Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Penny Bazaar at Marks and Spencer

In celebration of its 125th birthday, M&S is holding a three-day Penny Bazaar from Wednesday 20 – Friday 22 May.

This will involve 20 different products on sale at just 1p each, subject to availability. If you want to bag a penny bargain it would be sensible to turn up early, as stocks are expected to sell out quickly.

The number of items per customer is limited to five, and items in the 1p sale include purses, scarves, knickers, ties, five different jewellery sets, leather luggage tags, mugs, tea towels, cufflinks, socks, leather passport holders, retro sweets and drinks, beach balls and beach toys.

Who can doubt the good value of items for a penny? However, some items are likely to be bigger bargains than others. The more expensive items such as purses, jewellery sets and ties are likely to be the ones to watch.

The Penny Bazaar is available in all M&S main chain stores across the UK.

Sterling latest

What about the pound?

On 12 January we wrote that the pound could recover against the euro in time for the summer holidays. We wrote again on 11 March and things had got worse: it was worth 1.086 euros and $1.38.

So, where are we now?

The pound is now worth 1.1344 euros and $1.5306. That's a change in the pound's favour of 4.46% and 10.91% respectively.

It's nice to report an improvement. There may be more to come.

FTSE 100 latest

You turn your back for five minutes and look what happens!

We last looked at the FTSE 100 on 9 March, when it was down to 3,530.73.

Here we are, over two months later, and the FTSE 100 has risen to 4,446.45 - an increase of nearly 26%. If only we'd known!

Although we may have missed that turnaround, now might still be a good time to invest. Got any spare funds, anyone?

Please note that this is for discussion only, and nothing in this blog constitutes advice.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Beat the recession - tax tips

Barclays and the Daily Telegraph are combining to produce a Financial Planning guide in a four-page pull-out guide with the paper on Saturday 2nd May.

Here are few tips already provided under the title of "don't pay too much tax":

1. If you are giving money to charity, as a UK taxpayer you can use the Gift Aid scheme. The charity should be able to provide you with a form and you can claim tax back when you file your annual tax return.

2. There is an age allowance trap in the UK tax system which means that people over 65 with an income of more than £22,900 are taxed at 30% on earnings from this to £29,000. A financial adviser should be able to help you avoid this tax.

3. Couples have a tax-free personal allowance of more than £6,000 each. You can save on tax payments by transferring assets (money!) to the spouse with the lowest tax rate.

See for more.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Mad About Bargains

Here's a fun website packed with bargains.
It is a website for bargain-hunters to share information, and they don't mark or rate the contributions in any way - they're just listed - and you are invited to judge for yourself the value of the contributions.

Here are some recent examples:

***Massive Savings - 45% on Home Insurance***
***With Free Buildings Insurance and More Benefits!!***

***Better Than Half Price Digital Camera***
***Was £178 Now only £69 at Jessops***

***Marks & Sparks 30% Off Online Sale***

***Annual Travel Insurance for family of 4 only £29***
***What a Bargain!***

Try it for yourself at Mad About Bargains.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Was there any joy in the budget?

The 2009 budget has come and gone. With the recession and the economic problems of the country, there wasn't much hope of hand-outs from the Chancellor. But was there any good news?

Broadband help

The broadband industry will be able to use a possible £250m underspent by the BBC on its digital switchover to bring broadband to the whole of Britain. This could benefit many people unable to afford broadband at the moment.

ISA limit increased

Savers have had a rough year, but there was some good news in the budget in that the tax-free ISA savings limit was increased to £10,200 per year (£5,100 into a cash ISA). The change comes in on 6 April 2010 - or 6 October 2009 for over 50s. But has anyone got any money to save?

Stamp duty

The stamp duty holiday will continue until the end of the year - beyond the original September deadline. This may help homebuyers, and the property market is showing some signs of picking up.


The budget indicated that the government will guarantee a job or meaningful work-related activity to long-term unemployed people between 18 and 25 years of age. The aim is to "ensure no young people are left behind".

There was nothing here to help anyone "find their fortune", but these days small mercies are welcome.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

What the stamp dealer said...

Today I took a break from work to see our local stamp dealer in his shop at Apsley, hoping he'd see something in my collection to make him sit up - and pay me something! I was even prepared for a bit of bargaining.

His dubious eyes - and keen nose - perused my collection so lovingly nurtured in my formative years.

"Bit musty," he ventured politely. "People don't use mothballs anymore, do they? Best to put it on the window sill in the sun to get rid of the smell. You might want to pass it on to someone in the family..."

"Isn't there anything of some value amongst all this?" I enquired longingly,

"I'm very sorry," he said. "Look," he added informatively, "This is what I am doing now, sorting out this collection of old stamps from Malta - all pre 1918..."

Anyway, at least I tried... maybe my grandchildren will be pleased one day that I didn't have to part with the collection - number one grandchild is due in September!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Could car scrappage help you buy a new car?

Plans in the budget tomorrow will announce that owners of older cars are to be offered cash to trade up to 'greener' cars.

Chancellor Alistair Darling is hoping that the move will help the recovery of Britain's motor industry as well as cutting the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

Details are still being finalised, especially as 86% of cars sold in Britain are made abroad.

Still, the scheme might help you if you have an older cara and are looking for a new one. Grants of up to £5,000 could be offered to people buying electric cars in the future. Britain is one of the few major European countries still without a car scrappage scheme, and the UK Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has been calling for a scheme after the recession brought a slump in new car sales.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009 offers a wealth of ways to save money.

When you shop online Voucher Codes are a great way to save money. Also known as promotional codes, e-vouchers or discount codes, these are simply codes which enable you to get a discount / money off the listed retail price of many goods, at a range of different online UK retailers.

The vouchers can sometimes be short term offers of just a few days, so you have to keeo on the ball. It is always worth checking with the website before you buy so you don't miss any offers.


Friday, 20 March 2009

Mothering Sunday gift ideas - 3

"Borrowed" from the Daily Telegraph, we have 15 gift ideas for Mothers' Day, 22 April.

Second Five, Over £30:

1. Annual membership of the National Trust: From £35.63. Will give your mother access to over 300 houses and gardens around the country.

2. Coeur de Fleur scent: £58. Miller Harris, 08445 610992. Warm, floral and very feminine.

3. 'Miami' clutch bag: £59. 02083 925600. It's a jute bag which is cool, but delicate. Your mum will love it.

4. Sterling silver 'owl of Athena' drop earrings: £45. 02072 426224. For the wise and wonderful.

5. Picnic basket with bulit-in cooler: £42.50. With a traditional look and feel, but with space for two bottles of wine.

We hope you all enjoy the day.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Mothering Sunday gift ideas - 2

"Borrowed" from the Daily Telegraph, we have 15 gift ideas for Mothers' Day, 22 April.

Second Five, £15 - £20:

1. Monthly magazine subscription: From £15 for 12 issues. 08448 267812. There's bound to be a magazine to cover your mother's interests.

2. A bunch of flowers: From £17.99. 08448 846595. Ah yes, say it with flowers!

3. Bridgewater mug: "Happiness for Mum is a Cup of Tea in Bed": £15.95. 02073 715489. If you do as it says on the cup, she'll love it!

4. Mother's Day Box of La Duree macaroons: £11.60. 02077 301234. Very edible, but too pretty to eat! "They're from Harrods?" She'll love that!

5. Mother of pearl bowl: £18. 08456 788100. Decorative and useful. Need you look further?

Mothering Sunday gift ideas - 1

"Borrowed" from the Daily Telegraph, we have 15 gift ideas for Mothers' Day, 22 April.

First Five, under £15

1. White Peony with Pink Rosebuds Tea: £4.50. Simply, a cup of tea, but refreshing, mild and rose-scented.

2. Prestat Rose & Violet Cremes: £14. 02074 943372. Light and lovely chocolates that will remind her days gone by!

3. Gardening gloves: £6. 08450 262440. Help your mum protect her hands while she weeds the garden with these floral gloves.

4. Little rose manicure set: £12. 08450 262440. Help those hands recover after the rigours of gardening (with or without gloves!).

5. Marks & Spencer English All-Butter Fudge: £2.99. Available from M&S stores. Bargain!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Barclays Golden Isa

Barclays Bank has the best-buy rate Isa of 3.61%. It compares favourably with the average rate of 3.2% for fixed-rate Isas, but this one is a variable rate, so it could come tumbling down any day.

The bank has had some administrative problems with its Isa application processing, and some savers even lost out on their tax free allowance in the year. Barclays says it has fixed the problems, with an automated account opening process.

It does not allow transfers in, so you will have to find new money to fund this Isa.

It’s worth considering but be aware of its variable nature.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Euro will plunge "within months"

On 12 January we wrote that the pound could recover against the euro in time for the summer holidays.

At the time the pound was worth 1.127 euros and $1.52. Now it is worth 1.086 euros and $1.38. So things have got worse.

Yet, an article in Monday's Telegraph sounded an optimistic note for the pound against the euro - just as we previously said.

According to the article, spread betters are betting on a correction to the euro in the coming weeks. David Buik of BGC Partners said: "Quite a significant correction in the euro is coming in the next few months. The European Central Bank is behind the curve in getting to grips with its economic problems." The euro, he went on to say, was at risk due to the slowness of European policymakers to react to the recession.

Don't buy your euros yet if you don't have to. Wait for it, but the pound could be on its way back.

FTSE 100 Still Unstable

The simple conclusion after two months of watching the FTSE 100 is that the time wasn't - and isn't yet - right to invest in the stock market.

On 9 January the FTSE 100 was at 4,505.
A month later it had dipped to 4,291.87 (down 4.7%).

We hoped it would go back up, but no ... by Friday 9 March it had sunk to a new low of 3,530.73 - lower than the "low point" we quoted for November 2008. That is down 17.73% on the month, and 21.63% down over the two months.

The conclusion has to be that, at the moment, the market is too unstable to invest.

Yes, it may pick up from here, but the banking malaise continues to drag down the stock market, so there could be more bad news around the corner.

We'll stop pretending to invest, but keep a monthly watching brief for now.

Please note that this is for discussion only, and nothing in this blog constitutes advice.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Free DVDs with this weekend's Telegraphs

If you like a good film, then the Daily and Sunday Telegpraph newspapers may be worth an investment this weekend.

On Saturday the paper is giving away two free DVDs. These are:

- The Ipcress File, with Michael Caine
- A Room With a View, with Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham-Carter Daniel Day-Lewis

On Sunday, the two give-away films are:

- The Fourth Protocol, Michael Caine again
- Cabaret, with Liza Minnelli and Michael York

Check the cost of the paper before you buy. Is it worth for you?

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Great holiday bargains

If you're thinking you need a holiday, but you're not sure where to go, why not look for a bargain? Travel companies are beginning to enter a price war and you could benefit.

Reductions of up to 40 per cent have been seen on flights, hotels and holidays, with some Mediterranean hotel rooms available for just £5 a night!

Some examples are:
- Eurostar tickets cut by 40 per cent over the next few months to £49.
- Flights to Sydney with Cathay Pacific for £529 from June.
- Flights to Dubai £40 cheaper (15 per cent) than a year ago.
- Three-star hotels for two in Corfu, Turkey, Greece, Mallorca for £5 a night in May.
- Val d'Isere chalet with SkiTotal for £345 pp in March.

The bargains are out there. Trawl the internet and see what you can find that suits you, but aim at the bottom dollar - and keep it nice and low!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Another website with great offers

FreeinUK describes itself as the "home for Free Samples, Free Stuff and Discount Vouchers". Running since 2001 it also list 100s of free competitions, Discount Voucher codes and Sale information from all over the UK.

Their hot offers this week are:

1. Switch to Scottish Power and Save on your bills

2. 3 Month Free broadband, TV and phone! (from Virgin)

3. Keep in contact with the latest mobile phone craze - Qeep

And they also talk about:

- 5% Off From Halfords
- Avon Free handbag, jewellery bag and delivery
- £10 off your first order at Littlewoods - plus Buy Now, Pay Later
- Chocolate Trading Company - Mother's Day offer

Worth bookmarking, I feel:

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Free delivery at cotton traders!

Recently I wrote about a special offer from Cotton Traders who are renowned for their well made, comfortable casual clothing. This winter I ordered packs of economically priced winter warm socks for my male family members and last year bought my husband a warm fleecy jacket that is smart too.

I must admit though I do try to avoid paying postage when buying online and wait for offers which are postage free. This week I was pleasantly surprised to get such an email from Cotton Traders offering free postage on everything in their catalogue for the next seven days. If I find something I need or like I might just take advantage of this offer!

The bottom line is to never go for offers on things you don't need or want. Free postage is great when you you need something but perhaps not if you are just scouring the site just in case....

Friday, 20 February 2009

Free pashmina from Saturday's Telegraph

Remember earlier in the week I was telling you about the "free today" offers in some of Saturday's newspapers. All it takes is a bit of organisation.

Well, here's a heads-up.

In tomorrow's Daily Telegraph (21 Feb) there will be an offer for a free pashmina "worth £19.99". You'll need to buy the Telegraph, then go to your nearest Tie Rack to claim your free pashmina. If you don't regularly buy the Telegraph (£1.90 on a Saturday), think carefully before proceeding. Is the pashmina worth that?

Be prepared. Take a pen and a pair of scissors when you go to your buy your paper. Cut out the form, fill it in, and take it Tie Rack

And guess who spotted this offer? Ah yes, my daughter!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Best current online coupons

Today's Daily Telegraph has an article about "online discounts", many of which we have searched out, and talked about on the blog before.

"Bargain hunters," it says, "are increasingly using the internet to combat the effects of the recession and find the latest banking deals, money-off coupons and financial advice."

GOOD! That's why we're here.

Here are some the best current online deals:

1. - 10% of all orders. CODE: GBVAL09

2. - 50% off delivery for orders over £30. CODE: FOWO501XN

3. - Save 2% onall orders over £149. CODE: FEB2

4. - 15% off all orders. CODE: DHAD000262

5. - 10% off all orders. CODE: VCODES08

Happy shopping.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Get your weekend newspaper freebies

My daughter called it "embarrassing", and my wife gave me one of those looks, but I say they'll get used to it and love it soon.

What have I done?

I've started taking advantage of the "free today" offers on the front of some of Saturday's newspapers. All it takes is a bit of organisation.

So over the last two Saturdays I've come home with a box of Thorntons chocolates, a bottle of Body Shop Body Lotion and a bar of Galaxy chocolate - all free! The first two were from sequential Saturday Telegraphs and the latter was from last Saturday's Daily Express.

To do this smoothly and easily you have to be a little bit prepared. So take a pen and a pair of scissors when you go to your local town centre to buy your weekend paper. Check out the offers, turn to the page, cut out the form, fill it in (not always necessary) and take it the shop with the offer (these have been Thorntons, the Body Shop and Superdrug to date).

As always, be wary of making false economies. So only buy the newspaper you would normally buy, and be sure to check or uncheck all the correct boxes to say you DON'T want any junk email, mail or phone calls. Read the fine print carefully.

Enjoy your freebies!

Monday, 16 February 2009

Million Dollar Baby arrived today

I thought I'd update you about my purchase of the DVD Million Dollar Baby that I told you about a couple of weeks ago. I was told about this film by a friend and co-writer ( I am partner at ) It is a story about a woman boxer and I thought this would be relevant to the book we are planning to write which is partly about boxers.

Anyway as I said, postage is free on and bargains are to be had. And how right I was. There was a good second-hand (used as new) copy of Million Dollar Baby. The price? Just £1.79!

This morning I received my bargain DVD in the post. I'll let you know my viewing experience but I'm sure I'll love it.

For book lovers, read on

If you love books and just about get enough to read to keep you going, there are several options for good sources of reading matter at low cost or even for free. Of course the public library comes to mind here. However you do have to avoid fines, especially if, like me, you get carried away when choosing your books. Now you can renew those books online that you haven't quite finished in time - just find your local library website and look at your membership card with your PIN number on it. Renewing your books has never been easier.

It is also useful to know that if you have a longterm illness or disability you may be exempt from fines altogether - just enquire at the desk for this concession. Of course the other great thing about libraries is their regular sales of old or unwanted books. These sell typically at 40p or a couple of quid for large illustrated hardbacks. For example I recently picked up a lovely big book about the history of musical instruments - extremely fascinating even to a non musician such as myself.

The thing is part of my work as writer for and part owner of is finding unusual information. As I am an avid book collector anyway I find these book sales both interesting and useful. I hope, fellow book lover, that you do too.

Cotton Traders - a free gift

I love Cotton Traders as I find their clothes comfy and good for casual wear. They have some lovely warm socks and other thermal underwear for our cold spells - not over yet in the UK!

Now they've extended their range to include bedding and also more formal attire. It's good to look out for their promotions - this month there is a beautiful free gift of a Country Diary floral throw for spends of over £30. So if you are thinking of buying something you need anyway, this is the right time to shop at

They have just opened a new store in The Galleria in Hatfield. For me however as a home-based proofreader and writer - for details of our services see - online shopping is the best option. I can always find interesting promotions online too!

Friday, 13 February 2009

Enjoy a Valentine's meal in the recession

Apparently there is some debate about whether it is “acceptable” to use money-off vouchers to pay for a romantic dinner for two.

Well, you won’t find any arguments against them on this site. We’re committed to saving you money, and helping you Find Your Fortune.

With Valentine’s Day on our doorstep, here are a few places you can save money off your meal.

These restaurants are found in many places around the country. They all currently have offers: Strada, Prezzo, Chez Gerard and Bella Italia.

These may still be out of range of some would-be romantics in these hard times, so what about this? Jon Makan, a Malaysian restaurant in central London is offering a menu on Valtentine’s Day on which every dish costs just £1. You can register online to book a table.

If you really want to impress, then how about the Georgian Restaurant in Harrods? Here you can get a three course meal on Valentine's Day for £35. A bargain considering the venue!

If you’re a bit more strapped for cash than Harrods will wllow then try "eat out for a tenner” or for "under £15" at

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

European Youth Card Association

If you are aged 26 or under, you could benefit by owning a EURO<26 card.

The European Youth Card Association promotes youth mobility and information with their cards.

The EURO<26 card gives young Europeans access to information, mobility, culture and participation, through a range of services, discounts and advantages. The EYCA hopes that the EURO<26 card will encourage young people to explore their world with better information, and become full citizens of modern Europe.

The European Youth Card Association represents 62 youth card organisations across 41 European countries, with more 4.3 million young people aged under 26 owning a card.

The EURO<26 youth card provides under 26s with information through various channels: annual guides, magazines, newsletters, and helpdesks.

Check out the EYCA website now.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Bargain DVDS all postage free

Whenever I need to look for a DVD that I want or has been recommended to me I now always turn to as I am sure to find what I want. There is such a huge choice - I believe they have everything! Like Amazon there are options for new and used and you can sell your unused disks there too. The best news is that everything on this site is postage free even for just one item. You don't have to wait very long for delivery either. Why pay postage when you don't need to? Why rent when you can buy and can resell later if you choose? This seems the much better option by far!

As a writer and partner in I really enjoy what I do! This is especially so when I need to watch a nice DVD to help me on with my creative writing. At present I am about to research female boxers and have been told about a good film called Million Dollar Baby - I can't wait to see it! What a good excuse to sit and watch a film... I think I'll order it from now!

Monday, 9 February 2009

Commission free travel money

If you're going on holiday and want to order some foreign currency why not use the Post Office? At 0% commission there can't be a better deal and you can easily change back any remaining cash on your return.

Now it gets even easier as you can order your currency online at - available are 70 foreign currencies. You can click online and then collect from any post office. You can also opt for guaranteed next day delivery to your home using Royal Mail Special Delivery.

And the other good news is that you can sell back what you haven't spent on 0% too! The Post Office has been voted Best Foreign Exchange Provider for two years running now.

Big Green Switch

As a nation, we are creatures of habit. If it ain't broken, don't fix it seems to be the British mentality. However, sometimes just by changing the order of things, we can make savings and not just financially, and the Big Green Switch is a good place to start. If you want to save the earth then visit the site. Not only does it give excellent advice on great green products, including:
  • Energy-saving gadgets
  • Low energy light bulbs
  • Composting equipment
  • Water-saving devices
  • Eco-laundry products ...but it also gives away some amazing prizes. Click here to access the site.

The Rich Life Letter

I subscribe to a number of email feeds but one I look forward to more than any other is the Rich Life Letter from Lewis Geary. These are just a few of the topics he's covered recently ...

  • The TRUE meaning of "dead money"?
  • The easy way to make £432.68 a month
  • Maybe it's time to think about what YOU want...
  • Are you needlessly GIVING AWAY £5658 a year?

It doesn't really matter if you take his advice or not but it does make interesting reading and it gives hope that someone out there is willing to share his experiences of making money virtually out of nothing. Simply click on this link - it costs nothing!

Is the FTSE 100 worth a punt? Month Two

It's a month since we "invested" £100 in the FTSE 100. It stood then at 4,505, having risen 19% from its low-point in November 2008.

On Friday night, a month later, it had unfortunately fallen to 4,291.87, so our virtual £100 has fallen to £95.27. It was a fall of 4.73% in the month.

It reached a low of 4,052 on 22 January (a fall of 10.06%), so we're grateful it's come back from that level.

Anyway, onward!

Let's put another £100 into the pot at this point. So we've got £95.27 from our first month; now we've got another £100 invested at 4,291.87. That's a current total of £195.27 for a total of £200 invested.

Let's see what happens in a month's time. See you on the 9th March!

Please note that this is for discussion only, and nothing in this blog constitutes advice.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Scottish and Southern Energy follows British Gas lead

Following British Gas's price cut recently, Scottish and Southern Energy has become the second energy firm to cut prices for customers.

SSE, with nine million domestic customers, is cutting average electricity prices by 9 per cent and gas prices by 4 per cent from 30 March.

Sadly, the scale of today's cut compares poorly with the price rises pushed through last year when wholesale costs rocketed. Last August SSE put electricity prices up by 19.2 per cent on average, while gas bills soared 29.2 per cent.

There are six big energy suppliers in the UK. The four other are npower, E.ON, Scottish Power and EDF and these look set to follow suit now.

Today's cut from SSE is its first since March 2007.

Another way to make money is to be a shareholder of SSE. It is expecting a rise of at least 9.1 per cent in full-year dividends.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Save money on your Radio Times

Do you buy the Radio Times every week? It's gone up in price again (as it does every New Year), now costing £1.10 a week.

But you could "Get 6 issues for just £1"!

"What's the catch" asks the RT advert, and then tells you there isn't one. Not quite true, in my opinion.

This is how it works. If you sign up (by sending in the card in Radio Times or by completing a form online or by phoning in), you actually have to sign a Direct Debit form, so you are committing yourself to many more than the six issues. However, it does say you can cancel your trial subscription (afetr receiving the fourth issue), and will only pay a pound.

They're relying on you to forget to cancel or to say, "oh, might as well carry on," but if you really want to pay just a pound for six issues, put a note in your diary and cancel your trial subscription after four issues. Simple really.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Where do you go for the best savings rates?

Savings rates at banks and building societies are sinking faster then the pound (and that's saying something!). Is there anywhere that you might get a decent rate?

According to the Sunday Telegraph (1 Feb), these are the best rates:

Scarborough BS Balance Builder 3.87%
Yorkshire BS eSaver 3.75%
Alliance & Leicester eSaver 3.60%

Leeds BS (5 year fixed rate) 4.00%
Scottish Widows Instant cash ISA 3.60%
Alliance & Leicester Easy ISA 3.50%

Bradford & Bingley 1 year 4.05%
West Bromwich BS 3 year 4.00%
Northern Rock 5 year 3.85%

Thursday, 29 January 2009

The web's cashback cooperative is website offering cash back.

Buy something from one of 1,200 online shops (including, and you will receive a percentage of the price back.

Sites such as Google receive a referral fee. However, Quidco - the 'online cooperative' - pays the straight into your bank account.

One example is a 5% return from shopping at M&S.

Be wary of making "false economies". Only buy what you were going to buy in the first place. Don't buy more stuff "to make more savings", because you'll only gain pence when spending pounds!

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

50% off at Zizzi with the Daily Telegraph

If you like Italian food and you like a cut-price deal, then buy yourself a Daily Telegraph before the end of the week (30 Jan).

The newspaper has teamed up Italian restaurant chain Zizzi to cut 50% off the price of your main course.

Fancy pasta, pizza, risotto or an Italian salad? Then Zizzi is the place for you. And why pay full price when you can get the meal for half?

A single voucher covers the main meals of up to six people, and vouchers are printed every day in the Daily Telegraph. We all need a bargain. Get your voucher, and enjoy a meal out between now and 21 February (sadly, not St Valentine's Day, 14 Feb) in any of over a hundred Zizzi restaurants.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Competition Heaven

There ought to be something that we look forward to and if you enter competitions, then you never know! There's always the hope that you might be the lucky one out of the bag, or out of the hat. really does work. I have been a member for quite a while and I have so far won a few prizes, sadly not the big ones (cars and holidays) but hey, a Tefal wok always comes in handy. I also won a bucket of face masks...all for the price of a postcard and a 2nd class stamp! So see what they have to offer on their site. Remember, professional compers can make an absolute fortune with the right advice and dedication!! Good luck!

Monday, 26 January 2009

Make your records and cassettes sing again

Have you been replacing your old vinyl records and cassette tapes with the CD versions of the same albums? In fact, with CDs now being overtaken by MP3 music, you'll have been turning to online digital music stores.

I'll bet you haven't finished replacing your old stuff yet. And I'll bet you have most of your old records and cassettes stashed away in a box in the loft ... yet your record and casette decks have long since made their way to the dump.

All that beautiful music from the fifties to the nineties all lying idle in your dark attic.

Well now's the time to save your money. Stop replacing them and get those vinyl records out again.

All you need to do is invest in a USB record deck and a USB cassette deck (some have dual capability) and you can convert your records and tapes to digital music on your computer ... and re-live your dancing days all over again!

Try or

Friday, 23 January 2009

As British Gas cuts gas prices by 10%, should you switch?

British Gas is to cut its gas bill by 10% in February. It is estimated that this will save customers about £83 a year on average. In doing so, it has become the first gas/electricity provider to lower its tariff in over two years.

While the cut was welcomed by consumer groups, it was described as "pitiful" by one critic, and others demanded that electricity prices should be cut too.

Gordon Lishman, director-general of charity Age Concern, said the price cut was a step in the right direction, but added: "Unless further reductions follow, and are made acroos all tariffs and energy companies, many pensioners will continue to struggle to pay their bills."

When companies raised prices 12 months ago, most gave only a day's notice, yet these decreases do not come in until 19 February. Consumer champion Martin Lewis described it as a "pitiful cut". He was expecting gas and electricty bills to come down by 10 to 20%.

Mr Lewis cautioned consumers against switching their supplier to British Gas, saying that other suppliers would follow suit. "They move with a herd mentality," he said. "British Gas may have been the first to cut, but they not be the cheapest supplier."

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Try writing for extra cash

How's your English? Can you write?

Even in these difficult economic times there is a demand for writers. If you are looking for a job, trying to earn a bit of extra cash, biding your time, or considering taking up a career in writing, then writing in your spare time could be beneficial to you.

Currently are looking for talented writers to join their team of contractors. They have big new projects on the go, writing news articles for a variety of internet news feeds.

They also need proofreaders, so if you are skilled in that area, get in touch. uses contractors without obligation. However, if you do write for them, your English will need to be perfect. Get practising!

Monday, 19 January 2009

Could you get a better broadband deal?

Most broadband users in the UK are getting speeds much slower than advertised. Wouldn't you like to get a better deal and cut costs?

Research by Ofcom, the telecommunications industry regulator, has shown that British consumers get an average broadband speed of just 3.6 Megabits (Mbs) for an advertised speed of "up to 8 Mbs".

You can get information about what speed you're getting by logging on at, a large independent broadband news and information site.

You could ask your provider whether they can offer you a better package - and for less money. If they say no, then say you'll try elsewhere. Who knows, they might change their view! If you do want to look elsewhere, look at these sites for comparisons:,,,,

Like gas and electricity, there's almost certainly a better deal out there for you.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Hurry, organic food lovers!

I can wholeheartedly recommend Abel & Cole,, for good quality organic produce delivered to your door. But I wish I'd told you earlier that at the moment and only until the 23 January they are running a promotion of 25% discount on all non fruit and vegetable products. This includes all dried goods, rice, pulses, meat, fish, tinned food, dairy products, eggs, chocolate and other goodies too numerous to mention.

You may find that a regular box suits you if you like organic fruit and veg and are into cutting down on excess packaging - Abel & Cole are a highly ethical company and also treat their growers and farmers in the right way. That is why I love my regular Monday morning delivery - they deliver country-wide, so why not visit them today? Take advantage of the above offer which I think is really too good to miss!

Friday, 16 January 2009

Property may still make your fortune

Property may have got a bad name as an investment over the past 12 months or so, but there really isn't much doubt that over the long term, property will make money. "People," as they say, "will always need somewhere to live."

Many very rich people have made their money in property.

I found this deal recently. It's for a development called Skyline in Birmingham.

Deal Structure

Agency will arrange for your deposit to be paid to the value of 25%.
For example . . . Barratt List Price – £267,250.00
Current Market (Contract) Value, confirmed by an independent R.I.C.S surveyor £165,000.00 75% Mortgage – £123,750.00.
25% Deposit – £41,250.00.
Agency will arrange for your deposit to be paid so you do not have to put down any capital.


The total cost of buying an apartment is £2,500. Agency will then pay your reservation fee, your valuation and mortgage fees, your legal costs and provide the deposit. There are NO other fees to pay.


Agency arrange the mortgage on your behalf, ensuring you get the best deal currently available. They estimate for a 1-bedroom apartment your mortgage payment would be £380 a month and for a 2-bedroom apartment, £480.


Valuations are based on an up to the minute RICS valuation.
You pay just £2,500.
You will have 25% equity with rental income that covers your mortgage payments.
You have just bought at the bottom of the market.

There still are ways to make a fortune out of property!
Interested? Contact

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Find a voucher online!

It's all too easy to forget - if you ever knew - that it's worthwhile looking online to see if you can find a voucher or discount code for any purchase you wish to make online. In fact, once you decide to buy something why not look up and see what useful deals are available. The site has a list of current offers - for example House of Fraser are offering 10% off a £50 spend and this includes free delivery! Faith are offering 15% off full price items and so are Superdrug whose offer continues until the 31st January.

In the past, people used to cut out coupons from magazines or take advantage of leaflets with special offer vouchers delivered to their door. These days online shopping is very popular and it is a wise step to chase the discounts and promotions that are so readily available - you could save yourself a packet!

Look: there are good savings rates to be found

The Bank of England reduced the base rate to 1.5% last week, which is going to make life difficult for savers. Many rates on building society accounts have already fallen below 1%, and some are down to zero, relying solely on bonuses to give any return at all.

However, there are some good rates to be found, especially if you can save regularly.

First Direct has an offer of 7% (fixed) for those who invest between £25 and £300 a month. It's a one-year ISA, so it's tax-free too.

Abbey has a Super Fixed Rate Monthly Saver, also at 7%. The slight catch is that savers must open a regular investment, pension or protection plan at the same time. Monthly investment can be between £20 and £250. Without an investment product the savings rate is still a fair 5%.

More soon.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Half price pizza...

Check this one out for 50% off your next visit to Pizza Hut. I have kids - they always want to go to Pizza Hut and this month, I think I might treat them seeing as I can now get it half price. Just click here to check out this offer, but hurry because it ends on 13th February. Plenty of time to book a meal out, especially if there's a birthday coming up!

Business cards for free

Yes, it's true you can now get business cards and associated stationery printed for free by visiting Vista print. It really couldn't be simpler to design your own stuff and get exactly what you want. I have already ordered two sets of cards and they arrived promptly and of the highest quality! All you do it pay for the postage. Every little helps...

De-clutter and save the environment

Are you interested in getting rid of your stuff (“de-cluttering”), but not having to take it to your local tip? Perhaps you haven’t got the transport to do that, or you’d just like to keep it out of landfill.

Try UK freecycle at

It is actually a worldwide network made up of many individual groups across the globe. It's a movement of people who are giving away stuff for free in their own towns. That means people are getting stuff for free too!

The commendable goal in these modern times is to keep usable items out of landfills. As well as environmental benefits, Freecycle also encourages us to get rid of junk that we no longer need and promote community involvement in the process.

Everything posted on Freecycle must be free, legal and appropriate for all ages. As well as offering something - whether it's a chair, fax machine, piano or an old door – you can post wanted messages if you are looking for something.

It’s free to register and use.

There’s bound to be a freecycle group near you. Sign up today, de-clutter your home, and help save the world!

Monday, 12 January 2009

Look for pound recovery by holiday time!

We have seen the pound plummet in recent weeks, but it did show a minor recovery last week, reaching 1.127 euros and $1.52 by the end of the week. There didn't appear to be a huge adverse reaction to the lowering of interest rates by the Bank of England to 1.5%.

It may be that currency traders feel that the worst is over for the UK economy (or at least, it can't get much worse), whereas it could actually get worse for those in the eurozone. Several European economies are struggling, but the eurozone interest rate is at 2.5%. There is still room for it to come down.

If the eurozone interest rate comes down and the UK interest rate appears to be stabilising, it could be good news for the pound. We might not see a return to the level of £1=1.5 euros, the rate for so long beyond a couple of years back, but at least we might get more euros for our money come the time for our summer holidays!

Help Financially

Some kind person sent me this: Lewis Geary's The Rich Life Letter ... a twice-weekly email specially designed to help you make money, save money and find a path to financial freedom. It caught my interest because it's free and I like free things! Lewis Geary gives you free tips and advice on how to ease your money problems and get a ton of stuff cheaper - or even for nothing by using a few brilliant (and perfectly legal) tricks and loopholes. This is what he reckons he has achieved:
• The TV trick that could get you a better quality 42" plasma set for £900 less than the "top-of-the-range" model.
• How a "debt diet" could save you A GRAND in a month - great if you need to pay off your credit card quickly... or save for a holiday
• New Tyres - you never know if you're being ripped-off. But visit this website and you can leave your car on the drive and let the cheapest tyres in your area come to YOU
• Is your bank penalising you for being a loyal customer? Put a stop to it NOW and get their top rate by making one phone call
• How to get tons of free stuff - from coffee... to perfume... to cat food. Why spend £££s on your weekly grocery shop when you can get it for NOTHING?
You can read more about him and sign up for his free email service here.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Is the FTSE 100 worth a punt?

No one could pretend that the economy is in a good state or that 2009 will be an easy year, but have we seen the worst of stock market volatility?

The UK stock market reached its low-point of 3,781 on 20 November, but since then it has shown remarkable stability and had climbed to 4,505 by close of business, Thursday 8 January. This is a rise of 19%. Is that making the headlines? Is anyone shouting from the rooftops? No, because good news doesn’t make for good headlines.

Yet if you had invested a thousand pounds of your money into a FTSE 100 tracker on 20 November, it would now be worth £1,190. And this is at a time when the Bank of England base rate has just gone down to 1.5%, and you can be sure that finding a savings rate of much more than 1% for a thousand pounds would be nigh on impossible.

The stock market appears to have rallied quietly in the last six weeks, and this may suggest an underlying feeling of optimism, despite all the doom and gloom that is about.

Let’s try a little experiment in the next month. Let’s pretend we put a thousand pounds into the stock market (e.g. a FTSE 100 tracker) on Friday morning (4,505 points), and we’ll see where it’s got to by Monday 9 February. We’ll compare that with a rate of 1.5% over a month, and we’ll see what happens!

Thursday, 8 January 2009

I want to sell my stamps ...

I've been looking for ways of making some money in these hard times of recession. So now I'm concentrating on repaying my credit cards while using them as little as possible - preferably never - again!

So to supplement my income I've decided to sell my childhood stamp collection which my elderly mother has just given me back. Explanation - she kept them all these years under the pretext of growing her own small collection which had been merged with mine at some point!

As you grow older you may become less attached to these things and I haven't collected stamps since childhood. But I remember the thrill I used to experience as I received whole sets of stamps on approval through the post, visited a local stamp shop and spent hours lovingly mounting them in. It was an educational hobby and fed my love of travel and of learning foreign languages.

My (and mum's!) collection is housed in one album and an old Peak Freans biscuit tin called aptly Stamps and Biscuits and illustrated with pictures of various stamps of all shapes and sizes!

I won't miss my stamps now and I do want to sell them to help pay off those credit cards. I wonder now might there be just one or two valuable ones amongst this lot? Having done some research in the past I am now resolved to start Googling again and find out where those stamp fairs are taking place and whether it is best to go to a stamp dealer or find a private buyer. So I'll be back to let you know how I get on!

Fashion Statement

And there's more... I came across another site for recycling (as such), this one for unwanted clothes.

How many items of clothing do we have in our wardrobes that we haven't worn for donkeys' years? The fashion rule of thumb is throw out anything that you haven't worn for two years... I don't think so! I paid good money for them then and I intend to get something back.

So log on to and start selling!

Welcome and start making money!

I don't know about you but I'm struggling in today's economic climate. I think it happened when they started calling it a recession instead of credit crunch ... it really is all in the name! Anyway, having been through this once before in the late 1990s, I decided I wasn't going to do it again so I've been using my resources. Now you might not think that you have anything worth anything in your house but think again. I have books, a lot of books - the majority of which I haven't read for a long long time. And although I would be very loath to get rid of a lot of them, I have to be ruthless and so I decided to sell. And I found this: takes your books and sells them for £3.75 - that's EVERY book listed at the same price. You as the seller get £3.00 and the remainder goes to the site. For every book sold, they donate 5p to the Woodland Trust, the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity to help support Woodland Creation. And all you have to do is put in the ISBN number on the back of the book - ingenious! Check it out!