200+ ideas to save money –
When it comes to your hard-won money, saving every penny counts!
Here are our top 200+ ideas for saving money.
Disclaimer: This website provides information for guidance and educational purposes only. The Grown-Up School does not provide regulated financial advice. You can seek independent financial advice from a suitably qualified and regulated professional advisor. Check out our disclaimer policy for more information.
1. Save money on food – 28 ideas 🍟
- Check what food you have in stock, and base your meals around it!
- Keep track of food expiry dates to avoid wasting food 📆
- Shop at cheaper supermarkets e.g. Aldi, Lidl in the UK
- Drink more water to feel more full – sometimes it is easy to mistake the feeling of hunger, when all you need is a drink! 💦
- Buy off-brand food products (they often taste just as good as the more expensive brands, and could save you thousands in the long run!)
- Shop in the reduced price section of supermarkets 🛒
- Consider bulk-buying long-lasting food essentials to save money e.g. buying 10kg of pasta/rice instead of 1kg
- Grow your own food 🌱
- Learn how to store food properly, to keep it fresh for longer – freezing food/leftovers can help make it last! ❄️
- Pack lunches beforehand or cook leftovers to avoid impulse buying food! 🥪
- Forage in your local area for food e.g. collecting blackberries for desserts (do your research to do this safely!)
- Consider swapping expensive meats for high protein, cheaper alternatives e.g. lentils, chickpeas. (These are also more environmentally friendly, and will help to reduce your carbon footprint!) 🌎
- Drink more tap water, to avoid paying for more expensive drinks e.g. beer, wine, fizzy drinks
- Reduce expensive takeaway spending with cheaper home-cooked alternatives
- Research cheap, healthy meal recipes to avoid paying for more expensive pre-prepared food 🕵️♀️
- Reduce sugary food in your diet – sugar can make food more expensive, and not very filling!
- Plan your meals for the week to avoid falling into buying takeaway 📝
- Don’t shop for food when you’re hungry – this could increase your chances of impulse buying more expensive food!
- If you’re really struggling financially, consider visiting a food bank, which offers free food to people in need 🏦
- Avoid wasting food! – If food runs past its “use by” date, then it’s a good idea to throw it away. However, if a food runs past its “best before” date, then it is still edible. “Best before” dates are from the manufacturer to tell you when the food might lose flavour/texture. Also, ignore “sell by” or “display until” dates – this is information for the supermarket and doesn’t mean that the food can’t be eaten
- Consider asking for group discounts when eating out in a big group 👪
- Eat before going out, to avoid buying food when you’re out
- Skip dessert at restaurants to save money 🍨
- Consider online food shopping – it can be easier to compare food prices and plan your shopping. You could also be more likely to stick to your budget by avoiding temptation from delicious food smells and expensive impulse purchases in-store!
- Check out the “world food” aisle, where you might be able to find cheaper cupboard staples like rice – they can be cheaper because the brands are less well-known
- Create a food budget, and stick to it! 💸
- Consider using free leftover food apps, where local shops give away their unsold food for free. You can also use these apps to find free leftover food from your neighbours! E.g. Olio, Too Good To Go 📱
- Eating out? Look for weekday deals at restaurants rather than eating out on weekends
2. Clothes/fashion – 21 ideas 💃
- Learn what the “laundry labels” on clothes mean, to wash clothes properly and help them to last longer! 👕
- Learn how to remove stains from your clothes, to help them last longer
- Sell your old clothes, to help buy new ones 💸
- Look for quality clothes, that won’t break easily
- Only buy clothes that will fit easily into an outfit – buying clothes that don’t match can end up costing you for clothes you hardly use!
- If you have children, consider buying bigger clothes that the child can “grow into”, to help the clothes last longer 👶
- Repair your clothes with rips/breaks instead of buying new ones 🧵
- Consider shopping in a different department – men’s clothing can sometimes be cheaper than women’s clothing for the same item e.g. t shirts
- Upcycle your old clothes into different outfits 🪡
- Clothes swap with friends/family – or even use clothes swapping apps! 🔁
- Shop at cheaper clothes shops/off-brand shops (but still look for high-quality clothes that last!!) e.g. Primark in the UK
- Buy clothes from charity shops – charity shopping in “posh” areas might lead you to some great bargains ♻️
- Learn how to iron clothes based on their fabric types, to avoid burning them and make your clothes last longer!
- Buy cheaper, second-hand clothes from websites like Shpock
- Avoid buying clothing “trends”, which will be quickly out of style! 😎
- Shop out of season e.g. buy winter clothes in the summer, which could be cheaper ☀️
- Buy clothes that fit you – even if you’re planning to lose weight, buying clothes the wrong size means that you can’t wear them!
- Borrow or rent clothes that you only need to wear once – buying them could be a waste of money if you’re not going to use them 🤵♀️
- If you’re going to use an outfit a lot – it might be cheaper to buy an outfit instead of renting one
- Only buy clothes that you need! 💸
- Consider saving trips to the barber/salon by cutting your own hair, or letting trainee hairdressers cut your hair at a reduced cost. ✂️
3. Supermarket shopping – 11 ideas 🛒
- Make a shopping list, and stick to it to avoid impulse buys 📝
- Check and compare the “cost per” on the supermarket price labels, to find the cheapest products e.g. something that costs 50p per kilogram, will save you money compared to a similar product sat next to it, that costs 70p per kilogram. It should tell you the cost on the supermarket label! ⚖️
- Buy supermarket own-brand products e.g. own-brand shampoo, cleaning products, toilet paper, food – they are usually cheaper than branded products!
- Look for items in the reduced sections of the supermarket 🏷️
- Ignore “special deals” or “multi-buy deals” that the supermarkets offer – quite often supermarkets increase the prices of products during these deals. They might not actually make the product cheaper for you!
- Search high and low on shelves for cheaper products – often supermarkets will put their most profitable products at eye level 🪜
- Consider using cashback sites to earn cashback when you shop at supermarkets 💻
- Don’t let loyalty scheme points decide where you shop – loyalty schemes are factored into the prices that supermarkets offer, meaning they won’t necessarily be cheaper places to shop
- If your usual supermarket does have a loyalty scheme, consider using it to make the most of shopping there, and to cash in on potential discounts and savings! 🛒
- Check out your local market stalls to see if there are any cheaper deals 🥦
- Avoid shopping on payday – you might be tempted to spend lots of money!
4. Gifts – 15 ideas 🎁
- Make gifts by hand instead of buying, they have a personal touch, and can be made cheaper than buying. You could bake/cook, create art, knit clothes, upcycle house decorations… 🧶
- Don’t feel pressured (particularly by social media) to spend tons of money on gifts! Focus on what’s affordable for you, that won’t worsen your financial situation 💞
- Work out what you can afford before buying gifts – stick to a budget! 🎁
- Plan ahead to avoid buying last-minute gifts that could derail your budget!
- Don’t feel pressured to buy gifts for every occasion – why not find other ways to make them feel special instead, like spending quality time together? – Check out our article – 133 ways to make someone feel special
- Consider giving gift vouchers for your time – 1 night of free babysitting, dog walking, fashion advice, doing chores – the possibilities for time vouchers are endless, and won’t cost any money! 🎫
- Save money for presents early, to avoid borrowing money for presents last-minute!
- Consider shopping online to avoid getting enticed into more expensive deals in high street shops 💻
- Rather than buying lots of gifts, consider getting one high quality gift per person – maybe from a small/local business who needs support?
- Plan ahead and order lots of gifts together, to combine delivery costs, so that you only have to pay extra for delivery once
- Make gifts meaningful rather than costly, why not gift a heartfelt video or scrapbook, or frame a picture 📷
- Consider using reusable wrapping for gifts such as decorated cloth bags that can be returned to you or reused. This can help reduce waste from gifts, but also save you money on wrapping paper!
- Check out second-hand, antique, or charity shops for cheaper, interesting gifts 🪑
- Agree a spending limit with friends/family for gifts, so that nobody feels under pressure to overspend 🔝
- Find local gifts on eBay where items are listed as “collection only” 🗺️
5. Entertainment – 23 ideas 📺🎪
- Look for entertainment options that are free or low-cost e.g. walking in the park, playing games, spending time together 🏞️
- Buy second-hand technology for entertainment!
- Check out your local library for books to borrow 📚
- Borrow books/games/films from family or friends instead of buying it
- Look out for cheap/free sports events – school sports events are often cheaper than bigger sports events 🏈
- Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you need the latest mobile phone! There are plenty of older, cheaper versions of mobile phones that work just as well 📱
- Fed up of expensive software for your computer? There are free options available! E.g. GIMP for photo editing, LibreOffice for making word documents, slideshow presentations, and spreadsheets. 👩💻
- Share the cost of entertainment subscriptions with family or friends instead of getting separate accounts 🤝
- Shop around for your home internet connection, you might be overpaying! 🛒
- Consider cheaper exercise options than paying for expensive sports/gym subscriptions e.g. running, hiking, using free park gym equipment 🏃♀️
- Cancel unneeded TV, newspaper, magazine, or online subscriptions
- Want a widescreen TV without the price tag? Consider getting a projector! These can work out much cheaper 📺
- Check out free online gaming websites rather than paying big price tags for online games/games consoles
- Keep an eye out for local book clear outs – some people give their books away for free! 📚
- Have a fancy cooking night at home instead of paying for a restaurant
- Go to cinemas earlier on in the day or on weekdays – tickets are often cheaper than in the evenings/weekends 🎞️
- Love cinema? A membership card might be able to save you money
- Avoid buying snacks at the cinema – they can get pricey! 🍿
- Host a “dessert night” at home instead of a dinner night to save money, by just bringing desserts 🍨
- Invite friends over instead of going out
- Host a film night at home instead of paying to go out 📽️
- Have a spa day at home instead of out of the house 🛀
- Make crafts that you can sell for profit – entertainment that makes you money!
6. Gas/electricity bills – 42 ideas 🔥💡
- Wash clothes at a lower temperature ❄️
- Compare energy prices with different providers – switching to a cheaper provider can save you money!
- Switch to energy efficient light bulbs 💡
- Wear warmer clothes in the house to avoid turning on the heating – thermal jumpers and socks can make a big difference!
- Wear layers of clothes to stay warmer 🧣
- Drink warm drinks and eat warm meals to help you feel less cold
- Spend more time upstairs – hot air rises, so your upstairs rooms should be warmer!
- Consider getting warmer bedding for your bed – you can get thermal bedding to avoid turning the heating up at bedtime! Adding extra blankets and bedding can help keep your bed warm too. 🛌
- During daylight hours, open your curtains/blinds for natural sunlight rather than turning on a light switch
- Heat water in a gas stove rather than in a kettle 🫖
- Don’t overfill your kettle – only fill it with the amount of water you plan to use – heating water that you don’t need wastes electricity
- Cover pots and pans with their lids when cooking to help them heat up more quickly
- Don’t open the oven door more often than you need to when cooking – this lets out heat and uses more electricity to cook
- Make sure that your fridge temperatures are set to the correct level – if they’re set too low they’ll use more electricity than they need to! ⛄
- Consider putting warm blankets around the house, so that you can stay warm without putting the heating up 🔥
- Do something active when you feel cold – exercise, home repairs, cleaning – these all generate body heat to make you feel warmer 🏋️
- Close blinds/curtains at night to help keep warmth in the house
- Open blinds/curtains when it’s sunny to let the sun warm the house!
- Close windows and doors to help keep warmth in the house 🪟
- Consider using microwaveable heating pads to warm your body
- If you are on a low income, the government may offer money to help you pay for your energy bills, particularly during colder seasons
- Once you’ve finished cooking/baking at home and turned off the oven, you can open the oven door slightly to let the warm air heat up the room – if you do this be very careful and ensure that nobody in your household can get hurt by the hot appliance – especially if you have children, vulnerable adults, or pets in the house. Also – never use your oven as your main source of heat!
- Take shorter showers to reduce your electricity bill 🚿
- Consider draught-proofing your house to make it feel warmer – this means filling in gaps where cold air can get in
- Monitor your gas/electricity usage and look for areas where it can reduce- getting a “smart meter” installed can help you track how much energy you use every day
- Turn your heating down – even by a small amount can make a difference to your bills! (In the UK turning your heating down by just one degree could save up to £80 a year.)
- Consider upgrading your house boiler/heating system for something more energy efficient
- Compare energy efficiency ratings when buying electrical items – the better the efficiency, the lower your electricity bill! (In the UK, purchasing an A+++ fridge freezer will save around £320 in energy bills over its lifetime compared to an A+ model!)
- Only use your heating when you need it – using timers on your heating system can help you to manage this!
- Turn your heating down when you’re leaving the house/going away – make sure the house won’t be too cold that your pipes will freeze though! 🌡️
- Heat smaller rooms over large ones – large rooms can be more expensive to heat
- Putting clingfilm on your windows can help to avoid losing heat from your windows – be careful if you have children, pets or vulnerable adults in your home however – clingfilm is a choking hazard!
- Turn lights off when you leave the room! 🔦
- When looking for somewhere to live – be aware that homes with electric heating can be more expensive to run than homes with gas central heating
- Make sure that your heating system is well-maintained and looked after, to ensure that it’s working efficiently – e.g. check that your boiler is working properly with the correct settings, that your radiators are using clean water and are heating properly
- Turn off/unplug appliances that have a “standby mode” – this uses electricity! 📺
- Get electricity timers to avoid keeping appliances turned on when you’re not using them ⌛
- Dry your clothes outside on the washing line when it’s a warm day, rather than using an electric dryer 👕
- Consider investing in double glazing windows, wall insulation, and/or roof insulation to keep your house warmer – although this can be expensive!
- Consider installing smart thermostats in your home – this means that you can control which rooms are being heated and when, all from your phone. If you can get smart radiator valves, then you can control which radiators you want to heat!
- Turn your electrical plugs off when you’re going on holiday 🏖️
- Get the right energy meter for your needs – If you’re not struggling with debts, you could consider moving from a “pay-as-you-go” prepayment meter to a cheaper “standard credit meter” where you pay for your energy AFTER you’ve used it. Prepayment meters are often more expensive than credit meters – but can also prevent you from overspending on energy if you’re struggling with debts.
7. Water bills – 16 ideas 🚿🚽
- Showers generally use less water than taking baths, so you could take showers instead!
- Showers can use up to 17 litres of water per minute, so keep them short! Maybe set a timer to keep your showers shorter
- Turn off the tap whilst brushing your teeth or shaving 🪥
- Water your plants/garden during cooler times of the day to help them to retain more water 🪴
- Use a dishwasher! Surprisingly, dishwashers actually use less water than you would use washing up by hand!
- Avoid washing up dishes as you go – save the dishes for one big wash to save water
- Catch rainwater in containers to water your garden 🌱
- Steam your veggies instead of boiling them to use less water 🥦
- Regularly check your home’s pipes for water leaks 💦
- Only boil water that you plan to use straight away – it will save your energy bill too!
- Don’t use your toilet as a bin – it wastes water, but could also block the drains! 🚽
- Use a washing up bowl for washing dishes – these use less water than if you wash directly into the sink 🍽️
- Consider adding more clothes to your washing machine loads to save water
- If you have a lot of people living in your home, you may be able to save money by moving onto “estimated usage” for your water, rather than paying for everything you use on a “water meter”. A “estimated usage” often means that no matter how much water you use, you pay a fixed price, which is great if you use loads of water.
- If you don’t have a lot of people living in your home, you may be able to save money by moving onto a water meter instead of “estimated usage”. A water meter means that you pay for all of the water you use, so if you don’t use a lot of water compared to the “fixed price”, you may be able to save money.
- Store cold water in your fridge, to avoid wasting water waiting for it to go cold from the tap! ❄️
8. Cars/transport – 31 ideas 🚗🚞
- If you catch the bus every day, consider getting a bus pass, which could work out cheaper than buying a ticket each time! 🚌
- Drive responsibly – avoid speeding and parking tickets to save money!
- Consider buying a smaller car – these are usually cheaper to buy and lighter, which can save on fuel costs 🚗
- Keep your car for longer – buying a new car can be expensive, so if your car is functioning well, why change it? ⌚
- Consider buying a secondhand car rather than a new one – new cars often lose a significant amount of their value once they’ve been bought for the first time
- Shop around for car insurance to find cheaper deals – very often if you let your insurance “autorenew” every year, it will cost more money than if you shop around! 🛒
- Consider buying a car outright rather than taking out a loan (if you can) – the extra “interest” costs could be wasting your money!
- Research fuel efficiency for your new car, to avoid spending more money on petrol 🕵️♀️
- Try to avoid damaging your windscreen wipers by using them to get rid of ice – scrape the windscreen or use de-icer instead! ❄️
- If you don’t drive a lot, you may be able to save money on “pay as you go” car insurance 🚘
- Research cheaper parking spaces when you travel – there are even some apps available that help you to do this! 🔎
- Taking an advanced driving course might reduce your insurance costs
- Getting “black box” might reduce your insurance costs
- Consider cashback cards, to earn cashback on fuel 💳
- Research fuel prices, to find cheap fuel
- Use “economical” tyres on your car, to save money on fuel 🚗
- Petrol vs diesel cars – if you drive more than 10,000 miles a year, and drive on faster roads – a car with a diesel engine might work out cheaper for you. Otherwise, a car with a petrol engine might be cheaper for you.
- If you’re not using a “performance” car, don’t worry about paying extra for “premium” fuel. Standard cars are designed to use standard fuel!
- Check your tyre pressure – tyres with low pressure use significantly more fuel! 🎈
- If a pothole damages your car, you might be able to put a claim in against local government for the damage
- When buying car insurance, if you put a higher “estimated yearly mileage” than what you actually drive, you may end up overpaying. Try and keep your mileage estimates as accurate as possible! 🔮
- Appeal against parking tickets, you might avoid paying a fine! 🎫
- Park your car away from other cars to avoid the chances of it getting damaged
- Avoid storing heavy items in your car – the more weight you carry in the car, the more petrol it uses!📦
- Shop around for car parts – you may be able to find them cheaper and buy them yourself rather than using the parts that garages offer
- Wash your car yourself to save money 🧽
- Make sure your car has the right level of insurance – accidents and emergencies can cost a lot of money!
- If your family/friends will be driving your car, adding them to your insurance might reduce the price of your insurance. – This might not be the case if they are new/inexperienced drivers however, which might increase the price.
- Consider paying your car tax annually instead of monthly – this is usually cheaper!
- Research “economical driving” – the way you drive can save your fuel! 🔎
- Plan your routes ahead to avoid getting lost and using unnecessary fuel 🗺️
9. Holidays/travel – 19 ideas 🏖️✈️
- Consider a “staycation” in your local area rather than travelling abroad, it can be cheaper! 🗺️
- Find cheaper accommodation on sites like Airbnb, or even consider stay at a hostel
- Shop around comparison sites for cheaper flight deals 🛒
- Stay within your luggage allowances for flights – costs for extra luggage quickly add up! 🎒
- Bring your own food for flights instead of buying at the airport 🥪
- Make sure that your passport hasn’t expired! Some countries might not allow you to enter if you have 6 months or less on your passport
- Travel by coach or train instead of flying – if you don’t mind a longer journey, train or coach journeys can work out cheaper 🚄
- Consider finding affordable travel insurance to avoid emergency costs (you can get paid emergency money if things go wrong!)
- Travel with friends for group booking discounts 🧑🤝🧑
- Travel at night – often travelling at inconvenient times is cheaper e.g. overnight flights
- Turn off your mobile data roaming to avoid unexpected data costs 📶
- Consider package deals that might save you money – sometimes they can take the stress out of booking a holiday, but also save you money!
- Consider using free, prepaid money travel cards to use different currencies – travel insurance might not cover all of your cash money! 💳
- Research your destination beforehand to avoid getting lost, which could cost you time and money
- Find cheap travel accessories/toiletries before your holiday to avoid any last minute purchases that could cost more 🧴
- Book your holidays far in advance to get better deals
- Consider last-minute cheap holiday deals if you’re flexible with your travel
- Be flexible with dates! – School holidays and different times of the year can be more expensive 📆
- Bring an empty water bottle to the airport, then fill it up with a water fountain to get free water once you’ve passed security 🥤
10. Rent – 16 ideas 🏠
- If you have family/friends that would be happy with it, they could offer you cheaper rent/free accommodation
- Look after the home you’re renting, to make sure that you get your full deposit back when you leave! 💰
- Consider cheaper areas – places further from cities are likely to cost less!
- Be flexible and friendly with your landlord – this can go a long way when it comes to asking them for favours/reduced rent! 🤗
- Consider a smaller home – the smaller the home, usually the cheaper the rent will be
- Get a roommate or housemate – sharing the costs will make it cheaper for you!
- Consider signing a long contract – landlords want stability, so may offer you cheaper rent if you agree to rent with them for 1.5 years or 2 years rather than 6 months or 1 year 📆
- Negotiate with your landlord when you renew your contract – if you’ve proven to be a good tenant who pays on time and looks after the home, your landlord won’t want to lose you and go through the effort of finding new tenants! 🤝
- Consider looking for somewhere new to rent in winter – it is normally more difficult for landlords to find tenants in winter (because it’s cold and people don’t want to move!), so you might be able to find cheaper rent prices and negotiate a better deal ☃️
- Consider giving up your parking space if you don’t need it – you may be able to negotiate lower rent costs, or even make money from renting out the parking space with your landlord’s permission 🚗
- Good at handywork? You could offer to decorate the home/do handywork for your landlord, in exchange for reduced rent costs 🛠️
- Moving out? Ask your landlord if they’ll pay you a “finder’s fee” for helping them to find new tenants 🔎
- Found a home to rent that has been on the market for a long time? The landlord may be open to lower rent offers, because they may be struggling to find tenants, and could be losing money by leaving the house empty ⌛
- Are there any minor flaws in the property you want to rent e.g. damaged carpets? You might be able to use these as reasons to request lower rent 🩹
- Shop around! The more properties you view, the more you will develop a good idea around what good value for money is in your area. That means that you can snap up a good deal as soon as it appears! 🛒
- Consider looking for a private landlord – they might not have to pay expensive agency fees to look after the property – so they might be happy to reduce the rent a bit! 🙋♀️
So that’s it!
Hopefully these 200+ ideas have helped you on your way to saving money.
If you know any friends or family members who might benefit from these ideas, share this post with them!
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