Many consumers continue to pay far higher rates of interest for spending on their credit cards than the current average APR. By simply changing to a different provider they are likely save a significant amount of money each year in interest.
People who have stayed loyal to their bank and never changed their credit card are more than likely being charged excessive rates of interest. With lower standard rates and introductory 0% offers for purchases and balance transfers available, now is the time to switch to a low interest credit card. It's never been easier to switch deals, and there is a wide choice on offer.
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Labels: Best Credit Cards
Ten ways to cut the cost of Christmas
If you exploit good deals and avoid the bad ones, then the credit crunch does not have to mean a gift crunch, find Nargis Ahmad and Julian Knight
Christmas can send a shiver through our finances. Each of us spends about £400 on yuletide presents and festivities, according to Asda. But with unemployment rising and credit both expensive and harder to get, Britons are looking to cut back – by up to £300m in total, says the Centre for Economics and Business Research. But what tactics can you adopt to make Christmas less expensive without being a credit-crunch Scrooge?
1. Look for card cashback
Many people spend more than they expect on plastic at this time of year. If that's you, look to use one of the cashback credit cards on the market. The American Express platinum card returns 5 per cent on the first £4,000 you spend in the first three months you have the plastic. Abbey's new "essentials" card offers a 3 per cent refund, up to £75 or £12.50 a month, on supermarket and petrol purchases at selected outlets for the first six months. But take care: fail to clear the outstanding balance within the interest-free period and you will be hit by high rates.
2. Get cashback on the web
Combining a cashback credit card with a cashback website could earn you even more. Sites such as Topcashback.co.uk, Greasypalm.co.uk and Quidco.com offer shoppers an additional rebate of 2 per cent to 10 per cent, but you will need to set up an account first. Some sites will only release the money once you have earned a minimum amount, and it takes time for the cash to reach you.
3. Price-comparison websites
These services can also help you to find the cheapest deals. Sites such as Pricerunner.co.uk and Kelkoo.co.uk search the web to find which stores sell what you are looking for and at what price.
4. Make use of vouchers
To save a few bob at online retailers' virtual checkouts, it's worth getting your hands on a voucher code. These can be found on sites including My-vouchercodes.co.uk, Hotukdeals.com and vouchercodes.com. It's also worth keeping an eye on forums such as Moneysavingexpert.com. Once you have found a code, all you need to do is type it in at the checkout to get the discount. But be quick, as most codes expire quickly.
5. Redeem loyalty points
Many of us will have built up pots of money on our supermarket loyalty cards, which are just waiting to be spent. Rather than using the points at the checkout, switch to vouchers, perhaps trading Tesco Clubcard vouchers for Deals Tokens through the Tesco site. These can be used for trips to the theatre, days out and jewellery, which can make nice Christmas presents.
6. Switch to Christmas ecards
Save on the cost of cards and stamps by sending a free ecard online from sites such as Ecards.co.uk or Hallmark.com. For the ethically conscious, charities now do their own ecards. Friends of the Earth is encouraging others to ditch the paper version and save trees at www.foe.co.uk.
7. Sell unwanted gifts
If last year's dud Christmas presents are sitting in the loft somewhere, now's the time to turn them into hard cash. According to a survey by Churchill Home Insurance. 21 per cent of us will sell out unwanted gifts via the internet or at a car boot sale, and 14 per cent will recycle our presents, passing them on to someone else. You can flog your clutter from the comfort of your own home by selling at an online auction site such as eBay or eBid.
8. Avoid in-store credit
We've all been there. That expensive gift that will make a loved one's Christmas can be yours at a discount, provided you take out the store card offered by the smooth-talking salesman. But store cards are expensive, often charging 30 per cent interest. And like cashback cards, if you fail to pay off the debt within the interest-free period, it can soon eat into any initial discount given for taking out the card.
9. Bulk buy wine
Lots of off-licences and wine clubs offer deals to those buying a case of wine rather than a bottle. Tesco's wine store has substantial discounts in the run-up to Christmas and free delivery nationwide on orders worth £100 or more. Likewise, Majestic.co.uk is discounting mixed-case wine deals. If you're partial to a nice vintage, the recently launched lastdropwines.com buys its stock at auctions and closed busi-nesses and sells them at discounts of up to 50 per cent.
10. Plan your present buying
Even with Christmas around the corner, a little planning can help you to spend less by avoiding impulse buying. Money advice website Fool.co.uk recommends making a list of who you want to buy for and setting a budget for each. If you think you're going to find that difficult, says Fool.co.uk, consider giving what you would spend on a present as a simple cash gift. After all, in these credit-crunch blighted times, cash is always welcome.