Written by Gary Marshall
Cut costs and beat the bills!
Capitalism is collapsing, we’re eating shoes for dinner and our houses are worth about 10p – so it’s more important than ever to ensure that we’re getting the biggest bang for our bucks.
If money really talked, it’d be saying “go online and save some cash!”
So we did.
Here, we reveal 40 ways to use the web to beat the bills, cut your costs and get more from your money.
1. Go paper-free for cheaper bills
Many firms, such as Norwich Union Direct give you one discount for applying online and a further discount if you choose online-only paperless policies.
2. Make free phone calls
Whether it’s Skype or your favourite chat software, why pick up the phone when voice and video chat is free?
3. Cut your credit card rates
If you don’t clear the balance every month, high interest rates could be costing you a fortune. Use MoneyExtra to find a better deal.
4. Get cheaper gas and electric
Energy firms make a lot of money from inertia – that is, customers sticking with the package they’re on instead of switching to better deals. Use Uswitch to compare different providers.
5. Collect Airmiles
Airmiles aren’t just for flights – you can use them for hotel stays, too. The Airmiles website shows you where to collect the most miles.
6. Be patient and save on delivery charges
Many online shops such as Amazon charge a fortune for fast delivery. Go for free delivery instead – no book, game or DVD is that urgent.
7. Get cheaper broadband
Been with the same ISP for a while? You’re probably paying too much. Broadband Genie shows who’s got the best prices for the speed you need.
8. Get loyalty discounts
Providers such as O2 give massive discounts for customers who take more than one service so, for example, O2 broadband is £5 cheaper for existing O2 customers.
9. Get cheaper insurance
Insurers typically attract new customers with generous deals and then stuff them when it’s time to renew. Use Confused.com to get a better deal.
10. New quotes are often cheaper than renewals
Like your insurer but hate the renewal price? Get a new quote from their website and demand they match it. We saved £90 this week doing just that.
11. Buy groceries online
Supermarkets are brilliant at encouraging impulse buys, so avoid temptation by ordering over the internet. If possible, arrange midweek delivery: weekends cost more.
12. Dump designers
Sites such as ASOS.com can help you get designer styles without paying designer money.
13. Book flights early
The earlier you book a flight on airlines such as EasyJet, the less it costs.
14. Use free software
Is OpenOffice.org as good as Microsoft Office? Who cares? It’s free! See also: Picasa, Google Docs, Paint.net…
15. Get cheaper gig tickets in advance
Sign up to mailing lists to get advance notice of ticket sales for your favourite acts.
16. Get cheaper last-minute tickets
Need tickets for a sold-out gig? Sod the scalpers: try ethical trading site Scarlet Mist.
18. Find freebies
The lovely people at Moneysavingexpert.com have found freebies ranging from baby food samples to study aids and sun cream.
19. Compare prices to save big
Never buy things from the first site you try – a quick trip to Kelkoo will often find it cheaper.
20. Use a car broker and save cash on your new car
Car dealers are suffering, so brokers such as Broadspeed can get even bigger discounts on new cars than before.
21. Monitor the market for cheap mortgages
The best deals appear and disappear in a matter of days, so use a site such as Moneysupermarket.com to make sure you don’t miss any.
22. Prioritise your debts to cut repayments
Shifting debt to a credit card with 0% interest on balance transfers could slash your repayments; find one on Moneysupermarket or MoneyExtra.
23. Get a currency card
Travelling abroad? Pre-paid currency cards can save you a stack when you pay with plastic.
24. Find the cheapest petrol
Petrolprices.com finds the cheapest petrol stations in your area.
25. Earn more interest on your savings
Make sure you’re earning maximum interest at Moneysavingexpert.com.
26. Get 2 for 1 cinema tickets
With Orange? Text 241 to get two-for-one tickets on Wednesdays.
27. See films for free
Disney’s Film Factory often gives away free tickets for new movies.
28. Sell your story to the press
Did your partner leave you for a chicken? Beonpaper is where real-life mags often get their case studies – and many of them pay.
29. Get free stuff from Freecycle
Join your nearest Freecycle group and discover how you can get people’s unwanted items for nowt.
30. Get cashback when you shop
Sites such as Topcashback can get you cash back when you buy from major retailers – although you should always check that the same things aren’t cheaper elsewhere.
31. Stream music for free
Why buy CDs when Last.fm‘s streaming is so good?
32. Build a blog, not a website
Free blogging platforms such as WordPress are often better than paid-for web space.
34. Find cheap restaurant deals
5pm.co.uk offers cheap same-day deals for all kinds of swanky restaurants.
35. Do a holiday house swap
Don’t pay for a hotel: swap houses with someone instead.
36. Save petrol
Plan your route before you travel – it saves petrol and it’s cheaper than a sat-nav.
37. Get cheaper train tickets
Book in advance and use services such as Raileasy to find the lowest fares.
38. Get bargain hotel rooms
Laterooms can save you a packet on hotel accommodation – especially if you’re booking at the last minute.
40. Use up food before you buy more
Cooking By Numbers is brilliant: tell it what odds and sods are in your fridge and it’ll come up with recipes. We got Bacon Surprise: “The surprise is that it is nothing but bacon.”
Add your own money-saving tips in the comments