Power down on bills. A raft of taxes and utilities goes up from 1 April: council tax, water, energy, mobile and broadband. While you can do nothing about the first (though check your eligibility for discounts) or the second, you can and should do something about the others. See our guides to switching to better deals.
Use your pension and Isa allowances. The tax year ends this Friday. You have until then to max out pensions and submit this year’s Isa limit of up to £20,000 or lose it forever. And of course, from 6 April you can start using the 2019-2020 allowance, again of £20,000.
Last-minute holiday checks. Make sure you’ve got insurance, travel money and that passports are up to date before any Easter travel. Don’t get ripped off by the high street banks or at the airport bureaux de change: see Jane’s blog on getting the best deal on foreign cash.
National Savings & Investments Guaranteed Growth and Income Bonds on sale from 1 May. Fixed rates of 1.5% for one year growth bond, 1.95% for three years. It's 1.45% for one year income and 1.9% for three year income. WE LIKE: NS&I is ultra-safe and rates are reasonable, but only the three year deals beat inflation. Minimum investment is £500. WE DON’T LIKE: Three years is a long time to fix for and you can’t get at your money within the term (apart from the first 30 days cooling off period). The bonds are online only and the maximum investment is £10,000.
DEALS OF THE WEEK:
Look out for the new Too Good to Waste boxes at Lidl stores nationwide. Each box costs £1.50 and contains about five kilos of fruit and veg which is slightly damaged or discoloured but still good to eat. Available from opening until midday after which they are given to local charities.
Grab some free opera and ballet this summer with live-streamed action from the Royal Opera House courtesy of the BP Big Screens festival. The three productions are (ballet) Romeo and Juliet on 11 June, Carmen on 2 July and The Marriage of Figaro on 9 July. At 23 outdoor venues nationwide, times vary but usually around 7 pm. Take a picnic and friends!
Ahead of the Easter holidays, why not try a trial of Kids Pass*? It’s just £1 for 30 days which should cover the school break nicely. The mobile app gives you 40% off adult and children cinema tickets, every day of the week, as well as loads of discounts on days out and ‘kids eat for free’ deals at restaurants.
WORTH A LOOK:
A glimpse of warmer weather has had us checking our wardrobes. If you need a refresh, there’s an at least 50% sale off womenswear at Boden. Buy via Quidco* and if you’re a new customer, you get 8% cashback and an extra £10 for being an SMM reader!
Thousands of investors with collapsed firm London & Capital Finance are unlikely to get back much more than 20% of their investments. The firm failed in January, owing £236 million, but investors were not protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
In other news, RBS and NatWest announced they will no longer replace cheque books automatically when they run out: customers will have to ask for replacements. And house prices in England have fallen over the past 12 months, says Nationwide. This is the first annual fall since 2012.
Lastly, the cost of the average funeral has risen by 6% every year for the past 14 years: just as well the Competition and Markets Authority is investigating the sector.
HAVE YOUR SAY ...
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Save on specialist carpet cleaners either by using cheap shaving foam (a tip from BBC Radio 4) or simply move a bit of furniture or a rug over the stain (free).
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