Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The UK Consumer Prices Index (CPI) annual inflation rate rose to 4% in January

up from 3.7% in December, as the effects of the VAT rise were felt.

Higher oil prices also meant inflation remained well above the 2% target.
Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation - which includes mortgage interest payments - rose to 5.1% from 4.8%.
The CPI figure is the highest since November 2008, and will put pressure on the Bank of England to lift interest rates to curb accelerating inflation.
The CPI measure has now been one percentage point or more above target for 14 months.
Bank of England governor Mervyn King has now written to the government, after sending three such letters last year, explaining the outlook for inflation and what will be done to tackle it.
In his letter he says inflation is likely to rise towards 5% in the coming months.
Referring to expected interest rate increases, he added: "The MPC's central judgement, under the assumption that Bank rate increases in line with market expectations, remains that inflation will fall back so that it is about as likely to be above the target as below it two to three years ahead."
UK inflation
Mr King said the rise in inflation was due to the VAT rise, the past weakness of the pound and recent rises in commodity prices.
"In his view, the 4% rise in the CPI in the past 12 months is unfortunate - but temporary, and almost entirely driven by factors beyond the Bank's control," said the BBC's economics editor Stephanie Flanders.

"Until this month, I would say that the majority of City experts have agreed with him that most of the upward pressure comes from the fall in the pound, VAT changes, and global changes in the price of food, energy and other commodities.
"But there are some warning flags in the January numbers."
In his reply to Mr King's letter, Chancellor George Osborne said he recognised that commodity prices had been "a key driver of recent UK inflation". However, there was no reference to the recent VAT increase.
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls, speaking on BBC Radio 5 live, blamed inflation on the VAT rise, which he described as "a mistake".

Monday, 28 February 2011

Holidays? Britain, Abroad. Fly, Drive?

So many things to consider when planning your holidays this year. 

We have just finished planning our family holidays this year. The way the climate is going it just seems that a break anywhere away from the hum drum of home is great. Something cheap and cheery and good value for money. New sites have just been set up to help us compare holiday prices with all companies at the same time.

I had a go at these sites and yes it’s easy to do and yes you can compare prices but no it is not the best value for money. I have found a company called LOW COST HOLIDAYS  which on every check I did for any holiday and all different times of the year. This one was always a good couple of hundred pounds cheaper. Amazing that by going to their own site and not a compare site made it even cheaper. They offer even more discount if you get parking, transfers and insurance with them. Better still if you do it all via Quidco you will get another discount also depending on what the offer is. The only down side I would say is that the deposits are usually about half the amount of the holiday to be paid up front. Other than that a great way to save money on your abroad holiday this year.

Another option for holiday would be Britain. A holiday park with either shallots or statics or take along your own caravan. Brilliant for kids as nearly all of them have fab kids clubs and entertainment. So many of them are offering discounts at the moment. One I would definitely recommend would be Park Dean Resorts. You also can collect the vouchers in the Sun for their famous £9.50 holidays. You can go all over Europe with them also. Yes ok it isn’t really £9.50 and there are always extra charges but for an example a holiday for 4 in a Haven site with everything included bedding, passes, entertainment will cost us £58.00 for 4 nights.

We definitely couldn’t do 4 day trips with our kids for that much! The entertainment is all there, kids clubs and swimming pool and other sports so all you will need is a bit of pocket money. Not only would you have a great time, save money but you would also be supporting the British tourism industry which is second to none. The only two downfalls I can find is the time it takes to collect vouchers and the weather.

Remember every penny counts, you can only ever spend it once so why spend too much?
Cheers Mrs G x

UK retail sales bounce back in January

Customers returned to the shops in January after December's fall-off

UK retail sales rebounded in January after heavy snow caused a big drop in December sales, figures have shown.
The volume of retail sales in January rose 1.9% on the previous month, the Office for National Statistics said.
December's monthly figure was also revised from an earlier estimate of a 0.8% fall to a 1.4% drop - the biggest December fall since records began.

Over a longer period, sales in November to January were up 0.2% compared with the previous three months.
Snow and VAT
Year-on-year, sales volumes were up 5.3% in January - the biggest annual increase for more than six years.
The figures were better than expected. Analysts had forecast a monthly rise of 0.5% and an annual increase of 4.1%.
"The monthly pattern of retail sales has been affected by the extremely bad weather in both January 2010 and December 2010, and changes to the VAT rate in both years," the ONS said in its latest monthly release.
VAT increased from 15% to 17.5% on 1 January 2010 and from 17.5% to 20% on 4 January 2011.
There was some anecdotal evidence that shoppers made major purchases before the VAT rise took effect on 4 January, the ONS said, with sales falling off thereafter.
Inflation impact

There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth when December's retail sales figures were published, with talk of the worst Christmas shopping season in more than a decade. Bad weather had kept shoppers away on crucial trading days.
Now we learn there was a sharp bounce back in January, even with the VAT increase. Across both months total retail sales came out ahead.
But the ONS notes that a chunk of January's increase happened before the VAT rise on the 4th.
Worries about inflation and possible interest rate rises may be worrying consumers. We will need to wait until February's figures are out to get a clearer picture.
Independent retail analyst Rahul Sharma said that because of these effects, February would be "a much better pointer" to the underlying trend in sales.
He also warned that with rising commodity prices and the CPI measure of inflation currently at 4% - double the Bank of England's target - consumers would soon face even higher prices.
"People aren't fully aware of the kind of increases that are coming, largely because the retailers haven't been in a position to pass them on. But increases are coming," he told the BBC.
"For clothing retailers [in particular], the level of raw material price increases has been so significant that they need to pass them on to the consumer."
By value, retail sales in January rose by 3% on the month and 8.2% on the year, reflecting the increased volumes as well as the impact of inflation.

'High watermark'
Andrew Goodwin, senior economic adviser to the Ernst & Young Item Club, agreed that the rest of the year could be tough for both consumers and retailers.
"Spending power is under huge pressure from high inflation and weak earnings, while confidence is very weak and households remain heavily indebted.
"January could well represent the high watermark for retailers in what is likely to be a very difficult year."
The British Chambers of Commerce said that in general, the figures "support our view that GDP will show positive growth in the first quarter of 2011 after the decline in the last quarter".

Friday, 25 February 2011

Take the £1000 challenge with Quidco

Huge savings to be made just by taking the time to hunt down the bargains 

Firstly I would like to thank anyone out there who is reading the blog. My whole world is full of money saving and creating ideas so it is so nice to be able to share them. Remember you can leave comments or even become a follower at anytime. So a big thanks to your all goes out!
Now for today’s to tips.

A friend of mine recommended me to a site before Christmas last year. She could not believe I had never heard of them and to be honest now that I use them I can’t believe it either!
The site I am referring to is QUIDCO. Fantastic!  www.quidco.com
This site combines the love to shop and get bargains all at the same time. Then to add a twist to its tail it pays you to do it!

You earn money by going through their links to offers that are present on their web site. Every normal everyday link is there such as Asda, Vodafone, Argos, and many many many more. In fact at present approx 2000 different retailers. Even Ebay is on there! Great news for me! Quidco pay you a completed payment by cheque as soon as a month depending on company verification time.
There is even a section on freebies and printable vouchers for meals and such like.
All round a really great site!

Just one down fall though is that it can take from 28 days to 90 days depending on the product for your money to come to you so definitely not a quick get rich scheme but more like a saving for something idea.

Which bring me to their save £1000 challenge in a year. They help and advise you and send you the best deals first. They keep you up dated on how you are doing and pay you out when you reach your target. Brilliant saving money you didn’t have in the first place. AMAZING!

If I haven’t already plugged this site enough for you there is a little freebie that I found on the site to share with you but hurry it needs to be taken by the 27/2/10.
If you join QUIDCO and put it on your like list on Facebook you can claim a free £5 voucher for Prezzy box online gift shop which whilst having a flick through also seems a great site. Hey that’s another blog another day though!

Remember every penny counts, you can only ever spend it once so why spend too much?
Cheers Mrs Gxxx

The banks that cash in on your ID fraud fears by selling costly identity theft insurance

Banks are cashing in on people's fear of fraud by selling costly identity theft insurance when customers activate credit cards.

Customers who think they are calling their bank are being put through to insurance salesmen.
They then describe how fraud is on the increase and encourage the customer to buy a policy for around £70 per year.

Rip off: Critics say the insurance is overpriced and totally unnecessary
Despite what most customers believe, many of these policies won't cover you for fraud losses. Instead, Card Protection Plan (CPP), the largest insurer, will just pay out up to £60,000 to cover any 'legal and communication costs' incurred after becoming a victim.
Critics say the insurance is overpriced and unnecessary, and point out that all banks must reimburse fraudulent transactions.

'Consumers do not need insurance to get protection from identity fraud,' says Michelle Whiteman, from the UK Cards Association. 'As long as you have not been negligent with your card or Pin, your bank will reimburse you for any losses.'

NatWest, RBS, Barclays, Barclaycard-Santander, Tesco, Yorkshire and Clydesdale banks all use CPP to sell fraud insurance to their customers. CPP pays banks a kickback every time it persuades someone to sign up, though it refuses to say how much.
Just 0.5 pc of CPP customers claim on their identity theft policy  -  that is one in 200. This compares to one in six drivers who claim on car insurance. 

'When people ring up to activate their card, they rightly assume they are calling their bank, not a third party selling expensive insurance,' says James Daley, editor of Which? Money.
'Identity fraud is not as widespread as insurers make out. The risks are overstated and the insurance is far too expensive, given how few people make a claim.'

Identity fraud occurs when a fraudster obtains your bank details and uses this information to apply for credit in your name  -  for example, a loan or credit card.
In 2010, there were 102,500 cases of identity fraud recorded by CIFAS members, which include the main banks and building societies. While this was a small increase from 2009, it is a drop in the ocean given there are 137 million credit and debit cards.

Policies vary among banks  -  Barclaycard, for example, has Identity Protection Alert costing £69.99 a year. It is not designed to cover any losses from fraud, but to cover the costs associated with clearing your name' up to £60,000.

The insurance also provides online access to your credit report and email or text alerts when someone makes an application for credit in your name. It will also 'monitor where customers' data is visible online' in an effort to prevent fraud in the first place.
'We provide products that deliver peace of mind for consumers,' says a spokesman for CPP.
'Our resolution process with the support of a dedicated caseworker means any incidences of identity fraud are resolved quickly.

'In many cases, the customer does not have to claim on their insurance  -  however, it is there should the need arise.'

Thursday, 24 February 2011


Especially when the word comes just in front of a few other really nice words... CUT AND FINISH.
Wow and it really is free too.

Littlewoods have launched their  LW STYLE online magazine. Usual tips and trends. A splattering a celeb news and fashion. A fist full of gossip. Oh and most importantly A FREE HAIR CUT AND FINISH!

They have teamed up with THE HAIR GROUP which is a group of 120 independent hairdressers with this promotion. These salons also did a similar promotion with COSMOPOLITAN magazine a couple of years ago.  THE HAIR GROUP Hairdressing salons are based all over the country so this really is for everyone. You don’t even have to be a member of Littlewoods to claim.
Simply go to the littlewoods link   http://littlewoods.mymedia.co.uk/1C4d511e8163b80012.cde have a quick flick through and the advert we all want is on the back page!

You can only claim one per household but do it quick as it runs out at the end of February.
I today have claimed and booked my Free cut and finish. I can’t wait to see what they do with my mop. Not that i care just an hour or so away from the hustle and bustle of life and kids will do just nicely for me thanks!

Remember every penny counts, you can only ever spend it once so why spend too much?
Cheers Mrs G xxx                                                                                               MVX6B5ABCGST            

Royal Bank of Scotland loss narrows as bad loans fall

Royal Bank of Scotland, the UK bank which is 84pc owned by the Government, reported a narrower loss in 2010 as provisions for bad loans fell. 


Chief executive Stephen Hester said the Government is unlikely to start selling its RBS stake until the Independent Commission on Banking's report is complete. 
Edinburgh-based RBS reported a net attributable loss of £1.1bn for last year, down from £3.6bn in 2009. The pre-tax loss was £239m.
Stephen Hester, chief executive, also put the loss for the year down to a £1.55bn charge paid to the Governement's Asset Protection Scheme, set up at the height of the financial crisis, which RBS aims to exit by 2012.
Mr Hester said the Government was unlikely to start selling its stake in RBS until after the Independent Commission on Banking finishes its report into the sector, due by the end of September this year.
"RBS was an emblem of the financial crisis and it will be an emblem of recovery" when the Government sells its stake, Mr Hester said in a BBC radio interview.
"Its something we'll be working on this year, and hope that will provide opportunities for the Government in due course."
Mr Hester also admitted the bank is used a "political football", and said: "It can feel pretty beleaguered working at RBS."
The shares were down 2.5pc to 46.16p in early trading. RBS's shares peaked at 602.6p each in March 2007, falling as low as 10p in January 2009.
"RBS is clearly making progress from its former woes but remains a group in the grip of transition," said Richard Hunter, head of UK equities at stockbrokers Hargreaves Lansdown. "Even though the strategy has been laid out and is being slowly followed, less patient investors will look for more immediate prospects elsewhere in the sector."
The bailed-out bank also confirmed that, as expected, Mr Hester will take his £2m bonus for last year and that its investment bankers will take home around £950m in bonuses. That is £200m less than in 2009.
The compensation ratio across the bank fell to 17pc from 31pc last year, although in the investment banking arm the ratio increased to 34pc from 26pc last year, because revenues fell by £3.15bn. 

One buyer for parts of the Government's stake in RBS could be the Gulf state of Qatar, after discussions with David Cameron, the Prime Minister.
RBS said it made an operating profit of £1.9bn in 2010, recovering from a £6.1bn loss the previous year, and returned to profit by all measures in the fourth quarter.
However the £1.1bn loss was worse than analysts were expecting - consensus forecasts compiled by Bloomberg were for a £406.5m loss.
That was due to losses on loans in Ireland, which almost doubled to £1.16bn last year. The Ulster Bank division lost £761m.
Overall, RBS's impairment charges on bad loans fell to £9.3bn during the year, down from £13.9bn in 2009. 

"2010 was a year of good progress and the group is on or ahead of its published goals for this stage of our plan," Mr Hester said.
RBS is in the second year of a five-year recovery plan, after being bailed-out by the Government in 2008.