Which restaurants near you are taking part in the government's new Eat Out to Help Out scheme?
Financial Education Textbook, Santander 123 account warning, new ‘Eat out to help out’ tool, new 5-day passport fast track and urgent tax credit renewal deadline. These are our Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis’ Tips of the Week.
Remember, deals can change quickly, even while I’m on the programme. So always double-check the terms and conditions before spending. Plus, while I hope these deals will save you cash, don’t spend if you can’t afford it, don’t need it, or won’t use it.
Free financial education textbook (England)The new curriculum mapped textbook for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland has been announced today. Yet anyone can already download a free copy of the English Schools financial education textbook – useful for 14 – 18-year-olds, and quite a few adults as well.
Santander 123 slashed interest and now the 123 Lite's doubling its fee - time to ditch?In January, it was announced the once-great Santander 123 current account would drop its interest from 1.5% to 1%. I said then it was a dead duck - though that rate doesn't look too awful now - but from Monday, it's dropping again to 0.6%, which is paltry interest that makes it far from worth the £5/mth fee.
One option for 123 customers was to move money to top savings and drop down to the Santander 123 Lite account, which pays no interest, has a much lower fee, but still gives the same cashback. Yet this week, we learnt that from 27 October it changes too...
- The 123 Lite account fee is doubling from £1/mth to £2/mth.
- Phone, TV & broadband cashback cut from 3% to 1%, water cashback up from 1% to 3%. By doing this twee cashback dance on both the main and Lite accounts, Santander can still call them '123' accounts, but as people on average pay thrice the bills on phone, TV and broadband than they do on water, in reality it's a cashback cut.
Of course, less cashback and a bigger fee is a pain in the bum. Yet there's little better out there. So, for most, if you'll still earn more cashback than the fee costs, you may as well stick. For someone with typical to big bills you can currently earn £60 to £100 after the fee, that’s likely to drop to £40 to £90 in October. You do need to meet the £500/mth minimum pay in though.Read Martin’s full Santander 123 Lite analysis to see how you'll be affected and how it compares.
And just a reminder, if you’re still struggling with finances due to coronavirus you can still get the first £500 overdraft interest free – but for many banks its policy has changed from auto 0% overdrafts, to only helping those struggling due to coronavirus who ask for assistance. You have till 31 October to ask. So, if that's you - ask. Plus, many banks are also bringing in new 40% interest rates on overdrafts – but again if you’re struggling, and the new overdraft interest means you’ll pay more, talk to your bank as then it can’t charge you more than you were paying before.
Government’s new Eat Out to Help Out tool is launched - which restaurants near you are taking part?
Throughout August, the Government is running an ‘Eat out to help out’ scheme – which gives 50% of food and non-alcoholic drink up to £10 per person on sit-down meals from Monday to Wednesday. It’ll work at over 53,000 restaurants and cafés. The Government has just launched a new postcode checker which is really useful to help you find eligible restaurants. Two things to know about it though:1. It doesn’t include the big chains, like Nando’s and McDonalds, they’re listed separately
2. It only includes the nearest 100 to you. So, tweak to a different postcode to see a wider range.The discount is automatically applied, and you can use it along other vouchers and in-house offers too.New 5-day fast-track passport renewal if you're stuck in the long backlog.
Holiday plans are up in the air for many people, but if you are going abroad soon, you need to check if your passport is valid and has enough months left on it for you to travel. But there’s been a huge backlog of 410,000 UK passport applications, and I’ve heard some sad stories of people having to cancel their plans as their passport renewal hasn’t come back in time.Yet now, the Government says if you’re a UK based traveller and submitted your application over four weeks ago, and you can prove (have travel documents to hand) you’re due to travel within the next fortnight the Passport Office will speed up your application so that the passport is delivered within five working days. To do this call it on 0300 222 0000 and request your application is fast-tracked. For a brand new passport, it’ll still take longer due to additional security checks.Urgent. Tax credit renewal deadline is THIS FRIDAY (31 Jul) - check now for errors.
If you receive tax credits you should have received a tax credits renewal pack – nearly 3 million have been sent out - if you haven’t yet received one, call the tax credits helpline ASAP on 0345 300 3900.
Depending on the letter you receive, some people MUST respond or payments could stop. And the deadline to return it is tomorrow (Friday 31 July) – so contact them ASAP. If you fail to renew, your credits could be stopped, or you could end up being overpaid, which sounds good, but can be a nightmare, as you’ll need to pay it back.For most, credits will automatically renew this year as so many have been affected by the coronavirus crisis - but you could still lose out if your info's wrong, so check and TELL 'EM if it's not right. You can renew online at HMRC, by 11.59pm tomorrow, on its mobile app (free download from Google Play or the Apple app store) or call it on 0345 300 3900 (open from 8am till 4pm).
In terms of exactly what you need to do, that depends on the colour of the line underneath your address and reference number on the form:RED LINE ON YOUR ‘DECLARATION FORM’: Here, you MUST check all the details on the form are correct and answer a few assessment questions. Then you MUST sign it and send it back, or tell it online, on the app, or call it.
BLACK LINE ON YOUR ‘REVIEW NOTICE’ FORM: This is just a statement for you to look through and indicate if anything has changed. If it’s correct, you don’t need to do anything – your credits will be automatically renewed. If you’ve changed, YOU MUST call the hotline or report it online, as doing nothing could mean you get the wrong amount next year. Though one exception here, is if your income has changed due to coronavirus – i.e. you were furloughed or put on reduced hours, you DON’T need to report this change, as HMRC will treat it as if you’re on normal hours.For anything else though, even if not at renewal, remember if anything changes, TELL 'EM, TELL 'EM, TELL 'EM. eg, moving in/out with a partner, income, kids, childcare costs. As if there are any changes, and you don’t tell them can cause you massive problems.