7 Financial Warning Signs – Queen of Free

7 Financial Warning Signs – Queen of Free


Most of us don’t realize we’re headed for trouble until it’s already on our doorstep. This rings true with our finances, too. It’s not until we realize we’re late for a payment (again) or we’ve overdrawn our account that we see that things have gone too far. However, there are some warning signs that we are pushing our money to its limits. Here are 7 Financial Warning Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore and what to do when you recognize you’ve got a problem.

You Don’t Have a Central Location to Store Your Bills

Life is busy! And sometimes we lose track of things. While you don’t have to have a complicated organizational system, you do need a centralized location to keep physical bills when they arrive in the mail. Especially since the majority of bills are delivered digitally, this can be challenging and something can be easily overlooked.

What to Do: Again, you don’t need some complex binder or a filing system. You just need a folder or even in a spot in your home where bills go when they arrive. Personally, I’d avoid using a drawer because once things are out of sight, they’re usually out of mind, too. Even if it’s just a spot on the counter where only bills go, that’s fine. Use a basket. Just be sure they’re in a location that will be “in your way” so you remember to pay them.

You Don’t Know How to Log Into All Your Accounts

Bank accounts, retirement accounts, college savings, credit card, household expenses – almost every area of your finances has gone digital. You need to be sure you know how to log into each. I get that it may feel a little overwhelming at first, but you can do this and your overall financial health will improve once you regularly log in just to see what’s going on with your money.

What to Do: Begin by listing out all of the accounts you have on a physical paper. Then head to each website to attempt to log in. Use an app or a web browser function to save the password on your device if it’s not shared with other individuals. If it is, you may want to consider keeping a paper document you can store in a secure location with all of the websites and passwords for your accounts.

You Don’t Know How Much Money Is In the Bank

Sometimes the word budget can be intimidating. But I always tell people that budgeting is simply “money in, money out.” In order to know how much you can spend, you need to know how much money you have. While I don’t expect you to spit out your financials like a robot, you need to have a good idea approximately how much money you have at any given moment.

What to Do: This is where knowing how to log into your financial institution really comes in handy. If you can, put an app on your phone and know how to log in so you can check your balance wherever you are.

You Have No Idea What You’re Spending Each Month

I’m including this one because I think we may all fall into this warning sign a little right now – myself included. Prices have fluctuated so much in the last twelve months (even the last eight months). It’s difficult to know what your expenses are going to be at the grocery store, the gas pump, or even on regular household bills.

What to Do: After you’ve been checking your finances on the regular, you’ll want to begin doing a little budgeting so you can project how the money you have will be spent in the month(s) ahead. After all, budgeting is simply money in and money out. Begin by collecting your receipts for 30 days and then use that information to shape a plan. Whether you use a budgeting app, a notebook, or an online tool, allow those numbers to shape anywhere from 30 to 365 days worth of your spending.

You Couldn’t Cover a Basic Emergency

It’s never a question of if something unexpected will happen, but when. Into every life, a little rain will fall. A car will break down, your kid will need braces, you’ll break your arm, or your washing machine will quit washing. If you can’t cover basic emergencies, your finances can easily get off track and take years to recover.

What to Do: Begin saving as quickly as you can to create an emergency fund. I usually suggest between $1000-$2000 because that’s what most minor emergencies cost. If you’ve eliminated your debt, you may want to consider building one for more catastrophic emergencies like hospitalization or job loss that totals more like 3-6 months of living expenses. But begin with this smaller fund first so that you have a safety net and some peace of mind. Don’t know where to begin, check out this post for some ideas.

You Don’t Know How Much You Owe

Debt can be scary. For years, we kept our heads in the sand when it came to how much we owed. We kept paying minimums without knowing the total amount. If you want to eliminate debt, then you should have a good picture of how much you owe.

What to Do: Begin by rounding up all of your debt. We chose to use the debt snowball method after failing with a few methods of our own. The idea behind this principle is that you rank your debts from smallest to largest, regardless of interest rate, and begin paying off the smallest first. Then once that debt is paid off, you tackle the next one up the line, using the amount you were paying on the first debt in your “snowball.” Things continue to avalanche until you’ve reached your final debt. An advantage to this strategy is that you’re using money you weren’t ever living on to put toward each successive debt.

You Don’t Have Any Goals for Your Money

If you don’t have a roadmap, you’ll remain lost. Having some short term and long term goals will give you a reason to trim your budget and check in on a regular basis. This looks different for everyone, depending on the age and stage of life. However, there are some basic goals we all should keep in mind. Without goals, we’ll keep doing what we’re doing and then be surprised when we don’t have anything to show for it.

What to Do: If you share finances with someone, this is a task to complete together. And be warned, you’ll have different goals because you’re different humans. Short term goals might include things like small purchases, Christmas, vacation, etc. And longer term goals include things like debt elimination, vehicle purchases, saving for a down payment on a home, retirement, college savings, and home remodeling. It’s a good idea to have a mix of goals agreed upon by both parties or settled on individually.

Warning signs aren’t condemnations. Your money story isn’t over yet. In fact, it’s just beginning. And you may have these warning signs on and off throughout your life. Financial health is all about how you respond when you bump into one of these warnings and how you course correct.
Check out Cherie Lowe, the Queen of Free for the best money saving and debt slaying tips!

My book is now available: Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After. You can also check out The Debt Free Devotional on Kindle.  

This post contains an affiliate link. That means when you get a great deal, learn about a way to save, or maybe even something for free, I may end up making a small commission. All prices are subject to change.





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28+ School Backpacks for $50 or Less!

28+ School Backpacks for $50 or Less!


Find the best School Backpacks for less. This selection will take the stress out of shopping while saving money too.

the best school backpacks

The best school backpacks

Can you believe it? Back to school is just around the corner. Save money on back to school shopping by purchasing your school backpacks at a price that feels right.

It can be overwhelming in-store so shopping online is a great option.

Browse this list and save time while getting the best deals. No need to spend a ton of time or money when the deal hunting has been done for you!

This list truly has something for everyone to start the school year off right. There are even some backpacks listed that include lunch kits and more. Go ahead and start shopping today for the best selection.

From solid color options to school backpacks with patterns, the options are endless for the school year. This list has it all.

(Note: The links in this post may be affiliate links. Read the disclosure policy here.)

1. Adidas Kids’ Disney School Backpack $44.99

If your child loves Buzz Lightyear, this one is the perfect size for preschoolers or those heading to kindergarten.

2. Adidas Kids’ Creator School/Gym Backpack $49.99

This Adidas backpack has great reviews and seems suitable for kids that are a little bit older. It holds more than the one listed above. Here is one in a different colour too.

3. Ripzone Kids’ Newton School Backpack $29.99

Do you have a preschooler that loves fries? Then this Ripzone backpack might just be the best thing ever! On the smaller side, so perfect for a preschooler or kindergartener.

4. Ripzone Girls’ Leila School Backpack $39.99

This Ripzone backpack is a larger version of the one listed above. So perfect for older kids that need to carry more books.

5. Ripzone Girls’ Mona School Backpack $49.99

This is the backpack my 10 year old daughter has and she loves it! It’s a big bag that will grow with her for many years. The backpack is made of pretty heavyweight material so it’s very durable too.

6. Puma Challenger Backpack $39.99

This Puma one is from Costco Canada and is currently on sale for $33.99! It looks great for high schoolers and has a lot of pockets!

7. Kids Recycled Floral Senior Backpack $69.95

I realize that this one is more than $50, however, it’s from Gap Canada and they always seem to have some sales or coupon codes happening. For example, this backpack is currently only $27!

8. Kids Recycled Dino Junior Backpack $59.95

Again, more than $50 but it’s on sale for $35! This is a smaller backpack than the one listed above and perfect for the dinosaur lover.

9. Hilroy Animal Print Kids’ Multi-Pocket Backpack $16.99

Great price for a highly rated backpack! This crocodile print backpack is perfect for daycare or preschool.

10. Outbound Kids’ Multi-Pocket Backpack $19.99

This Outbound backpack has a deeper pocket for a water bottle and would be great for preschool or kindergarten.

11. Skip Hop Zoo Big Kid Backpack $36

Oh man these are cute and perfect for younger kids! This is a bigger version of the classic Skip Hop backpack that I’m sure you have seen.

12. Skip Hop Zoo Little Kid Backpack $30

Here’s the smaller classic version of the Skip Hop backpack. Perfect for daycare or preschool.

13. Patterned Backpacks from The Children’s Place $49.95 or less

The Children’s Place has a great selection of backpacks! You’ll see Mario, Avengers, unicorns, Minnie Mouse and more! They are currently on sale too!

14. Roots Student Backpack $31.47

This Roots backpack boasts of a lot of pockets and a comfortable padded back I’d think this would be perfect for older elementary aged kids.

15. Parkland 13″ Recycled Polyester Vintage Backpack $34.97

This Parkland backpack is a simple backpack perfect for preschool or kindergarten.

16. Jansport Crosstown Backpack $44.99

This Jansport backpack is perfect for the kid that just wants a plain black, functional backpack.

17. Impact 3-Piece Backpack Set $16.98

You can’t beat the price on this one! This is a backpack set that includes a lunch kit and a pencil case.

18. Dickies Varsity Backpack $24.97

This Dickies backpack is everything you need in a backpack. Has a front zipper pocket, side mesh water bottle pocket and interior padded laptop sleeve.

19. All Canadian Backpack $29.97

Another black backpack with lots of pockets, perfect for carrying everything that’s needed at school!

20. Reebok Backpack $34.97

This Reebok backpack has storage for a laptop, sunglasses, water bottles and so much more!

21. Jetstream Marble Print Backpack $29.97

So much storage! This Jetstream backpack has pockets everywhere. Includes my favorite water bottle holders and more.

22. Dog Paw Prints Backpack $35.80

Perfect for the girl (or boy) who loves dogs! This Paw Prints backpack is another with lots of pockets. Also waterproof! A great feature to any backpack.

23. Foldable Backpack $35.99

So this backpack is different than the others because it has a separate section on the bottom for shoes and a pocket on the front for holding wet items.

24. Lightweight Water Resistant Backpack $47.99

This one looks like a really durable backpack perfect for preschool or kindergarten. Lots of different patterns to choose from!

25. Casual Style Lightweight Bag $38

This backpack comes with a lunch kit and a pencil case! There are a ton of different designs to choose from too. Perfect for the high schooler.

26. Water Resistant Backpack $46.99

Sometimes, a solid colour backpack is just the thing that kids want. This water resistant backpack with high ratings is perfect for teens.

27. Jansport SuperBreak Backpack $44.99

This Jansport SuperBreak backpack is another solid colour option. Great for teens.

28. Pastel Ombre Backpack $26.98

This pretty Ombre school backpack is a great price and perfect for elementary aged kids.

There you have it! A great selection of school backpacks found in Canada for under $50! Which ones do you think your kids will like the most?

You might also enjoy:

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The Top 15 investment terms

The Top 15 investment terms


From ETF to IPO: The 15 investment terms confusing the internet 

Supplied by CMC Markets

From ‘bear market’ to ‘dead cat bounce’, what do these mind-boggling terms actually mean?

As global interest in the stock market continues to grow, with the term ‘stock market’ receiving over 2.4 million Google searches globally each month according to AHREFS, new data reveals the industry jargon that’s causing the most confusion.

Stock market trading experts at financial services provider, CMC Markets used Google search data to analyse the most baffling stock market terms, in a bid to help new investors understand their meanings.

Michael Hewson, Chief Market Analyst at CMC Markets said: “It’s not surprising that a lot of people find financial markets terminology baffling. As market professionals we have to get used to new acronyms on a regular basis, and that’s before you take into account the ones that are in regular use. If you’re looking to hone your interest in financial markets, it’s a huge benefit if you can understand the language that gets used on a regular basis”. 

Note from Take Charge editor: You probably don’t really need to know or understand most of these top 15 investment terms, but it’s interesting as we see these things mentioned all over social media.

The 15 most baffling stock-market terms, according to Google

Taking a list of 50 popular words and phrases associated with the stock market and pairing each one with the word meaning, the below data reveals the top 15 terminologies that internet users are keen to understand.

Term Average Monthly Searches
ETF 103,000
IPO 95,000
Broker 46,000
Arbitrage 23,000
ADR 22,000
Bear Market 11,000
Bull Market 7,600
To The Moon 4,900
Dividend Yield 3,900
Dead Cat Bounce 3,200
Tanking 2,400
Averaging Down 2,300
Whales 1,800
Day Trading 1,700
Margin Account 1,600

Deciphering the stock market jargon

With 103,000 monthly searches, ‘ETF’ is the most baffling stock-market term in the world. So, if you’re keen to find out what an ETF actually is, you’re in luck.

ETF – ETF stands for exchange-traded fund, which is essentially a fund that trades on exchanges, generally tracking a specific index. While stocks are just one instrument, an ETF consists of diversified investments such as stocks, commodities, bonds, and other securities, which are known as holdings. ETFs are often less volatile than individual stocks, meaning your investment shouldn’t swing in value as much, however, there is still a risk in loss of value.

IPO – In second place with 95,000 searches comes another abbreviation: IPO. IPO stands for initial public offering. This is when a private company becomes public by selling its shares on a stock exchange. Companies often issue an IPO to raise capital to fund growth initiatives, raise their public profile, or to pay off debts.

Broker – With 46,000 searches, people are also asking what the word ‘broker’ means. In laments terms, a broker is an individual or firm that acts as a middleman between an investor and a securities exchange. They facilitate trades between individuals or companies and may provide investors with research, investment plans, and market intelligence.

Arbitrage – Another term that’s baffling internet users is ‘arbitrage’. The Cambridge dictionary defines this as ‘the method on the stock exchange of buying something in one place and selling it in another place at the same time, in order to make a profit from the difference in price in the two places.’

ADR – ADR is another frequently questioned abbreviation, according to our data. However, ADRs are simply American depositary receipts for foreign companies that are listed on US stock exchanges. An ADR is a form of equity security, offering US investors the opportunity to gain investment exposure to non-US stocks without the complex task of dealing with foreign stock markets. Many large companies based outside of the US list their shares on US exchanges through the use of ADRs.

Bear Market – Another term that’s proving to be popular is ‘bear market’ which is defined by a prolonged drop in asset prices. Typically, a bear market happens when a broad market index falls by 20% or more from its most recent high. It’s believed that the term originates with pioneer bearskin traders. As the traders hoped to buy the fur from trappers at a lower price than what they’d sold it for, ‘bears’ became associated with a declining market.

Bull Market – On the other hand, bull market is the opposing term to bear market. Bull market refers to a period of time when the price of an asset or security rises continuously by 20% after two declines of 20% each.

To The Moon – Often used by stocks and cryptocurrency traders, the phrase ‘to the moon’ essentially means the price of an asset is continuously growing.

Dividend Yield – The dividend yield is a financial ratio that tells you the percentage of a company’s share price that it pays out in dividends each year. Some investors, such as those who are retired, rely on dividends for their income, meaning the dividend yield of their portfolio could have a meaningful effect on their personal finances.

Dead Cat Bounce – With 3,200 monthly searches, it’s no wonder so many people are asking what ‘Dead Cat Bounce’ means. The saying refers to a temporary recovery in share prices after a substantial fall, caused by speculators buying in order to cover their positions. Derived from the famous Wall Street phrase “even a dead cat will bounce if it falls from a great height”, dead cat bounce is now applied to any case where there’s a brief resurgence following a severe decline. You may also hear this referred to as a Sucker Rally.

Tanking – When you hear the phrase ‘tanking’ or ‘in the tank’, this typically means that a stock has encountered a poor quarterly performance, leading to a price decline shortly after. If someone says their assets are ‘tanking’, it means they aren’t doing great right now.

Averaging down – There is a common strategy called ‘averaging down’ which investors use when their investment decisions go against them. ‘Averaging down’ involves buying more shares after they fall in price, lowering the average cost of all the shares held, in the effort to add value to their portfolio.

Whales – While whales are usually found in the ocean, when it comes to stocks, the term ‘whale’ is a nickname given to investors who have the potential to manipulate the market. A whale can be an individual or company with enough money or power to influence the price of a stock. These individuals usually make huge investments, with their actions causing a huge ‘splash’.

Day Trading – Day trading is a strategy which involves buying and selling shares of stocks within the same day with the intent of profiting from price movements. For example, a day trader may open a new position of a stock at 9 a.m., then close that same position at 2 p.m. These traders rarely hold positions overnight.

Margin Account – A margin account involves borrowing funds from your broker-dealer to purchase securities, using the account as collateral. You will also be required to pay a periodic interest rate to the broker. A margin account can increase your purchasing power however it can also expose you to greater losses.





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The Best Ways to Save Money on Amazon.com

The Best Ways to Save Money on Amazon.com


This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Read my full disclosure for more information.

I am part of the Amazon Associates program and use affiliate links. See full disclosure here. 

HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON AMAZON

I love to shop at Amazon.com because it saves me both time and money. Many of you shop at Amazon as well but do you know there are many different ways you can save even more money at Amazon? There are so many ways to save if you know where to look.

I will even fill you in on a few ways to earn gift cards to shop at Amazon for free so keep reading!

THE TOP WAYS TO SAVE ON AMAZON.COM

1.) Check Out Amazon’s Today’s Deals Page

Amazon has a number of special offer pages. Many shoppers don’t even see the “Today’s Deals menu right at the top of the Amazon.com homepage!

When you click that link, you’ll be taken to today’s deals page where you can sort through the different deal types like Deal of the Day, Lightning Deals, Savings & Sales & Prime Early Access Deals (for Amazon Prime members which we will talk more in details about later).

Below is a screenshot of the menu you will see in the right sidebar, you can check which ones you want to view.

Saving Money on Amazon Using Amazon Deals

Today’s Deals & lightning deals go fast! There are limited numbers of discounted products available, so if you want one you’d better buy it quick! These deals can be a lot bigger than long-running deals, but harder to get since you’ll need to log in and keep an eye on the new deals every day.

To make sure you do not miss out you can also set up alerts by clicking the drop down to the left of the today’s deal page that says “Never miss another deal” and choose your preferred option to get notified.

Learn how to Never Miss A Deal on Amazon by setting up alerts

Amazon Outlet: Did you know that there’s an Amazon Outlet section of Amazon.com? You can find it here. Most people don’t even know that it’s there! Outlet products are all new but sold at a discount.  Shop outlet prices and markdowns on electronics, clothing, jewelry, and more all year.

Amazon Warehouse: Amazon Warehouse Deals is a part of Amazon.com that specializes in offering great deals on returned, warehouse-damaged, used, or refurbished products that are in good condition but do not meet Amazon.com rigorous standards as “new.” They also offer products in new and open-box condition. You can find these deals here.

2.) Don’t Pay More for Shipping Than You Have To!

One of the major drawbacks of using the internet for your shopping is the fact that you need to pay for shipping! Thankfully Amazon has a few ways around this. They are well worth looking into if you regularly shop there – the savings really add up.

Amazon Free shipping

Amazon Super Saver Shipping: This is the easiest way to save money on your shipping cost. All it requires is that you spend $35 or more on one order or eligible products.

Most products on Amazon are eligible, they are the products sold either directly by Amazon, or by third-party sellers who use the “fulfilled” by Amazon service. Amazon makes it pretty clear while you’re shopping which items are included – you’ll see the “FREE Shipping” logo on the product page next to the price.

When you pay for shipping, you’ll get a few choices. You can choose to pay more for quicker shipping times. When you get your shipping for free, this is the slowest shipping speed option. This just means you’ll need to factor in shipping time and do your shopping in advance if you want to get it for free.

Amazon Prime: For people who regularly shop on Amazon, Prime is the best option to get free shipping. It isn’t free, but the savings will make it very worthwhile especially if you take advantage of its other features which I talk about in the next section.

3.) Sign Up for Amazon Prime

Save Money with Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime is a service that comes with some benefits for regular users of Amazon.com. It costs $99 per year, which might sound like a lot. However, it’s a bargain if you use it regularly.

Free Shipping: Amazon Prime will give you free two-day shipping on any item sold by Amazon or fulfilled by Amazon. That means a large majority of all the products on the site. Unlike the free Super Saver Delivery option, you are not held to the minimum of $35 worth of products. Since two-day shipping can cost $5-$10 every time, it probably won’t take long for you to make your $99 fee back.

Free Movies & TV Streaming: In addition to the shipping benefits, you’ll also get unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Video. Watch thousands of movies and episodes on your TV, laptop, Fire TV, smartphone or choice of more than 600 devices. You can take them anywhere with your Kindle Fire. You can enhance your video streaming experience with premium, ad-free Add-on Subscriptions.

Free Kindle Books: You’ll also get one free Kindle book to borrow each month. You can read this on your computer, smartphone, or tablet and don’t need a Kindle to read it. These additional benefits often seal the deal for many people on the fence about Amazon Prime.

Free unlimited photo storage as well!

Get A One Month Free Trial! If you haven’t ever used Amazon Prime before then, you can sign up to get one month free! When you log in to Amazon, just look for the “Try Prime” link or go here to read more.

READ NEXT: Is Amazon Prime Worth it? Amazon Prime Benefits You May Not Know About!

4.) Use the Subscribe and Save Feature

Save Money on Amazon with Amazon Subscribe & Save

If you regularly order the same items from Amazon then you can use the “Subscribe & Save” program to get a discount on that item. You’ll have to commit to ordering the item at a set interval of your choice e.g. every two months. Look out for an option like the one above on products that are included.

Subscribe & Save is available for some products including cosmetics, toilet paper, toiletries, baby products, groceries, and so on. The types of things you’ll need on a regular basis.

If you’re afraid of committing yourself for a long period, don’t be. Once you sign up to Subscribe & Save it’s easy to cancel it and you won’t be charged again. This is a great way for savvy shoppers who only want the item once but also want the discount. Simply sign up to subscribe and save for one delivery and cancel it after if you wish. You can find out more on Subscribe and Save here.

5.) Clip Amazon.com Coupons

You know I love coupons and yes, you can even clip coupons for Amazon.com! Except this time they’re digital coupons. Amazon.com has its own page where you can view all of the active coupon codes.

The coupon page breaks all the current coupons up into categories so it won’t take more than a minute to check if an item you want is included.

Save Money with Amazon Coupons

You can also see coupons sometimes next to the price of the product as shown below. You will just need to click the green “Clip Coupon” button.

Save Money by clipping Amazon Coupons at checkout.

6.) Get Cashback on Your Purchases

This is really one of my favorite ways to save money and stack savings when shopping online even outside of Amazon. Go through a cash back site like Rakuten and TopCashback to get cash back on your purchases at Amazon and many other retailers.

These sites give different amounts of cashback depending on the merchant, category and day so be sure to sign up for both to get the best deal.  Plus as an added bonus you will get a free gift card or cash bonus for joining Rakuten and TopCashback usually gives bonuses as well. Right now Rakuten is giving you $30 after you make a $30 purchase through them. Get signed up here.

Save money and get cash back at Amazon

7.) Use Capital One Shopping

 Capital One Shopping is completely free for everyone (Capital One customer or not)!

The free Capital One Shopping browser add-on instantly searches for the best prices on Amazon and lets you know if you’re getting the best price.

It also allows you to add items to a “Watchlist” so it can notify you when it finds a lower price.

It also works with thousands of other websites as well in which you can earn rewards just for shopping. Go ahead and grab it here.

8.) Sign up for Brandclub! ($10 Bonus Using my Link Below!)

I’ve been using Brandclub for a few months and wow I’m loving it! You basically connect your Amazon account (you can also connect Walmart, Target, and Chewy) and Brandclub will give you cash back for connecting your accounts as well as for purchasing certain brands.

You can take super fast surveys as well for the brands you buy and you’ll get paid for them as well! I’ve already cashed out over $40 and have over $100 in locked rewards which will unlock when I make future purchases.

It’s free to join and you’ll get $10 just for signing up using my link here.

9.) Shop with Free Amazon Gift Cards (Bonus Tip)

Earn Free Amazon Gift Cards by joining some of my favorite rewards programs like Swagbucks & Fetch Rewards. You can check out my blog post on earning free Amazon gift cards here. All are free to join and give you bonuses towards your first gift card just for signing up.

Money in a jar and around a jar with a caption that says "7 Ways to Save Money on Amazon".

Have any tips you would like to share for saving money on Amazon? Any questions? Ask in the comments below.


This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here





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The best savings accounts (November 2022)

The best savings accounts (November 2022)


Here are my top places to put your cash.

After years of falling rates, interest on savings is starting to move up. That’s largely due to the Bank of England base interest rate increase to 2.25% – though the increases haven’t been passed on completely or to all accounts.

You want to make sure you’re getting the best rate on your savings, and this article will take you through the best options right now.

Latest inflation rate

Though it’s not always possible at the moment, your aim should be to ensure you earn more on your savings account than the current rate of inflation. This really is key as anything below that rate is losing value in real terms,

The latest inflation rate (for the year to September 2022) is a huge 10.1%. That’s back to the 40-year high we saw a few months back. This rate means it’s impossible to get accounts that beat it. The chart below shows recent changes.


source: tradingeconomics.com

My latest savings update

Every month on my YouTube channel I take you through the latest savings news and chat about some of the accounts featured on this page. Here’s my latest monthly video roundup, or you can read more here.

(This article is updated regularly but check the published date to see when this last happened. New videos are usually at the start of the month.)

Savings account special offers

Some savings account providers will give you a bonus for signing up which can boost your return well above the rate available elsewhere.

Raisin: £30 welcome bonus

If you sign up to the savings platform Raisin via this link and then put £10,000 or more in a savings account via them you’ll get a £30 bonus.

If you put in exactly £10,000, that £30 works out as the equivalent of an extra 0.3% on the interest rate for one year – though obviously if you have more money in there it reduces that impact.

If you open an easy access account then the bonus is only paid if the balance remains about £10,000 for at least six months.

You must be new to Raisin and you can only get the bonus once per customer. You’ll also need to claim the bonus – details of how to do this and full terms and conditions can be found here.

Top Raisin accounts

Make sure you compare these accounts with other interest rates available elsewhere as they won’t always be the best option. However, if you are using the welcome bonus and factor in the equivalent of 0.3%, then it could push these accounts higher.

Best Regular Savings accounts – up to 5.25%

These accounts are all “Regular” or monthly savers which work differently to normal saving accounts.

For a start, there’s a limit to how much you can save each month, and the interest is calculated on the balance each month. After 12 months the interest is paid and your saver (usually) closed. But you can then open up another and begin again.

These are ideal if you only have a certain amount of money to put aside each month, or to move money every month from a lower-paying easy access account. Here’s my full guide to how they work.

You can only open the top accounts if you have or open a current account with these banks – but that’s no reason to put you off.

Club Lloyds monthly saver (5.25% AER)

Account name Club Lloyds Monthly Saver
Interest rate 5.25% AER (fixed)
Max monthly deposit £400
Min monthly deposit £25
Carry over unused allowance? No, and money must reach account by 25 of the month
Account closes After 12 months
Withdrawals Yes, but money can’t be replaced beyond that month’s allowance
Requirements Must have a Club Lloyds current account

You need to have a Club Lloyds current account to get this regular saver. This comes with a freebie such as six cinema tickets. Here’s my review.

You’ll also be able to get the standard monthly saver on top (details below).

Natwest / RBS Digital Regular Saver (5.12%)

Account name Digital Regular Saver
Interest rate 5.12% AER (variable)
Max monthly deposit £150
Min monthly deposit £1
Max amount earn interest on £1,000
Account closes No
Withdrawals Easy access with no penalty
Requirements Must have a Natwest or RBS current account

This account offers a massive rate but with a few restrictions. The biggest is you can only save £150 (it increased from £50 in March 2022) every month. Not far behind is that this high-interest rate will only be paid on the first £1,000 saved.

It’s only open to Natwest or RBS customers – though you can have one at each bank. Here’s my review of the account and more information on how it works.

Yorkshire Building Society Loyalty Regular eSaver (5%)

This account is only for customers who’ve been with the building society for more than 12 months. Therefore most won’t get it, but it’s a high rate so worth sharing with you.

Account name Loyalty Regular eSaver
Interest rate 5% AER (fixed)
Max monthly deposit £500
Min monthly deposit £10
Carry over unused allowance? No
Account closes No
Withdrawals Once a year on the anniversary, outside this will close the account
Requirements Must have had a savings or mortgage with YBS for 12 or more months

Lloyds monthly saver (4.5% AER)

Account name Lloyds Monthly Saver
Interest rate 4.5% AER (fixed)
Max monthly deposit £250
Min monthly deposit £25
Carry over unused allowance? No, and money must reach the account by 25 of the month
Account closes After 12 months
Withdrawals Yes
Requirements Must have a Lloyds current account

Halifax monthly saver (4.5% AER)

Account name Halifax Monthly Saver
Interest rate 4.5% AER (fixed)
Max monthly deposit £250
Min monthly deposit £25
Carry over unused allowance? No, and money must reach account by 25 of the month
Account closes After 12 months
Withdrawals Only if you close the account early
Requirements None

Unlike the other best buys, this account doesn’t require current account with the bank (though it’s worth a look at the Halifax Reward account). The regular saver will automatically renew for another 12 months when it closes.

Bank of Scotland monthly saver (4.5% AER)

Account name Monthly Saver
Interest rate 4.5% AER (fixed)
Max monthly deposit £250
Min monthly deposit £25
Carry over unused allowance? No, and money must reach account by 25 of the month
Account closes After 12 months
Withdrawals Yes
Requirements Must have a Bank of Scotland current account

First Direct Regular Saver (3.5%)

Account name Regular Saver
Interest rate 3.5% AER (variable)
Max monthly deposit £300
Min monthly deposit £25
Carry over unused allowance? Yes
Account closes After 12 months
Withdrawals Any withdrawal closes the account and reduces interest paid
Requirements Must have a First Direct current account

From 28 April First Direct customers will be able to get 3.5% fixed for a year via the regular saver.

Other monthly savers (up to 3.25%)

These are the next best regular savers. It’s also worth checking your local building society to see if they offer a better regular saver for those who live nearby and can go into a branch to open an account.

There are also these accounts that require a current account.

Best high-interest current account linked savings – up to 5.12%

Some of the next best rates are in or linked to current accounts. All of these accounts can be opened by anyone, though you will be credit checked. You can access your money at any time, however, the amount of money you can earn interest on is limited.

Barclays Blue Rewards Rainy Day Saver (5.12%)

Account name Rainy Day Saver
Required current account Barclays with added Blue Rewards
Interest rate 5.12% AER
Max savings interest paid on £5,000
Withdrawals Easy access
Multiple accounts No
Requirements Must have Barclays current account with added Blue Rewards.
This requires 2 direct debits, £5 monthly fee (cancelled out by direct debits) and an £800 monthly deposit

You’ll earn 5.12% on up to £5,000 if you have a Barclays current account with Blue Rewards. This has a monthly fee of £5, but that’s wiped out if you pay out two direct debits each month and pay in £800 (which doesn’t need to stay there). Here’s my full analysis and review.

Nationwide FlexDirect (5%)

Account name FlexDirect Current Account
Interest rate 5% AER (fixed for one year)
0.25% AER (variable after year one)
Max savings interest paid on £1,500
Withdrawals Easy access
Multiple accounts Yes (one personal and one joint)
Requirements Can not get rate if you’ve had a Flex Direct account in the past

You can get 5% for one year on a balance of up to £1,500 with the FlexDirect account. You do need to pay in £1,000 a month to account in order to get this rate.

After the first year it will drop to 0.25%, but you can always switch away when that happens (and hopefully get a nice cash bonus for doing so).

It’s worth noting that you only get this interest rate when you first open the account. Here’s more in my full review of the FlexDirect account.

You’re able to get the 5% on both a solo account and a joint account, so it’s worth opening a joint account too if you’re in a relationship (though watch this video first).

HSBC Online Bonus Saver (3%)

Account name Online Bonus Saver
Current Account required Any
Interest rate 3% AER (variable), reduces to 0.5% in any month a withdrawal is made
Max savings interest paid on £10,000
Withdrawals Yes, but interest rate cut for that month
Requirements Online only

This account will pay 3% on up to £10,000, but reduces to 0.5% in any month you withdraw money.

Virgin Money M Plus (2.02%)

Account name M Plus Current Account
Interest rate 2.02% AER (variable)
Max savings interest paid on £1,000, plus another £25,000 in linked saver
Withdrawals Easy access
Multiple accounts Personal and joint.
Requirements Online only

This account from Virgin Money will pay 2.02% on up to £1,000. You can also have more than one account and earn interest on the money there too. You can now only get one of these accounts in your name.

You can also get a linked account also offering 2.02% on the first £25,000. More details here.

More details on the whole account in my full review of this Virgin Money current account.

Best fixed savings accounts – up to 4.6%

The above accounts all have caps on how much you can save, though a mix of some or all of them would cover a large chunk of the money you’d need in cash savings. You could also look at Premium Bonds.

But what should you do with any additional money? You can still beat most standard savings or current accounts where you’re likely to get poor rates.

You can also fix your savings for a year or longer and get a slightly better rate in return. However, you need to be sure you won’t need access to that cash over that time. The longer you fix, the greater the risk you’ll lose out if rates were to rise. But at the same time, they’re protected if rates were to fall.

Six-month fixes – up to 3.55%

12-month fixes – up to 4.6%

  • RCI (4.6% AER fixed): min £1,000
  • Vanquis (4.6% AER fixed): min £10,000 / max £250,000
  • Gatehouse via Raisin (4.5% expected return) + £30 bonus for some: min £1,000 / max £85,000
  • Tandem (4.5% AER fixed): min £0 / max £2.5m
  • Shawbrook (4.5% AER fixed): min £1,000 / max £2,
  • Oxbury Bank (4.5% AER fixed): min £1,000 / max £500,000
  • United Trust Bank (4.45% AER fixed): min £5,000 / max £1m
  • Dudley Building Society (4.4% AER fixed): min £5,000 / max £1m
  • My Community Bank (4.37% AER fixed): min £1,000 / max £85,000
  • Investec via Raisin (4.36% AER fixed) + £30 bonus for some: min £1,000 / max £85,000
  • Aldermore (4.35% AER fixed): min £1,000 / max £1m
  • Atom (4.35% AER fixed): min £50 / max £100,000

Best notice account – up to 3.1%

A notice account means you have to request to get your money and interest, which will be released after a set time. They often have a variable rate but if there’s a cut you’ll normally have notice.

Four-month notice – up to 3.1%

  • Oak North Bank (3.1% AER variable) 120 days notice: min £1 / max £500,000
  • Oxbury (3.05% AER variable): 120 days notice: min £1,000 / max 500,000

Three-month notice – up to 3.07%

  • Oak North Bank (3.07% AER variable) 90 days notice: min £1 / max £500,000
  • Oxbury (3.02% AER variable): 95 days notice: min £1,000 / max 500,000
  • Family Building Society (3% AER) 90 days notice (no deposits allowed after 25 November 2022): min £20,000
  • Zopa (2.8% AER variable) 95-days notice: min £1 / max £85,000
  • DF Capital (2.8% AER) 90 days notice: min £1,000 / max £250,000
  • UBK via Raisin (2.71% AER) + £30 bonus for some: 95 days notice: min £1,000, max £85,000

One-month notice – up to 2.6%

7-day notice – up to 2.45%

  • Zopa (2.45% AER variable) 7-days notice: min £1 / max £85,000

Best limited access saving accounts – up to 3%

These accounts will let you get instant access, but there are often limits on how many withdrawals you can make in a year without a penalty (such as a reduced interest rate).

  • HSBC online bonus (3% AER variable) rate reduces to 0.5% in months you make a withdrawal: min £1 / max £10,000 (requires a current or other savings account with HSBC)
  • Yorkshire Building Society double access (2.5% AER variable up to £5,000, then 2% AER) Max two withdrawals a year: min £1 / max £500,000
  • Harpenden Building Society Triple access (2.4% AER variable) max three withdrawals a year: min £100 / max £250,000
  • Coventry Building Society limited access (2.25% AER variable) max six withdrawals a year: min £1 / max £250,000
  • Aldermore double access (2.15% AER fixed) max of two withdrawals a year: min £1,000 / max £1m
  • Nationwide triple access (2.1% AER variable) max of three withdrawals a year

Best easy access savings accounts – up to 2.81%

  • Al Rayan Bank (2.81% Expected Return): min £5,000 / max £1m
  • Cynergy Bank (2.75% AER variable includes £1 / max £1m (existing customers only, but you should be able to open another savings account to qualify)
  • Atom (2.55% AER variable): min £0 / max £100,000
  • Tandem (2.55% AER variable): min £0 / max £250,000
  • Chip (2.55% AER variable): min £1 / max £85,000 (pays a bonus rather than interest which isn’t FSCS protected. You also don’t earn interest on the bonus and have to withdraw the entire balance to access the bonus)
  • Marcus (2.5% AER variable includes 0.25 one-year bonus): min £1 / max £250,000
  • Investec (2.45% AER variable): min £5,000 / max £250,000
  • Zopa (2.4% AER variable, slight increases in notice pots): min £1 / max £85,000
  • Shawbrook (2.3% AER variable): min £1,000 / max £85,000
  • Yorkshire Building Society (2.25% AER variable / 2.3% AER if more than £50,000): min £10,000 / max £500,000
  • Secure Trust Bank (2.25% AER variable): min £1,000 / max £85,000
  • Tesco Bank (2.21% AER variable): min £1 / max £1m

Best Cash ISA – up to 3%

Though most of us don’t need the tax-free “wrapper” offered by an ISA, if you are wanting to use one then the same goes in terms of finding the best rate.

You can’t pay in more than £20,000 each financial year into any combination if ISAs, and you can only pay money into one Cash ISA.

Flexible ISAs allow you to withdraw money and pay it back in without impacting your annual allowance. Look for ones that allow transfers in if you have money from previous tax years you want to move.

  • Virgin Money (3% AER variable): min £1 (transfers in / flexible / requires a current account)
  • Marcus (2.5% AER variable): min £1 (no transfers)
  • Paragon (2.3% AER variable) triple access
  • Coventry Building Society (2.25% AER variable) limited access
  • Cynergy (2.15 AER variable): min £1 (transfers in / not flexible)
  • Tesco Bank (2.15% AER variable): min £1 (Transfers in allowed / flexible)

Best auto-savings rates – up to 5%

Apps like Chip and Plum and features like Monzo’s IFTTT are great tools to boost how much is in your savings. But the rates aren’t always the best. I’d personally look to transfer these savings over to a higher paying account, but in the short term it pays to use those with the best rates.

  • Chase (5% AER variable) – rate on roundups only – read more about Chase
  • Chip via Allica (1.1% AER variable) – read more about Chip
  • Monzo via Paragon (1% AER variable) – read more about IFTTT

Best Lifetime ISAs – up to 3%

Lifetime ISAs are available as cash savings or as investment products. You can open on up to the age of 40 and save up to £4,000 a year into one and get a 25% bonus. Here are the leading Cash Lifetime ISAs:

Premium Bonds – 2.2% prize rate

From the October 2022 draw, the prize rate for Premium Bonds will be 2.2%. This doesn’t mean you’ll get 2.2% back on your savings. I’ll update here soon with predictions on returns based on your average rate of luck by size of deposit so you can compare it to the other accounts listed on this page.

Best children’s savings account

I’ve written in more detail about the different savings accounts for kids, so do check that article out to understand the conditions such as access.

Best ethical savings account

The money you hold in your savings is used by the banks to invest and lend money. This could mean it’s used for things you might disagree with, such as fracking, tobacco or arms manufacturing.

There are banks with ethical policies such as Triodos, while building societies must lend 75% of their funds to home buyers, meaning they don’t have the cash to invest elsewhere.

Sharia accounts can’t be used for things against Islamic law, like tobacco or gambling and I’ve listed the top ones further down the article.

Top Ethical Easy Access & Notice

Top Ethical Fixed rate

Top Ethical Regular savers

Top Sharia savings accounts – up to 4.5%

Paying interest isn’t allowed in Islam, so a Sharia-compliant savings account instead promises a return on the money saved – an expected profit rate. Though technically this means the rate isn’t guaranteed, it’s not happened yet. They’re open to everyone, not just Muslims. Money in these accounts won’t be invested in arms, tobacco, gambling or tobacco.

Finding the latest savings rates

I’ll update this page regularly (check the published date to see when it last happened), but if you find a rate has been cut or isn’t available, you can check the MoneyFacts website.



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How Much Are Old Records Worth? Here’s What We Found Out

How Much Are Old Records Worth? Here’s What We Found Out


Are you harboring a collection of classic rock albums and afraid to part with the memories of your youth? Or did you inherit a stack of records of some of the biggest acts of the 1960s and know you will never play them?

Well, instead of letting the vinyls sit silently in a corner of a closet or garage, trade them in for some extra cash. The trick is to be realistic about value, and separate your love of Sinatra, Streisand or Sting with the market demand and condition.

“At one time the shelf that held all the Sinatra albums was 70 feet wide,” said Doug Allen, owner of Bananas Records, considered the largest record retailer in the country, and based in St. Petersburg, Florida. “We have way too much of that.”

Data on vinyl album sales in the United States from 1993 to 2020 shows consistent growth since 2006, and in 2021 a total of 41.7 million vinyl albums were sold, up by over 50% from the previous year  according to Statista.com.

Music Genres Selling Well

What Bananas Records buys and sells the most are classic rock ‘n’ roll, punk and jazz albums. And that’s for around $5 — if the album and the cover are in great condition. Allen buys 500 to 1,000 albums a day and estimates he pays more than $1 or $2 an album for only about 10 percent.

Doug Allen, bottom, co-owns Bananas Records with his wife, Michelle Allen, which is one of the largest vinyl record retailers in the world with about 3.5 million records. Sonny Rollins, top, is considered one of the most important American jazz musicians and his sixth album, Saxophone Colossus, is selling at Bananas Records for $1,000. Chris Zuppa / The Penny Hoarder

“Records don’t compare to coins and stamps and books,” Allen said. “There’s not really anything that’s worth $100,000 or more.”

On the other hand, records that only sold 20,000 copies — jazz from the 1950s, early punk rock — may be worth more. Allen has seen jazz albums from that era, such as early Miles Davis, go for $500 to $700 a piece, while classic punk might sell for $50 to $100.

Many records that sold in the millions are still popular with collectors and album buyers, but so many copies are still in circulation that they don’t sell for much.

“Punk and heavy metal is what’s selling extremely well because of the age group of people who are buying records right now. They are mostly under 30 years of age,” Allen said. “The ‘70s to ‘90s progressive rock is selling. Led  Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Eno.”

He added David Bowie and John Coltrane to the list of what he’s buying.

“If it’s in mint condition it might sell for $20 to $30 if it’s and a really good early pressing,” Allen said.

Yes, just like first or early printings of books, first pressings or early pressings of albums are worth more — even to a 25-year-old consumer.

“Having that knowledge, they are proud of having something like a first pressing. Occasionally it really means something as far as the sound quality,” Allen said. “This is the generation of kids who always listened to music on their iPhone. When they play an album with a turntable and a set of good speakers they discover what music is supposed to sound like.”

Who Is In, Who Is Out

Even in mint condition,  Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow, Liberace or Elvis Presley records aren’t worth much, if anything.

“These kids who are buying records today, many of them have never heard of Elvis,” Allen said. “That era is gone.”

He noted that Michael Jackson albums in good shape are selling well.

“Two weeks after his death you could sell anything you could get your hands on for $30 to $40,” Allen said. “Now they are worth about $7 to $10.”

Though Britney Spears memorabilia is selling well with the drama over her conservatorship ending and the announcement of her pregnancy, Allen hasn’t seen an increase in demand for her records.

An Album’s Value Is About More Than the Music

Other factors affect the value of an album, including a record label or address of the recording studio, which can indicate if it’s a first or second pressing; the country in which the album was released; and whether the album was autographed.

The condition of the album cover is as important as the music itself. Water damage, tears and marks can all decrease an album’s value. If you kept your albums in the garage, there’s little chance the vinyl survived the elements and the cover is probably a victim of silverfish or some other pest. And if somebody wrote their name on the album cover, again, that lessens the value greatly.

However, Allen and other collectors frequently buy the album alone if it’s in good shape and the cover isn’t, and vice versa.

Allen advises anyone who is trying to sell their collection to take it to their local vintage record store and have them take a look and let you know what’s worth money. On average, he said if someone brings in a cardboard box full of records, they might fetch $60 to $100 for the lot, some for just a few cents and some for a few dollars.

Selling Records Online

Be sure to check the “sold” price and not the “asking” price before you get your hopes up. You will see many records receive no bids or are taken down before they sell. Still, some records sell for $25 to more than $100 depending on the condition and the rarity. Here are some examples of recent online sales on eBay. But many also include additional shipping costs of $10 to $25 depending on where they are coming from.

  • John Coltrane: Cosmic Music, $25
  • Prince: The Black Album, $129
  • Janet Jackson, Rhythm Nation, $19
  • George Michael, Faith, $12
  • Michael Jackson, Off The Wall, $35
  • Hulk Hogan, 1983 Japanese release, $79

Another place to sell records online is discogs.com. The site has many links to advise sellers on grading the value of albums based on the condition, estimating shipping costs and packaging.

You Can Sell Your Record Equipment, Too

“Some brands of turntables are selling quite well. I just paid almost $400 for a 1960s Benjamin Miracord turntable. Some Pioneer (brand) are selling well,” Allen said. The earlier versions with solid wooden bases are what’s in demand.

Solid wooden consoles with built in speakers that are an actual piece of furniture are in demand, also. And they don’t have to necessarily work.

“I’ve heard of people who are rehabbing them and they are paying $1,000 to $1,500 for a nicer, old console,” Allen said.

Here’s What Your DVDs and CDs Are Actually Worth

What about DVDs, CDs and even 8-tracks? Allen, and Genny Stout, manager of Bananas Records, have bad news for anyone trying to unload their old movies and music.

CDs

CDs are less popular each year, as there are fewer cars with CD players. In 2021, Bananas was paying 25 cents for them, but now Stout doesn’t buy them unless they are really good classic rock.

DVDs

“Fewer and fewer people have DVD players,” she said. “We used to sell three for $5. Now they are $1 each.” The store is actually making their DVD section much smaller and rarely adding anymore to their already huge inventory. A Disney box set might be worth a few dollars, tops.

VHS 

“We haven’t purchased those in 5 to 6 years,” she said, adding that it’s hard to find non-profit retail stores that accept them.

8-Track

“I would say there’s no market for them with the exception of a cult following,” Allen said. “Maybe a KISS 8-track, something you wouldn’t expect.”

Contributor Katherine Snow Smith is a freelance writer in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and author of Rules for the Southern Rulebreaker: Missteps and Lessons Learned.




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