Money Wellness
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category iconmoney saver
calendar icon20 Jan 2023

Let’s get frugal: 28 ways to save money

As the cost of living continues to rise, most of us are looking for ways to cut our spending. So, we’ve put together 28 of our favourite tips on how to save – that’s one for every day of the month (ish)! Why not give them a try and see how much you can save?

1.Cut your energy costs

When it comes to reducing energy costs, think check, switch, save:

Check if you’re eligible for discounts, grants and support. You may qualify for help from the government, for example through winter fuel payments, cold weather payments and/or the warm home discount. Try the government's free benefits calculators to see if you could get additional help.

Switch your tariff or energy supplier to get the best deal. This is usually one of the easiest ways you can save money. Unfortunately, current market conditions mean it isn’t an option at the moment. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the situation though and switch again when you can. Sign up for new-deal alerts at MoneySuperMarket.

Save money by becoming more energy efficient. You’ll find plenty of tips in this blog, but you can find more from the Energy Saving Trust.

2. Consider getting a water meter

If you don’t have a meter, you will normally be charged a fixed or flat amount each year – known as ‘unmetered’ charges. The amount you are charged is not based on usage. Instead, it is usually based on where you live and the rateable value of your property. Having a meter installed means you’ll be charged for the amount you actually use - which could save you money, depending on your household's habits. There’s a calculator on the CCW website to help you work out if a water meter is right for you.

In Scotland, unmetered charges are added to your council tax bill. You can have a water meter installed by Scottish Water, but since you will have to contribute to the cost of installation and pay other charges, this might not save you money. There’s a calculator on the Scottish Water website to help you decide.

Whether you have a meter or not, if you're struggling to pay your bill, contact your water company to see if they can help with special payment arrangements or reduced rates and assistance schemes.

3. Make shopping lists

Never underestimate the power of a list! Making a meal plan and cooking in bulk isn’t an option for everyone but, if you have the time and freezer space, it’s a great way to save money and cut down on food waste. Plan your meals - including snacks - in advance for a week or a fortnight, make a list of everything you’ll need...and then stick to it once you get to the shops. In fact, if you’re able to nab a delivery slot, doing your big shop online is an even better way to make sure you’re not tempted by unnecessary extras.

4. Embrace voucher power

There are plenty of ways to get discount codes – download a plugin like Honey to search the internet for available codes before you make an online purchase; make sure you’re following your favourite restaurants, takeaways and shops on social media and that you’re signed up to their mailing list; or just google discount codes before you shop.

5. Shop around for insurance

You could make big savings on insurance by using price comparison websites, so it’s worth putting in a bit of time to get the best out of them. Remember they’re just showing you prices, not choosing the best product – you don’t have to pick the top result.

Always check more than one site. Different insurance companies appear on different comparison sites. No one website can get you quotes from every single insurance company and some big insurers, such as Direct Line, don’t appear on comparison sites at all.

There’s a great guide to getting the best out of price comparison websites for insurance on MoneyHelper.

 6. Save on prescription charges

If you live in England, you’ll usually have to pay prescription charges unless you’re eligible for free prescriptions. So, if you need medication regularly, it may be cheaper to buy a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) – effectively a prescription ‘season ticket’.

A PPC covers all your NHS prescriptions, including NHS dental prescriptions, no matter how many items you need. The three-month PPC costs £30.25 and will save you money if you need more than three prescribed items in three months. The 12-month PPC costs £108.10 and will save you money if you need more than 11 prescribed items in a year. Depending on how many prescriptions you need, you could save hundreds of pounds a year.

7. Married? Find out if you could get money off your tax bill

You might be eligible for marriage allowance if:

  • you’re married or in a civil partnership
  • you're not in receipt of married couple’s allowance (this is a separate scheme that only applies to people born before the 6th of April 1935): and
  • one of you earns less than the personal allowance (£12,570 in 2022/23) so is not liable to tax

For example, if you’re a basic rate taxpayer earning £30,000 a year, and your partner earns £8,000 a year and so is a non-rate taxpayer, your household could be £250 better off.

Find out more about marriage allowance on the government’s website.

8. Quit smoking

If you smoke, cutting back or quitting altogether is probably one of the best things you can do to save money, not to mention the benefits for your health. We know it isn’t easy, but there is help out there – have a look at the NHS website.

9. Carry out regular reviews of your household spending

Most of us pay more than we need to on a whole variety of things. Regularly reviewing your outgoings to see where you can make savings can drastically reduce your household spend. MoneyHelper has a range of helpful guides on how to save money on everyday bills.

10. Look for a better mobile phone deal

When your mobile phone contract comes to an end, it can be tempting to take the easy option and accept whatever deal your provider offers you. But there’s a smarter way to do it, and it can net you big savings. Sites like uSwitch can help you find the best deal on the phone you want and the contract you need.

11. Save energy in the kitchen

Check the settings on your fridge and freezer (fridges shouldn’t be set any lower than 5ºC, while freezers should be -18ºC); use a microwave, rather than the hob, to reheat food if you can; and don’t overfill the kettle.

12. Get cashback

Using cashback websites is a way to get a little back on money you were planning to spend anyway. This is how it works: cashback sites such as Quidco or TopCashBack offer cash rewards if you click through their website to purchase from some online retailers. Download a browser plugin to be reminded whenever cashback is available. It’s usually only a few pence at a time, but it all adds up, and for bigger purchases - like a new mobile phone or a household appliance - you can earn surprisingly generous rewards.

13. Take advantage of price-match promises

Many supermarkets offer discounts to customers if their shopping could have been bought cheaper from certain rivals, so remember to swipe your loyalty card or register your receipt online after every supermarket shop. These discounts are often applied automatically if you shop online - another good reason to let them bring your groceries to you.

14. Don't overspend on presents

You don’t need to spend a lot on fancy gifts to show friends and family you care. In fact, some of the most thoughtful gifts are homemade. Think about baking a cake, creating a photobook or having a go at making your own candles. There are loads of free, online tutorials out there to inspire you. Just try googling ‘easy homemade gifts’.

15. Turn down the heat

A simple but effective way to cut costs is to adjust your central heating thermostat. Reducing room temperatures by just 1°C could cut your heating bills by almost 10%. Adjusting your central heating timer to switch off at night and during the day (if the house is empty) will also help lower your energy bills.

16. Save money on food

You can save money and cut down on food waste by making the most of what you have in the cupboards. There are some great tips on the Hubbub website. And we also love Supercook: an app and website that suggests recipes based on the ingredients you have available.

17. Deal with draughts

One huge way to save money and energy is to make sure your home is properly insulated. Loft insulation and new windows make an enormous difference. These are big one-off expenses though, so you might not be able to afford them right now. But there is plenty you can do yourself to prevent heat escaping from your home: check out the Energy Saving Trust’s draught-proofing guide for ideas.

18. Switch it off

Turn off the radiators in any rooms that aren’t being used, and remember to switch off TVs, laptops, gaming consoles etc. when you've finished with them – don’t just leave them on standby.

19. Recycle used printer ink cartridges

Save money and do your bit to avoid the estimated 57 million cartridges that end up in UK landfills every year. You can either go to a store like Cartridge World and have your inkjet cartridges refilled - for about half the price of a new cartridge! - or sell your used ink cartridges to a company like the Recycling Factory.

20. Fake it to make it

If you’ve never tried your hand at a fakeaway, you’re missing out. We love the recipes on Hubbub and Skint Dad.

21. Get free Kindle books

If you have a Kindle or the Kindle app on your phone, you can find a list of the best ‘selling’ free Kindle books here. You could also sign up to BookBub, which sends out a daily email of free or low-cost ebooks you might be interested in: but beware of its 99p deals. They add up!

22. Or just join the library

Of course, the best way to read books for free is to go old-school and take advantage of your local library.

23. Recycle old mobiles

Another way to make money from going green: recycle your old or broken mobile phones and – depending on the make and condition – you could earn yourself a little cash. Find out how much you could get for yours.

24. Learn to resist impulse buying

Shops and retail websites use little psychological hacks to encourage you to spend more on stuff you don’t need. Once you know how it works, it’s often easier to avoid falling into the impulse spending trap. Take a look at our blog.

25. Get more wear out of your clothes

Sick of having to replace holey socks, bobbly jumpers and worn-out jeans? The Spruce website has an extensive guide to getting more wear out of your clothes - which could mean big savings, especially if you have a large family.

26. Download a budgeting tool

There are many websites, apps and tools that can help you organise your finances to make it easier to live on a budget. We took a look and picked out some of the best: read our roundup here.

27. Join a buying and selling Facebook group

Most areas have at least one of these. You can use them to pick up a bargain, clear out some clutter, and also keep an eye on what’s going on in your local area.

28. Set a savings goal

What do you want to do with the money you’re saving? Is it for Christmas, a holiday, a rainy-day fund or even to pay a little extra into your debt management plan? Whatever your goal, the most important thing is to have one – it’s a little extra motivation to get you through when life on a budget seems extra hard. Read our blog about setting financial goals here.

Avatar of Rebecca Routledge

Rebecca Routledge

A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.

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