Ten ways in which households can save money in 2021 - Martin Lewis

Good riddance 2020. Happy New Year. While it’s not the start any of us want, let’s hope things improve substantially. And as the new year starts, to stick with tradition, I’ve my annual New Year’s resolutions for you.

My aim is to show you things you can do now, that should have impact over the year or longer. It could save you thousands of pounds. This year I resolve to:

1. Check if I’m due up to £1,188 via the marriage tax allowance. If you’re married or in a civil partnership, and one of you doesn’t earn enough to pay income tax, and the other does, at the basic 20 per cent rate this is a heads up.

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The marriage tax allowance lets the non-taxpayer apply at www.gov.uk/marriage-allowance to transfer 10 per cent of their personal allowance (the amount you can earn tax-free/tax yr) to their spouse.

Martin Lewis lays out some tips for saving money in 2021.

2. Check if I’m pouring money down the drain. You can’t switch supplier to save on your water bills, but some may be better off with a meter. My general rule of thumb is if you have the same or more number of bedrooms in your house than people then it’s definitely worth checking on www.ccwater.org.uk – some save hundreds of pounds.

3. Check if I can slash thousands of pounds off the year’s mortgage repayments. For those with decent equity in their house, the historically low UK base rate means lower LTV mortgages are super-cheap right now. So everyone check right now if you’re on the best deal. Use www.mse.me/mortgagebestbuy or MoneyFacts.co.uk to benchmark if you may be able to save.

Sadly, if you’re on furlough or self-employed grant it may be more difficult right now, but otherwise use a broker who’ll be able to home in on which lenders are most likely to accept you.

4. Sort a power of attorney. One in three over-65s die with dementia, and many lose their faculties earlier from strokes, accidents, or even due to long covid hospitalisations.

Without a power of attorney to get access to your funds, even to pay for treatment or cover mortgage payments, your family would need to make a hard, slow and costly attempt to apply in court. It only kicks into effect if you lose your faculties. You can do it yourself at www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney or a solicitor can help.

5. Check if you can cut credit card interest by hundreds of pounds. If you can’t afford to clear your credit cards in full, you can’t afford not to check whether you can do a 0 per cent balance transfer. Many cards have eligibility checkers which give your chances pre-application. Or you can see most top cards together in one place via comparison tools, such as the one on my site at www.mse.me/balancetransfer.

6. Take just five minutes to save £200/year on energy bills. It only takes five minutes to put your details into a comparison site and find your best combination of price and service. My www.mse.me/CheapEnergyClub also gives cashback you don’t get going direct, and you can use the Pick Me A Tariff tool, if you find choosing confusing.

7. Make a bank pay me (in wine) to switch. Any new ones will go on www.mse.me/topbankaccounts. The pick of the crop right now is Virgin Money which will give you free 15 bottles of wine (worth £180), plus it’s giving two per cent interest on the first £1,000 in it.

8. Check my savings rate. Rates have dived over the last year. Many now pay at most 0.1 per cent. While the best buys are pretty dismal too, you can earn up to one per cent in a fix. So, check what you’re getting and ditch and switch.

9. Call up a debt counsellor and make the change if you’re struggling. There’s free, one-on-one help from www.citizensadvice.org.uk, www.nationaldebtline.org, and www.stepchange.org, which also runs an online debt advice service.

10. Watch the Martin Lewis Money Show LIVE, Thursday, 8.30pm ITV.