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6 steps to not spending money for a week

If you can cut the cost of your regular spending, you can easily boost how much you put away in your savings account. Here is what we recommend.

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Everyone knows that the week before payday can drag. But if you are trying to save money for a long term goal like a home of your own or retraining for a new career, you'll need to watch your spending too.

Step 1: Share and save

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 home-made 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: Challenge yourselves to make something from food you already have in your kitchen and this could save you around £20 each vs eating out.

Step 2: Make use of Netflix and chill

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 when you're watching at home, you can forget that a visit to the cinema is regular entertainment. Whether you have a home projector or a standard TV - you can have your own cinema experience. 

SAVING: There are 100s of free films available once you've signed up to Amazon Prime or Netflix. This saves you the cinema ticket cost of up to £22 if you live in London or the South-East.

Step 3: Work it out

Getting fit is more than an NHS initiative. Fitness is one of the fastest growing business sectors in the UK and the inspiration is everywhere. If you have a gym membership, make time to use it this week. 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 classes. Can you walk or run to work in 30 minutes or less? If so you've already met the Government 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 per month.

Step 4: It pays to be loyal

Check your pockets for those extra coupons you get when you go to your local supermarket. They might seem like a waste of paper but can help you save money when you shop. Make a point of taking them with you when you're going food shopping and look out for the savings they include. If you are registered, these offers are usually tailored to your shopping habits. Already have a loyalty card? Check your points!

Some, like Sainsbury's Nectar cards, will allow you to collect points which give you money off future purchases. It's a nice surprise to get to the till and realise you can pay for the contents of your basket without spending any money. Most loyalty cards now have a mobile app so make sure you download it to stay on top of your points. 

SAVING: Vouchers from Sainsbury's Nectar cards often come with 10% off regular food shops and some Waitrose & Partners vouchers give you 50% off your frequently purchased items.

Step 5: Don't leave home without your cup

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, 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 literally 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.

Step 6: Take an aspirational shopping trip

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 doing it; before we get to the till. If you take a friend, trying on clothes for a planned future event like a friend's wedding is basically research. This can also avoid on-the-day panic later on. 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: The 2017/18 report on family spending from the Office for National Statistics, revealed that UK households spend over £1,000 a year on clothing and footwear. If you can cut down on impulse spending, you'll be doing your savings a favour.

Help stretch your budget a little further by making the most of your savings.