25 great ways you can save money
by Kelly Henderson (follow Kelly on Twitter @kellythekiwi)
With daily expenses always seeming to be on the rise it is important to look at ways to save money. Follow these tips whether you are saving for your first house, planning a dream vacation or just want to have more pounds in your pocket.
#1 Create a meal plan
You will save a lot of money if you take some time out each week to plan your meals. If you put all the ingredients that you need onto a shopping list and stick to it at the supermarket then you will save yourself loads by only buying what you need.
#2 Buy in bulk then freeze
It is much cheaper to buy big portions of things like meat and fish than individual portions. When I come home from the supermarket I spend time dividing my shopping into dinner sized portions to freeze. This means that there will be no wastage and you will have food left for later in the week. Alternatively, if there is only one or two of you, cook for four people and freeze the leftovers.
#3 Get a best before bargain
Fresh food that is coming up to its best before date is usually reduced and sometimes you can pick up some great bargains.
#4 Pack your lunch
The average worker spends £5 a day on lunch which adds up to £25 a week. Just think of how much this would add up to if you bought your lunch every day of the year?!
#5 Avoid fast food and ready-made meals
Buying ingredients and cooking recipes from scratch will end up saving you money in the long run. Slowly build up your pantries with staples and common ingredients and you will soon be cooking like a pro! I love the BBC Good Food website when I am trying to gain dinner inspiration – there is even a feature on budget and everyday meals.
#6 Visit price comparison sites before buying online
Price comparison sites have grown enormously in popularity in recent years. Comparison shopping is a way of life and of course a great way to save money. Before buying online (or even offline visit a comparison site like idealo.co.uk that can help you save big time!
#7 Shop at your local market
Instead of buying all your fresh produce from the supermarket, why not try your local fruit and vegetable market? Because there are less expenses for the business to pay the price is generally cheaper – you can get a whole bowl of fruit for £1! Check out these great 5 tips for shopping at your local market.
#8 Grow your own herbs
If you buy herbs from the supermarket only when you need them then you’ll be spending 60p-80p for a bunch that only lasts a couple of days. A far better option would be to spend a couple of pounds and grow your own. Herbs like rosemary, coriander and mint go in loads of recipes and can be easily grown on your windowsill.
#9 Buy home brand goods at the supermarket
All supermarkets have their own range of products that cost a lot less than the well-known brands. Normally there is no difference in the quality or taste of the product, the packaging is probably just a lot plainer!
#10 Don’t waste food
Every year households in the UK throw away £12.5 billion of food – most of which could have been eaten. If you’re looking for ways to use your leftovers then check out the website Love Food Hate Waste.
#11 Cut back on eating meat
I am not suggesting that you become a vegetarian but dedicating a couple of days a week to being meat free will save money as buying meat can be expensive. Have a look at the Meat Free Mondays website for inspiration.
For more ways to save money at the supermarket and reduce the size of your food bill check out my tips for shopping at the supermarket.
#12 Work out your daily transport costs
Just getting to and from work can add a huge amount to your budget. I recently changed from buying a monthly bus pass to using my contactless debit card as I didn’t think I was getting the full value of the bus pass. Have a look at the TFL website for the full breakdown of fares.
#13 Ride your bicycle
Although cycling can be dangerous (it’s a busy city out there), it is one of the cheapest ways of getting around the city. For tips on where to get a good second hand bike from and ways to stay safe have a read of our page about riding in London.
#14 Been delayed? Get compensated.
If you have been delayed on the Tube, DLR, London Overground or TFL Rail journey then you could be entitled to compensation. Have a look at the TFL website to find out how.
#15 Learn how to do it yourself
If you can learn basic home maintenance skills then you will save a fortune on repairs and call out fees. There are videos on YouTube covering just about everything from air conditioning repairs to replacing a bathroom tap or repairing light fixtures.
#16 Switch your lightbulbs
If you haven’t already switched your old lightbulbs to energy efficient ones then you need to now. Whilst the bulbs cost a bit more to begin with (about £3 per bulb), you could end up saving up to £100 on your electricity bill during the bulb’s lifetime.
#17 Turn off your electrical devices
Always remember to turn your electronics off when you are not using them. Turning them off at the wall is even better.
#18 Unplug fully charged devices
Once your computer, phone or electric razor has finished charging then make sure to unplug it. Not only will it save you money but it is better for the battery if it is not overcharged.
#19 Set your heating to a timer
When it gets cold and you need the heating on, set it to a timer so that your house will be warm when you need it to be and you’ll save money by not having it on all the time. When I work an early shift I have the timer set so that the heating comes on half an hour before I get up. You don’t need to have heating on overnight either – just put on an extra blanket or use a hot water bottle.
#20 Save the baths for a special treat
I love relaxing in the bath after a long day but have you ever thought about how much water you are using? Try taking a shower with the plug in so you can compare how much water you would use.
#21 Hang your clothes out to dry
If you have an outside area then you could put up a washing line. If not, invest in some clothes rails and hang your clothes inside. Drying your clothes indoors is especially good in the winter when you have the heating on anyway.
#22 Pay your bills using direct debit
Setting up direct debits will prevent you from getting charged late fees or interest if you forget to pay on time. Not only that, some companies will offer a discount if you choose to pay this way.
#23 Avoid paying your TV license
If you only watch catch-up TV or use services like Netflix then you could save yourself £145.50 a year by not paying for a TV license. Make sure you are doing it legally by reading our article here.
#24 Cancel your phone contract
About a year ago my phone contract came to an end and I decided to move to a prepay deal with giffgaff. I now pay £10 a month instead of close to £45 and I still have enough minutes, texts and data to get me through.
For more ways to save money around the home have a read of our post on the best ways to save money on household bills.
#25 Sign up to a loyalty card program
Lots of supermarkets and high street stores offer loyalty card programs where every time you shop you collect points. These points will then turn into cash or vouchers to use in store. Some of the best are the Tesco Clubcard, the Boots Advantage Card, or the Nectar Card.
Check out the second part of our top 50 money saving tips here.
You may also want to check out the Top 50 Budget Travel Tips.