30 ways to save money

Life is getting ever more expensive with utility bills rising, increasing house prices saddling us with bigger mortgages and inflation helping nudge the cost of everything else upwards. But there are numerous ways you can save yourself money, and that's even after you discount all the money-saving tips that you've read a thousand times before.

Here are 30 clever, savvy and thrifty ways you can save yourself some money. Do them all and you'll save hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds but even if you only act on one of them you will save at least a few bob.


Paying more may seem like an odd way to save money but with your mortgage spending a little extra each month could save you a small fortune. Your mortgage is the longest loan you will ever take out and while the interest rate may seem small you will pay thousands of pounds over the length of your loan. Someone with a mortgage of £100,000 will pay £58,351 in interest over a 25-year period if the interest rate is 4%.

Overpaying your mortgage means you will repay it faster and pay less interest. So if you have a decent amount of savings, this is a great way to make yourself richer in the long term. For example, if you have a £100,000 mortgage at an interest rate of 4% and you increase your monthly repayments by £100 you will clear your mortgage six years faster and save yourself £15,647 in interest.

Just check what the rules are regarding overpayments with your mortgage provider before you start.

Alternatively, you could consider an offset mortgage, where the money in your savings account is deducted from your mortgage and you have to pay interest only on the remainder. For example, if your mortgage debt is £200,000 and you have £25,000 in a savings account linked to your mortgage then you'll be charged interest on only £175,000 of the mortgage. Because you are paying less interest, you can repay your mortgage quicker.

Get help finding the best mortgage for you


We all know by now that switching energy provider from time to time is the only way you will keep your gas and electricity bills as low as possible. But most people don't realise they aren't switching to the best possible deal.

Over the past 10 years comparison websites have taken the tedium out of shopping around for the best utility deals. Simply tap in your details and it will show you the best deals – or will it?

In actual fact the top deals the website shows you may not be the cheapest you could get. That is because the websites show you the top deals that they will make money from, and often hide the companies that don't pay them.

You can save yourself even more money when switching by making sure you see all the deals available to you. To do this, you need to look around on the page either right before you get your results or on the results page for an option to see all deals rather than only those you can switch to today. When I did this, I was shown deals that would save me £137 a year compared to the best deal before that would have saved me £115.

Compare energy prices and switch provider


Millions of us have Sky or Virgin television subscriptions but advances in technology mean we pay more than we need to watch all the latest TV and films.

You can now buy a small piece of equipment such as Google Chromecast or Apple TV for as little as £30 and you can beam whatever you are watching on your computer to your television screen. This means you can watch catch-up television, or TV shows and films bought or rented from iTunes or Amazon on the big screen.

As you can now pay only for what you want to watch, you will save a small fortune compared to your TV subscription. For example, a Netflix subscription costs from just £5.99 a month and gives you access to films and TV box sets. For the same on Sky, you'd pay £16.50 a month.


Once you add up the cost of all the different insurance policies the average family needs, the total can be a startling lump sum. So it is no surprise that many of us opt to pay our insurance premiums monthly instead of in one annual payment.

But if you do this via the insurance company you will pay a lot more than you need to. Insurance firms charge hefty interest rates of up to 29.9% (APR) to customers who spread the cost of their policy. On a £300 car insurance policy, you'll pay an extra £50 just for paying monthly.

If you can't afford to pay your insurance policies in full upfront, then put them on a 0% credit card instead. That way, you can spread the cost without paying any interest at all. There are some lengthy 0% offers on the market at the moment – Santander has the longest at 23 months – but don't let this tempt you into failing to repay within a year.

Instead, make sure you repay your insurance premiums within 12 months; otherwise, you'll still be paying for last year's when it is time to renew, leaving yourself with ever increasing monthly bills.


We've already covered how to make sure you are paying as little as possible for your energy but now it's time to tackle reducing how much energy you use. We all know the better insulated your home is, the less energy it will take to heat it but what about the little ways you can improve its insulation that you might not have thought of?

For example, if you love art get more of it on your walls as it acts as another layer of insulation. A study found that even just putting posters up can help cut your energy bills as they can help raise temperatures by 1 ̊C. You should opt for extra wide curtains on your windows so that the material helps insulate the walls around your window.

Also consider simple ways you can boost the efficiency of your radiators. Putting tin foil on the wall behind them helps reflect heat that would otherwise disappear through the wall. Moreover, consider putting a shelf above your radiator to stop heat escaping upwards – this is especially worthwhile on radiators that are right below a window where otherwise the heat would be trapped behind the curtains.


One way to save money on your health and beauty regime is to test new products. Miranda Malanga, a Didcot-based pharmacologist trying to pay off her university debts, set up a lifestyle blog as a bit of fun two years ago and is now often approached by companies asking her to review their products.

She was once sent a £140 Soniclear, a hi-tech electronic facial cleansing device. "I had always wanted one but never had the money to buy it. When a company contacted me I couldn't agree fast enough," says Miranda, who believes she has saved hundreds of pounds by testing a range of beauty products and food, including a brand of aloe vera water.

But if you're not a blogger you can still become a product tester by signing up to market research companies that give away free products in return for providing detailed reviews. One such firm can be found at clicksresearch.com.


Supermarkets may be convenient but you pay for it with higher prices on some elements of your shopping. However, you can easily change your shopping habits to cut your costs.

Rather than going into your supermarket when you need fresh ingredients for that night's meal, try going to your local market instead. Fruit and veg will be much cheaper here and more likely to be fresher and locally sourced.

Research by Dispatches for Channel 4 found that fruit and veg from your supermarket was 12% more expensive than from a market or independent seller. The same fruit and veg bought from your small convenient supermarket – think Tesco Metro or Sainbury's Local – was 35% more expensive.


When it is time to do your big food shop, do some forward planning. To make sure you are getting the best price on everything, use mysupermarket.co.uk.

It takes 10 minutes or so to tap in everything on your list but, once you are done, it will compare the prices of everything in your shopping basket across Sainbury's, Asda, Tesco, Waitrose, Ocado and Morrisons so you can see where you'll get the cheapest shopping.

It will also flag up individual items where you could ‘swap and save' in order to either get a multi-buy bargain or downgrade to a different brand.

Once you are done, you can either print out your shopping list and head to the store or have your basket woven over to the supermarket's own website and arrange delivery.

If you shop in store, make sure you've got the right loyalty card and any coupons and stick to your list rather than be tempted by additional offers.


If you like to shop in store rather than online, then you have extra opportunities to cut your costs. To do this, you need to understand that supermarkets have a host of tricks they use to get you to spend more money. These range from blasting you with the smell of freshly baked bread to forcing you to walk through the whole store to get to everyday essentials. Here are a few tips to beat them at their own game:

  • Eat before you shop – if you aren't hungry, you are less likely to be tempted by the aromas or the snacks put by the checkouts.
  • Look up and down – found what you want? Look on the shelves above and below for cheaper versions. The premium brands are always put at eye level.
  • Pick your time wisely – supermarkets might start reducing items that are close to their ‘use by' date at about 10am but typically the 50% reductions appear at 5pm and the massive discounts at 7pm to 8pm. Shop at the right time and you'll be able to pick up some big bargains.
  • Look outside the obvious aisle – think outside the box and you can save yourself some money. For example, a female friend of mine always buys men's razors as they are far cheaper than women's and do exactly the same thing. At Morrisons, Bic Lady's razors are £1.60 for five but the men's Bic razors are £1.50 for 10. It's a similar thing with cotton wool – buy cotton-wool pads in the beauty aisle and you'll pay more than you will for cotton wool balls in the baby aisle.


If you've got the storage space, you can save yourself a fortune by bulk-buying some elements of your supermarket shop online. You will also save yourself the effort of lugging it home.

For example, you can buy Persil washing powder on eBay for £38.99 for 200 washes. That works out at 19p a wash, at Tesco you'll pay 24p a wash or £10 more for the same stuff. Better still, you can get 5 litres of washing-up liquid for £18 on eBay – the same amount would cost £46 at Sainsbury's.

You can also find bulk-buy bargains on Amazon.co.uk. For example, you can currently buy 24 tins of Heinz Spaghetti Hoops for £13.68. That's 8p cheaper per tin than at Sainbury's. Just be sure to compare as bulk buying isn't always cheaper online.

Another option is to join Costco. Annual membership is £25 and is restricted to people working in certain sectors but it is broad ranging, from the fire service to insurance, so it's worth checking if you qualify at Costco.co.uk. If you do, you could buy large amounts of food for almost half what it costs at the supermarkets.

Life is getting ever more expensive with utility bills rising, increasing house prices saddling us with bigger mortgages and inflation helping nudge the cost of everything else upwards. But there are numerous ways you can save yourself money, and that's even after you discount all the money-saving tips that you've read a thousand times before.

Here are 30 clever, savvy and thrifty ways you can save yourself some money. Do them all and you'll save hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds but even if you only act on one of them you will save at least a few bob.


Anyone with the freezer space should also consider bulk buying their meat. This doesn't mean buying it online from someone dodgy; you can actually get local produce at a better price than the supermarket. Claire and Tim Little, from York, have cut their food bills by buying whole animals from their local farmer and paying the butchery costs themselves.

"The farmer is a friend and after a conversation we realised we could save ourselves a fortune if we bought our meat directly from him," says Claire. "So I cleared a load of space in the freezer and we bought a pig." Claire and Tim split the pig with her parents. It cost them £90 for half the animal and they got 15 pork chops and four joints ranging between three and four kilograms.

"It has been a fantastic money saver," says Claire.

Since their first purchase, they've gone on to pay £100 for a share of a cow which got them a huge box of beef joints, steaks and sausages.


Are you running an expensive car? If the answer is yes, you could save a fortune this year by selling it and buying a cheaper replacement that is also cheaper to run.

Pick up an ex-rental car and you could get an absolute bargain. They offer great value and have usually been well looked after. When looking to buy a car, forget about aesthetics. Instead, focus on which car will offer you the best value in terms of fuel efficiency, road tax and insurance costs.

Auto Express voted the Vauxhall Insignia as the best value used car of 2014. It found you could buy a year-old 1.8l model for as little as £9,495 with 15,000 miles on the clock. The magazine said: "There simply isn't a car out there that can match it in terms of specification, price and driver appeal at 12 months old."

How to buy a new car


It is counter-intuitive but adding more drivers to your insurance policy can cut your premiums. Adding second or even third drivers who have a good driving record to your policy can reduce your risk in the eyes of the insurer and therefore reduce your premiums.

I've used this trick myself and brought my premium down by more than £100 by putting my mother and sister on my policy.

Just make sure you don't fall foul of 'fronting' laws and keep the main named driver as the person who will be driving the car most of the time.

Compare car insurance quotes from more than 130 insurers


Whether you are stopping to buy food or fuel, you'll be ripped off at a motorway service station. Keep the cost of your journeys down by packing a picnic and setting off with a full fuel tank.

You can find the cheapest fuel near you by using PetrolPrices.com. If you know you will need to refuel while you are away, research cheap petrol stations before you set off.

Plan any lunch or snack stops, too, by using offmotorway.net to find good restaurants, takeaways and shops close to all the UK's major motorways and A-roads. Not only will your meal be cheaper, it should taste better, too.


Adjust the way you drive and you could save yourself a fortune. Start off by getting your car into money-saving mode. Clearing out excess junk will reduce the weight of your car meaning it takes less fuel to move it. Also inflate your tyres as, according to the RAC, having your tyre pressure right can improve fuel consumption by 2%.

Next, think about how you drive. The faster you drive the more fuel you use, so think twice about speeding - driving at 70mph uses 25% less fuel than driving at 85mph. Try to drive smoothly too as over- revving and accelerating burns fuel.

Also avoid putting on the air conditioning as it can add 5% to 7% to your fuel consumption, according to motoring experts.

Could your driving skills help lower your car premiums?


Whether you are driving, taking the train or simply walking to work, it can pay to carry your own cup. Many coffee shops will offer you a discount if you provide your own drinking vessel. For example, Starbucks knocks 25p off the price of a drink if you have your own cup. That's a saving of £5 a month if you get a coffee on your way to work each day.


If you want to bag a cheap hotel room, there are plenty of websites out there that can help. You just need to think beyond the typical travel agents. If you can be flexible on dates, you can bid for a 'second-hand' hotel room at Cancelon.com – people sell non-refundable bookings they can't use on the website, often with a 50% to 60% discount.

Another option is Just Opened, this site lists hotels that are in their 'soft launch' phase. This is when brand new hotels open to some guests at low rates before their big opening so they can make sure everything is running smoothly. There are two websites, one for New York (justopenednewyork.com) and one for London (justopenedlondon.com).

Which holiday websites can you really trust?


If you've found the hotel you want to stay in on a booking website – don't book it. Most of us assume we'll find the best price online but when it comes to hotels this often isn't the case. You may well get a better deal by going direct.

Once you know where you want to stay and have found a price on a booking website, ring up the hotel and see if they will knock 10% to 15% off the price you've seen. You'll be surprised how many will as that is typically how much they pay the booking websites to
appear on their site.

This is a particularly good tip if you are going to countries where haggling is common such as Northern Africa or Turkey and prices usually have wiggle room.

Book your hotel rooms for less


Another way to claw back some of the cost of your holiday is to book it via a cashback website such as Quidco or TopCashBack. There are often some impressive deals on offer on package holidays, booking websites, car hire and travel insurance. For example, I found an offer of 0.5% cashback on Expedia.com's hotel bookings via TopCashBack.co.uk and 22% cashback on travel insurance from Holiday Extras via Quidco.com.

If you can afford to pay for your holiday in full, then you can increase your savings even more by paying with a cashback credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance in full at the end of the month to avoid interest charges. The American Express Platinum Cashback Credit Card pays 5% cashback for the first three months.


If you are planning a break to a major city, you could save money on your accommodation by staying in the business district. Hotels in these areas cater to business travellers so are busy during the week but tend to empty out at weekends. As a result, they often have cheaper room rates at the time when tourists want to stay. For example, the Andaz Wall Street hotel in New York charges from $345 (£228) per night to stay mid-week but the rate falls to $205 (£136) at weekends.

To find business hotels, search online to see where the business district is in the city you are visiting then look for hotels close by.


Keep your budget flight costs down by shipping your luggage rather than paying to take it on the plane.

A family of four flying with Ryanair to France would have to pay £280 for four suitcases if they took them on the plane with them. But, if you are organised and can send one or two bags in advance you can cut your costs.

Have your suitcases ready four days before you fly and you can ship them with Sendmybag.com for £58 return each – that's £12 less per bag than taking them on the flight, and means you won't be laden at the airport.

Obviously, it is impossible for most of us to send everything we need for a holiday four days before we set off. But if that family of four could send three bags in advance and just have one on the aeroplane they would save £36.

Moreover, if you need to take more than your baggage allowance, you'll save a lot compared to an airline's excess baggage fees. For example, at the check-in desk Ryanair and easyJet charge £10 for every single kilo of excess baggage weight; while BA charges £40 per bag on routes in and out of Gatwick and £65 for all other routes.

You could, of course, also enquire at a local post office about shipping your excess luggage back home.


While you are relaxing on your holidays don't forget about your mission to save money in your day-to-day life. Find the time to visit a local supermarket and see how the prices compare with back home.

You will often find that household items, such as washing powder and dishwasher tablets, are cheaper, so if you have space in your luggage stock up. This is a trick my family have been using for years when they take the ferry over to the Continent – it's less a booze cruise and more a washing-up trip.


We all know we shouldn't be loyal to our utility firms, mortgage lender or bank if we want to save money but have you also considered whether you are being to loyal to a fund manager or broker?

A survey last August found that Hargreaves Lansdown, which drew in thousands of investors thanks to its low costs and discounts, is now one of the most expensive stockbrokers in the UK, depending on the value of your investments. This shows how important it is to take a look at your investments every so often and check you are still getting value for money.

The same survey named Cavendish Online the cheapest in terms of fees on investment Isas, while it named our parent group Interactive Investor as cheapest for share trading (based on an annual fee of £250 on a £10,000 portfolio with 25 trades a year).

But also look at whether you are still getting a good deal on any funds you are invested in. Are you paying excessive fees for a fund manager who isn't beating the market? You might be better off slashing those admin fees and going for a tracker fund instead. An actively managed fund typically levies management charges of 0.75% a year, whereas it is possible to get a tracker fund for as little as 0.1% a year.

That can make a big difference over the years. For example, a £10,000 investment growing at 7% annually over a decade would be worth £1,225 more if you opted for the lower fee tracker fund.


There may have been an interest rate war on personal loans recently but they are still pricey. The best interest rate you will find on the high street now is around 5.2% to borrow £5,000 over three years. But you could cut that down to zero if you switch your personal loan on to the right credit card.

A money transfer credit card allows you to transfer money from your credit card into your current account so you could use it to clear a personal loan. The MBNA Platinum Credit Card has this facility and charges 0% interest for 24 months (with a 2.2% transfer fee). On a £5,000 loan, that would save you £300 in interest as long as you paid off the debt before the 0% period ran out.

Just make sure you won't be stung with any charges for paying off your loan early. But if you are, you may still be better off switching.

Find the best loan for you


Anyone who regularly buys prescriptions in England could save themselves a lot of money by getting a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC). Individual prescriptions cost people in England who aren't eligible for free ones £8.05 a time. But a PPC costs £104 for 12 months, saving you £85 a year if you get two prescriptions a month.

You can also buy a three-month PPC for £29.10 that will save you £40 if you need three prescriptions a month. You can find out more and buy a PPC at nhs.uk.

Also, it is always worth asking the pharmacist if your prescription could be bought over the counter for a lot less. This is often the case with creams or mild medications where you can buy them without a prescription.


If you are time-rich but cash-poor, you could save yourself some money by taking up a new hobby. There are plenty of things you could do that would ease the pressure on your wallet from growing your own vegetables or fishing for your dinner to home brewing or knitting next winter's jumpers.

Just don't undo your good intentions by spending too much money on your hobby. If you want to save money by knitting, then buy your wool on eBay.

You can also maximise your savings by swapping your excess veg/fish/clothing with friends and neighbours for services or their own hobby produce.

Make money from your hobby


Centuries ago, we weren't all about the money, we used to swap produce for services and skills. Some people are trying to bring this back in order to save themselves money.

The idea is simple: if you need something doing, you see if someone who can do it is in need of something you can do, then you 'skill swap' rather than paying each other.

Start off by thinking about what skills you can offer to other people. It could be anything from having good grammar and being able to help with a company's literature to teaching music or yoga. There are examples of people getting small handyman jobs done in return for yoga classes or free haircuts for helping the hairdresser improve their social media presence.

Once you know what skills you can offer, you just need to pluck up the courage to ask other people if they are open to the idea of a skill swap. If you do, you'll be surprised how many people like the idea.


Saving money doesn't have to mean giving up the gym and running in the rain. You just need to be savvy about how you pay for your gym. If you aren't a gym bunny and don't really know if you'll keep up with your gym habit, try going down the pay-as-you-go route.

The Gym, easyGym, and SimplyGym all let you pay per visit, with prices starting from £5. This will save you money as you can avoid taking out a 12- month contract, then realise the gym isn't for you but still have to hand over money every month.

But that will quickly rack up to more than a contract if you are a regular visitor. You can get five-, 30- and 90-day gym passes at Payasugym. com. The passes are usually cheaper via the website than from the gym so it's worth using while you make sure you will be a regular gym goer.

There are also an abundance of cheap no-frills gyms now charging from as little as £10 a month. Try Xercise4less, Fitspace, PureGym, TheGym or EasyGym.

Why you shouldn't join a gym


Get to know your neighbours and your neighbourhood and you can find a plethora of ways to save money. Whether it is finding out about building work and where a skip treasure trove is, to finding a neighbour who has excess produce from their garden or allotment that they want rid of – it can all add up.

If you have children, you might find you can babysit a neighbour's child in return for them looking after yours and save yourself expensive babysitting bills.

Streetbank.com can help put you in touch with generous neighbours and people looking to build a local community. I found people in my neighbourhood offering music lessons, free grapes, furniture, and lifts around the country.


Save yourself a fortune by buying things when no one else wants them. That is when the retailers are keen to get rid of products and you'll get the best price. The most obvious example is to buy your Christmas cards, wrapping paper, decorations and everything else festive in the January sales. It will cost you a fraction of what you'd pay in November or December.

Also buy summer holiday essentials in the autumn when shops are trying to make space for Christmas stock - just remember to buy a size or two bigger if you are shopping for a child.

Once you've got your head around buying things when you don't yet need them, you can also start to think about spreading the cost of events. So why not start shopping for Christmas presents in the summer so that you don't end up plunged into debt in December and resort to panic- buying expensive items. Presents for children's birthdays and parties can also be stockpiled throughout the year.

More about