This week, I sat down to update my spending diary. During the summer holidays, I haven’t been updating it every day, and ended up with a bunch of receipts, credit card bills and bank statements.
I know, I know. Financial admin is hardly thrilling. But sitting down to tackle money matters every so often can help save serious cash!
Here’s how my spending diary prompted me to boost my bank balance:
Cancelled a direct debit
Looking at my credit card bill meant I spotted that I’m still paying for WeightWatchers digital membership, even though I haven’t been using it. The three month package I originally signed up for had finished, so I rang to cancel. That’s £13.95 a month saved!
Saved on landline and broadband costs
I keep track of bill payments on my spending diary, including our monthly bill for broadband and landline charges.
The August payment was higher than expected so I called Plusnet. We normally pay for a year’s phone line rental in advance, and turned out that had expired. So I signed up for another year’s line rental for just under £200, saving nearly £40 compared to the monthly payments.
While I was on the phone, I asked if there was any other way to cut my bill, and ended up signing up for a longer contract at a lower price, which will save £4 a month. Every little counts!
Happy to stay with Plusnet at a lower price, although if I wanted to go through the faff of switching to a different supplier, I could probably pick up cashback via TopCashback or Quidco.
Submitted a meter reading
Updating our bills also reminded me to check our electricity account. We’re with Bulb, and recently I received £50 for referring a friend, who also got £50 off her bill. I submitted a meter reading to check how much we’ve used recently, and was able to tweak our monthly direct debit slightly, to use up the credit.
Here’s my referral link if you fancy getting £50 for switching to green energy from Bulb
Transferred money between accounts
Checking the transactions on my bank accounts meant I also saw that I’ve actually been paid for some work (yerrrssss!!!).
I hastily transferred cash from my work account to the account used for our household bills, to make sure there was enough to cover my credit card bill.
I pay by credit card wherever possible, as I earn cashback on those transactions, and then clear the whole balance every month. Paying for our holiday cottage in Yorkshire means the next bill is likely to be higher than normal.
Previous post: tips for a coronavirus staycation
Sent an invoice
I keep track of income as well as spending on my spending diary, so adding money coming in reminded me that I hadn’t invoiced for a recent job.
I fired off a quick email to check who I should address it to, bunged over the invoice, and my contact confirmed that it’s been sent for payment.
Claimed a self-employment income support grant
I’m self-employed and my work has taken a bit of a hit due to coronavirus, but at least I’m lucky enough to be able to claim some government cash.
This week, I was able to click through to claim my second SEISS grant. It only took a few minutes armed with my unique taxpayer reference, NI number and Government Gateway log in, and the money should show up next week. You don’t even have to work out how much you might get – the tax man does all the number crunching, based on your tax returns.
To qualify for the self-employment income support scheme (SEISS) you need to have been self-employed since before April 2019, including submitting self-employment pages on your tax return. You also need to earn more than half your income from self-employment, but less than £50,000 in profits, either in 18/19 tax year, or when averaged out 16/17, 17/18 and 18/19, or just over 17/18 and 18/19 if you haven’t been trading so long.
More info on the GOV.UK site here
Confirmed details for money off child care
I also clicked through to confirm that my son still qualifies for tax-free childcare. Once you’ve signed up, you have to reconfirm details every three months.
The advantage is that for every £8 I put into the account, the Government adds £2, and I can then use the money to pay for before and after school clubs at my son’s school.
Shame, admittedly, that’s it all been cancelled due to coronavirus but I live in hope the wrap around provision will return before he turns 12, and no longer qualifies!
Parents can get up to £500 every three months to help with the cost of childcare, whether childminders, nurseries, nannies, after school clubs or play schemes.
More info on the GOV.UK site here
Now – over to you. What have you saved recently by tackling money matters and financial admin? Do share in the comments, I’d love to hear!
Want more frugal inspiration? Do head over and join the Much More With Less #MoneySavingYear Facebook group, to share thrifty tips and support. It’s a private group so your comments won’t be splashed all over your friends’ Facebook feeds.