Energy bills, national insurance, fuel costs, even food – today’s cost of living is, quite frankly, atrocious.
But there are plenty of ways to save money while still doing what you used to enjoy. Here are 22 ways to do it – good luck – and good savings.
How to save on bills
1. Change bank
Switching bank accounts isn’t what it used to be, thanks to the seven-day switch guarantee. And some banks offer up to £150 bonus for change. Just make sure it’s a bank that meets your needs so you don’t pay more.
2. Use less energy
You cannot save money by switching energy suppliers at the moment, almost all suppliers simply charge the maximum possible within the energy price cap. But you can take steps to use less of it in your home, from covering up drafts to reducing energy waste. Read more tips here.
3. Reduce your tax bill
Most of us have seen our tax bills rise recently, thanks to the National Insurance hike and the freezing of the higher rate tax threshold. You can reduce what you pay in taxes by sacrificing your salary, for example by contributing more to your retirement. It could mean less disposable income at the moment – but it could also help you keep child benefit payments, so it’s worth looking at the numbers.
Read more: 8 smart ways to lower your energy bills
4. Switch from broadband to mobile
If you change provider at the end of your broadcasting and mobile phone contracts, you can benefit from the introductory offers at a better price. Consumer champion Which one? estimates it can save you up to £240.
5. Use duty-free child care
This is a grossly underutilized tax break. You can reduce the cost of childcare, childminders and even after-school and vacation clubs by using the duty-free childcare system. You can get up to £2,000 a year in government support. Learn more online.
6. Cut your subscriptions
We’ve all fallen into subscription traps and in the past you might not have noticed ten or five dollars going out of your account every month. But now is the time to review your direct debits and make sure you’re only paying for the services you need.
7. Reduce the cost of your debt
If you pay interest on your debts, you could potentially reduce this cost. If you are using overdraft, could you switch to a bank with cheaper rates (switching is easier now AND banks need to be clearer on their fees).
If you have credit card debt and a decent credit score, you can transfer your debt to a new provider with an interest-free introductory offer.
8. Get help
If you’re struggling to save money in your account each month, you can use technology to help. There are apps that connect to your bank account and save small amounts of money here and there – rounding up your coffee from £1.85 to £2, for example, and reducing your account by 15p. It all adds up but you don’t realize it. They have different fees, so compare them carefully, but Chip and Plum are two of the most popular.
9. Claim your WFH tax relief
If your employer has asked you to work from home this year, even for just one day, you can apply for tax relief from HMRC. It’s quick and easy to do, just read the rules and apply online. This is worth up to £140 a year and you can also claim for the previous tax year.
Watch: Top Financial Mistakes We Don’t Want Our Kids To Repeat
How to save money on purchases
10. Try the Downgrade Challenge
At the supermarket, many of us buy the products we are used to, without really thinking about it. But going from a higher rating to a supermarket, or from a supermarket to a basic supermarket, can really save money. By trying different items each week, you can find where you can cut back without noticing a difference (I firmly believe basic canned tomatoes are as good as a name brand that costs four times as much!).
11. Waste less food
If you’ve noticed your grocery bill rising, a great way to reduce it is to simply buy less! According to the Love Food, Hate Waste website, the average family throws away £60 worth of edible food every month. If you can eliminate this waste, it’s good for the planet and for your pocket.
Read more: Mum saves £300 on monthly groceries with smart shopping
12. Buy more frozen foods
Not only are frozen fruits, vegetables and meat often much cheaper than fresh, but it’s also easier to waste a lot less. Instead of leaving food in your fruit bowl, for example, you can simply defrost the amount you need and leave the rest for another day.
3. Use cashback sites
There are websites including Quidco, TopCashBack, and many more that will refund you every time you shop through them. They are really easy to use and just give you some of the affiliate money they get when you browse through them. It’s possible to save hundreds of dollars a year on your regular purchases – but remember that’s only a saving if you had purchased these items anyway!
14. Go second-hand
Buying second-hand clothes is green, it’s ethical and it can save you a bundle. And if you’re someone who likes to browse clothes from your couch instead of wandering around the charity shops, there are plenty of websites that allow you to do just that. Try Vinted and Thriftify to get started.
Read more: A woman who only buys second-hand shares her saving tips
Read more: The best online second-hand stores
15. Sell what you don’t need
As you scour the second-hand market for new clothes, you might also want to consider whether you need everything you need in your own closet. Websites like Vinted allow you to sell your own unwanted clothes, helping you declutter and earn some cash.
16. Let the retailers tempt you
If you want to buy something (and assuming it doesn’t sell out quickly), it might be worth leaving it in your online shopping cart and waiting. Sometimes retailers will email you a discount to see if they can entice you to complete your purchase.
17. Get gifts from your boss
Do you have all the support offered by your employer? From free eye tests to discounted healthcare or gym membership, some employers offer a really good package for their staff. Ask HR for a breakdown of all the perks and see what you can save.
How to save money on fun
18. Get a train pass
It’s not just students who can benefit from a cheap train pass, lots of people can and they save you around a third on every trip. There are veteran rail passes, senior rail passes, even “two-up” rail passes where couples or friends can travel together for less.
And if you have children, a Family and Friends rail pass can really cut the price of travel – even if you end up buying a ticket for a child young enough to travel free, the overall saving may be worth it. sadness.
19. Go out for free
Look, I can’t help you save money on a babysitter, but you might be able to get a free night if you live in town. You can ask TV studios to be part of the live audience when they host talk shows, comedy quizzes, and even music events. Just sign up for their mailing lists and request tickets. The BBC in particular offers free tickets across the UK.
Read more: how to make money
20. Never pay full price on an outing
There are so many deals on outings that you should never plan a trip without researching first. For example, if you want to visit Alton Towers or another major theme park or attraction, check to see if you can use a voucher for a packet of Kellogg’s cereal.
Sometimes local buses or train tickets will have a discount code printed on the back, to encourage you to take public transport.
Planning ahead can also help you save money. Often you can get a discount by booking online in advance. Spend some time researching before you go and the savings can be significant.
21. Go out midweek
Not only is it more pleasant to go out when it’s quieter, but it’s also very often cheaper. Many companies offer discounts and specials to get people through their doors during off-peak hours. For example, you can often get two-for-one deals on movie tickets on a less popular Tuesday night. But The Batman is just as good, no matter the day!
And if you’re still stuck
22. Get what you’re entitled to
Of course, these are just simple ways to save money if you’re only now looking to make cuts. For anyone who has ever lived on a tight budget and is now struggling, this may not be so helpful.
If this is you, the best advice I can give you is to check that you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to, as many people do not claim all the support they need. Online calculators available on websites like Turn2Us and EntitledTo are great resources to check out.