How to save on bills and shopping so you can spend more on summer fun

Now that summer’s here and going out is allowed, you might find yourself spending a bit more than usual.

We all deserve to enjoy ourselves, but you might find your debit card is beginning to feel the heat.

We’ve rounded up some savvy money-saving hacks to help you save on the boring stuff, so you can spend more on having a good time.

It’s all about timing

If you’re on a tight socialising budget, bear in mind that salty olives and tortilla chips come free at many high street eateries so you’ll work up a thirst and order more drinks.

And if the waiter refills your wineglass before you ask, they may be timing it so that the bottle becomes empty in the middle of the meal — making you more likely to order another one.

Keep a strict eye on your student loan

In 2019/20, a total of 54,516 graduates overpaid their student loans by an average £424, because their payments didn’t stop once the debt was settled.

Part of the problem is that people took out these loans so long ago that their contact and bank account details may have changed, so the protections the Student Loan Company introduced to avoid overpayments are useless.

Any overpayments between £25 and £750 should be automatically refunded, but if the Student Loans Company has an old bank account on file, it can’t do this.

Log on to the Online Repayment Service to update all your details.

Don’t pay premium prices at the pump

Retailers often claim premium fuel offers performance and economy advantages. But unless you’re driving a performance vehicle, you are unlikely to see many improvements, and you’ll pay an average of 10p more per litre.

According to car dealership Peter Vardy, drivers can save themselves £179 per year by sticking to standard unleaded.

Make a saving on your mortgage

For the average borrower, the difference between a market-leading mortgage deal and the average Standard Variable Rate (SVR) is around £4,500 in extra interest each year — an amount that can go a long way in terms of other living expenses or saving for the future.

To use a remortgage calculator from the Money Advice Service and find out the savings you could make by switching to a new deal, click here.

Review your mortgage three to six months before the end of your initial period to give yourself plenty of time to find and switch to a new deal.

Retrieve your lost loyalty points

Many people lose or forget to use their Tesco Clubcard points, but there’s an easy way to get your hands on ‘lost’ unused vouchers from the last two years.

Just go to the Tesco Clubcard site, enter your details and click on ‘vouchers’ on the left to see a list of the vouchers that you have yet to spend.

Free days out for crafty kids

Holders of Blue Peter badges also get the bonus of free days out at more than 200 attractions.

Some of these, like London Zoo, have suspended the promotion but at Kew Gardens, badge holders aged 6-15 can get in free if accompanied by an adult. Find out more here.

Check your direct debits

Greater energy and water usage by millions of us stuck at home in lockdown is leading to higher direct debit demands on water meters and for many without smart meters who pay for energy by monthly direct debit.

Such demands for future use are mostly estimates based on recent use, so if you consume more, they can rise when your bill is reviewed.

Some hikes may be to recoup money owed, which shouldn’t add too much. But MoneySavingExpert research shows some demands have doubled.

So, if you were a high user in lockdown but expect that to change as life slowly returns to normal, check now.

When bad services means freebies

Are you fed up with searching online for voucher codes, only to find they are invalid when you reach checkout?

Well, give them another try — because Vouchercodes.co.uk guarantees all its online voucher codes will work, or it will give you a £20 gift card.

To make a claim, send your online order confirmation or receipt by email to [email protected] within 24 hours of purchase and you will be sent the high street voucher. Find out more here.

Don’t be fooled into spending more

Research from the University of Chester shows that shoppers are more likely to choose the middle option in a selection rather than items at the pricier or cheaper ends of the spectrum.

For example, if we are shopping for a nice bottle of wine or a flat-screen television, few of us buy the most expensive or the very cheapest.

We tend to go for something the middle of the price range, and retailers know this. That’s why they stack the items that are the most profitable at eye-level.

The result? We walk away believing that we got a good deal, but the retailer is likely to have pocketed a tidy profit because you spent more than you planned to.

Gardening on a shoestring

If you want to build up your house plant collection or spruce up your garden, you can save a fortune by getting free cuttings from green-fingered friends and family.

Many perennials — even shrubs- can be propagated from stem cuttings and will save you a packet at the garden centre.

One of the best things to use in this case is something called rooting hormone and it only costs a couple of quid.

Snip off a piece of the plant and dip the stem into the rooting hormone, then just pop the cutting into a pot filled with soil and wait for it to grow.

Alternatively, you can propagate some plants well if you take a cutting and stick it into a glass or Mason jar filled with water.

Once the bottom of the cutting starts to grow roots, you can take it out of the water and transplant it into a soil-filled pot.

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

How to get your Metro newspaper fix

Metro newspaper is still available for you to pick up every weekday morning or you can download our app for all your favourite news, features, puzzles… and the exclusive evening edition!

Download the Metro newspaper app for free on App Store and Google Play

Source: Read Full Article