Do you want to earn tax free interest?

Top Tip:

With the financial year drawing to a close on the 5th April, you only have a few days left to use your ISA quota for the present year.

But what is an ISA?

ISA stands for Individual Savings Account. Over the course of one tax year (6th April 2007 to 5th April 2008) you are able to invest in either:

How much can I invest?

You can save up to £7,000 each financial year. Whether you chose one Maxi ISA or two Mini ISAs, you can invest up to £3,000 in cash and up to £4,000 in shares and stocks over the course of one year.

If you have any questions about the tax rules for ISAs you can call the Financial Services Authority’s ISA Helpline on 0845 604 1701 (Monday – Thursday 8:30am-5:30pm, Friday 8:30am-4:30pm).

Friday 28th March

One in three chance of recession – Lehman Brothers, a leading investment bank, has released a report showing the heightened risks surrounding the present economic circumstances. The report states that there is now a one in three (33%) risk of a recession in the UK. A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters (three month periods) of negative economic growth.

The UK economy has averaged about 2.5% growth post WWII and in the last 10 years has averaged slightly above that. While most expect that the UK economy will not reach negative growth, the economy will, almost without doubt, continue to slow down as house prices – which have been falling – are an important driver of consumer spending.

Thursday 29th March

Water poverty set to increase – The number of people in water poverty, those who pay more than 3% of their take-home income in water bills, will rise significantly in the coming few years according to The Consumer Council for Water.

Bills across England and Wales are expected to rise by an average of 5.8% from 1 April 2008 with those in the South West likely to be hit the hardest.

With bills on the rise, it is helpful to try to find ways to cut necessary spending. Unfortunately, to do this, there is usually no quick fix solution. Try to think of practical ideas to lower your outgoings.

For example, renting DVDs and even buying second hand DVDs that you know you will watch multiple times (from charity shops or over the Internet) will save you a lot of money over the long-term.

Do you know how much you spend per month on mobile phone costs? Do you send a lot of texts or prefer to call people? The cheapest way of running a mobile phone depends on how you use it. Pay-as-you-go may be cheaper if you only use your mobile infrequently but can be more expensive than a contract deal if you make a large number of calls. Have a look at your past mobile phone bill and then check out a price comparison website such as http://www.moneysupermarket.com or http://www.uSwitch.com to find the best deal for you.