20 money saving tips you can use every day - Times Money Mentor (2024)

The rising cost of food and energy bills means it’s harder than ever to save money – our list of saving tips can help you spend less.

Here are 20 easy money saving tips designed to slot into your daily life without too much effort.

This article includes:

  • How can I make sure I’m not overpaying for my bills?
  • Can I get free cash from a bank?
  • How can I add to my income?
  • What are the ways to spend less on my grocery shopping?
  • Can I reduce my tax bill?
  • Are cashback websites worth it?
20 money saving tips you can use every day - Times Money Mentor (1)

Read more: Five apps for saving money every day

The importance of saving

The cost of living is making saving money impossible for many. However if you are able to put some aside for emergencies, then it will not only help you financially but mentally too.

If you know that you struggle to save, here are 20 simple methods to help you get into the savings habit:

1. Switch to spend less on your utilities

No one wants to pay more for exactly the same thing. Yet so many of us do with our gas and electricity bills, car insurance and mobile phone contracts.

Due to rising energy bills, good fixed deals are impossible to find. Switching energy supplier may not be the answer now but it could be for lots of other utility bills. And there are also plenty of things you can do to reduce your energy bills.

Shopping around for a better deal is easy and could save you hundreds of pounds. Comparison websites make it simple to find the best deals and can give you negotiating power with your current providers.

Boost Your Broadband tells you what types of broadband are available in your area and gives impartial advice on getting the best deal.

If you can, buying a mobile phone outright and paying for a SIM-only deal often works out cheaper than paying back the price of the handset over a long contract. Again, always shop around.

2. Change banks and get free cash

You can also switch your bank account and get paid in cash to do so. Some banks are currently offering up to £200 bonus for new customers who move to them. However, all of these deals come with Ts&Cs, so check that you will be eligible.

Changing your bank account can feel a little scary but it’s easier than you think. It takes just seven days to move your money with the Current Account Switching Service and your regular payments over from your old account.

Your new provider will do it all for you but make sure that the account is right for you — money isn’t everything.

We have independently rated the best current accounts on the market for different needs and requirements. Check them out here.

3. Cancel unnecessary commitments

Almost two years of intermittent coronavirus restrictions have given us plenty of time to evaluate our spending habits — and in some areas to increase them.

Go through your bank balance and see exactly where your money is going. You may discover you are paying for services that you have forgotten about and no longer use.

Think carefully about how much you use your subscriptions now. While Netflix may have been essential during lockdown, can you live without it now? If you’re shopping online less frequently you might want to cancel Amazon Prime.

4. Transfer debt to a 0% deal

If you have a large amount of debt, perhaps on an overdraft or credit card, it is likely that you are paying high levels of interest. You could consider switching it all to a credit card with a 0% balance-transfer deal.

These cards don’t charge any interest on your transferred debt for a set period, so you can stop giving your money to the bank and instead use all of it to pay off what you owe faster.

Watch out as you may have to pay a fee. Not everyone will get accepted for the best deals depending on your credit rating but it could be worth it in the long run.

5. Organise a free overdraft

New rules were introduced in April 2020 aimed at making overdraft charges clearer and easier to compare. However now you could be facing charges as high as 39.9% for being overdrawn.

Some bank accounts do offer free overdrafts up to a certain amount. We list the best bank accounts for overdrafts.

Watch out! If you go over the arranged overdraft limit, costs really start to mount.

6. Get a side hustle

A side hustle is simply another activity that you do on top of your main join that earns a bit of income. It should ideally fit comfortably into your daily life.

  • Online surveys: sites such as YouGov, Prolific, and PineconeResearch can pay £50 a month
  • Rate music: you can get paid to listen to music and rate it for about 10p a track at Slicethepie
  • Tutoring: if you can play the piano or speak a foreign language, you can get paid around £30 an hour

Discover how Times Money Mentor reader Laura Dempster used her love of embroidery to boost her social life and house deposit.

20 money saving tips you can use every day - Times Money Mentor (2)

7. Do a low-spend week or month

Consider a systematic low-spend day, week or month to build up your emergency fund and to train your saving brain in the long term.

Low-spend, is only spending on the essentials, which rules out takeaways, coffees out or drinks with friends. Pick a month like January, where people are feeling the pinch after Christmas and less keen to go out.

Check out more money saving challenges and discover how Claire gives her children no pocket money during her annual no-spend January.

A great way to stay on top of your finances, and knowing where your money is going, is to draw up a budget. Our budgeting guide can help you get started.

8. Have a holiday-free year

Sticking to day trips, cheap weekends and camping holidays away can save you a significant chunk of money and often be more fun. It is also likely to be less stressful given the disruption caused by the pandemic to foreign travel.

Try our tips for saving money for a holiday.

9. Support charities with your time

If you regularly donate money to charities, you could consider volunteering your time instead.

There are lots of ways to do this, depending on your interests, skillset and time available, which include:

  • Becoming a phone friend to an elderly person
  • Being a mentor to young people
  • Getting involved in conservation

Do-it.orgis a database with more than a million volunteering opportunities that you could pick from. Search by interest, activity or location and then apply online.

10. No presents

Implement a no-presents rule for a full year with your family members and friends. If that doesn’t sit well with you, why not suggest:

  • A spend limit
  • Secret Santa for Christmas
  • Only hand-made or gifts bought from charity shops

If others still want to give on birthdays and you have children, stick solely to savings accounts and check out our independently rated junior ISAs.

Here’s more on how you can teach your kids about money.

11. Spend less on food

There are lots of ways to cut back on your grocery shopping, without having to limit the amount that you buy, these include:

  • Swapping to a budget supermarket
  • Downshifting, such as swapping branded products for supermarket-own
  • Writing a list and meal planning
  • Cooking in bulk
  • Using apps such as Too Good To Go, which offer unsold but still fresh food from supermarkets, restaurants and other retailers at much cheaper prices to prevent it going to waste.

BBC Good Food has a budget recipe section and the popular Cooking On A Bootstrap shows you can eat well for less. Check out our guide to family finances: how to prepare for everything for more tips and tricks.

12. Reduce your tax bill

Keep more of your earnings by claiming all the tax reliefs you are entitled to. If your employer has asked you to work from home, make sure you claim this tax rebate effectively giving you up to £140 of free money every year.

There is also rent-a-room relief, which lets you earn £7,500 a year tax-free from letting out furnished accommodation in your home.

For more tax tips, here are ten easy ways to cut your tax bill.

13. Get the right money-saving app

If you need extra encouragement with saving, then a money-saving app could be for you – and there are plenty to choose from. For example:

  • Chip calculates what you can afford to save every few days and then transfers that amount from your current account to your Chip account
  • Plum does the same and automatically notifies users when they’re overpaying on bills and let them switch to a cheaper provider within the app
  • Cleo* is a chatbot on Facebook Messenger that analyses your spending, offering insights into your habits and what you can do to save more

Many of these apps, like Moneybox, make saving feel like a game where you challenge yourself to put more away.

14. Cashback websites

Cashback websites give you a certain percentage cashback whenever you spend online at a selected retailer by going through them first. They are free and simple to use and you could earn hundreds of pounds.

TopCashback and Quidco are the most well-known and are free to use, just make sure you only use them for usual spending rather than buying things you don’t need.

15. Hit the charity shops

A surge in donations to charity shops during the pandemic has meant there have been plenty of bargains to be had.

For high-end bargains, charity shops in Chelsea in London, Alderley Edge in Cheshire, Bath, Oxford and St Andrews in Scotland are the places to go.

Charities also appear on designer shopping app Depop.

16. Borrow rather than buy

If you don’t manage to find what you need in a charity shop, maybe you can borrow it. Family members who are on board to support you while you save may be able to help here.

Alternatively, Badlee is an app that lets you borrow items from friends and neighbours, while the Library of Things in south London lets you borrow useful products like drills, gazebos and carpet cleaners at affordable prices.

17. Learn for free

There are a huge variety of quality courses and content online, many of which won’t cost you a penny.

Skillshare is an online community offering thousands of free classes including fashion illustration, pasta making, interior design basics, analytics and management.

Recruitment site Reed offers free online courses – from essential IT skills and book-keeping to understanding autism.

18. Free nights out and culture

Get free nights out by signing up to the right mailing lists. You may have to wait because the coronavirus is affecting filming and scheduling, but tickets to The Graham Norton Show, Live at the Apollo, The Great British Bake Off after-show and Countdown can be applied for at SRO.

The BBC mailing list offers free concerts all around the UK, including Later … with Jools Holland, Radio 1 gigs, Radio 6 recording sessions and BBC orchestra performances.

19. Quit the bad habits

Smoking is the most obvious bad habit to quit. Not only is it terrible for your health but awful for your wallet too. A ten-day-a-smoking-habit can easily cost you £1,825 a year.

Over 30 years that’s almost £55,000.

You can find support to quit smoking at NHS Smoke Free and get healthier and richer in the process.

Cutting down on booze can really save the pennies too. On average we spend £1000 per year on alcohol, which is £63,000 over our legal-drinking lifespan. Cutting out two glasses of wine or pints of beer at the pub a week, costing £4.50, could save you £469.

Where as cutting out just two shop-bought coffees, costing £2.75 each, every week for a year, you would save £286.

20. Write a list and stick to it

It sounds incredibly simple, but by making clear what you need – rather than what you want – you can avoid impulse purchases. It can save you a lot of money.

Avoid adding items to your trolley if they aren’t on your list.

Check out our guide to budgeting, if you’re looking for more help with forming healthy spending habits.

If you are struggling

Money worries impact on your sleep, your relationships, your work, and your physical and mental health. According to the Money Advice Service, a fifth of us say we are “drowning in debt and money worries”.

If you are struggling with debt, practical and emotional support is essential and available for free.

  • StepChange, and National Debtline, provide free, confidential advice and support to anyone worried about debt
  • Turn2us helps people in financial hardship gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and support services
  • PayPlan offers free advice and debt solutions, such as debt-management plans

*All products, brands or properties mentioned in this article are selected by our writers and editors based on first-hand experience or customer feedback, and are of a standard that we believe our readers expect. This article contains links from which we can earn revenue. This revenue helps us to support the content of this website and to continue to invest in our award-winning journalism. For more, see How we make our money and Editorial promise

Important information

Some of the products promoted are from our affiliate partners from whom we receive compensation. While we aim to feature some of the best products available, we cannot review every product on the market.

20 money saving tips you can use every day - Times Money Mentor (2024)
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