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How to save money – 83 money saving tips

Discover how easy it is to cut the cost of everything from rent to commuting, with our big list of money saving tips and tricks on how to save money. A penny saved is a penny made!

woman pointing at piggy bank

Credit: Linda Bestwick (background), WAYHOME studio (left), ussr (right) – Shutterstock

From 2-for-1 cinema tickets to Amazon's secret sales website, our list of practical money saving tips below could save you £1,000s every year. 🙂

How to save money fast

Saving money can be just as effective as making money if you’re trying to boost the cash in your bank account. These are the best ways to save money:

  1. Legally buy stolen goods

    auction hammer

    Credit: Billion Photos – Shutterstock

    Yes, we're putting heavy emphasis on the 'legal' part here. You may have seen police auctions in American TV shows, but they're a great way to save money in the UK too.

    So how do they work? Well, when the police are unable to track down an item's rightful owner, they'll auction it off and give the proceeds to worthy causes. It's all legit, it's all above-board, and you can bag a bargain if you submit the winning bid.

    Find out more about police auctions in our guide to buying stolen goods.

  2. Buy past 'best before' dates

    Unlike 'use by' dates, 'best before' dates are solely recommendations about food quality, not safety.

    The Approved Food website can help you cash in on this – they legally sell groceries close to (or past) their best before dates that are still safe to consume. It's one of the best ways to save money. We slashed £55 off one shop, so there are great savings to be had!

  3. Food shop in the evenings

    After about 6pm, most supermarkets start heavily reducing prices on items they need to shift by the end of the day.

    You should still make a list, but if you're flexible on brands and flavours, you could bag fresh produce that's still perfectly fine to eat, just a lot cheaper. Just don't shop on an empty stomach, otherwise you'll end up buying food on impulse.

    Read more money saving tips for supermarket food shopping.

  4. Join secret sales websites

    There are a number of sites which run limited-time flash sales, on everything from designer clothes to holidays. The savings are significant but you need to be signed up to hear about the sales.

    Most sites rely on word-of-mouth and are not heavily promoted (these are the ones we follow).

    However, big retailers also dabble in this market to help clear surplus stock – a prime example (pardon the pun) being Amazon's Today's Deals section.

  5. Have at least one 'no-spend' day each week

    Having a no-spend day is both an incredibly simple and surprisingly difficult way of saving money. When you stop to think about it, you probably spend money on at least one thing every day, even if it's as small as a bus fare or a small snack while you're out and about.

    Exercise some self-restraint and try to have at least one no-spend day each week (we'll let you pay for travel if it's absolutely necessary – otherwise, walk and get paid to do it).

    It'll take some forward planning (like buying food in a weekly shop), but the psychological impact of learning not to spend money should mean you become a lot more careful with it in the long term.

  6. Get a Big Mac and fries for £1.99

    big mac and fries

    Credit: 8th.creator – Shutterstock

    Bit of a dangerous one, as when the food is this cheap, it's even harder to resist. But if you can exercise some self-control, this trick should save you some money whenever you decide to treat yo' self.

    All you have to do is get a Maccy D's receipt, fill out a quick survey on their site, and the Big Mac and fries discount is yours. When you go in and use your McDonald's £1.99 deal, you can then use the receipt from that to keep the process going.

    It's a vicious delicious cycle, and it's just one of the many ways you can save money at McDonald's.

  7. Find cheap flights

    Assuming the first getaway deals you find are actually the cheapest is a rookie mistake, especially as prices can change in minutes.

    Set up price alerts with momondo if you have a destination in mind, or use Skyscanner's 'Everywhere' tool to find bargain-bucket seats on flights to anywhere!

    Complete holiday packages can sometimes (although not always) work out cheaper overall, so compare your prices with sites like

    And don't dust off your bikini until you've read our tips on getting cheap flights.

  8. Speak to the cancellations department

    Got a phone, broadband or TV subscription due for renewal? Tell your provider you're taking your business elsewhere unless they beat the cheapest alternative.

    This one works especially well with mobile phone companies – try to cancel your contract and you can expect to be directed to their loyalty team who have the power to offer substantial discounts to retain customers, even for SIM only deals. Get your poker face on and remember our tips for haggling.

    It's also worth noting that this works with more than just cancellations. If you've had a poor experience with a company, get in touch with their customer service team and make it clear that you're unhappy – knowing how to complain can get you some serious results.

    Just don't go too hard on the poor person handling your query, as this probably wasn't their fault!

  9. Slash your bills in an evening

    Spend an evening comparing the cost of your gas or electricity and you could save hundreds by moving to a better deal.

    Switching is simple and free – just make sure you're not tied into a contract with exit fees (although the savings on a cheaper deal can sometimes still outweigh the cost of leaving your current provider).

    Quickly find out what you can save right now at Moneysupermarket.

  10. Get £200 worth of freebies

    From cloud storage to condoms, KFC to cocktails, if you work your way through our list of free stuff you'll save yourself around £200!

    There's even more free stuff available on your birthday. Your big day just got even better.
  11. Get cash back on almost anything

    one pound in hand

    Credit: Ann in the uk – Shutterstock

    Every time you shop online, get some of your money back by learning how to use cashback sites.

    TopCashbackQuidco and Swagbucks are worth joining, and between them they cover almost every online retailer in the UK. You'll be amazed at just how much you get back.

    But it's not just online shopping that offers cashback. Free food (and occasionally some cleaning products and pet food, too) can be nabbed through supermarket cashback apps.

  12. Haggle on your rent (and everything else)

    When it comes to figuring out how to save money, you've got nothing to lose by asking for a rent reduction – if you can show you've been a good tenant, the odds are in your favour as it's usually cheaper and less hassle for your landlord if you stay on.

    Other tactics for getting cheaper rent include paying in advance or asking for a slightly shorter contract than the usual 12 months to account for the summer holidays.

    But don't stop at haggling on your rent – anything and everything can be cut down with a bit of persuasion, as we explain in our guide to haggling.

  13. Use the 'skimming' trick

    When you experience the thrill of money hitting your account – be it your Maintenance Loan, some birthday cash, wages or anything else – skim 10% off the top and whack it in a savings account.

    If you can manage just £20 a month you'll be £240 better off at the end of the year (or even more if you stick it in a top-paying savings account).

    And if you're not confident you'll be disciplined enough to stash money away, set up a standing order to automatically move the cash over when it lands in your current account.

  14. Try the 1p Savings Challenge

    If taking 10% off all incoming funds sounds like too big a commitment for you, give the 1p Savings Challenge a go.

    The premise is simple: on day one, you save 1p. On day two, you save 2p. On day three, 3p (and so on). After 365 days (or 366 in a leap year) have passed, you'll have saved over £650!

    Although the challenge is intended as a way to start saving in the new year, you can basically start whenever you want – just keep going up in 1p increments, and you'll save the same amount of money in the same period of time.

  15. Shop baby and world food aisles to save up to 75%

    Supermarket international food aisles hide big savings on kitchen cupboard staples including rice, lentils, beans, spices and sauces. Foreign brands can be as much as 75% cheaper and are often more authentic than domestic equivalents in the UK.

    The same applies to the baby aisle for items like moisturising lotion.

    Often the quantities will be different, so check the price tag for the price per unit of measurement (this is the real indicator of whether something is cheaper or not, and is one of the best ways to save money at the supermarket).

  16. Get cheap phone insurance

    broken mobile phone smashed screen

    Credit: Jan Faukner – Shutterstock

    Whether you're a serious butter-fingers or you're just worried about someone nicking your phone, getting insured could save you a packet in the long run.

    Insurance obviously costs money, but compared to the cost of a new phone or getting your existing one repaired, it's nothing at all. So if you're notoriously clumsy, have a pricey device or you're locked into a lengthy contract, getting insured is often worthwhile.

    And don't just go with the policy that's bundled with your gadget – you can get cover for pennies.

  17. Turn your old phone into a sat nav

    Yes, you can use your current phone as a sat nav too – but that'll just drain your battery and put out the fire flowing through the aux cord.

    A phone's GPS can work without a SIM card, so the super money-saving option here is to go to whatever map app you're using and download the route (over WiFi) for offline use.

    But, if you want live traffic updates, alternate route options and all that jazz, the next best thing is to get a bargain SIM card and use the data on that.

    Don't need a sat nav? See how much you could make from selling your old phone instead.

  18. Get cheaper bus tickets

    If you catch the bus every day, a bus pass usually works out cheaper than buying a ticket each time.

    What's more, if you're entitled to disability support, you may be able to get free travel or funds to help you pay for a pass. Check if there are free metro bus services in your area, too.

  19. Call premium rate numbers for free

    If there's one thing more torturous than most companies' choice of hold music, it's the rip-off rates you pay for calling their pricey 084 and 087 numbers in the first place. Even on an inclusive call plan, they can cost over 60p a minute (including the connection charge).

    If you can't avoid 084 and 087 numbers, find a cheaper alternative at saynoto0870 or download WeQ4U which will also call you back once you're connected. No more feature-length calls, or paying to stay on hold!

    Feeling lazy? These money-saving resources will do the hard work for you.
  20. Year's 2-for-1 cinema tickets for less than £2

    How we miss Orange Wednesdays. If you were on the network (which is now EE, in case you were wondering), you'd always get half-price cinema tickets – and even if you weren't on Orange, you'd almost certainly have memorised a list of all your friends and family who could give you their code.

    The good news is that the 2-for-1 baton has been passed to Compare the Market's Meerkat Movies scheme, and all you have to do is make an eligible purchase with them. The best part? It includes travel insurance, which you can get for under £2.

  21. Go to the cinema during off-peak hours

    cinema food and drink kiosk

    Credit: Suttawat Udom - Shutterstock

    Weekends and evenings might feel like the best times to watch a film, but you'll be paying a pretty penny to do so. Cinemas hike their prices during these hours, and you'll save somewhere between 15% – 20% if you catch a movie before 5pm Monday to Thursday.

  22. Go to the cinema for free

    There's only one thing better than a discount, and that's getting something for free. Whether you plop for free preview screenings, or sign up to E4's Slackers Club (or both!), there are a ton of ways to see the latest Hollywood flicks without spending a penny.

    Check out our cinema hacks for more details on how to secure your free or discounted tickets.

  23. Get a three-year railcard when you're 24

    Train tickets in the UK are notoriously expensive, but buy or renew a three-year 16–25 railcard before your 25th birthday and you'll get a third off rail fares until you're 27.

    Now, you might be wondering why it's worth doing this when there's now a 26–30 railcard too. Well, a three-year 16–25 railcard costs just £70 – that's £20 less than what it would cost to buy three one-year railcards at £30 a pop, be they 16–25 or 26–30.

    You can't buy a three-year 26–30 railcard, so you may as well get the three-year 16–25 railcard at a sizeable discount while you still can. You'll struggle to find a better way to get cheap train tickets than this.

  24. Don't pay for a TV Licence

    If you've got top-speed unlimited broadband and use streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, you could save a bundle by ditching your TV Licence.

    In fact, you may not even need a TV Licence to watch live tele or iPlayer, either.

    Despite TV Licensing shouting from the rooftops that you do need a licence, we found a loophole for students that means you can still get away without paying. And yes, TV Licensing even confirmed to us that the loophole is legit.

    Oh, and if you do have to pay for a TV Licence, remember that you can get a refund to cover the summer months you're not at uni.

  25. Get cheap gym membership

    Opt for any of the big fancy fitness chains and you'll be paying anything up to £80 a month – if not more. While that may incentivise you to actually go, there are lots of ways to lose a few pounds for fewer pounds.

    Your university is likely to offer most of the same facilities for a fraction of the cost, with no lengthy contract. Or you could check out Hussle for hundreds of pay-as-you-go or no-frills gyms all over the country.

    Not enough for you? Get more info on how to save money on gym memberships or check out our ways to get fit for free.

  26. Get everything for five pounds

    five pound notes

    Some company names leave you scratching your head, wondering what on earth they actually do. Not so with Everything5Pounds.

    Everything5Pounds sells clothes, homeware and toys for – you guessed it – £5. Now, before you turn your nose up at the idea of buying clothes for £5, a lot of their stock is high-street quality.

    Sometimes it literally is high-street quality, with the site buying unsold stock in bulk from the likes of Topshop and River Island, and selling it to you for a fiver a pop.

  27. Get 100s of free photo prints

    Hanging photo prints is one of the classic ways to decorate a uni bedroom and, fortunately, there's a way to do it for free.

    Check out our guide to free photo printing offers and you'll find companies that will print dozens, if not hundreds of photos for you for free – and all you need to pay for is postage.

  28. Check Amazon's secret warehouse deals

    You can get almost anything for less in the Amazon Warehouse, although what's actually on offer varies at any given time.

    These heavily discounted goods are typically things that other customers have returned, but you still have the same consumer rights when it comes to stuff working properly (or your money back if not).

  29. Always compare and track prices

    Take the leg work out of penny-pinching by comparing the cost of items using sites like Idealo and camelcamelcamel. These sites track prices over time and give you a good indication as to whether the current price tag is a good one, or whether it's likely to drop a lot more in a few days.

    While camelcamelcamel only tracks prices on Amazon, Idealo has data for hundreds (if not thousands) of online retailers. This means that, as well as tracking the cost over time, you can also use Idealo to find where it's available at the lowest price.

  30. Watch gigs and events for free

    Events newsletters can be worth signing up for if they get you early-bird discounts on your favourite gigs.

    Other ones to watch for include giveaways for TV and radio shows – the Beeb regularly hosts big-name musicians, while ITV and other channels offer free tickets, including for jackpot-heavy gameshows...

  31. Use discounted gift cards at big chains

    gift card vouchers

    Credit: Tana888 – Shutterstock

    Ever been given a gift card for a shop that you never go to? Turns out you're not the only one. People are so keen to get rid of these vouchers, that they're willing to part with them for less than their worth.

    eBay is probably the main marketplace for buying and selling gift cards, with vouchers for some shops available with discounts as big as 20%.

    Retailers like Tesco have also been known to have sales on gift cards (like 15% off). We'll almost certainly let you know if they've got one going, so check out our deals section for the latest offers!

    Obviously this won't save you money if you just end up impulse buying, but if there's a shop you use all the time, or you're planning to make a big purchase (like electronics), this is a great way to cut costs!

  32. Stop smoking (or doing drugs)

    If you're a smoker, you could be burning two grand a year or more to fuel your habit.

    One of the best ways to quit smoking is to use a quitting kit (patches, gum, sprays and medication). These are available for much less on the NHS, and e-cigs could help stop you frying your lungs while you cut back.

    Lots of ex-smokers swear by Allen Carr's book – check the library to read it for free. But it's not just smoking that costs – recreational drugs and legal highs can be just as pricey, a whole lot riskier, and often get you spending more cash on munchies, impulse buys or digging yourself out of a hole.

  33. Don't pay for software

    No need to panic, we're not talking illegal downloads here – these are tips on how to save money legally.

    From writing to image editing, there's always a free alternative out there – some good enough to pass for pro products that would otherwise cost £70 and up.

    Libre Office does everything Microsoft Office can, GIMP (not what you're thinking) gives Photoshop a run for its money, while Google Drive and Dropbox offer free cloud storage.

    Head here for a long list of free software.

  34. Browse eBay outlets

    eBay's official outlets stock all the same gear that you'll find in the high street stores, but up to a third cheaper.

    Why? Because these are end-of-line, returned or ex-display items. Retailers (which include Argos, House of Fraser, Skechers and Tesco) guarantee your quality and rights just as with full-price gear. So, if there's something you're shopping for anyway, have a look to see if you can get it cheaper.

    And eBay's not the only place you can find these bargains – check out our list of the best outlet stores in the UK for more incredible deals.

  35. Always check for eBay typos

    For eBay sellers, good grammar pays. Literally.

    Seriously though, it's pretty easy to make a typo, and eBay is full of them – including in the title of auctions. There are plenty of perfectly good products on the site labelled as, for example, 'sansung', meaning they won't appear in searches for 'samsung'.

    As a result, these auctions get far fewer views and therefore fewer bidders than they would with the correct spelling. Fewer bidders usually equals fewer bids, which in turn should mean lower prices.

    Check out our eBay buying hacks for more details on this tip, plus many more.

  36. Abandon your online shopping basket

    empty shopping basket

    Credit: Butus – Shutterstock

    Don't worry, we're still letting you buy things (although the biggest discount does come when you don't buy anything at all, where's the fun in that?).

    Now, this is by no means the case for all websites, or even most of them, but it's certainly been known to happen.

    If you put some items in your basket, then quit the website and take it no further, companies will sometimes send you an email in the hours or days afterwards. They'll offer you a discount because, for them, it's better that you spend a little less instead of nothing at all.

    This is also a great trick for dealing with impulse purchases. Use the extra time you've gained by abandoning your basket to reconsider how much you actually need or want the item, and if you still think it's a good idea, the discount is just a cherry on top.

  37. Get cheap event tickets

    Missed the tickets you really, really wanted? Avoid the touts and scammers who are out to get rich from fans by securing re-sales or unwanted bookings at a fair price, and instead head to Twickets, which lets you buy and sell your seat at face value or less.

  38. Claim loyalty points when you shop

    Get yourself a reward card and hoard points to claim money off, free treats and other discounts. At the very least, get one for your favourite supermarket.

    The most rewarding cards are Tesco Clubcard, Nectar Card (Sainsbury's) and Boots Advantage card. Consider sharing an account with mates to reach pay-out thresholds faster.

  39. Furnish your home for free

    It's usually worth sticking to furnished rental properties to avoid shelling out for (and carting around!) bulky furniture and appliances. But if it's unavoidable, or you want to make an addition, freecycling is your go-to.

    You'll find almost anything up for grabs on Gumtree Freebies, and Preloved. Then there's always eBay for paid bargains.

  40. Only take cash on nights out

    It's one of the well-established money saving tips, but it really is one of the best ways to save money on a night out.

    Even the strictest, most money-conscious of us are a little free-spirited with the old debit card once we've had a few drinks. If you only take cash with you on a night out, you're sure to never go over budget.

    Just make sure you factor in some funds for a late-night snack on the way home (or not, if you're disciplined enough to save money that well when drunk – in which case, we admire you).

  41. Freeze your groceries

    beer bottle on ice

    Credit: Picsfive – Shutterstock

    The average UK household bins around £700 worth of uneaten food a year! Planning meals can help cut back on that – but lots can be frozen to extend their life past the use-by date.

    Surprisingly freezable foods include bread, milk, pasta and wine (all your essentials, in other words). Freeze leftovers and you've got a cheaper and healthier alternative to takeaways and shop-bought snacks, too.

    And make sure you're aware of which foods should go in the fridge and which should go in the cupboard – this will keep your food fresh for longer, which in turn will save you money.

  42. Save £600 on lunches

    Buy lunch while you're out and about three days a week and, at a fiver a pop, your munching could set you back almost £600 over the academic year – more if you include snacks and drinks.

    It doesn't take much to get organised and save money. Cook extra at mealtimes and carry leftovers, make sandwiches the night before, or get a thermos to have soups, stews and hot drinks on tap for less.

    Our weekly meal plan could save you £100s over the year too.
  43. Downshift to own-label brands

    Lots of own-label goods are exactly the same as the fancy packaged stuff, but without the hefty price tag. It can be true for everything from aspirin to coffee at the supermarket, and downshifting also works for substituting overpriced designer clothes for high-street brands.

    Ditching expensive brand names is one of the fundamentals when you're learning how to save money, so see what you could save with our intro to the supermarket downshift.

  44. Sign up to our newsletter, Telegram group and Facebook page

    You didn't think we'd list all these life hacks without suggesting ourselves, did you?

    Sign up for our newsletter and you'll get the very best deals sent straight to your inbox every week. Make sure you become a part of the Telegram group and Facebook page too, just to give yourself the best chance of catching the hottest deals before they're gone.

  45. Sign up for free trials

    Whenever possible, it's always best to try before you buy. Fortunately, companies nowadays tend to offer free trials to let you try their product or service before parting with your hard-earned cash.

    Of course, if you play it right, you could take advantage of the best free trials to stream films, music and more for months on end without paying a single penny, just cancelling and moving to a new service once the trial period is up.

  46. Round-up your spend

    pennies spilling out of jar

    If your bank runs a 'Save the Change' scheme, it's a zero-effort way to load-up your nest egg. Each time you pay with a debit card, your spend is rounded up to the nearest pound and the leftover is nudged into your savings account.

    Starling, Lloyds, TSB and Bank of Scotland are just a few of the banks in the UK that do it, but others do too, so it's definitely worth checking with whoever you're with.

  47. Don't shop when you're hungry

    It might make sense to go shopping when you fancy picking up dinner, but that's a sure-fire way to spend more than you need (or even want) to.

    If you're feeling peckish, you're more likely to want to buy any food that takes your fancy. You might end up buying a load of stuff that will go off before you have the chance to use it, and then you've got no choice but to basically throw that money away.

    Do a big shop once a week and you'll do a much better job of avoiding impulse buys!

    Check out our guide to saving money at the supermarket for more great tips.
  48. Click & Collect for free delivery

    Lots of online retailers in the UK now offer a Click & Collect service, where you can avoid the normal P&P and get purchases of any size delivered to a local store for nowt.

    For example, Next, River Island and Very all offer free pick-up. Of course, some sites like Amazon (Prime) and ASOS offer free delivery (sometimes with a minimum spend) anyway, so always compare.

  49. Get paid for your commute

    If it's a journey you'd be making anyway, recoup the cost of your fare by playing postie while you're at it.

    Search for deliveries that need to be made on the Nimber website and, if there's one you can drop-off, you'll get the fee (Nimber even cover the cost of parcel insurance).

    You could even turn a profit and make money if you can walk or cycle the route. Especially if you use these apps that pay you to exercise and follow our tips for saving money on cycling.

  50. Put a brick in your toilet

    No, we don't mean it like that. We mean an actual brick.

    Toilets use a crazy amount of water per flush – arguably more than is needed (presumably as a precaution, just in case there's a really tricky customer that needs dealing with). But, if you open up the cistern (the box at the back of the loo) and pop a brick in, it'll stop using so much water and start saving you money on your water bill.

  51. Trade-up to new gadgets

    various gadgets on table

    Credit: New Africa - Shutterstock

    When it comes to gadgets, always have a one-in, one-out policy: either ask for money off when you're trading-in, or sell your unwanted item first.

    You can recycle old phones for cash, flog your old TV on eBay, and find a new home for just about everything else.

  52. Get free water at the airport

    As you're not allowed to take liquids through airport security, you may find yourself buying several bottles of water in duty-free. But the truth is, you don't need to.

    The ban only applies to liquids, not bottles. So, if you take an empty bottle through airport security (they've confirmed this is fine), you can fill it up for free using the water fountains that you'll find in most airports. Definitely one of the best money-saving holiday tips.

    And, on the topic of water, drinking more of it is not only good for you, but it makes you feel more full. Feeling more full means you won't want to eat as much, which in turn saves you even more money!

  53. Use the library to read for free

    Always got your head in a book? Or just need to do some reading for your course? Rather than splash the cash on your own copies, hit up your university library (or even your local library) and just rent books for free!

  54. Complain for cheaper rail fares

    There's now a national scheme called 'Delay Repay' which applies to most train operators. Any time you're delayed on a prebooked train ticket by at least 30 minutes (15 minutes on some operators), always check if you can get a refund.

    You've usually got 28 days to request one, with each operator setting how much they'll cough up and on which bit of your journey.

    As a guide, if your train runs an hour late (which is sadly not that uncommon in the UK), you'll get back the full cost of that bit of the journey (i.e. not the full price of a return fare, unless you're delayed both ways).

    Read our guide to claiming refunds on train tickets for how to put in a claim or, if your gripe is with something other than punctuality (like poor conditions in the carriage, for example), learn how to complain properly and see if you can get some money back.

  55. Get your drinks 'on the house'

    There are tons of gigs out there for mystery shopping, some better paid than others. But for this one, we're talking specifically about getting paid to go to the pub.

    Serve Legal pays you for your time, your travel and any booze or bets it asks you to buy.

    You'll need to be aged 18 or 19, and there's no guarantee how much work you'll get, but some students have reported earning around up to £50 a trip, with bars, clubs and betting shops all on the list.

  56. Collect vouchers and rewards

    debit cards bank accounts

    Credit: Chermen Otaraev – Shutterstock

    Complete online surveys in exchange for vouchers for major retailers, or even get free products to test. We've reviewed the best paid survey sites, and have dedicated guides to earning on Toluna, with Branded Surveys and on Swagbucks too.

    If you're on top of your money (and have some means to repay), you can use credit cards to not only manage your cash flow and build your credit score, but also get cashback or rewards.

    Opt for a card that offers rewards and do all your spending on it to max out the savings. Spend £200 a month on a card that pays 1% cash back, for instance, and you'd get £24 back over a year – that's better than some savings accounts right now.

    Just make sure to set cash aside to repay your balance within the 0% interest period.

  57. Always buy own-brand medicines

    Nurofen packets might look nicer than Tesco's own alternatives, but the truth is that they both do exactly the same job, just as well as each other (and this applies to all medicines, not just painkillers).

    As long as the active ingredient (and the amount of it) is the same, the effect of the drug will be the same (despite a price difference that often exceeds 1,000%). In fact, in some cases the medication is exactly the same, down to the last detail (more details on that here).

    However, if you have any allergies, make sure you check the inactive ingredients too, just in case!

    Check out our guide to cheap hayfever pills and remedies to find out how to get yours for as little as 2p per tablet.

  58. Barter for freebies

    Bartering is a bit like haggling, but with less cash involved. If there's something you have, can do or are qualified in, you could swap your time, stuff or services for things you need.

    It works best with small traders or personal swaps, and could include things like free gym entry in exchange for promoting them on social media, or creating artwork for a local restaurant in return for a meal out.

    It can take a bit of nerve to ask in the first place, but after that there's no limit on how creative you get.

    These swapping sites are the perfect way to hone your bartering skills.
  59. Order your cab through an app

    Since mobile taxi app Uber blew up a few years ago, a few more players have entered the game, like Bolt and FREE NOW.

    Compared to traditional black cabs, you can often save around 50% on taxi rides in most UK cities and abroad. Better still, these companies often have discount codes for new customers – click the names above to see if they're offering anything right now.

  60. Trim the cost of haircuts

    If you really can't live without a big-name salon, find one that has a local training school or ask if your usual mop shop needs hair models. You may not get to choose exactly what you want, but you can shave pounds off the typical £30+ cut (or get one for free).

    There are lots more tricks and tips, so check out our ways to save on haircuts.

  61. Don't pay to withdraw your cash

    cash point atm

    It's tempting to just suck up the cost of using ATMs that charge, but that can mean you're paying as much as £2.50 a pop just to get at your own cash. That's a 25% charge if you're taking out a tenner!

    Unless it's a real emergency, walking to the nearest free machine instead (Google Maps is your friend here), paying by card or borrowing from a mate will leave you better off.

  62. Get free coffees

    We all have our guilty pleasures – and, for many of us, it's spending a few quid on a takeaway coffee on an all-too-regular basis.

    Fortunately for you, we've put together a list of all the best free coffee deals at all of your favourite coffee shops, including Costa, Starbucks, Pret, Nero and more.

  63. Or get a discounted drink from a coffee shop

    Being told to actually buy a drink from a coffee shop is probably the last thing you expected to read when we said we'd teach you how to save money. But this is specifically aimed at those of you who are absolutely dead set on getting your fix and have raced through all the free coffee offers.

    Starbucks, Costa, Pret and Nero all have their own spins on this one, but essentially they all reward you for using your own reusable cup when you buy a drink from them. To say "thanks for saving the planet" they could give you some bonus loyalty points, or even a discount off the drink.

    Or, ya know, just brew your own gourmet coffee with an Aeropress.

  64. Grow your own food

    If you've got the patience to grow your own veg, you'll find money really can grow on... plants.

    You don't need lots of space or equipment to grow herbs and small veg – a bag of compost and some seeds will do. You don't even need to shell out for pots, as lots of plants can thrive in old wellies, buckets, hanging baskets and window boxes.

  65. Become a vegetarian for 2 days each week

    Just like cheese, meat is one of those things that you don't realise is so expensive until you go to uni. Going vegetarian for a couple of days a week will save you having to splash out, and also give you a chance to eat more veg!

    If you absolutely can't cope without something meaty in your meals, there are plenty of delicious meat substitutes out there. We're big fans of products like Quorn – they're usually much cheaper than normal meat, with nearly as much protein and almost none of the fat.

  66. Go foraging to eat on the cheap

    strawberry plant

    Credit: Mirage_studio – Shutterstock

    If the closest you've come to foraging is trying to remember where you put the Jammie Dodgers, there's a whole world of free food out there. We're talking wild garlic, fish, cockles, berries and mushrooms for starters (get a wild food book or course under your belt to stay safe).

    If it all sounds a bit ‘survivalist' for you, try the urban alternatives: supermarket launch events, Olio and closing time in your local chippy can come up trumps for free food.

  67. Don't drive with a tank that's empty or full

    It sounds odd to say that you shouldn't fill your tank to the top, but there is some science behind it.

    A full tank of petrol will add weight to your car, which means your engine will have to work harder (and guzzle more gas) to keep you moving.

    So you should try to empty your tank, right? Wrong – your engine could get seriously damaged if you regularly drive with a small amount of petrol in the tank. Try to keep the fuel gauge at 50% – 75% to ensure a happy medium.

  68. Open your windows at low speed, use the AC at high speed

    We've all been told off for opening the windows while the air-conditioning is on. But the truth is, sometimes it makes more sense to open your windows and turn the AC off.

    AC can use up to 5% of your fuel, so turning it off could preserve some petrol. That is until you start travelling at high speeds, at which point having the windows open will increase drag and make the engine work harder to keep the wheels turning.

    So, in short: windows at low speed, AC at high.

  69. Keep your tyres inflated

    Aside from being much safer, making sure that your tyres are inflated to the recommended level could save you a bit of cash too – about 3% of your petrol costs, in fact.

    It takes more force to turn a wheel with an under-inflated tyre (ever tried riding a bike with a flat?), so try to keep those babies airy. And read our guide to cutting the cost of driving for a whole load more tips!

  70. Use price matching

    Price matching is only really worth it if the retailer offering it can also give you something extra. Maybe it's cheaper delivery, loyalty points, or even an extended warranty that you won't get elsewhere.

    It's also worth remembering that a fair number of price matching retailers let you use the service even after buying the product. In other words, if you buy something from them and then see it available for less somewhere else (or in some cases, even on their own site), you can ask them to pay you the difference.

    That said, there are often a few caveats with price matching. Not all retailers in the UK offer it, and among those who do, the rules differ.

    Some are very strict about the shops whose prices they'll match, while others will only give you a short window of time after your purchase to find a lower price. Always check the Ts&Cs!

  71. Squeeze the most from your toiletries

    toothbrush and empty toothpaste tube

    Credit: TanyaKim – Shutterstock

    Just because you can't squeeze out any more toothpaste, it doesn't mean there's not another week's worth of pearly white gunk in there.

    Cut the end off the tube to get at the rest of the toothpaste, shampoo, moisturiser or whatever you're using, and you won't have to replace them as often.

  72. Use less electricity

    There's no sense torching your electricity bills when simple fixes can save you cash.

    Use energy-saving bulbs and turn off lights when you leave the room, put on extra clothes before turning on the heating, and don't leave your gadgets plugged in when you're not using them – turn the socket off.

    Or try these cheeky fixes.

  73. Watch football on TV for free

    Being a devoted football fan in the UK can be expensive, even if you're not paying to attend matches in person. If you want to (legally) watch most competitions, you'll usually need to subscribe to at least one sports package with your TV provider, if not more.

    However, as we explain in our guide to watching football on TV for free, there are some hacks you can use to legally watch Sky Sports, BT Sport and Amazon Prime Video for less – and, in some cases, for nothing at all.

  74. Make your own cheap alternatives to cleaning products

    If you're old enough to remember How Clean Is Your House?, you'll know that Kim (more recently of Celebrity Big Brother fame) and Aggie were always showing you how to make your own cleaning products with things you've got lying around the house.

    It turns out they weren't spinning us a yarn of lies, and by making your own cleaning products you could get the chores done using vinegar, lemons and even Coca-Cola.

How to save money as a student

  1. Know your discounts

    Get yourself a discount card to hoover up any student savings going. You'll need to pay for the TOTUM membership (the three-year card is the best value), but you could recoup your costs in as little as one spend with 50% off Spotify, 10% off ASOS or discounts on Amazon.

    Like to eat out? It's also worth adding a tastecard to your arsenal to knock 50% off at thousands of restaurants in the UK.

    If you don't want to pay for your discounts, you can still use your student ID instead at a range of places, from clubs to cinemas – check out our full student discount directory.

    Oh, and don't worry if you've already finished uni – you might be able to get a TOTUM card when you've graduated.

  2. Earn money from your Student Loan

    piggy bank with graduate cap

    Whenever (if ever) you have a lump-sum of cash that you don't need straight away, stick it in a high-interest cash ISA.

    If you've got other funds to live on (income from a job or a student start-up), you'll earn more tax-free interest by leaving your savings alone to accumulate.

    If not, work out your living costs and siphon off what you need each month – you'll still earn interest, and making your money last for the whole term is a lesson in discipline.

  3. Save on postage costs with Amazon Prime

    Amazon's Student Prime trial gives you six months of free one-day delivery with no minimum spend, and thereafter 50% off the usual yearly membership fee.

    Oh, and you also get access to the full Prime Instant Video catalogue along with other exclusive Prime offers.

    Of course, after the free trial ends, a Student Prime membership will only save you money if you actually order from Amazon regularly enough to benefit from free delivery, or if you're always paying to watch films and TV. Otherwise, you might be better off cancelling after the trial expires.

  4. Get your tax back

    Most students won't earn more than the personal allowance each year, so shouldn't be taxed on any of it. If your employer has you on an emergency or incorrect tax code, or if your bank knocks tax off your savings' interest, you're entitled to reclaim it.

    If you run a student business, you can also claim for allowable expenses – meaning there's less tax to pay on profits.

  5. Consider alternative student accommodation

    Don't assume uni accommodation is always your cheapest option. If you're prepared to get creative, you could save a ton – like the student who lived on a yacht for a quid a day, or the guy who camped out to cut costs.

    If that's a bit too bushcraft for you, you could save around £421 a month by living at home. Or use Rightmove to filter areas and private accommodation that fits your budget.

    But whatever you do, make sure you use our ways to save on rent.

  6. Get student funding

    There's heaps of cash tucked away in bursaries, scholarships and grants – the trick is to hit as many angles as you can (location, dependants, gender, subjects studied). Your uni will have some schemes, but there are private scholarships, sponsorships, grants and emergency funds floating out there too. See if there's anything you're eligible for.

    Disabled Students' Allowance is worth checking if you have a disability or learning disadvantage (e.g. dyslexia), with cash available for computers and specialist kit.

    But don't switch off if you don't meet any of the more common criteria for extra funding. As our guide to weird bursaries, scholarships and grants can testify, there's cash out there for pretty much everything – it's just a case of finding out what!

  7. Read for free

    Student reading

    If you can't get hold of books through the library or second-hand websites, have a look at Google Scholar and Google Books.

    You can often find whole articles and chapters without dipping into your loan to buy the whole book, potentially saving you a couple of hundred quid a year.

    Get pally with your librarian, too – if anyone (except us, obviously) knows how to save money by accessing free and underused resources, they do.

  8. Free extra tuition

    This isn't a replacement for the degree you're already paying for, but with access to course content, book discussions, leading academics and further reading, free courses from the world's top universities are worth a nosy.

    The edX website lists hundreds of courses from the likes of Harvard, Princeton and MIT, and there are also tons to choose from at The Open University.

    Or, if you're looking for something a little more practical, have a look at this list of free online courses with qualifications – from HTML to social media strategy, you can learn it all.

  9. Go abroad for postgraduate study

    Norway, Germany and Iceland are just a few of the countries offering free or low-cost study, even for international students (and yes, even post-Brexit), which could save you thousands each year.

    On the downside, living costs can be pricey, and you may need to know the local language to get a place (or a job). Start saving, look for student bursaries and learn the lingo ahead of time.

Next read: The best money-saving tools


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