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The ‘lazy’ ways to make and save money

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Written by: Paloma Kubiak
21/02/2017
If you value your time over the effort needed to save a few quid, these websites take the aggro out of saving and making you money…but for a fee.

You know you’re on your energy supplier’s pricey standard variable tariff but you’re put off switching because of the paperwork.

You believe your property could be rented out to get you a good regular income but you’ve no time to market it, handle the bookings or even be there to hand over your keys.

You’re aware your money’s earning peanuts in your savings account but moving it to a competitor doesn’t seem worth it in the current low interest rate environment.

Finding the time to keep on top of your finances can be a challenge. Luckily a number of websites have sprung up lately with the aim of taking the hassle out of making and saving you money – if you’re prepared to pay a fee.

Here are three suggestions.

Switch and save on your energy bill

There are various free energy switching sites on the market including uSwitch, and even sites that give you £30 cashback when you switch a dual fuel tariff through them (MoneySavingExpert’s Cheap Energy Club), but if you want a hassle-free route to cheaper energy, Flipper could be a good option.

Launched in 2016, users sign up to the site for £25 a year. As part of this annual fee, Flipper scours the energy market four times a year to make sure you’re on the cheapest deal. It will only switch you if it finds a deal saving you a minimum of £50 after any exit penalties.

Flipper is ‘whole-of-market’ which means it compares all energy suppliers, even smaller independents and those which may have high complaints statistics. However, it says when customers sign up, they have the option to exclude certain suppliers. And if they do experience any issues during the switch process, Flipper will liaise with the energy supplier on their behalf.

The bad news is this service isn’t available if you’re on a pre-payment meter (you need to pay for your energy via direct debit or upon receipt of bill) though if you’re in debt with your energy supplier you could still be able to switch. Flipper says suppliers will usually reject to the switch if the debt is over £250. If you’re an Economy 7 customer, you can use the site but Flipper doesn’t support those on Economy 10.

To sign up and allow Flipper to take control of your energy switching, you need to give your name, date of birth and contact details. You don’t even need to know which energy supplier you’re with as it’ll find out for you. Once you’ve signed up you’ll need to give Flipper details of your online energy account so it can evaluate your usage. If you don’t have an online account, it can create one for you. Once it’s found you a deal, it will be in touch within a couple weeks for meter readings.

Rent out your property without being there in person

There’s no escaping Airbnb – the epitome of the sharing economy. If you have a property or room to rent out you could join the millions of people worldwide who earn extra income using the site.

But if  you don’t want to deal with the hassle of uploading pictures and shudder at the thought of pleasing fussy guests just to get five star reviews, then Airbnb property management companies could provide a half-way house.

A quick Google search reveals pages and pages of Airbnb property management companies all fighting to rank at the top of the search engine and gain your custom. But fees can vary dramatically, depending on your location and exactly what’s included.

As an example, Portico, a London estate agent, launched a rental management service – Portico Host – last month. It sets up the property listing, manages the property, deals with bookings, vets guests and responds to communication. The fee – 15% plus VAT, after Airbnb takes its usual 3% plus VAT charge – doesn’t include cleaning.

An alternative service, My Property Host, charges a slightly higher 19% which includes insurance and cleaning.

Move money to the top interest-paying accounts

Cash-rich but time-poor savers may want to consider independent research site Savings Champion’s Concierge Cash Service.

This service is designed to help savers earn as much interest as they can on their savings, as well as keep cash safe, bearing in mind the £85,000 deposit protection level available as part of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

The average client balance is £490,000, but the minimum amount is around the £100,000 mark, as that’s the point at which it can really start to add value, as multiple savings account may be required.

Savers will need to factor in the following fee: 0.3% of the amount deposited in the first year, which includes a 0.1% set-up fee and 0.2% on going management fee paid each year thereafter, subject to a minimum fee of £395 in the first year and £295 thereafter.

To get started, you have a ‘discovery consultation’ to find out if your returns could be improved and Savings Champion will assess your access preference to the funds such as whether you’re happy to lock away your money for a period of time.

With the help of a personal savings adviser, it will then help you open the accounts and where it can, it will pre-populate forms needed to open them (it can’t physically move your money on your behalf). Savings Champion confirms the money is always held in your name – it never holds your money or has access to your security information such as passwords.

The concierge service will monitor your accounts and savings rates across the whole of the market so that if rates change or your funds are due to mature soon, you’ll get an idea of the next steps to take.

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