Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. If you want to impress your loved one without breaking the bank, shop around for the best price for a dozen red roses. You can get a bouquet couriered to the door for under £20 with a little planning, rather than paying the £46 some firms charge, says MoneySavingExpert.com. The cheapest couriered dozen red roses arriving on Valentine’s day – remember it’s on Sunday and that might affect delivery – is from Marks & Spencer. It costs £19.50. Just make sure you order by 5pm on Friday.
• Unless you are prepared to lock your money away, it is “virtually impossible to find an account that pays a rate to beat both tax and inflation”, says Michelle Slade of Moneyfacts.co.uk in The Daily Telegraph. But with a base rate rise “increasingly likely within the next year”, your best bet is to tie up your money for only a short time. The best one-year rate available with a British bank (fully covered by the FSA compensation scheme) is 3.3% from the Post Office.
• As Isa season gets going Northern Rock has launched two stepped fixed-rate Isas. The first one matures on 15 March 2013. It pays 3.5% in the first year, 4% in the second year, and 4.5% in the third. The second Isa matures on 15 March 2015 and pays 3.5% in its first year, 4% in the second, 4.5% in the third, 5% in the fourth, and 5.5% in the final year. The minimum investment is £500 and early access costs 180 days of interest. But if you are prepared to lock up your cash for five years, then Leeds Building Society’s 5 Year Fixed Rate Isa paying 4.6%AER over the entire term will earn you more interest.
• Get £20 off flights by booking via Opodo.com. Type opodo20 into the promotion codes box when booking, says MoneySavingExpert.com.
• First Direct has launched Britain’s “cheapest lifetime tracker mortgage”, says Miles Brignall in The Guardian. It’s an offset deal that tracks the Bank of England base rate, plus 1.89%. It is available for loans of up to 65% of a home’s value. However, there is a “hefty” £999 arrangement fee.