This time of year really should be all about optimism, but for some reason the Money Shot isn’t quite feeling it.
Maybe it’s the prospect of commuting to work on a jerry-built raft because of the storms for the next few weeks. Perhaps it's because we’ve been told by sections of the media that it’s only a matter of time before a Bulgarian engaging content specialist puts us out of a job. Or maybe – just maybe – it’s the pounds of festive bulk acquired after a few weeks splayed across the sofa like a corpulent Roman aristocrat, existing on not much more than Quality Street and Pixar films.
But if you fancy a bit of self-improvement, now is a pretty good time to start. And besides dragging yourself off the sofa for a bracing waddle around the park, finally getting round to learning the euphonium or writing that hard-boiled erotic cyberpunk crime thriller you’ve been wanting to write for ages (maybe that’s just us), you could take a good look at your finances, too.
See where we’re going with this?
Maybe you could start being terribly grown up and start paying into a pension – after all, that ticking pensions ‘time bomb’ that we’re sitting on doesn’t look like quietening down any time soon. With new regulations to makes tariffs simpler to understand, you could finally get round to sticking it to your energy supplier by switching. Or, you could resolve to wrestle your credit card debt with the help a balance transfer card.
Indeed, change is in the air – not least round these parts. While 2013 didn’t start particularly brightly for Gio Compario, 2014 has seen a radical change of direction – and career – for the big-lunged comparison crooner.
See for yourselves…
So, to paraphrase Delia Smith: come on, 2014. Let’s be having you.
NEWS IN BRIEF
Rail fare increases of 3% came into force, making commuters even more enraged than usual. Elsewhere, the Severn Bridge toll went up to a whopping £6.40.
Those twee ‘80s covers must really be working, as John Lewis reckons it “outperformed” the market in the run up to Christmas with sales rising by 6.9% on the year before to £734m.
Vice-chancellors at top universities received pay rises of £22,000 – about 8% - last year, while rank-and-file lecturers got an average of 1%.
Nationwide reported that the average house price rose by 8.4% last year.
Housing charity Shelter has reported that one in 11 people fear that they can’t pay the rent.
On Covered mag this week
If used correctly, balance transfer cards can be veritable financial Alker-Selzers, reckons Kristian Dando.
Lots of people book their package holidays in January. But did you know that the great British all-in-one getaway has roots in pilgrimages and World War II? Well, you do now.
Should switching your energy supplier be your New Year’s resolution? Emily Bater thinks so.
Here’s a list of dos and don’ts of winter sports insurance.
Urban legends abound of the Nando's 'black card', which grants the holder free chicken, chips and pop whenever they fancy it.
Rumour has it that the purveyor of peri-peri hands them out to a very select group of customers, and until recently the firm refused to confirm or deny the card's existence. Only high profile celebs like Chipmunk, Tinchy Stryder, Example and Ed Sheeran ever manage to get their hands on them, so you can imagine the clamour when the firm announced a competition to win one of the coveted cards.
To win, the entrant would have to eat at every single branch of Nando’s… In the entire world.
Nando’s regular Christopher Poole, 26, decided he was hungry enough to accept the challenge, and promptly set about spending £1,000 on eating at 85 UK branches of the restaurant, packing on a stone in the process.
Alas, Poole was dismayed when he found that the competition had closed because the chain was expanding at such a rapid rate.
However the chain has vowed to reward Poole with a card, providing he can scoff his way across the other 900 Nando’s eateries spread across the globe.
"I'm thrilled that they have recognised my efforts," bragged Pool. "I'm more determined than ever to complete the challenge."
Let’s hope he feels like chicken tonight, And the night after that, forever.
Join us NEXT WEEK for another THRILLING instalment of THE MONEY SHOT.