Ask Andy #40: Your money questions answered

My regular round-up of your personal finance questions.

I love hearing from you, whether it’s on the blog, social media, YouTube or email. Often you’re asking me questions about your finances, and I’m always glad to help if I have the time.

But I realised that my answers could also be useful to other followers. So I’ll be putting my responses to the best questions into regular articles here on the blog.

Keep reading for some of the questions I’ve been asked, plus the video live from this week with even more!

Watch the latest live Q&A

Most Tuesday evenings you’ll find me live on YouTube and Instagram answering your questions. It’s probably the best place to ask!

Here’s the latest video:

This week’s extra questions

If you’ve asked me a question elsewhere, you might find the answer below!

Will I get the energy rebate if I’m in band E?

My home is in council tax band E but I receive a discount as I am in a wheelchair which takes me down to price of tax band D. Do you know if I am entitled to the £150 energy discount?

David, via email

So, this hasn’t been revealed by the government yet, but I don’t think you’ll get the rebate automatically. Though you pay the lower rate, the building is technically still band E. Hopefully I’m wrong and it’ll be processed without you having to do anything.

If it doesn’t, Councils in England will have a fund for people to apply to if they are in a different band or don’t pay Council Tax. I’d hope that you’d be able to get that.

But right now there isn’t any details about who might be eligible or how they would be able to apply. When there is more info, I’ll update it on the site.

Should I fix my energy?

Hi Andy. Please help. I just moved into a new flat with Electricity only. It is with Sottish Power and I am on Standard Plan. I am considering switching to British gas (couldn’t find any other provider) on a fixed plan for £90 a month (3000kwh a month consumption). This is fixed for just a year. Do you think this is wise idea? Because on standard my prices are going to soar real bad. 

Nikhail, via YouTube

It looks like fixes are all far over the odds to make them worthwhile. There’s always a chance prices go up even more than expected later this year which could mean a high fix now evens out, but it’s impossible to say.

Should I pay in pounds when on holiday?

When paying in a different currency, will you get to decide if you want to pay in GPB or in the local currency of the country you’re in?

Ellie, via YouTube

Yes, you’ll be able to choose. But always choose to pay in the local currency. If you change to GBP at the shop or restaurant etc they’ll convert it at their rate. So if you’re using a specialist card for travel spending which is fee-free, you’ll miss out on those better rates.

Will higher interest rates stop me buying a house?

What about for those who are first-time homebuyers? What effect will the interest rate rise have?

Akim, via YouTube

The higher base rate means the rates on mortgages will likely be higher, and keep getting higher if there are more increases (which is expected). So when you come to buy your home, affordability will be stretched as your repayments will be higher. Which might make it harder to find a mortgage deal.

Our podcast

Listen to Cash Chats, our award-winning podcast, presented by Editor-in-chief Andy Webb.

Episodes every Tuesday.

Can I get an RBS and Natwest switch bonus?

Hi Andy, excellent job! I was encouraged by your post recently and switched my long HSBC bank to Natwest. The switch is completed now, no bonus yet received. My question is: can I still switch another back account to RBS? I believe one of the criteria for the switch was no bonus received from RBS or Natwest since 2017? Thanks

Zak, via comments on the blog

Hi Zak, that’s right, RBS and Natwest are effectively the same bank so there’s a cut-off on getting another bonus from either one. You could try Nationwide or Santander though? Potentially First Direct (currently offering £150), depending on when you opened your HSBC account.

How to ask me questions

The best ways to get in touch is in the Andy Clever Cash Facebook community

Just post your question any time, or ask me live in my weekly Q&A each Tuesday (which is on Instagram and YouTube).

You can also comment on individual blogposts and videos or ask me questions via these channels:

I can’t promise I’ll be able to answer all questions but I’ll do my best. I tend to look once a week at all the messages, so you might have to bear with me for a reply!


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