1. Married? A tax break means you could be due £900
According to HMRC if you’re married or in a civil partnership, you could be entitled to a tax break called the marriage tax allowance.
To qualify, one of you has to be a non-taxpayer and the other a basic-rate earner (paying 20% income tax). Also, you both must have been born on or after 6 April 1935. It’s worth £238 in this financial year and can be backdated to 2015 (if you still met the eligibility criteria at that time) – giving you up to £662 extra.
Register for the marriage tax allowance.
2. Switch energy tariff with your existing supplier to save up to £200
Worried an energy switch is too much hassle? Call your existing supplier and ask to be put onto its cheapest deal – you can save hundreds, research from Moneysavingexpert.com shows.
Move from a standard tariff to a more competitive short-term fix with the same supplier, and you could save on your bills.
Always check to see if there are any tariff exit penalties, though they’re not usually charged for an internal switch it is something to be cautious of.
However, if you’re on your supplier’s standard rate, you can usually make the biggest saving by using a comparison website to switch to a rival firm.
3. Do a DIY audit on your bank account
In the hurly-burly of family and work life, it’s easy to lose track of every payment going in and out of your bank account.
Take some time to run a fine-tooth comb over your most recent statements and it’s possible you’ll discover at least one regular Direct Debit or standing order you no longer need.
It could be anything from a forgotten insurance renewal or roll-over sports club fee to an online magazine subscription or charity donation.
You can usually end a Direct Debit or standing order online or over the phone but always check if your subscription is in a contract, to avoid any cancellation fee or penalty.
4. Pay £30 to cut a third off your train fares
If you have a family, travel regularly with a friend you’re over 60 or you’re using a young person’s rail card, a £30 railcard can reduce train fares by a third for a year. If you are disabled you can qualify for a disabled persons rail card for the cost of £20.
Travel in rush hour may be limited but each card has different rules, so check which one works best for you.
For families, the Family & Friends Railcard can be used on most tickets (excluding first class) when an adult and at least one child aged under 16 travel together. The maximum is four adults and four children. Find details of all railcards from National Rail.
5. Costly kids’ care? See what the government can offer you
What is best is for you depends on how much you earn, how much tax you pay, and how much you pay for childcare – and whether your employer offers them. The GOV.UK website can help you decide.
Launched last year, the tax-free childcare scheme lets you open a special account to save for the cost of looking after your kids. Check to see whether you qualify.
Put in 80p and the state adds 20p – it’ll contribute up to £2,000 per child a year (or up to £4,000 if your child has a disability). The most you can save in the account is £8,000, which means you can pay for up to £10,000 of childcare per child each year using the scheme. Sign up for an account
There is an alternative – childcare vouchers – that allows you to pay for childcare out of your pre-tax income. You can’t use both, however.
6. Shop around – vow to abandon your broadband and mobile provider and save £100s
Whatever your online hobbies – browsing, movies, music or gaming – there are deals galore offering ever more data and faster internet speeds at lower prices.
Call your provider with details of an offer you like, and ask them to match it – if they can’t, say you’ll leave. In many cases, the company won’t want to lose your business, and will switch you to a cheaper tariff offering better value.