Last chance to raid your piggybanks, Post Office top savings, and free wills. These are our Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis’ Deals of the Week.
Remember, deals can change quickly, even while I’m on the programme. So always double-check the terms and conditions before spending. Plus, while I hope these deals will save you cash, don’t spend if you can’t afford it, don’t need it, or won’t use it.
Final warning. If you’ve got a piggybank or coin-jar - you’ve a few days left to use your £1 coins
This is your final warning. Everyone with a piggybank or coin jar needs to turn them up upside down and shake out all your £1 coins now, because as of 11.59pm this Sunday (15 October) the coins stop being legal currency they were replaced with newer 12-sided £1 coins earlier this year. That means the vast majority of shops will refuse to accept them as payment from Monday.
Though as there’s still around 500 million of the old coins still in circulation, some shops, have said they'll continue accepting them for a short time after. For example Tesco has said it’ll continue to take the old £1 for a week after the deadline, and Poundland has said it’ll accept them until Tuesday 31 October. And it’s likely many smaller stores will accept them for a while, as to not let down loyal customers. Alternatively if you’ve still got coins after the deadline, many banks and building societies will let you deposit them into your account (though there’s no obligation for them to).
If you get an old £1 coin as change before the deadline, you can politely ask the store to change it but they don’t have to as it’s still legal currency (after the deadline the store can’t give you an old coin as change so you can refuse to take it if they accidentally do). Though oddly, if you tried to pay with an old £1 coin before the deadline it can be refused, as while it’s still legal currency, it’s up to the store’s own discretion what payment they take. And it’s worth noting many self-service machines at stores, and ticket-machines have stopped taking the old £1 coin, as the machines have been changed to accommodate the new £1 coin.
The Post Office now pays 1.27% on savings
It has taken a while but finally we’re seeing some real competition in the savings market – rates are still low – but they’re getting better. And after years of small banks being top, who people complain to me they’ve never heard of (even though all UK regulated accounts have £85,000 savings safety protection), there’s a big name at the top of the table. So check your savings now and see if they can beat it.
For a full rundown of the best deals both easy access, fixed or more see Martin’s full ‘top Savings guide’. Here’s brief run-down of the top easy access accounts (that means you can withdraw your cash whenever you want).
- The Post Office online account (min £1) pays 1.27% AER, including a 1.02% bonus for a year, so diarise that you’ll need to move again then. Just to note this isn’t the same as NS&I which is the Government backed savings, it’s actually run for the Post Office by the Bank of Ireland.
- The fully UK regulated Bank of Cyprus (min £1) pays a smidgeon more at 1.28% (including 0.6% bonus for 12months) so that’s 1p extra interest per £100 saved.
- The very top easy access rate is from RCI Bank (min £100) at 1.3% AER (min £100) yet this ISN’T UK REGULATED. You’re protected by the French scheme, so in the unlikely event it went bust you’d be reliant on the French Government to ensure you were paid out.
Over 55? October is Free Wills Month. Solicitor-drafted wills are the gold standard, and normally cost £120 or more. Yet if you’re 55 or over, this October is Free Wills Month, where solicitors in over 60 locations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will draft a will for you for free. Enter your postcode on the Free Wills Month website and call to book an appointment with one of the solicitors that are participating nearby. They tend to get busy, and we are now half way through the month, so go on asap to book an appointment. You don't have to live in one of these areas to qualify, but you will be expected to travel to the solicitor's office for your appointment.
This is a charity-back the scheme and they pay for the solicitors' time, so be prepared for your solicitor to ask you to consider making a bequest to a charity in your will (leaving the charity something when you die). It's hoped you will in return for using the scheme, but you're under no obligation. Perhaps a good minimum is leaving enough that would cover the solicitors’ fees normally – though of course more is fine. There’s a range of charities to choose from including British Heart Foundation, British Legion Mencap, Guide Dogs and Great Ormond Street Hospital. Whatever your age, if you've assets eg, a house, savings, or a business, and people or others you'd like to look after, consider making a will.