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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  • Money can be withdrawn at any time, without losing your tax benefits, for example if you put £2000 in, withdraw £1000, you will still have £1000 tax benefits left, regardless what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
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