One in six motorists' cars will have a breakdown each year, according to research by Which? magazine. And yet many people don't have breakdown cover, says Melanie Wright in The Sunday Telegraph. That could get expensive the RAC and the AA charge around £190 to help with a long-distance recovery if you break down without cover.
You can get annual cover for a fraction of that price with a little bit of shopping around. Comparison site Moneysupermarket.com shows that you can get cover for as little as £30.25 a year with RescueMyCar.com.
Even if you have cover it's well worth taking a few simple steps to reduce your chances of your car breaking down. No one wants to be stuck in the cold waiting for the repair man just before Christmas. So regularly check the oil level, antifreeze, hazard lights and tyres for tread depth and pressure, says Wright. Also check the spare tyre occasionally to make sure it is in good condition. And it's worth keeping a torch, first aid kit, reflective triangle sign and warm clothing in the car, just in case.
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Npower Hometeam has launched a boiler scrappage scheme following Alistair Darling's announcement of a scrappage initiative, which will launch in April. Npower will offer customers £400 off a new boiler when they replace one that's more than ten years old.
If you are preparing to do your Christmas food shop, head down to Morrisons for your sweet treats. They have a 3 for 1 offer on Terry's Chocolate Oranges and Cadbury's Chocolate Fingers until 20 December, says Martin Lewis on Moneysavingexpert.com.
Npower has launched a new energy tariff that undercuts its competitors. The Sign Online 17 tariff could cut the average bill by £300 but there are some downsides. It isn't the cheapest deal in every region, so use a comparison site to make sure it is the best deal for you. Part of the saving is due to a discount only paid after a year, and there is a £40 lock-in fee if you leave the tariff before March 2011. "So there's a small risk that if other prices drop massively it'll be relatively costly," says Lewis.
Mortgage lending has hit a 22-month high, with 55,300 mortgages granted in October 2009. That's the highest number since December 2007.
Get used to plastic cheques are to be phased out by October 2018, says the board of the UK Payments Council.
Ruth Jackson-Kirby is a freelance personal finance journalist with 17 years’ experience, writing about everything from savings and credit cards to pensions, property and pet insurance.
Ruth started her career at MoneyWeek after graduating with an MA from the University of St Andrews, and she continues to contribute regular articles to our personal finance section. After leaving MoneyWeek she went on to become deputy editor of Moneywise before becoming a freelance journalist.
Ruth writes regularly for national publications including The Sunday Times, The Times, The Mail on Sunday and Good Housekeeping among many other titles both online and offline.
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