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

ICE – Customer Rewards Programme

ICE works in much the same way as other loyalty programmes… with one major difference. The brands they work with are specifically chosen because the products and services are sustainable.

There are a wide variety of categories on ICE that should interest people from any walk of life, these include: travel, mother & baby, UK holidays, fashion & clothing and many others. Associated brands include big names such as Marks & Spencer and John Lewis.

ICE believe that sustainable choices should be rewarded and encouraged. To do this customers are given points for products purchased through the website, these vary depending on where you buy from.

I had never heard of ICE before, but was pleasantly surprised by the brand names that I recognised. I like their ethos and the fact that the website is easy to navigate and explore.

AkaMuti-Bottom-Butter-300x225I shopped with EthicalBabe, the products here are organic and natural, ethical and environmentally friendly. I spent quite a bit of time on here, simply because it was a pleasure to have a look around. Everything was easy to find with the help of clearly laid out sections and there was a handy search bar, if in doubt! Points awarded vary depending on where you shop. At the time of purchase 15 points are given for every £2 spent at EthicalBabe, which is pretty generous, especially compared to other loyalty programmes.


I ordered a wooden toy musical set (£14.50 for xylophone, two jingle bells and two castanets) and the Akamuti baby bottom butter (£8.99 for 60ml). I was very impressed at the speed of delivery as I received these items the next day. My son Jacob had a lot of fun with the instruments (even though he wasn’t quite sure how to use them!), and I love the bottom butter. Yes the bottom butter does seem pricey but it smells divine, a little goes a long way and it is refreshing to look at a list of ingredients and actually know what they all mean! Standard delivery for EthicalBabe is £3.95, though as your order gets heavier the price goes up, however you also have the option of picking up from their London store for free if you live local enough.



When ordering from this site I got a little confused on how to use my ICE points. On going back to the ICE site there was a foolproof step-by-step guide on how to spend them, which I was really impressed by, and made life a lot easier.

ICE is a cleverly thought out site, with some excellent brands attached. I would recommend anyone to take a peek!

I was provided with credit to place an order at Ice – all opinions are her own and unbiased.

Making Money, Part One

So short you missed it, I’m sure. I spilt the tiniest bit of water onto my MacBook keyboard and it stopped working. This is not a good thing when you’ve lots to type about, especially when mid-sentence you start typing complete nonsense even though you’re hitting the right keys.

Fast forward to the end of the week and here we are with a new MacBook Pro – which is lovely. We’re doing the Amazon Family deal so got free next day delivery, plus they’re selling the MacBook Pro for £100 less than Apple does in their store – anything to save some money!

purple keyboard protectorNow we’re on a quest to sell things and make money back to cover the costs of the new laptop (and I’ve also bought a thermoplastic cover for it to protect against future spills – like I’ll have any liquids anywhere near this computer right now!!) – so the first stop is Music Magpie.

We’ve used them for a few years now – I often find I have the problem of too many CDs – and sometimes I need to get rid of some. All you do is put in the barcode and you’ll get a value. I used to sell CDs via Amazon, where I’d get more money but you’d have to wait for someone to want to buy your it rather than getting a (lower) value instantly – plus Amazon is a good backup when Music Magpie don’t want your CD or don’t have it in their databases.

All you do is put in the barcodes, package up the CDs, print out the packaging labels you’ll get emailed (or posted) and take them to your local post office or pickup point, and wait for the money to be credited to your account. In the past we’ve taken payment by cheque, however this time I’ve opted for a bank transfer.

It’s really easy to do, and even better, I’ve now got a bit of space. Oh, and it’s a good use for all that Amazon packaging I seem to be accumulating too….

Do you have any good suggestions of places to sell things and raise a bit of cash?
Let me know in the comments!

Spend Less, Read More part one…

There’s sales everywhere – and competitions everywhere. Euromillions claim they’ll create a few more millionaires before Christmas, and it’s all well and good, but I never win competitions, so I’m not holding out much hope.

So instead I thought I’d do a piece on places I spot bargains, that kind of thing.

There’s a few blogs I follow – and have recently found Playpennies which is a brilliant site – somewhere with so many posts about things I never realised I needed until I read them! Need a hooded towel for your little one? Why pay more when you can get decent character ones from Play.com? See, I’d never have thought of looking there and would have forked out twice as much. Add it to your rss reader/subscriber thing, you wont regret it – they’ve done all the hard work to make it easier for you.

When I hurt my back earlier this year I had many days lying in bed recouperating – and with that discovered Lidl Photos. Some people might get a bit sniffy about Lidl, but actually compared to some Photobox or Snapfish photos I’ve had printed, the Lidl ones have been by far the superior quality. There’s been a deal to get a free photo book on there for a few months now, though sadly not Mac compatible (so that counts me out).

Vistaprint have been offering bazillions of free things as I’d ordered up some business cards from there, with just shipping costs on top (at £3ish). I got 10 photo Christmas Cards from them at no cost – considering when I did them in H’s first year they cost £25 with shipping on top via another high profile photo company, I’ve saved a packet. I’ve had a few things where hidden charges creep in, so be aware.

The Book People keep coming to my husband’s work and I keep making him buy things for H, such is their fabulously wide selection of books – then they really taunt me by turning up at a local fair – we love The Book People, H’s current Meg and Mog obsession (and with it a baby octopus one) stems from the six titles in a bag they’re currently doing.

Finally, if you’re like me and horribly disorganised, then you’ll not have a Christmas Cake sorted yet. Fear not, as Delia’s make your own at Waitrose has been reduced to just £5 in-store – although on seeing the ingredients in sachets, I do kind of wonder if I could have done it myself? Naaah, far too lazy. There’ll be a feature on the making of the cake to follow… once we’ve bought the extra bits we need. I think we’ll probably skip the icing and just have fruit cake…

Poundland has been great with our Christmas preparations, it seemed to be the only place which did glitter (shame on you WHSmiths!), and had stick on snowflakes for the windows which are pretty cool. I also got a large Christmas Stocking for H to put under the tree (it had a plastic window on the front which I picked off), which we may well fill up with fruit next Saturday… worth checking anyway, if you haven’t already!

That’s all for this time….