Money Saving Tips and Information

Tips for maximising your income, minimising your costs, and generally making your money go further. Click the links for more information:

Benefits and entitlements

To find out what benefits and entitlements are available to you, call in at your local Job Centre or go to www.entitledto.co.uk.

Childcare

You can approach your employer to see if they run a childcare vouchers scheme. These vouchers can save you a lot of money, as the value of the vouchers is deducted from your salary before tax and NI. However, some of these schemes involve sacrificing access to Child Tax Credit and other Tax Credit contributions, so you should weigh up which option will save you the most money in the long run.

Pregnancy Grants

If you're pregnant now, you may be entitled to a Health In Pregnancy Grant. This is a one-off, tax-free payment of 190 to help you with your costs in the run-up to your child's birth. If you're on a low income, you may also be entitled to a Sure Start maternity grant of 500.

Other Benefits & Tax Credits

You may be eligible for other benefits or tax credits, particularly if you are on a low income or if you are bringing up children. www.entitledto.co.uk can help you work out your entitlements, based on your circumstances.

Also see:

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Other expenses

Travel

  • www.petrolprices.com gives you the cheapest petrol prices in your area on a daily basis. All you need to do is sign up and enter your postcode.
  • When it comes to your annual MOT/service, shop around. Smaller garages often offer better prices than big-name garages.
  • If you travel by train frequently, www.thetrainline.com and www.raileasy.co.uk can help you find the cheapest fares.

Council Tax

You may be eligible for a discount or exemption on your council tax if you meet certain criteria. You will have to apply directly to your local council for these discounts, and this can be done over the phone or online. You may qualify for a discount or exemption if:

  • You live alone (25% discount)
  • You are in an all-student household (no council tax paid)
  • You live in a household of students and non-students
  • Your property is empty
  • You have had to adapt your home to accommodate a disabled person

Prescriptions

You may be exempt from paying prescription charges (currently 7.20) if:

  • you live in Wales
  • you are under 16, between 16-18 and in education, or over 60
  • you are pregnant or have had a baby in the last 12 months (you must get a maternity exemption form from your doctor or midwife)
  • you have a certain medical condition (e.g. epilepsy or diabetes)
  • you are on income support or Job Seekers Allowance

You are entitled to a discount if:

  • You live in Scotland (prescriptions are 5)
  • You have a Prepayment Certificate (PPC) - unlimited prescriptions for 3 months (28.25) or 12 months (104). The 12-month PPC can be paid for in 10 monthly instalments. Visit www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/prescriptions or call 0845 850 0030 for more information.

TV Subscriptions

TV subscriptions vary in price depending on your choice of package and any additional channels you buy. You can save a lot of money by cutting out your TV subscription altogether, but if you do decide to keep it, you might be able to save money by switching to a cheaper package.

PackageCost
Sky (basic)17.50 per month
Sky (with Sky Sports)35.50
Sky (with all channels)47.50
Sky with MultiroomExtra 9.75
Sky with MUTV or Chelsea TV牋Extra 6
Sky with HDExtra 9.75
Virgin M (basic)11
Virgin L21
Virgin XL31.50
Virgin with Sky Sports15-26 extra (depending on package)
Virgin with HD5 extra

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Utilities and other bills

Gas and Electric

Comparison sites can even help you if you're on a prepayment meter - it'll let you compare prepayment prices.

Discount tips

  • Paying bills by direct debit can get you a discount, often up to 10%.
  • Getting your gas and electricity from the same company on a 'dual fuel' tariff can often work out cheaper, but you should compare them separately as well so that you can be sure.

Internet, Telephone

Mobile phones

You can compare mobile phone deals, including contracts, on the following sites.

Tips

  • When changing contracts, see if you can find a package that covers your usage at a lower price.
  • If you are locked into a contract, some providers will allow you to switch to their cheapest tariff. This will make your bills more manageable, and if you decide you want to cancel the contract altogether, you will pay the smallest possible amount (usually the total of your remaining contracted bills).

Water bills

You cannot change your water provider - different providers supply different regions of the UK. However, there are still ways of saving money.

  • Pay by direct debit - some companies offer a discount
  • Consider having a water meter fitted. The fewer people living in your house, the more likely it is that a meter could save you money.

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Saving money

Loyalty schemes

Most supermarkets offer some kind of loyalty scheme in which you will gain 'points' for purchases. These points can be put towards discounts on other items.

Vouchers

Many retailers give away vouchers for discounts on their products. These may be handed out in-store, or it may be possible to find these in supermarkets' own magazines, or in newspapers or other magazines.

You can find a range of the latest voucher codes at our own vouchers section.

Buying second-hand

On more expensive items, such as home appliances, it can make good financial sense to buy second hand. There are plenty of websites that can help you find good second-hand deals.

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Advice for homeowners

'Warm Front' grant

If you're a homeowner or rent your property from a private landlord, you may be eligible for a 'Warm Front' grant of up to 3,500 (or 6,000 where oil, low carbon or renewable technologies are recommended).

This Government-funded initiative is aimed at helping people to make their homes more energy-efficient, including installing roof or wall insulation and more efficient boilers.

Figures, statistics and prices accurate in August 2009 and may have changed.

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