28 easy ways to get free money!






From cashback to birthday freebies, tax rebates to lost savings - there are so many ways you can claw back the cash without changing your shopping habits.

Forget pennies down the back of the sofa, here are some easy ways to track down money with your name on. This isn't designed to encourage more spending, just to make what you already spend earn its keep and help you max out the discounts, grants, tax breaks, benefits and schemes in tune with your existing lifestyle. 


1. Earn cash on everyday spending
If you already use a credit card and have no trouble paying it off each month, it might be worth switching to one that pays you cashback. So every time you spend on essential groceries or fuel, for instance, you are earning money effortlessly. Compare cashback credit cards at MoneySavingExpert and MoneySupermarket. Look out for fees, the cashback rates offered and how much you have to spend in order to claim maximum cashback.

2. Spend your loyalty stockpile!
If you’ve lost track of your loyalty cards or tend to shop online and haven't linked your card up, you will be missing out on easy discounts and freebies at your favourite shops. Contact the company directly to track down a lost account. Then going forward download the retailer’s app or add the card electronically to your smartphone ‘wallet’ so you never lose it again.

3. Grab some birthday freebies
Some retailers, restaurants and hair & beauty salons will give you a discount just because it's your birthday - in exchange for signing up to their marketing, newsletters, loyalty schemes and, of course, providing your date of birth. (There really is no such thing as a free lunch but at least sit down at the table with your eyes open!) One smart move would be to set up a separate 'birthday' email account to avoid being bombarded with spam all year. Savethestudent has a great list of 38 places to try, from Frankie & Benny's and Hotel Chocolat to The Body Shop and Pets at Home (because you're not the only one with a birthday in the house!).

4. Are you entitled to the married couples tax break?
Around 2.4m couples are missing out on a tax break worth up to £252 a year, according to the Treasury. Married Couple’s Allowance could reduce your tax bill each year if you’re married or in a civil partnership. For the 2021 to 2022 tax year, it could cut your tax bill by between £353 and £912.50 a year.

You’re entitled to claim if you meet the following criteria:

*You must be married or in a civil partnership, not just cohabiting.

*One of you earns an income of £12,570 or less and the other must be a basic rate taxpayer (income under £50,270 (£43,662 in Scotland)

*You both must have been born on or after 6 April 1935.

You can also back-claim for up to four tax years, too. Find out how to apply at gov.uk

Use the Married Couple’s Allowance calculator to work out what you could get. Be warned there are bogus accounts that charge you to apply for married couples allowance, so be on the alert. Applying is free.

5. Get paid to think
From online surveys to focus groups, there are plenty of companies willing to pay you for your opinions (including in online survey panels which you can easily do from home). You could earn £40-£100 for a few hours’ participation. Sign up with market research agencies such as Sarosresearch and Researchopinions.

6. Check for benefits
There’s a whole range of benefits available depending on your circumstances, so check if you’re missing out. For example, if you are looking after someone for 35 hours a week or more, you may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance (currently set at £67.60 per week). Use this free benefits calculator to find out what you are entitled to Entitledto or Turn2us.

7. Pay the right tax
Your tax code is used by your employer or pension provider to work out how much Income Tax to take from your pay or pension. Many people are put on an emergency tax code (particularly when they start a new job) and pay more tax than they should. You can work out how much income tax you should be paying here.

If you think your tax code is wrong you should contact HMRC who will issue your employer with a revised tax code as required. You can ring them on 0300 200 3300 or go online.

8. Ditch unused subscriptions
One in five people (21%) are paying for subscriptions they no longer use, spending an average of £265 per year on these services, says Comparethemarket. Campaigners are trying to get a change in the rules so customers are reminded in good time that these arrangements are about to auto renew and the option to cancel is made clearer. But until then remember businesses are allowed to take regular payments from your debit or credit card until you cancel the instruction. Among those that use ‘continuous payment authorities’ are Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Now TV and Spotify. So if your lockdown binge watching days are behind you, it's time to cut back!

9. Track down Premium Bond prizes
There’s over £67m worth of unclaimed prize money, with no time limit on claims. Many prizes are owed to heirs of deceased relatives and owners who received Premium Bonds long ago as a child, and have since forgotten they had them! Check unclaimed premium bonds here.

10. Claim for the train
Train delays are frustrating, yet only 37%* of passengers claimed for their last eligible refund, according to the Department of Transport. Delay Repay is a national scheme that train companies use to compensate you for unexpected delays and cancellations of 15 minutes or more (depending on your network).

You’ll need to claim from the train company that was running the delayed service, even if you booked via a different site, and within 28 days of travel. Simply search delay repay and the train company online. Then fill in a form (either on paper or online) and provide details of when you travelled and how you were delayed. You’ll also need to include the ticket with your paper form or provide an image if applying online.

11. Cancel unused direct debits
One of the small satisfactions in life is finding a direct debit that you no longer need or use, or have even forgotten you are paying. We waste around £40 a month on unwanted direct debits. It takes 10 minutes to go through your bank statements for the last few months, or check online, and purge the payments. Even a few pounds a month wasted adds up!

12. Cashback the easy way
Install a browser plug in so that when you are shopping online, you get a pop up that automatically tells you if you could get a deal on a product or find somewhere selling it cheaper. Download the Quidco extension or TopCashback’s extension.

13. Track down a lost pension pot
Research by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) shows people rarely contact their pension provider when they move house. It has been estimated that there are around 1.6 million pension pots worth £19.4 billion unclaimed. If you've moved house and jobs in recent years and forgotten to tell the pension provider, then it's well worth checking to see if there is any pension money owed to you. The average pot is valued at £13,000, which could make a big difference to your retirement income.

MoneyHelper has useful guidance on how to start tracking down lost pensions. You can also phone the Pension Tracing Service on 0800 731 0193 or find them at search for a lost pension.

14. Lost a savings account?
If you have lost details of other accounts or savings, such ISAs, go to My Lost Account for help. It is a free service bringing together the three tracing schemes of UK Finance (UKF), the Building Societies Association (BSA) and National Savings and Investments (NS&I) into a single website. If you've lost a Child Trust Fund, use this government form to find it.

15. Trace lost stocks and shares
When financial institutions merge, get taken over or simply rebrand, it's easy to lose track of your investments (particularly if you haven't been good at letting them know when you move house!). Contact the last company you have paperwork for or the trust’s name – companies are obliged to keep records of all shareholders and dividends. The internet makes it much easier to do a bit of detective work than it used to be.If you really are starting from scratch, get in touch with the Association of Investment Companies. You can also track down lost shares by contacting the three main share registrars: Link Asset Services, Computershare and Equiniti.

16. Scan for grants
There may well be financial help available to help you make your home more energy efficient through home improvements. Different grants, loans and schemes are available depending where you live. Use the postcode finder to see if you’re eligible for a home energy grant to help pay for things like loft and cavity wall insulation at Simpleenergyadvice.

17. Claw back the overpay
If you pay your energy bills by direct debit, you may well be in credit some of the time, as the amount you use fluctuates. While it can be useful to build up a buffer during the summer months so that you feel it less in the winter when the bills are bigger, if you feel the amount is big enough that you want it back in your pocket, ask for a refund. You will probably be offered a reduction on your direct debit instead but if you want the money back, you are entitled to it.

18. Cash in on sweeteners
If you are planning on changing banks, don’t forget to check if they give a cashback incentive for switching. Obviously, this should not be your motivating reason to move but it’s a nice freebie to claim. Search 'best bonus for switching banks' to get the latest. There are usually qualifying criteria so make sure you meet these or you could be disappointed.

19. Don't miss out on National Insurance contributions
More than 200,000 parents a year are at risk of missing out on state pension because of mistakes in the way they claim child benefit, according to HM Revenue & Customs. When the child benefit is paid to the working parent rather than the one at home looking after the children, this parent can miss out on National Insurance credits. Families who don't know this or fail to rectify it can miss out in thousands of pounds in state pension. It's often mothers of young children who don't know about this so spread the word!

Contact the Child Benefit office if you think this might affect you.

20. Lottery money with your name on?
Hard to believe it but there are millions of pounds of unclaimed lottery wins. So if you are a regular player, don’t forget to check your numbers at national-lottery.co.uk. You’ve got 180 days from the draw date to claim before winnings go to good causes.

21. Over 60s health boost
If you are over 60 you are entitled to free prescriptions. But hurry, there are proposals afoot to change this in line with the state pension age of 66!

Boots will also give you extra points for being over 60 and a 25% discount on glasses with your Advantage card. Check out the full offering here.

22. Go undercover
Fancy a free meal or fun outing? Becoming a mystery shopper could be the answer. Most mystery shoppers start off with small jobs, such as café visits, and get to make their own choices within a selection of items – coffee and cake always tastes nicer when it’s free! There are also assignments involving trips to venues like bowling alleys and ice rinks, which are useful if you have children to entertain. Simply sign up to an agency such as Ipsos. The Ipsos mystery shoppers are paid to act like regular customers, evaluate and report the quality of services. Never pay to apply to an agency, however, as it could be looking to scam you.

23. Reclaim packaged bank account fees
While the PPI reclaim deadline has now long passed, if you’ve ever had a packaged bank account (one where you pay typically £10-£20 a month for add-ons such as travel insurance) that you didn’t ask for, or you didn’t use the benefits, it’s not too late to make a claim. Contact your bank, providing as much information as possible on the account and with copies of your statements showing the fees you paid. Find out more at Resolver.

24. Winter fuel payments
If you were born on or before 26 September 1955 you could get between £100 and £300 to help with your bills in the winter of 2021-2022. The amount you get will depend on who lives with you and whether you are in receipt of certain other benefits. Find out more from AgeUK. Claim at gov.uk.

25. Check your council tax band
You could be in the wrong council tax band and paying more than you should. To find out what band you’re in, type in your postcode at the government's council tax band page (Scottish Assessors for Scottish residents). You’ll also be able to select your neighbours’ addresses to see how they compare (or just to be nosy!). According to Moneysaving expert, thousands of people have successfully claimed and received back sums in excess of £1000.

26. Discount for being single
You can claim a 25% discount on your council tax if you’re the only adult in the house. Go to gov.uk to apply for a discount. If you move house, a child living at home turns 18 or your status changes, you will need to let the council know.

27. Money boost for looking after grandchildren
Are you a grandparent doing family childcare? You could be missing out on £5k of pension income. Grandparents who take on childcare for a child under age 12 can ask for National Insurance credits to be transferred to them via the parents, which then counts towards their State Pension. You can find out all about it here.

28. Don't pay for delivery
If you are buying it anyway, don't pay unnecessary delivery charges. If you order more than 10 items from Amazon a year, think about investing in Amazon Prime (£79 annual membership) and get free one day delivery as well as other benefits.

Amazon aside, if you are buying online, check the minimum order for free delivery and combine purchases to save whenever possible.