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2for1 movies for a year for £2 or less

We love going to the cinema on our date nights but it can get very pricy. We used to go out on cheaper nights but now our local cinema no longer offers them we can be looking at close to £20 for both of our tickets, if we choose to have any snacks the price can quickly escalate. 

With meerkat movies you can get 2for1 movies on Tuesdays and Wednesday and works a many cinemas including most cineworld and odeon as well as some independent cinemas.  There are several ways to go about getting this awesome freebie. Plus this can be combined with student priced tickets (or an unlimited card). 

The cheapest way to get this is to use comparethemarket to do a price comparison when when you are renewing your Car, Van, Motorbike, Home, Landlord, Pet or Life insurance policies. If you have one or more of these types of insurance (which most people will have at least one) then you can claim a code for nothing and you may even save money by getting a better deal on your insurance policy. 
If you are looking to switch your energy, TV or broadband again you can use the comparison site to get the best deal and if you purchase through the site then you will be eligible for the 2for1 freebie.

Not got any insurance policies? Or non due for renewal any time soon but still want to take advantage of this great deal. Then there is a loophole. We purchase a single trip travel insurance from within the UK (domestic travel) for 2 nights we spent about £3 but I have found ones for as little as £2. As there is no minimum purchase price on products to qualify for the Meerkat Movies this purchase will be eligible. Though there is a slight cost, you will be making a saving even if you go to the cinema once in the whole year. 

Have you taken advantage of this great deal offered by ComparetheMarket? 

What are Personal Savings Allowances?

The personal savings allowance (PSA) will come into effect from the 6th of April 2016. Though the changes were mentioned a lot in the budget announcements many people still do not understand the implications of PSA and what it means for them as an investor.
It is really important to understand PSA as it is a huge change and has the potential to mean 95% of the population won't pay tax on their savings.

What is an PSA?

  • PSA affects the amount of tax you pay on your savings
  • If your are a basic rate tax payer your PSA is £1000. A basic rate tax payer pays 20% tax on their savings so you can earn £1000 in interest per financial year without paying tax on it. 
  • If you are a high rate tax payer your PSA is £500. A high rate tax payer pays 40% tax on their savings, meaning you can earn £500 in interest per financial year without paying tax on it.

How likely is it I will use the allowance?

Lets assume you have a savings account with an interest rate of  1.35% (this top of the market for easy access savers). You would need the following amounts to meet your thresholds. 

If you earn £17,000 or less per year then you will not pay any tax on savings income.

- Basic Rate Tax Band- £74074 
- High Rate Tax Band- £37,037

Those are some pretty large amounts you would need to have saved. But lets say you were more risky with your investments and had an account with a higher rate. 

- Basic Rate Tax Band- £29855 annual interest would be £1000.14
- High Rate Tax Band-  £14926 - annual interest would be £500.02

Thats still quite a lot to have saved and that is why the treasury estimate that for 95% they won't have to pay tax on their savings. 

What type of accounts are covered by PSA
  • Normal savings accounts (fixed and variable rates)
  • Current accounts (in banks, building societies and credit unions)
  • Investments with NS&I
  • P2P investments
  • interest distributions (but not dividend distributions) from authorised unit trusts, open-ended investment companies and investment trusts 
  • income from government or company bonds
  • most types of purchased life annuity payments
  • Investments in other currencies held in the UK

Not Covered (already tax free money)
  • Money invested in ISAs
  • Premium Bond winnings

How valuable are PSAs and what does it mean for ISAs?
- We don't know if future governments will retain PSAs. ISA have been around for much longer and therefore are less likely to be subject to a removal from the budget (though of course the annual allowance could very easily change).
- If we see high interest rates again then then £1000 will no longer feel like such a large amount.
- Also quite often ISAs have higher interest rates than traditional savings accounts (when compared for like for like features). Though this is not always the case and should be a consideration factor when considering which to choose.
- It is not clear how interest from bonds which accumulates over several years but is paid in one payment (rather than over several financial years) will be dealt with.

What do I have to do?
 To reap the rewards of the PSA you don't need to do anything. If you interest surpasses the the allowance you will pay tax. Banks will let HMRC know that you need a different tax code.

For more information please visit

Financial questions to ask before studying abroad

Studying abroad has increased in popularity rapidly over recent years. Though it can be a wonderful experience and an important part of your university life it is not an essential element to most degrees. It is important to consider several financial factors when determining if going on an optional year abroad is for you. It is important to assess not only if you can afford to study abroad but can you afford to go where you want. You may need consider alternative destinations as a compromise on the financial impact of a year abroad. Also don't forget studying abroad is not the only way to spend a year in a different country a year in industry (placement year) doesn't have to occur in your home country and could be the perfect opportunity to combine valuble work experience and international travel.

How much will the course cost? 
- will you be paying the tuition fees prices for your current school whilst abroad or increased fees as an international student?
- How much will it add to the cost of your degree tuition?

How much value will it add to your degree?
- This means asking why are you wanting to do a year abroad. If its just because you just want to visit  a country or your friend is applying too then perhaps an extended vacation would be better (and more cost efficient). Whereas, if you are doing a language degree then studying abroad is highly beneficial to the development of the skills you are using in your degree.
- Think about the quality of the univeristy you would be studying at does it rank as well or better than your current university.

What is the cost of living in that country?
- Depending on where you go the cost of living could be a lot more or a lot less than you are used too.
- It is also worth looking at how currency exchange rates have been over the past months are you going to get more or less for your money due to the exchange rate.

Do they offer scholarships, grants and work programs?
- Programs such as the erasmus scheme offer up to €300 a month grant for studying abroad.
- Will scholarships you have from your current university still apply on your year abroad and after?
- Does the university you are attending abroad offer any scholarships to exchange students.
- Would you be able to work whilst studying abroad. This will depend on visa restrictions and varies from country to country.

How much will additional costs be?
- Flights can be pricy if it is long haul. How often will you expect to visit home over the year?
- Cost of visas, passports and immunisations should also not be forgotten.
- Study abroad programs also offer lots of excursions and trips for students to participate in.

Did you go on a year abroad? What was your experience?

Give your child financial freedom | Junior ISA

Whether you want to help your child with the cost of higher education, a downpayment on a house or their wedding. There can be many reasons why you want to save to give your child a lump sum. However, it can feel like an insurmountable challenge. But it doesn't have to be that way. With the help of tax-free perks, regular deposits and the magic of compound interest the help that you dream of giving your children is within your potential.

That is where Junior ISAs come in. They are tax-free savings accounts for under-18s that can either be held in a cash ISA (like normal savings account where the rate of interest is set by the bank) or in a Stocks and Shares ISA (where there is more risk but more potential for return).

Currently the maximum you can invest each tax year is £4080. Were you to invest this amount for 18 years assuming a 3.25% interest rate which is the current best (by nationwide). The when the lump sum at the end would be over £98,000.
Many providers allow you to start saving with as little as £1 so there is nothing to stop you starting to contribute to a junior ISA even if it is smaller amounts.
Lets say you can't afford to make such a large contribution each year. For example you invest £30 a week at the end there would be over £35,000. That is is enough to give serious financial assistance to your child all for £30 a week.

Not got £30 a week to spare. Think about the simple ways you could make little changes to free up that money.

  • Taking a pack lunch to work everyday could save between £5-10 a day quickly freeing up money to save in an ISA.
  • Bring your own tea and coffee. At £3 at cuppa in many places the cost of your morning fix quickly mounts up. If you gave up a coffee every work day until your child was 18 you could have over £17,000 saved.
  • Another simple way is to save the Child Benefit money you receive, for many it is not an essential state benefit and so creating a habit out of having it automatically be saved and with the power of compound interest can result in a decent sized lump sum at the end.

Do you use junior ISAs? Do you find them a good investment product?

Save money cancelling unwanted subscriptions.

We've all done it signed up for an online service, movie streaming or gym membership. You may have even signed up for a free 'trial' period on the basis that you would cancel before you have to pay.  Yet 4 in 10 Brits remain paying for services they simply don't use.  At the start of the year we cancelled a movie pass subscription pass C had (that we really weren't using) and saved almost £200 a year. 

Likely culprits
These are the services which are the greatest pitfalls and have the most underused subscriptions. 
  • Gym memberships
  • Magazine Subscriptions
  • Credit Reports
  • TV streaming
  • Music streaming
  • Donations
  • Weight-loss
  • Subscription boxes
  • Delivery services
  • 'deals' subscriptions 
  • Insurance 
However, you don't have to let subscriptions be a drain on your bank account. Follow these simple steps to help re-organise your finances and clear out the clutter. 

1. Know your Direct Debits and Standing Orders.
This is relatively simple to find if you do online banking (there should be a tab for you to see what direct debits and standing orders you currently have set up). If you still have paper statements then the task is a bit more time consuming but you will see on the statement that the type of payment is show and this will denote if its a DD or SO. Make a note of what it is for, how much it is and how often.

2. Asses your bank statements.
There may also be regular payments coming out of your account that are no by DD or SO but are by authorised card payment (or paypal). It is useful to look to the last 12 months of statements as there may be amounts paid less frequently (i.e. annually). Basically keen an eye out for regular payments of the same amount the the same company. Again make a note of what it is for, how much payments are and how often they occur. 

3. Determine which subscriptions you want to cancel.
Not all of the subscriptions you will want to cancel, but now you have a list of everything so you can start to assess the situation. Think about how many times you have used the service since you last paid. Is it a necessity? It is still useful?  Is it value for money (it may be worth thinking about cost per use)? Also it is good to consider how much you could save by cancelling a subscription.  Use the Money Advice Service quick cash calculator to find our how much you could save. 

4. Cancel what you don't need
So you know which subscriptions you want to cancel. You may wish to write down the subscription renewal date in your diary if you want to wait until just before renewal to cancel. However, this leaves you susceptible to forgetting and also sometimes there are notice periods as well. If it is being paid by Direct Debit or Standing Order then simply phone up or write to your bank to cancel that. However, if payment is being directly made from your card then you must tell the company taking the payments, preferably in writing, and give a copy of this to your bank or card issuer.

How much have you saved money by cancelling subscriptions?