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Seeing is believing

 
 

Hey Heroes!

This Sunday is Valentine’s Day (yes, there’s still time to get a card!) so allow us to woo you with some of our most romantic poetry…

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Make sure to check the tax charges when ordering from the EU.

Shakespeare we’re certainly not.

But that’s okay because we do know personal finance – and this week we’ve got the latest on post-Brexit postage charges and higher interest rate opportunities.

Plus, Sam tells us all about his most eye-opening experience!

  NEWS CATCH-UP
  • FCA warning over ‘risky’ TikTok trading tips  Read more
  • House price rises ‘could be running out of steam’  Read more
  • Energy prices to rise for millions of households  Read more

Sam’s Savings

 

Seeing Is Believing

It was a cold, dark January evening back in 2020 when I stumbled out into the streets of Soho, eyes streaming and unable to count the number of fingers I held up to my face.
 
I was certainly in no position to drive so, of course, I ordered a taxi. The journey home that followed just made things worse, as I shrunk away from passing headlights and slunk deeper into my seat.
 
After groping for the handle to let myself out of the car, and unsteady steps towards my flat (somehow I had entered the right address into the app!) I eventually let myself in after countless stabs at the door with my keys.
 
My partner, the angel she is, took pity on me as I crawled to the sofa and curled up underneath a blanket, head and all, asking for the lights to be dimmed. She even cut up my dinner for me that night, the pathetic creature I was…
 
Fast forward to the following morning and, miraculously, everything was clear! The sky, my head – and my vision. For it was the first time in my life I had woken up and not needed to put on my glasses to see.
 
Yes, the previous day, I had gone for laser eye surgery (no, not to the pub, what gave you that idea?!) 
 
I’ve been extremely short-sighted all my life – minus 7.75 in both eyes, for anyone who knows what that means – and had needed to wear glasses every day when growing up, switching to contact lenses when I was 15 or so.
 
Two decades later, I was eventually in a position financially to consider a more permanent treatment. Which is a costly procedure at £5.5k, don’t get me wrong. But then again, so was the total I had already forked out on contact lenses and glasses frames over the years. 
 
A new pair of frames every other year for £150, and around the same annually on contact lenses, so £4.5k in total across 20 years… with the prospect of that outlay continuing ad infinitum. 

Working through the numbers, it was clear that I’d be saving more in the long term, while also improving my quality of life. Which is, if you’ll pardon the pun, simply spectacular!

 

More of Sam’s eye-opening tips:

  • On the fence about the possible savings via laser eye surgery? Most clinics have calculators on their websites, allowing you to compare the cost of treatment vs continuing to buy contact lenses or new frames.
  • If you don’t need your old pairs of glasses, donate them to someone who does. Charities such as Vison Aid Overseas and Mission For Vision facilitate this, while plenty of opticians have recycling boxes ready to take your donation.

Editor’s Choice

 

Why did Interactive Brokers restrict trading in GameStop and other companies?

Why did Interactive Brokers restrict trading in GameStop and other companies?

Restrictions have been placed on trading GameStop shares along with shares in some other companies. We take a look at what is going on.

 

State Pension rates set to rise 2.5% in April

State Pension rates set to rise 2.5% in April

The State Pension is rising as average wages and job security plunge. What does an extra 2.5% really mean for senior citizens in the UK?

 

Why is Barclaycard increasing minimum payments?

Why is Barclaycard increasing minimum payments?

If you have a Barclaycard, your minimum credit card repayments are on the rise – but why? Here’s what you should know.

   FINANCIAL TIP! 

Now that the UK is no longer part of the EU Customs Union there are new postage charges in play when buying goods from the EU.

The amount charged depends on whether the value of the order is more or less than £135. 

Under £135 –  The UK’s current VAT rate will be charged in addition to the purchase price. Right now, the VAT rate is 20%, and the extra charge should be added at the point of sale.

(If the seller doesn’t add the VAT at the time of purchase, it will need to be paid to the courier before the parcel can be delivered.)
 

Over £135 or for products like tobacco or perfume. Additional charges:

  • Import duty: a tax based on an item’s value. The rates vary widely depending on the items – clothes, for example, could require around 12% in import duties. 
     
  • VAT: paid on the order total plus import duty. 
     
  • Courier admin charges: these vary depending on the courier. Unless there is an option to choose, it could be any courier provider. 

It’s also worth noting tax and import duties can be charged on gifts coming in from the EU too, if the value is higher than £39.

Check out the full article here for more details on how to avoid getting caught out by these new charges.

We asked, you answered…

Poll taken by @MyWalletHeroUK on Twitter from 2:20pm 03/02/21 over a period of 24 hours.

When it comes to money, there are a myriad of personal reasons why someone might favour keeping their cash in a current account rather than say, shares or bonds. We’re not here to tell anyone to go against their personal preferences, but it’s helpful to be aware of the other options out there.

It’s very easy to fall into the trap of not paying much attention to where funds are being held, and what interest they’re earning – or not earning!

Due to turbulence of the last year interest rates have taken a dip, which could mean what was previously a good account is no longer offering quite as much bang per buck. There could be opportunities out there for higher rates, so it’s wise to keep an eye on the competition, or research other avenues…

Check out our comparison pages to see what interest rates are available right now with ISAs or Savings Accounts.

Find out more about investing in shares – and compare our Share Dealing Accounts and Stocks and Shares ISAs over on the site too.

Content Disclaimer: We have taken reasonable steps to ensure that any information provided is accurate at the time of publishing. Tax information provided is for educational purposes only. The content provided in this article has not taken into account the circumstances of any specific individual, and does not constitute personal advice or a personal recommendation for any individual; neither should it be relied upon by any individual when making any decisions. If you require any personal advice or personal recommendation, please speak to an appropriate qualified adviser.

 

Thanks for joining us today Heroes, we’ll have more money musings winging their way to your inbox soon!

Written by the MyWalletHero Team.