Nine surprisingly simple money-saving offers and hacks you can use this week

Tough times mean we are all tightening our belts, but wouldn’t it be great if we could cut back our spending without even having to do anything?

Well, there is a way, and we’ve rounded up a bunch of saving solutions that are so clever, you’ll wonder why you weren’t doing them before.

From dropping the thermostat by just one degree to cashing in on a little-known WFH rebate, here are our top money saving hacks.

Don’t burn money on heat you don’t need

Working from home during the winter months will likely mean an increase in your energy bills.

But reducing room temperatures by just 1ºC can cut heating bills by around £60 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust. Save more by not keeping your heating on when you are out.

Using a timer is best, because your thermostat is designed to turn your heating system on and off to keep your home at the temperature you set it.

Pick the best time for a new lawn

Many of us assume that groundwork is best done in the summer, but it could be better carried out in the winter months if you want to keep costs down.

According to north London flooring company Wolff & Grace, you can save on artificial grass if you plan to do the work over the colder months.

And when it comes to clearing the site, for instance, it’s much easier when most of the vegetation has died due to the low temperatures – meaning there’s far less to clear away.

The quicker the job is completed, the less money you have to fork out on labour.

Stop flushing your money down the loo

The average annual household consumption of toilet tissue is 100 rolls — and the chances are that you are massively over-paying. Next time you’re stocking up on this essential, have a look at the centre of the roll — on two similar-sized rolls, the smaller the tube, the more tissue there is.

You might be surprised at how much the sizes vary and simply swapping for a brand with a smaller centre tube could cut costs.

Still not impressed? Look at how many sheets you get per roll. If you opt for 220 sheets for every roll rather than 200 for every roll you buy in a year, you’ll get 10% more for your money.

Parents with small children who are overly generous with their consumption can further add to their savings by squishing the loo roll. This way it won’t be able to rotate as easily, limiting the amount your kiddos can get their mitts on.

Decorate on a dime

It need not cost an absolute fortune to give your home a fabulous new look from top to bottom – make the most of big brand clearance centres and save some serious cash.

According to interior designer Emma Merry, some of the best are Neptune Outlet, West One Bathrooms Clearance, West Elm Clearance and Heals Clearance.

Cash in on working from home

A little-known ‘working from home’ tax rule means that anyone who has been told to WFH during the pandemic can claim a tax rebate worth as much as £125.

What’s more, you only need to have worked one day from home to claim the refund – meaning millions of people could be eligible – and because it is an individual benefit, if two or more of you live in the same property, everyone can make a claim.

To process these claims, in October 2020, HMRC set up a service that will apply the whole 2020/21 tax year’s relief. Visit here for more information.

All you need is your Government Gateway ID and if you don’t have it, creating one is simple. You will get your money back through your adjusted tax code.

Cut your council tax

Almost eight million people live alone in the UK and those numbers are rising – but many people are overpaying for their council tax, without even realising it.

Do you think that might be you? The amount you owe is calculated on the assumption that two adults live at a property, so if you’re the only adult in your household you’ll get 25% off.

To apply for a reduction from your council, visit the national website here.

Shop online for specialist foods

Save money when shopping for allergy and intolerance-friendly products and find items that are naturally ‘free from’ by downloading a list on a store’s website.

Buying the things that do not contain the allergens that you are looking for can save you a fortune –a 2018 study showed that gluten-free foods are 159% more expensive than standard equivalents.

Many supermarkets provide lists online of products made without milk, egg, nuts, peanuts and gluten – and are typically updated monthly.

Sainsbury’s, for example, publishes its list here.

Think outside the jewellery box…

You’d be amazed what people will buy on eBay these days. Did you know that you could sell your jewellery boxes, empty candle jars and perfume bottles and make decent cash into the bargain?

A quick look at sold listings reveals you can get as much as £24 for an empty Diptyque jar, while an empty 50ml bottle of Coco Chanel EDP went for £17.73.

Other things to dig out of the trash and sell are makeup and perfume samples.

Need legal help? You may already have it

Has there ever been a time in your life when you thought you could use the advice of a solicitor, but were put off by the expensive legal fees?

The good news is that you might already have access to free legal services, and have no idea.

With legal expenses insurance, which is often a part of your home cover, costs between £50,000 to £100,000 per dispute are paid directly.

So, if you need help negotiating a contract when returning to work after maternity leave, applying for flexible working, or have been wrongfully dismissed, this cover could come in very handy.

Check your home and contents policy to see if you’re covered – if not, contact your insurer to add it on, often for just a few pounds more on your premium.

If you want more tips and tricks on saving money, as well as chat about cash and alerts on deals and discounts, join our Facebook Group, Money Pot.

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