It’s traditional to set a few goals and resolutions for the year each January, even if we often find they’ve been forgotten within a few weeks. But if your goals are meaningful and achievable, they can make a lasting difference.
Most of us would benefit from spending more carefully and looking after our money better. Here are 7 easy ways to make our money go further this year – and claim back cash you weren’t even aware of!
- Switch Energy providers
If you’ve been on the same energy deal for 12 months or more, shopping around could save you up to £150 a year. So many of us don’t bother to switch – but it’s very easy to do and well worth it. Would you really turn down £150 in exchange for 10 minutes’ work?
Just visit a comparison site and add a few details, you’ll quickly see how much you can save.
- Check you’re on the right council tax band.
It’s thought that up to 400,000 households are paying more council tax than they need to. You can check your council tax bands at VOA.gov – and also see what other homes in your area are paying. The values were set way back in 1991. If you think you might be in the wrong band, there are steps to follow on the government website.
Remember too that single adults get 25 per cent off their council tax bill, so if you live on your own or are a single parent, you should make sure to claim this discount.
- Use cashback sites
Cashback sites are a great way to get ‘free’ money when shopping online. They pay you a cash reward when you clicking through from their site to make a purchase.
When you’re looking for a product or service, search the website to see if your favourite brands are offering deals. Then visit the retailer by clicking on the link from the cashback site – rather than going direct. The site will accumulate your cashback for you so you can let the funds build up before transferring them to your bank account.
- Change your supermarket
So many of us are loyal to a single supermarket. We get to know our favourite products and where everything is, so shopping seems easy. But if you’re loyal to brands like Waitrose, Sainsbury and Tesco you could find that you save thousands a year by shopping in a budget store like Aldi or Lidl.
A newspaper found that two families saved more than £100 a month by shopping in a budget supermarket – and were impressed by the quality.
- Check your tax
If you’re married and one of you doesn’t work, you’re eligible for the marriage tax allowance. This can be worth more than £250 a year – and you can backdate your claim. The allowance was introduced in April 2015. It’s straightforward to apply on the government website.
- Don’t pay monthly
While it can seem convenient and less budget-sapping to pay your car insurance, home insurance and other payments monthly rather than in a lump sum, you end up paying a lot in interest. If you can, choose the annual payment – it saves you paying more for no reason and can add up to serious savings.
- Reduce your bills
Making small changes at home can make a big impact on your bills. Turning your thermostat down by one degree, for example, can reduce your heating bill by up to three per cent. Also, make sure you use your heating timer so that you’re only using it when people are at home – and turn the heat off at night when everyone’s in bed.
Switching lights off and turning appliances off – rather than leaving them on standby – really does reduce your electricity bill, too.
Here at Thobani Accountants we always have an eye on ways to save money and be more efficient – and much of what we know about business costs is just as relevant at home. We’re always here to talk about financial challenges at home and at work.
We can help with all kinds of accountancy services, from bookkeeping in Peterborough to partnership accounting, personal tax planning and tax returns Peterborough. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org