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Seven days, seven ways to save hundreds

It’s National Vegetarian Week and lots of celebs, from Jamie Oliver to Paul McCartney, extol the virtues of giving up meat just once a week.  This could, with a bit of creativity, make a difference to your wallet.

What else could you give up just once a week – that could really pay off for your account balance?

We’ve seven ways you can save by giving something up one day a week. You’ll see how it can quickly add up.

You don’t have to do all of these (everyone needs an indulgence every now and again), but curbing on just one or two of these could mean your money could go where you would really like it to, such as a holiday or home improvements.

Monday – Meat

Is your typical dinner meat and potatoes? Why not swap it for a veggie meal once a week? There are lots of websites out there dedicated to making creative and delicious vegetarian meals, so lack of inspiration is no longer an excuse.

The average packet of chicken breasts, looking at, is around £3.00.

Potential annual savings -  £156

Tuesday – Takeaway coffee

By Tuesday, it’s easy to start craving the caffeine. But don’t reach for that takeaway coffee just yet. You can get the same hit from bringing a flask into work and save money.

If you consider the average coffee to be around £2.00, you could be frittering away more than £60.00 a month on your caffeine habit.

Potential annual savings -  £104

Wednesday – Wasting energy

With the weather is (supposedly) heating up, you may have less need to keep your heating on, but it’s easy to slip into the habit of keeping it high when it’s chilly.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, you could save between £85 - £90 a year by turning your thermostat down by just one degree.

Potential annual savings -  £90

Thursday – Takeaways

Now the weekend is approaching, the motivation to home cook may be slipping away.

According to, the average Brit eats 12 takeaways a month, adding up to a monthly cost of £110.  That’s nearly a tenner you can save by cutting back once a week.

Potential annual savings -  £477 a year

Friday – Fags

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) found that men smoke an average of 13 cigarettes a day, and women smoke 11. Let’s take 12 as a middle ground.

A pack of 20 cigarettes costs on average £8. That works out as 40p per smoke. So not smoking for just one day will save you £4.80 a week.

Potential annual savings – Just under £250

Saturday – Socialising

Put down that pint!

The Good Pub Guide lists the average price of a pint in the UK at £3.31. Cut down on two pints a week and you could be putting the pennies where you really need them.

Potential annual savings - £344

Sunday – Showing at the cinema

Looking to round off the week with a movie? You may be better off staying at home and watching a DVD or checking out what’s on TV instead.

The average cost of a cinema ticket is £6.54. Put other cinema costs on top of that, such as popcorn and drinks – which according to YouGov, averages at £7.85 per person – and you’re looking at quite an expensive afternoon out.

Potential annual savings - £748

What do you think?

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  • Marianne / 31 March 2016

    I don't smoke, don't drink, have 4 kids so can't afford cinema and I'm veggie already ...and I'm still skint! Any other ideas ?

  • Archaepon / 31 March 2016

    All quite hackneyed savings that have been mooted for years. Few if any apply to me. I thought there'd be some revelation. But no.

  • Phillip Smith / 31 March 2016

    I totally agree with everything on this list. I know skipping on the cinema might feel like a travesty at first - but you could invite friends around for a movie for sure...even bond more! Even something that feels like a drawback can have a benefit. :)

  • Jo Elkin / 31 March 2016

    We all work hard for these small luxuries and sometimes they are whau gets you through the week. What's it all about if you are can't enjoy a coffee or a drink with friends. I understand what you are saying that these costs can mount up but what's the point of working hard if you have got to spend your time off cooped up at home. Life is for living .you're a longtime dead!!!

  • Janice / 31 March 2016

    Is that your best advice?
    Do you really think people who need to budget actually have this lifestyle?
    Please wake up and smell the coffee. As long as it's not Starbucks.
    I hope people also read the comments where much more pertinent advice has been given.

  • Sooz / 31 March 2016

    1. Make your own laundry liquid for pennies - plenty of how-to's on YouTube or on the net generally. Doesn't smell as floral but it does the job. Cost - a quid for the washing soda, 50p for bar soap, electricity for the boiled water and get several months' worth of one to two washes a week.

    2. Yes to bulk buying. It's a LOT cheaper in the long run. I do a big shop once a month / six weeks and have it delivered - all the things like multipacks of loo paper, tins of beans, soya milk, the whole shooting match especially when they're on offer. Fresh stuff I buy as and when but I do freeze vegetables too, especially chopped and stored in batches. I buy discounted bags of spinach, for example, and freeze it in small bags.

    3. Use a halogen oven rather than the traditional cooker. Uses less electricity and you can cook most stuff in them. I even bake bread in mine and just turn it upside down half way through so both top and bottom are baked evenly. Gawwwjuss.

    4. Use sites like Freecycle for free stuff - furniture, clothing, whatever.

    5. Grow stuff, even if you live in a flat. Lettuces, peppers, ginger and loads more can be grown in pots. I've just planted the seeds from a green pepper and they're sprouting - they won't be huge but they'll do for me when they fruit.

    6. Staying warm without putting the heating on: wear your sleeping bag and put a hot water bottle under your toes inside the bag - or on your lap. Toasty. (You have to learn how to waddle to the loo when nature calls) I work from home, sitting at a desk, and have saved a lot on heating doing this. I save the heating for when friends come round and then I can afford to be generous with it.

    7. Saw a comment about strong tea and coffee - I keep a tin of very good coffee for those times when only a good strong coffee will do, and I make do with a much cheaper brand for everyday quaffage. I re-use teabags. You can get four good strong-ish cups of tea out of two tea bags and I hunt down the cheapest offers. Got 240 bags for two quid the other week.

    8. if you use a conventional oven use it to cook a few things at once and then cool and freeze most of it. Saves energy.

  • Pablo / 31 March 2016

    Useful tips could be

    Shop in the reduced section of the supermarket. Buy large packs of meat for half price of better and freeze in individual portions to use later. I got two pork chops for 30p yesterday that I'll defrost next week.

    If you have friends or relative to split large packs of food with do that. A bag of carrots can be bought for 50p but as a couple were unlikely to eat a kilo in a week before they go off. Our friends chip in a couple of pounds and we split them getting our veggies for the week for very little and not wasting anything.

    Buy cheaper less desirable cuts of meat. Skinless chicken thighs work just as well in stir fry and fajitas as breast meat does at half the price.

    Charity shops are brilliant. If you're wanting designer brands and more upmarket items head to a more well off area to shop. Often people with more money to spend on clothes and brands will wear dresses once and donate them. You can get high end, current season, sometimes with tags on stuff for a quarter of the retail price. If you're after basic stuff just to get by, the less affluent areas will sort you out cheaply. The same goes for furniture and electronics, some charity shops have specialised furniture stores. I've seen a SMEG fridge (£800+??) in our local.

    eBay is great too. Look for auctions ending at awkward times as these will have less bids. Great for nightshift workers! Look out of season too. Buy your winter coat now to use in 6 months as they'll sell for much less than they would sell for in November.

    Eating out, online shopping discounts and days out often have discounts somewhere. Google deals for everything you plan to buy. Quidco cash back, voucher codes online, 02 priority, cash back offers through your bank account, discounts for signing up to company newsletters etc.

    If you want a holiday use sky scanner to compare flights, there's an "everywhere" option. Choose your local airport and it tell you where's cheapest to go and when to fly. I've been to Norway for £16 return each.

    Use Airbnb to find a room or house to rent. It's much cheaper than most cottage/caravan rentals and more flexible. If you have access to a kitchen you can cook meals there rather than going to restaurants while on holiday.

    Use train line to book train tickets in advance. The cheapest are released 12 weeks in advance. Use a ticket splitter website to see if it's cheaper to book separate tickets for the same train journey.

    Check what benefits you might be entitled to. I work full time on a low wage but im still eligible for around £30 a month housing benefit.

    Hope this actually helps!

  • Pablo / 31 March 2016

    Not really helpful given its the same regurgitated advice every website, advice line and magazine offers. People who need to save money are unlikely to be buying Starbucks every day and probably won't be shocked to find they can 'save money' going without it.

  • Ed Savvy / 30 March 2016

    We've ended up saving a great deal each month by doing our weekly shop online & getting it home delivered. We were over spending by grabbing unnecessary items in store & throwing them in the shopping trolley. Now we only buy what's needed, you can still get the supermarket deals, they're advertised online also. The websites are great, you can go on, enter stuff & it saves it for you, you go back on & update it when you realise you need something else & you book your preferred delivery slot. If they don't have what you want they substitute for it at no extra cost. Save on petrol, save on time, save by budgeting & you don't have to deal with that foul experience of heading to the supermarket! Winner 👍

  • Nik / 30 March 2016

    I totally agree with Stuart's comments, and Mrs Matthews. Obviously this isn't directed to majority of hardworking people, some with more than one job, just trying to make ends meet on the minimum wage

  • Gen. Von Grumble / 30 March 2016

    How about we all just give up on life altogether! If we are dead then we can't waste money on frivolous things like eating, drinking and generally being a normal human being. Give us a break you bunch of killjoys.

  • Mrs Matthews / 30 March 2016

    Really, is that the best advice you can give? Most are common sense. Do you need someone to tell you not to have 12 takeaways a month! How about real such as stop being a slave to branded food or plan your meals in advance. Really plan and stick to your shopping list. I know many people who still waste so much food every week. How about also not popping to the shop mid week, big mistake. I've switched to Aldi, follow a strict shopping list and eat what we have left until Saturday. Have saved us a treat and we a diet that is high in fresh, clean food every day.

  • Stuart / 30 March 2016

    Amazing. List all the things that are essentially luxury items and call it financial planning.
    Pity that the majority of people who would actually need this service wouldn't be able to afford the things you're saving on in the first place.

  • Mike / 30 March 2016

    All good points

  • J / 30 March 2016

    Why don't u just shoot all the working class and put robots in our place

  • J / 30 March 2016

    Why don't u just shot all the working class and put robots in our place

  • J / 30 March 2016

    Why don't u just shot all the working class and put robots in our place

  • Piku / 30 March 2016

    5 of those things I don't do anyway (smoking , drinking regular takeaways, coffee, cinema) and we don't have a thermostat. So I guess I can't save money then!

  • Piku / 30 March 2016

    5 of those things I don't do anyway (smoking , drinking regular takeaways, coffee, cinema) and we don't have a thermostat. So I guess I can't save money then!

  • Steph / 25 March 2016

    Unplug things when not in use.
    I have a few branded foods my hubby won't compromise on so I but them.but buy cheap where I can
    Bulk buy things that don't go off (loo roll etc)
    Cook big batches of food and freeze it. Freezer bags are cheaper than tubs and take up less room
    Re heat in microwave it uses less energy than the oven.
    Boil a kettle full of water and put it in a flask. Saves reboiling the kettle

  • Jonathan Mark fawcett / 25 March 2016

    I've already done all that stuff but need to save more. I need tips on things like. The strongest cheapest tea so I can use less of it. The strongest cheapest coffee for the same reason. Is bulk shopping better than weekly and is it cheaper to prepare meals when you factor in cooking them in the oven and should I also bulk cook and freeze