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These simple steps will free up money which can be used to top up your investments
Thursday 28 Mar 2019 Author: Laura Suter

Everyone wants to be able to put away a little bit more cash each year, but no one wants to live on beans and have no social life in order to do so.

We’ve crunched the numbers and found some of the best ways to save cash each year, with minimal effort and that are actually realistic. If you do all these you can save £3,000 and more each year. This money can then be used to invest in the markets.

You could ditch your daily coffee from the shops altogether, but we want to work out ways to keep the luxuries you love and just cut the cost of them.

A number of coffee shops now offer discounts if you take your own cup. Sandwich chain Pret A Manger, for example, offers 50p off your drink if you take a reusable cup – this means you can get its filter coffee for a mere 49p. Starbucks and Costa Coffee give you 25p off, while Greggs will give you 20p off any hot drink. You’ll need to buy a reusable cup in the first place, but Starbucks sells one for just £1.

Saving: Assuming you buy a coffee from Starbucks every weekday (and buy its £1 cup): £64 a year

Lots of people hand over money every month for subscriptions that they no longer use, or even ones they never intended to pay for.

Most of us have fallen victim to signing up for a free trial to something and then forgetting to cancel before the trial period ended.

The Citizens Advice Bureau estimates that the average Brit spends £640 a year on unwanted subscriptions, and some people don’t even realise they are paying for some services.

Check your bank accounts, including any old accounts you think you no longer use, and cancel anything you don’t use, don’t need or
don’t want.

Saving: Around £640 a year

It’s likely that the electricity and gas bills drop onto your doormat (or into your inbox) each month and you keep meaning to hunt for a better deal but never get around to it.

The Government estimates the average household could save £300 or more by switching utility provider, particularly if you’ve fallen on your energy provider’s standard variable tariff, which is usually the most expensive rate.

Around half of UK households are on these standard tariffs, so the chances are high that this includes you. Arm yourself with a recent energy bill and go to a comparison site, which will work out the best deal for you based on your usage.

Savings: On average £300

There are banks out there who will pay you hard cash just to switch your bank account. Oh, but that’s so much hassle and paperwork, I hear you cry! Well, not as much, since the Current Account Switching Service was launched.

This service promises to take care of the process for you – and those who have used it appear to agree. HSBC is currently offering £150 for those who switch, or £175 if you use the link through MoneySavingExpert.

The account has no fee, but you’ll need to switch at least two direct debits or standing orders, and it won’t work if you’ve been an HSBC customer at any point since 1 January 2016.

First Direct offers a lower £100 for switching, as long as you’ve never been a customer of the bank in the past. You need to pay in £1,000 in the first three months and then pay in £1,000 a month after six months to avoid an account fee.

Saving: £175

Have you got a fancy camera that you only use a few times a year, or some tools that are gathering dust in your shed? You can put them to work, generate spare cash and still keep them.

Various websites allow you to rent out your possessions for others to use. The oddly-named Fat Llama is one of them.

For example, on Fat Llama a digital SLR camera is rented out for £43 a day, while a table saw is £13 a day.

Other options include renting out your driveway as parking for someone, which works well if you live in a city or town centre or in a good commuting location. Someone renting a space half a mile from the centre of Manchester is charging £13.60 for a day, while a space in London Bridge is £27.20 a day.

Another option for those wanting to generate more cash is to rent out a room or your home while you’re away through home sharing website Airbnb. You’ll need to check your mortgage terms and be aware of the insurance implications, but you can earn up to £7,500 a year tax-free by going down this route.

Savings: varies massively depending on what you’re willing to rent out

Lots of people sign up to a higher monthly phone bill in order to get a new handset, but forget to switch once they’ve reached the end of that contract and paid off the handset. This means you’re paying a higher cost for no extra benefit.

If your phone still works then you can keep it and switch to a SIM-only contract, which means you just pay for the monthly plan and not the phone. This is far cheaper than signing up to get a new handset.

For example, Vodafone has a £10 a month SIM-only deal with 4GB of data if you sign up for 12 months, while the latest iPhone will cost you £47 a month with 10GB of data on a 24 month contract, assuming no upfront cost. If you went for the slightly older iPhone 8 you’d pay £35 a month for 24 months.

Savings: Based on the two options above, you’d save
£444 or £300 a year by going SIM-only. 

Using cashback websites for your online purchases could earn you money for a little extra hassle. When you shop online you use a link
via these websites and you’ll earn money back on each purchase you make.

How much you get varies depending on the site and the retailer, but you typically get around 6% cashback at some department stores and 1% back on flights booked through some travel sites.

The biggest cashback websites are TopCashback and Quidco, and because they are larger they can usually negotiate the better deals. They both allow you to sign up for free.

Savings: TopCashback says its average user saves up to £280 a year.

Most money-saving articles will tell you to ditch your weekly takeaway, cook food from scratch instead and save money. But we’ll be more realistic – sometimes you don’t want to cook and want the easy dinner option.

The average takeaway for two costs around £22 each time. So instead, pick up a supermarket meal deal on your way home.

M&S does its ever-popular Two Dine for £12 deal, which includes a main, side, dessert and wine for two, and includes steaks, seabass, carbonara and a cheese selection.

Tesco and Asda have similar deals for £10, including the main, side, dessert and wine/beer. Meanwhile, to replace your takeaway curry Waitrose has an Indian meal deal, which is two mains and two sides for £10.

Saving: Assuming one takeaway a week, saving you £12 each time: £624 a year

This is a more fun way to build up a rainy day fund. Start on day 1 by saving 1p and then add 1p to the amount you save each day. On the first day you save 1p, the next you save 2p, the next 3p, and so on. If you keep it up, by the end of the year you’ll have almost £700.

Savings: £667.95 a year

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