WE will go holiday-crazy after Covid – and you can nearly DOUBLE your holiday time with a spot of clever planning.
Full-time staff get at least 28 days annual leave but if you book days off around bank holidays and weekends you can stretch out your breaks to add up to a total of 54 DAYS.
Maximise your holiday time by using the calendar smartly
Covid vaccines mean summer and even spring getaways will be goers.
We will dash abroad, as well as around the UK seeing family and friends.
Travel-corridor countries open up from December 2, and even visitors to non-corridor countries will soon have to quarantine for just five days on returning home, rather than 14.Use our hack to maximise your holiday in 2021
Jane Pearson, spokesperson for human resources consultancy BrightHR, said: “Next year will be a big one for overseas and UK holidays and you can stretch your holidays if you get the diary out and book leave carefully around bank holidays.
“Book early, as other staff may have the same idea, and be aware the days around the late August Bank Holiday are the most popular after Christmas.
“Another boost for workers is the new five-day quarantine rule, reduced from 14 days.
“Most non-homeworkers could not take an extra 14 days off. But five days’ quarantine, especially if timed to be over a weekend, means taking only three days’ annual leave.”
Below is an example of how to plan your diary to make the most of holiday around Easter.
Black Saturday deals
MANY Black Friday deals are still on this weekend: These are some of the best . . .
Save a substantial sum on a Google Pixel 4a contract
Google Pixel 4a 5G – Vodafone
Was: £57pcm over 24 months + £99 upfront
Now: £35pcm + £29 upfront
Save £270 on this electric toothbrush
Oral-B iO series 8 – Amazon
Get this soup maker for half price
Jug soup maker – Lakeland
Money test: Co-op membership app
WHAT was last month’s most downloaded app after Track And Trace?
It wasn’t Zoom for once, but Co-op’s new membership app.
Co-op’s reward scheme has gone digital and changed to give more to grassroots charities in members’ neighbourhoods . . . at the expense of members’ rewards.
Can the personalised offers that come with Co-op’s new programme make up the difference?
Regular money tester Andrea Smith, from London finds out.
Save and spend with the new Co-op app
“I HAVE been a Co-op member for the past three years and it’s definitely saved me quite a bit of money.
“I now stick to Co-op’s own brand wherever possible – it’s usually the cheapest option anyway – and for every £1 I spent on Co-op-branded items I would get 5p back in rewards.
“It was a no-brainer! I simply had to hand over my membership card at the till and watch that reward balance climb each week.
“I usually let it build to around £30 then use it to get a “free” shop.
“Last month Co-op revamped the programme and added a digital version of the card, great for me as I often forget to take the physical card.
“But now, instead of giving me 5p back for each £1 spent and 1p to a local community charity of my choice, the reward scheme gives me 2p back and 2p to a charity.
“It feels great knowing I’m supporting the local community while saving on my groceries, but it does mean it will take much longer to build up my savings.
“Since I am losing that extra 3p per pound, I made use of the new features on the Co-op app that can help you save.
“There are deals personalised to each member based on what they usually buy in store.
“Each time you scan your membership card, Co-op notes what you buy and serves up weekly offers that you can add to your card.
“My offers for the week included £1 off my whole shop, 50p off toilet roll, any Lurpak or Coca-Cola product, and 25p off Co-op biscuits, any Walkers product, any Cadbury product or Co-op soft drinks.
“I like to think I shop a bit healthier than this normally, but the lockdown blues may have reignited my sweet tooth.
“I went for the £1 off my whole shop and 25p off any Co-op soft drink and also decided to try out a couple of the “Recipes for under £5” option that you can also access through the app.
“All in all, my shop came out to £38.43 and I spent £32.63 of that on Co-op-branded products.
“Under the old rewards system, I would have got £1.63 to bank into my account.
“Under the new system I only got 65p towards my rewards, but combined with the £1.25 I saved through my personalised offers, I ended up with a total saving of £1.90.
“Also thanks to my shop, 65p went to the Bow Foodbank to help them bring food and hygiene items to struggling families.
“So while the new programme may cut your direct rewards, the personalised offers can actually save you more in the end – and that’s not even counting all the times you previously may have forgotten your card and got £0.
“Co-op has also launched exclusive in-store membership deals which I didn’t notice until I was leaving the store.
“I may just have to run back for that 43 per cent off a bottle of Jura.”
Make sure your immune to vax scam
By Ashley Hart, head of fraud at TSB
THE triple-whammy of vaccine announcements is great news for you and me. . . and crooks.
Knowing that there is a return to normality on the cards is another opportunity for scammers to strike.
Don’t fall victim to scams relating to the Covid vaccine
I’ve already seen fraudsters taking advantage of the news to trick innocent people – promising them fast-track access, the chance to reserve a dose and even DIY vaccines to use at home – all in exchange for your cash.
And of course, these promises will never come good. If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is and jumping the queue to get a quick dose of a vaccine that isn’t even publicly available yet is definitely a scam.
Make sure that you get your information about being vaccinated from a trusted source, like gov.uk or your GP.
You won’t be able to pay to reserve a dose, that will always be a scam, no matter how official the website, email or advert might look.
And if the vaccine does become available privately, make sure you are only ever using a well-known, trusted provider and not purchasing from an unsolicited email or a random advert on social media.
Finally, watch out for self-vaccination kits. In the unlikely event that a scammer does send you something, don’t touch it.
This scam could cause you harm.
Maddy Tooke, Coupon queen
Maddy’s tips can help you save even more money
MY top five freebies this week are:
- Letter from Santa with The Entertainer. Go to bit.ly/santaletterfree.
- Personal Pension Guide 2020 from Money Magpie. Download your copy from bit.ly/freepensionebook.
- O2 customers get a free hot or cold drink from Caffe Nero with O2 Priority. See bit.ly/o2freedrink.
- Crunchy Taco from Taco Bell when you download the Taco Bell Supreme app. See bit.ly/tacobellfreetaco.
- Tickets to the virtual Winter Homebuilding And Renovating Show on January 16 and 17. See bit.ly/freehomerenovation.