Urgent claim up to £1,150 married tax break, £17m Tesco Clubcard vouchers expiring, free Valentine’s Day gift cheques, new joint easy-access savings account and self-assessment 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.
Married tax allowance claims to be cut in April - if you're hitched grab £1,150 NOW
It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow – an over-commercialised celebration that puts peer pressure on people to spend to be romantic (can you bah humbug on Valentine’s Day?)
I’ve mentioned before that if you’re married or in a civil partnership you can claim an easy tax break worth up to £1,150.
The marriage tax allowance is for married couples or those in a civil partnership where one is a non-tax payer and the other a basic-rate 20% taxpayer. The non-taxpayer can apply to have 10% (£1,250 for this tax year) of their tax-free allowance shifted to the taxpayer. This means £1,250 of income they were taxed on at 20% is now tax-free – a £250/year gain done via altering your tax code.
Plus, as long as you were eligible for that time, you can claim back up to 4 tax years. As this allowance started in 2015/16, that means if you don't claim it by this April, you lose that first year's allowance of £212 – so go quick. A huge 2.4million are missing out, so it’s worth checking out on the Gov website and it’s the non-tax payer who should claim.
Warning £17m of Tesco Clubcard vouchers are expiring in Feb – checks yours now
If you have a Clubcard, you earn one point for each pound spent at Tesco. Points are then issued as vouchers every three months, or you can request to have them added to your account instantly through the 'Faster Vouchers' scheme.
However, the vouchers are only valid for two years after they're issued (21 months if issued as Faster Vouchers). and this week Tesco has revealed that vouchers worth £17 million are set to expire on Saturday 29 February, so check now if you've some that are unspent.
To check, you can have a look on the vouchers itself for the expiry date, or log into the Clubcard website, or app and select 'My Clubcard' and then 'Vouchers’ - you should see a table listing your available vouchers and their expiry dates (many people find more than they think there are).
Once you've found your vouchers, you can spend them instore or online for a bigger discount of up to three times its value on things such as engagement rings at Goldsmiths (good for valentines) or restaurants such as Pizza Express and days out like Thorpe Park and Longleat Safari.
Alternatively, if you’re not ready to spend the vouchers, there's a crafty trick that can extend their expiry date for another two years. Buy something small on the Clubcard site using a voucher and the remaining balance will then be credited back to your Clubcard account as points. They'll then be reissued as new vouchers (with an expiry date up to two years in the future). So, if you spend 50p on a £10 voucher, you'll get £9.50 as new vouchers.
Free Valentine’s gift cheques: Thoughtfulness, melts the heart far more than a pricey prezzie. There are free Valentine’s gift cheques online which you can print out and give. Then when they present it to you, you’ll do whatever it says on demand. It could be anything like a 20-minute foot massage, doing the washing up or agreeing to dinner at the in-laws, or something more saucy which you can leave to your imagination.
Top-easy access joint savings: A joint savings account is a useful way to put money aside for holidays, big purchases or rainy days, as both of you can monitor the balance and add to it at any time. And just this week, top-pick easy-access account from Marcus Bank has opened up applications to joint savers, meaning you don't have to sacrifice on rate to get the benefits of a joint account. It pays 1.35% AER variable on balances of £1+ and allows unlimited withdrawals. If you've savings earning less, ditch and switch! You can’t add a partner to an existing Marcus savings account – but could close it and open a new joint one (though those who’ve had them a while maybe earning more).
Self-assessment deadline is changing. For those who struggled to do your tax self-assessment in time for the 31 January deadline – a very important note that next tax year they're changing the deadline to 30 NOV! So diarise it now, to ensure you're sorted by then!