There are so many online tools out there that can help you to save money. Here are Moneywise’s top 20:
Potential savings: £1,560 p.a.
Use this website to compare the cost of your weekly shop across all the big supermarket chains. Users save an average 30%, which adds up to a whopping £1,560 a year for the average family.
Use it in the same way as you would any online supermarket shop, and it will constantly show you how much your basket would cost at each supermarket. When you’ve finished shopping, it will transfer you to your chosen supermarket – along with your basket – to check out. Or you can print out your shopping list and head to the shop in person.
Potential savings: £1,143 p.a.
There are no end of voucher websites online where you can download vouchers or find online codes to receive discounts. VoucherCodes.co.uk is really easy to use and allows you to search by date, popularity or store.
How much you'll save will very much depend on what vouchers you use, but one savvy shopper slashed a purchase by £1,143 by using discount codes on Black Friday last year.
Also check out LatestDeals.co.uk, Hotukdeals.com and MyVoucherCodes.co.uk.
3&4. Quidco.com and TopCashback.co.uk
Potential savings: make £300 p.a.
Use a cashback website when you are shopping online and you are effectively paid to shop. Simply sign up, then search for the shop you want to spend your money at and Quidco will tell you if you can earn money to shop there. If you can, click through to the shop from the Quidco site and shop as normal. It will track that shopping and pay you cashback into your Quidco account.
The average Quidco user earns £305 cashback a year. TopCashback is another good cashback website that often pays back marginally more cash than Quidco, so it is worth signing up to both.
Potential savings: £100s p.a.
Got your eye on something on Amazon? Tap the item’s Amazon address into this website and it will track the price for you, alerting you when it drops. You can also see the price of the item over the past 18 months on a chart, so you can see how much the price has fluctuated and whether it is worth waiting for a price drop. For example, the Flymo Robotic Lawnmower has varied in price on Amazon from £998 to £499 in just the past six months.
Potential savings: £90 p.a.
This retail price comparison website can help find you the cheapest products. You can search by brand, retailer or category.
The site states that the average user saves 15% on their purchases. So, assuming you buy goods worth £50 via the site every month, that could add up to an annual saving of £90.
Potential savings: £100s p.a.
Described as ‘online dating for stuff’, this website can be used to give away things you no longer want, and you can hunt around for free stuff in your area. There’s everything from furniture to topsoil, so you could save yourself hundreds of pounds and help someone out locally.
Potential savings: over £300
This website sells off police property acquired through raids, shoplifted items or unclaimed lost property. It tends to have quite a few bikes for sale and you can pick up a top-ofthe- range model for under £50. For example, we saw a Carerra Vengeance bike worth £360 sell for £40.
Potential savings: £280 p.a.
A decade ago, fuel prices were a lot lower than they are now. You’d pay 92.8p a litre for petrol and 95.1p a litre for diesel. But soaring oil prices have sent the cost of filling your car skywards. However, you can fight back. Prices vary hugely at different petrol stations – you’ll pay as much as 20p a litre more at a motorway service station than a place just a mile off the main road.
Tap your postcode into this website and it will show you the cheapest places for fuel nearby. Assuming you have a car with a 60-litre capacity fuel tank and you refill it twice a month you could save almost £300 a year by seeking out the cheapest fuel rather than filling up at the most expensive petrol stations.
Potential savings: £83 p.a.
This website searches the internet to see if your train fare would be cheaper if you split your tickets. That’s where rather than buying one ticket from, say, Bristol to London Paddington, you buy a ticket from Bristol to Didcot and then another ticket from Didcot to London. You don’t have to change trains, but the cost can be substantially lower.
The average user saves £83.19 a year over three separate journeys, according to the site. But frequent travellers could save far more.
Potential savings: £300
Use this website to get the cheapest possible deal on your flights. Tap in where you want to fly to and from and when, and it will search all the major airlines to find the best deal.
It really comes into its own if you haven’t decided exactly when you want to travel as you can search by entire month, or even year, and it will show you the average price for each day or month so you can time your trip accordingly.
The site found return fares to New York that were £300 cheaper than with the most well-known airlines.
Potential savings: £1,000 p.a.
The average household can save more than £600 if they shop around for a better deal on their utilities. Add in the savings on offer if you find a better deal on your car and home insurance and you could save more than £1,000 a year.
There are several good comparison websites such as MoneySuperMarket.com, Gocompare.com and uSwitch.com, and to make absolutely sure you are getting the best deal you should check a couple. But, thanks to the fact you get two for one on cinema tickets for a year if you purchase through Comparethemarket, it may come out on top.
Potential savings: £120 p.a.
Voip (voice over internet protocol) allows you to make free phone calls via your computer all over the world. Several companies offer Voip services, but the best known is Skype – it has more than 600 million accounts worldwide.
All you need to use Skype is an internet connection and either a computer or mobile phone with built-in microphone and speakers or a separate microphone and headset – then simply download free Skype software and you’re ready to go.
If the person you are calling also has Skype, then your call won’t cost either of you a penny. You can speak as long as you like, whenever you like, wherever you like. Assuming your monthly phone calls cost you £10, that’s an annual saving of £120.
Potential savings: £450 p.a.
Your phone bill can quickly rack up if you need to make a call to a premium rate number. For example, call an 0870 number from a BT landline and a 10-minute call would cost you £4.30. Call an 09 number and you could end up paying £6 a phone call.
Saynoto0870.com lists alternate free or local telephone numbers for companies with a premium rate number, meaning you can call them for a lot less. Just be aware that the alternative numbers are listed by other users and are not verified. This means some of the numbers don’t work, and scammers can list numbers. Be cautious and don’t use it to find an alternative number for your bank or building society.
Potential savings: up to £9,600 p.a.
Just because you are working doesn’t mean you aren’t eligible for support. There is a range of help that you could be eligible for, from working tax credit to housing benefit.
This website provides a free benefits checker and grant search, so you can find out if there is anything you could be claiming to help your finances.
Over the past year 1.8 million used the Turn2Us benefit calculator. Of those, 53% reported a successful welfare benefit claim securing themselves additional income of between £50 and £800 a month.
Potential savings: find an average £345
There is an estimated £850 million in forgotten bank accounts. Mylostaccount.org.uk is a free service powered by the British Bankers’ Association, the Building Societies Association and National Savings & Investments.
Enter your details and it will see if you have money in a forgotten account.
Potential savings: Up to £400 per handset
Most of us have at least one old mobile phone handset sitting in a drawer somewhere. But, depending on your make and model, you could make up to £400 by selling it to a website that either resells or recycles your phone.
There are numerous websites out there now that want to buy your old phone so use this comparison website to make sure you get the most money for your handset.
LEISURE AND ENTERTAINMENT
Potential savings: over £1,000 p.a.
A night out at the theatre can easily cost £100. Switch your monthly trip to the stage for free tickets to see your favourite TV shows being filmed and you could save over £1,000 a year.
From X Factor auditions to comedy tours, this website offers thousands of free television and radio audience tickets.
Potential savings: £100 p.a.
Sign up for an account, then book restaurants via this website and you’ll build up points towards free meals. You typically earn 100 points per booking, but occasionally restaurants offer 1,000 points when you book. You can cash your points in once you have 2,000. The points are then converted into a cheque that is accepted at all restaurants on OpenTable.
So used regularly, you should be able to bag at least one free meal a year.
Potential savings: over £400 p.a.
Acting as a free secondhand book exchange, this website enables you to swap books you’ve read for new books, recycle books and get rid of used ones.
Avid readers could save over £400 a year by swapping four books a month, rather than buying new ones. Even a leisurely reader could save £100 a year.
Alternatively, Booksprice.co.uk allows you to search to fi nd the best price for your chosen read.
DON’T FORGET: Moneywise.co.uk
Last but not least, Moneywise.co.uk exists to help you save and grow your money. As well as features and guides on fi nancial products, we offer you tips and advice on staying safe online, beating rip-offs and making the most of your cash.
Also on our site you can‑download discount vouchers‑in your local area,‑compare interest rates‑on savings accounts, cash Isas, credit cards and mortgages and get free quotes for a range of insurance products.
We’ve even got an‑energy switching service‑ – it’s free to use, so why not see if you could save money off your household bills.
Have your say
What's your favourite money-saving website? If you know of something better, email firstname.lastname@example.org
RUTH JACKSON is a freelance journalist. She also writes for MoneyWeek, The Times and The Guardian.