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The tricks that mean I'm £1,350 better off this year

ReenaSewraz
by Lovemoney Staff ReenaSewraz on 20 November 2012  |  Comments 12 comments

Fighting the taxman, flogging my old stuff, claiming my PPI compensation: I have managed to amass a tidy sum of extra money this year.

The tricks that mean I'm £1,350 better off this year

Over the past year I have employed a number of savvy exercises which have left me £1,382.64 better off so far. 

Here’s how I managed it.

Fighting the tax man: £113

Sadly I wasn’t one of the 3.5million taxpayers that got a rebate at the beginning of the tax year.

Instead in April I got an assessment through the post informing me I had underpaid tax by £113 during 2010-2011 on £560-worth of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and would be put onto a new tax code that would reclaim this amount.

The problem was that I didn’t claim this benefit in 2010-2011; instead I worked throughout that year. The only claim I made was during 2009-2010 in the first few months after graduating. And this amount was well under the personal limit allowance anyway.

But HMRC steamed ahead changing my tax code to account for the underpayment, putting my finances under added pressure while I tried to rectify the mistake.

In my battle to prove I had not underpaid, I went back and forth between HMRC and the Job Centre growing increasingly frustrated at the bad record keeping - at one point the Job Centre declared I had never even claimed JSA - for seven months to prove I wasn’t in the wrong. The perseverance meant I saved £113.

Read how to make sure you're on the right tax code and how to get a tax refund if you ever find yourself in a similar situation.

Cashing in on old stuff: £748.82

Over the past year I have had periodic urges to de-clutter and used various methods to make cash from my old stuff.

From January through to July I was able to make £922.59 using eBay to sell 70 items of unwanted furniture, clothes, shoes, bags and electricals. Big sales included two Ikea Hemnes chests of drawers which I sold for £231.90, an iPod for £100 and a knackered Packard Bell laptop that didn’t work for £28.

eBay fees came to £92.26, PayPal fees reached £27.33 and I estimate postage came to near £180 as some people picked up their items. So all in all I managed to make £623 of profit.

I also took part in two car boot sales in the summer which made me £100 in total. If you're interested in maximising your profits like I did take a look at this article: How to be successful at a car boot sale.

Elsewhere I also made smaller gains using Music Magpie (£7.98) to sell old DVDs and Envirophone (£17.84) where I cashed in on a broken Nokia 6700 Classic.

PPI compensation: £448.44

When I went to HSBC to set up a student account six years ago I was mainly in search of a place for my student loan to go into. Plus the account advertised ten free CDs. What I got on top were financial products I barely understood.

As well as an £800 overdraft I was told I was eligible for a credit card with a £500 limit. The advisor told me payment protection insurance needed to be taken out with the card, which I thought was strange at the time as I didn’t have a job.

Years later when the PPI scandal hit I decided to make a claim as I felt it had been mis-sold to me. I didn’t like the thought of paying a company to do it though so I looked at how to do it myself. Back in April I made an initial inquiry to HSBC about how to claim using a template letter and was sent the forms to fill in from my bank a couple of weeks later. 

Thankfully I didn't need to contact the Financial Ombudsman Service to prompt HSBC with a decision and got an offer of redress totalling £448.44 to settle the case seven weeks later. The settlement was made up of the total PPI premiums I had made between October 2006 and April 2012, plus interest that had been applied to my card directly because of the premiums, as well as 8% interest on any money I could have had if I had not taken out PPI and interest applied.

It was a lot easier than sorting out my tax issue that’s for sure.

Traced a lost account: £10.22

When I found an old Abbey passbook this year showing a balance of £8 from back in 2003 I decided to trace the account. I used a website called My Lost Account to locate it and had a result within a few weeks. I was able to get £10.22 back from Santander fuss-free.

Find out more in: How I traced my old Abbey passbook savings account.

Cashback and rewards: £62.16

Back in May I wrote about new cashback website Incahoot Plus (read Incahoot Plus: a new way to earn cashback and save money on your shopping for more). I was very interested in what the site offered so I have been using the service ever since.

So far I have been able to make £24.41 cashback from spending about £249. This has been achieved through putting money on reloadable gift cards for B&Q and Argos for a home renovation project and for general spends in Costa and Boots. It requires a bit of forward thinking but I have found the process very rewarding for purchases I would have made anyway.

For other ways to earn cashback on spending read the top cashback websites and the best cashback credit cards

Shopping has also been lucrative because of my loyalty cards. Over the year I have been able to get £10-worth of vouchers back through points earned on my HMV Pure card, £3.41 on my Boots Advantage card, £4 in Tesco vouchers via my Tesco Clubcard, £3.34 worth of points on my Sainsbury’s Nectar Card and £2.00 on my Superdrug Beauty Card.

Plus through my AA rewards credit card I was able to earn enough points for a £5 HMV voucher and £10 off breakdown cover. Read the best reward credit cards if you too like the thought of being rewarded for spending.

So all in all, a good year for tying up loose ends and making some extra money.

What about you?

How much have you made this year and how did you do it?

More on making extra money:

How to make money in the evening

Ten ways to make money in your lunch hour

Five ways to make money from your car

TA: earn extra money by joining the Territorial Army

Referral schemes: make money from your friends

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Comments (12)

  • yocoxy
    Love rating 152
    yocoxy said

    Having your tax code amended to reclaim £113 put your finances under added pressure (at less than £10 per month if spread over a full tax year) but you spend in Costa?

    http://www.lovemoney.com/news/money-saving-tips-bargains-and-freebies/money-saving-tips/1742/the-true-cost-of-your-caffeine-addiction

    Report on 21 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  3 loves
  • Mike10613
    Love rating 626
    Mike10613 said

    I saved more than that by not living in London, not shopping at Ikea, not taking out PPI, not using my credit card and not needing every new gadget that comes out. My investments didn't do too badly either, despite the fact the country is being run by public schoolboys.

    Report on 21 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  2 loves
  • Matt Ridout
    Love rating 0
    Matt Ridout said

    you can additionally save hundreds of pounds a year by switching to a cheaper energy supplier/tariff, on average around £211 can be shaved off your annual overheads this way

    Report on 21 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • duncanw
    Love rating 1
    duncanw said

    i had ppi on my natwest mastercard between 2005 to 2011,made a complaint and got back just over 1000,came in handy last year as i got it just in time for xmas!!!

    Report on 21 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Chuckwallah
    Love rating 31
    Chuckwallah said

    I have a post office savings account from 1973 with a £5 balance, I wonder how much interest I've earned?

    Report on 22 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • oldhenry
    Love rating 343
    oldhenry said

    As Mike said, the best way to save is not to spend in the first place. The temptations are great as I know and a bargain is hard to resist when you see the emails from aldi/lidl etc.

    After all. retailers do not spend millions on adverts for fun.

    But make your own sandwiches, take a flask of tea with you when you go out. That is the way to save a good bit. And get a woodburner to beat the climate-crazed government who are out to kill the oldies through hypothermia.

    Report on 22 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • Meduza78
    Love rating 18
    Meduza78 said

    a year later on i am going to save about £15 a month by not getting another mobile phone when my current contract ends. today vodafone called me, based on fact that i used to be their customer about 2 years ago. they actually called me yesterday but the connection was lost. so they called me today again. questioning me how much i pay and how many minutes and texts i have... i told them the price and the minutes and also mentioned that i really do not need such amount of minutes and texts allowances as i rarely need use. despite this the woman tried to catch me on unlimited everything and just £2-3 less per month with new phone of my choice (she named about 2 or 3 handsets offered with this deal, none of which were of my interest). i told her that i am very happy with my galaxy s2 and when my contract ends i am going to find the cheapest tariff with internet access (mostly for browsing, which i have free now and up tu 500mb data allowance) and keep my galaxy until it goes dead. she had nothing else to say and said good bye.

    Report on 22 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • riab1879
    Love rating 11
    riab1879 said

    @Meduza78 join GiffGaff. I pay £10 a month 250 minutes, unlimited texts and I get data too but it has been reduced from unlimited to a limit but I never get near that limit but if I did I would only need to pay an additional £2 a month. If you want to join once your contract is up I can send you a link for a sim with £5 free credit.

    Report on 22 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • Meduza78
    Love rating 18
    Meduza78 said

    thanks riab1879. what is the coverage of the giffgaffsignal for browsing around london? t-mobile claim having an excellent coverage, but to be honest, i struggle at some places regularly to just upload facebook or some other websites. reliability of the network is also important for me.

    when the time comes, i will search for the best deal. i got my handset with the cheapest deal on affordablemobiles that time, i even keep on eye on months as i claim cash-back from them for this deal.

    Report on 23 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Soruk
    Love rating 9
    Soruk said

    giffgaff use the same signal as O2, indeed it's wholly owned by Telefonica UK. I won't post my link as riab1879 got in before me.

    Report on 23 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • jonnie2thumbs
    Love rating 107
    jonnie2thumbs said

    I saved about £200,000 when I bought 3 acres of beautiful countryside that had planning permission for conversion of a farm building into a house. All I did was buy the land a few miles south of Portsmouth - in France.......

    Report on 26 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • colinn
    Love rating 1
    colinn said

    How do you find out if you bought PPI in the past?

    Report on 28 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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