Tax and National Insurance
Make sure you're paying the right amount of tax and National Insurance contributions. As a member of the Armed Forces your tax and National Insurance is deducted at source from your pay - see Understanding your pay statement. You should make sure your JPA record is up to date and ensure that your HR office knows about any changes in circumstances, which will help your pay office to make the correct calculations. See the Gov.uk website for more information about tax and National Insurance.
You can get help to check whether you're paying the right tax or national insurance from an experienced adviser, for example, at a Citizens Advice Bureau. You can get information about how to claim a refund of any income tax you've overpaid on the Gov.uk website.
You may be due a tax refund if you've been using your own vehicle or public transport to travel between temporary postings of under 24 months, even outside the UK. You might even be able to claim for Mess Dress. If you need help claiming back tax RIFT can help, but there is a charge.
Other deductions from your wages
As well as tax and national insurance, your employer may be deducting other money from your wages for example repayment of a student loan, rent or PAX premiums. You should check to make sure the right amount is being deducted.
If your partner can work for a few hours, maybe from home, check out the following websites for opportunities and ideas:
Claiming benefits or tax credits
You may be able to claim benefits or tax credits depending on your or your partner’s circumstances. For more detail see State benefits and allowances.
Letting out a room
If you’re living in your own home, have you thought about letting out a room to a boarder or lodger? If you own your property and you pay Income Tax, you could get up to £7,500 tax-free under the Rent a Room scheme.
You may need to think about whether increasing your income in this way would affect your family’s entitlement to benefits. You may also need to get permission from your mortgage lender and update your household insurance.
You will not normally be permitted to rent out a room in Service Family Accommodation.
Renting out your garage
If you live in an area where parking is a problem, you may be able to rent out your garage or parking space. Remember, you may have to pay tax on any income you get from this and it may have an effect on any benefits you are claiming.
If you are in Service Family Accommodation with a garage, you do not necessarily have to take the garage if you do not need it – saving you some rent. Contact your local Housing Office.
Selling things you own
If you own anything you don't want anymore, you could sell it to raise money. Places where you could do this include:
- in a car boot sale
- in a garage sale
- on an internet auction site such as e-bay
- by advertising in your local HIVE or other social meeting point, a local shop window or newspaper.
When you give a description of the item you're selling, it must be accurate. You should read any terms and conditions and be especially careful if you're selling over the internet. HM Revenue & Customs do not normally take an interest in casual trading. However, if you are trading regularly or on a large scale and making a significant income, you should declare it. You could face a hefty tax bill if you don’t.
For more information about consumer rights see the Citizens Advice website.
Grants and loans and allowances
Grants which help with the costs of fuel, water and other household bills
There are various government schemes which provide grants to help with the costs of home insulation and improve energy efficiency for certain groups of people including those on low incomes. Installing insulation and improving energy efficiency can help cut down on fuel costs.
Most Service Family Accommodation (SFA) has been fitted with insulation and double glazing where possible. SFA is graded according to its condition and the rent set to reflect that, so if your SFA is not fully insulated, check with your unit that the condition and rent has been adjusted accordingly.
For more information about grants to help with energy efficiency, see the Energy Saving Trust. Or contact your energy or water supplier direct.
Government grants and loans for people on a low income
You may be able to get help in the form of a budgeting loan to help pay for essential things if you're in receipt of income-related benefits.
Other grants for people in need
There are several Service charities and useful websites that list organisations which give grants to people in need. For example, some charities give grants to help people pay their bills or buy essential items. Contact The Royal British Legion, SSAFA or see Other Service Organisations on the Legion's Knowledgebase.
Make sure you apply for any allowances that relate to your work - see Expenses and allowances.
Children, young people and students
If you have school-age children, you may be able to get financial help for things like school meals, clothing and travel costs from the state. This will depend on your financial circumstances - see Gov.uk.
Find out how the MOD helps you with your child's education in Children.
If you live apart from the other parent of your child, you should check you're getting all the child support and child maintenance you're entitled to.
For more information about financial support for young people see the Gov.uk website.
You no longer have to pay tax on your savings interest so it pays to put some money aside on a regular basis - see Cash savings.
Getting the best interest rate
Make sure you're getting the best interest rate on your savings. Find out what rate you’re currently getting and shop around to find something better. Read any terms and conditions carefully to make sure they're what you are looking for. If you're not sure about anything, ask the savings provider - see Cash savings for more information.
You may be able to borrow money to get you through a rough patch. If you're going to borrow money, you need to do it sensibly. This means that, before you sign up to anything, you should shop around to find the cheapest deal and make sure you can afford the repayments.
Make a list of your household income and expenses to check how much you can afford to repay each month - use our Budget planner to help you. Don’t take out a loan which will cost you more than this. Then see the Borrow section for your options.
If you already have some savings and want to increase your income for the longer term, a financial adviser may be able to help – see Do you need a financial adviser?