Courtesy of Barrie Gale, our Programme Editor and Committee Member:


This month my home and contents Insurance was due for renewal. My existing company quoted £250 which was much higher than last year. I went online and got a quote for the same cover at £105. Online my existing company quoted £155, much cheaper than they had quoted me in a letter. I phoned them and received the lame reply that online is always cheaper. Moral is: never automatically renew, always get an online quote. There is no reward for loyalty.

NATIONAL SAVINGS – For those that followed me three years ago and invested in the Pensioner Bonds, you will be getting letters to say the Bonds are maturing. What do you do now? The new rates on offer are very poor. I will be withdrawing my money and probably spending it.

GAS/ELECTRICITY – If you have not changed supplier in the last two years, you will be paying too much. Do a comparison and switch if necessary, it’s very simple and you can save lots of money.

FRAUD – We are of an age where Criminals target us. Remember, if the offer sounds too good to be true, then it is. Seek advice from family and friends.
A member received telephone calls from HMRC (THE TAX MAN) saying they were to be taken to court. IT IS A SCAM. Just put the phone down and ignore them. The tax man does not telephone or e-mail. He sends letters only and in brown envelopes.

In a survey of 100 burglars (yes, someone did this) 71% said they were put off by burglar alarms systems, 71% were also put off by a dog in the house. The moral is, get an alarm system or a dog.

Valley View and Cuffley GP Surgeries are going digital. You will be able to book appointments and see your medical records on line. You have to register first. Take photographic identification (passport or new style driving license) to the surgery receptionists and they will issues you with a form which includes passwords. Register online. The records are sparse at the moment but will no doubt grow as online access becomes the norm.

Charity is becoming a murky world with news about the Kids Charity, RSPCA spending fortunes on prosecutions over fox hunting, others selling the details of donors and the antics of “chuggers” who stop you in the street and ask you to sign a direct debit to pay to a charity. Now more bad news, a “chuggers” company has gone bust and it appears RSPCA was to pay them £1.8m to raise £2.4m and Battersea Dogs Home was paying them £646k to raise £1.3m. So if you donate £1, only about 25/50p goes to the charity. I suggest you check to see if you are making any direct debit payments to a charity and reconsider the best way of doing so.

When you buy goods, the shop will try to sell you a warranty. Research has shown you are wasting your money and just giving more profit to the shop. The manufacturers’ free warranty is all that you need.