How to spend less

How to Spend Less Money: 32 Ways to Cut Spending Every Day

20th March 2023

Looking to cut back on how much you spend this year? When you're spending more money than you'd like to (and we all do sometimes), it's easy enough to say you'll just stop spending money. Easy, right? Of course not. We're surrounded by psychological sales and marketing techniques designed to target our bank account.

That makes the question of how to spend less money a tricky one, but luckily there are plenty of hacks and ideas out there that will help you make small, everyday changes, and many don't require that much time or effort, just a simple switch or a little creativity.

Here we've collected 32 of our favourite ways to shave a little off of your spending each and every day so you can spend more money on what's really important, even leaving you with extra for your savings account.

1. Have a budget

Budgeting is pretty much essential for everyone looking for financial freedom. Only when you understand and track all your income and expenses can you start to build wealth, whether that's an emergency fund, mortgage payments or saving for big purchases.

Thankfully, budgeting doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, the more simple your budget is, the more chance you'll continue to budget in the future - after all, it's a habit that needs to be built with consistency and time. There are plenty of apps that simplify the process, or you can stick with spreadsheets and pen and paper.

If you already have an existing budget (great!), take this as a nudge to reassess. Is your budget realistic and actually helping you achieve your goals, or does it need to be adjusted?

2. Tap water is your best friend

Water is the most essential component of our health. We can't function without it, we're quite literally made of it and life is simply better when we're properly hydrated.

Water can actually even save you money by keeping you fuller for longer and preventing unnecessary snacking. It's also a far more valuable part of your skincare routine than all of those expensive products that promise to hydrate your skin.

The best part? A glass of tap water is practically free. Your water bill is probably the most important expense you'll ever spend money on.

3. Ditch the fancy loo roll

We hate to break it to you, but all toilet paper is basically the same. And its purpose isn't exactly glamorous, so what's the point in buying the fancy loo roll that cost twice as much as the standard?

A quick trick to figure out if your loo roll is good value for money is to look at the cost and the number of sheets per roll and do a little math (or just use a calculator). The more sheets, the longer that pack will last.

Brands will try to entice you with three-ply or scented products, but it's really not necessary and will probably cost you more. But hey, if Tesco's coconut-scented toilet roll is actually the cheaper option, go for it.

4. Embrace cold showers

Don't worry, you haven't suddenly landed on a wellness influencer's Instagram, but even we recognise the power of cold showers. Cold showers aren't just for summer, they're the perfect way to wake you up, teach you resilience, and may even make you alert enough to skip the morning coffee. It also stimulates blood flow, actually making you warmer throughout the day.

But how do cold showers save money? By turning down the temperature you can immediately save on your energy bills. Plus, because you won't want to stay in there for any longer than you have to, you'll use less water, cutting your water bill.

5. Wash your hair less

Try washing your hair less often and you'll save on shampoo and other hair products - not to mention your time. This may seem like a bad thing, but actually, washing your hair too much makes it lose its shine (or colour, if it's dyed) and regular blow drying or heated styling damages the hair.

It's entirely possible to train your hair to adapt and produce oils at a slower rate, by gradually washing it less frequently. With a few weeks of training, you may be able to last a week without even needing dry shampoo.

6. Find your nearest beauty school

Often, getting your hair, makeup or other beauty treatments done at a beauty school is a cheaper alternative to your usual salon as it's an opportunity to train new stylists.

While there is an element of risk (hence the lower pricing), if you're getting something like a trim, it's probably worth it - there's not an awful lot that can go wrong (usually). Alternatively, book your appointments at a normal salon but with the most junior stylist - this will likely be the cheapest option and you're helping them gain experience and further their careers.

7. Get crafty and DIY

Across so many areas of life, the more you're able to do for yourself, the cheaper it will be. Fixing things is almost always cheaper than simply replacing them. For example, if your jeans rip, knowing how to sew them back together will temporarily save you spending on a new pair, extending their life.

For bigger projects like home DIYs, you can save a lot more by not hiring someone to do it for you. YouTube is your friend when it comes to learning how.

8. Make it a lunch catch-up

Instead of catching up with friends or colleagues over dinner, start planning to meet for breakfast or lunch instead (although not brunch, as that's trendy, boozy and can get very pricy). You're likely to eat less, drink less alcohol and may be able to order from a set menu - all things that bring the cost of your catch-up down considerably.

This is just one of our favourite ways to save money while dining out.

Dining out for less

9. White vinegar can clean most things

You really don't need to have a different cleaning product for each individual mess as white vinegar is the most versatile cleaner out there. It's non-toxic, eco-friendly and super cheap. You can use it on most surfaces including glass, leaving your kitchens and bathrooms spotless.

You can find a complete list of its benefits on Healthline.

10. Turn your thermostat down one-degree

No one should be living in cold, uncomfortable conditions, even in an energy crisis, but energy bills, especially during the winter months, can get seriously expensive.

Instead of switching your heating off entirely and wrapping up in everything you own, a simple, achievable solution is to turn the thermostat down by just one degree. You probably won't feel the difference, but you'll definitely notice it on your next bill.

11. Buy second-hand

Good news: if you haven't realised, being thrifty is fashionable now, particularly due to the popularity of vintage pieces and the rise in sustainability and environmentally friendly swaps.

There are plenty of online marketplaces like Depop, Shpock, Facebook Marketplace and eBay in addition to your local charity shops. You can also pick up things for free on websites like Freecycle and even Facebook Marketplace as long as you go and pick them up yourself from the person selling them.

For a little extra income, you may want to sell any unwanted purchases on these platforms.

12. Cancel the gym membership

Is it time to ask yourself why you have a gym membership? Do you really need it? Society teaches us that gym memberships are a way of life, but it's not for everyone.

By now, you've probably already realised that the membership cost alone isn't the motivator you thought it would be, so why continue to waste that money and experience dread every time that monthly payment comes out of your bank account?

Instead, read our 8 Simple Ways to Work Out on a Budget. Spoiler: a lot of ways to work out are completely free.

13. Don't forget about hire cars

Depending on your lifestyle, sometimes there's simply no need to buy a car, especially if you're well-connected with public transport.

Understandably, there are some events, like days out, travelling to see family or moving house that really benefits from having a car ready, so why not opt to hire one for those days instead of paying insurance every year?

Do your research and compare costs to see if you use your car enough to be worth what you spend.

14. Drive economically

By learning to drive better, you can reduce your fuel consumption and therefore your fuel costs. The AA calls it eco-driving and details how you can do it.

Tips include driving smoothly, accelerating gently and reading the road ahead to avoid braking unnecessarily. You should also try to reduce how much you use the air con at lower speeds by opening windows.

15. Aim for off peak

Whether it's catching a train a couple of hours later (or earlier) to save money, heading out to a bar earlier in the evening to get 2-for-1 drinks on happy hour, or going to a restaurant on a certain day where meals are cheaper, timing is everything.

Before you decide on dates and times for the things you want to do, research any deals you could get by adjusting your plans ever so slightly to cut costs.

16. Wait 24 hours before making purchases

We all have our own, unique spending habits, but if you have a tendency to regularly impulse buy - as many of us do - you might want to start trying the 24-hour spending rule. What this means is that whenever you go to hit "checkout" you stop and leave it in your basket for 24 hours.

In 24 hours, your mind can subconsciously make a decision on whether or not you really want or need that purchase. Often, the answer is actually no, and you save money. It's as easy as that. If after 24 hours, you still want it, then you have the option to.

Note: if you're making a big purchase, you may want to extend this to a week or even a month.

17. Use loyalty cards

Loyalty cards are often completely worth it. If you shop at Tesco, you absolutely should have a Clubcard, the same goes for Sainsbury's and a Nectar card. Not having one is simply a wasted opportunity for savings. Just ask anyone with a Clubcard.

We're not talking about store cards though, those are credit, and are very similar to credit card spending.

18. Make homemade pet treats

Pet owners, you know how expensive pet treats can be. That's why it's worth taking the time to learn how to make your own. Who knows, you might discover a new passion.

It isn't particularly difficult with a recipe and you can make them in bulk to be stored for long periods of time. You can find out more with our 5 Essential Tips For Owning a Pet on a Budget.

Pet treats

19. Stop spending money on disposable products

Look for alternatives to any single-use or disposable products in your life as with those, you end up buying them so frequently for convenience that it often equates to more than a pricier, but more sustainable alternative. For example, to wipe down surfaces, use all-purpose cloths instead of excessive amounts of kitchen roll, or switch to a long-lasting razor with refills instead of cheap, disposable ones.

20. Unsubscribe and unfollow

Marketing emails are designed to make you spend more using sales and psychological techniques. The best way to avoid falling prey to them and impulse spending is to unsubscribe from them entirely. Simply click the unsubscribe button at the bottom of the email and you're free. The same goes for any companies or influencers you follow on social media that don't provide value to your life.

21. Be brand-blind

Your favourite brand name products - or the most popular ones - are almost always not the cheapest option in the store. Try to be conscious when shopping about whether you purchase it because you believe it's the best option or if it's simply powerful branding. Sometimes the value products aren't much worse and are a much lower price.

22. Always have a packed lunch

Whatever you do, wherever you go, always have a packed lunch. Work, long drives, days out with the family - having food options with you, even if it's a few small snacks, can save you tons of money buying from places like gas stations, expensive lunch places and coffee shops where prices are typically higher than your supermarket.

23. Say no

When it comes to events, you don't have to do everything your friends ask you to if you're really not that bothered or you can't afford to. Weddings are a great example. Just because you're invited, doesn't mean you have to buy a ticket and spend a fortune to go if it's not that important to you (like a friend of a friend).

It's the same with expensive stag and hen dos. You can always suggest other ways to spend time just the two of you if you can't afford to go - it's much more personal and saves more than a little cash.

24. Try spending challenges

Everyone loves a good challenge or game, especially when there's a reward. By self-imposing certain rules on your spending, like not spending for an entire day, or not buying clothes for the month of September, you create your own spending challenges.

By taking part in spending challenges, you'll be incentivised to cut your spending in a fun, enjoyable way, building your savings as you go.

25. Haggle whenever you can

Haggling isn't always our first thought in British culture, but it definitely has its uses when it comes to saving money on bills, utilities and subscriptions. If you’re willing to ask the question, you can receive significant discounts on phone contracts, energy bills, credit card fees, cable TV, insurance premiums, internet, and more.

Unfortunately, you probably won't be able to haggle through your online account, so it's time to pick up the phone and talk your way into a better deal. It can sometimes be surprisingly easy to walk away with a new price that you're happy to pay.

Check out our guide on tips for how to haggle.


26. Stick to one grocery shop a week

Doing your food shopping just once a week can help you save money in the long run, and not just on petrol or transport costs. By keeping a list of what you need and sticking to it, you'll avoid unnecessary spending and be able to get everything in bulk which can save you money on items you buy regularly.

You know how it is: you pop into the supermarket after work when you're extra hungry and end up being persuaded to impulse buy snacks at the end of the aisles or next to the till that you simply don't need.

You can also plan your meals for the week ahead, so you know exactly what ingredients you need to buy and can avoid food wastage.

27. Practice mindful eating

Mindful eating can be an easy way to help you save money on food. When you're actually eating your food, try to slow down and focus on the experience. Most people eat meals in front of the TV, but, because you're distracted, you miss your body's cues that tell you when you're satisfied.

By being mindful as you eat, and paying attention to the texture, the smell and, of course, the taste, not only will you enjoy and savour it much more, you'll be less likely to overeat as you listen to what your body is telling you.

28. Cancel unused subscriptions

Subscriptions are everywhere you look, from your streaming services and apps to monthly beauty products and meal prep services. Gone are the days of cable TV and the odd magazine subscription. But with so many different expenses leaving your account across the month, it's important you take the time to regularly review these.

Sometimes you may forget to cancel a free trial and get automatically charged month-on-month, without you even realising. Sometimes you simply just don't use the things you used to as much anymore. By tracking your subscriptions, you can cancel your unwanted subscriptions as soon as it's no longer worth your money.

29. Review your phone bill

A good money-saving practice is to regularly assess your phone bill and current plan and compare with other providers to see if you have the best deal available. Things are always changing in the phone industry, including prices.

If you're about to start a new plan, seriously take time to think about which you choose. Will you be happy to pay this amount every month for the next two years? Does it really matter if you don't have the newest model, or could you grab a slightly older one and improve your monthly cash flow. Before choosing a phone, always watch or read reviews comparing the different models - it's rare that the difference will impact you that much.

30. Understand your spending triggers

Boredom, frustration, comfort. These are all common reasons why you might overspend or shop simply for the sake of it. Tapping your debit card or clicking the add to cart button gives your brain dopamine, known as the "happy hormone" which we're hardwired to seek out.

It's all about understanding your own spending triggers. For example, if you find yourself shopping online after seeing certain social media accounts, maybe it's time to unfollow them. Or maybe whenever you have a bad day, the idea of a splurge gives you a pick-me-up, so maybe you need to find alternative, cheaper ways to feel better like an at-home yoga routine.

31. Cook at home

Be honest with yourself: how much do you spend on takeaways and dining out each month? If you're anything like the rest of the population, it's a lot. It's convenient when you have a busy life and barely have the energy to decide what to have, let alone actually cook it.

But, of course, if spending less is your priority, takeaways are one of the first expenses to target for quick results. Thankfully, the benefits of cooking your own food far outweigh the effort: higher energy levels, better nutrition and lower risk of health issues. As a reminder, try writing these benefits on a post-it note and sticking it on your fridge.

32. DIY your own home coffee station

Ah, daily coffees - we all know how much the costs can add up in the long run. It's somewhat of a cliched money-saving idea now, but that's only because it makes a lot of sense.

Don't worry, we would never tell you to give up your coffee, we simply suggest you stop spending money at your local coffee shop - or, at least, save it for emergency pick-me-ups or big meetings.

Instead, try to make the coffees you make at home feel like a treat. Buy some flavoured syrups, spend a little bit more on good quality coffee (it'll still be less than the coffee shop) and turn your morning coffee into a mindful ritual, setting you up for the day ahead. Designate a space to your coffee, making it easy and quick but also like a mini luxury.

You can find ideas on Pinterest.

Hopefully, this list will show you that if you have a savings goal, want to pay off debt or even just have a little extra money each month, there are plenty of simple ways for you to cut costs and spend less every day.

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