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Money Dashboard are confident that our free budget planner can help you save money, by identifying parts of your life where you over-indulge, and keeping you accountable for your spending. However, we also realise that some people are already great at being thrifty and sticking to a budget. For this reason, we have explored two ways that you can increase your income without altering your lifestyle.
Introductory Offer Inertia
Have you recently been attracted by bonus rates offered by your bank or building society for opening up a new savings account? These offers are common now with companies trying to get their accounts into Best Buy tables, and the low interest rates are very enticing.
Unfortunately, banks and building societies are not obliged to notify savers that an introductory bonus is about to end, so long as the terms have been clearly communicated up front. Inertia is when savers who were attracted by the initial headline rate forget, or don't bother to compare rates again, and you could easily end up earning less interest than you would with a competing account.
Ensure that you review your options when the bonus period runs out. Put a reminder in your diary for around this time so that you can then check how your new (lower!) rate compares and if necessary look around for a competitive alternative.
Many UK taxpayers are unaware that they could be eligible for benefits and tax credits that they are not claiming. It was recently estimated that up to £8 billion worth of state benefits go unclaimed every year. Some people are, therefore, saving on one hand and throwing it away on the other!
Don't automatically assume that these benefits are only for low earners, there is an easy way to find out if you're missing out - through a website called Entitledto. You are especially likely to be entitled to benefits if you are unemployed, disabled, unable to work, elderly, if you have children or if you are a carer of some kind.
According to the Department for Work and Pensions and the Inland Revenue, some of the main benefits which go unclaimed every year are:
- Income support - paid to those who are unable to work and don't have enough money to live on.
- Housing benefit - paid to those on low incomes to help them pay some or all of their rent.
- Council tax benefit - paid to those with low levels of income and savings.
- Jobseeker's allowance - paid to those who are of working age and not in employment.
- Pension credit - paid to those aged over 60, based on their income.
- Finally, tax credits are according to the Government available to over 90% of households via either child tax credits or working tax credits.