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We’re all a tad strapped for cash right now – or if not now, we’re worried about what the future could hold. You could easily get your hands on free money pretty quickly though – there are lots of ways to make sure you’re getting all the financial support you’re entitled to AND claim free cash from lots of different sources.
Here’s how to get free money:
- Apply for Grants
- Claim Credit Back
- Use Cashback Sites
- Switch Bank Accounts
- Apply for Benefits and Council Tax Support
- Get Paid to Surf the Internet
- Reclaim Your Student Loan Overpayments
- Switch Energy Supplier
- Check Your Tax Code
- Refer Friends to Schemes
Apply for Grants
If you’re on a low income or struggling financially, there’s a whole host of grants you could apply for. Finding them, however, can be a time-consuming task if you do the searching yourself. That’s why we love the Turn2Us Grant Finder Tool which helps you filter grants suited to your specific circumstances.
Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for anything, take a look! There are lots of strange grants available, so you could find one you’re eligible to apply for – might as well try!
Just remember that grants may affect your benefit entitlement. A large cash lump sum that takes your savings over £6,000 will reduce any Universal Credit you currently receive – and if you have over £16,000 in savings or assets (not including your primary home), you won’t qualify for any. If you need a grant for something specific, such as white goods, sometimes it’s worth asking the grant provider to purchase the item directly rather than transferring you the cash.
Claim Credit Back
Is your energy bill in credit? Have you had refunds to your credit card lately – such as from a cancelled holiday? These types of credit are easy to forget about – but they’re YOUR money and you’re entitled to ask for it back!
If you’re in credit with any supplier or credit card company, get in touch with them to arrange a refund back to your bank account. Some providers might take ages to get back to you, but they’re not allowed to refuse a refund. Even if the credit card is no longer in use, for example, you are entitled to receive that cash back. Many people found, for example, that they had a zero balance on a credit card that they’d used to pay for a holiday this year. That balance will now be thousands of pounds in credit – and some people may think they can’t get that money into their bank account any more. That’s wrong! It’s YOUR money, you can get it back. Speak to your credit card provider to arrange a bank transfer. They’re not allowed to charge fees for that kind of transfer, either!
Use Cashback Sites
Cashback sites like TopCashBack and Quidco offer incentives for you to sign up. As soon as you’re a member and you’ve completed a valid transaction, you’ll get the bonus in your account. It’s also well worth signing up to both – or several – cashback sites. Not only will you get more sign up bonuses, but some retailers have exclusive deals with certain sites, so you can only get cashback through those. Having an account with each maximises your opportunity for earning cashback. It also means you can compare each site for the best cashback rate for each retailer – some will offer the same on all sites, while others could have as much as a 10% difference – especially on special offers and deals!
We love cashback sites, because it’s not really FREE money – but you can earn a tidy return on things you were going to buy anyway. Think of it more like getting a discount on your purchases rather than free money. However, if you set aside your cashback, there’s lots you can do with it to earn free money. For example, why not transfer your cashback into a stocks and shares savings account – you could earn big returns! In fact, if you have a Help to Save account or a Lifetime ISA, you’re looking at an extra 50% (HtS) or 25% (LISA) boost on your cashback earnings which really IS free money from the Government. How fab!
Switch Bank Accounts
Bank deals were on hold for a while this year – but they’re back on the market again! You can get free money just for switching your bank account to a new provider. Yes, really!
Make sure you count as a ‘new customer’ before switching. Some allow previous customers to return after a few years, while others won’t let you claim these deals if you have an account with a bank in their group – such as HSBC and First Direct.
Deals change all the time, but you can often snag at least £100 just for switching your current account. Check the latest deals available before you switch – and make sure you’re eligible for paying in criteria, too. If you won’t meet minimum monthly pay-ins, you can often get around this by paying in one amount, withdrawing, then paying the same cash back in. A tidy loophole!
Apply for Benefits and Council Tax Support
Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for benefits, it’s always worth looking to find out for sure. Eligibility rules change from time to time, and your income may be different now than a few months ago, so you could now qualify for them when you couldn’t before.
Universal Credit rolls most benefits into one monthly payment. It’s a household payment based on your total household income and assets – so it’s paid to one partner in couples that live together. It covers things like Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment Support Allowance, and also helps with housing costs if you need assistance with your rent.
You could also qualify for other benefits, such as Personal Independence Payment if you have a disability, or Carer’s Allowance if you look after someone.
Your local council can also offer additional support. If you’re living alone, remember you can apply for a 25% single occupancy discount regardless of your household income. You may also be eligible for additional reductions if you live with a severely disabled person.
If you receive certain benefits, such as Universal Credit, you may also be eligible for Council Tax Support. Receipt of benefits doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get CTS – and you need to apply to your council separately for it once you’re approved for benefits.
With the recent pandemic, councils also have additional hardship funds. If you’re seriously struggling and facing homelessness, you could apply for additional hardship support depending on your local area. Check your local authority’s website for more details.
Finally, if you get the housing element of Universal Credit, it might not cover your full rent amount. You can apply to your council for a Discretionary Housing Payment, which tops up the remaining amount of rent you need to pay each month to cover your full (or most of) your housing costs. This is often temporary and needs reassessing on a regular basis, but can really help you gain some breathing space.
Get Paid to Surf the Web
You can get paid for doing absolutely nothing different to usual! It’s true.
Ipsos and Nielson both run incentive programs where they collect your (anonymous) web surfing behaviour and pay you for the privilege. Lots of brands and businesses are very interested in how people use the web – especially the type of content they prefer, and the device types they use – and that’s what research companies do.
You install the Ipsos or Nielson app on your phone, tablet, laptop and desktop computer. Then, just act like normal! It’s easy to even forget the app is there. The data is randomised anonymous, so researchers won’t ever know your personal details or history. It’s a nice way to earn some extra cash each month without trying – for example, you can earn up to £130 a year with the Ipsos app.
Reclaim Student Loan Overpayments
If you’ve been repaying your student loan in recent years, it’s possible you’ve overpaid.
You will eventually need to pay the money back, of course – but right now, if you need cash in your pocket, it’s worth checking whether you’ve paid too much. If, for example, your annual income dropped considerably, you might not have been required to make any payments.
Check the Government’s Student Loan Refund page to find out more about claiming your money back.
Switch Energy Supplier
If you’ve been with your energy supplier for a while, you could benefit from switching supplier.
Not only could you save around £460 a year by switching to a better tariff, but you could also take advantage of welcome bonuses. Much like banks paying you to switch accounts to them, energy suppliers are in a constant struggle to claim as many customers as possible for the largest market share.
You could find that signing up to a new supplier comes with an incentive bonus of £25, £50, or even £100 on special offers. The cash is credited to your account when it’s all set up and ready to go. Once you’re a customer, you could also make extra cash by referring your friends to the scheme for extra credit, too!
Check Your Tax Code
Ah, taxes. We all hate them, but they do keep the country ticking over. Somehow. Still, you could be entitled to a tax rebate.
Check your tax code for a start – you might well be on an emergency tax code if you’ve taken on a new job recently or now have a second job. Or, if you’ve stopped working part-way through the year (as many of us have in 2020) you could be due a tax rebate.
It’s easy to apply for a tax rebate on the HMRC website.
Make the most of marriage allowance
If you’re married and one of you earns more than the other, consider applying for the marriage allowance. For example, if one spouse isn’t working and the other is on 20% tax rate, or you’re both working but one of you earns below the Personal Allowance of £12,500, it’s worth applying for. You can shift some of your personal tax allowance to the higher tax earner in the relationship – and receive a rebate of £250.
You can backdate this claim if you were married in any years from 6th April 2016, too. So, if you were married in January 2016, you can apply for four years’ tax relief – that’s £1000 in your pocket.
Marriage allowance can be stopped at any time. If you get divorced, it will be stopped automatically (and be aware that, in theory, you could be required to repay backdated tax relief you received during that marriage – though this is uncommon). However, if both spouses later earn higher salaries, it is no longer beneficial to use the allowance so it makes sense to cancel it.
Learn more about applying for (or cancelling) marriage tax allowance on the Government website.
Refer Friends to Schemes
From cashback sites to your favourite shop, so many brands offer refer-a-friend incentives that you could be earning free money for nothing!
If you subscribe to any service, look into their referral schemes. Or, check with your utility suppliers for their incentive programmes. Even your local gym might offer a cash incentive (or free month membership). Loyalty is a big thing for businesses – and they know for a fact that people are more likely to use a product or service if someone they know and trust recommends it. So, make these businesses work for you – take up their referral scheme offers!
You can also take it one step further if you have an online presence, such as social media. Sign up for affiliate programmes and promote your unique link on your blog or website – that’ll keep a rolling income every time someone uses your link!
More Ways to Make Money
Free money is something we all want – but getting hold of it can be tricky sometimes. That’s why we love to tell you about ways you can set up passive income streams – set them up, sit back, watch the cash roll in! Here’s how to make money online and at home.