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When my daughter was first born, she seemed to have some pain with wind. It was difficult to get her to burp and she would pull her legs up a lot after feeding. I knew she didn't have colic because she wasn't crying all the time, she just seemed uncomfortable and it was difficult to settle her to sleep after a feed. I also spoke to the health visitors who agreed - she didn't seem to have colic. I asked if it would be ok to give her gripe water, as a couple of friends had suggested trying it. The health visitor explained that it would be fine but gripe water does contain sugar and they suggested I try Infacol.
Gripe water can only be used once your baby is a month old but Infacol can be used from birth. Infacol needs to be used a couple of times for it to work and requires constant use for it to work effectively. It needs to be given you baby before each feed. Basically the ingredient within the Infacol (Simeticone) is supposed to bring all the little air bubbles together to form one nice bubble for your baby to burp. I'm sure the science is more complicated than that but this is how it was explained to me.
Infacol is sold in Tesco for £2.75 and I found the bottle would last about 2-3 weeks. The bottle contains 50ml and once opened you can only use the bottle for 28 days. The bottle has a dropper attached to the lid to it is easy to give the medicine to your baby. You just need to give your baby one dropper full before each and every feed. I would lay my baby fairly flat across my lap and drop the medicine near the back of her mouth to one side to allow her the chance to swallow it. As the weeks progressed she soon began to learn the routine and looked forward to the medicine because she knew she was about to be fed. It was much easier to give her the medicine at this point.
Infacol is a white fluid that smells of oranges and is fairly runny. It has a similar consistency to Calpol. Infacol does not contain any sugar or alcohol and apparently is completely harmless. I was told that a baby could drink the whole bottle and there would be no side affects - I would not be willing to find out if this is true or not and would not recommend that anyone else try this!
I no longer use this product because my daughter doesn't need it anymore but I would certainly recommend it and have recommended it to my friends who are having babies. It really did help my daughter burp easier.
Thanks for reading.
I have been giving Aptamil to my baby since she was about 5 days old. Aptamil is suitable to give to babies from birth (First Milk 1). I tried breastfeeding but was unsuccessful. It was about 4am on a Friday morning when I had to send my husband to Tesco to get some emergency milk! We had half prepared for formula feeding but decided not to buy any milk unless we needed to.
My husband found an emergency starter pack of Aptamil. It had 8 ready made 80ml bottles inside. These could be given either warmed or at room temperature - what a life saver! They weren't cheap but at 4am with a screaming, newborn, hungry baby it seemed to be the quickest solution. From memory, the pack was about £10.
We also purchase Aptamil ready made formula on a regular basis. This is a 200ml carton, which again can be given warmed or at room temperature. The cartons cost 69p from Tesco or 79p from Co-op. We only use the cartons when we are having a day out otherwise it would be too expensive.
On a regular basis I buy the 900g box of Aptamil powder, which costs £9.49 from Tesco, £9.45 from Superdrug or £10.69 from Coop. This seems to last for 6-7 days and has done since she was born although admittedly I was expressing milk for the first 4 weeks, so she was on a 50/50 mix. She's now on 210ml 5 times a day and she has a 120ml feed once a day.
There is a guide to how much milk you should give your baby. The guide shows how much milk to give according to weight or age. It also provides a guide on how many feeds your baby should have per day depending on the amount of milk they have. The milk quantity is given in ml or fluid ounces and shows how many scoops to use. The packaging also clearly explains how to make up the milk and uses diagrams. Within the packaging there is a scoop and a leveler on the inside of the box to make a perfectly level scoop, as too much or too little powder in a mix can make your baby unwell.
All in all, I would 100% recommend this milk. I have had no problems and my baby is feeding well with it.
When I found out I was pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed. To me it seemed the most natural way to feed my baby and I knew that breastfeeding has a whole host of health related benefits. I liked the idea of having the closeness with my baby and creating a close bond. I was also well aware that breastfeeding would be cheaper than having to buy formula and would help me lose my weight quicker.
Unfortunately I had problems with breastfeeding so only managed to feed for about 5 or 6 days. I did however continue to express for longer, so I knew my baby was still getting my goodness and antibodies. She is now solely on formula milk.
To begin with I was really upset that I couldn't breastfeed but at the end of the day I have a healthy happy baby. Stress has a massive effect on your milk production and although breast milk is promoted by midwifes and health visitors it is important to remember that not everyone can do it and you're not a failure if you can't.
I had a very traumatic birth that lasted for 4 days and resulted in an emergency cesarean section where I lost 4 pints of blood. I did enjoy breastfeeding to begin with but it wasn't going well. It can take longer for your milk to 'come in' after a cesarean section as well, which can make feeding harder. My baby was late and she was very large when she was born, which made her feeding stronger. Consequently I became very sore and my nipples started bleeding. There was even blood in my milk, so when my baby was sick there was blood in her sick! This alone was quite stressful to see - especially the first time it happened.
To be honest once I started feeding by bottle I felt much happier. I knew how much she was eating so I had a better idea of when she would be hungry again. I basically felt more in control. I'm sure a lot of new mums would agree that having a newborn can make you feel like a fish out of water, so I felt that I had regained some kind of control by bottle feeding.
I suppose the long and short of it is that, as with everything, there are pros and cons to each. My sister has two children. The first one was bottle fed and her second was breast fed. Both children are happy and healthy and both ways of feeding have had their difficulties. The reason for the different methods of feeding were purly circumstantial.
If I had been able to breastfeed I would have continued but I don't feel I have let my baby down by not breastfeeding.
I've been buying these chopped tomatoes for years and they are perfect for their price. They are sold in Tesco for 42p for a 400g tin. They have gone up in price over the last couple of months but everything has. I think these chopped tomatoes are great value for money, as some of the top brands are sold for well over a £1.
The chopped tomatoes are suitable for vegetarians and each tin only contains 34 calories.
The packaging does look very basic and it doesn't stand out in comparison to some other brands but that doesn't put me off buying them. The tin is white with 'chopped tomatoes' written in blue and there is a picture of tomatoes on the tin.
As much as I am happy with these tomatoes I have never actually tried them on their own. To me, they don't look particularly appealing in the tin. I only use these tomatoes as a base for cooking and I add them to just about everything: Cottage pie, pasta dishes, stews and vegetable soups.
Before I use these chopped tomatoes I do drain off some of the tomato juice, as the juice is quite thin and can make pasta sauces a bit sloppy. However, as long as you have plenty of time to reduce your pasta sauce then it's not really a problem.
My only other criticism with these chopped tomatoes is that quite often you find the top of the tomato, where the stalk grows, in the tin. I'm not keen on this because it is usually quite hard and it puts me off my food. Having said this, it's quite easy to spot when you empty the chopped tomatoes in your cooking, so I just spoon them out.
Overall a great product to add to cooking and for a reasonable price. I always have a couple of tins in my cupboard and wouldn't be without them.
Thanks for reading.
I bought this book at a jumble sale for about 16p (6 books for £1). I watched the film years ago, starring Morgan Freeman, so I already knew what the book was about and knew it was the kind of book I enjoyed reading - crime/thriller.
The book is written by James Patterson. I had never read any of his books before this one but I was well aware of his name. He had been mentioned to me on numerous occasions through recommendations from friends and family. I was not disappointed!
The book was easy to read because it flowed so well. Every chapter had me gripped and I just had to keep reading. Some of the scenes were quite graphic at the start of the book but it wasn't continuous throughout.
The book is set in America and it is about 2 serial killers. The 2 killers seemed to be linked but the killings are happening on opposite sides of America. One of the killers brutally murders women and the other killer abducts, repeatedly rapes and then sometimes kills his victims. He keeps them locked away in individual rooms so that they can't talk to each other. They are given house rules and if they break any of the rules - they are killed.
The main character is called Alex Cross who is a detective and also has a psychology background. He becomes involved in the case after his niece is kidnapped by one of the killers.
I was really impressed with the way the book was written. It follows the main character as well as each of the serial killers and a few other characters. I thought this was a great way to write a book because I felt there were no lulls. There was a lot going on to keep the reader's attention.
I have since found out this is the second book in a series of Alex Cross novels. I feel a bit gutted that I didn't read book 1 first. I certainly will be reading more James Patterson books and I hope they all live up to the standard of this book.
If you haven't read this book, I would definitely recommend it - if you enjoy crime/thrillers with a few graphic scenes.
I started using MySurvey about 3 or 4 years ago (when it was called LightSpeed) and I love this site! It has been really beneficial to me over the last few years. I have received a £20 Amazon Voucher, a £20 Next voucher and about £60 through PayPal. I know, it's not big bucks but it's a nice little bonus from time to time. Over the last couple of years I have only requested PayPal payments because I'm putting it towards my up and coming holiday in May to the Shetland Islands.
Generally speaking a survey you participate in will reward you with 50 to 120 points - usually about 70 or 80 points. You won't qualify for every survey but you are usually screened out within a couple of minutes and will receive a complimentary reward of 5 points anyway.
Each survey seems to take between 10 and 30 minutes to complete. The survey will tell you how long they expect it to take, sometimes it does take longer and some surveys can be a little repetitive. In the past I have also been sent things to try and then you will have another survey to complete after you have tried the product. This hasn't happened for a couple of years now but I have been sent bathroom cleaner, washing powder, vitamin drinks and snacks to try.
I used to get about 4 or 5 surveys per week (although I didn't always qualify for all of them) but I have noticed this has somewhat dwindled over the last couple of months which is very disappointing! Since the start of December I have only received 210 points.
I tend to just log into my account a couple of times a week but MySurvey does also notify you by email, so if you haven't logged in for a couple of days it's good to know you won't miss any surveys, if you check your email frequently.
The payout threshold is very low with this online survey site, which I really like. With as little as 345 points you can receive £3 through PayPal. However, I usually wait until I reach the £10 PayPal threshold, which is 1150 points. PayPal pay-outs rise in increments of £5 up to a maximum of £40.
PayPal isn't the only reward with this site; there are loads to choose from.
Electronic vouchers include:
Paper Vouchers include:
Electronics, Tools, Toys, Personal Care, Nectar Points and you can also donate to charity. There is something for everyone.
On the home page there is also a MiniPoll section, which is multiple choice question and you tick the relevant box. Each time you do this you receive entries into a quarterly prize draw with a chance to win up to £1000. This is something that I haven't won but I like to stay optimistic and hope that one day I will win one of the cash prizes.
Through looking at the winners, it seems to me that 5 people will win £25, 3 people will win £75, 2 people will win £500 and 1 lucky person will win £1000 every 3 months.
I don't remember much about signing up but from what I remember, this was an invitation only site. I honestly don't know if it still is. If you haven't already registered with MySurvey, then it is worth taking the time to have a look at the site and see what you think. In the past it has been great for me but it does seem the surveys are slowing down now.
Thank you for reading.
I'm not particularly well travelled but there are many places that I would like to visit. My husband is the opposite. After spending 13 years serving in the Royal Navy he was lucky enough to visit many places in the world. Generally when we are looking for holidays, we like to go to places he hasn't visited.
I suppose a lot of places I would like to visit have come from seeing things on TV - holiday programmes and films. Also speaking to friends and family about their holidays entices me to visit places. Before we even start looking at holidays, we already have a good idea of where we would like to go.
When we look for holidays, we set ourselves an affordable budget and then look at the places and holidays within our budget. We usually start by going to a travel agent to ask for recommendations and suggestions for good places to visit. The travel agents are useful in providing brochures to look through and all the necessary relevant information about currency, possible visas and sometimes their own view on what they thought.
After we have spoken to the travel agents we then have a trawl through the Internet to look for better prices and holiday reviews. There are also usually more pictures to look at on the Internet to give you an idea of the surrounding areas and not just the accommodation or resort. Before we book a holiday we do like to know what there is to see and do in the area to make sure the holiday suits us and will keep us occupied as well as providing a relaxing holiday. We usually buy a guide book of the area before we travel but not before we book the holiday. We vary rarely use the guide books whilst on holiday but they are great to have a read through before the holiday. The pocket size guide books are also quite handy. We bought one before we went to Paris and it was great - it had a map at the back and useful phrases as well. We always read as much information as possible on an area, so that we have an idea of what we want to do when we get there.
Sometimes we set ourselves a target for a holiday. We would both like to visit America and at the moment have planned to hopefully visit in 2014, allowing ourselves 2 years to save the money we will need. We know which areas we would like to visit and have already been looking at flights and accommodation to give ourselves an idea of the costs that we'll be looking at paying.
We both have aspirations for places we would like to visit but sometimes holidays fall into our laps as well. For example 2 of our friends plan to get married in Australia in about 3 years, so we have decided to make that into a long 3 or 4 week holiday. In this instance we won't have a lot of say as to where we'll be staying for a week but the other 2 or 3 weeks will be our own choice. To decide we will have a look on the Internet at places of interest and then build our holiday around that.
To sum up how we plan our holidays:
1. Internet - See pictures, find places of interest, competitive prices and read reviews
2. Travel Agents - To get an idea of prices, recommendations and important and relevant information (expert advice)
3. Friends and family - hearing about their holidays, opinions and pictures.
4. TV Programmes and Films - Places that look appealing.
Thank you for reading.
I have been using this brand of concentrated fabric conditioner for about 4 years now and have never changed within that time.
I first chose this fabric conditioner because of the price. It's usually £1.09 but often it is available on offer at 2 for £2. It's not a huge saving but as Tesco says "Every Little Bit Helps".
The fabric conditioner is pale green and it comes in a clear 750ml bottle so that you can see the liquid. The cap is a pale green screw cap top and it is deep so that you can use the cap to measure the fabric conditioner. The fabric conditioner is easy to pour and has a nice runny consistency but also maintains a silky thickness. This product is also available in a larger size of 1.5L.
The fabric conditioner is called meadow fresh and it does have a really fresh clean smell. My clothes always come out smelling nice and feeling soft and my clothes maintain the scent for a good few days after drying. There are other scents available as well - I also like the spring fresh scent.
The fabric conditioner usually lasts me about 3 or 4 months and I do about 2 loads of washing each week, sometimes more. I only use about half a cap full which is adequate, although I usually put a full cap in for towels and bed linen. The packaging suggests that you can get 21 washes out of the bottle and it is true. I find it usually lasts for between 25 and 30 washes which I think is great value for money.
All in all this is a great product, for a great price. It does everything I require a fabric conditioner to do. I would certainly recommend this product to anyone looking to try a new fabric conditioner.
I've had my slow cooker for almost 10 years now. It was given to me as a leaving present from work colleagues in one of the first full time jobs I ever had.
I don't use my slow cooker that frequently but it is great for stews and casseroles during the winter. The thing I love the most about the slow cooker is getting home from work on a cold winter evening and walking into the house to the delicious smell of stew cooking and knowing all I have to do is put it on a plate. The slow cooker is also useful when you have a newborn baby, as cooking a meal can be difficult with all of the interruptions that come with having a newborn. I have found the slow cooker to be extremely useful because I can prepare meals in the evening and then set it to cook in the morning.
I have 3 setting on my slow cooker - Low, High and Warm. Generally speaking, I only ever use the low setting but that is because of the length of time I leave the food cooking during the day. Usually I prepare the stew or casserole the night before and then switch it on low before I leave the house the next morning, which allows it about 8 or 9 hours to cook. It usually only takes about 15 minutes to prepare everything - depending
The slow cooker did come with instructions but during numerous house moves, they were lost. It did provide an estimated guide for timings and heat settings. The longer you leave your food the lower you should set the heat. I've never used the warm setting and I'm not really sure what it's for.
Slow cookers can cook a huge variety of food but unfortunately I'm not very adventurous and like to stick to what I know, which is why I generally only use it for stews and casseroles. One day I will treat myself to a slow cooker recipe book and try something new!
Before making a stew or casserole I brown the meat first. This isn't something that has to be done but I find it prevents the meat from falling apart and gives it a nice colour.
You are supposed to put root vegetables at the bottom as they would take the longest to cook but I find this isn't necessary. I just put everything in the pot and give it a good stir before I switch it on.
There are some down sides I find to slow cooking. Firstly, sometimes the stew/casserole turns out to have a bit too much liquid. This is most probably because I worry about it drying out during the day when I'm not at home, so I always add a bit of extra liquid. Secondly, if like me you leave it cooking all day while you're out, you will have no idea what it tastes like until you get home. It's easy enough to add a bit of salt and pepper though.
My slow cooker is quite old now but still in great working condition. I would love to replace it with an oval shaped slow cooker because there are probably a few different cuts of meat that I could use in a wider pot. However, I am happy with my pot. It is slim but it's deep so it can hold quite a lot. Usually when I make a stew/casserole there is enough to feed my husband and I for 3 days (generous amounts). More often than not, we freeze the left overs for another night.
Cleaning the slow cooker is also easy because it has a removable crock pot. You can't leave it soaking in water but you can submerge it in the sink to wash it out.
All in all I think everyone should invest in a slow cooker. Although I didn't buy mine, I did buy one for my sister a couple of years ago for Christmas and slow cookers are available for less than £20. They are a great way to cook delicious meals with very little effort, cost and washing up!
I started using Tesco bathroom wipes about 8 months ago. It had never crossed my mind to use them before but they have proven to be a great asset to my weekly cleaning routine.
I found the bathroom wipes in Tesco for £1.20. The pack contains 40 wipes, which works out at about 3p per wipe, which I feel is a good price. They are sometimes on offer as well - 2 for £2, which reduces the costs of the wipe further down to 2.5p.
I don't use the wipes to clean the bathroom in its entirety, I still like to use a spray and sponge but these wipes are great for freshening up the bathroom between cleans. They are just perfect for running over the taps, around the sink and the toilet seat. It really helps the weekly clean become much easier and quicker. Sometimes I use the wipes to clean the bathroom surfaces, shelves and floor and the wipes seem to cope OK with this. I was impressed with how well the wipes cleaned the floor!
The wipes come in a blue, flat packet with a clear re-sealable top to stop the wipes drying out. The only way I could see this being improved upon is by having a proper solid plastic clip lid. However, I imagine this would also increase the cost of the product and so far I have not had any problems with the wipes drying out.
The wipes are of a good size and moist without being too damp. The have a lovely clean and fresh smell, which leaves your bathroom smelling nice without being too overwhelming.
I have tried using the wipes on out shower door but I don't feel they work very well for this purpose. Although the wipes are capable of removing soap scum, I think the shower door requires a spray and sponge to have a noticeable and effective clean.
This product usually lasts about 3 months for me but I don't use them to clean my entire bathroom. I would use 1 wipe to clean the sink and another for the toilet and that is usually all I use each time - once or twice a week between cleans.
Overall I would recommend the wipes as a top up on the cleaning but personally I do not feel they would be up to the task of providing a full clean of the bathroom. To me there would also be too much elbow grease involved in removing the soap scum from the bath - I find this task much easier with a spray and sponge.
Over the past few months I have been using bleach in our bathroom toilet but I had started to notice it wasn't really cleaning the toilet very well and lime scale seemed to be building up as was some slight discolouration at the bottom of the bowl.
Whilst I was browsing the cleaning products in our local Tesco, I noticed the Tesco toilet cleaner was on offer for £1. It wasn't a huge saving off of the normal price but I'm a sucker for falling for promotions and it was cheaper than most of the other brands on offer.
I got home and excitedly decided to try out the new cleaner. I just left the cleaner to get on with it and then flushed the toilet a couple of hours later. I was impressed that the toilet looked noticeably cleaner already - and that was without any scrubbing with the toilet brush!
However I did notice that the gel was not particularly thick. It did stick to the side of the toilet but it was difficult to get a nice even coverage to cover the whole bowl. Being a blue gel on a white toilet bowl it is quite easy to notice the places where the gel hasn't covered properly. I had to squirt around the rim twice, which did make me wonder if I had purchased a bargain.
The smell was not too overpowering, it was exactly what I expected of a toilet cleaner and smelt a lot better than when I use bleach. It was quite fresh and had a nice clean smell that stayed in the bathroom - after I had flushed the toilet - for a couple of hours.
I am still pleased with this product, although I think it would be better if the gel was thicker and provided a better coverage of the toilet bowl. I would consider buying this toilet cleaner again, especially if they put it in another offer.
I bought this mouthwash when it was on offer in Tesco. 500ml for £1.20, which I thought was a fantastic price! I've always been a big fan of Oral-B products so I thought this would be worth a try.
I think oral care is extremely important and I do my best to look after my teeth to hopefully try and avoid painful visits to the dentist. I find flossing can be difficult as I don't have much space between my bottom teeth and I also have wisdom teeth breaking through, so it was the anti-plaque that tempted me with this mouthwash (as well as the price).
The container is a clear plastic 500ml bottle with a white screw cap lid. The lid has measurement markers on the inside. It is recommended by Oral-B that you rinse with the mouthwash twice a day after brushing, using 15ml of the mouthwash each time.
The mouthwash has a fresh mint taste but it's not a very strong taste that is left in your mouth afterwards - it's nice and subtle.
The mouthwash itself is quite effective. When you use this after brushing your teeth you do get a slight burning sensation around your gums. However this is not too bad compared to some mouthwashes that do contain alcohol. Although the mouthwash does leave your whole mouth feeling clean, I don't feel the feeling lasts very long. Personally I don't feel it keeps my breath fresh for a great length of time.
Overall for the price I paid I have been happy with this mouthwash. However I don't think I would be tempted to pay full price for this mouthwash.
The first time I left the UK to go on holiday was when I was 23 years old. I went to Spain with my mum and dad, my sister and her boyfriend and my boyfriend. We had a lovely time enjoying the sun, seeing some new sights and just generally having fun and relaxing. Previous holidays, as a child, had always been in the UK and I still like to holiday in the UK now.
I don't think I am very well travelled but I do feel travelling has opened my eyes.
Places I have travelled include:
Republic of Ireland x2
Going to Greece was probably the best holiday. I tried loads of new types of food and my husband and I were able to travel round Crete using the public transport quite easily. In the resort where we stayed, almost all members of staff spoke fantastic English, so communication was easy. Using the public transport was a bit trickier but still, it wasn't impossible and it was a great adventure. It was nice to visit some locations a little bit off the tourist tracks.
We met loads of people (very few English) from all different parts of Europe and again, they all spoke very good English. We learnt some words in Greek but it really made us stop to think about learning languages. Almost everyone we met spoke English confidently because of their learning in school. All I managed to learn in school was a few words and phrases in French and German but I wouldn't be able to confidently speak in either language.
Cuba was another eye opener for me. We learnt a lot about the country whilst we were there. We found out about their history, the way they live now and how everything is rationed. We started speaking to some of the locals and they explained that a lot of people who are qualified doctors, teachers, surgeons, solicitors etc work in the tourism industry now because they can earn more due to tips they receive. Equally, they found it fascinating about the amount of things we have to pay tax on. It was a whole other world.
I like to try and have an abroad holiday every other year - usually somewhere warm and sunny! There are still so many places that I would like to visit, in particular countries within Europe.
I enjoy going on holiday abroad but I do also have a couple of insecurities.
My Pro's and Con's of holidays abroad:
A time to switch your phone off and relax
Enjoying the sunny warm weather (if applicable)
Trying new food
Seeing new sights
Talking to local people
Learning about the Country
Delays at airports
Fear of the unknown
I do believe that travelling is a great way to broaden your mind but I wouldn't say that it has to necessarily be abroad. There is a huge amount to see within the UK and with some really fascinating history. Travelling is a great way to learn about different cultures and meet new people. I would suggest to everyone to get out and see the world.
I discovered Bill Bryson books about 2 years ago and have thoroughly enjoyed reading many of them. I found A Walk in the Woods sitting on our bookshelf and decided to give it a go. This book is based on Bill Bryson's attempt to walk the Appalachian Trail (from Georgia to Maine) with his friend Katz.
It's quite a long book, at around 350 pages but Bill Bryson's style of writing is easy to read and enjoyable.
Bill Bryson has a fantastic way of including really interesting and sometimes bizarre facts within his books. During A Walk in the Woods he discusses the history of the Appalachian Trail, the wildlife, the plant life and the hazards of the trail, which includes the severe weather and bears.
He has a great way of bringing his stories to life and as I was reading this book it was almost like being on the trail with him. He has great humour within his writing, which can be quite sarcastic in places.
Neither Bill Bryson nor his friend Katz were adequately prepared to complete this trail, which is over 2000 miles long - as he discusses within the book, there is no definite mileage for this hike. As they leave from Georgia the weather is still very cold and snowing and their packs are heavy with the provisions needed.
Throughout the book Bill Bryson and Katz come across many challenges ranging from animal encounters, snow storms, large mountain climbs and the other people they meet on the trail.
I struggled at times to keep up with the timeline within the book. Sometimes it would seem they had been hiking for weeks and then it would appear to only be a couple of days. The book is crammed with knowledge and facts, which at times did detract from the story a little. It was enjoyable to hear about the history but sometimes I found myself getting a little bored reading it.
Overall I would recommend reading this book. There are a few slow points but overall Bill Bryson kept my attention and had me laughing on more than one occasion.
I got my first credit card when I was about 19 or 20. The only reason I go my first credit card was because my bank basically pushed me into it. Their reason being was because without a credit card, I would have no credit rating. I questioned how that's possible when they could see what money was going in and what was going out. I never went overdrawn and had a small amount of savings. Apparently you need to prove that you can borrow money and pay it back to get a credit rating. I submitted to the bank and decided to go with it, with a very small credit limit available to me.
The first time my credit card became really useful was about a year later, when I needed to make an essential purchase and it was about a week before pay day so I used my credit and paid the balance off in full as soon as I got paid.
There are some great credit card deals out there with 0% on balance transfers and 0% on purchases. Some of which are 0% for up to 18 months. This is extremely handy sometimes but I believe it is always better to having savings rather than relying on credit cards.
However, if used correctly credit cards can be a great alternative to getting a bank loan. With so many credit cards offering 0% on balance transfers, you can keep changing credit cards at the end of each term and only incur a small handling fee each time, which usually works out to be cheaper than paying the interest on a loan. This only really works if you have a good credit rating and are able to get the credit card deals in the first place. If not you could end up having a credit card, spent to its maximum, without the means to do a balance transfer and have to pay the high interest rates.
Credit cards are not suitable for everyone. They are an easy trap to fall into and with such high interest rates they can become impossible to pay off. Personally, I don't like to use my credit card that often but you do get a certain amount of insurance and security with a credit card.
The only thing that really irritates me about credit card companies is that they keep putting up credit limits without asking permission. I know you can reduce them again but it's all about making the effort to do this. I've decided to let them keep putting mine up, as I'm curious to know how high it will go. I know for a fact that my credit limit is too high for my wage and if I spent up to the limit I would never be able to pay it back because of the high interest rates. This should definitely not be allowed.
All in all credit cards can be useful if used carefully but if you fall into the trap you may never get back out of it. Not without a long uphill struggle or a lottery win!