Almost everything seems more expensive than a year ago, which means Britons are increasingly looking for simple tips and tricks to help cut costs.
Each Friday, one of our expert team of personal finance journalists rounds up five tips we think are worth noting that can go a little way to helping you save money, or make money in the midst of sky-high inflation and rocketing bills.
This week, it features how to save money when you’re off on your holidays, to getting creative in the kitchen and trying a new discount supermarket.
Discount supermarket Motatos recently launched in the UK and is looking to take on Aldi and Lidl
1. Get creative in the kitchen
My food bill is certainly one of the things I’ve noticed creep up in recent months, but unlike trips to the pub and new clothes it’s not something I can just cut out.
I’m a big foodie and I love cooking for friends and family – the more obscure ingredients and cuisine the better. But it can get pricey especially if you’re buying lots of expensive ingredients you’ll never use again.
There are plenty of budget food pages cropping up during the cost-of-living crisis. They are to be commended for how much work they put in but more often than not the food is bland and often rely on whatever is on offer at the time.
For something a bit more special I usually turn to the Instagram page Mob Kitchen. The biggest draw is that it is affordable – its Feeding 4 for £10 series was particularly popular – and you can brush up on your cooking skills too.
On its website you can filter recipes by price, although they do presume you have olive oil, salt and pepper in the cupboard so do factor this in when you go food shopping.
They’ve also partnered with Aldi to share recipes every other week for four people for between £5-£7. The maple pork belly and butter bean carbonara look particularly good.
Some of Mob’s dinner ideas look on the small side – I’m not sure a potato salad is quite enough for dinner – but it does show that if you’re time-poor there are ways to make your pennies stretch further for a tasty evening meal.
2. Aldi and Lidl rival
I love the like-for-like items Aldi and Lidl offers – you can’t go wrong with a bit of Norpak especially now Lurpak is now going for nearly £10 – but sometimes I want the real deal.
Swedish discount store Motatos might be the solution. It recently launched in the UK and offers up to 60 per cent off branded goods like Heinz, Walkers and Cadbury.
Its main aim is to eradicate food waste so it buys products from producers and wholesalers that would usually be thrown away due to faulty packaging, overproduction and sometimes passed best-before dates.
You won’t be able to do your full weekly shop on Motatos as they don’t sell fresh food but you will be able to save a bit of money on other household goods and do your bit to save the planet.
If there is a particular branded product you can’t live without it might be worth bulk buying if you can afford the upfront cost. A lot of the listings on the website advertise bulk savings like ‘buy 4 for £2’.
Currently on their website Heinz Ketchup is £1.50, meaning you’ll save around £1.30, while laundry detergent is £6.99, making savings of £3.76.
Do note that there is a £20 minimum spend and delivery is £2.99 or free if you spend over £40. You can save 20 per cent off your first order if you subscribe to their newsletter too.
Don’t forget essentials like an adaptor and painkillers otherwise you face a hefty bill on the other side
3. Holiday hacks – don’t forget the adaptor!
I managed to find a £30 return flight to Bordeaux for my birthday last month.
My boyfriend and I actually did a pretty good job of saving money while we were there.
It was all going swimmingly until we realised neither of us had brought an adaptor. A classic holiday mistake. Three days and one meltdown later we finally found one. It set us back a cool €20.
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Embarrassing as it is, I was relieved to find we’re not the only ones. Research by My Favourite Voucher Codes found that forgetfulness costs holidaymakers a whopping £2.32billion abroad a year. One in three Brits spend £75 on ‘unplanned’ purchases while away too.
The items people are mostly likely to forget or take enough with them include painkillers, toothbrush and/or toothpaste, electronics, and sun cream.
It currently costs £3.95 to buy a 16-pack of Nurofen’s 200mg Ibuprofen capsules.
Just 12 per cent of respondents believe they could get a similar product for the same price abroad, estimating it would cost £7.03.
Perhaps you’re not as forgetful and/or disorganised as I am but packing these things help keep costs down. Certainly the next time I go away, the first thing I’m packing is an adaptor and creating a simple tick list of all the essentials.
4. Sim-only deals
Most of us know the benefits of going for a sim-only deal once a contract is paid off or if you buy a device up front. It can make a serious difference to your monthly outgoings if you shop around for deals.
Smarty currently have a great sim-only deal. For just £6 you get unlimited UK calls and texts and 4GB of data. For £12 you can get 100GB until the 27 July.
One of the great things about this deal is that it’s a one month plan and you can cancel anytime rather than get bogged down in a one or two year contract.
You can also opt for a money back plan which means you can save money if you don’t use up your data allowance every month.
There’s a great deal for families too – you can save 10 per cent on every sim with a group plan.
Finally, Smarty piggy backs off existing networks, as is the case with most new entrants to the market, meaning you shouldn’t suffer with bad service.
Once my current contract comes to an end I will definitely be looking at Smarty to save myself at least £20 a month – or £240 per year.
5. Asda’s new cashback deal
Asda have this week partnered with Jaja Finance to launch a new credit card that will reward customers when they shop in store or online.
Shoppers will be rewarded through Asda’s new loyalty programme, Asda Rewards, every time they shop.
You just need to download the Asda Rewards app and link it to your credit card to earn one per cent for every £1 spent with Asda.
One of the good things about this scheme is that you can spend the cash you’ve earnt in stores or online by creating vouchers in the app and scanning your phone at the till, or you can save it and build up your pot for when you need it.
As an introductory offer, customers applying before 28 August 2022 will earn a higher rate of 2 per cent back on their Asda purchases. This applies to the first 60 days from account opening on Asda purchases.
However, beware. The card comes with a 22.9 per cent APR. Crucially, you must pay off the balance if you go along. If you don’t, you’ll wipe out any potential gains and can end up being out of pocket, like with most credit card offers.