Rising high inflation coupled with flat wages means that many of us are struggling to make our earnings stretch as far these days. The good news is that quick and easy lifestyle changes can help you save £90 each week and you might even enjoy yourself at the same time.
Once you’ve tried all the tips, you can keep the ones you like and use them to boost your savings into the future. Make sure you lock away any money you do save so it’s earning as much interest as it can (or investment returns if it’s for the long-term) and you aren’t tempted to blow it on luxuries.
Here are six of our favourite ways to cut costs:
This week, get together with friends to create your own Come Dine With Me experience. Pick out the recipes you like best and then get together one night with your friends to replicate them. If everyone brings a homemade dish you could end up with a feast bigger and better than anything you could afford at a restaurant – with plenty of leftovers for lunches.
SAVING: Make something from the food you already have in your kitchen and you could save around £20 each compared to eating out.
Take time out to enjoy Netflix, Amazon Prime, NOW TV or other streaming platforms. You already know that you don't have to pay for a cinema ticket to watch a film, but if you plan your evening right you can make a movie night in as fun as a trip to the big screen.
Get your favourite snacks and drinks in, and celebrate how much cheaper popcorn is when you’re not at the cinema!
SAVING: There are 100s of films available once you've signed up to Amazon Prime or Netflix. If you live in London or the south-east, this could save you up to £11 per person on cinema tickets.
Getting fit is more than an NHS initiative. Fitness is one of the fastest-growing business sectors in the UK and inspiration is everywhere. If you have a gym membership, make time to use it this week. Or even better, if you’re not using it – cancel the subscription, save some dosh and find cheaper ways to work out.
Visit one of the outdoor gyms in local parks, sign up for free gym class passes or offer to work as a "helping hand" in yoga studios in exchange for free lessons.
Can you walk or run to work in 30 minutes or less? If so, you've already met the government’s recommendation for daily exercise. Physical exercise has a positive impact on your health and wellbeing so indulge yourself and love those endorphins.
SAVING: On average, these tips could save you gym membership costs of around £50 a month (£12.50 a week).
Already have a loyalty card? Check your points! Some, like the Nectar card scheme used by Sainsbury’s, let you swap them for money off future purchases.
There’s nothing better than getting to the till and realising you can pay for the contents of your basket without spending any extra cash.
Most loyalty cards now have a mobile app so make sure you download it to stay on top of your offers.
Supermarket loyalty schemes are usually free, so sign up for them all. That means you can shop wherever is cheapest rather than feeling like you have to go to the shop you have a card for.
Often, once you’re signed up, the supermarkets will also send you vouchers. Make sure you clip any that are for the things that you like and take them with you when you shop.
SAVING: Recent research suggests that you’ll save somewhere between 50p and £10 for every £100 you spend with a loyalty card.
The average weekly shop in the UK is £63.70, meaning you could save up to £6.37 each week by getting a loyalty card.
You might be cost-cutting but no one is saying you have to do without your morning coffee. High street coffee shops like Starbucks and Caffè Nero will give you a discount if you bring in a reusable cup. Other coffee shops will offer a free drink if you download their app.
Not only are you saving money, but you're also doing your bit for the planet. Staff at Pret are allowed to give away free coffees so even if you're feeling grumpy, it pays to be nice to your barista.
SAVING: With these savvy tips you'll be saving at least £3 per day if you live in a city. That adds up to £21 a week if you also get coffee on the weekends
If you like shopping, you don't have to miss out on your favourite hobby this week. What we don't realise is that most of the enjoyment of shopping is found when we are actually trying things on; before we get to the till.
If you take a friend, looking at clothes for a planned future event like a friend's wedding is basically research. This can also avoid on-the-day panic, which leads to overspending. If you're into interiors, go somewhere out of your budget and take a look at the things you could one day have in your home.
It can feel intimidating going into high-end shops knowing you have no intention of buying (at least not this week). But homeware shops know that part of the process is considering what's out there before you get your card out.
SAVING: Office for National Statistics data shows that UK households spend over £1,000 per year on clothing and footwear. You probably don’t shop every week, but if you did that would work out at approximately £19.23 each time. So, every time you window shop instead of spending, that’s how much you could save.
Salman is our personal finance editor with over 10 years’ experience as a journalist. He has previously written for Finder and regularly provides his expert view on financial and consumer spending issues for local and national press such as The Express, Travel Daily, and The Daily Star.