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While browsing moneysavingexpert.com I noticed an offer for a free Moneywise magazine and as I am trying to get wise with money, it seemed the ideal mag for me!
I received a free copy in January, which should have cost £3.50. It is packed full of information on taking care of your money, for the rest of your life.
Moneywise is about the same size as a sheet of A4 paper. It has a glossy cover, packed full of headings, letting you know exactly what's inside. The January copy is 76 pages long and it looks and feels like a quality magazine.
Inside is a well laid out index which is split into the following sections and sub-sections:
The cheapest ways to kick your smoking habit.
How to return those unwanted Xmas presents.
What next for bank charges.
How the pre-budget report will affect you.
Budget & Planning:
Slash your energy costs.
A civilised seperation.
House & home.
Your property questions answered.
Spend & save.
Winter holiday tonic.
Saving & Investing:
Eye on the market.
Investing for income.
There is always a cover story and in this issue you are shown how to spruce up your finances, to get ready for the new decade ahead.
Each month there are regular competitions, letters from readers and a letter from the editor.
My eye was immediately drawn to the cover story, as I would really like to get my finances in order in 2010. The article shows you how in 5 steps, you could give your finances a spring clean and start the new decade, how you wish to continue.
Step 1: Trim your spending by drawing up a budget of all your expenses, separating all the essential costs from the non-essential.
It is important to include all your spending in this, from mortgage payments, food shopping and utility bills, to clothing, dental fees and holidays. At the end of all this, it is important, that you have more money coming in, than is going out. If you have money left over, you should try paying this into child trust funds, pensions, savings products, investments and insurance policies if possible and really make your money work for you.
If you find yourself in the red each month, you have to go through all those non-essential spends and ruthlessly cut things out. You can also cut down on essential spending by changing to a cheaper utility provider.
Step 2: Pay off your debts, to give yourself a fresh start. If you do have debts and have money left over, after all your essential bills are paid off, you should use some of your left over cash to pay off your debts. Start with the debts which have the highest interest and work your way through them, a step at a time. If at all possible, move your debts onto 0% balance transfer cards. You will have to pay a transfer charge, but it will often be cheaper, than staying with your current interest rate. You of course, must make sure that you pay the full amount off within the 0% period and before the interest rate rises.
Step 3: Get The savings bug and start putting some of that spare cash away for a rainy day. It is well worth taking the time and doing some research to find an account with a good interest rate.
As well as your basic bank or building society account, you can save into an ISA, but do make sure you keep some money in an instant access account, incase you need some in a hurry.
Step 4: Start investing your money and really make it work hard for you. There are a number of investments out there with varying returns, depending on how much risk you are willing to take. Advice in investing is best sought from an independent financial advisor.
Step 5: Plan for your future and save for your retirement. It doesn't matter how young you are, start saving now! If you want to have a comfortable retirement and not have to make major cut backs, just when you finally have lots of spare time to enjoy yourself, you must save some money. You can do this by joining your employer's pension scheme and/or starting up your own personal pension. Whatever pension product you choose, you should always keep an eye on how they are performing.
All in all, I found this magazine full of useful information, in a language I could understand. At £3.50, it is quite expensive, but it could help save you a small fortune in the long run.
If you haven't read it yet, it's well worth looking out for and if you're very lucky you may be able to get your hands on a free copy.
I got my first copy of Moneywise free of charge as part of a promotion they were doing in conjunction with the Moneysavingexpert site, this offer is often repeated so it would be worth checking. The magazine is packed with information on how, as the magazine title suggests, to be wise with your money. It has information on consumer law as well. Of course it also contains the best buys at the time of going to press- but as they change so often these days- you would still need to do the work on checking rates. It is well worth getting as a one off if you have money to invest and I very much enjoyed reading the whole mag - or most of it. But if I was being wise with my money I wouldn't buy it- Moneywise have a very good website and a weekly free e mail service-so as any quality paper has guides on personal finance and consumer law- why would you spend money on buying the magazine to keep yourself informed. Having said that it is a very good magazine if reading about finance is what you enjoy doing- but bear in mind this is not for finance high flyers it's for day yo day investors.
I have to admit at the outset that I received a copy of Moneywise free of charge and am rather glad that I did not pay the cover price of £4.25, although it is a worthwhile magazine for certain people which is why I have awarded four stars.
The front cover of the October issue shows a photograph of seven people, presumably members of three different generations of one family, all with beaming smiles. It gives the impression that the magazine is intended for all ages, and that it will solve all your problems, although it is in fact advertising an article aimed at showing couples supporting both children and elderly parents how to survive.
Moneywise, like most magazines, has regulars such as letters and a competition. Aside from these, it is divided into sections entitled Upfront, Budgeting & Planning, Property, Spending, and Saving & Investing. In a way it seems to be trying to do too much, since it seems to be aimed at both those who are struggling financially and those who have money to invest. As one who is struggling a little, I have no interest whatsoever in articles such as 'Investing in health and biotech funds' or 'Outer limits' which looks at 'soaring returns on vintage electric guitars'.
In the Spending section, I am not looking to buy a breadmaker, but I did find the article questioning whether the taxman is charging us too much a particularly interesting one that urges us to regularly check our tax codes. One of my sons recently discovered that he had paid about £150 extra tax for the year 2006-2007; it has been refunded but, of course, with no interest, although we the taxpayers are always charged interest if we pay late, so it is definitely worth keeping a close eye on our status.
Budgeting and Planning seems to be the largest section in the magazine, but I'm afraid I was disappointed in the article 'How to turn junk into cash'. This includes subsections on Ebay and car boot sales, but I just can't imagine that there are many people who are unaware of these money-raising opportunities and the information seems all too obvious. There is, admittedly, a subsection on selling antiques, but there is no mention of other Internet sites for selling second-hand goods such as Amazon Marketplace which are usually more lucrative than Ebay.
Also within Budgeting and Planning is an interview with Money Saving Expert's Martin Lewis, which is for me one of the more interesting articles in the October issue. Martin gives us a little reassurance in stating that, despite fears of recession, the state of the economy is still much better than it was in the 1970s and 1980s. To save on food, he advises us to downsize in terms of brands as well as avoiding waste. I was surprised to read that he believes that credit cards are the best way to borrow money - if you understand them. If you can get 0% on balance transfers without paying a transfer fee, all well and good. But in my experience, it's tempting only to make minimum payments on credit cards, whereas with a personal loan you are locked in to a fixed monthly payment and you know exactly when you will finish paying off the loan.
The magazine does give several pages of useful tables covering accounts, mortgages, credit cards, investment trusts, personal pensions and so on, but you could probably find these quite easily on the Internet. I did however like the Directory of Useful Contacts on page 93, which lists telephone numbers and website addresses for consumers, older people, children and those with debt, legal, investment and property concerns.
Moneywise is a colourful, well laid-out magazine of 98 pages. The cover is a glossy one, but the inner pages are of a lesser quality. There is of course the usual quota of advertisements. Bearing in mind the price of this monthly magazine, I would say that it is a worthwhile buy for those who have money to spend, save or invest, but for anyone in debt I would advise saving the £4.25 and looking for information on the Internet. Those who are in extremely difficult circumstances and do not have Internet access at home can usually find access to it at their local library. Fifty pounds over the course of a year for the twelve issues may not sound like a great deal, but I would prefer to put it towards a more essential item.
Also to be posted on Ciao under my username denella.
What with the credit crunch here, finding life a struggle more and more each day and trying to make ends meet I decided to purchase a magazine called "Moneywise" after being referred to it by a friend.
Moneywise is a magazine aimed at anyone with a slight interest in money or anyone who wants to learn how they can cut back and help make their money stretch further.
This magazine is currently retailing at £4.25 but is slightly more difficult to get hold of as it cannot be bought in every newsagents instead it can only be purchased in specialist newsagents like WH Smith. It has an easy to identify cover with the clear, white title emblazoned on the front. On the inside it is overflowing with money saving tips, hints and ideas from budgeting and property to spending and saving. The magazine also features an 'upfront' section explaining how news issues could affect our financial situations.
~Budgeting and Planning~
This section is devoted to helping aid the reader in getting the best deal on the market at present and could range anything from the 'best current accounts' to 'how to make a successful travel insurance claim'. It has in the past included information for parents about cutting childcare costs and how people can access their pensions. So it appeals to a large spectrum of society.
This section looks at different ways to make money and benefit from your property. This varies depending on the issue but in the past has explained how money can be made through taking in a lodger (it educates the reader on the minimum amount of rent they can charge as a landlord without having to declare it as taxable income) and letting out your house to a film crew for a month.
Spending is a section the majority of the world can relate to so this is appealing to almost everyone. Each issues features a popular product in today's market...for example a photo printer and gives a run down of where to find it at its cheapest and the best specification to look for in one. A guide to haggling was featured in last months edition of this magazine helping consumers learn the gift of the gab and save a few more pounds. Articles similar to this are found in every issue.
~Saving and Investing~
This can be found towards the back of the magazine usually giving tips to beginners as it can be quite daunting when you first start taking an interest in this yet for the experienced investor it gives a run down of the better performing shares and funds. It also includes advice on current and emerging markets and regularly gives the reader an update on the best savings accounts around at the time.
However I cannot go without letting you know it also features the usual regular articles be it letters from the editor, letters from readers and I must not forget to mention they always throw in a competition every issue. Recent prizes include a grand to use how you want and two luxury tickets to Goodwood festival.
In my opinion this magazine is jam packed with ways to boost your income and save money...it's easy to digest for those with little financial knowledge and those experts that ooze it. It is by far one of the best money magazines currently available today, it's just a shame it's not as readily available as you would like. For a little under five pounds it is perhaps a little steep but brimming with information that in my opinion is well worth knowing. As long as it helps you make, save or stretch your money...what's a fiver really?