I love money saving tips. I love reading other peoples’ and I also have plenty of my own, so for the new year I have updated my list of 30 ways to save (at least) £1 – because it all adds up! I hope you find some new inspiration.
Save Money When You’re Shopping
1. Make Shopping Lists
Save yourself from spending unnecessary £££s by keeping lists and sticking to them. This is great for grocery shopping each week (helps me not get distracted by random promotions), but also for clothes and luxuries too. I have a “wish list” stored in my phone notes, where I jot things down when I see something I like. Then when there are sales or offers on I can dip into it and maybe grab a bargain on something I actually want rather than getting distracted by seeing big savings on things I don’t really need.
2. Wait Before You Buy
I also like to think twice about purchasing anything that is a bit of a luxury, so I screengrab or photograph anything that I feel the urge to buy and come back to it later. If I still feel like I have to have it then I’ll treat myself, but a lot of the time the excitement has worn off and I’m glad I didn’t splash out on impulse!
3. Shop Around
Try shops like Home Bargains for boring items like toilet rolls, cleaning products and dry goods, but know your supermarket prices too before you go so that you can be confident you are getting a bargain.
4. Buy in Bulk!
It works out cheaper in the long run.
5. Make Use of Store Loyalty Cards
I collect points at Boots, Superdrug, Tesco and Morrisons, and have used them to save money on future shopping or (in the case of Tesco Clubcard) have exchanged them for vouchers for meals out and day trips.
6. Buy Own Brand
I love Superdrug cosmetics for their great prices and for being certified cruelty free. And I actually prefer supermarket brand biscuits like digestives and jaffa cakes.
7. Shop Your Wardrobe!
Before deciding you need to buy new clothes, check your wardrobe for forgotten gems. I have so many dresses that I have only worn for one event.
8. Stock Up On Cards
If you choose to send birthday cards to your friends and family, maintain a small collection of them. Keep your eye open for nice ones at decent prices or multi-buy deals. This will save you getting caught out and having to splash out at Clintons.
9. Compare Prices
Use comparison sites to shop for insurance before accepting a renewal quote. A lot of the time you could save quite a bit of money this way. Plus, I used Compare the Meercat and because of their promotion I can now get 2 for 1 cinema tickets and 2 for 1 dining at a lot of chain restaurants for a whole year!
10. Shop the January Sale
Unless you get one as a Christmas gift, always wait until January to buy your new year diary or calendar – you’ll get one for half price!
Save Money Day to Day
11. Combine Your Spending Power
Shop for new mobile phone contracts as a pair. My husband and I usually get a great deal because there are two of us and the store tries extra hard to get us the best price because they know they are getting two contracts out of it.
12. Invest in Your Travel
Buy monthly or seasonal travel passes if you have to use public transport every day.
13. Make Your Own Lunch
Make lunches to take to work rather than buying one every day. Pasta salads, sandwiches, tins of soup and even bowls of cereal work out to be far cheaper.
14. Get to Know the Cheap Spots
If you do treat yourself to buying lunch during the week, know where the cheapest spots are. There are dozens of places selling fresh soup within 5 minutes walk of my workplace, but only in one of them will I get a choice of 4 freshly made healthy soups and where it only costs £1.50.
15. Meal Prep
Make double quantities when cooking meals like chilli, curry and stir fry so that you can save money on the energy you’ll be using and also by making your ingredients go further. Save the extra portions for a quick and easy meal another day, or for an easy lunch at work.
16. Save Money on Soft Drinks
Invest in a reusable water bottle and a travel mug to avoid having to buy drinks when you’re out and about. You can also save money with your favourite coffee chains by taking in your own reusable mug, and even though it’s pence rather than pounds, it soon adds up.
17. Plan to Park for Free
If you’re driving somewhere, find out in advance where the free or cheapest places to park will be.
18. Save Your Coins
It sounds simple but save your small change. Drop your brown coins into a jar and watch them add up. The most literal way to save £1!
19. Make the Most of Your Perks
19) If you have an 02 phone contract, download the O2 Priorities app and keep your eyes peeled for freebies and savings. For example, you can get a free hot drink from Nero every Tuesday. If you’re not on 02, check to see if your network offers something similar.
Money Saving Activities
20. Borrow and Swap Books
Books aren’t cheap if you’re a big reader, even if you’re dedicated to shopping in 2nd hand shops. Instead, rotate your book collections with friends and family and read each others’ books for free. I’ve also joined my local library and have always found most of the books I want to read are available there.
Between the months of August and October you can pick wild blackberries for free. I do this every year simply because it’s enjoyable, and then I have piles of free fruit for baking with. I usually pick so many that I can freeze tubs of them, and then defrost every time we fancy an apple and blackberry crumble.
22. Enjoy Free Days Out
Spend your free time doing free things like walking around pretty parks and enjoying our national museums and galleries.
23. Get the Best Deals on Tickets
If you want to visit the theatre and aren’t too fussy about what show to see there are so many deals to be found. Try LastMinute.com or WhatsOnStage.com, or if you’re in London try the ticket booths around Leicester Square.
Money-saving Travel Tips
24. Research Before You Go
Check sites like Trip Advisor for recommendations on the best value places to eat in your holiday destination. The forums are full of people giving out this kind of money-saving advice.
25. Don’t spend a fortune on your holiday wardrobe.
Look through your existing wardrobe for clothing you can make work on holiday – your suitcase can’t fit everything in it anyway. And if you do need to buy anything, choose items that aren’t holiday-specific and that you can wear in everyday life as well.
26. Buy Souvenirs Wisely
Buying holiday souvenirs always seems like a great idea at the time, but if you stick to the plan of “only items that are both useful and beautiful” you probably won’t end up wasting your money. The only things I ever really buy are Christmas decorations for our tree as reminders of our trips.
27. Don’t Buy Travel Size
Save those freebie samples of toothpaste, perfume, makeup, shampoo and shower gel for your mini-breaks. Or decant your larger bottles of toiletries into reusable smaller bottles suitable for travel. The cost of buying miniature cosmetics really does add up!
Save Money by Getting Crafty
28. DIY Gifts
Getting crafty can result in some lovely items for the home or nice gift ideas. I made some teacup candles which made cute gifts and would normally cost £12-£15!
29. DIY Fancy Dress Costumes
For fancy dress costumes unleash your creative side – think of what costume you can build around items you already own or items that can be easily and cheaply sourced!
30. “Mend and make do to save buying new”
I can’t take all of the credit for the old wartime motto, but I think it’s something we should all try to do more of. It’s much cheaper to sew up a tiny hole in a top than to buy a new one!