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£30 food allowance - creative use?

 
#1 £30 food allowance - creative use?
30/03/2008 15:31

Plausible Deniability

I can claim up to ~£30 for each night I stay in a hotel and whereas that will pay for a nice tray full of room service, I'm just as happy getting a pizza for five quid and somehow using the other £25 to supplement my meagre life savings. Question is does anyone have any suggestions for creative use of this money? Obviously it all has to be receipted so just buying vouchers from tescos or something would probably not be looked on favourably (think plausible deniability).

Anything that wont get me fired or make me look even more desperate than I am would be great. Cheers.

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#2 RE: £30 food allowance - creative use?
30/03/2008 22:54

Deacs to Plausible Deniability (#1)

Plausible Deniability

This is a top post - exactly what a forum should cover.

1. No reason why you can't shop in a supermarket or similar and add a few items on that you'd use anyway - food-related only I guess, otherwise your expenses' dept might challenge you. If you choose to eat 4 packs of crisps or drink 2 litres of orange juice, it's up to you

2. If you find a food shop, supermarket, etc where you can pay by credit card and get a non-itemised receipt, you can charge up to your full limit with no-one likely to contest your claim. M&S Food and Tesco used to do this but neither do now. In this case, it wouldn't matter if your items were food or not. If you get an itemised receipt too, destroy it before putting in your claim

3. Theoretically, you could probably claim from a credit card receipt, as above and then get a refund in cash or vouchers from the shop. Some places may insist on crediting your card, so not sure how that would pan out

Any other thoughts?

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#3 RE: £30 food allowance - creative use?
31/03/2008 00:11

Rocket Romano to Deacs (#2)

Or ask PMO to revise the expenses policy to include a flat rate per diem

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#4 RE: £30 food allowance - creative use?
31/03/2008 11:13

DCF to Rocket Romano (#3)

Up to you what you eat and drink innit. Do your week's grocery shopping if you must. You could have a gargantuan appetite / large tapeworm for all they know.

£30 doesn't really get you much in the way of room service in most hotels, though. If you do go for room service, we are allowed to include alcohol with the meal so you could always spend it on a cheese toastie and a bottle of decent wine. Take them home with you and you will have a decent cellar in a matter of weeks.

The per diem is the real way to go though. I went a long term assignment and got a per diem seven days per week that enabled me to pay off all my student loans and my credit card and acquire (among other things) some nice new shirts and a lot of CDs.

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#5 RE: £30 food allowance - creative use?
31/03/2008 15:43

PA-er to DCF (#4)

Per-diem is the way to go but like you I was stuck in a project for 5 months where I could expense whatever I ate under 35 quid and I had a tough time using it to my advantage.

The 2nd Poster has everything covered (which I learnt over the course of 2 months) - So stick by it. Lot of things depend on your Expense Admin person who checks the receipts, etc. My Expense Admin people were very relaxed and I used the credit-card receipt only trick at least twice a week. So buy anything you want from Tescos and submit only the credit card bill, not the itemised bill - This way I was able to build a good alcohol stack at my house and also do my usual shopping at the companys expense.

Also, Try to negotiate moving to a per-diem. Sometimes its just a matter of asking, or try to get your compnay to change their policies

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#6 RE: £30 food allowance - creative use?
31/03/2008 15:47

Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) to deleted (#0)

Unless things have changed since my time in consulting, the issue here is one of tax-regime. When I was at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, all staff in the UK had a daily maximum they could expense to cover actual expenditure on food & drink - and then all other items (hotel, travel, etc) were reimbursed in full. By contrast, staff in the European offices had a daily allowance for days spent away from home which was theirs regardless of whether they spent it or not.

This difference was down to differing tax treatment - in the UK such a daily payment would be treated as income and so taxed accordingly; by contrast, the simple reimbursement of expenses is essentially treated as not being income and therefore not taxed. Hence a £30 per day food & drink allowance would be significantly less if given to you cash in hand by a UK employer - as NI and tax would have to be deducted.

I remember this vividly from times I was working on projects overseas with consultants from the other European offices. London staff would be keen to go out and eat in nice restaurants to use up their expenses entitlement each evening, whilst the European consultants would grab something from a food vendor and then pocket the rest of their daily allowance.

Tony Restell

Top-Consultant.com

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#7 RE: £30 food allowance - creative use?
01/04/2008 08:37

PA-er to Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) (#6)

Hi Tony

Most of the UK companies have now moved to a Per-Diem system where they pay their employees around 40 quid per night stayed away from home to cover food and other incidentals (including personal phone bills, newspapers, etc). Policies might differ but I think this applies only when staff are away from home for more than 3 days a week, on a regular basis. I think there was some change in legislation which made this possible, but cant remember exactly

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