21 easy ways to save more money
Written by Robert Bester, Consumer Finance Expert Robert has been a writer for six years, specialising in consumer finance and the UK lending market. Concentrating on consumer credit products, Robert writes informative articles that help customers manage their personal finances efficiently.
18th January 2021
10 minute read
How much money have you saved recently? If your answer is ‘not much’, then it might be a good opportunity to get started. If your answer is ‘a lot’, then you have the Guru’s blessing to continue on the path to financial enlightenment.
Have a read below and tick off each saving as you make it. That way you can make this year the year of saving, and feel like a real Money Guru (but with less overtly fabulous facial hair).
1. Cut your gas and electric bills
First things first, take a look at your energy bills and see if they have been going up or down. If you’ve noticed them creeping up, it’s time to make a change.
The most direct way to do this is switching energy providers to see how much you can save. It’s worth shopping around like any other product to find out the best rate you can get. Do your research online and see how much money you can save.
In addition, make sure you’re starting to cut back at home too. Whether it’s turning unused appliances off, turning the heating down or bleeding your radiators, there is plenty you can be doing to save money on energy.
2. Reduce your water bill
Unlike energy, you can’t switch to another supplier to save, but you can change the way you’re billed for it.
You might either be charged based on the size and value of your home or literally by how much water you use through a water meter. It’s generally understood that getting a water meter is preferable, but only if the value of your house outweighs the people living in it.
For example, if you have a 3-bedroom house with only two people living in it, you’re likely to be overcharged if your water is based on the size of the property.
3. Change your broadband package
Whether you’re unhappy with the speed of your broadband and want to change to a different provider or your current provider is putting prices up, switching might save you money in the long run.
Switching to a new provider can help you save and you may well get a favourable introductory rate as well. However, watch out for a discounted rate only lasting a fixed period of time. Make a note of when it will end, as you can call up the provider and ask for a new deal or switch again to keep saving. If you aren’t sure when your current deal ends, get in touch with your provider.
4. Downgrade your TV package
Same goes for your TV package. There are plenty of competitive deals out there that can often be combined with broadband to save more.
The main way to save with TV is by considering whether you watch the channels you’re paying for. It’s often the case that you will receive many channels as part of your package but only watch a couple.
If you find yourself only watching the main terrestrial channels and not much else, it might be worth downgrading with your current provider, or switching to a free option. Remember; there are always streaming services such as Netflix and Prime Video to choose from that have plenty of great content at a fraction of the price of regular TV.
5. Get a cheaper phone contract
When choosing a new phone deal, the more you pay upfront the better. This can be a big expense initially but can save hundreds of pounds throughout the contract.
It’s always worth calculating exactly how much the contract will cost you overall. This will allow you to compare deals much easier and find out how much you can save. Also, double-check how long the phone contract is for – 3 years might seem cheaper due to lower monthly payments but will cost you a lot more overall.
The other aspect you can compare is what introductory deal they can offer. It’s not uncommon to get a freebie such as Apple Music or BT Sport for a certain amount of time. If you already use these subscription services, then this might save you money too if you cancel your existing account.
Alternatively, if your contract has run out, go sim-only instead. This can massively reduce your costs over the year and potentially save you hundreds with the right deal.
6. Adapt your commute
Depending on how far your commute is, travel can be a major expense or a minor one. No matter what your journey is (unless you walk or cycle), there will always be a cost attributed to getting to and from work, whether you drive, take the bus or take the train.
If you drive, why not try carpooling? Find out if a co-worker uses the same route and work out a schedule. It might not be every day, but even 1 day less can save you money. If you drive a set route every day, why not register with a local carpooling service?
If you have the luxury of choosing how you travel, public transport can save you a lot more, especially by getting a season ticket that will last the month. Also, check with your place of work to see if they can contribute to your travel costs.
7. Check your insurance packages
Have you reviewed your insurance policies recently? You might have packages for your car, home and even your life that you could be paying too much on.
It’s worth finding out what you’re currently paying, then do some research to see if you’re paying more than you should. It’s likely if you’ve had it for a while, that new deals may have come along so there’s no harm in checking them out. You can even check if your current provider can offer you a better deal.
8. Look for remortgage deals
Do you know how long you have a fixed term for on your mortgage? Unless you noted it down when you took it out, chances are you don’t. Time to figure out when your initial period ends and you should start looking for a better remortgage deal.
Remortgaging is a common way to avoid paying higher rates of interest, or to switch from your existing mortgage offer if it doesn’t quite suit you anymore. If you’ve had a change in circumstances such as a promotion at work or had a family, you might want to change your monthly payments to suit your income or overpay to make paying easier down the line.
Start browsing through remortgage deals here, after finding out when your fixed-rate period ends. Remember to select ‘remortgage’ from the mortgage type drop-down menu.
9. Buy gifts during sales periods
Thinking of buying a birthday present for someone or a gift for yourself? If you can plan ahead, chances are you can bag a good deal during a limited sales period.
Try and plan out your year in gifts, writing a list of people you need to buy for. Once you have that, you could even do one big shop for gifts and put it on a 0% purchase credit card. That way you can pay it off throughout the year, and still save by getting a lower sales price.
10. Track items to check if it really is a good deal
There are plenty of sites such as PriceSpy and Idealo that will send you updates on price fluctuations. If you know that you’re going to buy a pair of headphones for a sibling’s birthday in May, start tracking the product now and see if the price drops between now and then.
11. Make the most of membership perks and points
Every consumer is well aware of the benefits of retail points cards such as Tesco Clubcard, Sainsbury’s Nectar points, M&S Sparks and Boots’ Advantage card. Make sure you use them every time you spend to make the most of deals on offer.
Not only can you get money off your shopping with vouchers, but you can get discounted petrol, days out and vouchers for other retail stores too. If you do a weekly shop, you’ll be surprised how quickly you can rack up points, which means more opportunities to save money for you.
In addition, perks systems such as O2 Priority offer customers free coffee, free treats, money off days out and frequent competitions to subscribe to – as long as you’re an O2 customer of course.
12. Keep your loyalty cards
While it’s not applicable for all retail establishments or eateries, using a loyalty card will definitely save you money, especially if you shop or eat there on a regular basis.
For example, if you have a coffee every day from a well-known café near you, you can quickly accumulate stamps and receive a free coffee. Since many loyalty cards are now apps too, getting a free coffee or other bonus is even easier.
13. Spend wisely with cashback
There are plenty of cashback deals to make the most of, either through your bank as part of your current account or just by shopping through cashback websites. When used correctly, you can receive money in your account essentially just for shopping, so if you’re planning on buying gifts online it might be another way to save money on purchases.
You might also want to combine this with taking out a cashback credit card. This will give you a certain percentage that you will get back onto the card for spending, but might only last for a short time before dropping. Make sure to do the bulk of your spending within this period to accumulate the most money.
14. Take advantage of rewards
Whether you’re enrolled in a rewards scheme at work such as Perkbox, or just collect points every time you shop at your chosen supermarket, there are many rewards you can claim simply for being a member of an establishment or shopping.
Being a student is another way of receiving countless rewards and discounts at major retailers, so if you are a student already or happen to be returning to education, make use of that student card.
Another way of claiming rewards just for spending is by using a rewards credit card. Every time you spend you’ll receive an amount of air miles, a cashback percentage, or membership points that will further contribute to discounts while shopping.
15. Cancel unused subscriptions
It’s very easy to let subscriptions continue without being used at all. The most common that go unuse is the gym, so make sure you either use it or lose it.
The subscription model is also very popular with startup companies offering a box or loot crate to unwrap every month. These can vary from men’s shaving kits to the latest cosmetics but usually start at around £10 a month. Not unwrapped the one you received a month ago? Cancel that subscription.
Streaming services are very popular and normally well-used, but if you find that you haven’t used your Netflix account for more than a month, it might be time to ditch it. That goes the same for unread magazines. Cancel the subscription and save yourself some money.
16. Consolidate credit cards and store cards
Whether or not you ended up overspending recently, if you have multiple credit or store cards it is worth consolidating them onto one card so you aren’t paying too much interest.
A 0% Balance Transfer credit card will allow you to transfer multiple balances onto the one card, centralising your outstanding debt and making it a lot simpler to manage. While you might incur a transfer fee, your offloaded balances will not incur any more interest for a fixed time period, giving you peace of mind that your debt is not growing any further.
17. Check your council tax band
Council tax can be a major expense in your monthly budget, meaning it’s all the more important you’re in the right band and aren’t being overcharged. Simply enter your postcode on the Check your Council Tax band page, and you can confirm you are indeed paying correctly. You can also get your property valued and contest whether it is in the right band, especially if neighbours who have a similar-sized house are in a lower band to you.
18. Cut food waste and cook in bulk
If you have many mouths to feed on a monthly basis, chances are you will suffer with food being thrown away. This can be like money poured down the drain, especially if a lot is being thrown.
Instead, try and cook in bulk and freeze additional portions for use on different days. These can be used for lunches if you have a microwave at work, or just for another tea during the week. Make enough and you will save loads on your food shop during the month
19. Avoid impulse buys, shop online
Speaking of your food shop, if you like to visit the supermarket to do your shopping, chances are you’ll pick up a few impulse buys, especially if you go feeling hungry. To avoid putting extras into your trolley, why not try doing your food shop online?
With most supermarkets you can choose delivery for a small fee or collection, meaning you don’t have to spend an hour traipsing around the supermarket, and you can avoid picking up extras you don’t really need. Save your shopping list online to save time and money every month.
20. Stop smoking
A clear way to save money, and improve your health is to stop smoking. You don't have to wait for a new year to think it's time for a "new you". If you’ve been tempted to start a new healthy lifestyle, then quitting smoking can factor into your new routine and ultimately, save you a lot of money over the course of the year.
But how do you save the money you would usually spend on cigarettes? The easiest option is by getting a savings jar and putting the cash you would usually save for cigarettes straight in every day or every week. If you would usually pay on card, set up a weekly balance transfer for the amount and put it into a savings account.
21. Sell old items online
Last but not least, one of the best ways to make money is by taking old unused items that might be stored in your attic or garage, and selling them online.
There are countless local selling apps to use now, as well as eBay, Amazon and Gumtree to choose from. All of these cater for those wanting to sell unused items online, though there will be minor costs associated with delivery or shipping. Of course, if you end up selling a lot of items, the money you make and put back into savings will far outweigh the costs.
How many ways can you save this year?
As you can see, there are tons of options when it comes to saving money. Hopefully, a few of the above points have stood out and you can start planning how much you could save in the coming year.
If you’re thinking of taking out a credit card to pay for a reduced price item, or to pay for insurance, season tickets or anything else to make a saving, have a look at our moneymatcher online comparison tool. Just enter a few personal details and we can return some appropriate cards for you, without affecting your credit score.