Author: Lewis

Do Premium Bonds Pay Off?

There are many people that have premium bonds and think that they are well worth having, but there are some people that feel that they are a waste of time. You might be considering getting some or wondering whether to cash your in or buy more and thinking about whether they are worth having or not.

How do Premium Bonds Work?

A premium bond is a special way to save money. For every pound that you pay in, you will be given one bond number. Once a month each bond is entered in a draw and if yours gets picked you will get a prize between £25 and £1,000,000. The value and amount of prizes depends on the interest rates and the amount of people with bonds. You can buy up to 50,000 bonds in increments of 25. There is no interest paid on the money, but you have a chance each month of winning a tax free prize. The bonds are available to adults and children although children’s accounts are held by an adult on their behalf. That adult can also have bonds in their own right as well. Once children turn 16 the bonds are theirs and prizes will be paid to them rather than the adult.

How Well do They Pay Out?

The equivalent interest rates for premium bonds are usually a little higher than an instant access savings account but the chances of winning a prize are not the same for each holder. Each bond has the same chance of winning, which means that those with the maximum holding of 50,000 bonds have a much higher chance of winning than those holding just one bond. Therefore, if you want to make it worthwhile then it could be worth making sure that you buy a significant amount of bonds and then you have a much better chance of winning a prize. It is all down to chance as well which means that you may find that even if you have a large holding you do not win that often, but of course, there is always a chance that you could win big.

Should I get Some?

Whether you get some is a tricky decision to make. You could probably get a higher guaranteed return with a different savings account and so it could be better to use one of those if you want to make sure that you will get something back for having the money. Logical savers may feel that this is the only logical thing to do. However, if you like a gamble then the premium bonds will probably appeal to you. In fact, if you buy lottery tickets, then they could be a fantastic replacement. There is only one draw a month but you could still win a prize and you will be able to get your money back whenever you want to. Rather than throwing money away on tickets that only get drawn once, you will be able to buy a bond which get entered in a draw over and over again and you can get back if you need the money.

It is probably much better to buy them if you can afford to buy a significant chunk. Although holders with small amounts of bonds do sometimes win, it tends to be the holders with more bonds that win more often and so this can be something that is worth considering. You will need £50,000 to have the maximum holding which is a considerable amount but it will increase your odds the more you have so you could slowly build up to a decent amount or you could wait until you have a chunk before you buy any.

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How Much Money Should I Save Each Month?

If you want to have some savings behind you then you may wonder how much money you should be saving each month. It is wise to transfer some money when you get paid into a savings account so that you know that you will always automatically do it and you will; know the money is available to do so. It is a good idea to do this because otherwise you could find that you will not have enough money left at the end of the month to do it because you have spent it. So, doing it first means that you will have to budget so that you can manage without this money. If you calculate things properly you should know how much you will be able to save. It is not always easy to get it right, but you can do some calculations which might help you.

Work out How Much You Earn

To start with you will need to know how much money you have coming in each month. This should be fairly easy to do as you are likely to have just a few or even just one income source. So, this will include any salary that you earn, any benefits you get, child maintenance payments, interest, pensions and things like this. It will be easier if you know how much it is after tax too, or else you will have to work out how much that is and take it off.

Work Out How Much You Spend

This will be a trickier thing to do because you will have a lot more things that you will pay for. You will find that there are certain items that you pay for regularly every month, but there will be some things that you pay for less often. This makes it tricky to work out what you spend, but it can be best to work out an average. Then you will have a figure that you will be able to use. 

Decide What to Save

At this point you should be able to take away the amount you spend form the amount you earn and see what is left. This figure will be the amount that you can afford to save. However, you may not want to save it all as you may want some for overpaying debts or other things. If you tend to find that you are spending more than you earn, then this could be a much trickier decision. It is good to discover that this is happening as you should be able to do something about it and change what you are doing to make sure that you are not overspending each month. For example, you could look carefully at your spending and see whether you are paying too much for things and therefore can switch to cheaper items or you might want to buy less items or look for opportunities to earn more. Once you are earning more you are spending you will be in a position to save.

If you are putting the money in an instant access account then it will not matter if you save too much. If you find that you need the money then you will be able to get it back out of the savings account. However, if you are tying the money up in a notice account or bond then it is a good idea to think hard about whether you should put all of your money in there and not have anything to fall back on, in the case of an emergency.


It is a good idea to review the situation every so often. You will want to check whether you are putting in the right amount of saving according to what you can afford. You could find that you will still have some money left and so perhaps you should put a bit more in or you could find that you are struggling to manage so you will need to take some out. It is wise to review this every few months, at least to start with so that you know that you have chosen the right amount.

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Will Working Harder in my Job Pay Off With Regards to a Pay Rise?

Getting a pay rise can be something that you will find will be very beneficial and it will mean that you will have more money available to buy things with and you will be able to perhaps pay off some debts or save some money as well. However, pay rises may not be that easy to come by. Some companies will have a yearly review and base the pay rise on that. If this is the case with the company that you work with, then you will need to make sure that you stand out. If the pay rises are more sporadic then you will need to make sure that you stand out too so that you are noticed and put forward for a rise.

What Can I do?

Obviously, the specific things that you can do with regards to your job and working which will not be documented here. However, there are things that you could try that are more general that could help you.

  • Make sure that you always arrive on time and never leave before you are due. Do overtime if required and sometimes stay a bit late with no extra pay to help out
  • Always be helpful and when you are asked to do something, do it
  • Make sure that you get all of your work done on time and done as well as you could in the time that you had
  • Always be polite and friendly, do not lose your temper and do not use bad language

Alternative Options

Although you might find that you can encourage your employer to give you a pay rise using the techniques above, this will not always work. This is because you may find that some companies just do not give pay rises unless you get a promotion. You will need to look into this and see whether your efforts will be worthwhile or not. If you do need to get a promotion in order to get a pay rise, then you will need to think about whether this is something that you want and how you go about it.

It might be the case that in order to get a pay rise, you will need to look for a job with a different company. It is good therefore, to have a look at what jobs are available and you will get a good idea as to whether you will be able to find something that will suit you or not. You will also get an idea of what the pay is like and whether there is something that you will be able to do that will pay you more money.

So therefore, it could be worthwhile working harder in order to try for a pay rise but it will depend on how things work in your company. You will need to find out whether it is something that will work and then if not, you may have to look for an alternative roles to get extra money. However, it is worth working harder anyway because your new role may depend on a reference from your current one. So, if you can stand out as being useful and helpful as well as a hard worker, you will be able to get a better reference form your employer. The references are something which future employers look at very seriously and so indirectly by working hard, it could mean that you will end up with a pay rise even if you cannot get one in your current job. You may have to work at it for a number of months at least though, for it to have a positive and memorable impact.

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Can I Save Money on My Food Bill?

All of us have to buy food and it is often the case that we will find that we spend a lot of money on it. Although these days, we spend a much lower proportion of our earnings on food compares to previous generations, we may still feel like we would like to find a way to reduce the cost of the food that we are eating. There are things that we might be able to try to help with this.

Switch Supermarkets

The first thing that you could consider doing is switching to a cheaper supermarket. We all know that there are the higher end places such as Marks and Spencer and Waitrose and the lower end ones like Aldi and Lidl with others in between. We could probably work out a hierarchy of where they stand price wise. It is therefore worth thinking about whether you could change to a different supermarket and save money. It is worth being careful though as sometimes, we may not be right about which is cheaper. This is because it will depend on exactly what we buy. So, make sure that you do some price comparisons to check that you will be saving money. Also think about the distance that you are travelling and whether you have to allow for the cost of extra petrol or public transport costs.

Compare Brands

It can be worth checking whether you could switch brands on some of the things that you buy and save some money. You could find that you are already buying the cheapest, but there may be some items which you could buy for less money. You may find that they are not so nice and so you will want go back to what you were having before, but you may also be surprised and find that some of the items will be as good or even better and you will want to stick with them. It can be well worth trying, particularly with items that are expensive as you may be able to make bigger savings on these.

Buy Less Luxury Items

Although food and drink are essential, we still tend to buy luxury items in this category. For example, we may buy alcohol, fizzy drinks, sweets, snacks, puddings, cakes, biscuits, ready meals and things like this which are actually not necessary for us to eat. Obviously, we do like them and the idea of cutting them right out can be rather daunting. However, cutting back on these items could not only save us money, but also help us to be healthier at the same time.

Buy Less Items

We may also just be able to cut down on the quantity of food that we are eating. Perhaps having less food on our plates could help us. Obviously, this will depend on whether we normally pile up our plate or eat a small amount of food anyway. We should also be careful though, that we are not buying food and then letting it go off. This can cause problems because you will be spending money on items that you might be throwing away. So make sure that you only buy what you know that you will be able to use.

These changes will add up. So, if you choose a few things to try, you could find that you can make quite a difference to your food bill. Some will be harder than others, but you will be able to choose the ones that you feel will be the best for you to suit you and your lifestyle and that will make the most significant difference.

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How to Save for a Deposit

If you need to save for a deposit, whether to pay for rent or a deposit for a mortgage then you will need to get together a significant sum of money. This will not be easy for anyone to do. However, there are things that you can do which will make it easier for you to manage it.

Set up a Savings Account & Transfer

The first thing that you should do is set up a savings account to save specifically for the deposit. If it is just for this purpose then you will know that you cannot spend the money that is going into the account because it is specifically to go towards the deposit. It will also help you to keep an accurate record of how much money you have accumulated. If you think that it will take you a significant amount of time to get the money together, then it is well worth investigating the different savings accounts and making sure that you use one that has a good interest rate. This will help you to be able to get a little extra money while you are saving up as a bonus. Even though it is unlikely to be loads, as your deposit grows it could make more and more of a difference.

See if you Can Reduce Spending

It can also be wise to see whether you can reduce the amount of money that you are spending on other things. This might allow you to be able to save more. It can be tricky to reduce what you are spending but you can take a methodical approach and do things in sages. Firstly, look at the things that you pay monthly, such as utilities, contracts, loan repayments you might be servicing from online lenders etc and see whether there is a way to reduce the cost of these. For example, you might be able to switch suppliers and pay a bit less. If you do this for all of these, then you should find that those savings will add up to a more significant amount. Then you can move on to things that you buy in shops, such as groceries, clothes, homewares and toiletries. Compare the prices between different retailers and also compare different products to see whether you can swap to cheaper ones. It is important to get good value for money though and so you will want to check the quality if you are using different things.

You may also want to consider buying less. This is more extreme, but if you can cut back on unnecessary spending, it means that you will have more money available to save up. This may seem really hard and you may not want to do it, but once you do move and you have rent or mortgage payments to make, you may not be able to afford to buy as much anyway. Therefore, it could be a good habit to get in to.

Look for Opportunities to Earn More

It can also be useful to look for ways to make some extra money. If you can make a bit more then you can add that to your savings account. There are lots of different things that you can try. You could see if you can get more money for your job perhaps by taking on more hours or by asking for a pay rise. This will give you a constant increase in income which will be very useful. You could also try things that will give a lump sum such as selling things you own and no longer use to get a lump sum of money. You could also look for odd bits of work such as temping work or freelance jobs. You will find that you might be able to find some work online and that might be more flexible so you can work around your current job or lifestyle.

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