Seven essential everyday ways to save hundreds of pounds

By Andy Webb
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Saving money doesn’t need to be complicated or time consuming. These everyday savings are quick, easy & worth big bucks.

Saving money is easy. EASY. There, I said it. If you’re working and earning a salary, you don’t need to drastically change your lifestyle. You don’t need to feel like you are becoming ‘boring’; no staying in eating value beans and watching cat videos on YouTube.

Yes, cutting back here and there can make a big difference, but there are some simple everyday savings you can make which will make a big difference to your bank balance. You may end up hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds better off.

1. Slash your supermarket spend

You’ve got to eat, so you’ve got to spend money at the supermarket. The average household throws out around £470 worth of food a year - all grub that could have been eaten, say Love Food Hate Waste.

Look in your cupboards, fridge and freezer before you go shopping so you don’t buy things you already have. Then if you’ve any leftovers, eat or freeze them.

Don’t forget about toiletries and cleaning gear either. Pound shops are full of big name brands for less than in the supermarket.

2. Shop for savings

It seems like the sales never end in some shops, so subscribe to emails from your favourite retailers to hear about special offers and flash sales. But don’t get lured into the trap of buying something because it’s on sale!

Cashback sites such as Quidco and TopCashback can net you an extra discount when you shop via them. The money isn’t guaranteed though so only buy something you can afford without the cashback. You can get more money back with cashback or points credit cards, but make sure you pay it off in full each month to avoid interest charges.

A bit cheeky, but it’s even possible to get an NUS card after you’ve graduated. The trick means you can save up at places like New Look, Apple, Odeon and Co-op. You can even get money off flights at STA Travel.

3. Take control of travel costs

What’s worse than standing on a packed train at 7.30am on a rainy Monday morning? Paying through the nose to do it. So saving a few hundred a year might make those journeys less depressing. An easy way to do it is find out if your work will give you a season ticket loan. Usually you’re given a lump sum for the cost of an annual ticket which you then pay back in 10 or 12 installments straight from your paycheque. Alternatively you could try a 0% purchase credit card or a company like Commuterclub - though you’ll pay interest on the money you borrow..

If you drive, shop around every year for a new car insurance policy as the best deals are always for new customers. There’s no harm going back to your current insurer once you’ve got a quote to see if they’ll match it.

4. Dine out with a discount

Bringing a packed lunch can easily save you £500 a year, possibly more. Yeah it might seem like you don’t have the time to make it, but how often to you queue up for 10 minutes for the nearest meal-deal or monster burrito?

If you do want to eat out, hunt down set menus, often at lunch or “pre-theatre” (so around 6pm), giving the same food but a cheaper prices.

If you’re willing to eat in a few chain restaurants, you can often grab a voucher cutting your bill by around 40%. Try Groupon, Vouchercloud and TimeOut for the best offers. Those Clubcard or Nectar points you’ve been storing up can also get you big discounts at Pizza Express, Strada and more.

You could even pick up a TasteCard for around £35 giving you a year of two-for-one meals - though watch out for the auto-renewal.

5. Eat up expensive energy bills

Some seriously big savings can be made here. Switching energy is easy if you use a comparison site, and it means you don’t need to have a PhD in technobabble and small print to get the best deal. I prefer MSE’s Cheap Energy Club. All you need are your bills from the last 12 months and it’ll show you how much you could save. The average household is £300 better off every year doing this.

Water is a different matter as you can’t switch your water supplier. Charges are flat no matter how much you use if you’re not on a meter, meaning you can’t cut the bills. It might be cheaper for you to move to a water meter; the rough rule is if there are more bedrooms than people you could save money by installing one. But it could easily end up costing you more if water use is high.

On a meter you can cut bills simply by using less water. So that means shorter showers, turning the tap off when you brush your teeth, and dare I say it, not flushing every time you use the loo.

It’s usually free to get a meter installed (call your water company), though it’s not always possible to do. Plus, once you’ve got one, you can only switch back in the first 12 months.

6. Cut the cost of your comms

Bundling your broadband, phone line and TV can be cheaper than doing them separately, but there’s a good chance you’re still overpaying. Do you watch all the channels you have? Does your broadband really need to be super fast? A good trick is to call up your provider to tell them you’re thinking of leaving and see if they’ll give you a discount to stay.

Ditching your mobile contract can easily reduce your monthly bill. A SIM only deal means you’re just paying for your minutes, texts and data - and not your handset. When you want a new phone, save up or use a 0% purchase credit card to buy it outright, making it much cheaper. To save extra cash on your mobile contract, read this article.

7. Streamline your streaming

Sometime a Sunday box set binge is the perfect antidote to a couple of heavy nights at the weekend. The problem is choosing what to watch. You can help narrow the choice and spend less by using free trials and only having one streaming service at a time. Since NOW TV, Netflix and Amazon Prime can all be cancelled after one month, you can simply rotate them depending on what you want to see.

Top Takeaway

Don’t put off making a few simple changes to how you spend your money. The financial rewards can mean the difference between always being overdrawn and being able to save towards a deposit.

These are the things that I do. The things I’d recommend my friends and family do. They’re all pretty easy and don’t even require you to fully understand them. Just tackle them when you have time to see the pennies rolling back in.

 

By Andy Webb

Andy is the money blogger behind Be Clever With Your Cash, as well as the editor of blogging network UK Money Bloggers. He's passionate about helping people get the most from their money, and a little bit addicted to yellow reduced stickers in supermarkets. You might also have seen Andy on TV talking about money matters as he's one of the money experts on BBC One's Right on the Money.

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