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Feb 20

50 top tips for day-to-day savings

Reading Time: 12 mins

You can do a lot of things to make day-to-day savings. Although they won’t amount to much individually, they’ll soon add up. Making a few changes here and there can get you closer to affording that holiday you wanted to go on or this year’s Christmas presents.

50 FANTASTIC TIPS FOR DAY-TO-DAY SAVINGS

A little effort can go a long way. Perhaps start by putting a few of these into action and see how much you can save. 

1. SAVE MONEY ON FLIGHTS

Toy plane and passports

Get Avios (air miles) by applying for a reward credit card. Each time you spend money using it, you’ll earn Avios, so you can build up your miles simply by spending as you normally would. We explain how those cards work here.

Flights are cheap at the moment because of coronavirus – make sure you book travel insurance at the same time in case your trip is cancelled or you fall ill.

2. GET A FREE MEAL

Woman and man having a meal in a restaurant

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! You could also try out a Tastecard trial (look for the free offers – sometimes up to 3 months’ free!) which gives you 2 for 1 or 50% off loads of places including chains like Zizzi and Pizza Hut.

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, you might be entitled to discounts for insulation services. Worth having a look. Affordable Warmth is only available in England but there’re 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. Alternatively, try websites like The Outnet which offer discounted labels so you can get the same designer brands for less. That’s some decent day-to-day savings for the shopaholic in you.

5. GET AN AMAZON BARGAIN

Amazon Package

If you’re an avid Amazon shopper, take a look at Amazon Goldbox. It shows you deals of the day, which only run for 24 hours. It’s all sorted into categories, so you can easily check if there’s anything you need that you could get for a lot less.

6. Find lost 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 need to drive every now and again, save on insurance and tax by using car rental services like Zipcar. They have cars strategically parked in local neighbourhoods. Join the network, pick up a car and drive away. Prices are around £5 for an hour and include fuel costs.

8. SAVE ON PETROL

Petrol pump

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. Yet another great way for day-to-day savings.

9. CHEAPER RAIL TRAVEL

Get a family railcard which costs just £30 for a year (or £70 for three years). It 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 to get discounts on certain products. Also keep an eye out for any double or triple point offers. Don’t go crazy and start buying things you didn’t really plan to get, though.

11. CASHBACK SITES

Cashback graphic

Buying online via cashback sites is like getting paid to buy things you were going to purchase anyway. The cashback site gives you a share of what they make from linking you to the shopping site. This way you get your purchases for less. For more information read our article on cashback shopping.

12. SAVE MONEY ON YOUR WEDDING

Young bride and groom

You don’t have to spend a 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. Pinterest is full of creative ideas for handmade things you might need for your wedding.

You can also save a lot on catering, which tends to take up a big chunk of any wedding budget. Check out our tips.

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.

You’ll also get vouchers in exchange for clothing you no longer want in H&M.

14. WIN SOME PRIZES

Enter a load of free competitions. Whether it’s online, magazines or writing, you could win anything from a chocolate bar to a free holiday. Read our full competitions article for more details.

15. CHEAP CINEMA TICKETS

Get rewarded with Meerkat Movies. Use the Compare the Market website, buy a qualifying product and join the Meerkat Movies programme. You can then enjoy 2 for 1 on cinema tickets every Tuesday or Wednesday for a year.

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. Use your bike to commute instead of driving for more day-to-day savings.

17. DO A HOUSE SWAP

House Swap graphic

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 House Exchange to get started. 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 consultation with Optical Express or two pairs of glasses from £16 via Glasses Direct.

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

Man making phone call

Premium-rate numbers can be extortionately expensive. Companies often use them to get as much out of you as possible. 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’re 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

wooden box of vegetables

Veggie boxes come straight from the producers. It’s a great way to enjoy organic produce – and you’ll pay less than you’d spend in a 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 gadget

Go to the Carphone Warehouse which offers free stuff to entice customers into their mobile phone contract deals. It’s a good way to grab something for free if you need a phone contract anyway. Even if you don’t need a new set of headphones, pick up the contract and then sell the freebie on eBay.

24. VOUCHER SITES

Discounts can really make your day-to-day savings go a long way. Check 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. You can get 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). As long as you’re honest, you’re 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 or Skyscanner to see which airlines fly to your destination. Then check their individual websites as well as Kayak, Flycheapo and Momondo.

27. WORK AT A FESTIVAL TO GET IN FOR FREE

Young people at a festival

You can see all your favourite bands this summer by working at an Oxfam stall or picking up waste with DC Site Services. Working shifts, 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 make some day-to-day savings 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, give them a ring – many will let you try it out for an hour or two. Get a free one-day pass for Nuffield Health Fitness & Wellbeing, or a three-day free pass for DW Fitness First.

30. GET SOME FREEBIES

Concept- hands holding sign reading "Free Stuff"

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 work in pretty much the same way. Check those out too and don’t forget to have a look at our 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 accounts 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. Check our our article on the best pet insurance deals. It might not make a difference to your day-to-day savings but it’ll pay off in the long run.

33. FREE TRAVEL GUIDES

Forget paying for the latest Lonely Planet every time you go away. Get travel guides from the library for free instead. You can often sort out an extended loan if you’re away for a long time, or just renew it online. Alternatively, there’re loads of free travel resources available on the net.

34. HAGGLE IN SHOPS

Woman smiling while getting money out of a purse to pay in a shop

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 and summer are the perfect time to enjoy a good festival. Even better when they’re free! Although the big ones cost an arm and a leg, you’ll find lots of smaller, lesser known ones which 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 not to go during school holiday periods. If you can’t avoid the 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 while you’re there.

37. SAVE ON COFFEE

Coffee in a cup

If you can’t face the day without a takeaway coffee, then you might as well make some easy day-to-day savings. 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 or tea. Collect 10 stamps and you can usually get a free coffee.

38. GET FREE ENTERTAINMENT

Check out the BBC website to apply for free tickets to tours and events or be in the audience of your favourite TV show. Another great site is Lost In TV. Use it to get tickets to other TV network shows like The Apprentice. 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. And 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

If you like to eat out a lot but don’t have a huge budget, you can still have a nice meal and even make some day-to-day savings. Loads of restaurants will offer you cheap meal deals if you eat before the evening rush. There’re loads of 2 for 1 vouchers going around so check them all out in our restaurant deals article.

41. DON’T SPEND YOUR TESCO CLUBCARD POINTS IN STORE

Tesco Clubcard Key Fob

Be smart about your points. 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 such as days out, airmiles and restaurants.

42. CHEAPER SUPERMARKETS

Spending less on groceries will make a huge difference to your day-to-day savings. Shops like Lidl or Aldi may not be the swankiest of places but they’re great for basics such as tinned veg, jars of sauces or drinks. You can get lots of branded products for less. Some of the alternative labels are well known on the continent and are good quality – even if we don’t recognise them here. At least give it a go once.

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 on a farm and spend some time in the beautiful British countryside? It’s the perfect holiday for a family. 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 Stylist/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. 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. The site offers 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

Woman with face mask on

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. Sometimes even for free.

49. PAY LESS FOR HOUSEHOLD GOODS

Instead of expensive branded products, try buying things second hand on eBay. Or shop 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

MoneyMagpie Newsletter

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. You can always delete them when they don’t have any special offers.

Have any other ideas for day-to-day savings? Let us know in the comments section. 

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