people have either sold or bought something on eBay, in fact some people make a living from eBay.

Getting Started
The first thing you need to do, if you haven't done so already is get yourself registered on the site, remember to choose a relevant name or an easy to remember one if you're going to make a serious go of this.

What to sell?
When you're ready to sell, the first thing you need to think about is what you are going to sell, this could be just junk you have lying around or if you want to go a step further, try choosing a niche category where there could be high demand but there is not much supple, a lot of categories on eBay are over-saturated, also I find important that you pick something you are truly interested in, this usually provides more self motivation. Sit down with a pen and paper, think long and hard in a brainstorming session, choose around three categories you would be interested in selling.

This is a very important step, you have your three favorite ideas, now you need to search through eBay and have a look at the competition surrounding those categories and make a decision whether it is feasible that you continue your interest in that category, also decide on which one you would most prefer or which one you think could do the best, either way just choose a final category and stick to it. Now you can concentrate on researching these products further, including detailed analysis of your possible future competitors

Now you have your chosen categories and an idea of which products to sell. Article 2 will shortly follow, this will deal with sourcing products etc, stay tuned!

Monday, 16 April 2007

Earn extra cash at University

Every student dreams of having more cash at their disposal, unless they’ve saved up a hell of a lot or have very generous parents. In this article I have come up with some ideas on how the average student can make some extra cash whilst at university, all with none or very little investment costs.

Books, Books, Books
What do students have plenty of? What does every student need? Books of course! Some courses require their students to have a huge pile of books, such as law, some require less, but one thing is certain, every student needs study books. So why not sell your old books to your fellow students, especially is you’re in your second or third year and don’t require the books anymore, Amazon marketplace is also a great resource to sell your unwanted books. You could even try selling your old notes; I don’t really know what the university’s ethical policy would be on that subject though.

If you feel you’re a little bit of a wiz kid at a particular subject or even module, and feel you can pass on your knowledge to help other people, you could become a personal tutor to someone who might be struggling at a particular aspect of his/her subject. You could advertise yourself with posters or leaflets with descriptions of your services and your contact details around the campus. Then you need to decide how much to charge and weather you will be charging per session or per hour.

Leaflet Distribution
A lot of students get into this type of work a few hours a week. You could get a job delivering leaflets around campus or the city/town. In large towns and cities, businesses and night clubs are always looking for promotion to get them one step ahead of the competition, one way they do this is to hire people to distribute leaflets to the general public

One of the easiest methods and most popular with students, sell your old stuff or buy things in bulk or cheap and sell them on at eBay! Sound simple ei? Well it could be but only if you do it right. Over the next couple of days I will be writing a couple of articles on making extra money by selling on eBay, and hopefully teaching you how to do it right and maximise your profits, so stay tuned in the future for them coming very very soon!

A great way to financing your way through university, already mentioned this though so take a look at the last post I did for a guide on finding a part-time job whilst at university.

There are many more ways out there, if you just think positive and go about it the right way, you should have no problems, many more articles on this matter coming soon.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Finding a Job at University

One sure fire way to solve most of your money issues, or finance your extravagant lifestyle at university would be to get a part time job. Most companies are always looking for good hard working employees, especially if you’ve moved to a big university city; there will be a high turnover of jobs, especially over the summer due to students leaving.
I’ve put together a small list of suggestions and tips on finding a term-time job at university.

In most towns a and cities there is a job centre, maybe even two or three, here you will find very friendly staff who will assist you in finding the right job, but remember not to be too fussy, when your desperate for money beggars can’t be choosers. If you don’t want to talk to anyone, you can easily walk in and have a look on their interactive computer system where you can search the database for local jobs and print out your favourites. Or if you’re even lazier, you can go to their website on and search the database there. Another tip I can give you is don’t dally around and rest on your choices or they’ll be gone before you know it.

These are the type of places I was saying at the beginning who have a high turnover of employees as they offer a large amount of part-time work for students so be quick and on your application form apply for all jobs, whether it be shelf staking, tills or even trolley collecting, it all brings in an hourly wage so again don’t be fussy or you’ll get nothing!

Local Paper
A lot of companies advertise job vacancies in the local paper, so sit down with a piece of paper and a pen, go through the paper and not down any jobs that interest you or you think you could do. When you’ve finished this, straight away starting phoning you’re leads, or again they’ll be gone or you’ll forget about them.

University Careers’ Officer/University Website
Most Universities or Colleges will assist their students in finding a job if they’d only ask! Pop round to your careers office or visit the website, which will have a lot of useful information or may even have a database of local part-time work especially for students.

Just have a look around, some companies especially retailers will put up posters on the window advertising if there is a job vacancy available, even ask around your friends who have jobs etc. There are many websites out there too such as who have thousands and thousands of job vacancies advertised.
Final Word
Once you’ve been successful in getting a job, remember it’s really important to have a balance between free time, work and university work. Too much hours can leave you with hardly any time to do your university or collage work or just to relax and get your brain in order. The recommended weekly hours for a student is 16 hours, so don’t go much over that if you’re in full time education, or failure could be on the horizon. Once you have an effective balance you will notice you will be receiving a steady monthly wage, this will be a huge weight off your mind and will be enjoy yourself more in your time at university.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Budgeting Software

Just a quick word, if you've been looking for a budgeting software which will help you plan your term financially and create a printable graph output so you can stick to your wall and keep to it, check out this program
More to come soon

Surviving a Night Out on a Shoe String

I would say one of the most annoying moments for students is when a big night out is coming up, all of your friends are going, but there is a slight doubt in your mind because of one issue......CASH!

If you don't have enough cash to go out, my usual advice would be don't give in to peer pressure or temptation and stay in to put in those valuable study hours, but if going on a bender is unavoidable or you actually really DO want to go, here are some tips on how to survive the night on a tight budget and have a good time too.

Stick to your Budget
Before going out, plan ahead and choose how much you can afford to spend on the night out. This should be based on how much money you actually have, and can you afford to live until the next bit of cash comes in.
Now you have chosen your budget, stick to it! Here's the best advice I can give not take your cash/credit card out with you. Get your cash out from a machine in advance, so the temptation to withdrawl more than you have budgeted wont be there. And of course don't go spending all of your budget at once or too quickly. Oh yes an nearly forgot, don't borrow money from your friends, especially if you can't afford to pay them back.

Stretching your Budget
To make your money go further, take advantage of special offers in pubs and clubs, such as buy-one-get-one-free offers, or money off offers, this will get you more booze for your buck.
Another way would be to go to student friendly pubs and clubs or even the student union, these places usually offer good reduction on alcohol prices and are usually free entry, or money off entry for students. But it could be as easy as just choosing to go to the cheapest places possible, you should take into consideration the entry free and the price of your favorite tipple.

This is usually a stumbling block, let me guess how many of you out there, including myself have gone out on a budget when suddenly closing time comes and it hits you really hard in the face when you realise you didn't take into account that you needed a taxi at the end of the night. My advice would be to place your taxi money in a separate pocket or a separate area of your wallet and DO NOT under any circumstance spend it.

If you follow these tips, not only will you have a great night out but you shouldn't have any regret the next day, you will also have enough money to do what you usually do but didn't have to sacrifice much. If you have any questions or need some advice, please don't hesitate to email me on

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Dot Mobile - Follow up

I hope you enjoyed my artice on the student mobile phone retailers Dot Mobile

Anyway just a quick note to say this has inspired me to look into other mobile phone deals and tariffs out there and find the cheapest on a budget

This research is going on as I speak here so stay tuned for that article comming soon, also i'm just adding the finishing touches to an article reviewing the best student bank accounts available this year.

So very busy at the moment, enjoy

Dot Mobile - Student Mobile Phone Tariff

Dot Mobile

I was walking through the student union the other day, where I noticed a stand from Dot Mobile, it's not the first time Ive seen them there, but it's the first time I've really taken any notice of them and have gone home to do some research.

Dot Mobile claim to be able to save students money off their monthly bills, so who are they and what do they do?

Dot Mobile do not have a specific number of texts or calls in your allowance per month, instead they have what are called 'units', basically your calls and texts come out of one pot of units, for instance if you have a tariff which involves 300 units, you can use a mixture of calls and texts to use up them units, one month you could use 175 units on calls, and 125 on texts, where as in the next month if you wanted to you could spend 200 units on calls and 100 on texts.

So that's the units explained, now how many units do you get for your cash? Or most importantly how many calls and text do you get for your cash? Please also bear in mind you can receive a free phone on most tariffs
350 units - £20 1500 units - £35
700 units - £25 1700 units - £40
900 units - £30 1900 units - £45
2100 units - £50

Texts only take up half a unit, whilst calls take up 2 units per minute

Value for Money
It's very hard to say here because every person is different in their usage, but i would recommend not joining the 350 or 700 units as these work out quite expensive and there are better offers out there, but as you move up the scale you get much more value for money, and you students should take a closer look, if you have any questions, drop me a comment or email me

Dot Mobile


Welcome to this brand new blog designed specifically for you students out there, especially you student who struggle to control your finances or need some guidance.

In this blog you will find advice on a range of issues, such as student banking, special discounts, how to make extra cash and most importantly for all you students, how to budget!

So were here to help make your money go further at Collage or University, if you have any questions or need any advice, please don't hesitate to contact me at, I will do my best to answer all emails as quickly as I can
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