50 ways to save money including best apps and tips from expertsFebruary 24, 2019
With the help of some money-saving pros, we've come up with 50 very easy ways to help you make your money go further.
From the best budgeting apps to the simple things you can do to save a few pounds here and there, there are plenty of ways to save a bit of cash this year.
Some of the tips are thriftier than others but all are useful ideas that you can slot into your routine without much effort.
You could even save hundreds of pounds using some of the pointers, and we've also included a few ways to make a bit of cash on the side too.
It's always a good idea to have some extra money in the bank for an emergency and here are the best ways to help you do just that.
Best money-saving apps
1. Squirrel – sticks to a budget
Users put their monthly salary into an account, with the app then splitting your spending into three categories – commitments, spending and savings.
It will release the funds back into your account just before your bills are due so you're not tempted to spend too much.
It's free for the first three months and then you pay £3.99 after.
2. Chip – automatic savings
Every few days, free app Chip cleverly calculates what you can afford to save – and then transfers that money from your current account to your Barclays-run Chip account automatically.
It works for customers of many major banks. You don't earn any interest unless you sign up friends, though. But if you invite them and they sign up, you earn 1 per cent for each pal – up to a limit of 5 per cent.
3. Bean – switch and save
The Bean app and website tracks all your regular payments like your bills and subscriptions to services like Netflix and Spotify and lets you know where you can get a better deal.
The makers of the free app reckon it has saved users around £672 a year.
4. Monzo – track your spending
Monzo is the smartphone-only banking app which divides your spending into categories – so you can see exactly where you're spending (or wasting) your money.
Helpfully, you can even set targets for each category so you can stay within your budget – and it will alert if you're spending too much.
Opening an account is free.
5. Starling Bank – helps with budgeting
You can open a bank account with challenger digital-only bank Starling in just three minutes using a selfie.
Just like Monzo, the app divides your spending into categories, which can help you to budget.
Opening an account is free.
6. Cleo – makes budgeting fun
Cleo is a free artificial intelligence (AI) tool that sends you equal part personal finance tips and funny GIFs.
The chatbot, which runs on Facebook Messenger, analyses your debit or credit card spending and then offers clear insights into your spending habits and how you need to adjust your budget to save more.
7. Emma – alerts you to fees
Free budgeting app Emma has a "fee tracker" that helps you sniff out and keep track of any bank charges if you dip into your overdraft.
But it doesn’t allow you to compare your spending from week-to-week or month-to-month, unlike other apps.
8. Money Dashboard – gives an overview
Money Dashboard can help you avoid overdraft fees and identify fraud, and spot where you can cut costs in your spending.
While the free app doesn’t log refunds, it makes it easy to plan your spending ahead of time.
9. Oval Money – puts cash away
Oval Money has a fun feature which allows you to save cash into its digital wallet based on your habits.
If you’re a serial social media user, for example, you can set up an alert to transfer money to your savings every time you post on Facebook.
It's free to use.
10. Yolt – gives budgeting tips
Yolt doesn't store or save your money but it does take information from all your bank accounts to show you how much you're spending on different items.
The free app then offers helpful tips about how to rein in your spending.
11. Plum – free cash
This free chatbot app uses Facebook Messenger to automate savings for you.
If you connect your bank account using a MoneySavingExpert referral link, you'll also get £5 free cash just for signing up.
1. Yellow sticker time
Amy Sheppard, author of The Savvy Shopper's Cookbook, told us that you need to work out your supermarket's "sticker time" when it reduces prices.
It varies between shops, but it’s usually between 6.30pm and 7pm or an hour before closing.
2. Compare prices
Miguel Barclay, author of One Pound Meals, has a little known app called Comparasaurus.
It checks the shelves at the supermarkets in real-time and gives you the prices.
3. Find brand dupes
Lynn James, the founder of the Mrs Mummy Penny blog, said it's a good idea to hunt for cheaper copies of the brands you love.
She loves Aussie shampoo but there's an Aldi version which is very similar, and half the price.
4. Check the unit price
Cass Bailey, who blogs at The Diary of a Frugal Family, says look for the unit price (price per 100ml / price per kilo) when you shop so you can use them to check what really is a good deal and what isn't.
5. Put five items back
Amy Sheppard says a good trick to stop overspending at the supermarket is to put back five items once you've finished your shop online or in store.
It can be a good way to work out what items are essential and what you can live without.
6. Buy in bulk
Buying items you use all the time, such as dishwasher tablets, could save you money.
Corporate cleaning companies sell their products on eBay for crazy-low prices, according to super saver Tom Church, who co-founded LatestDeals.co.uk.
7. Avoid items at eyeline
Lynn James told us that shelves directly in front of your eyeline will have more premium products.
Look down to the bottom shelves for cheaper goodies.
8. Avoid display offers
Cass Bailey reveals that the products on the end of the aisles are usually set up to display products on offer but they're not always.
Sometimes they're just full-price stock that the supermarket want us to think are on sale, so make sure you check.
9. Write a list and make a budget
It sounds simple but by sticking to a list of items you need, not want, and creating a budget you adhere to, you can save a lot of money./
If it isn’t on your list, don’t put it in the trolley.
10. Make a meal plan
The free Mealime app helps you find recipes and add the ingredients to a list that you can then take to the shops.
Earn extra cash
1. Fill out online surveys
You can get paid up to £6 per survey – and it’s a great way to make money, according to both Emma Drew of Emmadrew.info and Francesca Mason of From Pennies to Pounds, told us.
There are lots of sites you can use, but these are the easiest to navigate: YouGov.co.uk, Prolific.ac and PineconeResearch.co.uk.
2. Cashback websites
Cashback websites do exactly what they say on the tin – they give you cash back when you spend online.
TopCashback and Quidco are two of the most popular and sometimes you can earn hundreds. You have to visit the website and click through it to qualify, though.
They are free to use but there are plus memberships which cost £5 a year which can give you a higher rate of cashback.
3. Get paid for music
Listen to music and SliceThePie will reward up to 10p for every song you listen and rate.
The more you listen to the more they'll reward you.
4. Go mystery shopping
Brands can pay you to shop free of charge for them.
MoneySavingExpert forum users have put together a comprehensive guide to how you can start mystery shopping which has links to all the different companies.
5. Sell stuff online
It sounds obvious but you can easily make some money by flogging your junk online, either on eBay or on another website.
eBay will take a cut of whatever you make from selling your items though so it may be worth looking for other ways to flog your items, such as on Gumtree or on Facebook.
6. Share deals
LatestDeals will hand out vouchers for people who share deals on its website.
You get points which add up to Amazon vouchers for your contributions.
The minimum number of points you have to earn is 5,000 before you get a £5 Amazon voucher in return.
There's a guide to how many points you can earn for different activities on the LatestDeals.co.uk website.
7. Complete easy tasks
Money-earning website 20Cogs gets you to complete 20 tasks over a period of a few weeks, suggests Lynn James.
They can be things like questionnaires and signing up to offers, but all can be cancelled at no cost.
8. Take snaps of job ads
The Job Spotter app can be a great way to earn some extra cash, Naomi Willis of Skintdad.com told us.
You can make a maximum of 150 points per advert, according to the app, which is the same as £1.50 in cash.
9. Make cash from blogging
You can make some serious cash from blogging.
Emma Drew told us she now earns £100,000 a year after struggling to get a job after university just from blogging.
10. Buy and re-sell
If you’re a bargain hunter and good at spotting good-value items for a cheap price, you should try and sell them on for a higher price, according to Francesca Mason.
It can be a great way to earn some extra cash if you often find yourself at car boot sales or similar, but you’re also not guaranteed to make a fortune.
Compare, switch and save
1. Switch bank accounts
Some banks offer incentives for you to switch accounts and save with them instead.
For example, First Direct has brought back its £100 switching bonus and others regularly have them too.
2. Bag an extra year on your railcard
If you're eligible for a 16-25 railcard, you can purchase the three year railcard the day before you turn 24 so it'll last up to the age of 27.
3. Switch energy providers
If you find shopping around for new energy providers a chore, Switchcraft is the answer.
It will alert you to better deals than your current one and even swap your provider for you, saving you up to £518 a year.
There are lots of these type of automatic switching services around too, including Flipper and Look After My Bills.
4. Switch phone and broadband provider
Ofcom has launched a new website called Boost Your Broadband to tell people what broadband they can get in their area, and to give impartial advice on how to find the best deal.
You can also use websites such as uSwitch and moneysupermarket.com to compare prices of phone and broadband providers.
Hate your high energy bills? Sort them out with Switchcraft
- Switch and save an average of £219 – Use comparison sites such as MoneySuperMarket.com or EnergyHelpline.com to find the right deal for you
- Set a reminder – After 12 months your fixed deal will come to an end and you may move on to what’s called a “standard variable tariff” which could be significantly higher. Make sure you’re ready to look for a new deal in 12 months, or…
- Sign up to Switchcraft, get £5 cashback and never worry about switching again – New free-to-use automatic energy switching service Switchcraft moves you on to the right energy deal. It then searches for better ones once you're signed up and moves you onto them automatically at the end of your plan. Sign up here.
A fiver will be paid into your bank account within four months of completing the switch. prepayment meter customer customers will receive a £5 Amazon voucher. Open to those 18 and over. UK residents only. Click here for full T&Cs.
5. Compare supermarket prices
Compare prices on your shop with MySupermarket.
It will compare your online shopping basket to find the cheapest place to buy and it save you 30 per cent — or more than £1,500 a year.
6. Split your train tickets
Instead of buying one ticket for your journey, you can book separate tickets for parts of the same journey to save some money off your fare.
There are even online tools which do all the work for you – for example websites such as Trainsplit and Ticketclever.
7. Compare train prices
National Rail's website also has a cheapest fare finder which gives you the lowest possible fare across all train operators.
There's also websites such as RedSpottedHanky, Trainline and Megatrain but these all charge a booking fee.
8. Compare Amazon prices
Francesca Mason recommends using Amazon price tracker CamelCamelCamel.
You can add products to it and it will alert you when the price drops.
Dropster meanwhile monitors drops in prices for Amazon products, so you can see if it is currently at its cheapest price – or highest.
Hunt for bargains
1. Loyalty schemes
Loyalty schemes can be a great way of earning extra cash or rewards from brands you love.
We reveal the ones that are worth signing up for – and ones you can ditch.
2. Virtual loyalty cards
Stocard collects points on to your phone.
Ask the cashier to scan the relevant barcode and points will be added automatically.
Stocard works with hundreds of schemes, including Tesco Clubcard, Nectar and Boots.
3. Home Bargains trick
The price tags at the discounter reveal how long an item will be in store for.
The bargain shop uses different codes on price tags to indicate whether a product will be back in stock or if it’s a one-time only offer: REG for regular stock, and ONE for one-off specials.
4. TK Maxx tips
There are also lots of ways you can save money at TK Maxx, if you know how.
These include picking the right time to shop and hunting for gold label designer items.
5. B&M bargains
Insiders have also shared their thrifty tips for visiting B&M.
These include having your shop delivered to using an app to find the best buys.
6. Save on Amazon
Tom Church has revealed there's two hard-to-find pages on Amazon: one that shows you everything on sale on the website under £15, including free shipping, and another that reveals ideal gifts priced under £10.
Free ways to save
1. Money-saving challenges
Save £520 a year by putting away £10 every week.
Or you could save £1,500 with the more challenging 365 day challenge.
2. Skim your change
If you skim your bank account so that the total is always an even number, you could save hundreds in a year.
We've listed the best apps that help you do this in a guide.
3. Pay off your debts
The interests on your debts is always higher than the interest earned on your savings, so you should consider paying off any debts with your savings to be better off.
4. Open a savings account
The first steps to saving is actually opening an account that will give you the most benefits.
You can find the best options in our guide.
5. Cook once, eat twice
Get in the habit of batch cooking.
If you make more meals than you need in one sitting, then you will not only save money on the cost of cooking with different ingredients, but also on the cost of keeping the oven on.
Here's how to budget for holiday treats without feeling the pinch.
Plus, here's how to get out of debt as households now owe £15,400 each.
And Martin Lewis reveals how to cut ALL your debt costs in seven steps.
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