January 15, 2016

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How To Use Credit Cards To Make Money

The idea that you can use credit cards to make money may seem a little odd. Aren't credit cards dangerous things? Aren't credit cards the reason why many people find themselves deep in debt.

Well, yes it's true. Credit cards can be very dangerous. If you fail to pay your credit card bills, there is always a very possible danger that you will find yourself seriously deep into debt. Lives can be ruined by crippling credit card excess.

However, if you are super careful and always pay off the full balance of your credit card each month, your little plastic friends can actually end up making you money.

Delay Spending and Earn Interest on Your Cash

When you use a credit card to buy something, you can borrow the money without having to pay any interest for a certain length of time. If you choose to use your credit card to buy things that you would have already bought anyway, you can put the money you would have spent in a high-interest savings account.

When you later, pay off the credit card bill, you will have earned some interest from your money. To make sure that you get the most interest, you should time any larger transactions so that they are at the start of your credit card statement and you won't have to pay for them for a while.

Get Cash back on Credit Cards

Many credit cards offer cash back as an incentive. How it works is simple: every time you buy something with your card, you get some money back from that purchase.

You can get about 0.5%-1% cash back, although sometimes you can find introductory deals at a higher rate. The cash that you get is usually paid annually.

You must pay off your credit card bill in full month to make the most of cash back. If you don't, any gains you make will be cancelled out by interest.

Apply for Credit Cards and get Free Things

Credit card companies want your business so badly, that they will often offer free things to new customers. Things they use to entice new customers include flights and gift vouchers.

Some of these offers require you to make a purchase. Some don't. If you do have to spend something to get the free gift, make you sure you buy something you were going to buy anyway and try to spend as little as possible.

You should also be carefully about how frequently you apply for credit cards:
  • Don't Apply for Too Many Cards at Once. Applying for lots of credit cards in a short space in a time an have a negative impact on your credit rating. If you are going to apply for multiple cards, space out your applications.
  • Cancel Old, Unused Cards. Make sure you contact the credit card company to cancel any credit cards that you are not going to use an more. Having too many credit card accounts open can be bad for your credit rating.

Tips on Using Credit Cards to Make Money

  • Make sure that prompt payment means no interest. Always make sure that you choose credit cards that you don't start charging interest from the moment of purchase. Be sure to pick cards which mean that, if you pay the full balance every month, you won't have to pay any interest.
  • Use a credit card with no annual fee. You are trying to make money here. You don't want to be paying out extra. Sometimes it is still possible to make money if you are paying an annual fee, but only if the money you can earn is more than the annual fee.
  • Budget carefully and stick to your budget. Remember you need to be able to pay back the full balance on your credit card every month, so you need to be sure that you have enough money to do that. Make a household budget. Work out how much money you have coming in each month and then make a list of all your outgoings. The things you use your credit card should be things you would have used anyway. Those expenses should be included in your budget and you should not make sure that you do not go over budget.
  • Keep a record of your expenses. To ensure that you keep to budget, note down every purchase you make with your credit card. Maybe keep a little notebook with you, which you can use to jot to the amount. There are also apps available for this. Although you haven't actually spent for these purchases in reality, you should still consider the money spent.

Be Careful With Your Credit Card Use

Remember, it is always important to be very careful when using credit cards. You can make money with credits, but only if you make sure that pay off your balance in full every month. This way, you can avoid debt and stand a chance of enjoying some financial benefits.
If you stay organized, budget carefully and always pay your credit card bills fully every time, it really is possible for you to use credit cards to make money.

Picture: Sean MacEntee via Flickr, CC-BY-SA 2.0

May 08, 2015

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How To Make Money With InboxPounds

Earn Cash From Emails to Your Inbox
InBox Pounds pays you for your online activities.
I've just cashed my first cheque with InboxPounds. This is a website which makes its money by supplying the eyeballs of consumers to advertisers. They then pass on some of that cash to you, the consumer, in the hope that you will buy some of the stuff that the advertisers are selling.

It's called InboxPounds because, essentially, what they do is send emails to your inbox with links to ads. When you click on the link, you earn a penny. When you have collected £20 of digital pennies, they send you a cheque. They send a few ads a week, which isn't all that much. However, another way you can add up those pennies is by doing searches. Use the InboxPound search bar for your web searches, in exactly the same way as you would use Google or any other search engine and you can get paid for each search. You get a penny for every two qualified searches and can make up to fifteen pence a day from searches. If you make searches four days in a row, you get a weekly bonus of five pence (Gold members get ten pence - you get to become a Gold member after your first pay out of £20).

You can also get paid for doing surveys, doing assorted tasks and listening to online radio. I haven't really been doing the surveys. I've begun a couple of times, but it usually turns out that I don't qualify for the survey because they already have enough people for the demographic that they're in. I usually spend a minute or so every do clicking on the email ads and using the search bar to add a couple of coins to my virtual penny jar.

Find out more at InboxPounds.

May 01, 2015


Why Choose a Junior ISA?

Saving Money with a Junior ISA
Put cash into an ISA for your child and keep it away from the tax man.
Image Source:  TaxRebate.org.uk via Flickr, CC-BY-SA 2.0
Back in 2009, when my little boy was born, we applied for a Child Trust Fund (a long term tax-free savings accounts for children). At the time, the government were giving out £250 to little lads and lasses for their parents to invest in CTFs. Never one to turn my nose up at the offer of free money, we took the cash and stuffed it into a CTF with a low-cost UK Index Tracker. You can't apply for Child Trust Funds now because the scheme has closed. Junior ISAs are the new place to stash cash on behalf of little investors. I opened a Junior ISA for my little girl when she was born in 2013.

What the heck is a Junior ISA anyway?

An ISA is an Individual Savings Account. It is a scheme allowing people to hold cash, shares or unit trusts without having to pay any tax on dividends, interest and capital gains. ISAs were introduced in 1999, when they replaced personal equity plans (PEPs) and tax-exempt special savings accounts (TESSAs). Crikey, that's a lot of letters!

Child Trust Fund v Junior ISA

At the beginning of this tax year, it became possible to transfer a CTF into a Junior ISA. I've just done that very thing for my wee lad. I've shifted his investments from a CTF to a Junior ISA. The main reason why is that there is a great choice of funds available in a Junior ISA than a CTF. I used Hargreaves Lansdown as a platform for the Junior ISA because that's where I opened a Junior ISA for my daughter. I also have a SIPP there.

What is the Junior ISA allowance?

You can put up to £4,080 into a Junior ISA. This can be used in a Cash ISA or a Stocks & Shares ISA. The rates for Cash ISAs can be pretty so low, so investing in stocks and shares is probably a better bet for getting a return on your cash in the longterm. Putting your lolly in the stock market provides the greater opportunity for gains, but also carries more risks. However, drip feeding cash into a fund regularly over a long period of time (the length of time it takes your nipper to grow up into an 18-year-old) makes it a less risky proposition.

Who can pay into a Junior ISA?

Only a person with parental responsibility can open a Junior ISA on behalf of a child, but once an account has been set up, anyone can pay into it. Grandparents, friends and family members are able to pay money into a Junior ISA. That means they can gifts to their little relations which will help them in the long-term as well as all the toys and trinkets they'll be giving as the kids grow up.

What happens when the child turns 18?

When your child reaches the age of 18, they gain control of the Junior ISA. Do you think they'll be able to handle all that cash? While you had university fees or a deposit on a flat in mind when you began investing for your child's future, maybe they might decide to blow the lot on parties.

Is it worth getting a Junior ISA?

You might think that children don't pay tax anyway, so what's the point of a an ISA for junior? Children do pay tax though. They have the same personal allowance as grown ups, but most of them don't have jobs paying more than that personal allowance. When money given to a child by a parent brings in income of  £100 (gross), the parent has to pay tax on that income. So, having a shelter does make some kind of sense.

April 17, 2015

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Peppa Pig World at Paultons Park

This little pink pig has captured the imagination of a heck of a lot of toddlers and my daughter's one of them. That's why we're here at Peppa Pig World, queuing up to pose for a picture with a person in a pink foam pig suit.

I don't know how big something has to be before it can be considered a 'World', but here it seems to be seven rides and a play area. I'm not trying to belittle the experience, because frankly my little girl loves this place.

If there happen to be any under-fives running around in your house, you're probably already very familiar with Peppa Pig. It's a popular British animated TV show about a pig called Peppa, who lives with her mum, dad and brother George. Episodes usually revolve around normal stuff like going to playgroup, visiting grandparents, playing in the playground or riding around on bikes. Everyday activities that little ones who are learning about the world can relate to. As well as the pig family, there are various other animal characters.

George's Spaceship Playzone at Peppa Pig World
George's Spaceship Playzone at Peppa Pig World
Peppa Pig World is a brightly coloured corner of Paultons Park, a family-owned amusement park in the New Forest district of Hampshire. Paultons Park covers 140 acres of land. As well as 60 rides and attractions, the park has around 80 species of birds and animals. The gentle rides on offer in Peppa Pig World include Windy Castle, George's Dinosaur Adventure, Daddy Pig's Car Ride, Grandpa Pig's Little Train, Grandpa Pig's Boat Trip, Peppa's Big Balloon Ride and Miss Rabbit's Helicopter Flight. It was a cloudy (but thankfully not rainy) day when we went. Happily, one feature of Peppa Pig land is George's Spaceship Playzone, an indoor play area with plenty of things to climb and slide down. Obviously, there's also a shop which is chock-full of Peppa Pig toys.

If you don't live nearby and want to break up the Paultons park experience with a sleep, you can get a theme park ticket and hotel package (with the second day FREE) from Play and Stay.