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Restarting Your Savings Account

By Noel Mellor

In the early part of 2010, a study revealed that starting a savings account and generally getting to grips with finances was high on many people's agenda. It was suggested people across the UK had resolved to make the most of the fresh start by putting away some money for a rainy day.

However, the survey also pointed out that as the months progress, resolutions made in the New Year do have a tendency to fall apart - particularly as the post-Christmas financial hangover can leave people feeling a little too stretched to make regular savings contributions realistically. But as April 2010 sees the start of a new tax year, now could be the perfect time to prepare for the future by making a second attempt to get your cash working harder - and there are various products available that can be perfect for this.

The first thing you might want to do before selecting one of these or boosting an existing account is coming up with a budget. This should start with looking at all of your income and expenditure and figuring out exactly what contributions you will be able to make to any kind of savings account or ISA. Assistance can be found online and a savings calculator is just one tool that might help you figure out what is realistically within your budget. In addition, using such a facility means you can set a financial goal to work towards - and even plan what the cash might be used for.

Once you have come up with some numbers you are happy with, it might be an idea to consider whether packages you have opted for in the past are actually right for you. If you are after a product designed for a two-year period, there are ISAs and accounts that will offer you a fixed rate of interest over this term. You might also want the ability to manage and your money online on a 24/7 basis or consider an option that rewards you should you make no withdrawals.

Up to £5,100 can be placed into a cash ISA during the 12 months starting April 2010, offering a tax-efficient way of making the most of your stored funds. Some of the options you might want to look out for if you are looking for this type of product might be a low opening balance, unlimited deposits and online access. Of course, many providers will also allow you to manage the ISA over the phone and in their high street branches.

So whether you decide that you want to kick start your existing savings account or would like to take advantage of what ISAs have to offer, the message is clear. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can start planning for that big-ticket purchase you have in mind.

Noel Mellor is a writer, editor and podcaster from Manchester, England. Having produced and revised copy for a number of major financial institutions, he is highly experienced across a range of economic matters. His greatest knowledge concerns savings and investments, notably high interest savings accounts.