We all love the idea of saving money. But sometimes, thinking frugally can be a pain, right?
I don’t know about you, but I prefer to enjoy my money when I have it, rather than worrying over every penny.
Well, luckily there are ways to hack money saving, so you can enjoy extra cash in your bank account without scrimping.
Set up some of these money saving life hacks, and you could save hundreds over the next year with little extra effort.
Which tips will work best for you?
Life hacks to save money
Never miss out on a discount code again
Install the Pouch app on your browser to save on online shopping. It will automatically notify you of any discount codes for the shop you’re looking at, or similar products elsewhere on the web. It’s amazing!
Hack expensive rail fares by splitting your journey
Did you know it can be cheaper to buy two or more train tickets for separate parts of your journey, instead of one ticket for the entire journey?
It’s called ‘fare splitting’ and there are several websites to help you find the cheapest way to split. I recently saved about £30 on a return journey from London to Manchester doing this. You don’t have to change trains or anything like that.
Train travel is ridiculously expensive in the UK so this is one of my favourite money saving hacks!
Get a student discount card – even if you’re not a student
If you’re a student, you probably have an NUS card and enjoy the benefits such as 25% off cinema tickets and up to 15% off Apple products.
But did you know there’s a totally legitimate hack to get an NUS card cheap, even if you’re not studying anything? Andy from Be Clever With Your Cash teaches you how in this post.
Automate your savings
If you plan to save whatever’s left at the end of the month, that’s where you’re going wrong. A lot of us find that the higher the figure in that bank account, the more things we find to spend it on – and there’s always nothing left at the end of the month.
That’s perfectly normal. So do yourself a favour – set up an automatic bank transfer from your everyday account to a separate savings account for the day after you get paid.
You’ll never have to think about saving again, and you won’t get used to the higher balance.
Get a robot to save for you
Recently I’ve been using a friendly little app called Chip to help me save. Chip assesses your bank account a regular intervals, and suggests small amounts that you could save. Do nothing, and they’ll move it into a separate savings account for you. If you don’t want to move the suggested amount, just hit cancel and nothing happens.
Chip just moves small amounts each time and it adjusts it in line with your bank balance and spending habits (more just after payday, less at the end of the month). I barely notice the money leaving my account but it’s started to add up quite a bit.
They also offer a good interest rate which goes up 1% every time you refer a friend (my code is V0FQ4X 😉 ).
Check cashback sites before buying anything online
I use TopCashBack every time I shop online. It’s normal to find cashback of anywhere from 2%-10% on everyday items, and you can often find huge special bonuses on things like utilities contracts! (I got over £100 cash for switching my internet provider last year).
There are even some companies that will pay you even if you don’t spend anything. For example, click here to get £2.31 for getting a car insurance quote – even if you don’t purchase any.
Find out which supermarket is cheapest
Download the My Supermarket app, enter your shopping list, and it will tell you which supermarket is cheapest for the items on your list. It will even update you with special offers and bargains.
Related post: 6 Essential Apps For Saving Money At The Supermarket
Do it yourself
A lot of basic DIY skills are easier than you think. Learning some simple skills such as car maintenance, basic plumbing or cutting your own hair can save you piles of money. You can find YouTube tutorials for almost anything – just watch and follow along!
Obviously you want to call in a professional for any big or potentially dangerous jobs, but a quick search on YouTube could help you sort out that dripping tap or change your car oil for a fraction of the price.
Get freebies with your weekly shop
Download the app Shopmium to get free or discounted products from the supermarket each week. Simply check the app for offers, buy the product, then scan your receipt to get the cash back into your bank account. I’ve got loads of great luxury items for free in the past including chocolate, beer and fancy teas.
At the moment new signups can get a free jar of Nutella with referral code KFKAMYGX.
Save money on car insurance by getting creative with your job title
You know how insurance companies want to know your profession when you take out a policy? That’s because certain jobs are considered ‘higher risk’ – and your insurance is more expensive as a result.
Now, you absolutely shouldn’t lie about your job. That’s fraud and can invalidate your insurance. But you can try this handy tool from Money Saving Expert to search for similar job titles which may be assessed differently.
For example, when I tested it out, on a £500 yearly policy, a ‘carpenter’ would pay £500, a ‘joiner’ would pay £517.10 and a ‘cabinet maker’ would pay £529.30! Worth having a play and see what it suggests for your job.
Get free food from your neighbours
The app Olio links people giving away free food with people who want to eat it! Lots of users use it to offer up extra vegetables from their garden or allotment. Sometimes people are just clearing out their cupboards and want to get rid of things they don’t like.
This is quite a new app and it depends how many users are in your area, but if you are in a big town you may find some great offers on here.
Get cheap leftovers from restaurants
Too Good to Go is another great app for bargain foodies! Restaurants and cafes use it to sell off remaining food cheaply at the end of the day. Simply search and pay for your dinner on the app, then head to the restaurant to pick it up. Yo Sushi is always on this app, plus lots of other local cafes.
A great and cheap alternative to a takeaway.
Related post: 5 Ways to Save Money on Eating Out
Buy discount gift cards
Zeek is awesome platform to buy and sell unwanted gift cards. You can buy gift cards at an amazing discount, sometimes as much as 10% off! If I’m planning to buy something at a shop that offers gift cards, I always check to see if there’s anything on Zeek for an instant saving.
Boost your Tesco Clubcard points
I love Tesco Clubcards points – we buy almost all our food and petrol at the big Tesco just round the corner, so the points stack up fast!
But don’t just spend the vouchers on your weekly shop. Did you know you can use the ‘Clubcard Boost’ program to get up to four times the value? There are loads of different partners on the site where £10 Tesco vouchers can buy you £40 of vouchers for whichever shop you choose.
Partners include Pizza Express, Zizzi and London Zoo. But watch out, the Boost program is restructuring in June 2018 so try to get the best offers before then.
Find cheap goods with this eBay hack
Do you shop on eBay? Try the site Fat Fingers. It shows listings with spelling mistakes or typos, which won’t come up in normal searches. This means you can find some awesome products with no other bids.
Shop in the world food aisle
It’s well known that Asian and African supermarkets have great savings, especially on bulk purchases like rice, pulses and spices. But even if you don’t have one of these amazing shops near you, you can find similar savings in your usual supermarket.
The world food aisle is often much cheaper than the rest of the shop. Products like tinned tomatoes, chickpeas and coconut milk are usually sold in both the world food section and the ‘normal’ tinned food section at completely different prices.
Compare the prices and you will be surprised!
Try the baby section for cosmetic products
Just like the world food aisle, the baby section often has loads of hidden bargains! Products like cotton buds, cotton wool and soap are much cheaper in the baby section that the cosmetic section (it depends on brand though).
Also try nappy bags instead of dog poo bags – they’re about half the price!
Grab a Waitrose coffee for next to nothing
Waitrose used to offer a free coffee for My Waitrose members. Sadly, you can now only claim the coffee after you buy something. But you don’t have to do an expensive weekly shop!
This blog has a sneaky way to get your coffee for as little as 1p. (Hint: it involves weigh-your-own vegetables!)
Become a mystery shopper for cheap meals out
Mystery shopping means going undercover as a retail spy. You get to enjoy a lovely meal out in a restaurant for free, in return for filling out a survey to help the restaurant improve their service.
Be warned, a lot of mystery shopping companies require you to go with at least one other person, but only reimburse you for one meal. But if you tend to eat out a lot anyway, this can still save you a lot of money. Here’s one of my favourite companies.
Get high street fashion for just £5
I love the online store Everything5Pounds. And yes – everything really is just £5! You might think the clothes would be cheap knock offs at that price, but in fact they’re often well-known high street brands sold cheaply as surplus items. The website doesn’t tell you the brand of the items, but you can often work it out from reviews.
Related post: Top 3 Sites for Bargain Fashion
Don’t let airlines take advantage
Most websites place ‘cookies’ on your computer so they can track what you’re looking at. Airlines and travel companies are terrible for inflating the price each time your visit their site. Because of the cookies, they already know you’re interested and will probably pay more.
To get round this, clear your internet browser’s cache when you’re ready to book. Opening an incognito window should work as well.
Use foreign websites for cheaper prices abroad
if you’re booking a holiday abroad, use the local version of the website to book things like car rental and local flights. It’s usually cheaper than the ‘tourist price’ on the UK version of their site. You might also try a free proxy server to trick websites into thinking you’re in a different country.
Try the cash envelope budgeting system
The cash envelope system is a clever and easy way to budget. It involves putting all your cash for the month (or week) into literal envelopes for different purposes. Once an envelope is empty, you can’t spend more!
If you’re one of those people who feels like shopping on a credit card isn’t real money, using physical cash can make you think a lot more about how much you’re spending.
Invest your spare change
Think you don’t have enough money to invest? Think again! You can start investing with pennies – literally. You can also automate your investing, so you don’t even have to think about it.
The Moneybox app rounds up card purchases to the nearest pound, and invests the difference in a simple tracker fund. You won’t notice the missing change, but you will soon see your savings start to add up!
Have a no spend weekend
So many of us spend money without really thinking about it every times we leave the house. Having an intentional no spend weekend will make you think twice about your spending habits, gives you an enormous sense of achievement, forces you to try new activities, and of course, saves a whole lot of money!
Use a reusable coffee cup to get a discount in coffee shops
Yeah yeah, we all know we should stop buying lattes if we want to save money. But if you’re going to keep feeding your coffee habit anyway, you may as well get a reusable coffee cup. Many chains, including Starbucks, Pret and Costa, offer money off if you bring your own cup. It’s better for the environment too.
Or, take your own tea bag and just ask for hot water. Sometimes it’s free and sometimes just pennies.
Monitor Amazon for price drops
Camelcamelcamel is a bizarrely-named website that lets you monitor Amazon prices for free. If there’s something expensive you’re thinking of buying, stick it in Camelcamelcamel and you’ll be notified if the price suddenly falls.
Learn to womble
Wombling is a great money saving hack for supermarket points fans. It involves looking out for discarded receipts and getting the points added to your own club card. Cora from The Mini Millionaire gets completely free weekly food shops with the points she gets from wombling.
Did these money saving hacks help you?
Do you know any more life hacks to save money? Spill the beans in the comments below!