OVERINDULGED at Christmas? Now is the time to get fit – financially.
But you needn’t break into a sweat with these 20 easy ways to get your bank balance into shape.
From bulk buys to lower fuel bills, we show you how to save £3,500 in 2020.
1. Get a re-usable coffee cup
BRINGING along a reusable beaker will earn you a 25p discount every time you have a cuppa at Costa and Starbucks, and 50p at Pret.
If you do this five times a week, that is at least £65 a year that you will be better off.
2. Buy own-brand medicine
DON’T waste cash on painkiller brands. Lesser-known names are often just the same but way cheaper.
For example, at Tesco, Panadol Advance is £1.65 for 16 tablets but a 16-pack of Bells Paracetamol 500mg (with the same ingredients) is just 40p – 8p cheaper per tablet. If you use two packs a month, that’s a saving of £30 a year.
3. Turn the thermostat down
HERE’S a brrrrilliant idea – you can save cash without feeling the chill this winter if you turn your thermostat down.
Dropping the dial by just 1C can reduce your energy bills by 10 per cent, according to Which? The average dual fuel bill is £1,254 a year – so that’s a saving of £125.40 a year.
4. Rent out your parking space
RENT out a car-parking space on your drive using apps such as Park On My Drive or JustPark.
A space near Heathrow is £10 a day, near Manchester Airport £4.80 a day. Expect to pay commission up to 30 per cent. JustPark say you can earn over £1,000 per space annually.
5. Make a will for free
MARCH is “free wills month”, so if you are over 55, you can get a new one drawn up by a solicitor for nowt.
See freewillsmonth. org.uk to check which solicitors are taking part.
A simple will can cost from £150, so it is worth using this freebie.
6. Bulk buy to spend less
SIGN up to a wholesale retailer membership club such as Costco (£15 a year) to enjoy big savings on your everyday essentials.
For example, the average person uses 127 toilet rolls a year. Cushelle Quilted is 44p a roll at Morrisons but only 40p a roll at Costco, saving £5 a year per person in your household.
7. Claim tax relief on workwear
IF you need to wash, repair or replace work clothes – such as safety boots or a nurse’s uniform – you could be entitled to tax relief.
You can claim for the past four years, up to £24 a year.
Find out more about this and other working benefits at gov.uk/benefits-calculators or call Citizens Advice on 03444 111 444.
8. Switch banks and collect £100
SWITCH your bank account.
Plenty of high street banks offer cash incentives or other rewards to join them.
M&S Bank is currently offering a £100 M&S gift card plus £80 cash top-up if you switch to its current account.
9. Play loyalty cards right
LOYALTY pays. Sign up to every points card scheme at shops you use most – from Boots through to Sainsbury’s – because Which? reckons the average shopper could get £29 a year in vouchers.
10. Shop around for car MOT
GET your annual MOT for less.
The maximum test fee set by the Government is £54.85 but Halfords’ is £35 and Kwik Fit £30.
And small independents often go even cheaper – but only use recommended garages to avoid cowboys.
11. Steer clear of motorway fuel
NEVER fill up with fuel on the motorway.
Service stations charge up to 37p more per litre than local garages.
Use a price comparison app to find the cheapest fuel.
Petrolprices.com reckons to save punters an average of £225.94 a year at the pumps.
12. Sign up to cash back sites
EARN while you shop by joining a cashback site.
TopCashback and Quidco members get cash back on everything from JD sportswear to Domino’s pizza – with TopCashback claiming it can earn customers £325 a year.
13. Get an account that pays
GET paid for having a bank account.
Santander’s 123 account will give you up to three per cent cashback on household bills, or NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland’s Reward accounts will pay out up to £36 a year, once fees have been deducted, with effect from February this year.
14. Shop at yellow sticker time#
GO to stores at yellow sticker time. Most supermarkets slash prices on food near its sell-by date at the end of the day, so you can get staples such as bread for half the price.
Get 50p a loaf off and save £30 if, like average Brits, you munch 60 loaves a year.
15. Sell old DVDs and CDs online
FLOG unwanted titles on Amazon or eBay or use dedicated sites such as Zapper, musicMagpie or CeX. musicMagpie tends to offer less cash but it pays your postage and does all the selling muscle work for you.
Get rid of 30 CDs or DVDs and that is an easy £30 in your pocket.
16. Fill surveys out for cash
DO this regularly online and it will soon add up.
You can get paid up to £6 per survey on sites such as YouGov.co.uk or PanelBase. net, without as much as leaving the sofa. Even completing one survey a week could net you £312 a year.
17. Look out for cinema deals
VUE cinemas offer tickets for as little as £4 on a Monday, while buying even one single-trip travel insurance policy through CompareTheMarket.com could pay for itself with the Meerkat Movies 2for1 cinema deal.
In fact, take a mate or partner to the movies even once a month and you could save £84 (based on £7 ticket cost) this year.
18. Switch to new energy firm
YOU can save £219 a year by using a comparison site such as MoneySuperMarket.com to pick the best tariff.
Sounds like a hassle? Use Switchcraft.co.uk and the service will automatically move you to the best energy deal for you when your old one ends.
19. Give up gym membership
DITCH that gym membership. Free get-fit apps such as Runtastic, My Training and Daily Workouts Fitness Trainer will help you work towards a fitness goal for nothing. And you could save yourself £600 a year on fees.
20. Get a student discount card
GET a £14.99 Totum (formerly NUS Extra) or free UniDays card by taking certain part-time courses online.
Totum deals include 15 per cent off National Express bus fares and 10 per cent off at Co-op. UniDays gives six months’ Amazon Prime free – saving £39.50.