Many people think that the power to receive a pay rise lies only with employers. Of course, this is unfortunately true for the most part. But in these trying times, where our generation must face financial pressures not generally encountered by the baby boomers, there are actually ways of making our family budgets go a whole lot further.
True, other than the lottery, there are no real pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. But there are plenty of small, quick money-saving winners which, when all added together, can effectively put hundreds of pounds in your pocket each year. Here are 10 of the best to help put the wheels in motion:
1) Marriage Tax Allowance
More than 80 per cent of married couples miss out on what effectively amounts to free money. There are a few conditions, such as a household income of less than £43,000. But it’s well worth checking if you’re eligible, and applying if so. You can do that here.
2) Don’t just stick with your bank
As the market place gets (marginally) more competitive, banks are laying on the gift-wrapped incentives to secure your business. Some are offering vaguely respectable interest rates for a set period of time, while others are offering cash bonuses of up to £200! The good news is that these days switching is easy too – the bank does all the work for you.
3) Make money online
If you’ve got time on your hands between working and looking after the kids, then online surveys can pay up to £5 a pop. But there are other ways too. For example, companies will invite you to test their websites, participate in research focus groups, or simply read mobile adverts – and they offer money for doing so via Paypal.
If you’re a homeowner and have a room sitting empty, why not rent it out every now and then? There isn’t any way of doing so without completely avoiding hassle, but as convenience goes, sites like AirBnB are pretty hard to argue with. If you’re willing to take care of the admin, and share your space with a stranger, then you can potentially bring in hundreds of pounds each month.
5) Milk credit card cashback
Why wouldn’t you? We all have credit cards, we all need to use them for our credit ratings, so why not take advantage of the generous cashback schemes some of them are offering? Some schemes offer a temporary cashback of a whopping 5 per cent, while long-term rates of over 1 per cent are easy to find too.
6) Juggle your finances
Always remember – debt is more expensive than the interest earned on savings. If you have debt, pay as much of it off as you can with savings. But it’s also a good idea to eliminate high-interest debt quickly too, particularly with credit cards. You can shuffle this around with a balance transfer, or sometimes it works better to consolidate this credit card debt with a low interest loan instead.
7) Flog old goodies
All the stuff like CDs, boxsets, books, wedding dresses, old furniture and other things that you never use have value, and selling them online through sites like Gumtree or Ebay mean money for jam. The onus will generally be on the buyer to collect too, so there is literally no down side to saying goodbye to these items.
8) Flight delays
For some, they’re an annoying pop up on Facebook. For others, the new EU rules on flight delays mean that £100s await for you in reclamation. So, if you’ve been delayed by more than three hours since 2010 for a flight (to and from an EU-regulated country), and it was the airline’s fault, it’s well worth checking if you’re eligible for a pay-out.
9) Change energy supplier
Like banks, energy companies are starting to get competitive. But they still rely on the continued business from existing customers, given that very few people ever bother to change. They thus typically lock you into poor deals if you stay. So don’t! Again, the company you switch to is obliged to do all the work for you, so have a look into alternatives, and start saving.
10) Budget, budget, budget
The biggest saving of all probably comes from within. It’s not about sacrificing happiness, just cutting out non-necessities. Whether it’s the daily coffee and/or sandwich when out and about, checking your council tax band or trimming the treats from the weekly food shop, the best thing to do is record your total spend and see where you can cut down. Budgeting may sound old-fashioned, but it’s a sure way to set you on the path to pain-free savings. There are plenty of apps which can help you start a budget.
- Contactless Payments “Cause Brits To Overspend” (September 13, 2016)
- One In Eight Brits Will Switch To Digital-Only Bank This Year (April 28, 2015)
- Loop Energy Saving Kit (March 13, 2013)
- Budget Calculator: Are You Better Or Worse Off? (March 16, 2016)
- Cheap Energy Club: Be Alerted To The Best Gas & Electricity Deals (February 6, 2013)