In this blog post we outline 25 simple money-saving steps that could save you £10,000. Read on for tips and advice from moneysupermarket...
By Felicity King-Evans, moneysupermarket.com
1) Bundle your broadband, phone and TV - save £200
Almost eight in ten people think they are not on the best broadband, TV and phone deals, yet thousands of us fail to switch and save potentially hundreds of pounds a year.
Research by moneysupermarket.com found those who had switched services in the last 12 months had saved almost £200 and that some people could save as much as £320 a year.
The best value is usually to get all three products from the same provider - Sky, Virgin and BT all offer great bundles and you can tailor a package to meet your needs. Use our comparison tool to compare deals.
2) Install a water meter - save £100
All new homes are now fitted with water meters so the residents only pay for the water they actually use.
If you're in an older property but don't use much water, it might be worth getting one fitted. According to the Consumer Council for Water, a single person living alone could save around £100 a year by having a meter installed and only paying for what they use.
You water supplier should install a meter for free and if you're unhappy with the change you have 12 months in which you can switch back.
As a general rule if there's the same number of people living in the house (or fewer) than there is bedrooms, a water meter is likely to save you money.
3) Eat up - save £400
We throw away an incredible amount of food in the UK - around one-third of everything we buy.
Not only is this bad for the planet, it's bad for the pocket. The Love Food Hate Waste campaign estimates UK homes throw away more than £400 in food every year. Plan your meals carefully: eat what's in the fridge and save hundreds of pounds.
4) Barter and bargain - £600
We are getting better at haggling in this country. Add that to our increasing love of vouchers and the savings are incredible. The average person saves £50 a month by driving bargains, adding up to £600 a year.
5) Ditch the cigs - £1,597
Quitting smoking won't just make you healthier, it'll make you richer.
With 20 cigarettes costing an average of £5.57 and the average addict puffing on 13.5 a day according to the Office of National Statistics that means the average spend on smokes is a jaw-dropping £1,370.22 a year.
One year later, you can proudly inform your critical illness insurer that you've quit and save an average of £227 a year in premiums.
6) Open a new current account - £115
If like millions of others, you've not moved your current account for years, you'll probably be earning little, if any, interest. Yet you could earn as much as 6.0% - pretty impressive, given the Bank of England base rate is just 0.5%.
Alliance & Leicester's (A&L) Premier Direct account is paying a rate of 6.0%, fixed for 12 months, on balances up to £2,500.
So, if you have a balance of £1,500 in a Barclays standard account paying no interest at all and shifted it to the Premier Direct Current Account, you'd be £90 richer a year.
If you then recommend a friend and they open an account, A&L will give you both £25, pushing your gains up to £115.
Another option would be to switch your current account to the 1st Account from first direct using its Easyswitch service.
Pay in at least £1,500 a month for half a year and it will reward you with £100 - first Direct doesn't pay interest on current account balances though, so this is a one-off gain. Use our current account comparison tool to find the best account for you.
7) Make your savings work harder - £310
With interest rates at a historic low, the average instant access account is paying just 0.15% according to the Bank of England.
Someone with £10,000 saved could make £310 more in interest a year by moving to a higher paying account - Egg's Savings Account is paying 3.25% on balances of £1 or more. Read Clare Francis' article 'Make money from the savings war' for more information on the best savings rates and visit our savings account comparison tool to hunt out the best option.
8) Quit the coffee - £570
It's easy to let an expensive daily coffee become part of your working day routine. At around £2.50 a cup, though, this adds up to a staggering £575 a year, even taking holidays and weekends into account.
You can pick up a lidded, insulated mug for as little as £5 (that's just two cups of posh coffee!) and take your own coffee on the train, saving £570.
9) Switch energy provider - £170
When it comes to utilities, loyalty doesn't pay. In fact, if you're coming to the end of a fixed rate deal, you could save an average of £170 a year by switching providers, choosing an online account and paying monthly. Use our comparison tool to find out how much you could save - it will literally only take you minutes to do and you can arrange the switch online.
10) Turn the thermostat down a notch - £65
We're not suggesting you freeze, but when you put the heating on again in the coming months turn the thermostat down by just one degree centigrade- the Energy Saving Trust reckons you could save as much as £65 a year.
11) Use energy saving bulbs - £50
If you replace all your normal light bulbs with energy saving alternatives, you could save £50 a year in electricity, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
12) Cut back the cost of your home insurance - £116
By comparing more than 60 policies using our home insurance tool, you could cut your premiums by an average of £116 a year.
13) Find the best possible car insurance - £157
Use our car insurance comparison tool and find a cheaper policy.
Recent research from Consumer Intelligence, an independent market research company, found that motorists could save an average of £157 a year by using moneysupermarket.com.
14) Be beautiful at home - £896
This is mainly for the girls, although some well-groomed men may want to give it some thought!
By ditching the regular trips to the salon in favour of waxing and hair dyeing at home, women could save as much as £896 a year.
15) Ask a talented friend to cut your hair - £377
As with tip 14, if you can get the same effect for less cash then do. If you have a friend who's handy with the scissors, then asking him or her to trim your locks could save you as much as £377 a year.
16) Take a packed lunch to work - £690
It's incredibly easy to spend a fiver on lunch at work each day, but - even supposing you pay less than that and your midday meal costs you £20 a week - bringing your own will be substantially cheaper.
At £20 a week, workplace lunches will cost you around £920 a year. Making your own sandwiches can cost as little as £5 a week, meaning total savings of £690 over 12 months.
17) Switch stuff off - £37
Don't leave your appliances on standby - this uses electricity. According to the Energy Saving Trust, you could save £37 a year - as well as doing your bit for the environment - by turning things off completely.
18) Don't use your gym? Scrap it - £600
Many people pay around £50 a month for the gym, that's £600 a year, but just never get round to going.
If that sounds like you then quit! Save money by giving up a service you don't use and - if you do decide to exercise - go for a run around the park.
19) Ignore the tumble drier - £45
Hanging up your clothes to dry instead of bunging them into the tumble drier could cut around £45 off your bills, as well as being much more environmentally friendly.
20) Buy a bike - £364
The average commuter spends £454 a year on fuel just to get themselves to work and back. If you want to help the environment, boost your fitness and cut back on bills, why not consider cycling to work?
You can pick up some wheels for as little as £90, meaning potential annual savings of £364.
If it's too far to cycle then see if you can car share with a colleague - that could still slash your annual fuel bill in half. Your car insurance could also be cheaper because you'll be doing fewer miles.
21) Make your own bread - £14.75
Okay, it won't save you a fortune in the first year but you can be very smug when visitors ask for toast.
The average UK home buys 66 loaves of bread a year, at a cost of £85.14. A Kenwood BM250 breadmaker costs £38.45, while ingredients for 66 loaves comes to £31.94. That cuts your annual bread costs to £70.39.
Of course, that's just the year you buy the machine. After that, you'll save £46.69 a year.
22) Insulate your loft - £205
Another planet-saver from the Energy Saving Trust. If you put down the recommended amount of insulation in your loft, you could save a splendid £205 a year on heating bills.
Yes, you'll have the initial outlay - often as much as £250, meaning no savings in the first 12 months - but by the second year you'll be saving money and energy.
23) Only tip appropriately overseas - £135
If you're going abroad for your holiday this year, you've probably already hunted around for a bargain.
Marks & Spencer Money worked out that families can spend as much as 30% of the total cost of their holiday through tipping because they don't know what amount is normal in the country they are visiting. Look up the local custom before you go - or head to Japan where tips are an insult!
24) Use a cashback credit card - £381
If you're a sensible credit card user, well able to pay off the balance each month then a cashback card could make you money.
The American Express Platinum Cashback Credit Card - 19.90% APR pays 5.00% on spending up to £2,000 in the first three months, meaning you could easily make £100 by using it.
After that introductory period is over, you can earn up to 1.25% cashback with no cap on the cashback.
That means if you were to spend £2,500 each month you could earn £381 in cashback over the year.
Remember, a cashback card is only suitable if you clear your balance in full each month. If not, the interest you'll be charged will outweigh the value of the reward. Take a look at our credit card comparison tool to find the best card for you.
25) Use childcare vouchers - £2,390
Did you know there are childcare voucher schemes that could save you more than £1,000 a year?
The maximum voucher value is £55 per week. Some employers offer the vouchers as part of their employee benefits scheme but in many instances, they are available in return for salary sacrifice so the value of the vouchers are deducted from your wages before they are paid to you. This means you don't pay any National Insurance costs or tax on that amount, saving you money.
The maximum value of this tax-break is £1,195 for a higher-rate taxpayer. Because it's employee-specific not child, a couple could make combined savings of £2,390 a year.
Total saved by all 25 steps: £10,584.75
Do you think we could save you money? If so, and you would like to feature as one of our makeovers, contact us at [email protected]