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1 Mar 2022

March premium bond winners revealed - plus seven savvy things to do with a windfall

A cash lump sum could benefit your mortgage, pension and savings

Two lucky winners have bagged this month's £1m jackpot prizes in NS&I's latest monthly prize draw.

The winners are from Cheshire and Devon, while six other premium bond holders received the next-best prize of £100,000.

Here, Which? reveals the winning bond numbers, along with seven savvy ways to use your windfall if you're lucky enough to win big this year.

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March 2022 premium bond jackpot winners

This month, the two £1m jackpot prizes went to premium bond holders in Cheshire and Devon.

The winner from Cheshire purchased their winning bond (276RS522196) in July 2016, as part of a £19,000 overall holding.

The other winning bond (170MY806167) belongs to a premium bonds holder in Devon. It was purchased in July 2010 as part of an overall holding of £36,000.

How many winners were drawn in March?

There were 3,385,641 prizes given out in March's prize draw, worth a total of £97,337,100. Of these, 3,377,640 were worth £100 or less.

Value of prizeNumber of prizes

Source: NS&I

Seven things to do with a premium bonds windfall

Whether you've won £1,000 or £1m, you'll need to make a decision on what to do with your new-found cash - but with sky-high inflation and rising living costs it might be hard to know what to do for the best.

Depending on your circumstances and how much you've won, these options could potentially benefit your finances for years to come:

1. Pay off your debts

If you have outstanding balances on credit cards or personal loans, your monthly budget could really benefit from paying them off with your winnings.

What's more, most interest rates have increased as a result of the two Bank of England base rate hikes in December 2021 and February 2022.

If your winnings don't cover all of your debts, pay off whichever charges the highest interest first. If the interest is similar on all debt, chip away at whichever has the biggest balance.

2. Re-invest in more premium bonds

You can only hold up to £50,000 in premium bonds, so this isn't an option if you already have the maximum amount saved.

However, if you have a relatively small holding of, say, £5,000 and you've just won £25,000, upping your holding to £30,000 mean that you're likely to win roughly £250 over the course of a year, according to premiumbondscalculator.com. This is the equivalent of 0.83% interest, which is more than any instant-access savings account offers at the moment.

Of course, these winnings are not guaranteed - you could win more, or nothing at all. And if you don't win any prizes, your money won't receive any interest, and high inflation rates mean it will quickly lose value in real terms.

3. Overpay your mortgage

If you own a property, a windfall win could help chip away at your borrowing - or even pay off your mortgage altogether.

Not only is your cash likely to increase in value faster than other savings options, but you could also save a lot of money on the interest you'd have owed your lender.

However, this is one where you'll have to check the terms of your mortgage. Some providers charge early repayment fees, and others have restrictions on how much of the mortgage you're able to overpay each year - commonly set at around 10% of the outstanding balance.

If you are able to overpay, our mortgage overpayment calculator can show you how much you'd save:

4. Set up an emergency savings fund

Rising prices mean it can be tough to stick to a savings habit - so if you're lucky enough to win some cash, it could act as a vital emergency savings buffer.

If you're working, you should aim to stash away enough to cover three to six months of essential outgoings. This includes things like mortgage or rent payments, household bills and groceries. If you're retired, aim for enough to cover you for one to three years.

This money should be put aside in an account where it's readily available - be that an instant-access savings account or a current account. And any interest you can earn is a bonus - see our guide on how to find the best savings account for more.

5. Make an investment

As savings rates are unable to get anywhere near the current rate of inflation, investments could offer a better return.

However, you should be prepared to save for at least five years to ride out any market dips: as we've seen over the past couple of years, world events can massively impact the stock market.

Depending on how confident or experienced you are, you can either build your own portfolio or look to an investment platform to do the job for you.

If you're considering investing a large amount of money, it's a good idea to chat to a financial adviser before making any big decisions.

6. Boost your pension

Future you is likely to be grateful for any extra cash set aside in your pension pot.

The annual allowance dictates how much you're allowed to pay into a pension each year - in 2021-22 this is either £40,000 or up to 100% of your annual income if you earn less than £40,000.

This amount includes additions made by you, your employer (if you have a company pension), and third parties - which can include pension tax relief.

7. Protect your savings from tax

The reality of receiving a large sum of money is that you may find yourself liable to pay more tax.

That's where Isas come into play: you can save up to £20,000 in each tax year and have all future growth protected in a tax-free 'wrapper'.

Money held in savings accounts, however, may trigger a tax bill if the interest you earn exceeds your personal savings allowance over the course of a tax year.

You can choose from cash Isas, lifetime Isas, stocks and shares Isas and innovative finances Isas - as long as you don't go over the £20,000 limit you can save into several different account types.