THE cost of living crisis continues to squeeze the pockets of hard-core Brits, and there are few signs that things will get better anytime soon.
Inflation in the UK reached 9.1% and is expected to reach 11% before the end of the year.
Shoppers have also seen food prices soar, while energy costs also continue to rise.
Despite the financial pressure faced by millions of people, there are ways to cut costs and keep money in the wallet.
Experts told the Mirror 20 cost-cutting tips that could help you save money over the next few months.
Tips for saving energy
It’s likely that people have used most of the ideas to save energy, but it’s worth making sure you don’t miss a thing.
Switching to LED bulbs, installing a smart meter for accurate readings, having shorter showers, filling the kettle with less water and turning off lights in empty rooms can all help, according to Gareth Kloet, spokesperson for the energy at GoCompare.
He added: “Also try to turn off the oven 10 minutes before your food is ready because it will continue to cook.”
There is also a useful and simple trick that can reduce your energy bills by 20%.
Get rid of bad habits
Bad habits cost money – and eventually it all starts to add up. Common treats like cigarettes, alcohol, takeout, and chocolate can gradually run out of your bank account.
Other habits such as having a coffee or a sandwich while you go out can also be eliminated by preparing these things at home beforehand.
Sell your old equipment
A good amount of money can be earned from old things that you no longer need, be it clothes, shoes, laptops or furniture.
Fashion resale sites depop.com and vinted.co.uk might be worth a try, while musicmagpie.co.uk buys old tech. Or you can try eBay, Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree.
They are also good places to find used items at a discount, instead of buying something new for big bucks.
Don’t splurge on payday
It may feel like a natural urge to splurge — or at least indulge — when you finally get paid for all your hard work. But Scott Mowbray, founder of money management app Snoop, advises Brits to take stock.
He said: “Cover your priorities, first. It’s long until next month.”
It can be helpful to try to go whole days without spending anything if possible, and to wait patiently for the next payday to allow the paychecks to accumulate more.
Cancel your debts
For those with large credit card, store card, or overdraft debt, target the most expensive ones first, then focus on the next ones from top to bottom. The process is known as “snowballing”.
Andrew Hagger, personal finance expert at Moneycomms, added: “Remember to keep making the minimum payment on all your other debts as well.”
Consider taking a tenant
Up to £7,500 a year can be earned by sharing your home with a tenant tax-free, under the Rent-a-Room scheme. Tenants can be found on sites like Gumtree or Spare Room.
Download food apps
Some food apps like Too Good To Go connect people to restaurants and stores that have leftovers, says Scott Mowbray of money management app Snoop. There’s also Olio, which lets you collect and share unused food.
Meanwhile, McDonald’s, Greggs, and KFC apps give you discounts and freebies. Snoops brings together the best deals from supermarkets and brand name savers and can be very useful.
Earn cash back when you spend
You can sign up for cashback and get paid when you shop at retailers like Wilko, Argos and Marks & Spencer, or websites like quidco.com and topcashback.co.uk.
Start shopping more
Look around online and you might find landline, broadband, mobile, TV and car insurance deals that are cheaper than your current deal.
There are also lists showing the cheapest energy suppliers.
Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at asset management firm Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Keep looking for savings until you make ends meet and you have a little left to spare for a rainy day.”
Take back control
Personal finance analyst Sarah also advises taking a closer look at your money and knowing where it’s coming from and where it’s going out.
She said: “Review your bank accounts and keep a diary of expenses, to identify any cash leaks.
“Check all your direct debits, including fitness apps, gym, TV and music subscriptions, to see if you still need them.”
Opt for cheaper food
Scott Mowbray, Snoop’s money management guru, says you need to be careful about both where and how you shop.
He said: “Consider switching supermarkets. Lidl and Aldi are the best discounters, Asda is the cheapest of the big four.
“If you’re going to the store, make a list ahead of time and stick to it. Planning meals for the week can help.
“Batch cooking and freezing foods to eat later in the week will also stretch your budget.”
It’s also worth delaying your shop until evening, when the yellow stickers come out for items that will soon reach their expiration date.
Follow the 50/30/20 rule
Consider following the 50/30/20 rule, where you spend 50% of your income on essentials like food, bills, and debts, 30% on pleasure, and 20% on savings.
Transfer your outstanding balance
Give yourself a break by turning your credit card debt into a balance transfer card that charges no interest for an introductory period.
The HSBC Balance Transfer Credit Card Visa credit card charges no interest for 33 months, but you pay 2.7% of the debt you transfer, or £27 for every £1,000.
Moneycomms’ Andrew Hagger adds: “Make sure you clear the debt before the introductory agreement expires, in which case the APR will increase to 21.9%.”
Reduce your gas bills
Download the Petrol Prices app, which shows petrol and diesel prices near you. Supermarkets tend to advertise the lowest prices.
Alice Haine, personal finance analyst at Bestinvest. adds: “Get easy on the throttle, check your tire pressure, remove the roof rack and empty the trunk to reduce weight.”
Save on NHS prescriptions
Prescriptions now cost £9.35 per item, but people who take medication regularly can spread the cost and save money with a Prescription Prepaid Certificate (PPC).
Financial analyst Alice Haines said: ‘It’s like a subscription for prescriptions, it covers all those in the NHS, including dental care, no matter how many items you need,’ says Alice.
Find lost accounts
By using mylostaccount.org.uk you can find old bank accounts or savings plans that are easy to lose sight of.
More than £19billion in retirement savings have gone astray, worth £13,000 each. Contact the Pension Tracing Service on 0800 731 0193. Avoid paying companies.
Find a cheaper mortgage
Now might be the time to move on if you’re a homeowner sitting on your mortgage lender’s standard variable rate.
According to David Hollingworth of L&C Mortgages, SVRs can exceed 5% and a two- or five-year fixed rate could save someone with a £150,000 mortgage up to £1,680 a year.
Overpay your mortgage
Mortgage broker Alex Winn has some helpful advice on how to get rid of debt sooner, so it stops weighing you down.
It says if you owe £100,000 over a 20 year term at 3% you will pay £474 a month.
But adds: “If you pay £100 more a month, you could pay off the debt five years and 11 months earlier, saving you £10,805 in interest.”
However, beware of prepayment charges, although most mortgages now allow you to overpay by 10% per year.
Make sure you get all your state benefits
Make sure you get all the state support you are entitled to, such as pension credit, attendance allowance, care allowance and universal credit. Website turn2us.org.uk can be useful.
Join a savings assistance program
The Government’s Savings Assistance Program gives people on Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit the opportunity to build up savings.
Savers can set aside between £1 and £50 a month and get a 50% bonus on all the money they’ve set aside after two years, and another after four years. There is no penalty for tapping into the pot and you will still get the bonus even if money is withdrawn.