Tuesday, January 12, 2010

It doesn’t have to be taxing.

Sorry about my blog-blackout, but I’ve just spent loads of time
– the best part of a week - sorting out my wife’s tax affairs.
We met up with an accountant friend of ours this evening, who’s
going to put the finishing touches to my work, before we complete
the tax return online.

Like most people who leave this to the last minute, I often ask
myself why didn’t I do all this six months earlier – why leave
this job to almost the last few weeks, and expect everything to
go smoothly, when it doesn’t ?

I do tend to perform better when working to a given deadline -
some self-imposed (or external) stress … an impending written exam
for example, when I was a student, when I would work very hard for
short or fairly lengthy periods of time.

Just to do a fairly simple job around the house, say painting a
living room wall or putting up some shelves, I need to plan for
a day or two completely free of other distractions, and to get
well prepared in advance (buying the right materials and clearing
the room) … and also to get mentally psyched-up or motivated to
do the job. But then, all too often, something comes along – say
a family problem which needs sorting out straightaway, and the
job I planned to do gets shelved. (A good pun, don’t you think?)

Before I could make a proper start on sorting out the tax, I had to
sort through piles of paperwork to find the bits I wanted, and to
find out what was missing.

I’d made a few attempts to do this over the past year, sorting
papers out into little piles, only to have to sweep them all away
for decorating / putting up new shelving / allowing visitors to
use the rooms. As I look around this room where I’m sitting at
the moment, there are some very neat piles of paper … everywhere
… over two table tops and a third of the floor-space, all waiting
to be filed away … a job for tomorrow … or the next day ...

… or the day after.

I’ve just received a reminder from one of my insurance companies
(Churchill) saying that it’s time to renew my home insurance.
The bill is quite a modest one, for just over £100 (for fairly
standard cover).

Last year, I got a renewal reminder from another company (one
which advertises a lot on the TV) for £556, which I declined.
I wonder why?

The previous year, I haggled the same company down to £155, so
why they thought I’d be pleased to pay £556 a year later, I don't

I did some online research, and went with Churchill instead
for £79. My original insurance company couldn’t match this price
(the guy put the phone down for a few minutes to check out my
research online himself, and found my exact Churchill quote).

(The power of the internet! Big Brother is watching YOU!)

This evening, I had a look at Martin Lewis’ website for an
update on home insurance. I was amazed to see that some people
were actually paid – yes, paid – to take out home insurance.
Check out this forum page on Martin’s site.

I’ll have a look at Quidco tomorrow (one of the companies that
gives you cashback), to see which insurance companies are on its
pages. Last year, Quidco gave me a generous amount of cashback,
when I took out online car insurance with its help.

One important point, if you’re using a cashback company like
Quidco after doing online comparisons, is to clear all the
cookies off your computer (cookies left by the insurance company
websites you’ve visited), otherwise you won’t get any cashback.

In IE, go to Tools > Internet Options > Delete Browsing History
> delete your cookies.

“Every little helps” …

… Martin Lewis even more so.


Blogger Keith said...

Thank the Gods I don't have tax problems any more. My old age pension is so way below my personal allowance that I don't have to pay tax anymore, in fact I think they should be paying me some back!

Well, I can dream can't I?

12:45 AM  
Blogger Kimber said...

Ewwwww...taxes. Thank heavens we don't have to think about that for another 3 months. Blechy! Your wife is lucky you know how to do all that stuff. I surrender all my taxy goodness to my trusty accountant.

Thanks for the new year's message - I responded on my blog. (0:

2:51 AM  

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