We’ve come up with some straightforward ways to put the Bank Holiday to good use and potentially leave you more than better off…
Good Friday: Have an online Easter clear out
Why not kick-start the long weekend by making some cash from a mammoth clear out? Have a good rummage in your cupboards and fish out those dusty, long-forgotten items that you never use anymore. Be ruthless - if you haven’t worn or used it in the past 18 months, chances are you never will.
You could be amazed by what you stumble across – venturing into your loft could reveal an old lampstand or dress from the 80s that you'd completely forgotten about. And yet, someone somewhere could be seeking one just like it. So set up an eBay account, list your items… and away you go.
People make a living out of selling their stuff online, and we reckon you could start your Easter weekend off approximately £130 richer in this way.
Total potential earnings: £130
Easter Saturday: Switch to save
Our research recently revealed that 43% of people are now turning to price comparison websites to shop around for the best deals. So why not join them and see how much you could save?
For example, our number-crunchers at MoneySupermarket found that customers who switched their energy tariff to the best deal could reduce their annual energy bill by 22% – that’s a mammoth £282 per household.
But don’t just stop at energy. When was the last time you reviewed your broadband package? Do you really watch all those channels or could you cope with a more limited choice?
Take a look at our broadband comparison service to see if you can get a better deal. Our research shows you could save as much as £218 – how many Easter eggs could you buy with THAT?
And while you're at it, see if you can get a better deal on your mobile phone via our comparison channel. If you're happy with your current mobile phone and your contract is coming to an end, consider switching to a SIM-only tariff. This will work out to be much better value for money and you could easily save £100 a year.
Total potential savings: £600
Easter Sunday: Spring clean your bank account
It’s easy to leave your current account to stagnate but it's worth taking the time to shop around and see whether there is a better current account out there to suit your needs.
For example, if you are in the habit of using your overdraft each month and you're being charged for the privilege, shop around to find one that won't charge you.
Switching to First Direct’s 1st Account, for example, will bag you a £250 interest-free overdraft and you'll get £100 in cash on top! Be aware you'll need to pay in at least £1,500 a month, (this is falling to £1,000 on April 1 for new customers and May 1 for existing ones) OR have another financial product with the bank such as a savings account.
Alternatively, you'll need another financial product with the bank such as a savings account.
Alternatively, if you are always in the black, look for a current account that will reward you. Nationwide’s FlexDirect, for example, offers a tasty annual equivalent rate (AER) of 5.00% on credit balances up to £2,500 for the first 12 months.
Maintaining a balance of this size would give you £100 after tax. Again, you must pay in £1,000 a month to receive this rate. For more information, read Mel Wright’s article ‘Top current accounts if you are in credit’
Total potential earnings: £100
Easter Monday: Find out what you could be entitled to
An easy way to make even more savings is to take advantage of the benefits that your employer offers. So use this time to dig out your contract, and any other information your employer gave you when you started your role, to find out exactly what you're entitled to and what you could be missing out on.
For example, if you are a fitness enthusiast, check whether your company offers a gym membership discount or if you can get a corporate rate. This could save you around £10 a month, or £120 a year.
If you need regular eye tests, find out whether your employer will cover this and whether they will pay a proportion towards glasses or contact lenses. You might, for example, get £20 towards the cost of an eye test and £50 towards the cost of your glasses.
Childcare costs are another huge expense to many working families, so look into whether your employer offers help with this through tax-free vouchers.
Currently, those joining their employer's childcare voucher scheme don't pay tax or National Insurance on these vouchers up to the value of £55 a week (for basic rate taxpayers), saving parents around £1,000 a year.
However, from 2015 this will change under a new scheme that was announced in the recent Budget. Working families will receive up to £1,200 per child each year to help with costs, so long as they fulfil certain criteria. For more information, read Melanie Wright’s article ‘Will you get help with childcare costs?’
- Total potential savings: £120 (gym) + £70 (eye test and glasses) + £1,000 (childcare vouchers = £1,190)
Get richer this Easter
So, this Easter weekend, forget about painting the shed or putting up shelves. Instead, use the four-day break to follow these tips and you could be £2,020 better off at the end of it. That's pretty good-going for a lazy Bank Holiday weekend!
Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.