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Adult Savings

Last updated: 19 July 2017
ISAs have never been so exciting  they now come with huge flexibility and incentives and really are a great way to save.

If you are in a position to put away something every month, then you should maximise you ISA allowance, as these savings are tax free. The government allows you to put away £20,000 into ISAs tax free and you can save it all into a cash ISA or a stocks and shares ISA, or both.

Note: the amount allowed to save in ISAs changes every tax year. you must use your tax-free savings allowance each year or you simply lose it.

How and where you save would depend on your circumstances. First, if you have any debts, try paying these off first. You maybe accumulating extremely high interest charges on credits card bills for example, which you should reduce first.

If then, you are able to put money aside each month, then ISAs are a great starting point.

 

Cash ISAs

This is the ideal option if you want to simply save some money away each month tax-free with easy access.

A cash ISA is basically a savings account and you can put money into if as often as you like – you can put as much of your money into a cash ISA as long as you do not exceed £15,240 in the tax year. Once the money is in the ISA, it remains free of tax year on year, so you should certainly take advantage if you can. You get a new tax allowance every year –so, use it or lose it.

You can open a cash ISA every year and it doesn’t have to be with the same provider.

Some providers will allow transfer your ISA in from another provider, so if you find a better interest rate elsewhere, move your money – as long as you are not breaking any fixed term rules, which could result in penalties. Always ask the ISA providers to do the transfer so you do not risk losing the tax free status.

New flexibility introduced in the Budget 2015, also means that from Autumn 2015 you will be able to access your ISA without being penalised and can continue saving into later in the same tax year.

Interest rates vary for cash ISAs and you should shop around for the best rates.

MMM has researched the market and listed some of the best rates around below:

Provider
Interest Rate % (AER)
Minimum investment
Withdrawals
The Coventry
1.10%
£1
No charge
Visit Site
Virgin Money
0.75%
£1
No limits
Visit Site
Co-operative Bank
0.65%
£1
no limits. But need a co-op account of some kind
Visit Site
Nationwide
0.75%
£1
No limits
Visit Site

 

If you think you may not need to make any withdrawals for a year or more, then you may be able to find a better interest rate using a fixed-term interest rate ISA, which will reward you for not withdrawing your money for a set period, but you could face heavy penalties if you do withdraw money or close the account.

MMM has researched the market to bring you some of the best fixed-rate cash ISA offers on the market today:

 

Fixed rate cash ISAs

Provider
Interest Rate % (AER)
Minimum investment
Fixed rate period Penalties for withdrawal/closure
Coventry BS 2.75% £1 until 31/05/2017 120 days’ interest Visit Site
Halifax 1.85% £500 3 years 180 days’ interest Visit Site
Virgin 2.75% £1 24/10/2018 120 days’ interest Visit Site
Nationwide 1.80% £1 2 years 180 days’ interest Visit Site

 

Stocks and shares ISAs

If you have more money to put away, don’t need it anytime soon and are willing to invest it for at least 5 years, then stocks and shares ISAs are a good option.

With a stocks and shares ISA, you get to invest in companies on the stock market and the rate of return on your investment can be higher than just a basic set interest rate.

They can be more riskier, because if the stock markets perform badly then you could lose some or all of your money – and this is why you should only consider this option if you are investing for the long term, so that you can make up any losses during the time when stock markets are doing well.

There are a number of ways you can invest in stock and shares ISAs – through the high street bank, investment banks, or companies that specialise in such ISAs.

Stocks and shares ISAs are subject to annual management charges and quite often the charges made by banks can be shockingly high, so it is worth considering companies that specialise in such ISAs with low charges and have an understanding of the investment strategies.

In most cases, you can set up a direct debit to a stocks and shares ISA from as little as £10 a month or invest a lump sum – so it is easy to start saving.
You should discuss charges and details with your provider before making a decision.
If you are interested in a stocks and share ISA and want to look beyond the high charges made by banks, then below are some providers worth considering:

Fundsmith
Nutmeg
Hargreaves Lansdown

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Reduce your grocery bill by 70% this summer!

The kids are off school and they are going to be hungry – inevitably, the next few weeks will see the cost of your weekly shop shoot up.

To help families keep the costs of food shopping down, MMM put Approved Food to the test, which can help slash the cost of shopping by as much as 70%.

There is of course one catch – the food is past or close to its sell-by date, but perfectly safe.

With a £30 budget, MMM managed to bag a fair amount – cereals, tinned food, sweets and treats, drinks and even laundry detergent and dishwasher tablets – the sort of things where you can generally ignore the date stamped on the product.

If you’ve tried reducing the cost of the grub by switching brands or shopping at discount stores but think you can do better, then try Approved Food  – you’ll be surprised at just how much you could save on some store cupboard essentials.

New products are available everyday and there are some real bargains. For example, Sprite Zero 330ml for just 29p or a 2kg Reeses Peanut jar for just £2.99. There’s even stuff for pets, at more than 50% off.

MMM was really pleased with service and surprised at just how at just how much £30 would buy (see pic above/ instagram).

Although we would like to see Approved Food cut down on the cardboard packaging, the items arrived well packed and in excellent condition.

So, if you’re looking to save a few more pounds on your groceries, take a look at Approved food – you’ll be surprised at just how good the bargains are.

 

Keep up with MMM on Twitter @MumMoneyMatters and Facebook !

 

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