There are so many ways make day-to-day savings. Although they won’t amount to much individually, making a few changes here and there can add up quickly and get you closer to affording that holiday or this year’s Christmas presents.
WE HAVE PUT TOGETHER 50 FANTASTIC TIPS FOR DAY-TO-DAY SAVINGS
A little effort can go a long way, so try putting a few of these into action and see how much you can save.
1. SAVE MONEY ON FLIGHTS
Get a bonus of 18,000 Avios (the new name for airmiles) by successfully applying for a Lloyds TSB Avios Duo Credit Card account and spending at least £500 each month for the first three months. You’ll also receive one Avios for every £1 spent, so you can build up your miles simply by spending how you normally would.
2. GET A FREE MEAL
Book with OpenTable for up to 50% off your restaurant bill. You also earn points for each meal you book with them. Once you’ve accumulated enough points, you get a free meal! Find out where all the latest meal deals are in our regularly updated article on cheap eats.
3. GET AN INSULATION GRANT
If you’re on income support or another kind of financial benefit you may be eligible for help with insulating your home via the Affordable Warmth scheme. Even if you don’t receive any benefits many people are entitled to massive discounts for insulation services so do have a look. Affordable Warmth is only available in England but there are similar schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
4. GET CHEAP DESIGNER CLOTHES
If you have to buy the latest clothes get down to the Designer Warehouse Sales where you can get designer one-offs and heavily discounted items. There are also websites like The Outnet offering discounted labels so you can get the same designer brands for less.
5. GET AN AMAZON BARGAIN
If you’re an avid Amazon shopper take a look at Price Cut Review, a handy website listing all the current Amazon products that are selling at half price or less. It’s all sorted into categories for you, so it’s well worth a browse to see if there’s anything you need that you could get for a lot less.
6. GET MONEY FOR FREE:
Make sure the government doesn’t get its hands on your unclaimed assets. Mylostaccount is a free website which will locate any money you have lying around in forgotten accounts so you can enjoy spending it on yourself.
7. PAY-AS-YOU-GO CAR
If you only use your car every now and again, save the cost of insurance and road tax by using car rental services like Zipcar. They have cars strategically parked in local neighbourhoods for you to pick up and use. Prices are around £5 for an hour and include fuel costs.
8. SAVE ON PETROL
Get cheaper fuel by checking PetrolPrices before you go out and fill up. This handy site tells you which of your local petrol stations is selling fuel cheapest so you know where to go to get the best price.
9. CHEAPER RAIL TRAVEL
Get a family railcard which costs just £28 for a year (or £65 for three years) and gives adults a third off train fares and children up to 60% off. All you have to do is travel with at least one child. See here for more details.
10. GET A BOOTS ADVANTAGE CARD
The Boots Advantage Card offers four points for every pound you spend. Go to the ‘Extra Offers’ kiosk in a Boots store and you can usually download a selection of vouchers that give you discounts on certain products. Also keep an eye out for any double/triple point offers but don’t go crazy and start buying things you weren’t going to buy anyway!
11. CASHBACK SITES
Buying online via cashback sites is like getting paid to buy things you were going to buy anyway. The cashback site gives you a share of what they make from linking you to the shopping site and this way you get your purchases for less. For more information read our article on cashback shopping.
12. SAVE MONEY ON YOUR WEDDING
You don’t have to spend a small fortune to make your big day special. In fact, making your own invitations, decorations and table plan add a real personal touch and help make your wedding unique. Here are some other tips on organising a wedding on a budget.
13. GIVE TO CHARITY FOR M&S GIFT VOUCHERS
Oxfam has teamed up with Marks & Spencer and will give you a £5 voucher for each clothing donation that contains a Marks & Spencer item. You can spend the voucher on homeware or clothing with a minimum spend of £35.
14. WIN SOME PRIZES
Enter a load of free competitions whether it’s online, magazines or writing and you could win anything from a chocolate bar to a free holiday. Read our full competitions article for more details.
15. CHEAP CINEMA TICKETS
Orange customers can text FILM to 241 from their phone and they’ll be sent a code which you show at the cinema. If you’re not with Orange you can always just buy an Orange pay-as-you-go SIM card and put a small amount on it to take advantage of the offer. Look out for cheap family tickets too: at Vue cinemas kids tickets are £1.50 at morning screenings at the weekend, and when you buy a family ticket (for two adults and two children) everyone pays child’s prices.
16. GET A CHEAP BIKE
You can get amazing bargains on unclaimed stolen bikes at police auctions or on eBay. Remember to lock it up safe and get bicycle insurance in case yours is stolen.
17. DO A HOUSE SWAP
House swapping’s a great way to get free accommodation for your holiday. Jasmine’s been house swapping for years now and she loves it! She’s visited Paris, Barcelona and Stockholm among others – all without paying a penny for accommodation. You get an authentic experience of the place you’re visiting and it’s more comfortable than using a hotel for two weeks. Join an organisation like home for exchange to get started. You never know – you could end up swapping with Jasmine!
18. CHEAPER GLASSES ONLINE
You can save a lot of money on frames and lenses by ordering them online. All you need is your prescription. Get started with a FREE eye test from Optical Express, plus 10% off when you purchase.
19. COSMETIC RESEARCH
If you like creams and bath smellies but you don’t want to pay for them, sign up for cosmetic research online. They’ll send you free products and all you do in return is fill out a questionnaire. If you’ve got kids they’ll send you products to try on them, too.
20. SAY NO TO 0870
Premium-rate numbers can be extortionately expensive and companies use them to get as much out of you as possible. We’re often asked “what is the cost of 0844 numbers?” and we always tell people to avoid paying more by searching for an alternate number on saynoto0870.com. All you do is type in the number or company name and the site will generate local or freephone numbers that you can contact the same people on. O2 charge 50p a minute to phone them, but saynoto0870 have a freephone number so you pay nothing.
21. CHEAP CALLS WITH 1899 AND 18185
There are lots of alternative telephone services that you can use from your BT line that’ll save you money. All you do to get better rates is type in a special code before dialling the normal number. Rates vary depending on the company, but you can usually get free UK calls (with a 3p one-off connection fee) and very cheap international calls through these companies.
22. JOIN A VEGGIE BOX SCHEME
Veggie boxes come straight from the producers and give you great organic produce for less than in the supermarket. There’s also the added element of surprise – the boxes only include what’s in season so you’ll get a great variety of stuff all the time.
23. GET A FREE LAPTOP
Go to the Carphone Warehouse where free laptops are on offer to entice customers into their mobile phone contract deals. Even if you don’t need a laptop, pick up the contract and then sell it on eBay and make a nice profit – it’ll probably pay your mobile phone contract for the year. They now also offer games consoles, TVs and other electronics with pay monthly contracts.
24. VOUCHER SITES
Get online discounts by checking sites like vouchercodes.com or myvouchercodes. They’ll give you promotional codes that online sites are running and, although they’re notoriously unreliable, sometimes they really come up trumps and can give you great discounts for sites like Expedia, Amazon and hotels.com.
25. CASH HEALTH PLANS
Cash health plans are like health insurance but the premiums are much cheaper (from £2 a month) and, as long as you’re honest, you are guaranteed to get the money you claim. The plans are designed so that the annual premium is equivalent to the amount of cash you can get towards just one benefit (dental, optical or medical) so you really get your money’s worth.
26. USE DIFFERENT SEARCH ENGINES WHEN YOU BUY FLIGHTS
Expedia isn’t the be all and end all of holiday search engines. Start with Flightmapper to see which airlines fly to your destination and then check their individual websites as well as Kayak, Flycheapo and Momondo.
27. WORK AT A FESTIVAL TO GET IN FOR FREE
You can see all your favourite bands this summer by working at an Oxfam stall or picking up waste with DC Site Services. You’ll be working in shifts so you’ll be able to see plenty of music. Check out our full article on free festivals.
28. KEEP A SPENDING DIARY
One of the best ways to save money is to write down absolutely everything you spend money on. Often there’s a coffee here and a paper there that’s quickly forgotten, but even these small costs will add up over time. Putting it down on paper can really help you see how much you’re losing through frivolous purchases and help you cut down.
29. GET FREE GYM TRIALS
If you can’t find a trial offer for a gym near you, try giving them a ring – many will let you try it out for an hour or two. Get a one-day pass for you and a friend for Nuffield Health Fitness & Wellbeing, or a three-day pass for LA Fitness. Fitness First offer a free one-day pass too.
30. GET SOME FREEBIES
Go on Gumtree and click on the freebies section for a list of things in your area that people want to throw out. You’ll have to collect them but you can get your hands on a free sofa or kitchen table so start browsing now! Freecycle and Snaffleup and work in pretty much the same way so check those out too and don’t forget to keep an eye on our own regularly updated list of freebies.
31. SET UP A SAVINGS ACCOUNT WITH PENALTIES
Protect your savings from yourself by getting a savings account where you pay a penalty to withdraw money. This way if you really need the money you can get at it, but the fine is enough of a deterrent to stop you using it if you don’t need it. Have a look at our savings article for more info.
32. SAVE ON VET BILLS
Veterinarian bills are expensive. Avoid paying out a fortune for serious pet illnesses by getting pet insurance. For under £10 a month you’re covered for all your big vet costs and we’ve also got other tips on how to keep your pet healthy in our full article on cutting vet costs.
33. FREE TRAVEL GUIDES
Don’t buy travel guides when you’re going on holiday. Forget paying for the latest Lonely Planet every time you go away – you can get travel guides from the library for free. You can often sort out an extended loan if you’re away for a long time, or just renew online. Alternatively there are loads of free travel resources available on the net.
34. HAGGLE IN SHOPS
Did you know that you can haggle in high street shops? Like any other shop they have targets to meet and if you’re willing to buy several items and pay in cash you can get discounts. It might not work everywhere, but it’s worth a go.
35. TRY SOME OF THE FREE FESTIVALS
Spring/summer the perfect time of year to enjoy a good festival, and it’s even better when they’re free! Although the big ones cost an arm and a leg there are smaller lesser known ones that are still free. Enjoy a chilled-out day of fun and entertainment without the hassle of wasps and sunstroke!
36. BOOK YOUR HOLIDAY EARLY
Although late holiday deals seem to be all the rage, you can actually still get much better prices by booking early. Try to avoid school holiday periods but if you can’t avoid UK ones, check out when the holidays are in the destination you’ve got your eye on and go when the kids are in school. This will save you money on hotels, flights and activities whilst you’re there.
37. SAVE ON COFFEE
If you can’t face the day without a takeaway coffee then you might as well save some money. If you take your own flask to Starbucks you can save 25p on your purchase and do your bit for the environment. Places like McDonalds, Cafe Nero and Costa also give you a stamp every time you buy a coffee/tea – collect 10 stamps and you can usually get a free coffee.
38. GET FREE ENTERTAINMENT
Just go to the BBC website where you can apply for free tickets to tours and events, check out new music with promotional events, or be in the audience of your favourite TV show. Another great site is Lost In TV where you can apply for tickets to other TV network shows like The Apprentice: You’re Fired and The Cube. Add yourself to their mailing list to receive updates on any new dates of upcoming shows.
39. FREE DENTAL CARE
If you’re willing to let a dental student have a look at your teeth you can get free treatment at a dental hospital. The students are constantly supervised by a qualified dentist so there’s very little risk to your teeth, but you won’t have to pay a penny. Find your local dental hospital online and ring them to see how their student programme works.
40. GET EARLY BIRD DEALS IN RESTAURANTS
Loads of restaurants will offer you cheap meal deals if you eat before the evening rush. There are loads of 2for1 vouchers going around so check them all out in our restaurant deals article.
41. DON’T SPEND YOUR TESCO CLUBCARD POINTS IN STORE
Your vouchers are worth four times more when you exchange them for their clubcard deal tokens. You can use them for discounts on all kinds of things including days out, airmiles and restaurants.
42. CHEAPER SUPERMARKETS
Don’t be scared to shop at places like Lidl and Aldi. Although they aren’t the swankiest places, cheaper supermarkets are great for buying groceries like tinned veg, crisps and sweets, jars of sauces and drinks. You can get lots of branded products for less and some of the alternative labels are well known on the continent and are good quality even if we don’t recognise them here. Try it once and if you don’t like what you get, then don’t get it again.
43. SAVE ON THEME PARKS
A day of roller coasters and rides is always a great way to spend the day together as a family and you don’t need to spend a fortune. Try Lastminute.com for some really great deals on tickets to all the major UK parks.
44. HOLIDAY ON A FARM
You don’t have to go abroad to have a great holiday – why not stay at a farm and spend some time in the beautiful British countryside? It’s the perfect holiday for a family because the kids can get involved with feeding the animals and you can all enjoy a taste of country life. Try Farm Stay UK for a list of quality approved farm accommodation.
45. GET A FREE PERSONAL SHOPPER
Personal shoppers aren’t just for the rich and famous – Topshop has a style advisor service in its bigger stores around the country where you can book an appointment online or by phone. Find out more in our article luxury for less.
46. CLEVER HOLIDAY MONEY
Never, ever change your money at the airport and it’s best to avoid your tour operator too – they usually have the worst deals around. Most high-street outlets no longer charge commission so concentrate on where you can get the best exchange rate. For consistently great deals on foreign money go to Travelex.
47. GO TO RATED PEOPLE
Make sure you know whether your builder’s kosher before you cough up any money with RatedPeople who offer a free service helping you find recommended tradesmen in your area. Simply sign up, describe the job/trade, then get quotes and choose the one that fits your needs. Once they’ve completed the task, you can rate them yourself.
48. CHEAP BEAUTY TREATMENTS
Treat yourself to a pampering session without spending a fortune by checking out your local colleges. The students will carry out the treatments at heavily discounted prices – they may even do some for free.
49. PAY LESS FOR HOUSEHOLD GOODS
Instead of expensive branded products, try buying things second hand on eBay or shopping online in bulk. Use a price comparison site like Kelkoo to make sure you always get the best deal.
50. SIGN UP FOR NEWSLETTERS TO GET SPECIAL OFFERS
In exchange for your details, lots of companies will send you special discounts and offers. All you’ve got to do is sign up for their newsletters and delete them when they don’t have any special offers.