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68 top money-saving tips – save £12,419 per year! Fast, simple and ingenious ways to save money

These 68 top money-saving tips are the antidote to the financial crisis we’re all facing. The effects of Brexit. Rapidly rising inflation. The Ukrainian war. It’s all adding up. And now is the time to take action.

To get you started, we’ve blended together the very best technology hacks, money-mindset tricks and delved into the Eat Sleep Money communal hive mind in our Facebook group. The result? 68 top money-saving tips across all the essential life categories: banking, food shopping, socialising and more. 

Plus there’s a special section for Challenges too. These 8 popular money-saving challenges give you real focus along with specific tasks and targets. They’re perfect if you’re saving for something in particular or simply hoping to create a savings buffer.

If you don’t have time for a big read right now, bookmark the page and head to this one instead:

Table of contents - quick links:

Need to get saving quickly?
Check out 9 ways to easily save money fast

Our previous post, 9 ways to easily save money fast was extremely popular. Sure, it’s fast and to the point…but this is its long-awaited big brother. It’s a comprehensive list of top money-saving tips and covers lots of different life categories. Combined, they could make a huge difference to your finances. 

It’s a big read filled with useful, doable tips for saving money, so let’s get started.

Heads up – We aim to produce honest and accurate content, however, we are not financial advisors. If you need financial advice, Unbiased can connect you with a suitable professional for free. Some of our links may earn us a small commission to help us run the site.

Tips on using this guide

Navigation – to make things nice and easy, you can use the Contents drop-down above to head straight to a specific category of top money-saving tips.

Estimations of savings – remember, they are just that. Estimations. The amount saved from each tip will vary from person to person.

Some are hard to put a figure on, like having a budget, which will differ depending on who you are. That’s why we’ve left the estimated annual saving blank, for you to work out your number. But what we do know is that having a budget will help you get to grip with your finances and save you money in the long run.

Wherever you do see an estimated saving, remember it’s based on assumptions as everyone’s individual circumstances are different. In many cases, we’ve underestimated the saving. You may well save a lot more for that top money-saving tip.

We also get that some tips aren’t for everyone, and that there’s a little bit of overlap between a few of them.

It’s worth mentioning that these money saving tips are applicable at the time of writing too. These things change quickly so make sure you do a bit more homework before you commit to anything.

Finally, you’ll notice the estimated savings in the Debt section have been left out. That’s simply because not everyone has debt and an individual’s circumstances can vary a lot.

So use the estimations as a benchmark and guide for what may work best for you and come up with your own numbers. Ours are only there to inspire you!

And just before you get started, here’s job one.

Take the free financial fitness health check to find out your starting point. Answer just 17 quickfire, multiple choice questions to receive your free financial health check score with a tailored action plan.

GET YOUR FREE CUSTOMISED FINANCIAL FITNESS HEALTHCHECK NOW

Suited man's hand, floating icons and Banking text

Banking and personal finance - 8 top money-saving tips (£268+ per year)

1. Create a budget

Sounds pretty fundamental, obvious and…a little bit boring. Maybe that’s why so many people don’t have one. But if you want to quickly identify how and where you can save money fast, you need to know your expenses. Thankfully, we have you covered on this one:

Budget Like a Pro in Seven Simple Steps

2. Use a smart bank app

The traditional banks are thankfully catching on. But challenger banks such as Monzo and Starling have been way ahead of the curve for some time when it comes to smart banking. These apps allow you to set certain budgets (eg, clothes spending for the month), save for specific goals (eg, holidays) and analyse where you’re overspending. Read our reviews, pick one and get started. It’s simple and easy.

Monzo review: how to easily conquer your budget

Starling review: officially the best British bank

3. Switch banks (£100)

I used to say it was a faff, time-consuming and a waste of time. I was wrong. When times are tough, switching banks can be one of the quickest ways to make an extra buck.

Banks are desperate for your business and can offer great deals, such as cashback (sometimes as much as £150) and extra rewards. Plus, the open banking system means switching and keeping your payments and standing orders in place has never been easier.

Estimated Annual Saving: £100 (typical bonus for switching)

4. Maximise your bank account benefits (£118)

Most bank accounts today offer a range of perks, such as travel insurance, phone insurance and breakdown cover. If you’re paying separately for these, then you’re overpaying. Usually, your account fee covers your use of all the benefits. So check your contractual commitments, then cancel that subscription! You could save hundreds per year.

And if you don’t need any of these services, then make sure you cancel any unused subscriptions and make sure you have a basic bank account that doesn’t incur a fee.

Estimated Annual Saving (eg annual typical single AA membership): £118

5. Maximise your saving interest rate (£25)

0.5% may not seem like much…and arguably it isn’t, depending on how much your savings add up to. But if you’re looking to save money, don’t leave any crumbs because it all adds up.

You can see the effect of current interest rates on your savings at the handy and impartial Bank of England Interest Calculator.

At the time of writing, interest rates are steadily creeping up to tackle inflation. If your savings account isn’t automatically offering and applying higher rates (hats off to you Marcus Bank sir), then go shopping.

Estimated Annual Saving (0.5% increase (1% to 1.5%) on £5,000 savings): £25

6. Automate your savings

In tough economic times, saving can be hard. But remember, it doesn’t need to be big amounts, just a little here and there.

Automatic savings apps like Chip analyse your spending and automatically work out what you can afford to save. It then automatically saves it for you. Simple and effective.

Check out our Chip Review: want the best auto-savings account?

7. Check your credit score (£25)

This may seem like an odd one to include in this list. But a poor, mediocre or inaccurate credit score can actually make borrowing more expensive.

Of course, there are examples of good debt, such as mortgages that leverage assets… And then there’s consumer debt, which has much more ‘buyer beware’ caution and should be carefully considered, particularly if you’re feeling the pinch.

But there are times when you may need to borrow, we get that. In which case, good credit score housekeeping can actually get you a lower interest rate and save money on your repayments. Check out these posts to help you improve your credit score:

How to improve your credit score in seven simple steps

Clearscore review: check and monitor your credit score for free 

And if you need a helping hand clearing that debt, check out our main Destroy Your Debt page. It has lots of useful information and walks you through the first three practical posts to read at the start of your debt-destroying journey.

Estimated Annual Saving (0.5% better interest rate (3% vs 3.5%) on £5,000 loan): £25

Note; this saving could be significantly more if applied to a mortgage scenario.

8. Use Money Dashboard

Money Dashboard is an extremely useful tool that allows you to see your Current, Savings and Credit Card account(s) in one place.

In your dashboard, you can see exactly what’s what and get a clear view of your finances. Remember, getting to grips with your money and reducing costs requires a true and honest view of where you’re at. No matter how hard it may be.

You can find a link to Money Dashboard at our Free Resources page.

Magnifying glass over the word tax on a calculator

Tax - 3 top money-saving tips (£125+ per year)

1. Check your tax code

Research done in 2019 suggested that up to 44% of employees (14.3 million at the time) were paying too much tax. This was the result of tax errors, some as simple as having the wrong tax code.

However, amazingly, the research also suggested most people didn’t think their tax code was their responsibility. Don’t be one of those people. Read our post below and get checking!

PAYE – how to decipher the codes and save £100s

2. Find out which benefits you’re entitled to

According to EntitledTo.co.uk, approximately £15 billion in benefits are unclaimed each year. If you need assistance during difficult times, use the help that’s available to you. It’s what it’s there for.

EntitledTo.co.uk – what are you entitled to?

3. Claim Working From Home relief (£125)

Thanks to the Covid19 pandemic, many more people work at home these days. But did you know you may be able to claim tax relief for the expenses you incur? A simple check using the link below could save you up to £125 in tax relief.

Estimated Annual Saving (higher-rate taxpayer of 40% tax saving = £2.40 per week: £125

Gov.uk Working from Home Eligibility Checker

These are just three of our top tax tips for saving money. Check out the post below for even more in-depth tax-saving and optimization ideas.

How to pay less tax UK – 11 top money-saving tips

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The word debt in wooden blocks with coins on top

Debt - 6 top money-saving tips

1. Know exactly what debt you have and make a plan

I know it’s hard to hear when you’re in debt, but knowing exactly what debt you’re facing is the key to getting out. Only from there can you create a plan to tackle it. Thankfully, we have a tried and tested method for working out what debt you have and the quickest way to pay it off.

Simply go to our Destroying Debt page below and read through the first three articles along with the exercises. You can do this.

Destroy Your Debt

2. Consolidate your debt

One technique you can use to reduce the cost of your debt is to consolidate it all into one place. Commonly, this consists of moving one or more credit card balances (usually high-interest rates) to, for example, a personal account (that typically has a lower interest rate).

This can be a powerful tactic but isn’t necessarily a magic bullet. To be most effective, you need to then destroy the original credit cards and address your relationship with money.

Read more; 4 money mindset steps to destroy your debt

3. 0% credit cards

Along similar lines, you can simply move your credit card balance to one that’s offering 0% interest rates. This can save money on your repayments, either giving you breathing room or reducing the balance faster.

Remember though, these offers are time-limited. Plus, they typically have one-off set-up fees that can erode the monthly repayments that you’re saving. So it’s worth doing the maths to see if it’s worth it before jumping ship.

Again, this can be a useful technique, but it’s far better to apply a comprehensive plan to tackle what you owe, covered in our Destroy Your Debt series. This includes behaviour, habit and mindset changes that will help you avoid getting into debt again and adapting your relationship with money altogether.

4. Payment holidays

If you get stuck, many lenders offer payment holidays. This relies on you openly and honestly communicating your circumstances with them.

Remember, the payment holiday must be authorised by the lender. You can’t just decide not to pay one month. That would seriously affect your credit score.

Of course, whilst this can buy you some immediate breathing space, it’s a very short-term tactic. Use this time to come up with a plan (use our Destroy Your Debt series) to pay your debt down longer-term.

5. Talk to your lender and get help

Not necessarily a money-saving tip, but an important one nonetheless. If you’re struggling to repay a debt, talk to the lender. They can often help and put alternative repayment plans in place to make things more doable. It will likely also stop demand letters and emails in your inbox, which can be stressful to receive.

There are also lots of great organisations out there to really help you get to grips with the situation and talk through your options. Don’t be afraid to reach out.

Check out Citizens Advice and the StepChange charity.

Aeroplane flying over a palm tree

Travel - 8 top money-saving tips (£3,138 per year)

1. Cheap fuel apps (£60)

The price of fuel has been rising relentlessly and the costs seem to vary, sometimes significantly, between petrol stations that are less than a mile down the road.

No wonder there’s now an increasing number of apps and websites that will show you the cheapest fuel station, wherever you are.

Check out Confused.com and Petrolprices.com.

Estimated Annual Saving (around £5 on a tank fill (e.g. £1.99 vs £1.89 per litre on 50 litres) every month): £60

2. Walk/cycle when your can (£103)

We could all do with walking a bit more and getting those extra steps in. (And we all know a MAMIL or two who’ll leap at the chance to don the leotard).

Actually doing it comes down to mindset and/or time though, since we’re all so busy rushing around. Planning a trip to the shops and the walking/cycle time in advance can help.

Walking or cycling to the shops, park – or wherever keeps us fit – doesn’t just use less fuel and help look after the planet, it’s good for the soul too.

Estimated Annual Saving (using 1 litre less fuel per week at £1.99 per litre): £103

3. Cycle to Work scheme (£106)

The government Cycle to Work scheme was launched in 1999 to incentivise healthy and planet-friendly commuting. Since then, it’s been used by over 1.6 million commuters.

Essentially, it allows employees of companies that are registered to a scheme to procure a bike so they can commute to work. Fundamentally, you’re hiring the bike from your employer, who might then let you buy it at the end of the term.

Crucially, you make monthly payments towards your bike through salary sacrifice (pre-tax), saving you tax and National Insurance on the monthly fees. For a basic-rate taxpayer, this could be a 32% saving on the purchase price. for higher-rate payers, this increases to 42%.

Start by checking with your employer if they subscribe to a scheme. Then calculate your estimated savings (check out the calculator at Green Commute Initiative).

Estimated Annual Saving (32% basic-rate taxpayer saving on a £1,000 bike = £320 over 3 years): £106

4. Electric Vehicle scheme (£2,400)

Take things a step further, and see if your employer runs an Electric Vehicle salary sacrifice scheme.

Not only is it good for the planet, but it can also be cost-neutral for the employer. Plus, depending on your tax band, you save 32-40% or more on a brand new EV. Ordinarily, electric vehicles are pretty pricey, but these schemes make them much more financially accessible.

If your employer doesn’t already offer a scheme, pester them to do so. They can make it an employee perk and add it to their environmental credentials at little to no cost. OctopusEv is a good one to recommend.

Estimated Annual Saving (monthly payment for Julie in this Octopus example vs £700 PCP via Autotrader plus insurance etc): £2,400

5. Car sharing (£103)

In its simplest form, this can mean buddying up with a colleague nearby and sharing lifts to work. If you gave each other a lift 2-3 days of the week, you could effectively half your fuel costs. You can use this handy RAC Fuel Calculator to work out how much each journey to work costs you. You might be surprised by how much you are spending.

In addition, there are platforms such as Liftshare, peer-to-peer carpooling like Hiyacar or even dedicated Facebook groups.

Take it a step further, and rather than owning a car yourself, join a car-sharing club such as Cowheels. Essentially, you simply pay to use someone else’s car when you need one.

Estimated Annual Saving (using 1 litre less fuel per week at £1.99 per litre): £103

6. Rent a drive (£144)

NCP car parks a bit expensive? Travelling abroad and needing cheap parking near the airport? Or got a driveway space that’s not always used?

If so, parking one someone’s drive, or even renting out your drive, could save you some cash.

Platforms such as Parkonmydrive and Justpark are popular.

Estimated Annual Saving (drive rented out at £6 per day, 2 days per month): £144

7. Travelling by rail (£122)

Sadly, travelling by rail in the UK is far more expensive than it needs to be. As a result, there are many ‘platforms’ (yep, we went there) that help you find cheap train tickets.

Trainline offers an alerting service when advance tickets for a specific journey go on sale. They reckon customers it saves up to 61% vs booking on the day.

Alternatively, there are lots of websites that believe ‘ticket-splitting’ is the cheapest way to travel by rail. Popular platforms include TrainPal and Trainckets.com. Have a look and see if you can save on your next journey.

Estimated Annual Saving (one trip 2 times per year, saving 61% on a £100 trip according to Trainline terms and assumptions): £122

8. Using points for flights (£100)

There are tonnes of comparison sites out there purporting to offer cheap flights.

However for those disciplined enough, using credit cards, reward programmes and online shopping portals can turbo-charge your savings.

You see, according to some, strategically exploiting these systems correctly earns you points. And what do points make? Well, in this case, free or cheap upgrades, flights and luxurious hotels.

At Eat Sleep Money we don’t encourage consumer debt. But if you have high discipline and are prepared to invest research time, the savings could be big. One of the most popular platforms includes The Points Guy (UK version).

Estimated Annual Saving (assumes 1 flight per year saving £100): £100

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Living Costs - 8 top money-saving tips (£548)

1. Reduce your energy bills (£72)

With the energy price cap receiving regular increases, energy costs are sky-rocketing. Now’s the time to reduce your energy consumption where you can. Check out the separate post below for a deeper dive.

 How to save money on your energy bills – 10 easy steps

Estimated Annual Saving (reduce monthly £300 bill by 2% following the 10 steps): £72

2. Use paperless billing (£48)

As well as being better for the trees, opting for paperless billing can save you a few quid. Even if it’s £4 a month, it all adds up.

If you’re still receiving paper bills for utilities, water and even council tax, you may not even realise you’re being charged. So go on, log into those accounts and check your bill settings.

Estimated Annual Saving (£4 a month): £48

3. Get autoamtic alerts when you’re overpaying (£180)

At Eat Sleep Money, we love automation. Anything that streamlines our finances saves us money and gives us back time, we’re all in.

As you can imagine, we’re fans of Plum. As well as automating your savings, Plum will send you notifications when you’re overpaying your bills. It will then help you switch to an alternative, cheaper supplier.

Check out our in-depth Plum review here, or sign up to get started now.

Estimated Annual Saving (save 5% on a £300 monthly bill by switching): £180

4. Downgrade your mobile tarrif (£60)

It might sound like blasphemy but hear us out, because it’s worth thinking about.

Do you regularly use all your allowance for minutes, messages and data? Checking on your mobile provider’s app and simply contacting them will quickly tell you.

If you’re not using the whole allowance and are out of contract, consider downgrading your allowances and monthly bill.

In fact, go even further and move to a SIM-only deal. We don’t always need to upgrade to the latest and greatest phone as soon as we’re out of our two-year contract. If your phone’s still in decent nick, think about keeping it and switching to a SIM-only deal.

Or buy a refurbished phone from a platform such as Backmarket, Giffgaff or Envirophone and get a SIM-only package that way.

When you’re not financing a new £200, £500 or even £1,000 phone over two years, you’ll be amazed by how much you can save.

Estimated Annual Saving (reduce monthly bill by £5): £60

5. Turn down your heating one degree (£80)

You’re unlikely to even feel the difference, but reducing your heating by just one degree is estimated to save around £80 a year.

If you have to, just throw on a hoodie and feel smug that the cash is staying in your pocket, not wafting up the chimney.

Estimated Annual Saving: £80

6. Dishwashers, washing machines and tumbledryers (£36)

According to the Energy Saving Trust, the most energy-hungry devices in our homes are washing machines, dishwashers and tumble dryers.

Apparently they account for 14% of a typical energy bill. So try reducing the temperatures, only washing full loads and drying clothes outside when you can.

Estimated Annual Saving (reduce a £300 monthly bill by just 1%): £36

7. Get an energy audit (£36)

Professional energy audits cover everything from air sealing and insulation to water heating/cooling equipment and electricity efficiency.

The energy.gov website has lots more information on both professional and free DIY home energy audits. Whilst the latter may not be quite as thorough, it’ll save you money on both the audit and the results.

Estimated Annual Saving (reduce a £300 monthly bill by just 1%): £36

8. Turn off unused radiators (£36)

Sounds obvious, but most of us don’t do it. If you’re only using one or two rooms most of the time (kitchen and lounge, or even just the home office 9-5), take the extra 60 seconds to turn the other radiators off.

In fact, if you’re only using the home office most of the day, work out whether a single electric heater would be more cost-effective.

Of course, there are pros and cons dependent on the state of your home, like the potential for damp. The radiator centre has more, professional information on the subject. Worth a look.

Estimated Annual Saving (reduce a £300 monthly bill by just 1%): £36

Curved wall of digital entertainment icons

Social and Entertainment - 7 top money-saving tips (£570)

1. Charity - give your time, not money (£60)

Let’s be clear; giving to charity is a good thing. But it does rely on your personal finances being in good order and having some buffer. And let’s face it; you need to ensure you are fed, watered, and have shelter before donating to others.

So if things are a little tight, cancel that subscription and try giving your time to charity by volunteering. So many charities need manpower as well as cash. The .Gov website has pages dedicated to finding local volunteering opportunities near you, as does NCVO.

Estimated Annual Saving (£5 monthly subscription): £60

2. Cancel or rationalise TV subscriptions (£72)

Be honest; none of us needs Sky, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney. Those four services combined could be costing you over £60 a month alone, let alone the TV licence.

There are many quality ‘Freeview’ type services that come with a small outlay for the box and don’t require a subscription. But if you can’t bring yourself to cancel all of them, at least rationalise down by one.

Estimated Annual Saving (cancel one subscription at £6 per month): £72

3. Cancel unused subscriptions (£120)

It’s not just TV you can buy on subscription these days, it’s anything. I’ve had subscriptions for craft beer, razors, and even socks. None of them was necessary. All were luxuries, and frankly indulgent.

Left unchecked, these can soon mount up. You often stop using them and then forget about them, but they still come out of your account each month. When I cancelled the three I mentioned above, it saved me £35 a month.

Estimated Annual Saving (cancel one £10 monthly subscription): £120

4. Order food direct, not from an app (£24)

Whilst convenient, ordering food via an app is usually more expensive than ordering direct. They have to make their money somewhere, and the outlets have to cover their cost as well.

Instead, search for the restaurant’s website and order direct. It’s usually cheaper.

Estimated Annual Saving (save a single £2 delivery charge per month): £24

5. Eating out? Use a voucher (£60)

Platforms such as Voucher Codes and My Voucher Codes always have vouchers you can download for free for restaurants near you.

For example, a voucher for 10% off on a £50 meal once a month nets you a saving of £5.

Alternatively, supermarkets like Tesco, offer rewards where you can exchange your Clubcard points for vouchers to eat out at popular restaurants. At the moment your points are worth three times as much!

Estimated Annual Saving (example above): £60

6. BYOB - Bring Your Own Bottle (£180)

Most restaurants make a lot of their profit on the alcohol they sell. But they need a licence to be able to do this, which costs them money.

Already commonplace in many other countries, there’s now an increasing number of restaurants in the UK operating ‘BYOB’.

They don’t have a licence, so they can’t sell you alcohol, which saves them money. And you can bring your own, which saves you money! Buy the wine to accompany your meal from the supermarket at a fraction of the price of the usual restaurant cost. Even if the shop charges a £5 ‘corking’ fee for your £10 bottle of wine, it could easily be £30 at a restaurant.

Estimated Annual Saving (saving £15 on restaurant alcohol per month): £180

7. Ask for tap water (£54)

Being British can sometimes be so expensive.

The server asks if we want an expensive bottle of still or sparkling (or sometimes simply just assumes we do!). And being British, we oblige.

Of course, what we really want is tap water. But we’re too shy to say! Be bold and make it clear you want tap water from the outset and you could save several pounds on unnecessary costs.

Estimated Annual Saving (1 litre San Peliginio £4.50 once a month): £54

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Shopping and Spending - 7 top money-saving tips (£530)

1. Track your spending (£120)

Don’t worry, we’re not talking boring spreadsheets here. In fact, next-generation ‘smart’ banking apps such as Monzo and Starling offer many neat features. And many traditional banks are now catching up.

One of these nifty tools is being able to quickly and easily track your spending. These banking apps automatically analyse spending categories such as groceries, shopping and eating out. In fact, they’ll even use algorithms to predict how your spending this month compares to your typical month. Then they’ll proactively alert you whenever they think you’re going over budget.

Another useful tool is being able to set budgets in each category. For example, only being able to spend £50 on takeout for a month.

Check out our reviews on two favourites;

Monzo bank – how to conquer your budget

Starling bank – officially the best British bank

Estimated Annual Saving (saving £10 a month by not going over budget): £120

2. Use cashback sites (£120)

Websites such as TopCashback and Quidco actually pay you money when you make a purchase via their platform. You do this by simply accessing the retailer you want to buy from by clicking a link in their platform first.

In his TopCashback review, Chris earnt £150 in just a few months. You can also earn £5 for free when you sign up to TopCashback and £5 cashback with Quidco too.

Estimated Annual Saving (earn just £10 a month cashback): £120

3. Browse incognito (£10)

Search engines and websites are clever things. When you browse for something to buy, but don’t complete the purchase, they learn this behaviour.

As a result, you might receive prompts to complete your checkout and you’ll definitely see a lot more related ads to that purchase as you surf the web. Even more sinisterly, the price can actually go up as it follows you around the Internet. You see, if you keep searching for something, the algorithms think you’re more interested and actually put the price up.

Beat the game and use incognito mode on your browser so your activity isn’t tracked. Computerworld has a handy article on how to browse incognito across different types of browsers.

Estimated Annual Saving (save just 5% on a £50 purchase four times a year): £10

4. Camelcamelcamel - getting cheaper Amazon prices (£40)

Camelcamelcamel is a clever little Amazon price tracker. Simply enter the product you want to ‘watch’ and it’ll alert you when there’s a good price compared to its history. It works best as a browser extension.

You can find the link to Camelcamelcamel on the Eat Sleep Money Free Resources page.

Estimated Annual Saving (save £10 on a purchase four times a year): £40

5. Ask for a price match (£40)

Many retailers offer promises such as ‘we won’t be beaten on price’. Or, ‘find it cheaper elsewhere and we’ll match by 10% less’. Don’t forget you can actually take them up on their kind offer, and all it takes is a little effort and research on your part.

I once saved £50 on a mountaineering jacket in Go Outdoors, just by spending 5 minutes on my phone in-store and showing the assistant. There are usually some caveats, such as that the competitor must be UK-based and not online only, but you can often make a saving.

Estimated Annual Saving (get a £10 price match saving four times a year): £40

6. Wait 48 hours before making a big purchase (£100)

Our compulsive spending urges are strong. Our minds play tricks on us. Causing us to imagine how that big purchase will make us feel, what is says about us to our friends, how successful it makes us appear.

The heady mix of oxytocin, serotonin and adrenaline can lead us to make large purchases we later regret, or simply can’t afford.

The best way to combat this is waiting 24-48 hours, or ideally longer, to let those powerful, natural drugs wear off. You can then make that purchasing decision based on logic and thoughtful consideration instead.

Estimated Annual Saving (not making an unnecessary £100 purchase just once a year): £100

Read more: 4 Money Mindset Hacks to Destroy Your Debt

7. Re-evaluate (£100)

Taking tip six one step further, extend the exercise to re-evaluating your entire relationship with material things.

Cars are a great example. A man drives past people in a Ferrari. He thinks we’re all wondering, “How is he so successful?”, “What does he know I don’t?”, “How big’s his…handspan?”.

In reality, all people are really doing is either imagining themselves in the car, and they don’t consider the man driving it for one second. People only really think of themselves and it’s worth exploring this concept further in our article below.

Estimated Annual Saving (not buying a £100 material item you didn’t need, once a year): £100

How to control your ego and create wealth: no-one gives a sh*t about your Audi

Food trolley in front of a shopping aisle of food

Grocery Shopping - 15 top money-saving tips (£1,694)

The FMCG (Fast Moving Consumable Goods) industry – ie, shops and supermarkets – is clever. Seriously clever. They invest huge sums in understanding and influencing consumer buying patterns and behaviour.

As a result, the supermarket is now a battleground where you need to dodge, evade and avoid powerful psychological tactics to get in, get out and stick to your budget.

These top money-saving tips are your best defence.

Note: this is an area where, in my opinion, I have grossly under-estimated the savings. Put them all together, and you could save a lot more on your weekly shop. Over a year, I reckon they’d be huge.

1. Eat before food shopping (£260)

Research has shown that hungry shoppers spend 60% more. Interestingly, this includes food and non-food items.

After short-term food deprivation (ie. when you’ve not eaten for a few hours), high-calorie foods appear more tempting.

So shopping when hungry not only makes you spend more, but you’re also more likely to make poor food choices.

Estimated Annual Saving (not buying £5 of things you didn’t need, once a week): £260

2. Avoid the end of the aisles (£60)

The ends of the aisles are a high footfall traffic area of the supermarket and they’re known to psychologically increase impulse buying.

Because of this, food companies pay the supermarkets handsomely to have their products stacked on these shelves. This means they have to make back their money, and then some.

As a result, the ends of aisles are usually stacked with high-margin, profit-laden (ie, unhealthy) products.

This is where you’ll see tempting and clever promotions like the classic ‘three for two’. You think you’re getting a good deal, but you end up buying more than you need and over-spending your budget every time.

Estimated Annual Saving (not buying a £5 impulse purchase, just once a month): £60

3. Be aware of lighting (£84)

Supermarkets use lighting to cleverly influence our buying psychology.

For example, fruit and vegetables are usually at the storefront as you walk in. The lighting here is light and bright, designed to make the colour of the fruit and veg ‘pop’, look fresh and appeal to our caveman senses.

In contrast, check out the alcohol aisles. Notice how they’re lit differently? Here, it’s warm and cosy, often using different lights that hang lower from the ceiling. Almost as if you are in a trendy bar…

Estimated Annual Saving (not buying the £7 bottle of wine you never wanted, just once a month): £84

4. Pick the ugly veg (£104)

For years, the food industry believed consumers wanted perfect fruit and veg and responded accordingly. Bananas with a certain angle of curvature, perfectly proportioned peppers, carefully crafted carrots.

But now, with increasing awareness about the environment and food waste, consumers would rather save the planet than eat the “perfect” banana. You’ll often find ‘ugly’ or ‘imperfect’ vegetable options now, usually at a lower price. Buy them instead of the flawless fruit.

Estimated Annual Saving (saving £2 on fruit and veg, once a week): £104

5. Buy own brand (£104)

In many cases, there are often none or very few differences. Own brand products are often made in the same factory with the same ingredients as the branded version.

This goes for condiments, cereals, and even non-food items such as medicine.

(Except baked beans. I always make room in my budget for Heinz baked beans).

Estimated Annual Saving (saving £2 on own-brand products just once a week): £104

6. Top and bottom shelf (£104)

Like the end of the aisles, the middle of the shelf is a hotly-contested position by food companies. It’s called ‘eye-level’ for a reason – it’s where your eye is naturally drawn.

The thing is, supermarkets charge food companies extra for these positions, who then have to make their money back. As a result, these items are usually branded and almost always more expensive.

Try looking for versions of the same thing by perhaps lesser-known or supermarket-own brands at the top or bottom of the shelves. They’re often cheaper and/or offer better value.

Estimated Annual Saving (saving just £2 on cheaper products, once a week): £104

7. Keep your trip to less than 40 minutes (£260)

Ever noticed that there aren’t any clocks in supermarkets? That’s because they want you to lose track of time and linger for longer, increasing your spending.

Research that scanned brain activity has shown that after 40 minutes, you stop being rationally selective and start shopping emotionally. That’s exactly what the supermarkets want – it’s when you’re at your weakest.

Estimated Annual Saving (saving £5 on convenience food, once a week): £260

8. Remember your bags (£30)

Make no mistake, using fewer bags is a good thing for the planet. We support the bag charges 100%. But do you remember how it all started at 5p in 2015, and then went up to 10p in 2021?

Do you ever see bags for 10p these days? No. They’re more like 30p, or 50p or even £1 ‘bags for life’.

So if you had to buy 10 bags for a big shop at 30p each, that’s an extra £3 on your bill.

(By the way, this is a government-forced levy, or minimum charge, not a tax. The money doesn’t go to the government. They simply ‘expect’ supermarkets to donate the proceeds. One wonders how rigorously this is checked…).

Estimated Annual Saving (having to buy just five 50p bags once a month): £30

9. Write a list/meal plan (£60)

There’s a LOT of choice in the supermarkets. In fact, one shop can have as many as 44,000 products on offer to choose from. That’s why we can suffer ‘decision fatigue’ and after a while, just find ourselves grabbing the nearest, easiest (and usually most expensive) thing just to get out of the place.

Instead, having a clear list of what you need reduces decision fatigue, keeps you away from those pesky end-of-aisles, helps you keep to your budget and gets you out of the shop quicker.

Estimated Annual Saving (not buying £5 of things you didn’t need, just once a month): £60

10. Batch cooking (£120)

Batch cooking often means better value ingredients due to buying in bulk. In addition, it can reduce your trips to the shops, helping you spend less.

And in many cases, it doesn’t take any longer. Simply cook more and stick some in containers in the freezer. Or just eat shepherd’s pie two nights in a row. It’s not that hard.

Estimated Annual Saving (not buying £10 of convenience foods just once a month): £120

11. Check the reduced aisle (£104)

I once met a guy who thought he was ‘too good’ to buy reduced food. Needless to say, I was not a fan and did my best to avoid him at all times.

Reduced items are absolutely still fresh and good to eat. Plus, they are usually far more reasonably priced. It’s always worth seeing what you can get.

Estimated Annual Saving (saving just £2 through reduced items, just once a week): £104

12. Buy in bulk (£104)

Rather than expensive supermarkets, see if there is a ‘cash and carry’ style warehouse near you. Whilst originally aimed at offering “cost” prices to caterers, many now let anybody shop there.

In addition, there are warehouses now that sell ambient food (like canned goods) that are past their ‘best-before’ date but still safe and good quality to eat. You can save serious money at these places by buying in bulk.

Estimated Annual Saving (save just £2, once a week): £104

13. App: TooGood To Go (£60)

Billed as ‘the food app that helps you save the planet’, Too Good To Go is a free app that allows you to buy unsold food from restaurants.

Its mission is to help stem the travesty of food wastage in the western world. We love innovative enterprises like this and if you can save some money at the same time, it’s even better.

Estimated Annual Saving (saving £5 on food, just once a month): £60

14. BBC Good Food - budget section (£120)

The BBC Good Food website has saved my bacon many times. From rustling up a healthy dinner for the kids to a last-minute date with a gluten-intolerant vegan.

Handily, it also features a budget section, which currently boasts 61 budget-beating recipes. Make your meal plan from this list and you’re laughing.

Estimated Annual Saving (saving £10 on ingredients, once a month): £120

15. Take a cupboard inventory (£120)

Ever seen that Michael Mcintyre sketch about condiments in the back of the cupboard that time forgot? If not, it’s hilarious so watch it on Youtube then come back.

Many years ago in my bachelor days, a girlfriend of mine was horrified to find a bottle of HP brown sauce in the cupboard that I never knew I had. It was 7 years out of date. Needless to say the relationship didn’t last.

It happens to the best of us. But in reality, there’s very likely in-date food you didn’t know you had that can form the basis of a meal – hiding at the back of your cupboard. That means fewer ingredients to buy, less wastage and less embarrassment.

Estimated Annual Saving (saving £10 on ingredients, once a month): £120

Woman smashing down walls with a sledge hammer

Challenges - 6 top money-saving tips (£5,545.95)

At Eat Sleep Money, we love a challenge. Particularly if it saves us money and improves our money mindset. Most of them are amazingly simple and can save you hundreds, if not thousands of pounds.

As some of these challenges are long-term ones, they’ll likely force you to review your budget and perhaps cut costs too. That’s part of the idea; to encourage habit and change.

Follow these challenges over the whole year and you absolutely gain more than just the savings. You’ll have healthier personal finances, more money and a positive money mindset.

Also, we understand you’ll be picking one of two of these challenges, not running all of them at the same time. So take the annual estimation above with a pinch of salt – it’s there to make the point about the power of the saving habit.

For these challenges, you’ll need a separate savings account or ‘pot’ in your Monzo or Starling bank account app.

Now here’s a rundown of our favourites.

1. The 1p challenge (£667.95)

The idea is simple. On day one, save 1p. On day two, save 2p. On day three…you get the idea. By day 365, (that’s £36.50), you’ll have saved £667.95.

If you are a Monzo customer, you can automate the process making it even easier. Here’s this link to get your 1p savings challenge set up.

Estimated Annual Saving: £667.95

2. The 'No Spend Day' challenge (£720)

This one’s simple: you don’t spend any money for one day.

Doing this forces you to think of things you can do for free. As a result, you may gain a deeper appreciation of the great outdoors, or perhaps the calming nature of origami. Something like that anyway.

My weekly budget to spend on myself is £100. So a day of no spending may look like a saving of about £15. (It doesn’t usually work out exactly like that, but you get the idea).

And if I do that once a week, I’ve saved £60 in a month. Over the course of a year, that’s £720.

Estimated Annual Saving: £720

3. The 'No Spend Weekend' challenge (£600)

This is the next step up. It can sound daunting, particularly with kids on a rainy weekend, but it can be done. It does require some planning around activities (cooking together, arts and crafts, family card games etc) and eating.

Of my £100 personal weekly budget, I reckon half of that is spent at the weekend (takeaway anyone?). So for me, that would save £50 a week and if done once a month, £600 a year.

Estimated Annual Saving: £600

4. The 'Save 1%' challenge (£1,560)

This is more of a saving challenge, rather than a cost cutting exercise. So it does require a little money left over in your budget each month.

But it’s remarkably effective. And it also creates strong, lasting habits of saving and investing that could transform your financial future.

Essentially, in month one, you save 1% of your income. For example, with a net-income of £2,000, that’s just £20. About one takeaway.

Then, in month two, you save 2%. Each month, you increase it by 1%. By the end of a year, you’re saving 12% of your income (£240 a month). By modern standards, that’s pretty healthy.

In that £2,000 a month net-income scenario (without the positive effects of interest and compounding), over the course of a year, that would be a saving of £1,560.

Estimated Annual Saving: £1,560

5. The ’52-week’ challenge (£1,738)

This time, we’re saving over a year, but on a weekly basis.

The concept is a simple one. On week one, save £1. Week two; it’s £2. Week three, £3 and so on.

By the end of the year, you’ll have saved a neat £1,738.

Estimated Annual Saving: £1,738

6. The '£5 note' challenge (£260)

Here, you simply save every £5 note you get. In an increasingly cashless society though, this can be more of a, err, challenging challenge.

Turn it up to hard mode and save a fiver every time you realise you’ve got in your pocket, purse or wallet, whether it’s notes or coins.

The estimation below assumes saving £5 per week, which is achievable for many.

Estimated Annual Saving: £260

Summary - 68 top money saving tips

So there you have it. 68 ingenious top money-saving tips. Combined, they could revolutionise your finances. Doing all of them’s more than a tough ask though, so pick the ones you think are easiest to implement for you and which will give you the biggest return.

Once you’ve created some breathing room, consider what to do with the spare cash.

You may need it simply to get by with the ever-increasing cost of living. But if you still have some leftover, make sure you have an Emergency Fund in place.

And once that’s done, increase your investments or check out our Beginner’s Guide to Investing

If you have any top money-saving tips of your own, share them at our UK Personal Finance club over on Facebook, where you’ll find other like-minded individuals. It’s a safe, private community where you can ask questions and learn more about making the most of your money. Best of all, it’s free! I’d love to see you there.

Here’s to your Financial Fitness.

EatSleepMoney.co.uk does not offer financial advice and is intended for reference/information only. Remember, you should always carry out your own research and/or take specific professional advice before choosing any financial products or services or undertaking any business or financial venture. If you need financial advice Unbiased can connect you with a suitable professional for free. Investments may go up as well as down and you may get back less than you put in.