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A penny saved…


We all know agents don’t enter the market for high salaries and company cars. And with more commission cuts, every penny counts.


If you make a few savings here and there, you could find yourself with a bit more money in your pocket at the end of the month. Follow Travel Weekly’s guide to 10 of the best ways to make your money go further.

























SWAP YOUR CREDIT CARD
for one which has 0% interest. That way, your monthly repayments will be going towards paying off the loan rather than lining the pockets of the credit-card company.

Right now, Virgin, MBNA Platinum Plus and Mint all offer 0% credit for nine months on their cards. If you owe £1,000 on your current card, with a typical interest rate of 15.9%, you are spending £159 a year on interest. This is cash that could be going in your pocket instead.
Also, close any store cards since the interest rates are astronomical. If you need to put anything on credit, use your new 0% credit card.

WATCH YOUR BILLS

Take a look at your utility bills – you could be paying more than you need to. There are dozens of companies out there fighting for your custom and all of them are busy undercutting each other to offer you the best deal on your gas, electricity and phone bill.

Log on to Uswitch.com, tap in your address and current suppliers and find out who gives the best rate in your area. Switching to all the cheapest providers in your neighbourhood can save you around £100 a year.


BARTER AND KEEP MOVING

If you’re trying go sell your house, don’t just accept the commission rate your chosen estate agent says they charge – haggle for a lower one. Even a half a percent saving could save you £500 on a £100,000 property.


Don’t be embarrassed – estate agents will barter without batting an eyelid.


Once moved in, if you’ve chosen a fixed-rate mortgage, monthly payments could leap up once the fixed period is over. Shop around and move to a mortgage with a better rate.


SAVE YOUR MONEY  
Little daily savings can make a big difference, too. Instead of grabbing those expensive M&S lunches every day, bring in your own sandwiches. In one month, you could save around £60, based on spending an average of £3 a day.

Plus cutting out that daily trip to the shops might help you to stop spending on other whim purchases, too.

GET THE EXTRAS

Don’t forget selling extras to clients is always an option. You don’t have to do the hard sell, just make them aware of all the bolt-ons there are. For instance, have they thought about airport parking, lounge passes, private transfers, a room upgrade or even a little bit of spa pampering when they get to their destination?

BANK ON IT
You could be paying far more in banking interest and overdraft charges than you need to.

Around 90% of people stay with the bank they opened an account with as a teenager because they can’t be bothered to switch. But these days, banks will do the hard work for you.

Scan the money sections of the papers to see who is offering what. Many banks offer introductory interest-free periods on overdrafts. With 14% interest on your £500 overdraft, this means £70 a year.

MAKE A POINT
Actually use those loyalty rewards schemes. The big retailers want to know about your spending patterns – the reason for reward schemes in the first place – and you can use this to your advantage.

Boots’ scheme has been hailed by the experts as one of the best on the market and will give you four points per £1 spent in-store or online. Every point you earn will give you 1p to spend.

The Nectar card is also worth having and can be used at Sainsbury’s (two points per £1 spent), Debenhams (two points per £1 spent) and BP (one point per litre of petrol bought), among others. For every 500 points you’ll be able to spend £2.50 with the likes of Sainsbury’s, TGI Friday’s, McDonald’s, Odeon, Blockbuster, Lunn Poly, DFDS, Eurotunnel, BMI and Virgin Atlantic.

TAX YOURSELF

Look into the Government’s tax credit system. Nine out of 10 families with children can claim family tax credits; and those with low household incomes also can claim working tax credits.

The amount you can claim depends on your personal circumstances but for more information, visit Taxcredits. inlandrevenue.gov.uk.

ASK FOR A DISCOUNT
 
The current retail industry slump gives the buyer power – make the most of it. Always ask for a discount, especially on large items or on bulk purchasing, and, at the very least, ask for interest-free credit.

If you are buying a £2,000 sofa and paying for it over a year, this could save you hundreds. An interest rate of 15% avoided is £300 saved.

PAY DIRECT
You can still save yourself some money, even when you are slumped on the sofa at home, reading a magazine.

If you pay your utility bills by direct debit, you can get up to a 10% discount. On a yearly average gas bill of £250, that’s £25. Do that for every bill and that’s a significant saving over the year.

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