As our daily lifestyles continue to feel the pinch of everyday expenses, it can be hard to make ends meet. Most of the time, you read the same money saving advice around changing your lifestyle, from omitting choices like “buying coffee from Starbucks” to “only buying the non-branded food at the supermarket”.
But, this is no way to enjoy living!
Do you really want to eat a packed lunch at the office every day on your own when your work colleagues are out socialising at the local Wetherspoons?
And as a nation of spenders, not savers, it can be difficult to find opportunities to put money aside for a “rainy day”, without having to compromise.
Is that really possible?
Yes, it is!
That’s why we’ve put together 9 money-saving hacks.
These saving hacks are intended to help you save more without having to change your lifestyle.
1. Don’t pay for water in restaurants
It’s a common misunderstanding that you’re entitled to free drinking water. Only licensed establishments (those that serve alcohol) in England, Wales and Scotland must provide free drinking water.
In practice, most restaurants serve alcohol so you’ll usually be able to get free tap water – but it’s not guaranteed. But why pay for water if you can get it for free? For a list of where you can get free tap water visit here.
2. Order take out and save on tipping
Going to a restaurant is a great eating experience, the mood, the setting, the conversation and of course, the food! But when it comes to paying, you’ll be expected to leave a tip for excellent customer service.
Typically, this is estimated at 10-15% of the bill total. Rather than pay a tip, why not order takeout from the restaurant instead and get it delivered to your home? There are plenty of apps including Just Eat and Deliveroo.
Even if you do this only once per week, a 10% tip on a £25 meal for two will save you £130 per year!
3. Buy groceries online rather than shop in store
For years, retailers and supermarkets of groceries and consumer products have taken for granted the notion that attractive presentation, and placing offers at the front of stores influence shoppers to make spontaneous purchases.
Hence, reduce the temptation and shop online, nearly all the supermarkets can deliver to your address, and if you order a certain amount you’ll get free delivery! By only ordering the items you need on your shopping list, you’ll not be tempted to purchase that chocolate cake that’s on offer!
Furthermore, if you sign up to a supermarket loyalty scheme, you’ll get money back which you can spend on petrol or other supermarket products. Win-win!
4. Find online vouchers
Before you buy something online, do a quick search on Google and check that there is a web page with a list of discount codes. Chances are you’ll find a discount code that will save you ten percent at least.
Money Saving Expert has a list of codes that they regularly check to determine whether they are live and active. You can view them all here.
5. Watch TV legally and not pay a licence fee
Previously, you only needed a TV licence if you had a television set. Yet the internet age means the rules have changed, with the onset of streaming.
However, you do not require a TV licence if you only watch programmes and content if they are not live on television (excluding BBC iPlayer).
TV programmes downloaded or streamed after broadcast on other catch-up services do not require a TV licence – if this sounds like you, you can save yourself an annual colour licence costing £150.50 from 1st April 2018.
6. Save on Sky or Virgin Media sports and film packages
If you pay for the film and sports packages on either Sky or Virgin Media, you’ll know that the monthly package can cost over £100 a month. Instead, purchase a Netflix monthly subscription to watch films (the biggest tier is £9.99), saving you upwards of £90 per month.
Alternatively, why not just head down to your local pub and watch the game for free? You may have to buy a pint to justify why you’re in there… but this is still cheaper than buying Sky Sports!
7. Book flights on a weekday and during the day
Did you know that if you book flights on a Tuesday rather than Saturday, you can save up to 11% on flights? They’re also up to nine percent cheaper if you book in the evenings as opposed to the mornings! Plus, if you depart on mid-week days, this is much cheaper than Friday to Saturday.
According to a study by Travelmole, the average family spends £1,284 (per person!) on their holidays. Considering that most people travel with their partner or spouse, that’s a potential saving of up to £260, per holiday!
Finally booking your trip 60 days in advance will also give you the lowest flight prices. So when you are planning your holiday this summer; remember to book at the optimal time, and check when to book based on your destination.
For example, if you are travelling to Europe it is cheaper if you depart on a Thursday. If you are flying to Asia, then best to travel in the mornings and not the evenings.
8. Turn your phone into a sat-nav
If your smartphone has got GPS, transform it into a free sat-nav for the UK and other countries around the world. Sat-nav’s can cost from £49.99 for a basic one, a saving you can use for your journey abroad. Plus, to avoid roaming data costs abroad, download the apps before you depart.
By downloading the maps before you go, you’ll be storing them in your smartphone, where they will use your phone’s built-in GPS to locate you and you’ll neither need wi-fi or data.
OK, these apps do not look as glossy as a sat-nav, but you can save on buying a sat-nav in the first place by using the apps Google Maps, Navmii or Waze, where you can get traffic information and directions in hundreds of countries worldwide, including the UK.
9. If you must use a credit card, get one with a cash back option
Having a credit card can be useful for emergencies.
But, if you want to use one regularly, then get a credit card that offers cashback on purchases. Pay for everything from bus tickets to the weekly shop on the card, and enjoy an excellent monthly percentage back. We do this ourselves and have received as much as £200 per year!
However, make sure you pay off the balance in full each month, so you avoid any interest charges. Plus, if you pay off a credit card each month in FULL, you will be boosting your credit score.
Having a healthy credit score makes it easier for you to obtain credit in the future, whether for a mortgage or a short term loan.
Saving, but not spending your money can be boring, and when it impacts your lifestyle you’ll be less likely to keep it up. There’s no incentive to spend all your time indoors and not enjoying life, only to save a few pounds here and there.
With these 9 money saving hacks, not only can you continue with your current lifestyle, but with the extra cash you save, you’ll be able to have more a lot more fun too!