12 discount and voucher schemes you can use BEFORE government Eat Out to Help Out and green energy ones start

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HOMEOWNERS will be able to get half price meals and thousands of pounds worth of grants to make homes energy efficient as part of a scheme to restart the economy.

Yesterday, the Chancellor announced the measures as part of a £30billion “Plan For Jobs” package – but many of the incentives won’t come into play for a few months yet.

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The government will cover half of the bill when you eat at a restaurant, pub of cafe through the Eat Out To Help Out scheme, up to £10 per head, to boost the hospitality industry.

The discount includes children’s meals too although it won’t cover any booze ordered to go with your food.

It will see an £80 bill for a family of four reduced to just £40 but won’t come into effect until August 3 and runs until August 31.

Rishi Sunak also announced grants of up to £5,000 to households to make their homes energy efficient.

The most vulnerable households will get up to £10,000 to help make their houses more environmentally friendly, but the grant scheme won’t kick in until September this year.

For now, we’ve put together a round up of all the vouchers and discounts that are available to use now to get money off your meal out or your energy bills:

There are a number of ways that you can save money when eating out, even without the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

Some restaurants will reward you with discounts or a free meal if you register with their loyalty scheme.

For example, Nando’s gives you free food when you’ve collected a certain number of stamps that you collect with every visit.

Other chains, like Pizza Express, will send you discounts for special occasions, such as your birthday, if you sign up to their newsletter.

Tastecard is a members club for foodies that let’s you get exclusive discounts at hundreds of restaurant chains.

Current deals include two for one meals at the Aberdeen Steak House and 50 per cent off food at Ed’s Easy Diner.

It costs £4.99 a month to be a member or £34.99 for the year.

Not all of the discounts can be applied to every order and some are only available on certain days of the week so check the terms and conditions before you sign up.

If you use comparison website MoneySuperMarket to buy a product, such as insurance, then you will be rewarded by being given access to the company’s meals out scheme.

Meerkat Meals gets you two for one meals at certain chains Monday through to Thursday for a whole year.

At the moment, Frankie & Benny’s, Zizzi and Strada are all signed up to the scheme.

You get access to the perk no matter how much you spend through the comparison site so even if you buy a product for £1, you can get some serious savings on eating out.

If you’re in full-time education or a member of the National Students Union then you may be able to get a discount of up to 25 per cent off the bill.

Some restaurants only need you to show your student card, others will need to see your NUS Extra – now TOTUM – card to qualify.

It costs £14.99 a year and will get you money off at a range of retailers, including health and fitness and fashion, as well as meals out.

The types of discounts on offer differ on the retailer but at the moment, you can get 20 per cent off Pizza Hut and 25 per cent off at Prezzo.

Voucher websites such as Groupon and RedLetterDays lets you buy coupons for meals and experiences at specific restaurants and cafes for a discount.

For example, Groupon is selling a two-course steak meal for two for £49, even though the dinner would normally cost £79 if you ordered it without the voucher.

Meanwhile, RedLetterDays is doing a voucher deal for a three course meal with wine for two for £30, instead of £49.90.

But before parting with your cash, make sure you read the terms and conditions of the deal, as they’re often only valid for specific orders and dates, and can’t be used on certain days of the week.

They also come with an expiry date so you should be confident you can use it before it runs out or it will be a waste of money.

You should also check that the restaurant you want to spend it in is accepting the vouchers, and is open for diners after the coronavirus lockdown.

Before deciding where to eat, check sites like VoucherCodes or VoucherCloud for any discount codes you can use to get money off your order.

These can help you bag big discounts, such as two for one meals or up to 75 per cent off your order – sometimes it might just be a free side.

At the moment, there are deals with KFC, TGI Fridays, Pizza Hut and Domino’s but remember than many of the chains are only open for takeaways so it’s worth double checking before heading out for food.

Also, it’s worth bearing in mind that the sites rely on users uploading the codes so not all of them have been verified – sometimes it’s a game of trial and error.

Households can save cash on their energy bills if they use the government’s green energy grant vouchers to transform their home.

But they won’t be launched until September, and then it could take a few months before the work is carried out.

Until then, here are a number vouchers and discount schemes available that you can use to slash the cost of your energy.

You can get PAID to take out a new energy deal if you use a cashback site such as TopCashback or Quidco to buy it.

You’ll even get money back if want to go through a comparison site to find the best deal.

For example, you can get £115 cashback by taking out an SSE deal through TopCashback, or £28 if you shop through comparison site Uswitch.

The way it works is that customers search for a deal on one of the cashback websites, click through to the retailer and then your purchase will be logged.

You have to pay the upfront costs but cashback amount will be added to your account within a set time period – you can then transfer that money into a linked PayPal or bank account.

It’s free to make an account although the best cashback deals will only be available to premium account holders – but these come with a fee.

Quidco charges £1 for every monthly you’ve earned cashback, while Topcashback charges a £5 annual fee for its Plus account.

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) runs the Affordabile Warmth scheme that gives grants to homeowners who want to make their properties more energy efficient, such as adding wall insulation.

How much you can get depends on what local authority you are in and what work needs to be done.

You must also receive certain benefits, such as Universal Credit, tax credits or disability living allowance, as well as either own your own home or rent privately.

The application process is quite complex and you’re not guaranteed to get the help. You can find out more information here.

Some energy suppliers offer grants to pay for new boilers or insulations – some even offer them for free if you’re claiming certain benefits.

But suppliers also take into account how much your home will benefit from the added insulation so you aren’t guaranteed the help.

For example, NPower offers help towards loft insulation, cavity wall insulation or a new boiler if you claim benefits, including Universal Credit., and you don’t have to be a customer.

British Gas, SSE or Scottish Power do not offer help towards making your home more energy efficient.

You should contact your supplier directly to see what help they do offer.

You may qualify to get £140 off your electricity bill throughout winter under the warm home discount scheme.

To be eligible, you’ll need to be claiming the guarantee credit element of pension credit or are on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme – known as the “broader group”.

Your electricity supplier decides who can get the discount – check with your supplier to see if you’re eligible and how to apply.

Here, the money is not paid to you, but comes as a one-off discount on your electricity bill.

The warm home discount scheme for winter 2019 to 2020 closed on March 31 this year, while the 2020/21 scheme will open on October 12 2020.

Check with your supplier as early as possible. The number of discounts suppliers can give are limited.

If you were born on or before August 5, 1954 you could get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a “winter fuel payment”.

Those who get a state pension will usually get it automatically, otherwise you may have to claim.

The deadline for winter 2020/2021 is March 31, 2021. Most payments are made automatically by January 13, 2021.

During periods of prolonged cold weather many people can claim an extra £25 a week off their heating bills.

These payments are available to those on certain benefits, such as pension credit or Universal Credit.

Payments are triggered when the forecast temperature is zero degrees Celsius, or below, for seven consecutive days, between November 1 and March 31.

To be eligible for a cold weather payment, a person must be in receipt of one of the following benefits and you can check if you qualify online.

You can use an online postcode search to find out if your area is due to receive payment triggered by cold weather.

 

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