From water meters and energy saving light bulbs to cashback credit cards and peer-to-peer saving and lending, there are a host of ways to cut your costs and boost your income with minimal effort.
A stuttering economy, with salary and savings income struggling to beat inflation, is increasing pressure on people’s purse strings. To help you make your money go further in 2013, we’ve rounded up our top tips for making money and saving money over the next year, courtesy of Which? experts and our members.
1 Save on utility bills
Check if you are on the cheapest energy tariff using sites such as Which? Switch. If you’re concerned about early-exit fees, try threatening to change supplier if the company doesn’t change your tariff for free. One member told us ‘It worked for me with Npower – I’ve just changed my online dual fuel tariff with a lower cost per month.’
If you’re already on the best tariff, turn your central heating thermostat down a few degrees once your home has heated up in the morning, as the rising temperature outside helps to keep your home warm.
For couples or those living on their own, one way to dramatically cut your utility costs is to install awater meter – one water meter user saved more than £450 on his annual water bill as a result of making the move.
2 Save energy and save money at home
For further savings around the home, many members advocate energy saving light bulbs, while others put their washing machine on overnight to make use of cheaper electricity rates.
Winter weather can make it harder to dry clothes. If you don’t want to buy a tumble dryer, one member suggests buying a dehumidifier, such as those tested by Which?, as a cheaper alternative – saying it helps dry clothes quicker than air drying alone.
3 Save on supermarket shopping without compromising on quality
Use the to find out which supermarket is cheapest for a basket of branded goods each month.
If you live in an area with access to many supermarkets, Which? member Linda Maxted recommends changing where you shop on a regular basis as she finds those you stop shopping at send money off vouchers.
Another way to save is to buy reduced-to-clear items and freeze anything you can’t eat the same day. One Which? member worked out he saved more than £900 shopping this way in 2012.
For bigger ticket purchases, research prices for items online. Use price comparison sites to find the best online price – try using this to haggle with high street retailers.
4 Save as you spend with cashback
Using a cashback credit card to pay for shopping can put pounds back in your bank account, but only if you pay your balance off in full each month.
If you shop online, consider cashback sites to buy products and services. By making as many purchases through Quidco as possible, one member made £4,400 cashback in four years, on everything from hotel rooms to hardware.
5 Save money and make money online
For savings rates that beat the banks – and inflation, consider using a peer-to-peer lending site.
If you’ve got your own blog, use Google Adwords to place adverts on your site – you’ll make money every time someone clicks on them.
You can cash in on your Twitter followers too by using services such as MyLikes which makes you money every time someone clicks on an advert you’ve decided to promote. Some companies will buy your background space for a weekly rate, too.
Facebook fans can use the social networking site’s marketplace to buy, sell or rent almost anything while HaveYouSeen.com allows you to post links to products from high street shops via your Facebook and Twitter accounts. You earn commission if a ‘friend’ purchases a product using the link.
For more suggestions, see our list of 10 ways to make money online.
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- How to deal with debt – what to do if you are struggling financially