If you asked my friends and family, I doubt any of them would say I'm good at saving money, most likely because I'm generally not... I like to buy nonsense, I like wine and fancy, completely unnecessary cheese knives. It's just what I'm like, but, with one of my best friends now living in Canada, one moving to Australia and another getting married in Latvia this year, it's about time I got my act together and starting saving up so I can join them on their adventures!
I've been attempting to save money for about a month now, it's going quite well too, I even transferred some money into my savings account this weekend, check me out! So when Money Supermarket got in touch asking if I'd like to join in with their '30 Ways to Save £1' campaign to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the pound coin, I thought why not?
So here are my 30 tips, nicely split up into easy to read sections so you don't have to trawl through all of them!
1. Use sites and places like Money Supermarket, Vouchercodes.co.uk or MyVoucherCodes to find discount codes, offers and promotions, there's plenty of great offers out there, you just need to know where to look.
2. Get cashback on your shopping. Just sign up to a site Quidco and earn money every time you buy something online, win.
3. If there's a discount code box at the checkout, there's probably a discount code out there, have a hunt around and save yourself some money!
4. Sign up to newsletters for your favourite stores, it's always likely to be the best way to find out about new offers and discounts.
5. Use a site like Polyvore (I've searched for Jeffrey Campbell as an example), it's fun to play around on but you can also price compare on different sites as well as setting up alerts for when those pair of shoes you've been lusting after but are just a little bit too expensive go on sale, hoorah!
Shopping in real life
6. Get yourself a loyalty card. You would be disgusted at the amount of Nectar points I have but if you save them up for long enough, they can pay for Christmas dinner, money off a new TV or just a tank of petrol! Boots Advantage cards are probably the best value and a good excuse to treat yourself.
7. Venture to outlet shops. They may not be in the most desirable of places but shopping centres like the Lowry in Salford and Cheshire Oaks in Cheshire (for you Northern lovelies!) are amazing for finding bargains from Mulberry to Gap.
8. Take advantage of in store offers like 3 for 2, most high street stores have offers on somewhere! Only if they're actually things you need though, otherwise it's a bit of a waste of money...
9. There's always a sale rail, hunt it down and pillage that mother.
10. Shop around. You'll always be able to find what you want cheaper somewhere else, the majority of trends are the same in every store so if you're looking for a t shirt with a cat on it, no doubt Topshop, New Look and Miss Selfridge will all have one, just find your favourite and grab it!
11. Sign up to newsletters for shopping centres, The Trafford Centre and the Arndale always have offers and events going on, you just need to know when and where to go!
Food + Drink
12. Standard saving money tip: Make your own lunch. Just do a bit of a big shop every Sunday and get yourself enough stuff to last you the week instead of popping to Pret on your lunch break.
13. Stop drinking alcohol. If you're like me, you'll enjoy a cheeky glass of wine or three at the weekend so by not buying a couple of bottles of wine every weekend, you automatically save yourself about £40, that's a pair of guilt free shoes right there... Plus, it's good for you!
14. Before you go out for dinner/lunch/breakfast check online for any voucher codes available, they may even have them on their own websites too. Always worth a look but if you're going on a first date, probably not the best time to whip out the vouchers...
15. Make a shopping list before you go food shopping, you'll be less likely to pick up something silly because it's shiny/looks yummy. Or shop online and reduce all risk of straying from your list!
16. I used to go to the cinema a lot and it was costing loads of money (especially if you add on a drink and some pic n mix...) so I followed suit with the man and got an Unlimited Cineworld card, it's about £15 a month (the price of two cinema tickets!) and you can go as much as you like!
17. There's plenty of free days out from museums to art galleries, have a look around where you live (or where you're visiting) for the best places to go. It's also worth signing up to sites like Travelzoo for offers around you!
18. Keep on top of free days out that stores are offering, we're running on on one of our sites at work to get a free paintball session for 16 people when you spend £40 on site, frankly it would be rude not to. It's on iwantoneofthose.com if you're interested in shooting your friends with paint! Another good one on that site is a 3 course dinner and cocktails for two at the Hilton for £24, click here if you want to look! Definitely already got myself one... Both offers are likely to end next week so get them fast if you want them.
19. Have a clearout and bang things on eBay! It's so quick and easy using the eBay iPhone app it would be rude not to.
20. Organise a clothes swap with your friends, you'll get rid of things you don't like anymore and swap them for 'new' things you do want, plus you'll have fun in the process!
21. Car share to work, it's an obvious one really, when there's more than one of you contributing, petrol is bound to cost less! Just make sure they actually pay you or buy you presents instead... (JK you wanted a mention on the blog!)22. Walk more! I live about a mile away from the city centre so it's not too much of a walk in, you save money on the bus/tram, get some fresh air and it's always a good chance to catch up on music on the way in!
23. Get a travelcard. When I lived in London I spent insane amounts of money on getting around, when you travel into work and have to run around all day to different meetings, it makes sense to get a monthly Oyster/travel card. It saves money, saves time having to queue up and saves stress!
24. Get on your bike! Join a cycle scheme and save ridiculous amounts of money off bikes as well as getting some exercise at the same time, click here for more details.
25. Make sure you claim expenses at work if you're travelling for work, even if it's not far, every little helps.
26. Make your own presents and cards, if you're anything like me you'll probably have loads of fun making it too! Gem's Tuesday tips are perfect for money saving, crafty ideas, have a look at some here! Bloggers in general are full of fun DIY ideas, just have a potter about on the internet for some inspiration.
27. Get creative with your wardrobe. Don't go too mental (unless you want to of course!) but by changing that maxi dress you never wear into a mini dress for summer will save you going out and getting a new one. Plus you can turn the leftover fabric into something awesome like a cape, everybody wins.
28. Go through your Direct Debits and cancel any (and cancel whatever they're for properly of course) you don't need, you might be surprised by how many are there!
29. Go in for a chat at your bank, they can always advise you what kind of account you should have and whether there's anything you can do to improve your savings whether it be switching accounts or setting up an ISA.
30. Staying in is the new going out, get friends to come round instead of going out! Get them to bring a bottle and some treats, bang on a film and have a catch up. But try not to do what I usually do and end up going out too...
Those are my top tips, it's a lot longer a post than I expected so if you've made it this far, well done! Hopefully there's some useful things in there and it's not all nonsense...