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Revealed: The hidden habits that cost you money

Did you know the average adult spends more than £72 a month without really knowing what on? That’s cash that could come in really handy when the credit card bills blow in at the end of January. So, where does all the money go?

Don’t waste time searching for holes in your pockets or down the side of the settee, that’s not where most of the money you can’t account for goes. It’s more likely to have disappeared thanks to little habits you don't even realise are quietly adding up.

Five ways you can change your habits and save

From a cup of tea in the canteen to catching a cab, Aviva found our invisible spending tots up to £18 a week. It might not seem like a huge amount but over your working life that adds up to more than £47,000! Here are five quick ways you can curb your small spending to make some big returns.

1. Treats and other repeat purchases

Some of these small practices become such a ritual they almost become unnoticeable. Buying a newspaper to read on the way to work or a kick-start coffee are purchases so familiar they barely register. Likewise, the habit of picking up a bar of chocolate when you queue for your newspaper may have started as a one-off, but now you don’t give it a second thought.

2. Have a DIY lunch

Just as it’s easy to get carried away with the daily pilgrimage to a coffee house when your work’s kitchen has a kettle and fridge, there's no real reason to spend ages queuing for a wrap when you could knock together a sandwich before leaving home. Making lunch rather than buying it offers considerable savings. Say, for example, you tend to buy a sandwich, a can of pop and a packet of crisps for lunch, costing around £3.50 in total or £17.50 a week. Surely, it’s worth investing in a multi-pack of crisps, a loaf, a six pack of fizz and a week’s worth of sandwich fillings for a fraction of the cost?

3. Become an active commuter

It takes around 20 minutes to walk a mile, based on an average pedestrian speed of 3 miles an hour. Given many people work within a mile or so of their train station, maybe it's a waste of money to then pay for a bus, underground train or tram fare to complete the journey. For a start there’s the benefit of doing some exercise, and then there is the savings factor - all depending on your specific journey, of course.

4. Less a school run, more a school ride

The same goes for parents who drive their children relatively short distances to and from school. Petrol prices may be falling, but they are still relatively high, and it’s an avoidable cost for some people. The solution could be to walk, ride a bike or hop on a scooter for the school run.

5. Become a smarter shopper

Even if you do all you can to avoid spending money, there will always be things you need to buy, such as groceries. It’s possible to shave some of your costs by changing your habits here too. For a start, don’t fall into the convenience store trap. Supermarket's smaller stores tend to charge more for staples you can pick up in the bigger shops, so break the pattern of just popping round the corner for washing up liquid and tins of cat food when there is a cheaper store five minutes further along the road.


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  • Linda campod / 13 February 2016

    Very helpful hints,some that thrifty seniors already aware of and live by.

  • Rosemary Charles-Lewiis / 10 February 2016

    There are some brilliant ideas on your site all together. Would like to know what supermarket a lady buys all her items at 70% discount except meat and says "and they are true to their word."

  • Peter Gwafa / 28 January 2016

    Great Idea and make's great sense.

  • Ian / 26 January 2016

    I thought it was very good give me food for thought

  • Bijoy Kumar Sarker / 26 January 2016

    I have need money for this Poverty Alleviation help & Aid always wanted to take for near apply.
    Thank you

  • Sharon / 25 January 2016

    I worry that the younger generation are unable to cook from fresh and the frozen meals are so cheap they only need a microwave oh and then they can spend the rest of the time attached to their mobile. I am a woman aged 59 all of my children (5) can cook all can sew & all can knit and now I'm teaching all of my 9 grandchildren how to do the same. I think Domestic Science should be brought back to help the younger generation how to cook & how in some cases to work within a budget so they don't get into debt, also that it's alright to put your phone down, yes I do have a phone but I only take notice when it rings. Every month on pension day my husband & I go to our local market & we buy everything fresh & then when we get back we do a mass baking down to treats biscuits ice-cream every thing is made from the fresh food we have just bought we also grow herbs & salads as well as some veg, only the people that do "grow your own" can you go into the garden Christmas day & get your veg for dinner.

  • Ana.B / 25 January 2016

    I have a way for no overspend and even I save money.
    I never pay with my card when go shopping for food. Always cash. I draw from the bank a calculated sum of money for food for the whole month and divide it by the 30 days. So if one day I spend more, the next day I try to spend less to compensate. And It works! What is more, at the end of the month I have always a surplus. It is great!

  • Tony G / 24 January 2016

    Driving small distances costs more than just the petrol. Driving when the engine is cold clogs up the catalytic converter faster than driving when the engine has warmed up, as I know to my cost! Cold engines also wear quicker, and driving in town wears the brakes and gearbox faster than at steady speeds. So on yer bike--or at least walk.

  • Linda / 24 January 2016

    I am a single lady in my early 60s I have always loved cooking there are so many ways you can make homemade soup instead of a can ,when veg get reduced at the end of the day in the supermarket, buy the cheaper cuts of meat make pies and put in freezer. I have always switched all lights and gadgets of when not in use and rather than have a credit card as I learnt many years ago use cash instead and don't always buy the branded names when you go shopping cut down on sugar intake and use brown sugar instead and if your not a very good cook learn from cookery books and you don't always have to get takeaways make it yourself at half the price and I live on a £145 a week quiet happily.

  • Linda / 24 January 2016

    I am a single lady in my early 60s I have always loved cooking there are so many ways you can make homemade soup instead of a can ,when veg get reduced at the end of the day in the supermarket, buy the cheaper cuts of meat make pies and put in freezer. I have always switched all lights and gadgets of when not in use and rather than have a credit card as I learnt many years ago use cash instead and don't always buy the branded names when you go shopping cut down on sugar intake and use brown sugar instead and if your not a very good cook learn from cookery books and you don't always have to get takeaways make it yourself at half the price and I live on a £145 a week quiet happily.

  • Alan Ferguson / 22 January 2016

    Don't put the heating on-sit in a sleeping bag with a woollen hat on. Only shower every 5 days. Wear underwear for 4 days instead of 3. Just don't pay Council Tax as if you're in Scotland, you can't go to jail for it. Blag bog-roll from supermarket bogs. Only put lights on when absolutely necessary

  • Kaz / 20 January 2016

    Save money by waiting for supermarkets to reduce there prices on sell by date items ( late in the day ) . Buy them and freeze them. Chicken breasts , sea bass , beef mince etc. this also prevents perfectly good food being thrown into a skip because of a date the we all think will kill us if we leave it for a minute after midnight.

  • keeftron / 20 January 2016

    School runs want banning, apart from mollycoddling your children the extra congestion it causes on the roads is quite unbelievable, and a lot of people who have cars will not take a small walk to the corner shop or anywhere else, pure bone idleness.

  • Zoe / 20 January 2016

    My best tip for saving money on food, which I've been putting into active practice for a couple of months (and saving approx. £80 a month as a result!) is to USE YOUR FREEZER and cook double/treble portions of stuff. Assuming of course that you are lucky enough to have one. For example, I go shopping at a set time in the week, having written a clear list of the ingredients I need for meals I have set out for the week. I make sure I am not hungry (!) and am strict with myself about what I buy, eg as im cooking for one at present I don't get tempted by 'cheap' packs of veg, instead buying one carrot or parsnip (unless its in my plan to make a massive vat of soup for example). I'll buy a lovely fresh bread that is discounted at the end of the day, slice it up and freeze in pairs in freezer bags. Toast from frozen or defrost for sandwiches. No mouldy bread anymore and nicer quality bread! When planning meals, I consider what I can halve and put aside to eat for lunch the next day, for example if I'm making spag bol I might have the other half in a jacket potato the next day at work. OR I cook a massive vat of stuff and freeze in portion sizes. Eg Soup, chilli, tagine, mashed potato etc...I use pour and store bags from Wilkinson, which can go from freezer to be defrosted in the microwave. Or I remove from the freezer in the morning and its defrosted by the time I come home from work. My fridge looks a lot less full, I waste much less, and because I have less flexibility and options, am eating the healthy food I've prepared for myself from scratch.

  • Fran / 20 January 2016

    The easiest way to save money is to put a certain amount of cash in your wallet or purse and make it last for the week. Don't use your card. That way you keep control of it, you can see it vanishing before your eyes so you're more careful with it. I used to do this as a student and it definitely worked - I've since used the same method whenever money is a bit tight.

  • Dr. Shahadat Husain / 19 January 2016

    Money goes out of your pocket, it goes forever.Until you earn again.To make a good quality sandwich for lunch and taking a bottle of water to drink is a brilliant idea,to save and it is healthy too. To walk a mile for school or work is a saver and healthier.There are many areas in life one can save using common sense and can avoid hardship..

  • Lee / 19 January 2016

    Treats are great - but only if they are a treat.

    I love a fresh-ground Americano. Instant coffee is horrible by comparison and not very healthy either. It's a treat I value once per day. I sip it. Mmm. It's a treat because I treat it that way. I enjoying sharing a few words with the barista. She's great at her job. We have a laugh.

    I used to have a couple of lattes a day, gulping them down without a lot of thought. Shifting to one Americano costs less and I value it more. Maybe you could try buying less but enjoying it for a bit longer too.

    Good luck.

  • Nick / 19 January 2016

    Check out other options. For instance
    Black cab from Heathrow airport rank to Maidstone £225.
    Same journey with SMB Maidstone Taxis. £65

  • Alan Kauffman / 19 January 2016

    Here's a way people waste money daily. Every time they make a pot of tea or coffee they put far too much water into the kettle. This wastes electricity (or gas) as well as water (which is worse if you're on a water meter). Simply measure out how much water you need and pour it into the kettle (plus a bit for losses). Then mark the level on the kettle with a waterproof felt-tip! You'll save £££ a year.

  • DJ neurophoria / 19 January 2016


  • Bob Jones / 19 January 2016

    In rural areas the local shop is vital. Many drive a few miles to a convenience store or supermarket which has a hidden cost of say 80p/mile in total running costs. Add this to a pint of milk which then costs pounds more. Any slight premium you buy locally is often far less than car costs plus supermarket price. The excercise is good for your health a double bonus!

  • Patrick Collins / 19 January 2016

    All very well - however, our nature is to look for the odd treat now and then. My advice, control your spending so treat yourself once or twice a week only and the benefits will still accrue without being burdensome or unrealistic.

  • Conrad / 19 January 2016

    Britain is a country of small businesses many of them local shops if you don't support your local shops they will vanish! Also we are a service industry economy your tips don't take this into account.

  • Teri / 19 January 2016

    If people are that desperate for saving moni ....stop smoking. That Alone saves at least £5 a day that's 35 a week, £140 a month and is healthier for you.. Don't buy in as much alcohol. Have a certain night of the week where you get in a few tins or a bottle of wine. Will cost a few quid instead of £20 + Again saves you moni. Cut your TV sky subscription to a package that is more suitable. Do u honestly watch all the sports and movies channels. That's another £30 minimum. Buy foods on offer for a change while shopping. Tesco value crisps are about 50p compared to walkers at £1.30. Yes the packs are smaller but that's also less calories. Buy juice instead of fizz. Lasts longer and is better for you. Better still have water more's free. I have 5 kids, myself n my partner to feed and can do a weeks shop on £100 a week if I'm really short. Always have in Pasta, potatoes and some pasta sauces. A meal for 6 for £4.

    If you really really want to cut back and save then you will find a way to do it. Just listen to people's advice and try new things.

  • hugh tierney / 19 January 2016

    It certainly made me think I can see that I can save some money with just a little thought and I will certainly do so thank you

  • Ree / 18 January 2016

    Well people tend to make the most common repetitive mistake especially during winter and i'm definitely one! Sometimes it's one of those early freezing mornings where you just want a cup of hot drink to warm you up so you decide to go inside a coffee shop ( for me it's mostly Costa ) we spend more than £2 for a drink when we can easily make it ourselves at home before going out to work, to school or any other places... Some people get used to this habit or just buying junk food including sandwiches, Meal deals ( haha like the ones at sainsburys) Okay quite delicious but still not the perfect idea to go for! In conclusion i advice everyone to wake up 5/10 minutes earlier to save £5 everyday! Thank you.

  • Heather / 18 January 2016

    its all very well saving money/avoiding places/driving 5mins further down the road to make a saving but I work in a pub, without my job (which the customers pay my wages) where am I meant to get money to live. saying drive down to the cheeper store is fine, but when the cheeper store is 8miles away Id be willing to bet your spending the money your saving. also those of us who don't live in the bigger towns or cities often don't have the choice! the trick to saving money is being sensible, making lists of what you actually need, if you cant write a shopping list or get it delivered and stick to it then your failing at the first hurdle. saving money is about being sensible with what you have, I cant get to the gym, but a few large bottles of water and a yoga ball/mat set me back about £10 ... vola home gym!!! if you actually need to save, trust me youll save, if you can think oh £10 here and there doesn't matter, then in all honesty your either not serious about saving or you don't need to - I'm 23 work for just above minimum wage on a 0hour contract yet have just managed to get a deposit to buy my own house without using the help to buy scheme, its not as hard as people make out.

  • Ruth Leith / 18 January 2016

    Join your local Credit Union, and save that £20.00 a week for something really great!

  • mary / 18 January 2016

    This is very good advice. It works but it is very hard to start and keep going. However, once you get used to it and feel the benefit - not just financially but also by loosing some weight, it's great.

  • miss sarah payne / 18 January 2016

    Really sound advice, but we have cut back a lot, as we use to smoke Taylor mares, now we get a months supply of bacci, I shop once on a Monday spending 20 pounds then again on Thurs another 20 pounds, so £40 on shop for the week, we don't buy tea or coffee out as you end up spending a £10, we don't go to pubs, we buy cheap bear £2 for 4 in tesco and we buy big bag of dog biscuits for month costing £15, and can't remember the last time I had my hair done or brought any clothes as we still don't have extra money to spend by the time we paid monthly bills, but seriously want to go away as my partner and myself deserve one I think, as in the last 5 years we have only been away for WK end, but on another note we have paid off thousands of debt and have just a bit of debt remaining, but have suffered for it though.

  • Chris / 18 January 2016

    Budgeting is a doddle. Here is the secret. Let's say you get paid monthly. You get paid £1500 and your bills (before food) comes to £650. This leaves £850. Divide this by the amount of days until you next get paid. You now know what you can spend per day. If, at the end of the day you have money left over, put it in a jar.

    Have more than one bank account allowing you to segregate money for things. It takes away temptation.

    It works for me. I always have money left at the end of the month

  • me / 18 January 2016

    Common sense, nothing new. Does anyone have any really useful tips on becoming a millionaire?

  • Stuart / 18 January 2016

    John. Your comment abou the Spanish bank (Santander) would be valid if it was Spain. But all UK accounts which her account obviously is, have deposit protection so unless you have over whatever the protection limit is these days (not too far off £100,000) your money is totally safe.

  • john / 18 January 2016

    When I was married and working full time and had a part-time job doing 8 hrs 3 or 4 nights a week we had a mortgage and were constantly struggling to make ends meet. Always too much month left at the end of the money.

    Now I own my own home outright, have no debt and do not use my credit card. I have an income of about £70 a week and still manage to save. I can still go when and where, and do whatever, I want within reason.

    The secret ..... borrow no more and get a divorce. No parasites.. no debt... Simples.

  • john / 18 January 2016

    Caroline Stoddart ...
    You are advocating banking with a Spanish bank.
    Why why not the Spanish economy is so much better than that of Greece and Spanish banks won't be doing any bail-ins when their economy collapses will they?

  • D B / 18 January 2016

    Keep a notepad and pen handy in the kitchen. As you as you finish something, like a tin of tomatoes etc, write it down. This way, when you go shopping, you would buy what you finished, rather buy what you still have and not bothered to check.

  • Frank / 17 January 2016

    If all these solutions haven't occured to you already before I guess you'll never be able to save money.

  • lynn wilson / 17 January 2016

    I agree with all of the above, I still buy a bus ticket, although you get ten rides, its valid for 28 days, but I walk to work which takes forty mins each way, but only get the bus if needed, depending on time and if I need to further away from home.

  • Deleted By Amazon / 17 January 2016

    You could also save around £50k by following these guidelines, and being bored to death 10 years before the average life expectancy.

  • / 17 January 2016

    Surely it's all about personal choice, convenience and value - and knowing your limits. If I wanted to eat tasteless cardboard, then I'd buy super cheap stuff. It took my kids about 3 weeks to learn all there is to know about savvy shopping when they left home. Slightly ironic though that their income from first jobs came from selling coffee and sandwiches, which you're saying don't buy. Mad consumer world!

  • Caroline Stoddart / 17 January 2016

    We changed banks from HSBC to Santander, we have been paid £150 over 6 months just because our wages go in every month and because we pay our utility bills by direct debit. Don't stay with a bank that don't give you any benefits. We also use the Santander credit card, pay it off in full every month and they pay us cash back ! It's so simple to switch too as they do it all for you. And no I don't work for them haha!

  • Nathaniel Mighty / 17 January 2016

    At the end of the day everybody has there own Epinions in how to spend its about controlling how you spend.

  • Anne / 17 January 2016

    Pretty obvious sound advice. But I do not agree with encouraging people to ignore their small local stores. These stores provide employment to local people and often much needed support to the elderly and infirm who cannot travel or afford to buy a weekly shop at the supermarkets. Thousands of small business are going to the wall because of supermarkets and you are wrong to say that small shops are often more expensive. The supermarkets hide the true cost of your basket by tempting customers with offers on certain items and lure you in to spending even more!

    People could do well to shop local, limiting their purchases to what they need whilst supporting the local economy. Small stores often have weekly deals on most things and are there when the supermarkets are not. You will have less waste too by buying small and often.

    Happy new year everyone.

  • Tommysoeren / 17 January 2016

    Sorry, but that doesnt help at all

  • Laura Carvell / 16 January 2016

    These are very obvious tips. I save money on car journeys by doing more than one thing in the same trip. Last week I went to the gym, ate my packed lunch, drove to pick up an ebay bargain, called in at the diy store on the way back, bought wine and dog food in town and called into a local shop to get a trumpet fixed. If you use auction websites and are patient and willing to pick up/use anyvan then you can have your cake and eat it! I have a second hand kitchen which cost less than £4000 all in. That's oak, granite, new floor, table and chairs. I always use lidl!

  • Angela / 16 January 2016

    All the advice is good for saving money, It's good to be frugal and budget to save the pounds. I'm always looking for new ideas in this area.

  • Daniel Bentley / 16 January 2016

    Are you serious? This is all so completely obvious it's insulting.

  • Maria / 16 January 2016

    We are down to ONE shop in my village. It was a very different story just 20 years ago. Every few years when we get some snow and people can't get to work or get to town to buy from supermarkets suddenly all the penny pinchers cast aside their reluctance to shop local. If you are lucky enough to have a local shop then use it... you might be grateful for it some day !!

  • Dawn / 16 January 2016

    In January I always go through my freezer and write a list of everything in there...I then plan my meals around that and my cupboard stocks. Picking up only essentials to go with what I already have. Can be a bit hit and miss when you defrost something and its not what you think it is and it can get a bit of this and that towards the end but that just adds to the fun of using up what I already have .Then I defrost the freezer :-) January and into February's shopping bill is reduced .

  • Cheryl / 16 January 2016

    The most obvious one is missing: don't use credit cards. People don't seem to realise that it is easy to rack up spending especially when you use them to get cash or don't pay them off every month. Every £5 spent on cards costs nearly £1 in interest if you don't pay it off.

  • saffron / 16 January 2016

    Internet shopping saves me bus money and the stress. Also no impulse buys. I can get my shopping delivered for as little as a £1 compared to nearly £5 bus fares. I wouldn't be able to carry a full weeks shopping for family in one shot.

  • rosybella childrenater / 16 January 2016

    This is a very sensible page, I shall recommend it to Dorothey, Bea, Chelded and other friends of mine

  • Marjorie / 16 January 2016

    It is quite easy to do these "cut-backs" if you do not have the money! ,
    However, if you do, put it away until a nice sum for something really exciting you might have thought unaffordable, extravagant, luxurious etc.

  • Benoitn1 / 16 January 2016

    James, if you have money to indulge, clearly this forum is not for such individuals...

  • Lily Amaka Ulasi / 16 January 2016

    That's very nice. I like this. Knowing how to spend your money and have a reserved for the future.It's really good.Thanks for your advice.

  • John Farman / 16 January 2016

    Most tips and advice brilliant but I do not drive and cheaper shops are 1 mile away in the town centre therefore I have to use a bus if I do a fairly large shop.

  • James brown / 16 January 2016

    Life is for living! If you have the money i see no problem with indulging yourself

  • samantha jackson / 16 January 2016

    Really interesting

  • Benoitn1 / 16 January 2016

    Being careful, not stingy is key. Shop around, also focus on reducing the well known larger expenses on items such as mobile + Sky/Virgin/BT + reduce on booze + gym membership + holidays + insurance (do you pay twice for the same insurance?) + mortgage products + supermarkets (get cash back cards) + banks (get higher interests on your savings, cash back on spending, lower costs on your overdrafts, etc.) + reduce restaurants/take always => you will save no less than a couple of thousands a yea whilst still being able to have your occasional local shopping and coffee purchase. HIT EXPENSES WHERE THEY ARE HIGHEST FIRST => less effort for higher continuous material savings. FYI, our couple saved/made over £4k on all of the above.. P.s. improve your CV and try to hardly look for a better paid job or for a job giving additional knowledge you might then be able to monetise later. I've started at £13k a year.. I'm many multiples away from it now after 15 years

  • Amy Rice / 16 January 2016

    It's all well and good advising people not to shop at their local shop!!! This is putting small, local businesses' out of business. For goodness sake, support your local newsagent, butcher and greengrocer. What would a village be like with no amenities.

  • Trucc / 16 January 2016

    I think it's key to. Approach this from a not over stripped. Version from the small habits to luxe self care items. Buying a better product. Or service whilst still being mindful of cost and creative in approach. Realisticly we all know a skilled Crated item. Will ultimately serve your confidence. Look. Funds. As there is no need to either.over shop nor over spend on extra purchases.The whole purpose of said item is impact. reward and pay off ;both personally and socially. The corner stone of the whole shop catalyst. Inclusion vital./joy/appreciation /sense of sellf /agenda /standards.& an age where the speed of ads hook is accelerated. Collections sped through and bathe several diffusion labels spin offs.. The thing is qaulity,experience. trust in a strong. Label /brand as opposed to awful high street sweat shop operations and know we will need to replace item several times. Skin care goes a long way. On this level also when a good serum lasts. Forever blended with. Organic coconut oil (pure £6 supermarket. Also. The cut of garments make a piece. Your feelings and look. Project the best. Look you have and last to gods with the lesser option especially If you maintain care. Investment pieces have been my heroes. Rich or poor

  • Lady / 16 January 2016

    I didn't read this as 'don't support your local butcher' but thought they meant that shopping at the big supermarket brand's small local 'express' shop can often be more expensive.

  • avril cathet / 15 January 2016

    My tip is to never go shopping when you're hungry even if I'm chewing gum it stops me reaching for tasty snacks, and also to make a list and stuck to it and check what food you already have in the house I ended up once with 7 tins of tomato soup in the cupboard and 3 jars of paprika

  • Amanda Kitchiner / 15 January 2016

    I found that shopping online and having the groceries delivered has saved me money. Instead of being in a shop surrounded by offers that most of the time we do not need, if we're at home and can check cupboards instantly to see if we really need another Jar of BOGOF pasta sauce etc. Make a list, stick to it and check cupboards before adding anything extra to your weekly shop. I have cut my shopping bill in half some weeks.

  • Trisha / 15 January 2016

    No 5. is all very well and good - but what if you're a small independent shop owner, like me? Mary Portas probably wouldn't agree either.

  • Michael Turner / 15 January 2016

    Another way of saving money would be to recognise that 95% of your telephone usage in any given month is unnecessary. Its purely a habit you've got into through clever marketing. You never used the phone so much when it was screwed to the wall.

  • Linda / 15 January 2016

    What about supporting local shops? I have found that when you pop to your local shop, if your still lucky enough to have one! You tend to buy just what you want ie a bottle of washing up liquid but in big stores you end up buying stuff you come across that may be on offer or whatever. So end up spending more! Shame in you for not supporting local shops! Note, I am not a shop keeper, I'm a nurse. Another thing with regard to buying coffee whilst on the way to work, usually from these expensive chains. What I do, is use a portable flask cup. I too use to spend a fortune. I have saved a enough to buy a small boat! And once again we should support our local shops otherwise they will disappear! And we can only blame ourselves!

  • David / 15 January 2016

    Must be real fun in your house.

    You conveniently forget the psychological benefit of treats. You may be a few quid better off at the end of the month but does more money in bank really make you happy?

    Yeh, I really enjoy walking in the rain for 20 minutes to my local station.

    I'd rather have 10 more minutes in bed than have to get up to make my lunch.

  • Ed / 15 January 2016

    It's all very well saving a few quid a week by avoiding your small local businesses, but what's a few quid cash in your pocket when you're house drops in value by £20k because all the local shops are boarded up and the high street is a ghost town? A bit extreme perhaps- but it is happening in some places- anyone who has ever had the misfortune to go to Doncaster will know what I mean!

  • susan gough / 15 January 2016

    Very good advice we really don't realise how much money we waste .

  • angie / 14 January 2016

    I fully support my local convenience stores. Their workers work so hard, I go in for what I want & come out with what I went in for. I always take packed lunch from day before leftover & since the buses charge over £2 for 2 stops further down the road, I'd rather cycle.

  • Jaye / 14 January 2016

    Great ideas on cutting on avoidable spending and a timely reminder for me. Thank you.

  • d / 14 January 2016


  • Jonathan / 14 January 2016

    It's good advice and also good retoricle answers.

    If the local shop had more customers they could then lower prices and be more competitive.
    Then more shops like butchers and green grocers could buy a shop nearby then more customers making local shopping cheaper used to work until out of town stores were built

  • Nib / 14 January 2016

    For the odd staples yes, local shops, but for main groceries it is always the big shops.

  • Nib / 14 January 2016

    Some independent shops need to realise their prices are far too high; local retailers are important, but not as important as me saving my money.

  • Robert Carnegie / 14 January 2016

    Don't count on little shops not being exploitative. They're exploiting you for a start. And anyway, the supermarket delivers to your home now. Not free, mind. But subsidising the independent retailer isn't free either. And supermarkets don't sell cigarettes and alcohol to children.

    I knew a fellow who lived above a convenience shop, and he didn't bother to own a refrigerator - he just went downstairs when he needed something fresh.

    I do my grocery shopping at the co-operative as a member, which isn't the cheapest but I assume that products are obtained ethically as far as possible. The eggs are from non-caged hens, the imported produce is fair-trade.

    Suppliers to cheaper supermarkets and some brand manufacturers are sometimes treated very badly. The price that a supplier gets may be cut suddenly, or you may be asked to pay a fee to be allowed to continue as a supplier - which sounds to me like being asked to pay a bribe. You may pay rent for the supermarket shelf where your goods are displayed - and then they put your competitor on special offer, so you sell nothing. Or you may be paid very, very late, or not at all. Still, it keeps profit up and consumer's prices down. But do you want to participate as a customer in such abuses?

  • Diane / 14 January 2016

    Its a way of life

  • Ella Vaghji / 14 January 2016

    Yes this is so true, once in a while it is alright to be lazy but if you follow the diy and treats etc you will definitely save and can spend on yourself for a luxury like pampering yourself at the Saloon or buy a nice pair of boots.

  • Alan Ferguson / 14 January 2016

    I was wondering, could help me with tying my shoelaces?

  • Paul Adrian Rooke / 14 January 2016

    It is outrageous that you recommend buying from big chains rather than smaller shops. Support local, small shops; they may cost a bit more but at least they don't exploit farmers and third world workers. SHOP LOCALLY.

  • Stephen Trinder / 14 January 2016

    When working make sure you save a set amount each month eg £100 and put it out of temptation's way in a savings bank account. Keep a current account for everyday expenditure.This is a great way to save up for stuff like holidays.

  • Martin Burridge / 14 January 2016

    4 bread rolls £1, half pound of butter £1, tin of corned beef or slab of cheddar cheese £1.50 small penknife or plastic knife all for the cost of some bought out sandwiches

  • K Rivers / 14 January 2016

    Nothing like helping put the corner shop, local convenience store out of business.. Do the bigger chains subsidise you?

  • LittleMiZ / 13 January 2016

    I'm a 23 year old female who privately rents a 3 bedroom house with my partner, 29 year old male and his 4 year old son. My three cats and a bearded dragon.
    I sell baked potatoes on the market and he's a Butcher. We both work full time so around £500 we get a week.
    We have just come out from having personal debts over the years so we owe nothing at all and own everything. (except the rented house).
    We have a great lifestyle due to the way I budget living costs.
    Here's a few things..
    All our utility bills are cheap as we've shopped about to see where's best.
    £35 food shopping every week at Aldi (apart from fresh vegetables & meat).
    £15 pet food/litter/etc (Cat food at Wilkos is great and super affordable £8 for 44 100g pouches ;) )
    Save a £20, £10 & £5 note every week for any big buys.. new washer, new pair of boots, weekend away..
    Online banking is so useful.
    Set up a 1 year ISA (Dec. 2015) so we've got a good amount saved up for Christmas this year.
    Remember that you can still find quality stiff on eBay, Gumtree, chairty shops etc :)

  • MR.V.A.HASHMI / 13 January 2016

    All points are valueable and worth considering practice and adopting.

  • Jennifer / 13 January 2016

    I agree with making your own lunch. I've done that for years now and it only costs me at most £5 a week to do. You need to still treat yourself to those hot drinks and cakes now and again thou, but more as a treat rather than a habit.

  • Mark / 13 January 2016

    I do tend to use the local shop .its 50 yrds away..why would i get in thr car drive for 10/15 mins to a superstore .try n find a parking space .the whole shopping experience take 30 -40 mins use a load of petrol sitting in traffic ..the local shop maybe a little more but the time energy and fuel saving balances it all out

  • Jumanji99 / 13 January 2016

    Apparently no-one has-or listens to- their Scottish/Irish or Jewish Granny anymore....or are so busy being cool and independent that they have fallen into many of these self-indulgent traps without thinking things through.....Of course all the money spent on advertising these high-street treats as attractive and ''in'' come out of the profits made from others sucked into the ''trend''.....Think I am ''mean''? -Just I prefer not to fall in the Capitalist/Monetarist paradigm any more than I can help......You only get to spend it Once...and it may be harder to come by next year.

  • Alan / 13 January 2016

    Stop smoking. Stop drinking. Stop eating. Live in a tree.

  • Katie / 13 January 2016

    These are all great tips and I do most of them already. I think the trick is to work out how much things cost you in a month / year. If you buy yourself a coffee each weekday for £1.50, that's £30 a month; over £300 a year. Then i ask myself whether I'd rather spend £300 on one coffee a day, or on a holiday. I prefer a holiday.

    Another good tip is to pay for things like insurance,breakdown cover, TV licence, car tax etc in a lump sum instead of instalments. I save around £100 a year on all those things added together.

    Don't use credit cards, loans or places like Bright House. If you don't have enough money for something, then don't buy it! Save up.

    I'm a single parent and I only work part time but I'm rarely short of money because I am frugal. :-)

  • Steven / 13 January 2016

    Saving a few pounds is hardly worth losing local shops for, in favour of out of town supermarkets. I fully support buying local produce and shopping ng locally. Sure it might cost a little less, but saving local and town centre shops and keeping more choice has to be better than a world where there are only supermarkets. Local produce can come with a lower carbon foot print too, with less transportation, and will help boost the local economy.

    What a horrible place we would live in with local shops boarded up, high local unemployment, and goods transported from abroad to fill the supermarket shelves cheaply. No thanks.

  • Allan / 13 January 2016

    £11 Liz for a loaf, fillings, spread & wrappings? Where do you shop? F&M? You'll be one of those that buys 2 or 3 cups a day at £2.50 each thinking nothing of it but have just lined non-tax paying greedy conglomerates pockets to the tune of £25-£35 a week - £100-£150 every month. You don't feel it but others do - and the 'some others' still do nothing about it but wonder where all their money goes. Just a lazy, entitlement culture that we've slowly slipped into. Personal responsibility? It's a thing of the past.

  • Elly / 12 January 2016

    Hi peeps!
    Try being even more radical. I shop at the end of the day every day and buy all the very cheap food. This forces me to be creative with meals. It is also more interesting as you never quite know what you'll get. E.g. bags of veg for 10p each made a great soup or stir fry. Buy Basics or Value only for a week & see how much you save (lots). If you can't bear to be parted from your latte then buy 12 sachets for 99p at the 99p store and end of day Danish pastries are half price and still good the next morning. I totally agree with all the comments made about making public transport more reliable, cheap and accessible. I lived in Sheffield and their trams were amazing. All the way across the city to the train station for £1.80.

  • J. OSBORNE / 12 January 2016


  • cazoo / 12 January 2016

    if you have money then you can count it out and budget each week with cash in your hand, If you use plastic all the time ( I do too ) you don't see the physical side of the transactions and things disappear quickly. . So when you are making your money saving sandwich and before you walk to work - count your cash first and work out your weekly or even daily expenses. Apologies to poor people they already know this. No apologies to the pay day loan crowd who disempower and do not help by charging 1000s% interest. Why is this happening?

  • Viv Scale / 12 January 2016

    Planed meals can be budgeted . Do a weeks menu then the shopping list, Cook ahead,put several items in the oven together.Store in a 2C frige for food safety. Also use the slow cooker.
    All these food items are wonderful to come home to. Task the teens to prep and bag-up the veg (including chopped onion,garlic etc) for the whole week. So time and money efficient.Bet it is the best money a family can make. Holidays? very possible!

  • Janine / 12 January 2016


  • Chris Whittingslow / 12 January 2016

    We all fall into this method of doing what's easy. I've just bought a sandwich, crisps and some sweets and this cost me £2.78. I do have the food to make sandwiches and grap a packet of crisps at home. I've made many cut backs and work on a tight budget due to working either short time contracts or '0' hours contracts. The money is not always there, so we must start to think a little and change our life styles, preparing a sandwich or a salad the day before. I've done this previously, even going to get a sandwich and spent most of my lunch break queing to be served, then finding that you do not have the time to eat it.
    As to travelling all I know is that it can be cheaper on the bus than driving to work and find some where to park.

  • helen dangerfield / 11 January 2016

    Some one please on my smoking iwant to stop iam spending si mucjh money on the Tobago I hardly have money for food I am allso very big woman you can email me and text me on here thanks helen

  • helen dangerfield / 11 January 2016

    Iam doing all I can to cut back but need help.please on my smoking to packet add of amber leaf Tobago. Aday with is 9pound,a day 63pound aweek my names Helen Dangerfield

  • Lana / 11 January 2016

    Well we are nearly halfway through january and I adhere to most of the advice and i am still broke ! My situation would be far worse If u wasn't so careful
    ! I do have the occasional skinny latte in a coffee shop because i enjoy it and it's a wAy of socialising ! I plan what meals im Going to cook a couple of days in advance and try to resist impulse buys and that saves money ! I look for offers and try not to waste food ! I agree with the people who support the little corner shops .you can get bargains and nothing replaces the friendly banter . We are not drones !

  • Liz Harris / 11 January 2016

    C'mon. Life has to be worth living! And treats and conveniences MAKE life worth living. The loaf, sandwich fillings and crisps would be about eleven quid, then there is the wrapping. I cannot see a great saving there. And ritual is calming, inclusive and rewarding of itself. The chat in the coffee shop, the banter on the bus, the greetings exchanged in the corner shop. All the tiny connecting exchanges that weave the fabric of life in a community. We are not zombies trudging to work avoiding the niceties that bind us. What do we work for but to enrich our lives in every sense, not just on the bottom line of our bank statement, but on the balance sheet of all of our lives.

  • Chris Richards London / 11 January 2016

    Perhaps we could save a lot of money by the banks overcharging by banking in advance, i.e. returning items at 00:00, not giving th debtor time to pay in that day, more to the point th Government actually destroying th Pay Day loan nuts, something that could be done very easily if they wanted to. Plenty of statute available if thy want to use it; why can't we just stop them trading and advertising in the UK?

    we could also save a lot of money if the banks and other lenders brought their interest rats don in lin ith base rate.

    On a more serious note, cooking in bulk freezing down part of it and re-heating it later save a lot of money in th long run. Heating only as much Water as you need- do you really need a whole tank of hot water- unless you have children who use water very heavily. The use of electric showers reduces th amount of excess water heating which takes place and does not need to be stored and re-heated.

    If the Governments around the world stopped taxing petrol and fuel including electric that would reduce th outgoings of individuals and save a fourtune. If public transport was inexpensive, people would use it saving a lot of fuel.

    You refer to samll shops over charging for basic items, but th large dpartment stores and super markets, do it the other way around, by making basic things cheap, but others absurdly expensive; together ith psycological shopping by making items like bread cheap, but then using impulse purchasing as a ay to encourage to buy things th do not rally need. The smell of baked brad being a good example, as it triggers a subconsious reaction that you are more hungry than you are: impulse purchases at th check out for example.

    So it is not just the small shops that do it, th large shops do it too; but are seen to be saints
    As for the school-run: why do need to drive our kids to school; what happend to walking; indeed cycling?

    If public transport as cheaper and ran to the places needed, on a good time table,people would use it. I take issue ith your point 3. with th size of many towns and cities, th average alk to th station is no longer a mile; in my large ton that covers now 9 square miles, you are talking nearer two hours a day just to get to home and back.

    You asked for nice responses- I am afraind I am a realist!

  • Friendly neighbourhood Debt Collector / 11 January 2016

    Great suggestions bar the fifth which is a little ignorant of the risk to small business owners from large chains. I'm sure you could find something a little less derisive to the economy, to be acted on by those who are already derisive to the economy...just a thought

  • Sheila E / 11 January 2016

    By buying at these smaller shops, does it not keep them open and jobs safe? They do not have the discount for bulk buying that large stores have.
    (Just a thought !)

  • jack coote / 11 January 2016

    all this about cutting back gets me because dont you think we as a nation cut back enough yes

  • Roz Williams / 11 January 2016

    It can actually work out more expecnsive to go to a big store, once you have totted up temptation with 'bargains' and distractions to buy things you don't actually need. Not to mention, fuel getting there, wear and tear on your car and the damage that large supermarkets do to small businesses and ultimately, the economy.

  • mike / 11 January 2016

    Point 5 Smarter Shopping. I find if you go to a convenience store you buy just what you went in for. When you go to a supermarket and walk up and down all those aisles looking for what you want you will end up buying more than you need.

  • dr susannah vyvoda / 11 January 2016

    start by starting with all of this in primary schools : instead of overwhelming garbage related to technology that noone can afford start teaching children how to manage money, shop for nutritious items and exercise

  • jinty / 10 January 2016

    special offers (ie three for?? ) isn't always cheaper as it may only save you a few pence-do you need it all /will you use it all

  • russ W / 10 January 2016

    short date food supermarket mark down to half or less original price. most foods last a while after this expiry date. best advise if you are going to eat it that day and you have a chose buy short after a few fails which always happens you will learn the true length of time a food item will last! and really cheap raw meat if you have spare to put in a freezer never pass by.

  • Derek / 9 January 2016

    I do try to save money by cycle to work which is 1.5 miles and a short cut. If I drive to work, it is 2.6 miles and long way round. Both car and cycle take 8 minutes. I only drive to work in the winter and sometimes in the summer.
    If I go to Sainsbury’s, I take dad car. I have once not fill my car up of petrol for three months. I only got 42 litre tank.

  • Simone / 9 January 2016

    Supporting local shops is essential even if it costs a few extra quid a year! Otherwise they won't be there when we need them- when we have no car or are old and infirm!

  • Lesley Wood / 8 January 2016

    It's important to me that local shops and cafes thrive. So I spend money there but don't buy ready made food at supermarkets. Farm shops and shops that sell local produce often sell loose vegetables rather than packaged ones, so you can just buy what you need.

  • Anne / 8 January 2016

    Of course this site is going to offer advice promoting big chain supermarkets. Its government run and those who own these chains are right up there along with the government's millionaires cabinet running our country. They aren't in it for the money any longer, they all have pots of the stuff, this is about weilding power. If we take our business to local stores then the chain owners lose out. The thriving 'old boys' back scratching club is definitely against passing any savings back to the public. Good god, do something for the nation rather than themselves - I think not.

  • Hope Liebersohn / 8 January 2016

    I already do most of what you have recommended to save money. Perhaps you could add that shopping for supplies in pound shops and markets is very much cheaper than any supermarket, although you have to be careful to ensure that you get good quality, e.g. don't expect fruit from a market to last as long as fruit from a supermarket before going rotten.

  • Hannah / 8 January 2016

    I gave up supermarkets and now shop only at the local convenience stores you are so disparaging about. I have saved hundreds of pounds a year this way, by just buying what I need, when I need it. Supermarkets encourage bulk shopping, which often leads to wastage and over-consumption. Local sandwich and independent coffee shops are an important part of keeping out high streets alive, and encourage going out for a stroll and meeting other types of people. If those of us who can afford it start being too thrifty, our local economy will not thrive, shops will close, unemployment will increase and taxes will go up, thus clawing back the money you may have saved with these tips.

  • Lynda Breakwell / 8 January 2016

    My money saving tip? Buy the best food you can afford, store it properly, and don't waste a single bit of it. Even a single slice of leftover gammon can be put to good use by chopping it up and putting it in a quiche or jacket potato. A tiny bit of leftover beef can be minced, mixed with potatoes and put into a pie. Before you decide what you're cooking for your evening meal - have a rummage through the fridge for anything that needs using up. Rather than chuck it out - add it to your other ingredients. Potatoes that have started to sprout are fine once they've been peeled and cooked, likewise many other vegetables that are past their best. I'm appalled by the amount of food some people throw away.

  • Tracey Shenton / 8 January 2016

    I appreciate and do all of the above except number 5. Our village store is an essential part of our community. I frequently shop there to spend some of what I have saved elsewhere and hope this will enable the shop to remain viable.

  • sUSAN pARKER / 7 January 2016

    The key is planning, sticking to a rigorous spending plan. Also amortize. The sort of junk most people buy in sales is just spending, not savings. Only buy what you absolutely need and would want to buy at full price if you could afford it. If you buy a high priced item, ensure that it is a classic that will last you many years. If you don't think it is essential, either don't buy at all or sell some older stuff on ebay to cover the cost of the new item. I don't believe in cutting down on a daily treat if it makes your day brighter. A flask of home made instant coffee is nowhere near as appealing as buying a lovely cappuccino in a cafe. Decide what you really enjoy and what you can take or leave and cut down on the take and leaves only by either not buying at all, or buying cheaper equivalents. Saving money should not be about substituting misery for pleasure. You will never keep it up, anyway and will look for other expensive ways to compensate yourself. Lifestyle changes are what you need, not boring, unpleasant faddish money diets.

  • Rich temple / 7 January 2016

    This is all blatantly obvious stuff, however I'd ignore your travel to the larger store motion, I am all for keeping local people running there own local stores and happy to pay that little extra as you get more customer service with a smile.

    A shopping list is more sensible- plan your meals a week ahead, only buy what you need. Buy one of those flask things, drink your own coffe on the way to work and use works coffee for your way home, or here an idea, drink water just for health benefits never mind the fact it's for free!

  • Tracy Crank / 6 January 2016

    The cost of womens magazines is ridiculous, they are mostly full of adverts for clothing, shoes and handbags that ordinary people can't afford, if I want to go window shopping to exclusive high end shops I can do it for free.

  • tawqir / 6 January 2016

    I shop when I need something do not spend money on chocolates and drinks just buy good food and buy food that will last you a week or two

  • Gail Barry / 6 January 2016

    I use the pound shops, get house cleaners for a pound instead of the £3 or more in big stores and they have the best chocolate bars and boxes also @£1!! Great fun,

  • Julie A / 6 January 2016

    People still buy (and queue) for newspapers?

  • david alexander / 6 January 2016

    so you think we should all support the big chains and not the small shops. that equates to small local shops going out of business and further rise of the chains. bad idea as far as I am concerned. its the big chains that are forcing the cost of living up by buying all the goods and the smaller shops having to pay over the odds to get what the can get hold of to sell. yes they are more expensive by a few pennies. though it cost the same amount to travel too and from the big stores. so in my opinion local is better. your other points may have some validity.

  • helen cutts / 6 January 2016

    very interesting,would like to read more, but got work in the morning!

  • lucia / 5 January 2016

    Travel to the larger store but don't drive on the school run..go figure.

  • Kevin Everitt / 5 January 2016

    if you buy a coffee for £2 a day that's £10 a week or £40 a month..1 coffee a day!!! unreal...if the coffee shop ask you for £40 at the start of the month for coffee you would tell them where to go I am sure

  • Naomi / 5 January 2016

    Not particularly helpful to the average Joe sadly, I'm sure there'll be a few that will get a light bulb moment from reading this though ☺

  • Jeff / 5 January 2016

    Completly uselss article writer has too much time

  • Terry McGeary / 5 January 2016

    Not in any way new tips but no harm in reminding us about them.
    Being retired just few years (a bit early) I am from a back ground in which taxis were taken in unusual circumstances such as getting to the station to go on holiday. Even today I avoid that particular expense wherever practical.
    Work canteen lunches I did usually do but usually a cup of soup and a carton of milk which I took as a reward for my hard work.
    Latterly, I did fall into the trap of buying a coffee or even a half pint of lager if trains home were screwed up or doing imitations of sardine cans.
    Now I am doing a lot of the cooking I have become the kitchen King of soup. A roast chicken (find out when supermarkets knock down their pre-cooked ones!) is one of the most economical items to buy: boil the carcass after your meal and leave the lid on, next morning it is amazing how much extra meat you can remove by hand, drain off the stock and ditch the meagre bones. Use the stock for soup and you can throw in the reclaimed chicken.
    Use the stock (maybe augmented with a cube or two) for puréed parsnip (so cheap!) and ginger soup or for lentil.
    I agree with the person who said to just buy enough carrots for your needs. Good idea. It saves things going mouldy and frees up room in the fridge or veg rack. Think what you need for the day. Buy enough. Eat. Repeat.:)

  • alex law / 5 January 2016

    I already do all this im Ahead

  • Tim Jones / 4 January 2016

    Oh dear. I already do all that stuff and I'm still skint.

  • Anna homer / 2 January 2016

    Very interesting I'm starting a new job in a couple of weeks and have taken a big pay cut but a more rewarding job, I hope.
    So will start the new year with your tips. Thank you

  • Lucy G / 2 January 2016

    The old advice of making a shopping list and sticking to it can help the purse a lot. Harder in practise though sometimes, especially when feeling low and needing a pick me up. The most helpful thing I have found is, if you have the time to meal plan, do so but write a list of the ingredients needed and instead of buying packs of vegetables, buy the single items, eg. 2 carrots for that stew instead of the whole pack of carrots. You'll find a surprisingly large amount of savings by doing that alone.

  • Clare / 1 January 2016

    I was told if you look after the pennies the pounds will then look after themselves and your advices sums this up . I am definitely going to take lunch to work and a flask when walking my dogs instead of a cafe stop

  • Olga Jones / 30 December 2015

    I agree with your comments about hidden's so easy to believe that it's omly pennies.....but boy ,does it mount up!

  • Jaz / 30 December 2015

    I do all the above already and always look at more ways of saving in order to get more for my money. I shop in designer outlets but only buy the stuff that is on sale or extra discount. With all that saving you can then treat yourself to a nice holiday or or things that you dream to do once in a lifetime.

  • D.Cook / 30 December 2015

    I have had to cut back, I have followed as many of the tips and have kept out of debt because of the cutbacks I have made. The newspaper and lunches are a £100 monthly saving .Swapping supermarkets another £100 a month. We still have treats like the cinema but we never buy their popcorn or buy their drinks, we take our own, we also go on the half price days. I actually enjoy thinking of ways to save money. Although our circumstances have changed for the better I have not gone back to my money wasting ways.

  • bob / 30 December 2015

    I definitely need to make my own lunch for work ans stop buying that chocolate...

  • Ana B. / 29 December 2015

    Hello mr. More. I am glad to know that all of the tips you suggest are the ones I follow.

  • Shelley / 29 December 2015

    Makes me excited that I could be saving that much I'm gonna really have a try and see how I can do in 6 months. Trying for another baby so the extra savings could really help when I'm on maternity leave