Genius money-saving hacks that will help you beat the bills – including a surprisingly easy trick to get cheaper food
MILLIONS of households are feeling the pinch as the cost of living crisis deepens.
Experts have warned that energy bills could reach £5,000 in 2023, while enduring families are already struggling to keep up with soaring food and fuel prices.
Earlier this year a £37billion support package was announced and further plans are said to be in the works for the next prime minister.
But in the meantime, we all need to save money wherever we can.
Here, Lynsey Hope offers a handy A-Z guide to help you lower your bills.
APPLICATIONS: Olio and others allow you to pick up food and household items for free from local stores and supermarkets.
BULBS: Switching to more energy-efficient bulbs, such as compact fluorescent types or LEDs, will help lower your energy bills.
COUNCIL TAX BAND: You could be in the wrong tax bracket and paying way too much. It only takes a few minutes to check.
Go to gov.uk/council-tax-bands.
DIRECT DEBITS: Many of us waste thousands of pounds a year on unnecessary subscriptions.
Be tough and cut off the ones you don’t use.
EXTRACTOR FANS: These burn energy in bathrooms and kitchens if left on longer than necessary.
Adjust the timer or turn them off manually to stop wastage.
FACEBOOK: Unlike eBay, Local Facebook Groups and Facebook Marketplace don’t charge a fee when you sell your unwanted items, so they’re great for pocketing some extra cash.
DEVELOP YOUR OWN: Growing fruits and vegetables at home is great fun for the whole family and will save you money.
For example, a cucumber plant will cost around £1.50 – but can produce 30-40 fruits, meaning each cucumber only costs around 5p compared to over 50p in supermarkets.
TO BARGAIN: Negotiate your mobile phone bill.
A survey by moneysavingexpert.com found that 69% of customers were successful in negotiating a better deal.
INFLATE THE TIRES: Lower tire pressures increase a car’s drag, which means you need more fuel.
Regularly check that the pressures are correct.
JUNK FOOD: Ditch the expensive and unhealthy takeout and make tasty, nutritious meals from scratch.
Keep reading The Sun for loads of easy recipes.
KETTLE: Boiling your kettle three times a day will cost you £32 a year.
To become more energy efficient, descale yours regularly and boil only the amount of water you need.
LOYALTY CARDS: Many shops offer loyalty cards, with the Tesco Clubcard being one of the most generous, as you earn a point for every pound spent.
MIX THE CLEANERS YOURSELF: Ditch the expensive cleaning products and make your own.
Four tablespoons of baking soda in a cup of warm water will do one for all purposes.
FREE DAYS: Be self-disciplined and try not to part with a penny one day a week.
This may mean making your own coffee, avoiding the stores, or walking or biking to work.
OWN BRANDS: Supermarket own brands are often as good as expensive big brands.
For example, a 250g block of Lurpak costs around £2.50, but butter from Sainsbury’s costs £1.
PARKING SPACES: Many websites, including parklet.co.uk or justpark.com, allow you to rent out your empty driveway for a bit more money.
QUIDCO: Cashback sites such as quidco.com and topcashback.co.uk can be lucrative.
You can currently get 10% cashback at Very through Quidco and 12% at Asos through TopCashback.
ROOF GALERIE : A roof rack adds wind resistance to a car, which means the engine works harder.
If you don’t need it, remove it.
CHANGE BANK: Changing banks is quick and easy and five banks currently pay for your custom – with up to £160 in cash.
TAP WATER : It’s free!
Some restaurants charge upwards of £3.50 for a bottle of mineral water, but those that serve alcohol are required by law to offer free tap water.
UNIFORMS: Employees who wear a uniform may be able to reclaim between £12 and £74 in tax a year over the past five years.
Check this list to see if your occupation is included: gov.uk/guidance/job-expenses-for-uniforms-work-clothing-and-tools
VOUCHERS: Oxfam will give you a £5 Marks & Spencer voucher if you donate at least one piece of M&S-labeled clothing to one of its charity shops.
Schuh also offers a £5 voucher when you bring in old shoes.
FOOD Aisle OF THE WORLD: Shop in the global food aisle to save money on staples like kidney beans and curry powder.
Chopped tomatoes are 10p cheaper at Sainsbury’s and chickpeas are 20p cheaper at Tesco.
XMAS COMES EARLY: It might be boiling outside, but get ahead and start your holiday shopping early.
Look for discounts throughout the year and shop online to enjoy free postage for your friends.
Boxing Day sales also offer huge bargains. . . if you can cope with taking them a year in advance.
YOUTUBE: Before making a big purchase, watch review videos on YouTube.
It will help you save money by avoiding things that are not suitable for your purpose.
ZZZZZ: A 43-inch TV costs nearly £20 a year to run.
Turn it off an hour earlier and go to bed to save on your energy and lighting bills.