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In the news: This week's top stories

Have you been out and about enjoying the last of the good weather instead of keeping up with the news? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a round-up of the news stories that could be affecting your wallet this week, including why it’s a good idea to start saving for the dreaded Christmas spending season now.

1. Saving £20 a week could help towards a merry Christmas

We may all want to bury our heads in the sand for a while longer, but Christmas is on its way. However, if you start saving £20 a week from this week you’ll have saved £220 by Christmas time.

With our research revealing the average UK adult planned to spend £530 on Christmas last year, you’ll be almost half way towards this figure by saving less than £3 a day.

2. Carl Donnelly tells us why now is the time to quit smoking

Did you know the average smoker could save more than £1,500 by quitting for a year? That's a lot of money. We asked comedian Carl Donnelly, who is doing Stoptober himself, for his tips on how you can quit.

3. 5p bag charge comes into effect in England

From this week, large retailers have to charge at least 5p for single-use plastic bags in England, including bags used in deliveries and collections.

4. Can you afford to rent?

The costs associated with buying a home are often reported, but what about the costs of renting? The Guardian recently reported rents were up 4.6% on last year, while some parts of London have seen increases as high as 30% over the last five years.

We’ve put together some charts on the rental market and what you can do if you’re struggling with your rent.

5. 30 and 40 year olds using ISAs as a stepping stone to retirement

Investing in an ISA is a popular savings route for retirement among those in their 30s and 40s, according to research by Fidelity Worldwide Investment. The research revealed more than four in ten of those in their 30s and 40s with ISAs (43%) plan to use their tax-free ISA savings as a stepping stone towards funding their retirement.

6. Could discounts save you hundreds?

Everybody loves a bargain. A study by American Express has shown shoppers believe a shrewd approach to using discounts saves them a staggering £899 a year on average and even more in some parts of the country.

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