Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Things worth doing before April 1st

I'm subscribed to the Money Saving Expert email list and have found the site extremely useful over the years.  This week's email was particularly interesting and had a list of things to do to before April 1st.  I'll certainly be off to superdrug to stock up on stamps!  All links are to MSE.

  • Visit dentists now. English NHS dental charges rise by c. 3%. If you're due treatment, go now to save. Welsh charges are frozen at 2006 prices while Scotland & NI still charge for individual treatments. april changes
  • Beat 12% stamp rise. On 4 April, 1st-class stamps jump 5p to 46p and 2nd-class 4p to 36p. Stock up on any labelled 1st or 2nd now and they'll stay valid. Plus Superdrug has 5% off 1st-class; see Cheap Stamps.
  • Prescriptions UP 20p in England. Charges jump from £7.20 to £7.40; regulars can beat this with prepay certificates. See Cheap Prescriptions.
  • Water bills rise 4.6% in England & Wales. If you've MORE bedrooms in your house than people, consider a meter (see Water Savings).
  • Top up your state pension. On 6 April the full state pension rises £4.50 to £102.15. To get the full amount, you must have paid enough National Insurance. Whether you've already retired or are close, buying missed NI years may boost future payouts; applying by 5 April makes it cheaper and could mean a rebate. Full guide with calc in Pension Top Ups.
  • Housing benefit slashed in April. A million people face average £600/yr cuts. See the Housing Benefit Cuts Help guide for help.
  • Sign up to childcare vouchers NOW. Higher-rate taxpayers wanting to join a work scheme to pay for childcare from pre-tax income must do it asap. On 6 April, the max drops from £55 vouchers/week to £28 for them, UNLESS already in a scheme. So even if you don't need 'em quite yet, as voucher dates are long, join the scheme at the min level, to be eligible for the bigger maximum later. See Childcare Vouchers.
  • BT line rental increases. On 28 April BT hikes line rental from £13.60/mth to £13.90 (£167/yr). Yet Primus's Line Rental Saver* (via this link) is currently £6.79/mth or its Home Phone Saver* is £7.99/mth with inclusive eve & wknd landline calls. To stick with BT, its Line Rental Saver* is £120 for a year upfront, equiv to £10/mth incl wknd calls; see Cheap Home Phones.
  • Give to charity asap. Tick Gift Aid on donations and charities can reclaim tax, so if a basic taxpayer gives £1, they get £1.28. Tax spods will spot that's actually more than the tax we pay as the Govt chips in an extra 3p per £1 donated. This extra disappears 5 April. See Give More To Charity.

    He adds:
    "And that's just the start, on 5 April a host of tax & benefits changes hit, though with most of those there's little you can do to impact it."