PPI Claims – It’s the Final Countdown

We’re into the two year countdown before you can no longer make any PPI Claims.

PPI Claims are in the news a lot these days, mainly due to insurance companies mis-selling them. It might have happened to you. I like to think I’m sensible with money, especially these days but can’t guarantee I was when I was nineteen.

PPI Claims - do it yourself

Fortunately, I’m a bit of a hoarder. I keep anything which is relevant even when it isn’t any more. We were sorting out old paperwork and I found some old Endsleigh life and house insurance policies – along with PPI Certificates.

The whole process of PPI claims felt really long-winded. Lots of forms to fill out and I couldn’t set aside the time to do it, I didn’t have the time. I didn’t really want to fill out forms either, it felt like a lot of hassle. I looked at companies to do it for me but having spoke to one they took 50%.

Then I read on MoneySavingExpert about a site which is really easy to use – Resolver. They offer a free service which allows you to contact providers about potential PPI Claims. Sometimes it’s quick and straightforward, other times it takes longer.

It is REALLY EASY to do it yourself.

I opened a case with Endsleigh, making sure to include my policy numbers. A cheque arrived six days later! I’m impressed – but then I had proof so it would be easy for them to work on.

Other policies with other providers will take longer, especially when I don’t have account numbers, but fortunately I remember all our old addresses.

The whole process took me half an hour generating emails and remembering the policies I’ve taken out. Since then we’ve found more things with PPI on them, which is encouraging.

Doing PPI Claims has got me thinking a lot more about what I’ve taken out in the past. So actually, it’s a good thing I’m a bit of a hoarder. Keeping all the old receipts is a good thing (Marie Kondo would say otherwise). Each provider should be able to search and find you in their systems.

I recommend trying it out – I’m pleased with the results!

Controlling H’s Pocket Money with GoHenry

A friend recommended GoHenry to me – a bank card designed for kids. I hold my hands up, I am rubbish at remembering to give H pocket money, and that isn’t how it should be. So we ordered a GoHenry card to see if it would work for us.

GoHenry card

GoHenry is for children aged 6-18. They get a bank card, something which I never had at H’s age. Then again I didn’t get £40 in birthday money either. I didn’t want her walking around with a load of cash in her purse – she’s pretty good at losing things. We added the £40 balance to her GoHenry card and it arrived a few days later.

You get three months free at the start, which is a good time to work out if it’s the right thing for you. After that you pay £2.49 a month (and you can cancel at any time). That sounds pretty steep, but after thinking about it we’ve decided to go for it. Here’s my reasons why:

• I often forget to give H pocket money. I can set GoHenry to add the funds to her card every week on a Saturday. It is doing all my remembering for me, which is a good thing.

• It’s a contactless card. This is good as none of us need to remember a PIN number. Not everywhere does contactless, but it’s a help.

• We’ve set up extra tasks around the house. She’s working to earn an extra 50p a week, which I have to authorise. She’s motivated by this and wants to take on more tasks too. I also get a reminder on a Friday night as – you guessed it – I would forget otherwise. That works out quite handy, as we can all sit and chat about whether she has earned any extra money.

• I get an alert on my phone every time she buys anything. Shaun took her to the Science Museum this week, and I got an alert on my phone when she spent any money. I added another £1 as I thought she might want to buy more there.. and I could do all that from the app on my phone. The account can’t go overdrawn either.

• She feels pretty grown up at 7 to have her own bank card. She loved using it to buy things when we went away for a short break last October.

• If you wanted family to give money for a birthday (my mum often sends a cheque when she isn’t sure what to buy H), you can pass on the sort code and account number and they can credit the GoHenry account.

• There is an app. This is handy for someone like me who does most of her important stuff on the train to and from work every day.

• I can top up the card from the app, or set a monthly amount by bank transfer. Bank transfers and Standing Orders are free with GoHenry cards. Adding the funds via your debit card cost you 50p so I have a £10 transfer going to the account each month which is free. I need to encourage her to earn more bonuses…

• If you recommend a friend they get a customised card and you plus the person recommending gets £5 added to their account. You get three months free as well which is good for working out if the card is for you. I’ve had one so far so that’s two months free use which appeals to my money saving needs! This is my referral link.  The reward is given after the card has been activated.

I like that it’s giving H a sense of saving money, working to earn a bit extra and that we’re in control of it. She still has cash so it isn’t like she’s leaving that behind.

From ordering, the GoHenry card arrived within a couple of days.

Most of all, H is now saving her money to buy specific things (read : a spending spree in Smiggle). She seems to have changed how she thinks about money since we got the card.

I like that GoHenry has been created by parents for parents. They have good partners that back up the company. While you’re not going to earn lots of interest having your cash there (that’s what savings accounts are for), I think it’s a good place to start kids thinking about spending their money wisely. Or not. If they’re anything like H you can never have enough £1 creepy crawlies around the house…

Our Top Travel Budgeting Tips

Caxton FX are asking for Parent Bloggers top budgeting tips when travelling, and given we’re about to have a huge journey across the other side of the world soon (and have done it before with H) I think we may have a few – so here goes…

1. Book a hotel if you’re travelling in wintertime and snow is forecast. When we went to Australia in 2010, South London saw a huge amount of snow – our train to Gatwick was delayed and ultimately the flight took off without us. We missed check-in and even though we got to Gatwick eventually, we were too late – even though our plane was delayed. It was an evening flight (8pm) and had I booked a day room in a hotel and headed up there earlier in the morning we would have been fine. Worth bearing in mind if you’re flying long-haul and bad weather is forecast. We couldn’t get a hotel room once we were there, or get a cab home so fortunately stayed with friends for two days until flights resumed.

2. Take the bus if you can! We live in Carshalton where the X26 bus stops – going from Croydon to Heathrow in an hour and a half. Sure, you have to lug your cases to the bus stop and from there, but when your travel costs can be paid on your Oyster cards (as London buses no longer accept cash), it’s a very cheap option. The X26 runs every 30 minutes as well and covers all the terminals. The downside, you’re on the bus with lots of suitcases and bags.

3. Freecycle is good for buggies or strollers. We didn’t want to take our Maclaren with us in case it got damaged, as we knew it would be kept in the hold. We were able to get a stroller (minus a footrest) so it didn’t matter if it broke in transit – most Airports provide strollers for little legs that can’t keep up. It didn’t break in transit anyway, so it meant we had a buggy with us the whole time.

free stroller dubai

4. Try to book things in advance. This time in Australia we’re planning on a trip to Sydney. If we book flights enough in advance from Perth we should get a good deal. This means we need to be organised and know what we’re doing, which of course is another matter altogether..!

5. Car Seats. Check the law in the country you’re travelling to. Most UK car seats are no longer legal in Australia, so see if you can rent a car seat when you arrive. This law can vary from country to country, but don’t get caught out!

6. When you have a mother in law who is crafty and pays for everything when you’re not looking, you try to find ways to spend your money. Get a prepaid Currency Card and load it up with cash, and distract her at the appropriate moment… 😉

7. Check the exchange rate when you’re buying in-store – I’ve been caught out before now and bought them overseas, to find that they’re cheaper in the UK. Download a good currency converter for your phone so you can check what you’re spending on the go – I spent £35 in Pumpkin Patch on a bag, for it to go on sale in the UK for £20. (sob!) If you’re anything like me, keeping on top of exchange rate calculation is quite a task – so find a reliable app. Mainly for the point when your husband says “can’t you work it out?” as he’s had enough of being asked!

8. Overseas phone tariffs. This is a tricky one. Often we just change networks and know we’ll be charged, relying instead on Wifi connections for our iPods. We’ve then had £80 phone bills for calls and texts, so make sure you overestimate what you’re going to use when you’re there. BUT! Even if you buy for overseas, don’t get caught out like we did – one call from Singapore cost us a lot as we’d only planned for Australia. Overestimate your data usage too so you don’t get hit with hefty fines. Shaun gets charged £5 for each chunk of data he goes over in the UK, so imagine that overseas – ouch!

9. Take an address book. Pen and paper rarely fail you, unlike a digital gadget which could get damaged in transit, or just wiped! Needing contact information from people you’re visiting, and having to wait for them to reply could be the difference between a cheap flight and a much more expensive one! Make a note of email addresses and mobile phone numbers too.

10. When booking your flights, find a site which will search across a range of dates. We found a site which gave us the best prices on the dates we want to fly, saving us a lot of money – £500 in fact.

This is our entry for the CaxtonFX giveaway to win a prepaid Currency Card

Christmas Gift Ideas – You Don’t Need To Spend a Lot

You don’t need to spend a lot of money at Christmas. Every year I fall into the trap and spend far too much – I’m sure we all do. This year I’m attempting to be sensible – starting with setting a strict £30 budget (which I’ve gone over by £5). It’s doable as long as you have some idea of what you’re buying. (H has been asking for a PlayDoh ice cream parlour since her birthday so I kept my eye out for good offers and got it for £15 in the end – it has a RRP of £25)

playdoh ice cream parlour

This year I started picking up bargains I spotted online and in stores – Tiger Stores has loads of traditional games, often wooden ones which appealed – they’ve got a kids toys section on their UK site (it’s not an online store) and most gifts come in at less than £5.

Tiger Stores Pin PIcture

The Entertainer has a store near work, and I’m pleased they have games like Mouse Trap and Operation on offer. Someone in-store told me they were holding stock back as the offer had been so popular so they’d have enough to keep them going until Christmas. I got Operation for £6 which I’m happy with. We had both games when I was young and I know that H will enjoy them too – and I’m looking at games we might not play with immediately but could be ones that stick around for a while. H keeps requesting the Doggie Doo game…. well she is four!


Amazon have had some book deals lately – I’ve picked up some classics for just £1 new which are great stocking fillers. We’ve also had some good local markets near us which have great deals on new books that we’ve stocked up on, so don’t rule out shopping locally!

I’m always on the lookout for good toy deals in shops – we’ve recently had a Kiddicare store open in Croydon which is fantastic, they’ve got a 3 for 2 on ALL toys going on at the moment. They’ve also got free next day delivery on all orders over £29.99 – and considering I have an extra child to buy for this year, this works out a really good deal –  I’ve just saved myself £17, and can get delivery to work tomorrow as well. Now THAT is convenient! Oh, and they accept PayPal as payment too – more shops should do this.

Homemade book

I’ve bought a book ‘Homemade‘ as a present which has some brilliant ideas. Essentially, you can make your own everyday items – from baking preserves, home remedies, cleaning solutions, beauty products, confectionery and pet care. I know someone who will enjoy this book a lot… hopefully she won’t be reading this post…

So far, not too much spent anyway… there’ll be more Christmas Gift Ideas tomorrow…

Pocket Money – What Do You Do?

Pocket money is one of those things which will creep up on us all before we know it. We’ve been tackling it early but keeping it simple.

Pocket money, oh joy. H isn’t even four yet and we’ve been doing it for a year or so now – last year we were one of the finalists in a money saving competition and over the year we’ve done lots of 5p tasks, putting the money into her moneybox as we go.

pocket money box

The tooth fairy paid a visit recently and bumped up the amount to a much higher one (okay, just £1 but in H terms that’s like a million pounds) – and we’ve not been as good at assigning 5p tasks as we should be.

Locally we’ve a shop, Calladoodles which I’m going to post a feature on soon – it’s a lovely shop with gorgeous handmade things on sale and we’re in there most weeks. They’ve just opened a mail order site and need to be checked out – I could spend so much in there. They stock Miffy things (we love Miffy in our house) as well as Cath Kidston and Orla Kiely… yum.

The last time we were in, H spotted a bracelet she liked so we decided we’d count her pennies and if she had enough we could spend them in there – and as of this morning she has enough. My little girl will have a little purse with her savings in, and will spend it on something she really wants – I’m a bit excited!

We’ve kept it simple as well, while this isn’t pocket money it won’t be long before she’s asking for some. So what is the right amount for an almost four year old starting school in just over a month? I’m thinking 50p a week with anything extra being things she’s earned (at 5p a time). I want her to have some money sense and ideally add the savings to her bank account – what do you do?

Airport Money Saving Tips

Airport Money Saving Tips are essential – we’ve flown a few times and I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like to spend money unless I absolutely have to. Purple Parking have created a handy money-saving guide on their site, and I’d like to share some of mine.

Get your holiday insurance before travelling! Most places sell it when you’re in Duty Free, though you may not get the best policy that way. We’ve often been caught out, spending up to £50 in the process. Even worse, I had to do a claim when some of my belongings went missing, and the excess was £50 – so after that I ended up with a cheque for £2.50. Shop around beforehand!

Parking-wise, we’re Purple Parking customers – one thing I’d say, make sure you write down where you’re parked otherwise you’ll end up like Shaun and I when we arrived back at Stansted just before midnight one year, taking over two hours to find our car. When we parked I knew I’d remember the number (as it was similar to a song) and by the time we landed I was exhausted and had forgotten. There’s a reason there’s a space on your ticket to write it down!  We booked up-front which gives you a better deal than paying as you get there.

I always look out for deals online before getting to Duty Free – my favourite one was the Clarins Eau Dynamissante two for £25 deal which I often caught – a bottle would cost around £18 in-store, so two at that price was amazing. These days you can shop online before you even get to the airport, picking it up as you’re boarding your flight.

The last time we flew H was fifteen months – as we were staying with the in-laws we didn’t need to take a lot, but we still needed enough in our hand luggage for a days worth of flying. Luckily a lot is provided by the airlines, so read up beforehand. It’s worth bearing in mind the limits for liquids and so on at the security check, as you can pick them up in Duty Free generally (like bottles of water), so don’t take more than you need.

The one we get caught out on every time – make sure you’ve included an overseas tariff in your mobile phone package. There’ll be that one time you need to phone relatives or friends and you’ll need to use your phone, eventually coming home to a £50 bill rather than your usual £15 – so look into what your provider offers, or if your phone is able to take it, think about buying a Pay As You Go SIM card to use in your phone to use when you get there.

fastening a car seat to a suitcase, airport money saving tips

The last time we went to Australia we had a LOT of luggage. Our taxi was cancelled due to the snow, so we had three suitcases, one cabin sized suitcase, a changing bag, a buggy and one other bag – oh, and a car seat. We got the train to Gatwick, and travelling in the cold one top tip which costs nothing and I always pass on, wrap your car seat in a large bin bag. Not all airlines will let you have your car seat in the cabin, so you want to protect it from any cold and wet (and it’ll be freezing in the hold if it ends up there).

As far as transporting it, Yyou can buy loads of fancy gadgets to carry things but in the end a simple belt around our cabin sized suitcase was enough for us – and was something we already had. That and we had a lot of help from people on the train, as you can imagine!!

Taking the train to the airport is less than a taxi but keep an eye out for buses that go to airports. From Carshalton there’s an express bus which is every 30 minutes – the X26 from Croydon to Heathrow. You pay the cost of a single fare on the bus – which is good if you’re looking to save money. It takes an hour and a half on a bad day.

I hope some of these are helpful – don’t get caught out like we did, an airport is somewhere you can save money, and hopefully these airport money saving tips will be of use!

We have been sent vouchers for this post.