04/01/2014 Your Money


04/01/2014

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Brothers, he had a string of hits in the 1950s and '60s. Now on BBC News,

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it's time for this week's Your Money with Declan Curry. Hello and welcome

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to Your Money, your weekly guide to making the most of your cash, here

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every weekend on BBC News television - available all week on the BBC

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iPlayer. This week - clearing up some of our

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New Year hangovers. First, how to get rid of those hideous Christmas

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gifts. We've got some tips that will strengthen our hand at the returns

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counter. Then, some New Year's resolutions to get our money into

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better shape. Nigel Cassidy has gathered some of

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the best suggestions. And some tricks and tips to manage

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our debts - how to keep the cost down, how to stop it becoming a big

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problem. The debt charity Step Change shares its advice at no extra

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charge. So what did Santa leave? Jumpers

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that don't fit? That hideous lamp? That jewellery you wouldn't wear in

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a darkened room? How do you get rid of it? Jasmine Birtles, everyday

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money expert, runs the website moneymagpie.com. In some of these

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cases we have right on our side. In others we are relying on goodwill

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from the shopkeepers. First of all, the item does not work. Right is on

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your site. You can take it back to the shop and the shop is your first

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port of call. It does help if you have proof of purchase. If it is

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broken, then you can go back to your aunt and uncle and say you love it,

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just a bit of a problem in that it is broken. Do you have proof of

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purchase? It could be a receipt or credit card statement. If it has the

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name of the shop, then it is much easier. You can take it back and say

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obviously it is yours. You should be able to get your money back. But you

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have to have that proof of purchase? Unless it is branded. Who brings it

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back? Is it the person who bought it or received it? Ideally the person

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who bought it. If it is one of those chains and you have proof of

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purchase, then you can take it back yourself. The shopkeeper deals with

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this. The shopkeeper is the first port of call. If desperate you can

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send it back to the manufacturer. You are entitled to a full refund

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but they might say you are entitled to a credit note. You are entitled

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to a full refund. Something you bought for Christmas did not arrive

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on time. You bought something else instead and now the wretched thing

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has turned up. If you bought it and it is supposed to arrive by

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Christmas and it did not come when the sellers said it would come, you

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can send it back. Does it have to have that agreement with the seller

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beforehand, a contract that said delivery before Christmas?

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Absolutely occurs otherwise you could have bought something and you

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get it and don't like it. There has to be a reason. There has to be a

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type of contract that it would be there in time. Of the rules

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different if you ordered online? Yes. You have a seven-day cooling

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off period from when you get the item and unlike with piling it on

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the high street, if you don't like it, it is the wrong size, colour,

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you can send it back for whatever reason. There is a time limit. You

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have a cooling off period of seven days. The reason I ask is Christmas

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was more than seven days ago. It does depend on the sellers. Some say

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you have 14 days, 30 days. If you buy something from a high street

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brand, sometimes they will take it 30 days back. Something you bought

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on the high Street, there is nothing wrong with it, it is just a bile.

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Yes, if you have some sort of proof of purchase, if it has the brand,

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you are really going to have to take their goodwill and the goodwill now

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is not quite as much as it used to be.

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Train tickets have gone up in price again this week. There are some

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useful tips to keep the price of train travel as low as possible.

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Obviously, buying online, in advance is way cheaper than just turning up

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at the ticket office on the day. And if you make the same journey over

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and over, a season ticket is likely to be cheaper than buying each time.

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Here are a few more. If you travel after the daily rush-hour or at

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weekends, a network railcard could save you up to a third off of most

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tickets. It costs 30 quid and is valid for a year. Sometimes two

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single tickets are cheaper than a return ticket. Not always, but

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sometimes. Some websites will let you set up an alert, so you'll get

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an email when cheap advance tickets become available. That could save

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40%. And it's worth checking for alternative routes. You may find

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that a longer journey by an indirect route is cheaper than the direct,

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express service. To find them, use the advanced search settings when

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checking the timetable online. Ding dong! Some news about the

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housing market. More than 6,000 people have applied for a mortgage -

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under the Government's latest Help to Buy scheme. But only 750 homes

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have actually been bought. The rest are still in the pipeline. The

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scheme helps us buy a home if we've only got 5% of the price saved as a

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deposit. The Nationwide, the biggest building

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society, claims house prices rose by over 8% last year. Of course, that's

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one average figure for the whole nation. London prices jumped by

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nearly 15%. In the north of England, prices were up around 2%. And

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typically, houses are still worth less now than they were in 2007. The

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Bank of England's interest rate is unlikely to rise this year, say the

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UK's top economists. The BBC rang them up and emailed

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them, and 93% of those asked predicted no change to the bank rate

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this year. Of course, the Bank's rate is one thing. Wat you actually

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get for your savings, or pay for your mortgage is quite another.

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Those actual rates were driven down hard as the high street banks were

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flooded with cheap money. Many people who were left without

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electricity over Christmas because of the weather are set to get some

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compensation. UK Power Networks, which owns electricity lines and

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cables in London, the South East and East of England, and Electricity

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North West with customers in the north west of England both say

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they'll stump up. So too will Scottish and Southern Energy Power

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Distribution. It says it will pay ?54 to customers who were without

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electricity for 48 hours. There's another ?54 for each full 12-hour

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period that you didn't have electricity after that. If you were

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cut off on Christmas Day itself, you'll get ?75. The company said it

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will write to its customers over the next five week, but you can also

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make a claim online. Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution

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covers the area from Yeovil in Somerset to West London and from

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Oxfordshire to the Isle of Wight. It also supplies northern Scotland.

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New Year. Time for a make over for your money. Here's Nigel Cassidy.

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Last month the post brought good cheer and Christmas cards. Now it is

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mainly is bills. All the evidence is millions get into a financial mess

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because of a poor grasp of the basic financial tasks. Judging by the kind

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of calls flooding into debt lines like this one, Paul money-management

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is as much a factor as reckless borrowing. People do not understand

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their payslip, interest rates all the interest risks. Do you know how

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much money is in your account? Not really. I check every fortnightly. I

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check daily. Rarely. I let you check it. Checking your statement is one

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thing. Understanding it is another. People don't know how much money

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they have got in their accounts. One in six not knowing whether the

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number at the bottom is the mud in their account or it includes the

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overdraft. The new centre for the Public understanding of finance has

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been setup to promote knowledge personal finance. You make a start

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by not turning a blind eye to your financial position. Check your bank

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statement and reconcile it, put together a household budget. That

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will tell you if you have scope to save or whether you have a problem

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spending more than you are earning. Think about what your long-term

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plans are and how they need to be financed. We all live for today for

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eight degree but eventually we will need a pension and if you start to

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plan too late it is financially disadvantageous. With half of us

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finding it hard to pay our bills, it is not surprising people are out

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looking for bargains. Many will resolve to get a grip on our

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finances but inevitably we will buy financial products we cannot

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understand and borrow money we cannot repay. The advice is to get a

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firm grip on your income and expenditure, make a budget, stick to

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it and do not commit to anything unless you understand the cost,

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benefits and risks. Let's get more advice on how to deal with those

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Christmas debts. Edward is from the debt charity step change. The New

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Year bills are only just arriving. What is the plan for dealing with

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them? The first thing is to draw up that detailed household budget, that

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list of your incomings and outgoings and covered your essential household

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bills, your rent, mortgage, council tax, utility bills and then you can

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work out what you can put towards repaying your debts. It is a good

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idea to take a look at your bank statements and credit card bills

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anyway because there might be things you are paying for that you have

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forgotten. Absolutely. You can have that clear out of your finances

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every year. Cancelled those direct debits you are not using. There are

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some signs that your debt is running out of control. There are things

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that people tell us that in retrospect they realise their

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finances were getting out of control. Are you juggling your

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household bills, are you borrowing to pay off existing debt? Are you

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borrowing just to make it to payday? Those are signs that your debt

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problem might be more serious and you really need to think and get

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advice and support at that stage. That point about advice is important

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because there are lots of companies that say they will help you deal

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with your lenders but they will charge a fee and their risk free

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advice available. There is high quality, free and impartial advice.

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If people are struggling, those free and independent sources of advice

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are the best places to go. If you are finding it a struggle to meet

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your payments, there is no shame in going to your lenders and asking for

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a deal. Absolutely. If your lenders are not as helpful as you would

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like, come to one of the debt advice organisations. That is all from us

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this week. You can go online to find out more advice and information. You

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can also follow our feed on Twitter. Thank you for watching. More next

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week. See you then. Let's bring you a statement from the

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family of the British man killed in Libya. The family are shocked and

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devastated to hear about his death in Libya.

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