THE money saving expert has come up with 21 ways you could save money in 2021.

In a new blog entry on his website, Martin Lewis has created a checklist of easy ways to ensure your finances are in the best possible shape this year.

He said: I'm feeling inspired by Lee-Anne, a struggling Stoke mum, who last week on my ITV show told how she turned her finances around, kindly crediting my tips, explaining how she saved enough to clear £30,000 in debt.

“So, as it's the last week in Jan, the week many bills hit inboxes and doormats, and before the traditional start-of-year MoneySaving fervour ends, I want to zip you through a pain-free MoneySaving makeover (ie, cutting bills, not cutting back).

“Here's my checklist of big and easy savings to ensure your finances are lean and fit for 2021 - do all you've not done yet.”

  • Pay energy by monthly direct debit? Your energy provider may owe you £100s. Often energy firms sit on too much of your cash. If so, get it back.
  • Halve broadband costs to £15/mth. Typical savings £150/yr. Many pay £30-£45/mth for the slowest speeds, but you can slice costs by grabbing incentives providers add to short-lived promos. Find which are available in your area via our Broadband Unbundled tool.
  • By law, it's YOUR job to check your tax code's right, not HMRC's. Millions are wrong - are you owed £1,000s? This is a job employees should do each year. Our Tax Code Calculator will help you through, and can result in big successes.
  • Can't afford to clear your credit card debt? Then you can't afford not to check if you can shift it to 0%. Savings range from £100s to £1,000s. A balance transfer is where you get a new card that clears debts on existing cards for you, so you owe it instead, but at 0%. That means more of your repayment clears the actual debt, rather than just paying the interest.
  • Required to work from home, even for A DAY, since 6 Apr? Claim a YEAR's tax relief. Rebate worth £60 or £125 - takes less than 2mins. Join the 1.76m that have claimed since we started pushing this. See my Working-from-home tax back blog.
  • Got a mortgage? Take 2mins to see if you can take advantage of near all-time low rates. Typical savings £1,000s or £10,000s. Rates are rock-bottom. 
  • When did you last check what direct debits, standing orders and, worst of all, recurring payments (permission to regularly take money from your plastic) you have set up? This hidden trio often conveniently and cheaply pay necessary bills, but without a regular 'do I still need it?' check, it can be costly.
  • Most savings interest rates are rubbish. Check what yours pay and max every penny - anything under 0.5% needs action. 
  • Do you spend more than you earn, or earn more than you spend? Don't guess - know. The MSE Budget Planner spreadsheet, while a little old now, is based on my still rock-solid budgeting theory (if I say so myself), about accurately mapping your genuine incomings and outgoings over a year, then helping assess whether it balances. It can be one of your best time investments, as it paints an honest picture of your finances.
  • Energy price hikes of £90/yr due in Apr - spend 5mins on our whole-of-market energy comparison now. Savings range £100-£400/yr.
  • Ever thought of axing the apps? Amazon, eBay, Asos etc. If you worry you're not in control of your spending, then a little friction goes a long way. Delete the apps off your phone to make impulse shopping take a little longer - delay can pay, as it gives you a bit of breathing space.
  • Car insurance prices are on the rise - can you slash £100s off, even if not at renewal? The cheapest time to do a price comparison is 20 to 26 days before renewal (later and you're seen as a higher risk, pushing prices up). Yet with prices rising, it's worth everyone checking; if you're midway through a policy, as long as you've not claimed, you can usually get a refund for the rest of the year minus a £50ish admin fee, which may add up.
  • Imagine if you got an annual supermarket shopping bill - it'd cost £1,000s. We don't think of our grocery shop as a utility bill, but it'd help if we did. It'd reveal why small weekly savings matter. Cut costs by £5 a week, and that's £260 a year. There are many hidden gems (and I don't mean lettuce) in our 30 Supermarket & Grocery Tips.
  • Are you like Robbie and Zayn? In the wrong band that is... check if you can lower your council tax by £1,000s. Way back in 2007, before the first grey hairs came, I first came up with my council tax check & challenge system, but there are still likely 100,000s of homes in Eng & Scot in the wrong band.
  • Don't just renew your TV and broadband package... HAGGLE. Many with digital TV are happy with what they get, just not the price (though auditing what channels you really use is always a good plan).
  • Halve breakdown cover costs. If you aren't loyal to the big firms, big savings are possible. Two firms offer cover for any car under 15yrs old that you/your spouse (or civil/common law partner) drive, including home breakdown and onward travel. 
  • Netflix can now cost more than a TV licence - can you cut the cost? More than 15m homes in the UK now have Netflix, and with its recent hike, its premium package costs more in a year than the TV licence.
  • Can you cut your loan's cost to 2.8%? Some with loans can get a new one to clear it and cut costs.
  • It only takes a to see if switching to a water meter will save you cash. Typical saving £50-£300/yr.  You can't switch supplier, but many in Eng & Wales can get a water meter free. There's a calculator to help - see water meter savings calc.
  • Do you get prescriptions regularly? More than 1m could have saved by getting a prepay certificate. If you're in Eng and get on avg at least one prescription a month, you can likely cut the cost with prepay prescription certificates. Our freedom of info request shows more than 1m would have in the 2019/20 financial year.
  • And finally... if you're struggling with serious debt, make an appointment with a non-profit debt counsellor ASAP. If you're in debt and it feels like a crisis, don't DIY, get help.

This is most pertinent if your non-mortgage and non-student loan debts are bigger than a year's after-tax income OR you can't meet your minimum repayments OR you're having sleepless nights over debt.

Go to a non-profit debt advice agency. They're always rammed at this time of year, so book an appointment ASAP. There's free, one-on-one help from Citizens Advice, National Debtline, CAP and StepChange, which also runs an online debt advice service. Full info in Debt Crisis Help.

For more infomation, click here.