Many people think that the power to receive a pay rise lies only with employers. Of course, this isÂ unfortunately true for the most part. But in these trying times, where our generation must faceÂ financial pressures not generally encountered by the baby boomers, there are actually ways ofÂ 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 areÂ plenty of small, quick money-saving winners which, when all added together, can effectively putÂ hundreds of pounds in your pocket each year. Here are 10 of the best to help put the wheels inÂ motion:
1) Marriage Tax Allowance
More than 80 per cent of married couples miss out on what effectively amounts to free money.Â There are a few conditions, such as a household income of less than Â£43,000. But itâ€™s well worthÂ checking if youâ€™re eligible, and applying if so. You can do that here.
2) Donâ€™t just stick with your bank
As the market place gets (marginally) more competitive, banks are laying on the gift-wrappedÂ incentives to secure your business. Some are offering vaguely respectable interest rates for a setÂ period of time, while others are offering cash bonuses of up to Â£200! The good news is that theseÂ days switching is easy too â€“ the bank does all the work for you.
3) Make money online
If youâ€™ve got time on your hands between working and looking after the kids, then online surveysÂ can pay up to Â£5 a pop. But there are other ways too. For example, companies will invite you to testÂ their websites, participate in research focus groups, or simply read mobile adverts â€“ and they offerÂ money for doing so via Paypal.
If youâ€™re a homeowner and have a room sitting empty, why not rent it out every now and then?Â There isnâ€™t any way of doing so without completely avoiding hassle, but as convenience goes, sitesÂ like AirBnB are pretty hard to argue with. If youâ€™re willing to take care of the admin, and share yourÂ space with a stranger, then you can potentially bring in hundreds of pounds each month.
5) Milk credit card cashback
Why wouldnâ€™t you? We all have credit cards, we all need to use them for our credit ratings, so whyÂ not take advantage of the generous cashback schemes some of them are offering? Some schemesÂ offer a temporary cashback of a whopping 5 per cent, while long-term rates of over 1 per cent areÂ easy to find too.
6) Juggle your finances
Always remember â€“ debt is more expensive than the interest earned on savings. If you have debt,Â pay as much of it off as you can with savings. But itâ€™s also a good idea to eliminate high-interest debtÂ quickly too, particularly with credit cards. You can shuffle this around with a balance transfer, orÂ 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 neverÂ use have value, and selling them online through sites like Gumtree or Ebay mean money for jam. TheÂ onus will generally be on the buyer to collect too, so there is literally no down side to sayingÂ goodbye to these items.
8) Flight delays
For some, theyâ€™re an annoying pop up on Facebook. For others, the new EU rules on flight delaysÂ mean that Â£100s await for you in reclamation. So, if youâ€™ve been delayed by more than three hoursÂ since 2010 for a flight (to and from an EU-regulated country), and it was the airlineâ€™s fault, itâ€™s wellÂ worth checking if youâ€™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 continuedÂ business from existing customers, given that very few people ever bother to change. They thusÂ typically lock you into poor deals if you stay. So donâ€™t! Again, the company you switch to is obliged toÂ 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. Itâ€™s not about sacrificing happiness, just cuttingÂ out non-necessities. Whether itâ€™s the daily coffee and/or sandwich when out and about, checkingÂ your council tax band or trimming the treats from the weekly food shop, the best thing to do isÂ record your total spend and see where you can cut down. Budgeting may sound old-fashioned, butÂ itâ€™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.
- HSBC Launches “Connected Money” App (May 9, 2018)
- Banking Apps “Save Brits Average of Â£173 a Month” (April 13, 2021)
- Young People “Most Likely To Be Victims Of Online Fraud” (November 11, 2018)
- Ernest: Latest Chatbot To Bring Artificial Intelligence To Your Bank Account (January 25, 2017)
- HSBC SmartSave: New Micro-Savings App (December 5, 2016)