Tips to make your money go further

Our members matter and we’re always here to help when we can. With the cost of living crisis, inflation, the Ukrainian situation and other pressures, many of us are concerned about our finances at present, so we’ve put together some great tips to make your money go further.

Make your wages stretch even further with our financial workout … Small steps can make a real difference so step up to the bar and let us do the hard work to help you make your money stretch! 

Create a budget

A good place to start is to analyse your finances by creating a budget. There are lots of free online tools and advice available, and once started its easier than you think! Try MoneyHelper’s free online Budget Planner tool to help work out how much money you have coming in, what you’re spending it on and how to improve your finances, or Moneysavingexpert’s free budget planner spreadsheet.

Avoid high-cost lenders

Beware of high-cost lenders or high-interest credit cards that seem convenient when you need quick cash. Their high interest fees and the adverse impact it can have on your credit history can make things far worse in the long term.

A Penny Post loan with affordable repayments straight from your pay could be a far better alternative and save you money. Find out more here.

Reduce energy use

In a time when the UK’s energy costs are rising, it’s only sensible to start looking at making some reductions to your energy usage. Making basic changes to your everyday routine could make a big difference. Here’s some examples:

  • Switching your appliances off standby mode can save you around £55 per year.
  • Avoiding using the tumble dryer can save £60 a year.
  • Keeping your shower time to just 4 minutes could save a typical household £70 a year.

View more quick tips to save energy here.

Cut your water bills

Did you know installing a water meter could save you money on your water bills? Use this free water meter calculator to see if it’s worth making the switch. If you are considering a water meter, check these facts to be aware of from MoneySavingExpert.

Consider installing water-saving gadget including shower heads, tap inserts, shower timers, garden hose nozzles and ‘Buffaloo’ cistern bags. You may qualify for a free water-saving gadget from Save Water Save Money. Find out more here.

Check out more great water saving tips and ideas here.

Save money on food shopping

Here’s some top tips to stay savvy when it comes to your food shopping:

  • Don’t shop on an empty stomach – this can make you spend more!
  • Plan your meals ahead of time – so that you don’t spend extra on food that may be wasted.
  • Use your freezer – Food will last longer, reducing wastage.
  • Consider downshifting to ‘own brand’ products – If you don’t mind the cheaper products, it could cut your shopping bill right down.
  • Take packed lunches to work – This helps resist the temptation to spend more money on fast food options and impulse purchases and saves you money. Did you know lunch time ‘meal deals’ typically cost £15 -£22.50 a week, that’s as much as £1,000 a year!

Never auto-renew utilities and service providers

Don’t assume that you’re on the best package or rate. Check comparison websites regularly or consider haggling with your current providers to get the price down. This could include your broadband, landline, car breakdown TV packages (eg; Sky), and utilities like gas and electricity.

Check out these haggling tips to boost your chances here.

Cancel any unused subscriptions

When was the last time that you reviewed your bank statements in detail? Taking a few minutes to do so may have some worthwhile benefits. Check your direct debits and standing orders to make sure that you’re not paying for any services that you don’t use.

That long-forgotten gym membership can now be cancelled, meaning more money in your pocket!

Get the best deals and discounts when shopping online

When shopping online, do you check to see if you’ve got the best deal available before proceeding with payment? Here’s some useful ideas to help you save money:

  • Use discount/voucher codes – Search on Google for ‘discount code retailer’ to see what’s out there.
  • Compare the price – If the items that you’re purchasing are already discounted, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the cheapest offer available. Make sure that you check other websites first before buying. A quick search on Google Shopping can help with this.
  • Haggle – If the retailer has Live Chat, there’s no harm in asking for a discount!
  • Earn cashback – Shop through a cash back site and you could get a percentage of the cost of your shopping back. Popular examples include TopCashback and Quidco.

Here’s more tips to help you get the best price when shopping online.

Make use of loyalty schemes

Signing up for loyalty schemes offers you the opportunity to earn points on your shopping which can be used towards future purchases. Sometimes it also means that you can gain access to exclusive member discounts.
Check out these loyalty card comparisons, including Nectar, Tesco Clubcard & Boots Advantage, and find out how to get the most out of them.

Recycle unwanted items

Declutter and sell unwanted items to raise money. Selling unwanted toys, clothing, mobiles, books and gadgets for a few pounds soon adds up.

It may seem daunting, but it’s actually really easy to sell unwanted items on online sites like Gumtree, ShpockVinted and eBay. Local selling groups on Facebook Marketplace can be great too.

If you have lots of clothes to sell but don’t have the time, some retailers, including Marks & SpencerSchuh and H&M have schemes where they will reward you for recycling a bag of old clothes.

Also search online for Textile Recycling companies in your area. These companies, like Cash for Clothes, pay instant cash for your unwanted clean and wearable clothes, shoes, handbags, accessories, household items etc.  

Check out the Flog It guide from MSE for more ideas on how to turn unwanted items into cash.

Rent out a Car Space

Got some spare ‘space’ that you wouldn’t mind sharing? You could bring in a nice amount by doing so!

If you live in a big city, near an airport or a train station, online parking marketplaces let you rent out car parking spaces – some people earn £200/month or more. Find out more here.

Rent out a Room Scheme

Got a spare room? Then consider the Government’s Rent a Room Scheme which allows owner occupiers and tenants to receive tax-free rental income (up to £7,500 for tax year 2021-22) if you provide furnished accommodation in your only or main home. Find out more here.

Don’t overpay for prescriptions

Are you one of one million people overpaying for prescriptions?
If you use more than one prescription a month, it might be worth signing up for an NHS prepayment certificate which can save you money. Find out more here.

Claim tax back if you wear a uniform for work

If you wear a uniform for work, you could be eligible for a free uniform tax refund. This is to cover your costs of having to wash, wear or even replace it yourself. Find out more here.

Check to see if you are entitled to any benefits

Even if you’re employment, you could still be entitled to some benefits. Use an independent benefits calculator to find out what benefits you could get and how to claim. Calculate your benefits eligibility here.

If you have other tips to make your money go further which could help other members, please share them with us!

Please note – Our tips are for general information only and do not constitute financial advice.