12 ways to make and save money in 2024 - Which? News (2024)

Four in 10 people expect no improvement to their personal finances in 2024, according to a survey by AJ Bell.

In response to higher inflation, 74% said they made lifestyle cutbacks in 2023, with 40% having reduced their energy usage.

If you're wondering how to make your money go further in 2024, we've rounded up 12 tips to help cut your bills and boost your bank balance.

1. Shift your savings

Now is a good time to consider locking away some cash in a fixed-rate savings account to take advantage of higher interest rates.

The Bank of England has held the base rate at 5.25% following a series of successive hikes and isn’t expected to increase it again any time soon, meaning savings rates are unlikely to improve.

If you have money with one of the high-street banks, it's even more important to check if you could be getting a better deal elsewhere, as their rates are usually beaten by smaller competitors.

  • Find out more: Best savings accounts 2023

2. Haggle on your insurance

Rising insurance premiums have been piling pressure on already stretched household budgets.

The good news is it’s still possible to negotiate these prices down. Our survey of 1,992 car insurance customers found that among those who haggled with their provider at renewal, 51% managed to cut up to £40 from the price, while 12% saved more than £100.

Check comparison sites to see what prices competitors are offering, quote these to your current provider and tell it you’re willing to go elsewhere, unless it matches or betters a competitor’s offer.

If all else fails, you can ask to speak to their retentions department who may be able to offer you a better deal.

  • Find out more: Best car insurers revealed

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3. Beef up your bank account

Switching your current account provider takes just seven working days and can quickly pay off. Some banks pay an upfront cash bonus for your business.

Just make sure the account you choose matches your needs. You should also weigh up whether a paid-for account could ultimately save you money.

Packaged accounts include extra benefits – typically travel insurance, car breakdown cover and mobile phone insurance – in exchange for a monthly fee.

They can be good value, if you make use of the benefits.

Nationwide’s £13-a-month FlexPlus account tops our list of best packaged current accounts. As well as having top policy scores for mobile insurance and breakdown cover, the account is one of only three we reviewed to offer fee-free cash withdrawals and spending abroad.

  • Find out more: How to switch your current account

4. Switch your energy tariff

With the price cap set to rise in January, a typical household’s energy bill will increase from £1,834 to £1,928.

However, you could end up paying more or less depending on your usage, as the cap only applies to unit rates, and not the overall amount you’re charged.

Take a reading on or close to 31 December so you don’t overpay for any energy used before the new cap takes effect.

After many months when the cheapest option was to stay on a variable tariff, some competitive fixed deals have now re-emerged.

When weighing these up, check the unit rates and compare them to the cap. Avoid fixing higher than the unit rates in your current deal or for longer than a year.

  • Find out more: How to get the best energy deal

5. Make money from your home

If you’re planning a new year clear-out, consider selling items on second-hand marketplaces such as Depop, eBay or Vinted. Thanks to the ‘trading allowance’ you can make up to £1,000 a year tax-free from doing this.

This allowance also covers other ways of making money from your home – for example, renting out your driveway or garage on sites such as JustPark and YourParkingSpace to drivers searching for a cheaper or guaranteed parking spot. You can register your space free of charge, and earn anything from £50 to £800 a month.

A potentially more lucrative – but more disruptive – option is to hire out your home as a film or TV set via websites such as Amazing Space. Bear in mind that bigger projects can take a long time, with crews unloading vans of equipment and dressing your home to their liking before the shoot even begins.

6. Boost your pension

If you’re yet to retire and are in line for a pay rise or bonus in the coming year, think about using this extra money to boost your pension contributions.

According to calculations by Standard Life, one-off pension contributions of £1,000 every five years could boost your pot by £23,000 in retirement.

If you've built up multiple pension pots with different employers it's also worth considering consolidating your savings. This not only cuts down on admin but can reduce the charges you pay.

Over the long term, moving your savings to a cheaper scheme can significantly boost the value of your pension: moving a £100,000 pot from a provider that charges 0.75% to one that charges 0.25% could leave you more than £17,000 better off after 20 years.

  • Find out more: How much will you need to retire?

7. Invest for less

When carrying out the next review of your investments, don’t forget to check what charges you’re paying.

The most expensive tracker funds can charge 20 times more than the cheapest, according to research from AJ Bell.

For example, the most expensive fund tracking the UK’s stock market charges 1.06%, while the cheapest charges 0.05%.

According to AJ Bell, this could mean a difference of £1,800 in returns over a decade, based on a £10,000 investment. A £100,000 investment could get a £9,000 boost from switching to the lowest-cost trackers.

Keep an eye on your platform charges, too. As with fund fees, you’ll continue to pay these regardless of how your investments perform.

  • Find out more: Compare investment platform fees and charges

8. Swap your grocery shop

Think twice before opting for convenience when grocery shopping: Which? research has found that if you bought a trolley of 75 items a week at Tesco Express, it would cost you over £800 more over the course of a year than if you'd shopped at a Tesco supermarket.

There are also substantial differences between the big stores: Aldi was named the cheapest supermarket for November 2023 by Which?, knocking Lidl off the top spot – our basket of 47 items cost £76.77. That's 21% cheaper than Waitrose, the most expensive.

Opting for own-brand products over well-known names can help you cut costs further – and it doesn't necessarily mean compromising on taste. Aldi's own-label The Juice Company orange juice, for example, scored 77% in our taste test, beating Tropicana (73%), which is more than twice the price.

  • Find out more: How to spend less at the supermarket

9. Get cashback as you shop

Cashback credit cards pay you a percentage of what you spend. Usually, you'll get this as a credit on your bill, or in some cases it'll be paid straight into your bank account.

Other reward credit cards will offer points based on your spending, often linked to particular retailers, which can be converted into vouchers. Bear in mind that both cashback and reward credit cards typically charge an annual fee, so you'll need to spend on it regularly to be able to offset this.

Some bank accounts also pay cashback on your essential spending. For example, Santander's Edge Up account pays 1% cashback (up to £15 a month) at supermarkets and on travel costs. It has a monthly fee of £5.

  • Find out more: Best cashback and reward credit cards 2023

10. Check if you’re eligible for any benefits

Many state benefits and discounts aren't granted automatically, meaning you could be missing out. For example, latest figures show that just six in 10 people who are eligible for pension credit claimed it last year.

You can check what you might be able to claim by entering your details into the free Entitledto calculator.

  • Find out more:Universal Credit explained

11. Claim tax relief

Tax relief allows you to deduct some payments you make during the tax year from your gross income, so there's less for you to be taxed on.

For example, if you're self-employed, you're able to claim expenses on things you have to pay for in order to run your business – from office supplies to costs for running a business premises or facilities for working from home.

If you’re married or in a civil partnership and on a low household income, you could be eligible for marriage allowance. To qualify, one partner must be a basic-rate taxpayer, and the other must have an income below the personal allowance (£12,570). Effectively, £1,260 of the lower earning partner’s personal allowance is transferred to the higher earner.

HMRC has a free online service where you can claim back overpaid tax, which might be the case if you've missed out on tax reliefs you were eligible for – like pension contributions, fuel costs or maintaining work clothing for your job.

  • Find out more: Tax relief: your questions answered

12. Apply for a broadband social tariff

Social tariffs are special discounted deals available for certain low-income customers. They're generally cheaper than typical broadband tariffs, starting at just £12 per month. They also usually aren't subject to price rises or exit fees.

Our research has shown that moving to a social tariff could save the average customer £250 a year if they're eligible.

You're likely to be eligible for a social tariff if you receive a means-tested state benefit, such as universal credit, pension credit or legacy equivalents.

The exact requirements depend on the broadband provider in question. Check our guide on social broadband tariffs to find out which providers offer social tariffs and the exact eligibility criteria for each one.

  • Find out more: All you need to know about broadband social tariffs
12 ways to make and save money in 2024 - Which? News (2024)
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