5 Ways to Save Money Without Even Trying

When you want to save money but struggle to cut out spending it can be hard. Don’t cut back but use these hassle free ways to save money without even trying.

When you want to save money but struggle to cut out spending it can be hard. Don't cut back but use these hassle free ways to save money without even trying.

Whether it’s Christmas, a treat or your emergency fund that needs to grow, saving money can be hard work if you like spending or don’t have much spare cash left at the end of each month.

Saving money when you’re not in a habit of doing so can be hard. There are lots of things to tempt you to spend instead of save and if the money is sitting in your account it can be a real tempter.

With these tips, there is no giving up your favourite brands, ditching your coffees or cutting back on Netflix.

There are some easy ways to trick yourself into saving money so you won’t even notice the pounds totting up – getting you closer to your savings goal.

Skim your account

When you want to save money but struggle to cut out spending it can be hard. Don't cut back but use these hassle free ways to save money without even trying.

I try to balance the money I spend on my card and the amount of cash I draw out from the bank. They both have bonuses. If I have cash then I know when I’ve run out of money but if I spend on my debit card then I can track my spending easier.

If I’ve been out shopping and have used my card, at the end of the day, I log into my bank and skim any pounds and pennies off my balance.

Say I have £101.25 in my bank, I will transfer £1.25 of it to my savings leaving a whole round number.

One pound here and there soon adds up and I can easily save £30 a month without realising.

Fill a piggy bank

Just because I spend on my card doesn’t mean that I don’t have to have cash.

Whenever I’ve spent any money, the first thing I do when home is empty my pockets. Any notes left over go straight back in my pockets, along with pound coins, but any smaller denominations go into either a piggy bank or spending pot.

The spending pot has the coins worth the most. We use them if the children have been extra good and need a chocolate treat or if we need another loaf of bread or pint of milk – it saves us having to break into another note.

The piggy bank is sealed and collects all our shrapnel and 5p’s. When it get full up, we head out to one of our local banks who have a machine which changes all the change up for free.

52 week saving challenge

52 week saving challenge

You may have seem similar challenges to this – well I have anyway! Have you seen the plank challenge, or the one for squats or sit ups? You have to stretch yourself each day or week to do a little more. This is very similar but with money.

This is a challenge that I’ve never tried myself. I’ve seen a number of people start this in January as one of their resolutions but not heard many people finish it.

The idea is that you save a bit of money each week, every week, for a whole year.

So, you put in £1 on week one, £2 on week two, £3 on week three and so on. By the time you get to week 52 you will be saving £52.

At the end of 12 months you would have saved a whopping £1,378!

Don’t stop paying

If you have a debt that you’ve cleared, instead of the money getting lost among other outgoings, save the money instead. You’re already used to the money coming out of your account each month so just change where the money needs to go.

Alternatively, if you still have other debts, you could snowball the payments and clear your debt off quicker (but I was talking specifically about saving here).

A similar thing could be said for the months off on council tax payments – that could be a couple of hundred quid saved!

Why not change your energy supplier and save up to £300?! In the same way, use that money saved from a household bill and put it straight into your savings account.

Use your standing orders

Set up a regular standing order on your main bank account. Every time you get paid, have a set amount get transferred into a savings account. Would you miss £10 each week? Really you probably wouldn’t. If you didn’t have the money then it wouldn’t get spent.

Even if you wanted to transfer out £40 as soon as you get paid, you won’t notice the money gone and by the end of the year would have saved £480 – easily! If you could stretch to £80 each month that’s a massive £960 in one year!

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What other ways do you have to save money that are hassle free?

MandM Direct Review: Cheap Clothing – Save up to 85%

MandM Direct review: how much can you spend on an outfit? Plus extra tips to make sure you maximise all possible discounts and pay the absolute best prices!

MandM Direct review: how much can you spend on an outfit? Plus extra tips to make sure you maximise all possible discounts and pay the absolute best prices!

I was recently asked if I wanted to try some clothes from MandM Direct and I couldn’t say no really. I genuinely don’t buy clothes very often and make do and mend when something starts to fray.

The majority of my clothes come from charity shops as it works out more affordable to buy nicer quality clothes than buying them brand new.

It’s like the egg and chicken. I could buy brands but they cost more but last longer. Or I could buy a cheaper item of clothing to save money initially but it usually falls apart quicker.

Although I’m saving money up front, I have to pay more money out overall.

I would much prefer to have a few quality items in my wardrobe than throw cheap items out and waste money.

So it was great when a large package was sent for me from MandM Direct it would mean that I’d have some quality items to add to my wardrobe just in time for the season to change.

If you’re not sure who MandM Direct are, they have a really big range of cheap clothing for women, men and children. They also sell shoes and accessories – all from top named brands but at discounted prices.

Without breaking the bank, or having to buy second hand from eBay or a charity shop, you can get an outfit at a snip of the price.

When having a browse for products I wanted to add to my wardrobe, my first port of call was their massive discount clearance section. On top of the discounted products, they had an even bigger sale price!

MandM Direct Outfit

For this outfit, the RRP is £199.94 but it only actually cost £66.54 – that’s just a third of the retail price!

That is one whopping saving! Plus, having looked again, some of the items have reduced slightly more since in flash sales.

For this outfit, the RRP is £199.94 but it only actually cost £66.54 – that's just a third of the retail price!

This look is made up of:

Board Angels Boots – RRP £49.99 – selling for £19.99

Onfire Trench Coat – RRP £39.99 – selling for £13.59

Fluid Women’s Skinny Jeans – RRP £39.99 – selling for £11.99

Fluid Sweater – RRP £34.99 – selling for £12.99

Board Angels Leather Gloves – RRP £14.99 – selling for £3.99

Onfire Eau De Toilette Pink – RRP £19.99 – selling for £3.99

* all prices correct as at 15 November 2015

Tips to get the best deals from MandM Direct

So you probably get the idea that you can make a saving when you shop with MandM Direct but don’t let that make you just start shopping.

With a couple of tips, you can make sure you maximise all possible discounts and get the absolute best possible prices!

Save money on delivery

If you are going to put a few orders in a year, it’s probably worth joining MandM Premier.

You get express delivery and free returns on every order, priority catalogue mailing, special offers just for Premier customers and new product alerts.

It costs £19.99 for a year. Standard delivery is £3.99 so if you’re going to put in a few orders and want the flexibility to return them with as little hassle as possible, this would be a really good option for you.

Follow them on social media

Whether you are just looking to keep an eye out for their latest products, or you want the chance to win a freebie in their competitions, it;s worth following them on their social media channels.

Freebie Friday is run on Facebook and they give away products every week!

Keep an eye out for flash sales

MandM Direct have good sales anyway but from time to time they launch a flash sale where you can save up to 85% on the RRP.

Make money from them

If you have your own website, you can ask to sign up to their affiliate scheme. If someone then click through a link on your site and makes a purchase, you may earn a commission from the sale.

It can be a great way to earn extra cash.

Look out for a discount

I’m sure you’re well aware that you shouldn’t shop online without first hunting for cashback or a discount code.

MandM Direct have a few at the moment:

Do remember that if you use a discount code then sometimes the cashback won’t track so work out first which will make you the biggest saving.

They’ve also got a Christmas shop and focus on budget so you may well be able to pick up a couple of gifts too and if you use the discounted Premier free delivery code you could make a massive saving on your Christmas shop!

(Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. You can read our disclosure policy here.)

Cargiant Christmas Advent Gift Guide

Christmas is almost upon us and with so many stores both online and on the high street vying to part us with our hard-earned cash, this time of year can be quite over-bearing.

But this is only one problem because if you have a far-reaching family to buy gifts for, deciding what to get them – whilst not overspending – can be a real chore.

That’s why the guys over at Cargiant have designed an awesome and interactive advent gift guide to give you a helping hand with your present buying this Christmas.

Like the conventional festive calendar, Cargiant’s advent contains 25 windows for you to explore and under each window you will find a range of gifts for all the family. Whether you’re on a budget or have a bit more disposable cash, you will get loads of inspiration for everyone.

If you are on a tight budget then I would stick to the lower numbered windows as the gifts here are priced around the £10 – £50 mark. If – as I mentioned before – you have a little extra cash then check out the higher numbered windows which contain the pricier items.

Whatever your budget is this Christmas, remember you don’t have to go silly. This time of year is more about spending time with the people you care about rather than how much you spend on them. When I think back on Christmases past I don’t remember what I was given but instead remember how it was spent.

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Side Hustle: How to Boost Your Income Doing Things You Love

Here she shares a few tips to help others boost their income on a regular basis:

When it comes to saving money for something special, whether that’s a house deposit, a new car or a much-needed holiday, reducing your outgoings can be a great place to start. However, if you’re already a thrifty shopper and do everything you can to avoid going over budget, reaching your target can seem like a long way off. If this sounds familiar and you feel as though as though you’ve hit a brick wall, it could be time to increase your actual income. [Read more…]

Cheaper Days Out for Halloween and Bonfire Night

If you fancy getting out and about for Halloween or Bonfire Night but are bored with going to the same old displays, there are loads of events on over the country that may be on interest.

There are loads of great cost effective deals on at the moment that may give you a day or evening out to get you in the mood for a scare-fest.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Halloween Week – save up to 52%

Ripley's Believe It or Not! Halloween Week – save up to 52%

1 Piccadilly Circus, London, W1J 0DA

Get two tickets to Ripley’s Halloween Week with Guide Book which runs until 1 Nov

For £29 you get two fast-track tickets with a guide book (up to 52% off).

One-Hour Escape-Room Adventure for Up to Three at Hidden Rooms London – save up to 58%

One-Hour Escape-Room Adventure for Up to Three at Hidden Rooms London - save up to 58%

12 Henry Road, London, N4 2LH

Choose from three options

  • £19.25 for one ticket for either Prison Break or Chain Reaction
  • £25 for two tickets for either Prison Break or Chain Reaction (46% off)
  • £29 for three tickets for either Prision Break or Chain Reaction (58% off)

There are two different scenarios you can pick from:

  • Prison Break: you wake up in jail after a particularly good party and seek to break free
  • Chain Reaction: escape a bunker before radiation from a nearby nuclear disaster reaches it

Each game needs a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 5 players.

Family Halloween Canal Tour for One, Two, or Four at Dudley Canal Trust

Family Halloween Canal Tour for One, Two, or Four at Dudley Canal Trust

A4123 Birmingham New Road, Dudley, West Midlands DY1 4SJ

Running until 31 October, you can choose from three options:

  • £7 for a one-hour family Halloween canal tour for one
  • £14 for a one-hour family Halloween canal tour for two
  • £28 for a one-hour family Halloween canal tour for four

Halloween Park Day Ticket (£10) Plus Firework Display (£12) at Gulliver’s Kingdom

Halloween Park Day Ticket (£10) Plus Firework Display (£12) at Gulliver's Kingdom

Temple Walk, Matlock, DE4 3PG

Choose from the following options for a Halloween park day ticket:

  • £10 for one
  • £12 for one plus entry to fireworks display (1 Nov)

You’ll be able to follow a trick or treat trail, become acquainted with eerie characters such as Pumpkin Pete, and witness the spectral confines of Leonard’s Scare School.

Entry to the Halloween Party for Essex with Jamie Raven, S Club, Old Men Grooving and More on 31 October

Entry to the Halloween Party for Essex with Jamie Raven, S Club, Old Men Grooving and More on 31 October

Garon Park Cricket Ground, Eastern Avenue, Southend On Sea, Essex, SS2 4FA

On 31 October from 4pm – 8pmv you can get:

  • £12 for one ticket
  • £45 for four tickets

The Halloween Party is for all ages and includes an outdoor firework display, acts by famous performers, stalls, rides, inflatables, food traders, face painting, and a heated big top kidzone arena.

Acts include:

  • Jamie Raven – Britain’s Got Talent Magician
  • S Club – 90’s supergroup
  • Old Men Grooving – Britain’s Got Talent finalists
  • Jake Quickenden – star of X Factor and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here
  • Artists from X Factor 2015 to be announced

Fireworks Spectacular Family Fun Night on Saturday 31 October at Doncaster Racecourse – up to 27% Off

Fireworks Spectacular Family Fun Night on Saturday 31 October at Doncaster Racecourse - up to 27% Off

Leger Way, Doncaster, DN2 6BB

On Saturday 31 October, from 5.30 pm to 8.30 pm, you can get a family ticket (two adults and two children) for £5.50.

There is a massive kids disco and indoor bouncy castles, fire tricksters, jugglers and stilt walkers. Fireworks Spectacular will feature rides during the fairground happy hour as well as a fancy dress competition and a colouring competition. The highlight of the evening will be a 15-minute fireworks display which can be admired from a covered viewing area in any kind of weather.

Jesmond Fireworks Display Entry for Adult (£4) or Child (£2)

Jesmond Fireworks Display Entry for Adult (£4) or Child (£2)

Osborne Avenue Jesmond, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear NE2 1JS

Enjoy fireworks at Newcastle Cricket Club from 5pm until 7.30pm on Sunday 8 November.

Tickets are £2 for one child ticket and £4 for one adult ticket.

There is live entertainment from 5.45pm, ahead of the 7pm firework display.

Win a DIY Mummy Costume this Halloween

Win a DIY Mummy Costume this Halloween

Although not an event, you may want to tell me to bog off but this is a legit competition!

To celebrate Halloween, Groupon is giving away 50 fantastic mummy costumes that’ll put your fellow party-goers efforts to shame. Enter our competition and you’ll be in with a chance of winning a specially designed costume that’s ultra-soft yet strong too. Using patented 3-Ply technology, the costume can be self-assembled using an easy rolling technique. The costumes come in a pack of nine, meaning it’s possible to dress all your friends too in matching outfits.

To enter just click ‘Buy!’ (you won’t be charged) then let them know on Twitter @Groupon_UK using the hashtag‪ #‎HalloweenDIY‬.

Whether you use the prize to dress up or to stock up in the bathroom, I wish you luck!

Why we’re all vouchers vultures now

Do you remember a time when it was embarrassing to hand a waiter a voucher when paying the bill? A time when you shopped online without googling money-off deals first? Now, many of us would not dream of visiting a Pizza Express or Zizzi without a check for 241 coupons first.

Why we’re all vouchers vultures now

One pizza voucher is downloaded every five seconds in the UK — and it is not just students, penny-pinchers or Martin Lewis at it. Two thirds of higher-rate taxpayers have downloaded at least one money-saving voucher, according to research by Vouchercodes.co.uk, with one in five of those earning between £50,000 and £60,000 a year visiting a voucher website at least once a week.

Many thanks for stopping by. Before we carry on I want to say thank you to http://www.ecoinstitution.co.uk/ for their continued support and the support of their local community. Having a company and team like this means a lot to us as we continue to grow our own unique blog.

Six million people are signed up to Vouchercodes.co.uk’s weekly discount e-mail. Millions more to Groupon, or Wowcher, Hotukdeals.com and Vouchercloud. You name it, you can find a discount for it. From doughballs to eye cream, even eye surgery, from spa sessions to your Sainsbury’s shop.

The combination of a recession and a growing comfort with online shopping and smartphone apps has meant that it is more important and yet easier than ever to make sure we get the best deal we can on our eating, drinking and shopping habits. And this phenomenon is growing. Since its launch in 2008, Vouchercodes.co.uk says that the use of online discounts has risen year on year by 40 per cent, with website traffic increasing by 228 per cent in the past 12 months alone.

According to Duncan Jennings, a co-founder of VoucherCodes.co.uk: “That higher earners, the self-employed and older shoppers are all turning to online discounts shows that the recession has left no one ‘untouchable’. Everyone is watching their pennies in the present financial climate and most consumers are taking full advantage of any opportunity to save money.

“The credit crunch has made consumers less judgmental about embracing money-saving measures. They don’t just want to shop with a discount, they expect to.”

The younger generation are leading the way. Luke Mitchell, of Studentbeans.com, the discount website for 16 to 24-year-olds, says: “Today’s students don’t appreciate a discount, they expect one, with most viewing a brand more positively when they see a discount offered, rather than thinking it makes a brand look cheap. For young people today, discounts and vouchers have become an integral part of the shopping experience. Before buying, whether online or offline, they will habitually check for offers.”

Quidco, founded in 2005 by two students from Sheffield, has 2.5 million members and returned £45 million of cash back last year to its members. Research by the site found that 89 per cent of us feel comfortable using vouchers and money-off coupons, compared with 38 per cent before the slump.

Topcashback.com has 1.7 million members, a number that has doubled in the past 18 months. Its success, says Natasha Rachel Smith, a consumer affairs expert for the site, is down to a combination of consumer education (we are all getting more savvy about how we can save money when we shop online) and businesses having to evolve to stay afloat, finding any way they can to encourage customers into their stores.

But where to find the best deals? With such an appetite for discounts, thousands of websites and companies have sprung up all over the web, some of which are trying to rip us off. There are four main types of sites:

Codes and coupons

The ones with the matching names — your vouchercodes.co.uk, Vouchercodes.com, myvouchercodes.co.uk, netvouchercodes.co.uk — amalgamate discount codes and coupons for thousands of retailers.

Many of the sites will have exclusive deals — say 241 restaurant vouchers or money off certain shops, as well as listing sales that retailers are advertising in store or online.

For example, if you search Boots on Vouchercodes.co.uk you will see a list of exclusive voucher deals, such as get £15 off any orders above £100 at Boots, and then a list of deals that Boots is offering in-store, for example, up to 50 per cent off fragrances.

The deals update daily — Vouchercodes.co.uk says it posts up to 6,000 unique codes every three months, even more over the festive season, and hundreds of sale deals go online each day.

The best way to get good deals is to sign up to the website’s or a weekly newsletter that highlights offers. You can also download an app, such as Vouchercloud, so wherever you are eating or shopping you can check there and then whether you can get a discount off your bill.

Be warned: there are plenty of dodgy sites out there. Reputable sites will only post deals that are available and mark clearly when the deals expire and any terms and conditions, such as the days of the week, that you can use a restaurant voucher.

Discount sites

These are straightforward sites that post cheap deals or sales, from fashion and beauty to holidays and electrical items. Wahanda.com lists discounts of up to 50 per cent for spas, hairdressers, gyms and yoga holidays. You can search by postcode for deals in your area.

Websites such as the Outnet.com, a discount offshoot of Netaporter.com, sells end-of-line designer clothes and accessories with huge reductions. The site also runs flash promotions and weekend sales that run for 72 hours, starting on a Friday morning. If you sign up to the site’s e-mail updates, you are alerted to any extra promotions.

Then there are member-only sale sites. Cocosa.com offers time-limited discount sales of fashion and homeware for those signed up, with a £20 gift voucher incentive when you recom-mend the site to friends. The sales run for a few days, with e-mails notifying users when the sales begin and end.

Achica.com is a members-only lifestyle website, although you can access it simply by signing up. It runs 48-hour flash sales on designer homeware, furniture and holidays.

Group buying sites

The idea behind group buying sites is that the websites attract great discounts and deals from local businesses in return for guaranteeing that a certain number of consumers will sign up to them.

The most popular site is Groupon, which offers daily deals on days out or holidays, local spas and hairdressers. Other sites include Wowcher and Living Social, which offers much the same but with deals that the site has negotiated exclusively.

While these sites can offer great bargains, they are also to be approached with caution. There have been horror stories about small businesses going bust from selling too many vouchers and others being so overwhelmed by demand that those who buy vouchers cannot book in a time to use them. It is also important to read the small print: many of the deals are available only on certain days or at certain times. Holidays and restaurant deals are quite often not available over a weekend, for example.

Cashback

Cashback sites are like back-to-front voucher sites, giving you the discount after you have shopped in the form of a cash reimbursement. Sites such as Topcashback and Quidco link to thousands of retailers, ebay, Tesco, Asda and energy suppliers such as npower.

If you click through to these sites via a cashback site, the cashback site earns revenue, which it uses to offer its customers money off between 4 and 12 per cent of the price of your shop. If you are a regular online shopper, it is almost always worth using a cashback site, but make sure that you do your sums. You might be able to get more money off by buying a product elsewhere.

Topcashback is free to join, Quidco deducts £5 a year from your earnings. As well as online cashback, Quidco has a free mobile app that lets you claim cashback on in-store purchases at participating high street stores.