How to make your money go further

Hannah Jolliffe / 21 July 2020

Money-saving doesn’t have to be a painful affair – there are so many easy ways to make your money go further when grocery shopping or shopping online. Make a few of these simple changes and you’ll soon see your money mount up.

Money-saving apps

There are endless apps available of varying quality and usefulness, making it tricky to know where to start. From budgeting to getting the best deal, there’s an app to help – here are a few of our favourites:

Budgeting apps

A good budgeting app, such as Money Dashboard or Yolt, will help you monitor your income and outgoings, analyse your expenses and set a budget.

Savings apps

Chip is a great savings app. It analyses the data from your bank account to calculate how much you can afford to save and automatically squirrels it away for you.

Idealo

Before you buy a product, search for it on the Idealo app to see if you could get it cheaper elsewhere. You can search for the product by name or scan in the barcode if you’re in the shop.

Vouchercloud

Another app that’s worth consulting before you make a bigger purchase – search Vouchercloud for discounts and coupon codes with your chosen retailer. You can also use the ‘track your savings’ function to keep abreast of how much you’ve saved through using the app.

Parkopedia

Regularly feeding money into a parking meter soon adds up, but install Parkopedia onto your phone and it will help you locate any free parking areas in your current location.

Shopping list apps

If you're prone to getting tempted by all the multi-buy offers and the interesting middle aisle of Lidl then sticking to a list will help you stay focused, and an app-based list is one you're not going to leave on the fridge. Apps like OurGroceries and AnyList make it easy to add items whenever you remember them, and to tick them off as you make your way around the shop.

Make the most of loose change

Simple solutions are often best, and the humble piggy bank is still an effective way of amassing a surprisingly healthy amount of cash. Get in the habit of feeding piggy your change and he will grow fat in no time at all. Try saving £2 coins separately and you can easily save £50 per month this way alone.

Some banks – including Monzo, Revolut and Starling – also allow you to round up your purchases and automatically save the change into a separate fund. Do this every time you pay by card and you’ll soon see your pot grow.

Another thrifty move is to bank the cash you save in sales, on coupons and on discounts. It is another way of building up a decent little nest egg for a rainy day with little effort.

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Choose your shops wisely

Avoiding convenience stores may be easier said than done when you've run out of milk or bread and the supermarket's too far away, but mark-ups tend to be significantly higher in corner shops.

As far as supermarkets are concerned, the discount chains do live up to their name. Significant savings can be made on your weekly shop if you use the so-called cheaper supermarkets such as Lidl and Aldi.

When you’re shopping, get in and out as soon as possible. Research shows that shoppers spend an extra 35p for every minute they stay in the shop beyond 30 minutes. By that reckoning, just 15 minutes extra per week equals £273 per year.

Make money when you shop online

If you’re a regular online shopper, you could be missing a trick if you don’t use a cashback website. Try out Quidco, TopCashback or My Money Pocket, which all offer a percentage back on what you spend with certain retailers.

Your cashback is usually paid between one to three months after your purchase, so it’s worth leaving it to mount up. According to these cashback sites, the average member saves around £300 a year, which isn’t bad for doing nothing.

Save on bills

Late payments on utility bills, credit and store cards and HP agreements tend to attract penalties. This is easily avoided if you automate the process. Regular payments by direct debit, standing order and by using online and mobile banking save time and money in the long run – and you won't even have to think about them.

Paying online and opting for paperless billing could also get you a discount on bills.

Keep a track of what you’re using at home with an app like Meter Readings. It helps you monitor what you’re spending each day, prompting you to be mindful about turning the heating on, taking a long shower or leaving devices charging unnecessarily.

Find stuff for free

Why buy when you can get something for free from online communities? Check out popular sites such as Freecycle, Craigslist, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace for free listings. Not only will you save money, you’ll also be reducing unnecessary waste by giving items a second chance.

Switch to open source software

Don’t fork out hundreds of pounds on big-name software for your computer when there are perfectly good free alternatives. Open Office will handle all your word processing, database and spreadsheet needs and GIMP is an excellent graphics programme.

See osalt.com for a comprehensive directory of open source equivalents to commercial products.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.