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Tips on saving money

On this page you can find information on managing your money. These tips can help you with your budgeting, finances and lifestyle.

General ways UK households are losing money

  • The average person in the UK spends an extra £300 a year on their utility bills because they’re not on the most cost effective tariff.
  • On average, people in the UK can overspend by £160 a year on the wrong mobile tariff.
  • In total, the UK waste £12 billion on uneaten food every year.
  • Motorists overspend by £1.5 billion a year on auto renewing their car insurance & breakdown and not seeking out the best deal for them.

Heating

Tip: For every degree above 21°C that you set your thermostat, you pay an extra 10% on your bills.

How you can save:

  • Switch supplier – don’t just renew your contract. There’s almost definitely a better deal out there you just need to shop around for it. Lots of comparison sites will compare different tariffs so you can pick the most cost effective option.
  • Keep out the draft - Around 20% of all heat-loss is due to drafty windows and doors. Fully draught-proofing your home could reduce heating bills by £55 a year. This can be done by using inexpensive weather-stripping or foam tape around windows and doors. You can purchase these in most hardware stores. You may also be eligible for a cold weather payment - check the government website to see if you are eligible.
  • Radiator reflectors – These can save you money by reflecting back heat from radiators which would otherwise be lost through an exterior wall. A three-pack of reflectors (which can be cut to fit six average-sized radiators) could save you up to £40 a year.

Electricity

Tip: One in 10 UK households is entitled to grants of on average £250 to help with paying for energy bills, according to the Home Heat Helpline. You can find out if you're able to claim on the Turn2us website.

How you can save:

  • Switch supplier – don’t just renew your contract. There’s almost definitely a better deal out there you just need to shop around for it. Lots of comparison sites will compare different tariffs so you can pick the most cost effective option.
  • Electricity monitors – these display how much electricity in pence your household is using every hour. By being conscious of how much electricity you’re using this could help you save money. Speak to your electricity provider to see if they provide monitors and check if there is a cost involved.
  • Energy-efficient light bulbs – this use up to 80% less electricity. Energy-saving light bulbs can save you £60 over the lifespan of the bulb as they last up to 10 times longer than normal light bulbs.
    How to change a lightbulb video
  • Boil the amount of water you actually need – electric kettles use a surprising amount of energy. If you’re only making one cup of tea, boil just enough for that.
  • Slow cookers – Cooking a stew in your average 2kWh oven for an hour costs around 28p. However, cooking the same stew in a slow cooker for 8 hours will only cost around 10p – do this once a week for a year and you could save £9.
  • Keep a lid on it – pans with a lid boil much faster and save energy in the long run.

Water

How you can save:

  • Cut down shower time - An average daily power shower usually lasts eight minutes and costs about 60p. Just think, if you reduced your time under the shower to four minutes, you will save around £110 per person a year.
  • Water efficient show heads - You can also save 30% more by using a water efficient shower head. These combine air and water to give the same feeling but reduce water usage.
  • Put a full load in the washing machine – and try and wash your clothes at 30°, this is a time saver too!
  • Don’t leave the tap running whilst you’re brushing your teeth – pretty simple really.

Tip: There’s no need to pay more than £20/month for a home phone and broadband tariff.

  • Switch supplier – don’t just renew your contract. There’s almost definitely a better deal out there you just need to shop around for it. Lots of comparison sites will compare different internet and phone contracts so you can pick the most cost effective option.
  • Use more than one price comparison site – they don’t all show the same providers so the more you check, the more likely you are to find the best deal for you.
  • Match your deal to your needs – make sure you’re not on a mobile contract which gives you more data than you can use.
  • Swap to a SIM only contract – contracts tend to be much cheaper this way and means you’re not tied to a contract for a number of years. This is a great option if you're happy with your phone and don't want an upgrade.

 

  • Websites like Quidco and TopCashBack can help you earn money back when you shop online and in-store at particular retailers.
  • Cashback sites work by receiving commission from retailers if you use the link on the cashback site. That commission is then given back to users as ‘cash back’.
  • Cashback sites are partnered with over 4000 retailers so you can earn cash back whether your spending money on groceries, utility bills, clothes or holidays.
  • The average user earns back £300 every year.

Tip: Before you get started, grab as much information (bank statements, bills etc.) as you can. The more up to date your details are, the more accurate your budget planning will be. Websites like The Money Advice Service provide easy to use budget planners. There are also a number of budgeting apps such as Good Budget and Daily Budget Original. These can help you get on top of your household spending by making you more aware of your incomings and outgoings

  • Use your budget planner to work out your basic needs (like your rent, food and utility bills) which you need to spend money on every month.
  • Once the basics are taken care of, look at your wants. These might be extras, like going out and hobbies or may be longer-term goals such as paying off your debts and saving for Christmas.
  • If you can’t afford all your wants, you’ll have to decide which matter most to you or look at ways of cutting costs.
  • Many budget planners will give you personalised advice to help your household save.
  • Don’t impulse buy, sleep on it – take some time to think about whether you can afford something before making a big purchase.
  • Food shopping – don’t go shopping on an empty stomach & always make a shopping list.
  • Beware of special offers – Vouchers, special offers and cashback deals were invented to make you spend more, not less. Never buy something you don’t need just because it’s on offer.
  • Shop around - Don’t just shop at a supermarket because it’s the one you’ve always gone to. Check out the competition and compare prices.
  • Remember your rights – If something you purchase turns out to be faulty, remember you have the right to complain and you may be entitled to a refund.
  • Take advantage of loyalty cards - such as Tesco Clubcard, but beware of store cards that give you a discount but have high interest rates. 
  • Travel cards – check online see if you’re entitled to a travel card which could mean a discount on train travel.
  • Book in advance - Train tickets are generally cheaper if purchased several weeks in advance.
  • Shop around for petrol - Saving just 5p a litre on the price of petrol or diesel could save £100 a year for the average driver. 
  • Drive efficiently - slowing moving off can make your fuel last longer. 
  • Supermarket petrol pumps - Supermarkets often give you a discount at their petrol pumps when you spend a minimum amount in store which can be as much as 5-10p a litre.
  • Car sharing - If you commute by car, consider sharing your journey and the cost with others on the same route.
  • Consider other means of transport - Public transport is cheaper than driving, walking or travelling by bike is almost free – plus they keep you fit!
  • Cycle to work scheme - If you don’t have a bike and are thinking about getting one to commute with, then you might be able to benefit from a tax-free bike through the Cycle to Work scheme.
Utility bills
Phones and internet tariffs
Shop through a cashback site
Budget planning
Shopping
Travel
Money leaflets

Need some more advice?