Common colds and other winter illnesses aren’t just physically draining, they can impact our pockets too.

A recent survey conducted by leading cashback site, TopCashback, revealed that the majority of Brits (90%) spend up to £50 a year on fighting a cold.

But it’s not only paying for remedies to think about, with 28% increasing spend on heating to stay warm and a further 22% always opting for takeaways when they’re feeling under the weather.

Almost one in five (17%) also end up missing out on pre-paid plans when ill, such as concerts, sports events, holidays or pre-paid transport.

With the knock-on effect of falling ill on finances, two in five Brits (39%) say they refuse to take a day off work despite being sick.

With the winter months often the biggest culprit for illnesses spreading, TopCashback’s UK Director Adam Bullock shares his top tips for cutting the cost of a cold.

  1. Stock up on medicine and keep an eye out for deals

One simple way to reduce the cost of a cold is by making sure that you always stock up on remedies when there’s a deal to be had. Picking up paracetamol, Lemsip or vitamins when on offer, as well as other essentials like tissues, can be a great way to reduce costs.

Making the most of cashback deals and purchasing online instead can also reduce the price of cold-fighting essentials even further. Currently on TopCashback, members can get up to 6% cashback at Boots, up to 15% at Superdrug and 10% at Pharmacy First. Throughout January, members can also make the most of a buy one get one for 1p deal at Holland & Barrett.

  1. Keep warm and cosy

Staying warm when you’re feeling poorly is a must, so be sure to stock up on the essentials to stay cosy and look out for some great deals to be had.

TopCashback has deals on a range of items to help keep warm this winter for less. The site currently offers 10% cashback on Heat Holders, up to 4.27% cashback at the Oodie (last year’s TikTok craze), and 6% cashback at Best Heating.

  1. Always check the label

With the cost of medicine on the rise, according to Which?’s latest analysis, it’s important to always check the label for the list of ingredients. Own brand medicine can often have the same medicinal content as its branded counterparts, just with a cheaper price tag.

For example, 16 500mg of own brand paracetamol at Boots is 49p, compared to 14 500mg Panadol tablets costing £2.25 – both of which contain the same amount of paracetamol.

  1. Always speak to a pharmacist

Whilst the above advice is designed to reduce costs, it’s always important to speak to a pharmacist and get a professional opinion to ensure the remedies you plan on taking match your symptoms and to avoid unnecessary spending.

New TotallyMoney research looks at how banks are continuing to water down 0% balance transfer credit card offers, while tightening up who they lend to:

  • In 12 months, lenders have slashed an average 4.5 months off the market leading balance transfer offers, while increasing fees by 0.21 percentage points
  • Six years ago, the top 10 offers all had introductory interest-free terms of 40 months or more — now the market-leading offer is just 28 months
  • Every month, half of customers (50.1%) are paying credit card interest
  • £1,438 in interest could be saved by switching the average interest-bearing balance of £2,748 to the current market-leading balance transfer offer
  • However, customers are now 19% less likely to be eligible for a credit card than they were a year ago
  • For a one-off transfer fee of 2%-3.5%, customers can stop paying interest with a balance transfer for a set period of time (currently up to 28 months), meaning 100% of their repayments goes toward clearing debt.

 Balance transfers: in your best interest

In 12 months, balances on credit cards have grown by 9.3 per cent, and 50.1% of customers are now paying interest on more than £32bn of debt†. With a third of adults planning to get their finances in order in 2024, demand for balance transfer offers are expected to peak once again this January. In July this year, there were 769k balance transfer transactions, totalling £1.554bn.

And the savings can be considerable. For the average interest-bearing credit card balance of £2,748, customers could save £1,438 by shifting their debt to the market-leading 28-month balance transfer deal.

But the best offers are in decline

As millions are struggling to manage with the rising cost of living and high interest rates, banks are watering down offers, and being more cautious with who they lend to. In the past year, they’ve slashed the best balance transfer offers by an average of more than four months (from 28.3 to 23.8 months), while increasing fees by 0.21 percentage points (from 2.96% to 3.17%). In addition, borrowers are now 19% less likely to be eligible for a credit card than they were a year ago.

Alastair Douglas, CEO of TotallyMoney comments:

“This January, millions of people will be making it their New Year’s resolution to get financially in shape — and for some, this means cutting interest with a balance transfer so they can focus their repayments on paying off debts quicker, and cheaper.

“However, this year the offers are worse than last, and banks are being extra careful with who they’re lending money to. This means the savings aren’t as good as they were, and some customers could find it more difficult to unlock the best cards on the market.

“So it’s more important than ever to do your research, calculate all the costs, and find the best offer for your own personal needs. You should also keep an eye out for offers which give you pre-approval, guarantee the credit limit, interest rate, and offer duration. That way you’ll know your chances of acceptance, and exactly what you’ll get if successful.

“You should also remember to transfer the balance within the required time frame, make repayments on time, and avoid using the card for purchases and cash withdrawals — these transactions can come with sky high rates and put you on the back foot.

“If you’re struggling to make sense of your finances, then the free TotallyMoney app could help. It’ll put you in control of your own personal data and will notify you when the promotional offer on their credit card is coming to an end. That way you can stay a step ahead of the banks and avoid paying interest.”

 Andrew Hagger, Personal Finance Expert and founder of Moneycomms adds:

“Borrowers looking to move balances between cards will face less generous offers this year as lenders tighten credit underwriting, due to fears of mounting debt problems caused by higher mortgage rates and the wider cost of living squeeze.

“However, for consumers with a solid credit record it’s still worth switching balances, with both Barclaycard and M&S Bank leading the market with 0% terms of up to 28 months.

“Someone with the average balance of £2,748 could save £1,438 over 28 months with the Barclaycard deal and that’s after paying the one-off balance transfer fee of £94.80 (3.45%) when compared with a card rate of 23.9% APR.”

New research has found that using your garage as your main parking space at home can have a negative impact on car insurance premiums. According to the data, the average cost of policies for cars which are stored in a garage overnight is £54 more expensive than the average for cars stored at other places around the home.

The research, conducted by Go.Compare car insurance, reviewed the cost of policies bought through its site between May and July of this year. It then split the figures by those who keep their car in a garage overnight and those who leave it somewhere else around the home. Surprisingly, the average cost for those who park their cars in a locked garage was £710, compared to just £656 for other home parkways.

The difference was even more apparent for fire and theft policies. The average third-party fire and theft policy costs £1,053 for those who park their car in a locked garage, while those who park elsewhere around the home pay only £875 on average – a substantial £178 reduction.

Keeping a car on the drive seems to be better for premiums than in a garage, costing £627 on average – £85 less than in the garage. Parking on the road outside your home or in a residential car park is slightly more expensive than in a garage, bringing average premiums of £729 and £741 respectively.

The findings also suggest that drivers’ preferred parking place is already changing. Go.Compare’s figures showed a 28% decline in vehicles being parked in a locked garage between 2018 and 2022. This was by far the most significant drop compared to the other locations Brits used for car storage.[2]

In contrast, the number of policies for those keeping their car in a work car park overnight doubled between 2018 and 2022. There was also a 36% increase in drivers keeping their vehicles in a secure car park, suggesting that motorists are now looking for alternative secure car parking options for their vehicles.

Overall, the most common parking spot was on the driveway at home, with 60% of policies being for those who keep their car here overnight. Just over a fifth (22%) said they leave their vehicle on the road outside their home, while only 12% said they use a locked garage.

However, the comparison site suggests that drivers assess their circumstances before making the switch to save cash.

Tom Banks, car insurance expert at Go.Compare, says: “There are various reasons why keeping your car in a garage may result in a more expensive premium. Some insurers may feel garages can pose their own security risks. If the garage is connected to your property, your car could get taken in the event of a home break-in, while if the garage is unconnected, you may be unable to hear the thief entering your car.

“Insurers may also feel the car is more likely to be damaged if you keep it in a garage. For instance, there could be a greater chance of bumps and scrapes when trying to fit today’s larger cars into small garages. Items being stored in the garage, like a toolbox, could also fall onto the vehicle and damage it.

“However, it’s key that you consider your circumstances carefully before changing where you park. If the alternative to your garage is somewhere more exposed, like on the road outside your home, then your policy could go up rather than down, and you’d be making your vehicle more vulnerable in the process. Ultimately, security is the most important factor, so if your garage is the safest place for your car, then keep it there.

“Plus, every provider assesses the risk of where you park differently, so it’s important to remember this before switching your parking place. Many insurers may still feel that your garage is a safer place to park, so consider the security of all your options and how they may impact your own individual policy before making a move.”

More information can be found on Go.Compare’s website.

WEALTH at work, a leading financial wellbeing and retirement specialist, outlines below the top 10 pension mistakes to watch out for in the lead up to retirement.

1. Withdrawing savings from a pension early

As a result of the rising cost of living, one in 10 (10%) over 55s in fulltime employment have withdrawn pension savings earlier than previously intended to supplement their income, yet 31% say they intend to or may consider it in the future, according to a survey from WEALTH at work.

Withdrawing money out of a pension earlier than planned really should be a last resort and individuals must understand the dramatic impact this can have on retirement savings, which could include either having to work longer or having less income in retirement.

2. Not understanding how pensions are invested

When it comes to pensions, individuals may not understand that pensions are often invested in ‘lifestyle funds’ which typically move investments out of higher risk funds such as equities, into lower risk funds including bonds and cash, as people approach their chosen retirement age. This made sense when the majority bought annuities, as they didn’t want to risk a market crash’s impact on their savings just before retirement. However, many people now access their pensions using income drawdown, meaning that it generally may be better for their pensions to stay invested in equities long into retirement, to give their money the potential to keep growing. Individuals should speak to their pension provider to find out what investment path they are on, and if it is aligned with their retirement income plan.

3. Missing out on lost or forgotten pensions

The total value of lost pension pots has grown from £19.4 billion in 2018 to £26.6 billion in 2022. Some of the main reasons this occurs can be moving jobs, or people moving house and not updating their address with their pension provider.

If someone has a lot of different pensions, they may want to consider consolidating them into one pension pot, especially as they may all have different investment strategies. It can also make it easier for them to manage their finances and could save them money on the fees charged. However, it is important to ensure there aren’t any enhanced features or protections that could be lost by transferring, and that the scheme chosen provides the flexibility required for when accessing the money in retirement.

4. Not shopping around

Many people are choosing to use income drawdown instead of an annuity. However, it’s crucial that people shop around to make sure they are getting the best deal. In a 2022 investigation, Which? found that the difference in growth between the cheapest and most expensive drawdown plans for a £260,000 pot was nearly £18,000 over a 20-year period.

5. Withdrawing cash to put in the bank

Some people are taking money from their pension just to put into their bank account or other savings and investments, but they may not be aware that by doing this their money could lose value over time, as returns on savings accounts typically don’t keep pace with inflation. They will also lose out on the valuable tax benefits available in the pension scheme. It’s usually better to leave the money invested in a pension fund where it keeps its tax-free status, and only withdrawing when it is actually needed.

For example, if someone took £20,000 from their pension, they could receive the first £5,000 (25%) tax-free. The remaining amount would then be taxed as earned income, which for a basic rate tax-payer would mean a tax charge of £3,000, leaving them with £17,000 net of tax. If this was then deposited in a savings account, they would then only be receiving interest on this lower sum (£17,000 rather than £20,000) and the money would also form part of their estate for inheritance tax purposes.

6. First time high-rate tax payer 

Some people don’t realise that income tax is due on their pensions once the 25% tax-free lump sum has been taken. This means that someone who has never been a higher rate tax-payer, suddenly could find themselves in that bracket, especially if they are still working.

For example, if someone aged over 55 is earning £40,000 a year and has £30,000 in pension savings, decides to withdraw all their pension, 25% of this (£7,500) would be tax- free, but the remaining £22,500 would be eligible for tax. Their taxable income for that year would be £62,500 (£40,000 salary and £22,500 pension), meaning that they would become a higher rate taxpayer. This means they would be taxed 40% on the £12,230 income that exceeds the £50,270 higher tax threshold.

For many, other savings and investments may be a better source of short-term cash than pensions, especially whilst still working, as it can help to avoid unnecessary tax being paid and allows the pension to grow in a tax-free environment.

7.  Not considering all savings

When deciding how to access retirement income, it isn’t just about pension savings. It is important to look at all savings and investments, whether they be pensions, ISAs, or shares, to make sure they are being used in the most tax efficient way.

Instead of taking money from their pension, some people might be better off using their other savings which aren’t growing tax-free and liable for income and inheritance tax (such as general savings, shares and cash), and leaving their pension to grow in a tax-free environment until needed.

8. Underestimating or overestimating life expectancy

Before withdrawing from a pension, it is crucial to think about if you will have enough money to last throughout retirement. Many people can potentially live longer than they expect to, and therefore may underestimate how long they think their savings need to last. According to recent research, people aged 50 and over, on average, think they will live until around age 80, whether male or female. However, according to the ONS life expectancy calculator, a male aged 50, will on average live to age 84, while a woman aged 50 will live on average to age 87.

There is also a real risk that people underspend, and that they can be too cautious in retirement. Often the early years are the most expensive, when individuals are hopefully well enough to enjoy retirement, and possibly travel. In most cases, the amount needed declines into retirement unless care is needed, individuals should ensure they keep this in mind when planning their retirement spending.

9. Losing life savings to pension scams

Individuals getting scammed out of their retirement savings is a real issue. The pensions regulator (TPR) estimates that £2.5 trillion worth of pension wealth in the UK is ‘accessible’ to fraudsters, which represents a ‘huge target base for criminals’.

Whatever someone is planning to do with their retirement savings, it’s vital they check whether the company they’re planning to use is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They can also visit the FCA’s ScamSmart website which includes a warning list of companies operating without authorisation or running scams.

10. Not getting help from the right place

When it comes to getting support with their pension, research from WEALTH at work has indicated that more than half (56%) of working adults say they speak to unqualified sources such as family, friends or colleagues, or no one at all. Very few speak to their pension provider (15%), employer (13%), a regulated financial adviser (8%) or specialist bodies such as Pension Wise (4%) or Money Helper (3%).

The good news is that recent findings have indicated that employers are set to boost workplace financial wellbeing support. 44% of employers plan to offer targeted support for over 55s, and 68% already offer or plan to offer pre-retirement planning. It’s important for those in the workplace to understand the help and guidance available to them.

Jonathan Watts-Lay, Director, WEALTH at work, comments;

“Deciding what to do with your pension is possibly one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. You have spent most of your working life saving into it, and it might need to last more than 30 years. It is important to make informed decisions based on what is right for you.”

A new study has uncovered the most profitable garage conversions homeowners can apply to their properties. According to the figures, turning a garage into an extra bedroom will add an average of £77,526 to a home’s value, leaving residents with an average profit of £59,526.

The research reviewed the average value increase generated by common garage conversions, such as home offices, extra bedrooms and utility rooms. It then subtracted the cost of installing each garage conversion to discover which one leaves homeowners with the biggest profits. Overall, it found that using a garage conversion as an extra bedroom would create the largest return on investment.

Based on the calculations produced by Go.Compare home insurance, other profitable garage conversions include a home office, a playroom and a kitchen/diner extension. Out of these three, a home office gives the biggest return on investment, costing an average of £16,035 to install and producing an average profit of £22,728.

However, the comparison site advised that thorough research will be needed before completing a conversion of any kind, and warned that certain restrictions may prevent them from getting one.

Ceri McMillan, home insurance expert at Go.Compare, said: “Investing in a garage conversion is a great way to increase your living space, and our research shows that you can use it to make a good profit in the long run. If you’re looking to convert your garage, it’s worth considering which type of room will have the best impact on your home’s value, as well as which one you will get the most use out of.”

“However, keep in mind that various factors can influence the value a garage conversion will add to a home, including the quality of the conversion, so be sure to plan it out properly. Plus, while a garage conversion may seem like an appealing DIY project, it’s important to remember that it’s a significant refurbishment job to apply to your home.

“You will need to do a lot of research beforehand to ensure it’s a safe, feasible option for your property. In some instances you may not be able to go through with it or there could be certain rules to obey by. For example, the garage door may need to stay in place. Be sure to get professional support as often as needed, or else you could end up doing more harm than good to your home and its valuation.”

For those able to get one, the comparison site found that converting to a kitchen/diner extension or a playroom would also boost a home’s value. A kitchen/diner extension can result in an average profit of just under £19,000, while a playroom extension produces an average profit of £12,096.

Out of those researched, utility room conversions were found to be among the least profitable. However, at an average cost of just under £17,000 to install, they are among the cheapest garage conversions and can still result in a profit of £2,429 on average.

Despite the comparatively low profit, utility room garage conversions are one of the most common. Over a quarter (27%) of those who get a garage conversion use it as a utility room, while around one in 10 (11%) use it as a dedicated home office. Others used the conversion to add some leisure space to their home, as 13% said they transformed their garage into a home gym.

More information can be found on Go.Compare’s website.

As 2024 comes into view, new research from American Express shows that UK adults are set to spend an average of £1,756 on international trips next year.

13.6m holidaymakers have already booked elements of their travels abroad. Fear of missing out is the biggest driver of early bookings; over a third (37%) booked early to avoid disappointment from sold out flights or accommodation. Having something to look forward to over the winter months (31%) follows closely second.

Whether domestic or overseas, Brits are set to go on an average of 2 holidays in 2024.

Dé-stination-jà vu

It seems old habits die hard for UK globetrotters, as next year’s top five foreign destinations remain largely unchanged from this year. Spain has retained its crown as UK jet-setters’ top destination, with 15% of Brits planning a trip there to chase the sun. Italy holds onto second place (12%), followed by France (11%) and Greece (10%). Compared to 2023, the only newcomer to the UK’s top five foreign destinations is the USA, which comes in joint fifth with the Canary Islands (both 8%).

Top five destinations abroad
  1. Spain (15%)
  1. Italy (12%)
  1. France (11%)
  1. Greece (10%)
  1. USA and Canary Islands (both 8%)

It’s not just trips abroad that are proving popular. Two-thirds (66%) of UK adults are planning a domestic holiday as the ‘staycations’ trend shows no signs of letting up.

Cornwall and the Lake District are the top destinations holidaymakers are setting their sights on.

Taking time to unwind

It might come as no surprise that ‘relaxation’ is the most important feature of holidays to UK adults; 63% of respondents highlighted it as something they look for in a holiday. For many of us, the seaside is the perfect place to unwind. Beach trips are the most popular type of holiday UK adults are planning, with just under half (46%) eyeing up a coastal getaway.

Nearly half of UK adults look for great local food (43%) or culture (41%) when booking holidays. Millennials are the most adventurous travellers, with 31% looking for a thrill – the highest proportion of any generation.

The research also revealed almost a fifth (17%) of us look to travel to off-the-beaten-track destinations. American Express Travel recently published its 2024 Trending Destinations highlighting 10 must-visit and off the beaten path global holiday spots including the sparkling seas of St. Kitts and Nevis and the uber-romantic Indian city, Udaipur.

Paying for paradise

When it comes to paying for holidays, 43% plan to use credit cards when they pay for holidays while 7% are looking to use points when booking trips. 41% of respondents said that they will collect points or cashback by using a card that earns rewards.

Those looking to book flights or hotel stays can do so through Amex Travel. Eligible Cardmembers2 are able to spend or earn Membership Rewards® points on pre-paid flights, hotel bookings, and even access special benefits to elevate their stay through The Hotel Collection and Fine Hotels + Resorts programmes. Terms apply.

What’s more, with the British Airways American Express® Premium Plus Card new Cardmembers can collect 25,000 bonus Avios when they spend £3,000 in the first three months of Card membership. But that’s not all, Cardmembers can also earn 1.5 Avios for every £1 spent on purchases, that can be put towards exciting travel rewards. Representative 113.1% APR variable. 18+. Subject to Status. Annual fee applies. Terms apply.

The scam: Criminals on Facebook marketplace use stolen photos and videos of genuine vehicles, to advertise cars that they don’t own and aren’t theirs to sell.

Having used the stolen photos and videos to convince a buyer to purchase the vehicle, they do not respond or block the buyer after they have transferred over the funds.

Earlier this month Santander fraud investigators found, in just half an hour, 25 ‘sellers’ posting around 4,000 fake adverts on Facebook marketplace.

Volume: Santander data covering January 2023 – September 2023, and January 2022 – September 2022, shows:

  • 440 customers have fallen victim to Facebook car scams this year, up 87% from last year. Customers in every age group reported an increase in car scams.
  • This year nearly half a million (£479,964) has been reported as lost to Facebook car scams, up 93% from last year.
  • People aged 18-25 are the most likely to fall victim to Facebook car scams accounting for a fifth (20%) of all cases in 2023. Over 60s are second most likely to fall victim accounting for 14% of all cases, while 41-45 year olds are third accounting for 12.5% of all cases.
  • Over 60s lost the largest sums of money to scammers, with an average claim made for £1,564 so far this year, up from £748.06 last year. 56-60 year olds reported the second largest losses with an average claim for £1,528, while 26-30 year olds were third with an average claim of £1,263.

Chris Ainsley, Head of Fraud Risk Management at Santander said: “Scammers are stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds from people falling foul of car scams on online marketplaces. But people can help put the brakes on these scams by learning the telltale signs of fake listings and doing due diligence before transferring any funds.

“For this particular type of scam the single best thing anybody can do to protect their money is to not transfer any funds until the vehicle is in their possession and they have seen it in person.”

Car scams – how it works:

  • You click on an advert for a vehicle you like the look of. Then you start a conversation with the seller.
  • They reassure you through their messages that everything’s above board.
  • They might even share official looking contracts. Or give details of money-back guarantees.
  • They’ll ask you to pay upfront. This may be just the deposit to ‘secure the deal’. But could be for the full amount of the purchase.
  • They will ask you tomake payment by bank transfer.
  • After you have sent the money the contact stops and the seller disappears.
  • You are left without the new vehicle, and you’ve lost your money.

How to protect yourself

Some simple steps can help protect you and your money.

  • A photo or video isn’t proof the vehicle exists. Make sure you have seen it and it is in your possession before making any payment.
  • Follow the government’s advice on purchasing a used vehicle. This includes completing an HPI vehicle check. This check can give you vital information about the vehicle.
  • Buying from a reputable site? If so, stick to their dedicated advice and processes. Especially on ways to pay for your vehicle.
  • Research the seller and always read the reviews. Compare several review sites. This helps rule out any fake reviews left by the criminals.

For more information on fraud and scams please visit our website. Take Five also has some useful information on their website.

As shoppers hit the high street in preparation for this year’s festive season, American Express is again encouraging the nation to support local businesses with the return of its popular Shop Small Offer.

From 1-3 December 2023American Express® UK Cardmembers will receive a £5 statement credit when they spend £15 or more at participating small businesses across the UK. The Offer can be used up to 3 times, once per participating small business location, meaning that Cardmembers can reward themselves with up to £15 back in statement credits, helping their spending go further this December.

The Shop Small Offer will launch on the eve of Small Business Saturday (which returns on 2 December 2023). American Express continues to be the principal supporter of Small Business Saturday, championing the high street and encouraging the nation to shop small in the run up to the festive season and beyond. New research1 from American Express shows that 79% of UK adults think it’s important to support local businesses when shopping this Christmas.

Harry Mole, Vice President at American Express, said: “Our research shows there is a strong desire among shoppers to support small businesses which sit at the heart of our local communities. We’re proud to champion them once again with our Shop Small campaign which offers Cardmembers cashback on their festive and everyday shopping, while encouraging all-important footfall on the high street. Over this crucial shopping period, we invite our Cardmembers to show their love for the places that make our villages, towns and cities so special.”

Cardmembers need to enrol for the Shop Small Offer, which they can do from today (17 November 2023), through the Amex® App or their Online Account. Cardmembers must save the Offer to their Card before spending at the small business in order to receive the statement credit. They can search for participating businesses via the Shop Small Map.

Terms, locations and payment restrictions apply. For full terms and conditions please see here. Offer excludes Corporate and Pre-Paid Cards.

New research from Go.Compare has revealed that people across the UK who will celebrate Christmas  this year expect to spend, on average, £658 this festive season, which represents a 26% increase on last year’s expected spend of £522.20.

The study, which was conducted on behalf of Go.Compare Money, asked more than 2000 people about their financial plans for this festive season and found that almost one in five (18%) believe Christmas is going to be financially difficult this year. A further 18% of those who took part said they will be putting either some, or the majority of their spending on a credit card.

Go.Compare Money’s annual Christmas spending study also revealed that nearly a quarter of people (24%) have been putting money aside throughout the year to pay for the festive celebrations.

Across the age groups, the average spend on gifts, socialising, travel and food will be £658 this year, but it’s those aged between 18-24 who will be splashing more cash than any other, spending an average of £835.30.

When respondents were asked about their concerns for Christmas, nearly a third (29%) said they were worried about their finances and a further 26% said they were worried about paying their bills. Another 25% said they were concerned about paying for the heating this Christmas.

Matt Sanders from Go.Compare Money, said on the findings: “This year’s research shows that, even though people are expecting to spend more this Christmas than they have in previous years, the financial concerns people have around the festive season haven’t changed.

“The increase in the amount people are expecting to spend could be reflective of the rising cost-of-living and how they may have to pay more for the same things – and aren’t necessarily being more extravagant. Either way, Christmas is clearly a big financial concern for many with 18% looking to put some or the majority of their Christmas outgoings on a credit card, many could be spending money they don’t have.”

Matt continued, “There are ways you can save on your expenditure this Christmas and one of the most effective ways is to shop around – whether that’s for groceries, household energy bills, insurances, credit cards or broadband deals – comparing costs can help limit what you pay on essential outgoings. We have put together some practical guidance for anyone who’s concerned about their finances this Christmas:

  • First, draw up a budget based on your income and outgoings and stick to it. It will help stop you making impulse buys that you may then have to pay for in the New Year.
  •  Research conducted by Go.Compare earlier this year found that, as the cost of living continues to rise, more than half of the UK population are either haggling on their regular bills or intend to do so. Of these bills, broadband and TV packages were the most popular bills to barter on, followed by car insurance, mobile phones, home insurance and energy costs. So, it’s always worth haggling on your bills and with an estimated half of the population already bartering, you could be missing out on significant savings.
  • As well as haggling, try to find out when brands and retailers will be having discount days in the lead up to the big day – you may save 10%, 20% or 30% on gifts for your friends and family.
  •  Use discount codes on your online shopping. Check out the various websites and bag money off, free gifts and the like, just for buying what you had planned to buy anyway.
  •  If you are facing financial difficulties this Christmas, talk to your mortgage provider or landlord as soon as possible to agree a payment holiday or even a new repayment plan. One thing to consider with a payment holiday is that these will be recorded on your credit file and could lower your credit score. You could also talk to your bank about an agreed overdraft and an interest-free overdraft buffer and check with your credit card, loan or car finance provider to see what help is available in terms of a payment holiday or a new repayment plan.

For the first time ever, British Airways Executive Club Members can earn Tier Points outside of flying, by spending on the British Airways American Express® Premium Plus Card, thanks to a new, limited-time offer.

Running until 21 May 2024, this offer gives applicable Cardmembers the opportunity to earn an extra 200 Tier Points in the coming months by simply spending on their Card. Tier Points help travellers to earn airline status, which is associated with travel perks such as lounge access, fast-track security, extra luggage allowances and priority boarding.

Until today, Tier Points could only be earned by flying with British Airways, its subsidiaries and its oneworld® airline partners. This offer marks the first time that Tier Points can be earned outside of flying.

From today, British Airways American Express Premium Plus Cardmembers will be eligible to earn up to 200 Tier Points as follows:

–        100 Tier Points if the Cardmember spends £15,000

–        A further 50 additional Tier Points will be awarded if they spend a further £5,000 (totalling £20,000)

–        A final 50 Tier Points will be awarded if they spend another £5,000 (totalling £25,000)

Cardmembers must enrol for the offer (enrolment closes on 20 May 2024) in their online account. The spending must take place after a Cardmember’s enrolment, and by 21 May 2024, the date the offer expires, to be eligible.

These Tier Points will be added to Tier Points that travellers have already earned, or will earn, from flying, to help them reach British Airways Bronze, Silver or Gold status. Each tier status comes with valuable travel benefits, including:

–        Bronze – requires 300 Tier Points – benefits include free seat selection seven days before flying, priority boarding, the use of business class check in desks and more*

–        Silver – requires 600 Tier Points – benefits include access to airport lounges in the UK and around the world, free seat selection at booking, additional baggage and more*

–        Gold – requires 1,500 Tier Points – benefits include access to First lounges, First class check in and boarding, free seat selection at booking, additional baggage, additional reward flight availability and more*

Nikki Edelman, Vice President at American Express, said: “We know our Cardmembers value the array of benefits that come with their British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card, from Avios to the much-loved Companion Voucher. But we’re always looking for ways to continue rewarding our Cardmembers for their loyalty, with offers and benefits they care about. We hope today’s limited time offer achieves this, providing customers with a new proposition; being rewarded for spending on the Card with Tier Points. This could see Cardmembers earning travel benefits like lounge access, free seat selection or priority boarding from their everyday spending.”

British Airways American Express Premium Plus Cardmembers already benefit from collecting 1.5 Avios for every £1 spent on purchases, or 3 Avios for every £1 spent with British Airways or British Airways Holidays.

Cardmembers can also earn a Companion Voucher when they spend £10,000 each Card membership year on their Card. They can use this to either take a companion with them on the same flight and in the same cabin for no additional Avios or, as launched last year, receive a 50% discount on the Avios price if travelling solo**. Vouchers can be used on British Airways flights or, as of last year, Iberia and Aer Lingus flights. British Airways American Express Premium Plus Cardmembers have access to additional Reward flight seats within Club World (long-haul business class) when booking with a Companion Voucher.**