This week I’ve been reading Nomadic Matt‘s tips on picking a travel credit card and it got me thinking about what I’m doing with my savings and how I could be maximising the benefits by playing the system better.
Years ago I used to use a cashback website called Quidco that gives you money for buying stuff using their affiliate links. Then I forgot about the site which I sorely regret. I rediscovered it recently and am shocked at how much money I’ve made* in such a short space of time. You can not only make cashback on purchases you would have made anyway, but many companies offer rewards just for signing up with them. In the last week I have made the following:
£75 for signing up for a Virgin FTSE All Share Tracker ISA (I was considering a tracker ISA anyway, and chose this one because of the cashback)
£48 for signing up with the AA for breakdown cover on my car (meaning that 6 months of cover will cost me £9 in total)
£15 and 3,000 Avios points for signing up for a British Airways American Express
£5 for signing up for Lloyds DUO Avios Credit Cards
£7 for a mix of other things like registering for free SIM cards, ordering free trials of new products, cashback on train tickets I needed
* These transactions have been tracked and will be paid to me within 6 months
So that’s £150 for filling out a few forms. There are always terms and conditions to watch out for but I have taken all of those into consideration and none will cause penalties. There’s also a bit of hassle involved, for example I need to remember to set up direct debits to pay the cards off in full, cancel registration for trials once the free trial period is up etc etc. The best way to track all this is in a simple spreadsheet listing the offer, the terms, and a reminder to yourself of what to do and when to avoid charges.
Then of course with the AMEX and Avios cards I can collect points when I spend money that I can later redeem for flights, upgrades and other benefits.
I discovered that my bank was giving me something like 0.01% interest on my life savings so I’ve switched to an account that gives 3.1% instead thanks to MoneySavingExpert.com.
If you don’t keep on top of it all it can take a couple of weeks to get everything organised; the first week to sign up to things, then the second week to finalise everything (receive and register cards for example). Also if you don’t check the interest on your account frequently enough you’ll find that the bank hooked you in with a good [variable] rate then sneakily slashed the rate when you had your back turned, which is what has happened to me many times.