Money Saving Tips

We’re all trying to save money for something. Be it our next holiday, birthday or Christmas presents, a house deposit, a new electronic, or some other luxury. Many of us are also trying to make our money stretch as far as possible, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic

Last updated: 7th Dec 2020 at 1:01pm

If your bank is feeling a little empty, follow some of our money saving hacks below, and watch that digital number climb. 

Bills

Paying household bills is probably where most of your money disappears. Electricity, gas, water, mobile, broadband and council tax all add up each month, and can very quickly drain your bank if you’re not careful. 

The average UK household spends around £3,329 yearly on their household bills - if only that amount of money could be used on a lavish holiday instead. 

To save money where you can, be more sustainable in the way you live, and your coin jar will end up thanking you for it. Here are some ideas to save money on your bills:

  • Change supplier - you may be paying for more than you need. Browse the energy suppliers that exist in your area and scout out the best deal; this isn’t necessarily the cheapest, but the best deal is one that is suited to you and how much energy you use. Avoid overpaying by using a comparison site like GoCompare to browse deals on energy and broadband. Monthly direct debits are usually cheaper too.
  • Turn off plug sockets - this may seem simple, but many people tend to leave plug sockets turned on when there’s either nothing connected to it, or the appliance isn’t being used. For example, you don’t need to keep your kettle and toaster turned on all day, especially if you only use them in the morning for breakfast, or once in the afternoon for a caffeinated pick-me-up. Turn these switches off when not in use, as well as any chargers that aren’t needed. 
  • Turn off lights - don’t leave lights on in separate rooms if no one is in there. Also, don’t turn the light on in the room you’re currently in if the natural light outside can provide enough. Open your curtains and keep your electric bill down.
  • Switch to energy saving bulbs - they are more efficient and better for the environment. 
  • Take showers instead of baths - even though you can’t switch your water provider, you could save some pennies on the average £30 bill by using less water throughout the day. Take quick showers instead of running baths, over a year it could save gallons of water.
  • Turning down the thermostat by just 1 degree could cut 10% off your heating bill.
  • Check you’re paying the right amount of council tax e.g. check which band your postcode is in and cross-reference it against your bill.

Outside of your standard household bills, review what else you’re paying for each month. Review your TV packages and subscriptions and decide if you really need them. Are you getting good value out of your mobile phone? If you don’t use it much, consider switching to Pay As You Go

Apps

Download money saving apps onto your smartphone so you can start budgeting and plan your finances better. 

Having an app on your phone allows you to track your expenditures and assess where you’re wasting money and where you could be saving. Some of the apps have recommendations for where you can save, while others allow you to connect your bank details and dedicate amounts to each category so you don’t overspend. 

Travel

Fuel can become very expensive if you tend to drive a lot. Walk where you can, or take public transport as an alternative - you can usually get great deals by downloading bus apps and purchasing discounted tickets that can last as long as a year. You can also purchase cheaper train tickets in a bundle. 

You should also consider cycling where possible. It’s free (except the initial purchase), is much faster than walking, and is a healthier way to travel.

For holidays, check out our list of the best apps to help you book your next flight and hotel more affordably. 

Scour the internet for cheaper car insurance, as this can also increase your monthly or yearly output. If you’ve been loyal to one company for a while, you can usually negotiate for them to match the price of another policy, as long as you quote who it’s from. 

Finally, consider working from home if at all possible - you’ll save tons of money not driving back and forth every day. 

Retail

The average food shop totals at £60.60 a week for a household, while we usually spend nearly £900 billion (worldwide) a year on clothing in shops. Retail therapy and grocery shopping steals a large percentage of our annual income, so cutting back on both the essentials and luxuries is a good method of saving money. 

Food

Food is, obviously, a necessity, but there are plenty of ways to reduce your weekly food bill:

  • Create a meal plan - if you know exactly what you’re eating for the week, you won’t end up buying unnecessary extras ‘just in case’
  • Buy more frozen ingredients - frozen food lasts longer than fresh food, and it’s typically cheaper to buy in bulk. Not to mention, you won’t have to keep spending money on fresh food each week, as you have a larger supply of the frozen alternatives at home
  • Buy in bulk - Store cupboard ingredients last a long time, and buying in bulk can save you a lot of money. So if you have the storage space, consider buying a 5kg bag of rice rather than 500g. 
  • Pick the own brand - when you’re in a supermarket, reaching for that shop’s own branded produce is usually cheaper than the more popular food brands out there. For example, lean towards Asda’s baked beans rather than Heinz. The products will most likely not taste that different, so you won’t have to sacrifice flavour
  • Buy reduced food - ‘best before’ is different to ‘use buy’. If a product has a reduced yellow sticker on it because it’s best before date is set for tomorrow, that doesn’t mean you can’t keep it for a few extra days. It’s only if the ‘use by’ expiry date is the next day that it’s not safe to consume afterwards
  • Avoid online shopping - online retailers usually have a set price you have to reach to be valid for delivery, and this is often £40 and above. Online shopping also causes people to waste more money because the act of simply clicking and adding to cart is less thoughtful than actively going through the shop, browsing prices, and physically filling up a trolley. Try to go in-store whenever possible for a clearer, more mindful headspace
  • Avoid takeaways - cut down on takeaway meals too, as these can set you back an enormous amount of money each month. Why not try to make your own McDonald’s style burger or KFC chicken at home?
  • Cut down on alcohol - if you’re really trying to save money, reduce the amount of alcohol you buy. Bottles of wine and cans of beer can quickly add up, especially if you’re buying them week on week

Shopping

Lots of people use retail therapy as a relaxing, dopamine-producing, ‘treat yourself’ activity to improve their mood and spend their time. 

But in 2019, UK residents spent £61.2 billion on clothes alone. It equates to around £43.88 per person per month - that’s almost £50 exiting your bank each month! Here’s a few tips to shop cheaper:

  • Charity shops - second-hand clothing is a lot cheaper than the products in clothing stores and designer outlets. The clothes are professionally cleaned and, sometimes, as good as new. Stay humble and support charities designed to help us throughout life by purchasing some clothes from their stores. Good examples include British Heart Foundation, Marie Curie, and Primrose Hospice
  • Shop second-hand online - if you can’t get to charity shops, why not turn to eBay or Gumtree to find your next outfit? Not only will you find things for much cheaper, but you’ll be giving an unwanted item a new lease of life. Buying second-hand also reduces your environmental impact
  • Avoiding labels - designer brands often sell a very similar-looking top you can find in regular retail shops but at double or triple the price. Labels are mostly just visual, so if you’re really in it to save money, then simply don’t shop purely because of logos and names 

Vouchers, discounts, and offers

Finally, vouchers and gift cards can come in handy when shopping for food and retail items. Keep the discounts you get with your receipts from supermarkets, and look on online voucher websites for other discounts and offers you can use.

Alongside vouchers and gift cards, some stores give cash back, which means you can get a percentage back from your purchase. 

Bonus money-saving tips:

  • Prepare packed lunches for work, school, or day trips to avoid spending money in cafes and restaurants 
  • Keep a coin jar for rainy days
  • Take your own treats to the cinema rather than paying at the kiosk, as bags of chocolate and sweets are usually double the price
  • Take advantage of the discounts and rewards you get from apps
  • Don’t impulse buy
  • Don’t go food shopping on an empty stomach as this may entice you to buy more items
  • Don’t use a tumble dryer. Dry on racks by a window or radiator when possible to save water and electricity
  • Stay up-to-date on your subscriptions and cancel any you don’t use, like streaming services, music, and gym memberships
  • Use cash more than your card, so you stick to a budget of how much is in your pocket. 

Happy spending and saving with these tips! So what’s your favourite money-saving tip? Let us know on Twitter

To save even more money, take a look at Asda Mobile’s Pay As You Go bundles for a cheap, 30-day deal that you can change or cancel at any time. Pay As You Go is flexible, low in cost, and requires no credit checks.

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