Weird and wonderful ways families can save cash

A new survey shows families are becoming increasingly inventive when it comes to making ends meet, as Vicky Shaw reveals

A generic photo of a jar of saved pennies. See PA Feature FINANCE Stretch. Picture credit should read: Thinkstock/PA. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FINANCE Stretch.
Vicky Shaw

WITH many families feeling the squeeze from the increasing cost of living, looking for ways to save cash here and there can really help – and, according to a new survey, we're finding ever more creative ways to do this.

Carphone Warehouse quizzed more than 5,000 people about the lengths they go to to save some precious pennies. However, we're not always shouting about our thrifty ways: nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) said they like to keep how much they're saving, and the best deals they've found, to themselves.

So how are people saving cash? While some methods on the list may seem fairly standard, others might be less obvious to many people. Here is a selection of some of the weird and wonderful ways people say they are saving cash...

1. Taking your own bags to the supermarket (70 per cent). A great way to save forking out, as well as doing your bit for recycling.

2. Making the most of reward cards (65 per cent). Building up loyalty points can help you save money at your favourite stores.

3. Coupon collecting (54 per cent). Keeping your coupons organised will reduce the chances of you forgetting when you make a shopping trip.

4. Taking a packed lunch into work (53 per cent). A good way to make tasty savings.

5. Wearing extra clothes instead of turning on the heating (47 per cent).

6. Sewing ripped or worn clothes to make them last longer (31 per cent). It helps to be handy with a needle and thread for this money saving trick.

7. Re-wrapping gifts you have received to give to other people (31 per cent). While this may give unwanted goods a new purpose, you may run the risk of offending the original gift-giver.

8. Shopping from bargain bins (25 per cent). Getting to know the time of day your local supermarket makes markdowns, and keeping an eye on social media and emails for alerts about stores' upcoming sales could help to save a fortune.

9. Not flushing the toilet every time (25 per cent). You may want to come to an agreement with any fellow housemates about this first.

10. Becoming your own hairdresser to give yourself a DIY haircut (23 per cent). Just be careful you don't end up needing to fork out for someone to put your 'on-trend' new hairdo right.

11. Growing your own food (23 per cent). A healthy and rewarding money-saving option.

12. Buying clothes from charity shops (22 per cent). You can grab a one-off bargain and put money towards good causes at the same time.

13. Only drinking tap water when eating out (20 per cent). One in five people thirsty to make some savings have tried this one out.

14. Charging your phone or laptop at work (20 per cent). One in five say they have tried out this one – but it's wise to check with the boss first or risk getting into trouble at work. Plus your colleagues may not take to kindly to tripping over a mass of wires plugged in at your desk.

15. Sharing bath water (13 per cent). How appealing this is may depend on which family members you're sharing with.

16. Stockpiling free condiments from restaurants (11 per cent).

17. Eating at a friend or relative's house (8 per cent). This could save you cash – but at someone else's expense. However, if you start turning up to a loved one's house with a knife and fork and a napkin tied round your neck, it could be the fast track to a family feud.

18. Brewing your own beer or wine (7 per cent). If you love a tipple and you have the space, this could be a good option.

19. Searching for discount codes online (7 per cent). A quick win to get instant money off an internet purchase.

20. Watering down drinks such as juice or milk (7 per cent).

21. Buying books second-hand (7 per cent).

22. Negotiating utility contracts one month before renewal (5 per cent).

23. Asking shop assistants for discounts on damaged goods (4 per cent). Good negotiation skills can go a long way when it comes to saving money.

24. Using a cash back card for in-store purchases (4 per cent). Money earned from cashback can soon add up.

25. Watching TV with the lights off (2 per cent).

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