Business plan: ISAs (and a bit about reusable cloths!)

The other day I mentioned my latest strategy of organising my finances in a more business-like way. I decided that the most important place to start were my ISAs. Because you earn interest over the course of the financial year, time literally is money. Thus it was first on my list. My action plan on starting out looked like this:

  • Find out my current interest rate for ISA 1. Ask if it can be improved and by how much. Ditto for ISA 2.
  • Check interest rates with other providers, remembering to look at rates for both new accounts and for transfers (rates for transfers rather than new accounts tend to be less). Consider if it is worth opening a new ISA for any savings in the current financial year.
  • Change/open accounts if necessary.

Fisrt up, ISA number 1. I had already popped into my local branch and asked about the interest rate. A staggeringly crap 0.5%. Just by asking, they increased it to over 2.5%. After thinking about this I’ve decided to keep it open. By transfering it I could only get an extra 0.3%. Since this ISA is ‘attached’ to my current account (thus very convenient) I decided to leave it where it was.

Second up, ISA number 2. I spent a frustrating few days trying to contact my ISA provider but the line was constantly busy. Having decided the rate was probably as bad as for the first ISA (and their customer services weren’t up to much since I couldn’t actually get hold of anyone) I thought I’d open a new account and transfer it out. By coincidence they sent me their statement for the year 2010/2011 this morning. I was pleased to see that, despite me not contacting them or chasing them up, my interest rate had not dropped and I had earned over £90 in interest – yay! I’m really impressed that they gave me their current ‘best rate’ in spite of me not being a new customer or hounding them about it. Long may it continue. I’m leaving my money where it is.

Which left the last point on my ‘action plan’ – deciding whether or not to open a new ISA and where. While I’m happy enough with where my current ISAs are, I decided I’d like to take advantage of some of the offers available for new customers/ISA accounts. I checked Money Saving Expert for the latest deals and chose a provider that is offering 3.3%. If the interest rates go up then so does my interest payment but they won’t go below 3.3% if they drop. Great! The offer is only ‘good’ for the first year though so I’ve made a note in my diary to review it then. I made a call and 17 minutes later (my phone tells you how long each call is – I’m not that much of a freak, honest) my account is all set up. Yay!

I really do feel that I’ve done something worthwhile with my time on this and I’m looking forward to getting as much into that new ISA as I can. I’ll be trying to get my ‘business head’ on over some other areas of our finances shortly. Watch this space.

On a final, and rather different, note – do you use washable kitchen cloths?

Mum recently introduced me to these pretty cloths that you can buy in Tesco. They have worked out to be about 50p each but, rather than throwing them away when they are ‘dead’/falling to pieces/generally too manky you can pop them in the washing machine and they come out as good as new – ta da! I know plenty of people chop up old T-shirts etc and make cloths which is a great idea. I’ve never done this, mainly because I take clothes to the charity shop when I’m done with them but it would be worth giving it a go if you had something ripped that couldn’t be reused. Plus these are so pretty. I’m convinced they are saving me money already. Particularly with Baby around, I seem to spend a lot of time wiping things up these days and they are so small they can easily be added to a regular wash (so no cost there). Brilliant!

Right. I’m off to enjoy the fact that Baby is having a rare, long day time nap and go put my feet up…

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Categories: Budgeting, Frugal ideas, Home Economics, Money Management | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “Business plan: ISAs (and a bit about reusable cloths!)

  1. I need to do the same, I have savings sitting in an ISA which I know is getting a pathetic amount of interest. Like the cloths too, very cheerful – will have to have a look in Tesco for them.

    • Marky Mark

      Don’t know your specific financial situation, but check out NS&I certificates. If you have a wodge of cash to put away these pay RPI+ levels of interest, which kick bank accounts well into touch, but you have to put your money away for a year or more. I think you can transfer ISAs into them as well, they’re backed by the UK government so unlikely to go belly-up anytime soon, unlike, say Greece or Portugal!! Check out the website…

      • shoestringalley

        Thanks MM. I hadn’t heard about this so I’ll have to check it out!

    • shoestringalley

      It’s so easy to forget to keep checking up on stuff once you’ve set it up, isn’t it?! Am trying to get on top of all of it. Hope you find the cloths 🙂

  2. Suzan

    I can’t comment about the ISAs as I don’t know what they are.

    But I must agree that it is worth having some little things that give you pleasure. Over the years I have come to truly dislike my time in the kitchen. So now I add a bright touch or two. They don’t have to be expensive. I love those cloths too….now how do i get them in Oz? Truthfully I have used all sorts as clean up cloths. Old towels and face washers are great too.

    • shoestringalley

      Ah, shame you can’t get them – they are really good!

  3. ISA’a and reusable cloths in one post! Life is truly made up of all many issues and things to think about!

    I have used cut up T-shirts in the kitchen for years. (I wear my T-shirts until they are too grotty to give away.) I don’t buy kitchen roll or cloths. Sometimes people comment on the fact that all my dishcloths seem to be pink, purple and green!

    • shoestringalley

      Good work! I don’t buy kitchen roll either, though I do buy the cloths (as shown!). I’ve already decided that any future clothing that reaches unusable condition will go to a rag bag but nothing is in a bad state as yet 🙂

  4. I knit my own dishcloths, in a variety of colours. They are not particularly cheap, often the yarn is £1 or so for each cloth, but they last for years, and I enjoy knitting them! It’s mindless, which I find quite therapeutic! Here’s a link to an old post of mine which has a photo of some of my cloths, and a link to the Dishcloth Boutique, which has more discloth patterns than you can shake a knitting needle at.

    • shoestringalley

      Thanks so much for the link Debbie. I’ve heard of people doing this before though I’ve never actually seen one before! Great idea.

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