Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.
Welcome to the Frugal Column, where I aim to inspire you to live your best life without breaking the bank. You can follow my award-winning blog Shoestring Cottage and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel. I am also the author of Extreme Frugality: Save Money Like Your Grandma.
If you are feeling the pinch due to the cost of living crisis, you may think you have already explored all possible ways to save a few pounds. But if you think out of the box, you will find even more. Here are 10 unusual ways to save money.
Why stick to Sober October? If you enjoy a regular tipple, you can save a lot of money by having a dry month on a regular basis, and it could benefit your health too.
Those who stop drinking say they also eat less, so lose weight, which is another benefit of a dry month.
Who doesn’t love an excursion from time to time? It is enjoyable to experience new places and do different things as a treat. However, regular days out at the weekend – especially if you have children – can be expensive. Why not have a month or two of ‘Stay Home Sundays’, where you chill out and do stuff at home?
You might undertake activities you rarely have time for due to work commitments, such as the following:
How often do you go to the supermarket and buy lots of things you hadn’t planned to? It’s so easy to be tempted by special offers and displays of enticing goods.
It stands to reason that if you shop less, you spend less and encounter far fewer temptations. How about doing a monthly or fortnightly grocery shop instead?
This requires a bit of meal planning and if you have a large family (I know teens are like a plague of locusts when it comes to food) it might not work for you. However, it’s worth a try, and shopping less frequently will save time too.
Do a regular period where you eat exclusively from your store cupboards. This makes you more creative as you rack your brains for a recipe for a tin of prunes or luncheon meat, and also means you use things up that might otherwise be wasted.
The BBC Good Food website enables you to search for recipes by ingredient.
When you are purchasing a home, there is a tendency to spend as much as the bank will lend you. However, if you make your aim to pay off your mortgage as fast as you can to be free of debt then buying a smaller, more modest home makes sense.
Not having a huge mortgage will also create a cushion for difficult situations like illness or job loss.
According to the AA, a new car loses about 20% of its value a year for the first three years. So, if you want to save money, it makes sense to look at purchasing an older model. (Depreciation on cars is explained in more detail here).
I prefer to pay for an older car in cash by saving up, but I also keep an emergency fund for repairs.
Mobile phone manufacturers are forever launching new products to encourage customers to upgrade after a few years, but do you really need to? If your phone still works, it makes sense to keep it going as long as possible.
It’s much easier if your phone company is still offering updates. Some stop doing so after three years. You may also need to replace the phone’s battery, but this is much cheaper than a new phone.
To keep your phone working better for longer, allow automatic updates (these fix any bugs), delete any rarely used apps regularly and invest in a good protective case. Keep it away from heat and direct sunlight and don’t allow the battery to run down to nothing.
I’m not suggesting you allow yourself to be dirty or smelly with this suggestion. However, if you don’t have a manual job or do lots of sport, do you need a full bath or shower every day? A swill down at the sink will save you money on water and the energy used to heat it.
Similarly, how many of us put clothes and linens that aren’t actually dirty into the wash? Do the sniff test and visual inspection to see if they can be worn more than once (anything except underwear, anyway).
Did you know that you can regrow many vegetables from the roots you usually throw away? For example, lettuces and celery will start to sprout if you place the cut-off bases in water, but there are many other vegetables that you can regrow from scraps too. Check out this excellent article from Rural Sprout.
Some of these unusual ways to save money may only save a few pounds, but that is cash you can use elsewhere. Every penny you save is like a penny extra earned, without the work involved!
Do you have any unusual ways to save money?