If you look at your bank balance at the end of the month and ask yourself, ‘Where’s the money gone?’ read on. In this article we look a couple of ideas to stop the drain of cash from your account.
Payment protection insurance
Did you sign up for payment protection insurance when you took out a loan or credit card? Payment protection insurance (PPI) is designed to help cover your repayments if you have an accident, are ill, or become unemployed. However in past years people have been missold this insurance You may have been told that it is compulsory, which it isn’t, or been sold the insurance when you have cover elsewhere. If you are a pensioner, self employed or unemployed, you may have wrongly been sold insurance against becoming unemployed. And you can be paying out pounds every month for this cover.
Check your own circumstances by reading the paperwork with your load or credit card. If you think you have been missold PPI you can reclaim what you have paid. There are template letters to help you do this on Money Saving Expert. The site can also help you work out if you are getting a good deal on the insurance that you DO need: insurance offered with a loan or card is often dearer than an independent product.
Another way to save money is to look through the direct debits and standing orders that you have. If you have online banking you should be able to check this instantly, or simply take the time to go through your bank statement. If you can’t identify where the money is going, ask your bank to help. You my find that you are still paying out for subscriptions that you no longer need. Cancel these by writing to your bank. The Direct Debit guarantee also means that if the originator or the bank/building society makes an error you are guaranteed a full and immediate refund of the amount paid. So, get in touch with the bank if you think that money is coming out of your account in error.
Council tax rebanding
Council tax takes a big chunk out of everyone’s monthly income, and it is relatively simple to see if you are paying a fair amount or whether it is worth asking for a council tax reband. The first thing to do is check out your neighbours’ banding to see if you are all paying around the same amount or if some houses on your street are in a lower band than yours. Look on the Valuation Office Agency website in England, and in Scotland use the Scottish Assessors Association. Then, work out what your house was worth in 1991 to get an idea of the correct band. If you think you are paying more than neighbours with a similar property, get in touch with your Local Listing Officer. Make sure that you’re sure that your property is overvalued, though, as they can also put you up a band!
This article is by Gemma Johnson, co-founder of www.babeecard.com
Winner of Mumpreneur of the year 2009 sponsored by WBMN
BaBeeCard Winner of Best Gift Card Award 2009 by Prepaid365.com