1. Switch your domestic fuel to a cheaper provider
According to Ofgem, the fuel regulator, as many as 60% of us have never switched our gas or electricity supplier. Use a comparison website such as Energy Helpline to help you find the cheapest supplier in your area for the amount of energy you use (the best deal for you won’t necessarily be the same as your neighbour’s).
Avoid signing up with a salesman who simply tells you his firm is offering the best deal, because like as not it won’t be. You need to look at the whole of the market.
Also, make sure you are paying in the cheapest way that’s right for you. Paying in arrears by cheque is going to cost you dear. Online tariffs with monthly direct debits usually work out most cost effective.
Seven energy saving tips.
2. Claim benefits due to you
It’s shocking how many cash-strapped older people struggle on low incomes when they could claim extra benefits that are rightfully theirs. Considerably fewer than 70 per cent of pensioners who are entitled to it claim Pension Credit, meaning that more than 30 per cent of older people on low incomes are missing out.
Check your entitlement to Pension Credit here.
There are many benefits that you might qualify for, too, depending on your circumstances.
These might be council tax reductions, help with heating costs, housing benefit and, if you have mobility problems or a disability, you might get Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment. You may be eligible for help towards dental treatment or travel costs to hospital, help with NHS costs, Carer’s Allowance and other help. Use the charity Turn2Us website to find out if you can claim anything. While on the subject of care, Saga also offers a care funding advice service - click here for more details.
Are you missing out on benefits that you are entitled to?
3. Find lost accounts
If you have money languishing in long-forgotten accounts, it’s time to become reacquainted with it. Use the website MyLostAccount to be reunited with your cash. It’s a free service run by the Building Societies Association, British Bankers Association and National Savings and Investments.
How to trace old pensions.
4. Rent out spare space in your home
Rent out your drive for commuter parking via parkatmyhouse.com, your garage or spare room for storage with Storenextdoor or Storemates.
5. Reclaim PPI
It may seem incredible with all the furore about nuisance phone calls and tex messagest from bothersome claims handling companies, but some people still haven’t claimed the compensation to which they are entitled from mis-sold payment protection insurance.
Don’t pay a share of your compensation to a third party but claim yourself quickly and easily by following the instructions on the Financial Ombudsman Service website.
6. Move your ISA to a better deal
You may have been thinking about your individual savings account in the run up to the end of the tax year. Once the new tax year has started on April 6th then start thinking about your 2013-14 ISA. That way you get a whole extra year of tax-free savings rather than leaving it to the week or two before the deadline.
Just as important as finding a home for your current savings is to make sure you are getting the best deal on accounts opened in previous years. The latest research shows that 62% of the UK population with an ISA have never transferred it to another. Check the rates you are getting and if you can find a better deal, move to it.
7. Sell unwanted clutter
There’s no time like now to do a bit of spring cleaning - and that includes decluttering. According to research from classified ads site Gumtree.com we are collectively hoarding unused items worth £5.7 billion – with one in three Brits having enough clutter to fill the size of an average bedroom!
Sell unwanted items on a site such as Gumtree, an auction site such as eBay or, if you have a car load, take a pitch at your local car boot sale. Your junk will be someone else’s treasure - and you’ll have more space in your drawers and a less untidy home, as well as a pocket full of cash at the end of it.
Where can you sell unwanted possessions?