SUMMER holidays are fast approaching and parents will be planning ways to keep their little ones entertained.
Whether you’re jetting off somewhere abroad this year, or staying closer to home, budgeting now could mean you have more in your pocket for a relaxing break.
With soaring energy bills and rocketing inflation hitting finances this year, saving might feel like a bit more of a challenge.
But there are some simple ways you might be able to boost your bank balance in a short space of time.
Of course, how much you can save depends on your personal circumstances.
But if you were to do them all successfully you could save as much as £3,517.
Marriage Allowance – £252 a year
Marriage Allowance lets you transfer £1,260 of your personal allowance to your husband, wife or civil partner, Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown told UK Times.
It applies to couples where one of partner is a non-taxpayer (earning less than £12,570) and the other is a basic-rate tax payer (earning less than £50,270).
This means the higher earner can keep more of their salary before paying income tax, boosting their yearly earnings of £252 in real terms.
However, you can also backdate the claim by up to four years, meaning you could get a £1,256 payout if you qualify for all years.
Sarah said that when money is tight, this can make an “enormous difference”.
You can only apply if you are the non-taxpayer – or lower earner – in the relationship.
And you can’t claim marriage allowance if you’re living together but you’re not married or in a civil partnership, or if one of you is a higher rate taxpayer.
You can check if you qualify using the government’s eligibility checker at: www.tax.service.gov.uk/marriage-allowance-application/eligibility-check.
Make cash from a hobby – up to £1,000 a year
Turning your hobby into a side hustle alongside your regular job can boost your tax-free income too.
You can earn up to £1,000 without paying tax thanks to the trading allowance, Sarah said.
The hobby could be gardening or babysitting, just to mention two examples.
If you’re looking for more ideas, we’ve put together a handy guide to all the ways you can make money from home.
The trading allowance is available even if you have only traded for part of the tax year.
For example, if you started to trade in February 2022, you would still be able to claim the full amount of the trading allowance before April 5, 2023.
If you earn more than £1,000 a year, you need to complete a self-assessment tax return.
We spoke to one saver who managed to make an extra £400 a month by taking up a side hustle.
While Robin Young told us how he turned his side hustle into a £27,000 a year full-time job.
Refresh your wardrobe – up to £1,800
“Selling second clothing not only gives your wardrobe a refresh, but it means you can make money on any items you don’t want”, Ellie Macsymons, an expert from NetVoucherCodes told UK Times.
Swimwear and sunglasses are popular to sell at the moment as people want to get their outfits sorted for the warmer weather.
One savvy saver have told us how they managed to make £1,800 by selling their old clothes.
Of course, how much you can make depends on what you have to sell, the condition it is in and the demand at the time.
There are lots of other second-hand apps that can help you to make extra cash.
Most apps are free, but some may take a fee or a commission, so make sure you read the small print first.
Vinted is great for selling everything from sportswear to high street brands and designer gear and best of all, the seller pays nothing.
There are no fees to list an item on Depop, but you pay ten per cent commission on anything you sell.
Facebook Marketplace is an easy way to sell to local buyers using your Facebook account.
Most users are looking for a bargain, so you might not get a high price, but it’s fairly hassle-free and you don’t pay commission or listing fees.
You can list up to 1,000 items a month for free on eBay.
But you will pay commission of 12.8 per cent on what you sell, plus a 30p fee.
We have put together a guide on the best platforms to use to sell your old clothes.
Round up the pennies – £50
Round-up savings accounts are a nifty way to put cash aside without even noticing it.
Banks and other current account providers round up all of your transactions to the nearest pound, and put the difference into a savings account for you.
So if you’re paying for an item that’s £9.85, this will be rounded up to the nearest pound and put it into savings.
You will have to opt in with your bank to do this and it can usually be done online or via their app.
Lloyds, Halifax, TSB, NatWest and Monzo all offer round-ups for example.
“You won’t realise it to begin with, but the more you do that
in the upcoming weeks it can help save you an extra £50 or so”, Ellie said.
The kinds of accounts aren’t going to make you loads of cash – so if you have a savings goals in mind, you’re almost certainly better off setting aside a specific chunk of money at the beginning of the month before you can spend it.
But if you’re not in the savings habit, or want some extra cash set aside for summer then, they could be ideal for you.
Meanwhile, a new first-time buyer scheme where you don’t need a deposit has been launched.
Plus, we reveal seven small changes to the way you use your kettle could save you £20.
Ditch unused subscriptions – £135
A few quick clicks will cancel pointless payments in time for summer.
Customers who forked out for Deliveroo’s £7.99-a-month delivery can save by axing it for example.
Only orders over £10 qualify for free delivery, so customers making smaller orders do not save.
This would save you up to £23.97 before the end of July, when most school’s break up for summer.
If you splurge on an expensive gym membership, you try exercising outdoors for free.
For example, a membership at PureGym can cost you up to £26.99 a month, if you live in London.
You could save over £80.97 by axing this cost before the break.
Apps such as Strava log work-outs and check your progress.
Use cashback websites – £80
Cashback websites get you money back on purchases you make online.
When you buy something on the internet you just need to click through to the website from a cashback site such as Quidco or TopCashback.
It registers your visit and you earn cashback on your purchase.
How much you’ll get depends on the retailer.
TopCashback says its users earn an average of £300 cashback a year.
With around 70 days until the end of July, that means you could save just over £50 before then.
You can boost that through its Tell a Friend scheme.
If you refer a friend and they earn cashback through the site, you get £30 and they get £10 cashback to spend with Boots.
Once your friend has earned £10 in cashback, you’ll get another £30 too.
Of course, you shouldn’t spend extra to get the cashback as you won’t be saving money – but if you’re buying something anyway it’s worth earning on top of your normal spending.
Switch your bank account – up to £200
You could get up to £200 in free cash just by switching to a new bank account.
NatWest currently pays £200 if you move to one of its Rewards Accounts.
Customers switching to the NatWest Reward or RBS Reward current account get £200 in cash and £4 a month so long as you pay out two or more direct debits for £2 or more.
You can earn an extra £1 each month you log in to the app.
You must switch from a different bank, deposit £1,250 into your account and log into the mobile banking app within 60 days.
You’ll get the £200 after seven days. The account charges a £2 a month fee.
Read the terms and conditions before you switch, to find any clauses that might not suit you.
First Direct is offering £175 if you switch to it and deposit £1,000 within three months while HSBC is also offer £200.
To switch your bank you just need to open a new account.
Tell the new bank your old account details and it will do the rest.
The Current Account Switching Service guarantee means it should only take seven days.
You’ll need to check before you switch as some will only offer the perk if you make it your main bank account, switch direct debits and pay in a minimum amount each month.
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]