Deals, schemes and tips to help you save on holidays, bills and more

Don’t miss out on clever ways to save cash (Picture: Getty Images/

No-one likes to feel like they’re missing out on a bargain, but how can you keep track?

We’ve made a list of some of the best deals and money-saving tips out there right now.

From finding holiday childcare to cutting back on waste when refurbishing your home, there are plenty of ways to save.

Plus there’s help available for people who are unable to work after being ‘pinged’ by the NHS app, as well has people with mental health problems looking for travel insurance that won’t leave them out of pocket.

Summer holiday childcare on a shoestring

Holiday childcare is a linchpin for millions of families, allowing parents to work or study, providing employers with a reliable workforce, and giving children the opportunity to socialise and have fun with other youngsters.

The annual Holiday Childcare Survey by charity Coram Family and Childcare shows the average holiday club place costs £145 — 5% up on 2019.

However, you can now cut costs by taking turns with friends to look after each other’s children.

A few years back, there were headlines saying friends had first to get Ofsted’s approval and register as a childminder.

But now, the education watchdog says that you don’t need to register as a childminder — as long as no payment is involved.

A swap counts as reciprocal care between friends where no goods and services and no ‘money or money’s worth’ changes hands.

There are ways to save when you’re renovating your home (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Turn trash into treasure to transform your home

In today’s throwaway world, it’s great to have a use for leftovers — including carpet.

No matter how skilled your fitter, or how accurate the estimate, chances are there will be offcuts left over at the end of a job, as most carpets are sold in four or five metre-wide rolls.

While your immediate reaction might be to throw away any wastage, north London-based flooring company Wolff & Grace says you can turn this trash into treasure that will transform another room in your home.

Simply have the offcuts whipped or finished with a colourful taped edging to create a bespoke rug, or perhaps a statement runner for your staircase — potentially saving you hundreds of pounds on a flooring refresh this winter.

Run like the wind

Research by the University of Essex shows exercising outdoors boosts physical and mental health more than going to indoor gyms, even in winter.

For a weekly outdoor jog with a competitive edge, Parkrun, a free 5km timed run at 700-plus locations around the UK, is open to all ability levels.

Register on the website and print off a barcode, which will be used to record your time.

Results are on the website by Saturday lunchtime and you can have your score texted to your mobile, so you can “virtually” race friends at another location.

Freshen up your old trainers

You can’t beat the feeling of a clean, white pair of trainers. The good news is that you can easily take care of the scuffs with nail varnish remover. Add a little to a cottonwool pad to wipe away marks.

Specialist insurers make sure people with mental health problems get the coverage they need (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Don’t let mental health issues keep you on the ground

Nearly half of people with mental health problems don’t disclose their illness to their travel insurer to avoid higher premiums, according to research from the Money And Mental Health Policy Institute.

The charity found several insurers hiked premiums by more than 400% for people who disclosed mental health problems that had been stable and effectively managed for a long time, with some insurers still declining to offer cover at all.

If you feel you are being priced out, don’t despair. Try a specialist insurer such as Staysure or All Clear Travel.

Smarten up your home for less

Community Repaint collects any surplus, reusable paint and redistributes it within communities to individuals and families on low income, and to charities and community groups.

In a single year, Community Repaint saved more than 446,000 litres of paint from going to waste.

Set your kids up for retirement

It’s hard to imagine your child at retirement age, but regular contributions to a pension for them now can secure their financial future. Knowing they have a pension in place will give them greater financial freedom and security in adulthood.

Under current rules, parents can pay £2,880 a year into each child’s pension, which can take the form of a self-invested personal pension (Sipp), or a stakeholder pension, among other types.

The child benefits from 20% tax relief on top of this, taking it to £3,600. According to research from Best Invest, if you did this every year until they turned 18 and then ceased contributions, and the investments achieved annual growth of 5%, the fund would be worth £700,000 when they’re 55, even if they haven’t made any investments of their own in the interim.

Creating a pension pot for your children can help them grow a sizeable sum (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Payout for the ‘pinged’

More than 600,000 people in England and Wales were told to self-isolate by the NHS Covid-19 app from July 8-14, Department of Health figures show.

If you receive certain means-tested benefits, such as Universal Credit, working tax credit or income support, and you get “pinged” but can’t work from home and so lose income, you could be eligible for £500 for each period of ten-day self-isolation.

You will need to contact your council to make a claim for your grant. However, you should bear in mind there’s no guarantee that your claim will be successful.

Take out car hire insurance in advance to save a bundle

If you wait until you arrive at your holiday destination to pick up your hire car, you will have little choice but to buy the rental company’s insurance, which costs around £15 to £20 per day.

A separate excess policy might also be required for tyre and windscreen damage — and taking both policies will add around £150 to a week’s rental.

But buying from a specialist insurance company, such as, before you travel will cost you as little as £2.99 a day — and to save even more, you could pay £39.99 for an annual policy.

If you want more tips and tricks on saving money, as well as chat about cash and alerts on deals and discounts, join our Facebook Group, Money Pot.

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