Ask Andy #46: 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!

Is bank switching limited to once per household?

Hi Andy, do you know if the First Direct switch is once per household?

D, via Instagram

Hi D, no, switching offers are per person, so you’ll usually be about to only the cash once as an individual, but everyone in the house can apply for an account and then switch. You might even find you can get additional money via a joint account (eg with Nationwide), or find in a few years that you can switch again with the same bank as the eligibility threshold moves (I’ve had cash from Halifax twice).

Can I switch Avios to Virgin?

Hey Andy, hope you’re well. I’m sure you have addressed this many times but I would really like to transfer my Avios points to Virgin Miles. I’ve explored first transferring via Nectar points but keep getting stuck. Do you have any ideas or something I may be missing? Thanks for your help, Cheers – Greg

Greg, via Instagram

Hi Greg, sadly you can’t switch between Avios and Virgin points so it makes sense to focus on collecting one rather than both to maximise how many you earn. Or it might be better to just collect cashback which you can use for whichever flights are cheaper. If you don’t want to use existing Avios for BA flights then using them as Nectar points is your best bet.

Andy’s YouTube

Watch new videos every week on the Andy Clever Cash channel, plus a regular live Q&A

Can I trust app savings accounts?

I don’t like app banking I think they are more to hacking.  If you put less than £85,000, are you are safe?

Anna, via email

Yes you’re right, as long as there’s less than £85,000 in the account the money is safe – just look for the FCSC logo (Financial Services Compensation Scheme) to ensure it’s part of the scheme. I talk about this more in episode 266 of my podcast.

How can I cut my TV sports bills?

We have been with Virgin for many years using their complete package including landline, broadband plus all the sports and now paying a hefty £136.50 per month that we need to reduce.
The problem is, whilst I can happily live without their movie and other channels, my husband is adamant he wants all of the sports channels and the live sport stuff. 

To prevent further war (!) in our household can you please suggest how we can get this bill down.  He tells me Sky do not offer the full deal on sports so moving to them won’t work and he doesn’t want sports only on a mobile.

Dory, via email

It’s possible to stream Sky Sports and BT Sports channels without paying for the other channels, so you could explore these options (note you can’t record).

Virgin has just launched a streaming box for broadband customers. You pay £35 (one off) and then can add on sports. BT Sports is £18 a month and Sky Sports is around £39. You’ll get 10% credit back each month from these to your bill. Assuming you’re paying around £25/£30 for the broadband and landline (or haggle for something close to this), that brings the bill down to £87, and down by another £5 or so each month with credit.

Or you could pay £34 a month for Sky Sports on NOW, though there are often deals bringing it down to £20 or £25 a month. However BT Sport month passes will cost £25 a month this way. And broadband goes on top.

Either are cheaper than what you currently pay, though they are still a fair whack. To bring the prices down more, both these options let you cancel each month, then resign up again. So if there’s nothing to watch, you’re not tied in to long 18 month contracts.

Andy’s podcast

Listen to Cash Chats, Andy’s twice-weekly podcast. Episodes every Tuesday and Friday.

Can we switch who claims Child Benefit?

One question I have is regarding child benefits and NI. I am a couple of years short of working the 35 years to claim the full state pension. We use to claim child benefit in my wife’s name, but stopped claiming once she hit the 60k threshold. I was thinking, could I claim it my name and by doing so reach the required 35 working years? (I realise that we would have to repay it all at the end of the tax year – it is such a daft scheme!)

Andrew, via email

Yeah, I don’t see why you can’t claim the child benefit if you have eligible children. As long as your wife isn’t claiming you’d just put in a fresh claim. If she is (for her own credits) then that would need to stop that first.

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 fortnightly Q&A every other 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, but it can take longer – so you might have to bear with me for a reply.

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