Sunday 28 April 2013

30 Ways to save £1

The £1 coin has just celebrated its 30th birthday and Money Supermarket is celebrating by trying to gather together 1,000 ways to save £1 (or more). To help them reach this goal, they are running a competition for bloggers. They are inviting anybody with a blog to write a post giving up to 30 ways to save £1 and then send them a link, and every blog will go into a draw to win £1,000. But if they get over 1,000 different ways to save £1, they will double the prize to £2,000! So it's in everyone's interest to come up with some unusual ideas.

They are also giving £1 a tip to the first 500 bloggers to enter, but I fear that I may be joining in too late to be in that first 500. There's no harm in trying though!

If you'd like to join in with your money saving tips, you can read the details here. They will be drawing the winner on May 17th so make sure you enter before then. Here are my tips, and since this blog is mainly about comping, I've made sure that some of the tips are specially for compers.

1. clip money-off coupons from magazines and leaflets – and remember to use them! You can save £1 or more in a single shopping trip.

2. if you have bonus point vouchers for a loyalty card, tuck them into the same compartment of your wallet as the appropriate card, then you will remember to use them when you swipe your card. It will probably take 3 or 4 shopping trips for the points to add up to £1, depending on the offers at the time.

3. always check your fridge and cupboards when shopping or planning meals, so that you use up things that are approaching their expiry date and don’t accidentally buy more and end up throwing some away unused. Just one large pot of  yoghurt that doesn’t get wasted will save you over £1.

4. if you save up small change, don’t use one of those coin sorting machines at the supermarket to change them – they charge almost 9%. Instead, use the self service checkout for  your shopping and tip your coins into the coin tray. it sorts it for you and doesn’t charge.  Around £11 worth of  small change  will save you £1.

5. competition addicts, always look around for the cheapest way to enter. Many of the competitions on popular TV shows cost over £1 to enter by phone, but have a free online entry route.  It will only take a few seconds to save more than £1. And lots of people really DO win with free entries.

6. Another tip for compers – if you are entering by post, don’t leave it to the last minute and have to use a first class stamp. Using a second class stamp will save you £1 for every 5 entries you post.

7.  always use a price comparison site to check you are getting the best price, even for small items. I recently bought a newly published book with a cover price of £20. Prices online ranged from the full £20 down to just over £9, so a few minutes searching saved me over £10.

8. check postage rates before placing any online orders. Sometimes an apparently lower price is more than offset by sky-high postage rates. Shopping around could save you around £5.

9. when you are planning your meals, have at least one meal a week that you buy NOTHING for. Then go through your fridge, freezer and cupboards to see what you can make. Something as simple as a tin of tomatoes and a bag of pasts can be the basis  of a delicious meal. You’ll save money AND do some decluttering at the same time. Potential saving – the entire cost of a meal.

10. always ask for a jug of tap water when eating out – drinks prices are often inflated to help keep the food prices down. This will save you between £2 and £5 depending on what they charge for a bottle of water.

11. Use an old-fashioned steamer, the kind that sits on top of a saucepan, for cooking meals. You can put potatoes in the bottom, chicken or fish in the middle tier and veg in the top. This can save 15-20p a meal in fuel, so you could save £1 in a week.

12. save your vegetable peelings to make compost. Not only is it effectively free, saving money at the garden centre, but it is environmentally friendly too. It takes a while to rot down but once it’s ready you will have saved £10-20 depending on how many scraps you’ve saved.

13. Pulses such as peas, beans and lentils are a cheap source of protein, and tasty too. But if you buy them dried and cook them yourself, they cost a lot less. By the time you’ve used a 400g bag, you will have saved about £3.

14. Look at the label of your favourite ready meal and try to make it yourself, copying the ingredients (well, apart from the E numbers and chemical names!). You will probably be able to make the same dish for £1 a head less.

15. Make your own greetings cards, especially extra-special ones. The kind of card you would buy for a special occasion in the shops can cost around £5 and making something similar yourself – only more personal because of the love that’s gone into it – will cost around £1.

16. Take a picnic on car journeys instead of queuing in a noisy, crowded motorway café for an overpriced sandwich. You’ll save at least £1 a head and be able to make the lunch stop into a treat instead of a chore.

17. Do you buy books, read them once then give them away? Why not borrow them from the local library instead? You’ll save several pounds on every book you read.

18. Check the contract on your mobile phone is the right one for you. The staff in a shop owned by your service provider should be able to advise, by looking at your usage. You may be able to cut your payments by £5-310 a month.

19. grow your own. Even a few cress seeds on a piece of damp kitchen paper can produce a tasty sprouting salad and you’ll soon save that £1.

20. and talking of kitchen roll, save it for really messy jobs. Use washable dishcloths for everyday spills and flannels for sticky fingers. With kitchen rolls costing up to £1 each, you could save a lot of money over the life of just one pack!

21. If you like to drink sparkling water at home, invest in a soda machine. The gas required to carbonate 2l of water costs about 30p, while a 2l bottle of ready carbonated costs between 70p and £1.40,  so you’ll soon cover the cost of the machine and from then on be saving up to £1.10 on every 2l of water you use.

22. For entering competitions, don’t buy postcards! A pack of 50 costs around £2.95. Lots of cinemas have racks of free ones, as do some restaurants and coffee shops, especially in student areas. Or make your own out of old greetings cards and food packages.

23. I really ought to say “Hang your washing outside instead of using the tumble drier” but if we get another summer like the last, that won’t be possible a lot of the time. But you can save on fabric conditioner AND cut the amount of electricity you use  by investing in one of those pairs of spikey balls to put in the drier. They soften the fabric and remove static, so you won’t need to add liquid softener to the wash or softener sheets to the drier. And they reduce the drying time too, so they save electricity. A pair of spikey balls lasts me 5-6 years and saves me about £50 a year, or £1 a week,  on softeners and electricity.

24. Town centre car parks can be very expensive. If you are visiting one where the price leaps at the end of an hour,  two hours or three hours, decide when you need to leave and set the alarm on your mobile to ring long enough before that for you to get back to the car. In the town I visit most often, making sure I don’t miss the two-hour deadline saves me £1.50 on every trip.

25.  If you pay for your prescriptions and need more than one every 4 weeks, it is cheaper to buy a pre-payment certificate for three months or a year. And if you do change from paying to getting them free during the lifetime of your certificate, you get the time remaining on it refunded in full.

26. But if you pay for them as you go, always ask the pharmacist if it would be cheaper to buy your medication over the counter. Where there is an identical over the counter drug avail able, it is often a lot cheaper.

27.  Don’t always assume that “Bigger packs are better value”.  It’s no longer always true, and the price per unit (item, 100g, ounce or whatever) may turn out to be lower in a smaller pack. You don’t have to be a maths whizz to compare, although you may need your strongest glasses – most supermarkets display unit pricing in tiny print on their shelf edge price tags.

28. Most supermarkets don’t include reduced price items in their multibuy offers. So if something is on BOGOF, it is usually cheaper to buy two nice fresh items with a decent use-by date than it is to buy just one that is right on its expiry date and will need to be used right away.

29. Don’t buy it – win it! Although big prizes like exotic holidays and huge TVs are exciting and glamorous, you’ll soon find as a comper that you get a steady trickle of smaller prizes – that occasionally turns into a flood. And it’s the small prizes that really save you money – that new computer game the children have been pestering you for, a £10 shopping voucher to cut the cost of that week’s shopping, a goody bag of cooking ingredients that you would otherwise have had to buy, little gifts that can be set aside for Christmas and birthday presents. They all help to cut the cost of living.

30. Which leads me on to….. subscribe to Grape Vine to save a fortune on your comping! I  buy promotional packs and  stickered books, drive many miles, pay for town centre parking – so that in many cases, you don’t have to! Where a purchase isn’t needed, you get all the necessary information in Grape Vine, and where a purchase IS needed you are told exactly what to buy so that you don’t come home from the shops with the wrong  thing. I do all the leg work, so you can devote your comping time to winning, and every issue will save you many times its own cost in unnecessary purchases.


  1. I have done the similar post today, as Cheryl P prodded me to do it. I have added a link to your blog post, hope you don't mind.

    1. I don't mind at all. I turned out to be one of the first 500 after all, hope you are too

    2. Looks like I'm also going to be paid, some time next week. Fingers crossed.:)


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