19 ways to save money and take charge of your day-to-day finances

money saving tips

How much money have you spent this week?

Chances are, you don’t actually know.

One of my fondest memories of my Gran is the fact that at the end of every day, she’d take out a tiny notebook and pencil from her handbag, (which always smelt of Chanel No 5), and she’d write down every penny she had spent that day. Even when she had plenty of money, she never relaxed that control. She wasn’t tight – she was very generous in fact – but she just liked to know.

We don’t do this so much these days do we? Relatively, we’re so much better off than we were when my Gran was bringing up a young family, and that’s obviously a good thing, but it does seem to mean that we’ve lost that ability to control day-to-day spending quite as efficiently.

It’s time to go retro with your finances, recapture that post-war budgeting spirit and save some pennies.

As part of my current project with NatWest Money Clip, and with the help of some chums from Twitter, I’ve put together some money saving ideas for you. Tackle all of these tips and I guarantee you’ll soon build up a decent stash of spare cash. For more ideas, check out the NatWest hub on The Telegraph – it’s packed full of practical advice and tips to help you reduce your bills and save money.


Use cash rather than cards

My Gran always had a wodge of cash in her purse and although it was a bit of a fond, family joke, there was a lot of sense in it. Having to hand over physical cash, and seeing it disappear with every purchase, will make you think twice before splashing out on frivolous, impulse purchases.


Search out the best deals and discounts

There’s no excuse nowadays for not shopping around, and a quick online search before a significant purchase can often save you pounds. Search for money off or special offers on takeaways and popular restaurants to save cash on tea time treats.


Think before you buy

Even if it’s just for ten minutes, it can make all the difference.

Review your regular expenses

There are some regular expenses that are beyond our control, but others, like insurance premiums, utilities and phone tariffs, are more flexible, so it’s always worth reviewing your current services to see if you could save money.

Reduce your heating bills

Heating your home is important – no one loves being cosy more than me – but there are plenty of ways to stay just as warm without it costing quite so much. Check out these tips to help reduce your heating bill.

Plan your meals

And don’t go shopping when you’re hungry!

Buy in bulk

But only if it’s actually good value and something that you will use. Don’t be sucked in by buy one get one free offers that you don’t really need, only to end up having to chuck food away.

Write it down

When you want to moderate your eating, keeping a food diary is helpful, and the same applies to money. The very fact of having to write it down makes you think twice about splashing out on things you don’t really need.

Switch supermarkets

If you’ve not jumped on the Aldi/Lidl bandwagon yet, then what are you waiting for? The choice might be a little more limited, but the cheap fruit and veg and vast selection of cold meats will more than make up for it.

Buy own brand medications

I just did a quick search on the Boots website – 16 basic Nurofen tablets are £2. 16 Boots value ibuprofen tablets are 35p. The difference? Absolutely nothing. Do not be fooled.

Get a certificate for prescriptions

If you buy more than one prescription medication every month, it’s worth getting a 3 or 12 month prescription prepayment certificate. If you have just two prescriptions a month, a 12 month certificate will save you £90 a year.

Say no to 0870

Do you get fed up with having to pay for the privilege of phoning up a company to ask a question or register a complaint? 0870 numbers are pricey, but most companies have alternatives phone numbers that are lower cost but not widely publicised. Check out ‘say no to 0870’ to see if you can save money.

Look for free parking

Don’t be sucked into expensive parking when there may be free parking nearby. Parking a little bit further away can save you money and means you get a little extra exercise too, which can’t be a bad thing.

money saving tips

Find the lowest petrol prices

Petrol prices have fallen below the pound per litre mark in lots of places for the first time in years, but there is still a lot of variation in cost between filling stations. Luckily, there are plenty of ways now to seek out the best value. This website helps you locate the lowest priced petrol in your area.

Check your tyre pressure

Under-inflated tyres can increase your fuel costs by 2-3%, so invest that 50p next time you’re putting petrol in and pump up your tyres.

Switch your bank account

In the same way that you can shop around for cheaper utility bills, it’s worth reviewing your current account to see if it’s offering you the best deal. With the NatWest Reward current account you earn 3% back in Rewards on council tax, gas, electricity, water, phones, TV and broadband paid by Direct Debit.

Install a water meter

If you feel like you’re not massive water users, definitely look at getting a water meter installed. Apart from anything else, it gives you much more control, and means you can take steps to reduce your water bills.

money saving tips

Cut your train costs

Trains in the UK are far from cheap, and it can be incredibly frustrating just how much fares vary depending on the route and the time of the day. There are lots of ways you can save though, including booking in advance and split ticketing. Here are some tips to get you started.

Take a packed lunch to work

I know, I know, making a sandwich at 7am is really the last thing in the world that anyone wants to do, particularly me, but it really does save you money. Even if you go budget and spend just a few pounds a day on a sandwich, that’s over £60 a month you could potentially save.


What are your favourite money saving tips?


Natwest Money Clip

Image credits – Roobcio, 06photo, releon8211 – all from shutterstock. The NatWest Reward current account is available for £3 per month to UK residents aged over 18 only. Payments for services like maintenance, repairs and insurance won’t earn Rewards. You will also earn at least 1% Rewards on debit card spend at NatWest’s Partner retailers and 1% Rewards on contactless debit card payments until 31/12/16.



  1. 9 February, 2016 / 2:02 pm

    There are some fab tips here. I’m particularly guilty of getting sucked into the expensive parking trap – must find free parking, or even better, walk! I really need to start writing down what I spend like your grannie. I’m a terror for online spur of the moment purchases x

    • Jo Middleton
      9 February, 2016 / 2:35 pm

      Same here Alice, for all of those things! I’m a right lazy bones when it comes to parking. It’s all of the little things that add up – £3 here on a coffee, a couple of quid for a car park… When I pay for things in cash I notice it much more. I take out £50 and then a few hours later I’m thinking ‘Where the hell did that go?!’

  2. 9 February, 2016 / 4:23 pm

    At the risk of sounding a bit smug, we do most of these already; but they are all sound advice to enable you to gain control of your spending, or like you say, just to be able to account for all your outgoings. The only one I would be cautious about is asking for a water meter to be installed if you haven’t already got one. They are fine for small families or maybe even two parents and two kids; but any more than that and you may end up paying more. EG. We are a family of six, with children ranging from four to thirteen and although we are careful with our water usage, the washing machine and dishwasher never stop, or baths and showers. As a result we are currently paying about £590 a year for our water. This is just our situation however and for others it may be cost effective to change to a water meter.

  3. 9 February, 2016 / 9:44 pm

    Wow, tips galore – massively helpful! Thank you. I always give myself a week to think about something. If I’m still really really thinking about it, love it, have researched it and feel like it’s worth it I’ll get it but more often than not I talk myself round. It takes some self discipline but the option is left open so you’re not saying an immediate no to yourself!

  4. 9 February, 2016 / 10:44 pm

    BRILLIANT tips. I’m definitely guilty of not always keeping track of what I’ve spent, which is stupid really as it’s so easy to just log onto internet banking and keep a tally. Definitely going to use some of these tips.

  5. 9 February, 2016 / 11:15 pm

    The card tip is so true! I end up wasting so much money impulse online shopping with PayPal because then the money really doesn’t seem real! Lots of great ideas here.

  6. 10 February, 2016 / 3:19 pm

    these are great tips – I really need to take control this year… got a bit lax last year and paying for it now!

  7. 10 February, 2016 / 5:42 pm

    Such a fab list…I should really take more note now that I’m on maternity leave and most definitely on a budget (or supposed to be!) I’ve changed supermarkets and tried using cash so that I realise the value of money more rather than tapping that “magic” card, but I’m still rubbish when it comes to watching our money. xx

  8. 10 February, 2016 / 8:25 pm

    Oh gosh my gran used to do exactly the same and was meticulous about her household accounts. She even set up my first post office account when i was little and tried to teach me the importance of saving. I feel I’ve lost that a little now and should return the old ways more! x

  9. 18 February, 2016 / 1:21 pm

    Everybody is so lazy that using cash is not an option in many cases. But I agree when I spend cash, I don’t buy so much.

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