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Money tips and resolutions

11 July, 2017

Happy new year to you all! My dry January became my ‘drier January’ last night thanks to a small uni reunion. Oops. Nonetheless for worthier folk than I 'tis the season of self-improvement. Resolutions. So as kale sells out in Waitrose and people argue at the back of the yoga queue, what might we do with our finances?

Here are some relatively painfree ideas.

1) New to investing? Are procrastination and the fear of making a daft decision paralysing you? Trying to get your kids on the savings ladder? These 3 providers will let you start with £1, making it psychologically easier to get started as the potential downside is minimal. Have a look at Evestor, Wealthsimple ( and Wealthify (

2) Energy bills. Hop onto a comparison website this weekend and take 10 minutes to see if you could save £100s.

3) Direct debit drains - log on to online banking, look at your direct debits and check these are all still relevant and wanted.

4) TV and broadband. It’s amazing what can happen if you phone your provider up to say you are leaving. They also tend to answer the phone quite quickly when you tell them you’re thinking of leaving.

5) Big credit card bills? Check out your options for a transfer – for example, Halifax are offering 29 months at 0%.

6) Get pensions savvy. Come on! I know it's boring but if you're a higher rate tax payer you get a free £20 for every £80 ( you save from the government AND you'll be able to shave another £20 off your tax bill when it comes to the next tax return. Of course there are limits and small print but do think about this for long-term savings.

7) If you’re new to pensions and don’t know where to look, I’d start with a look at AJ Bell ( Youinvest (, Hargreaves Lansdown ( - or Nutmeg ( if you’re totally confused. Confident savvy investors with larger accounts who want the lowest fees should start with a look at Interactive Investor ( Don’t forget that your workplace pension contributions will go up come April – 3% from you and 2% from your employer.

8) It’s worth popping in a jolly reminder about the 31 January deadline for online tax returns. Oh joy.

9) Booking summer holidays already to dull the pain of January commutes? Sort out that prepaid currency card now!!Check out Revolut.

10) Resolved to sort the kids out? You can open a stocks and shares Junior ISA ( with Vanguard ( now . If your kids are under 10 and there is 8 years left at least, make sure you are taking enough risk. There is no point in sitting in cash or lacklustre bonds for 10 years (IMHO). I use the Vanguard Lifestrategy 100% equity fund. Low-cost and easy to maintain. (Of course it’s volatile and no-one can guarantee you’ll get back more than you put in.)

That’s all for this week. Have a great weekend. I should be trying to repair the fences which Storm Eleanor threw around my garden but maybe that can wait ;0)