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3 Jan 2022

22 ways to save and make money in 2022

Look after the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves
A family enjoying a day out on a budget

With council tax, rail fares and national insurance rates set to rise in 2022, now is a great time to re-evaluate your finances and look for ways to make and save money where you can.

To help, Which? has rounded up 22 tips on how you can make and save money on travel, shopping, going out, and more.

From swapping your old shoes for vouchers to getting dinner discounts for four months, read on for ideas on how to boost your finances this year.


Shopping

1. Recycle your old clothes

Some retailers have schemes where they will reward you for recycling a bag of old clothes.

H&M will give you a £5 off voucher (to be redeemed against a £25) shop if you recycle a bag of unwanted clothes or textiles in any condition.

You can get £5 off a £35 Marks & Spencer shop if you donate items to Oxfam - however one item needs to be from M&S (either clothing or soft furnishings) and they must not be damaged or soiled as the items will be resold.

Recycle any old pair of shoes to Schuh and you will receive £5 off a £25 spend as part of its 'sell your soles' scheme.

2. Recycle empty toiletries

If you've just used the last of your favourite face cream, check if it can be recycled before throwing it away. You can be rewarded for returning empty beauty products to stores.

John Lewis, for example, offers a BeautyCycle scheme to receive £5 off your next purchase when you bring five or more empty beauty products to one of its branches and show your John Lewis card.

Lush offers a Bring It Back scheme which allows you to return empty Lush products and receive 50p off your next purchase. Some Lush stores also continue to run its existing 'Five for a Fresh Mask' scheme which will see you receive a face or scalp mask in return for five empty Lush pots.

Boots has a recycling scheme that will take old makeup and empty toiletries and give you 250 free Advantage card points, which are worth £2.50. Double points are on offer in December and January.

3. Sign up for supermarket loyalty schemes

Loyalty schemes are no longer just about points - they can also unlock big discounts and other exclusive rewards.

Tesco now features deals on everyday items exclusive to Clubcard members and Lidl will allow you to unlock more vouchers the more you shop.

4. Try a grocery app for discounts

Rapid grocery delivery firms such as Gorillas, Weezy, Getir, Jiffy and GoPuff are popping up around the country and some offer big discounts for first-time customers or money off if you refer a friend.

Many supermarkets also have fast delivery services including Sainsbury's Chop Chop where you can save money on your first delivery.

5. Check if you can repair before you replace

If a household item breaks check if it can be repaired before shopping for a replacement.

Earlier this year the 'right to repair' law came into force, meaning manufacturers have to make spare parts available for washing machines, washer-dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators and TVs for the first time. Repairs also need to be possible using everyday tools.

It could be cheaper to repair a dishwasher than buy a new one. However. this law does not cover cookers, hobs, tumble dryers, microwaves or tech such as laptops or smartphones. You may be able to take smaller items to a local repair cafe where volunteers give advice on how to fix items.

Travel

6. Get a railcard

With rail fares in England and Wales set to increase by 3.8% in March, it's worth considering a railcard to help you keep the cost of train travel down.

They cost no more than £30 a year and will pay for themselves with a few off-peak train journeys a year.

There are nine railcards available with discounts varying from a third to 50% off.

Type of RailcardPrice per yearPrice per three yearsDiscount available
16/17 Saver£30n/aUp to 50% off all journeys
16-25 Railcard£30£701/3 off all journeys
26-30 Railcard£30£n/a1/3 off off-peak
Disabled Persons Railcard£20£541/3 off all journeys
Veterans Railcard£30£701/3 off all journeys
Two Together Railcard£30n/a1/3 off off-peak journeys
Family and Friends£30£701/3 off adults / 60% off child fares

(Source: Network Rail)

For an extra discount, you can link certain railcards to your Transport for London (TfL) Oyster card. This means you will save up to a third off pay-as-you-go transport on the tubes and buses.

To do this ask a member of staff at a TFL station. Your Oyster will need to be registered for this. More information can be found on the TfL website.

7. Flexible season tickets

With a return to the office on the horizon at some point next year, you may benefit from a Flexi Season Ticket.

These were launched in June last year to offer discounts to part-timers who formerly had none.

The ticket allows passengers to travel on any eight days within a 28-day period and there is no need to select the days of travel in advance.

However, some routes have greater discounts than others and if you need to be in the office more than eight days a month it may be worth considering other options.

8. Delayed train? Remember to claim

If your train is cancelled or delayed by 15 minutes or more remember to claim.

Delay Repay is a nationwide scheme that makes it easier for travellers to get compensation for delayed journeys.

The delay is calculated against either the normal timetable or an amended timetable that is published in advance and it doesn't matter what caused the delay.

The process will involve you uploading the ticket, entering details and you can choose how you want to receive the compensation - some providers allow you to donate it to charity.

Most providers offer this service, however, Chiltern Railways has its own Delay Compensation Scheme.

9. Split the journey

Instead of buying one single 'through' ticket for your journey, you can buy multiple tickets to cover its component parts - same journey, same seat, no changes.

This ticketing hack allows you to pick up the cheapest fares for different parts of your route, capitalising on advance tickets and off-peak fare changes. The only rule to bear in mind is that your train must stop at the stations named on your ticket.

Your best bet for finding split routes is to use a split ticketing website like Trainsplit or Split Ticketing.

10. Compare car insurance

Put a date in your diary or set a reminder on your phone for a few weeks before it renews so you have time to shop around.

Insurers are now banned from offering new and renewing customers different prices. But it's possible a different insurer could view your claims history, vehicle and neighbourhood in a different way - and offer you a lower premium.

Also don't be afraid to haggle with your provider if you have seen a cheaper quote elsewhere.

Entertainment and leisure

11. Streamline your streaming sites

Decide if you really watch every streaming site you are signed up to.

Most charge on a rolling monthly basis so it is easy to cancel for a few months if some aren't offering much you are interested in.

If you and others in your household have subscriptions to services like Spotify, Netflix and Amazon Prime, you should be able to save with a family package.

These let you share the same benefits for a cheaper monthly fee, and with many subscription services, you can still have your own account.

12. Join a library

As well as borrowing physical books for free, most libraries allow you to borrow e-books and audio books. Some even allow you to read digital magazines and newspapers from the comfort of your own home. This could save you money on new books.

To find out what your local library offers visit your local council website and sign up for free.

13. Get discounts on your dinner

Make sure you book ahead on websites such as Opentable, Lastminute, 5pm and FirstTable. These offer dining discounts but may require you to eat slightly earlier than planned.

For example First Table will give you 50% off the food bill for two, three or four people if you book the first reservation of the night, 'the first table' - this could be 5 or 6pm.

14. Invest in a dining card

Restaurant discount schemes can save you up to 50% at some chains. Tastecard and Gourmet Society both have 60-day free trials.

This means you could get free restaurant discounts for four months - a third of the year - by trying these out back-to-back before committing to one or the other if you like them.

Both of these cards also offer significant discounts on cinema tickets which could save you a third on an evening out.

When your trials are up, Tastecard costs £19.99 for six months or £39.99 for a year. Gourmet Society is £6.99 a month or £29.99 a year.

15. Check for loyalty schemes

Many restaurants have their own apps and will reward you with loyalty points every time you spend with them.

Pizza Express, for example, has a scheme that currently offers free dough balls when you sign up to its Pizza Express Club and you could earn a free pizza on your birthday - depending how much you spend.

If you want a quick snack, fast food outlets including KFC, McDonalds and Greggs all have their own schemes so it is worth downloading their apps if you use them regularly.

16. Bring your own cup

Coffee shops will reward you for bringing your own cup - a win for you and the planet.

There are different schemes available, for example with a free Costa Club membership you need to buy eight drinks to get a free one. However, if you bring your own cup, you only need to purchase four drinks before you earn a free coffee.

In Starbucks customers who bring their own mug get 25p off and customers who don't will be charged an additional 5p.

Pret customers will receive a generous 50p off their drink and Cafe Nero offers double stamps.

Switch it up

17. Change bank account

You might be able to access cheaper overdrafts, higher interest and better customer service by switching banks. Plus there's a chance you might also make money if the bank you move to offers a switching bonus.

Existing Nationwide customers who do a full switch to the FlexDirect, Flex Plus or FlexAccount can get £125, while new customers can get £100.

Switching to a Virgin Money M Plus account as a new customer gives you the choice of receiving either a £150 Virgin Experience Day or a luxury case of 12 Virgin Wines worth £150.

Most banks have agreed to use the Current Accounts Switch Service, which means it should take just seven working days to switch you over from your old account once the new account is opened.

18. Save your spare change

If you're looking for a simple and easy way to start saving, you could try saving the change every time you buy something.

Banks including Monzo, Revolut and Starling are allowing customers to round up a purchase and automatically save the change into a separate pot.

You can also use automatic saving apps such as MoneyBox or Plum - both offer a free round-up service.

19. Switch your mobile provider and check the perks

If your monthly mobile bill is eating into your budget consider switching providers or changing your plan.

If you're happy with your handset, consider switching to a sim-only deal - because you own the phone you are only paying for the air-time plan.

Some deals also include up to six months free Disney Plus or Apple Music so if you pay for this service anyway, you could save yourself at least £47.

Also, check what perks your mobile phone provider offers.

O2 Priority has recently offered free Greggs, coffees from Cafe Nero and Odeon cinema tickets.

Vodafone VeryMe Rewards offers discounts and freebies at Costa and Vue cinema and the Three+ rewards app offers a cheap Cineworld cinema ticket and discounts on UberEats.

Easy ways to make money

20. Use cashback sites

Cashback sites pay you a cash reward when you click through from them to make a purchase.

Websites such as Quidco and TopCashback offer cashback on a variety of goods and services, from mobile phones to car insurance and bank accounts to broadband.

Cashback is paid within one to three months of completing a purchase, which means if you leave it to accumulate you could end up with a decent pot after a year.

21. Consider a reward credit card

A cashback credit card is a type of reward credit card that pays you a percentage of what you spend back as a credit on your bill or in some cases straight into your bank account; monthly, quarterly, or annually.

Treat them like a debit card to earn back more but remember to pay back each monthly statement in full to avoid being charged interest.

For example, you could earn £108.75 in cashback if you spent £500 each month for a year with the American Express Platinum Credit Card.

22. Sell your clothes online

If you don't fancy recycling your old items, have a go at selling them online.

There are specific platforms you can use to sell clothes easily such as Vinted and Depop or you can use eBay.

Facebook Marketplace is also popular as it means you can sell the items to people in your community (without the need for expensive postage). Make sure you know your rights if you are selling on these sites.

To sell old tech, books and CDs quickly, try sites such as Music Magpie, CEX, and Zapper.


This article has been updated to remove a sentence which referenced the free newspaper offer by Waitrose, which ended on 22 February, 2022.