Savers receive £645 million from lost accounts

£645 million has been found sitting in old bank accounts. But where else is money lying around?
Savers have cashed in on a whopping £645 million in the past five years found in old and forgotten bank and building society accounts.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
This is through the free website My Lost Account which says it's helped around 345,000 people track down lost money.

My Lost Account
The website was set up in 2008 and has helped millions of people claim back money which has been forgotten about in old accounts.

Since then it has received more than 580,000 search applications from people hunting their lost savings. And it doesn't cost a penny!

The website is backed by the British Bankers' Association, the Building Societies Association and National Savings and Investments (NS&I).

People log on and enter as many details as they can remember. It will then search through banking records in the UK to find any existing accounts.

Right now if you leave money for more than 15 years it's allowed to be used to fund social investment, under the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2011, but customers are allowed to reclaim money at any time.

How else can you pocket some extra money?
Hunting down old savings accounts is a good place to start, but there are hundreds of other quick and easy ways to pocket some extra cash.

Our story on Ten ways to make money in your lunch hour is a good place to start. Here I've highlighted my top five.

Claim your benefits
Millions of pounds of benefits go unclaimed every year, either because people aren't aware they're eligible or they just don't bother applying.

You can easily find out what you could be receiving through the Turn2Us website. It has details about what you're entitled to and how to claim it.

Those receiving the State Pension, for example, are also entitled to a £10 tax-free payment at Christmas.

Use cashback websites
We're big fans of cashback websites because they're such an easy way of making extra money. The two big players are Top Cashback and Quidco and they literally pay you for shopping.

In order to benefit you need to shop online via a cashabck website and it'll track your spending. Then you should receive around a percentage of your spend back in cashback.

On Quidco right now for example you can get 9% cashback from Marks and Spencer, while over on Top Cashback there is 12.12% cashback on Nike goods.

Sell your old stuff
eBay is the main online auction place for buying and selling second-hand goods and a good place to get rid of your unwanted items. Watch out for any hidden fees and try to pick weekend when there are no selling fees to list your stuff.

Our article How to sell successfully on eBay is full of helpful hints when using the auction site.

a mobile-only website. The website Sell My Mobile will give you an idea of how much you can expect as the prices on different websites vary widely.

Another option is a car boot sale. By following these simple tips you could come away much off.

Medical experiments
Recently we wrote about being paid to catch the flu as you can get nearly £4,000 for taking part. It's a lot of money but there are downsides, such as having to give up between eight and 14 days for the trial, so it won't suit everyone.

You can find out more in our article – Flu Camp: make £3,750 by getting the flu.

Switching is a classic way to make money and also one of the easiest. Companies rely on customers being too lazy to switch and generally keep their best deals for new customers.

By using a comparison tool you can tell exactly how much you'll save and it shouldn't take too long for the actual switching process. When looking at energy suppliers along, the average household can save around £300 a year so it's well worth 30 minutes of your time.

Save money on shopping
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Savers receive £645 million from lost accounts

This takes time, but once you know the cost of a phone call, putting the dryer on, or a bag of potatoes, it enables you to judge far better how much you can afford to consume.

Once you know the base price, you are in a position to keep your eyes open for a better offer. If you see a discount you can judge for yourself whether it actually constitutes a bargain. For bigger things like utilities it enables you to do a proper price comparison and see if you can cut your bills.

Don't just assume that the premium range is better, try the every-day brand, or even the basic version and see if you spot the difference. Likewise, consider trading down your supermarket from one of the big players to local markets or discounters like Aldi.

If you plan what you buy to match what you actually cook and eat then not only will you be able to budget far more effectively, but you'll also waste much less and find your money goes further without you having to try.

If you can't think of a way to get your meat for less, consider a vegetarian day once a week. If you can't find petrol any cheaper, then work on making your driving as efficient as possible. The more you can think of clever alternatives the less you will have to make painful cuts to make ends meet.

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