From April 2022, there will be a National Insurance rise of 1.25%. The extra money raised will be spent on the NHS and social care. Although the money will go to a good cause, some households may feel the pinch.
Nick Drewe, founder of money-saving platform Wethrift, has pulled together five simple tips to rescue family budgets. These easy-to-follow strategies can help to offset the National Insurance rise and its effect on your finances in 2022.
Best of all, Nick’s ideas show that you don’t have to give up on things you enjoy to save some cash.
1. Book travel tickets early
There’s no need to cancel travel plans to save money, just be more organised.
Full-time workers on low to average incomes will see a National Insurance rise of £130 – £255 this year. By booking train tickets well in advance, it’s possible for frequent travellers to save more than this amount.
Nick from Wethrift advises booking between one and three months ahead. He explains, “A one-way ticket to London Paddington from Birmingham New Street today would set you back nearly £100, yet the exact same journey 12 weeks from now would cost just £31 if booked today.”
Travelling by rail can be a cheap way to enjoy a day out or visit family – if you plan ahead.
2. Look for discount codes before ordering takeaways
A rise in National Insurance doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your favourite takeaways. By getting into the habit of checking for coupons and vouchers, you can get some really good bargains.
Nick Drewe, a voucher expert at Wethrift, explains where to look for the best discounts:
- Check your emails for any promotional vouchers that may have been sent following your last order.
- Before clicking ‘checkout’ on sites like Deliveroo or Just Eat, it’s always worth a search on voucher sites for any discount codes or free delivery incentives.
- Deliveroo customers have the option to refer a friend, which will secure both of you £10 off your next order.
Perhaps the rise in National Insurance might lead to a healthier diet!
3. Be smart with your energy bills
Being smart with energy is going to be very important this year with costs rising alongside National Insurance. Many of us don’t really look at our energy bills in detail or understand the small print.
Nick from Wethrift explains why understanding energy bills can make a difference. He says, “Some energy suppliers have been known to either make changes to tariffs or make mistakes when charging customers, so it’s always a good idea to check your regular household bills.
“Whilst there are often a lot of terms and conditions to read, attempting to understand the information related to your energy tariff and household consumption could help you keep the costs of your bills down.”
The Energy Saving Trust has some great advice about how to save money on your energy bills. In fact, it’s possible to more than cover the National Insurance rise with just a few simple adjustments to energy consumption.
4. Time your supermarket trips wisely
If you really need to save money, visit your local supermarket at the right time. It’s possible to purchase discounted items that have to be sold that day.
According to Nick from Wethrift, “Supermarket workers will start discounting products that are about to pass their sell-by-date later on in the afternoon or early evening, so a food shop after work is the perfect time to grab a bargain.” Nick advises stocking up your freezer with reduced items so they don’t go to waste.
There are often plenty of sweet treats on offer at the end of the day, like cakes and breads. As well as contributing to your grandad’s social care through the National Insurance rise, maybe you could pop round with a freshly baked bag of muffins!
5. Cancel any unnecessary direct debits
Finally, Nick suggests that now is a good time to go through your bank statement and ditch any superfluous regular payments. This could be subscriptions, memberships and other commitments.
A few pounds a month adds up to a significant amount over a year. The National Insurance rise for an average income is £255. That’s just over £21 per month. It should be possible for most of us to shave that amount off our direct debits.
In January, you may find that you want to cancel your Amazon Prime subscription after the Christmas rush. Make a list of essential monthly payments and non-essential ones. Try managing without non-essential commitments and see if you miss them.
If you really love spending money, at least try a rewards credit card to get some of your spending back!