Money-Saving Advice You've Not Heard Before by Andrew Wayland

Tuesday, 9 May 2017
The budget sheet is in order, and you’ve worked out what you can save and where to cut back, yet you’re still struggling to make ends meet, save up for a much-needed holiday, put money away for a house deposit or build up a rainy-day fund.

Saving isn’t easy; sometimes, with the best will in the world, the numbers just don’t seem to add up. Whether you’ve cut back on things which aren’t a necessity, taken on a part-time job or gone coupon crazy – it can feel as though you’ve exhausted every money-making avenue available to have more cash in your back pocket.

Well, help is here. We’ve asked the experts to give you the money-saving advice you need to know.

Marriage tax allowance

If you are married or in a civil partnership, then you may be entitled to a £662 tax break, also known as the marriage tax allowance. 4.2 million couples are eligible in the UK, yet 2.4 million of those aren’t taking advantage.

The allowance enables couples to transfer an amount of their personal tax allowance (the amount you earn tax-free) between them.

There are certain criteria that you will have to meet to be eligible. You must be married or in a civil partnership, whereby one person is a non-taxpayer – e.g. earning less than £11,500 for 2017/2018 – and the other a basic tax rate payer at 20%. Both people must have been born after 6 April 1935.

The allowance is often totalled to £662 as you are often able to claim payments for the previous three years. For example, this year it’s worth £230, in 2016 it was £220, and in 2015 it was £212 – totalling £662.

You can submit an application via the HM Revenue and Customs website.

Council tax claim back

It was once estimated that 400,000 households were in the wrong council tax band in England and Scotland, and while that figure has since improved, many are still paying more than they should for their council tax.

It costs nothing to check and just a small amount of your time – with successful claimants able to get a backdated rebate to 1993 (when it was introduced) or when you moved into the property.

Take the following steps to check:
  • Ask your neighbours (only if they are in a similar or identical property to yours)
  • Check what your house was worth in 1991 – this can’t be used as evidence, but it can ensure you’re on the right track
  • Make sure you aren’t just speculating – do your research first
  • You can place a claim to the Government if you believe your council tax band is wrong, or contact the Valuation Office Agency

PPI deadline

Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) was often mis-sold when people purchased a loan or credit card and was designed to cover the loan in the event of an accident, sickness or – in some instances – unemployment. It wasn’t necessarily a bad product, but it was often mis-sold to consumers.

While many of us are used to the spam calls telling us we are entitled to a claim back, those who were mis-sold PPI need to make a claim by 29 August 2019. Therefore, if you have a claim, it needs to be lodged with the company you’re complaining to by this date.

Check old loan statements – this may be under the guise of payment cover, protection plan, ASU, loan protection, retail payment protections or similar wording. If you don’t have statements to hand, you can call any lender you’ve had dealings with to check.

It is easier to claim if your insurance was sold to you in the past six years. However, it is still possible to claim back further than this.

To claim, contact the loan provider in writing, including any supporting documents that you have. If you don’t hear back within eight weeks, you can submit a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Flight delay compensation

If your flight has been delayed for three hours or more, then under EU rule 261/2004 you are entitled to compensation of between £110 and £520. You’ll need to complain to the airline in writing or fill out a form, which some airlines will provide.

Keep in mind:
  • You can only claim back compensation on EU-regulated flights (where the flight departed from an EU airport, even if the airline was not based in the EU, or an EU airline landed at an EU airport)
  • Claims can be made back to 2011
  • The delay must be the airline's fault – e.g. something within the airline's control
  • You must have arrived three hours or later at your destination

Cashback sites

One easy way to make money on your everyday purchases is to make online purchases through platforms such as Quidco or Top Cashback. As a user, you can just click through a cashback site before you visit the site you plan on purchasing a product or service from.

The big bucks come in when you purchase a hotel or flight through an operator or if you are a new customer setting up a utility, such as TV or internet services.

Many sites have long payout times, which means you could find yourself waiting around six months for some payments, so it’s best to wait for a big lump sum to be ready before you withdraw the funds to your bank account.

Tax credits

Many are entitled to tax credits but don’t claim them or forget to renew them each year. These can be worth over £1,000 a year, so it’s worth checking your eligibility or if you are overpaying as you’ll be required to pay this back at some stage in the future.

Tax credits are available as child tax credits or working tax credits and are dependent on your income, whether you are single or in a partnership, the number of children you have, working hours, and if you have a disability.

If your circumstances change then you must notify the tax credits office, and don’t forget to renew your credits when you are sent your renewal pack – often sent out in May or June each year.

Andrew Wayland is Head of Marketing at Everyday Loans, and helped to set up the company in 2006.