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Thursday, April 22, 2010

More Money Saving Tips

Go Ahead coupons 30p off. Get them here

I've also realised that there is an option for them to post the coupons to you if you do not have a printer at home. Simply click on the 'print coupons now' button and when it takes you through to the next page, you will see 'Don't have a printer?' highlighted with a link through to a field where you can insert your postal address.

Happy and healthier snacking!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ashes to Ashes

Icelandic Volcano

He said: 'Eyjafjallajoekull', I said 'bless you'. Which was not the best way to prove to someone that you'd not been listening to a thing they had been saying but, instead, that you had been watching some students make a daisy chain collar for their dog.

'That volcano in Iceland' He sounded a little put out, so I feigned deafness and turned my full attention to the poor friend of a friend who had been telling us about the volcano in Iceland that had erupted.

That incident was last Wednesday, while about 5,000 of us Christians were at New Word Alive in Pwllheli, North Wales, enjoying uncharacteristically glorious weather and some fantastic, intriguing seminars and worship sessions, far far removed from the TV and from computers and from Twitter.

As events unfolded in the Nordic North, we eventually grasped the significance of this eruption: a giant cloud of ash mushrooming across to the northern shores of the UK, grounding all flights and causing chaos at airports. With many of our speakers - Wayne Grudem, Jerry Bridges and Rebecca Manley-Pippert among others - coming from the US, it was becoming a matter of prayer for them to be able to get their flights back home.

Still, so far, there has seemingly been more panic than particle formation in the atmosphere. According to the BBC the weather patterns are still potentially pushing this ashy formation towards this green and pleasant land; it does beg the question, however, whether some flights could have gone out already if they were heading on a southerly flight path.

Hence Gordoun Broon has flown to the rescue - bad choice of words, sorry - he motored to the rescue in his boats. The Great British Navy is about to be launched to rescue Europeans stranded in various countries. It's like Dunkirk, only without the jackboots and hundreds of ME 109s pummeling the beaches of Belgium.

Already one British destroyer is on its way, the not-so imaginatively named HMS Ocean, and one aircraft carrier, the more aptly-named HMS Ark Royal, are on their way across the Channel.

This put one friend on top investment humour form. 'Should we be investing in ships and shipping?' he asked me. Until I see the ash I'd not invest in anything else other than a good umbrella and a gas mask, I replied. Not that there is a dash of ash to be seen in the skies. I am to some extent disappointed.

Still, he has posed an interesting question. Should I have invested in Iceland on my EzXty investment market? This is a game that allows you to pretend to invest in the market and you can win prizes for moving up the leaderboard. Maybe I was too late - Iceland must be expensive now. Still, there is always the possibility that all my investments ahead of the game (s) this summer may pay out: not so much Ash but The Ashes. I've bought loads of shares in cricket clubs and in names of cricketers that I've never heard of or know anything about. Hopefully, either with the Volcano or with Middlesex County Cricket Club, I will get some points!

Monday, April 12, 2010

How to save up £264 a year without effort

Pennies from Heaven?

There used to be a saying 'look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves'. Such a phrase seems incongruous this day and age, where an overly materialistic society ignores small change and prefers to build up enormous debts on credit cards.

But here is a brilliant way to save £264 a year without effort - something I have been doing for several years now.

Each January, I start putting aside all my small change, ranging from 1p to 20p coins. I bag it up each month and I'll generally have about £10 of 20p coins, £5 each of 10 and 5p coins, and £1 each of 2p and 1p coins. Each month, this works out at about £22.

I then put this in my rainy day account - which is effectively the account I use for my Christmas shopping or to pay off the lion's share of those dreaded insurance and ground rent bills that always crop up in December.

Over the course of the year, this works out at 12 x £22 - £264. For people like me whose income just barely exceeds the outgoings, trying to save anything out of one's income can be a daunting task. But even the smallest coins have a place - if we are not too proud to count them up and use them!

The thing is, we don't look after the pennies, so how do we expect the pounds to look after themselves? This is not about being miserly, but about being wise stewards of what we have.

So, how to kick-start this savings habit?

1) Be Not Proud!
Don't be too proud to collect the coins and bag them up each month before taking them into your bank/building society. Pride goes before a fall...

2) Clean your house
You'd be surprised at how much is lying around in jars, in the proverbial sofa cushions, in desk drawers, in pockets and handbags and generally scattered around. While I was clearing up on saturday I discovered £3.20 worth of small change lying around. Happy days!

3) Be disciplined
Rather than raking around your purse for coppers to buy a chocolate bar, why not actually decide to go without - you'll save money and your weight will benefit!

4) Ask for bags
Your bank can give you a ream of small coin bags to help you put things aside. It's much easier to add coins to small bags over the course of a week rather than to stick it all into a jar and then have the hassle of emptying that a year

5) Savings accounts
If you have a high-interest savings account (HAHAHAH! How we laugh! I remember those - just about!) then do consider adding your savings into that each month. Should the bank base rate ever rise, then you will benefit from the additional cumulative effect of monthly or quarterly interest rate rises on your account.

Just to reiterate, Mermaid is not sitting at home in a darkened loft, counting piles of coins and laughing maniacally to herself in Scroogish glee. But I do smile every Christmas when I have a good sum to spend on presents for my family and think it's worth passing on a good tip when I can!

The Mermaid and her Accountant

As for good tips, Pizza Express is doing another great deal on two-for-one main meals and pizzas in the UK up to the 5th of May. Free Pizzas - hooray!

Happy saving!