Ten money-saving tricks - Times Money Mentor (2024)

The cost of living crisis means it’s more important than ever to look at the way you are spending and saving your money.

If you are lucky enough to still have some spare income to put aside, but you struggle to get into the habit, we’ve got some great saving challenges for you to try.

In this article, you will find:

  • The no spend month
  • The banned list challenge
  • The 52-week challenge
  • The cupboard clear out
  • The borrow-rather-than-buy challenge
  • Sell stuff you don’t need

Read more: Five apps for saving money every day

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1. The no spend month

You could save a small fortune doing a no-spend month, but you need to be disciplined. This involves not spending money anything other than essentials like:

  • Basic groceries
  • Utilities, such as energy bills
  • Car insurance
  • Mortgage repayments or rent
  • Travel costs

That means saying “no” to all additional spending, which includes:

  • Takeaways and coffees
  • Beauty treatments
  • Clothes that aren’t essential
  • Trips out to the cinema

For inspiration, read how Times Money Mentor reader Claire Roach gets her husband and five children on board every January to do a no-spend month.

TIP: Pick a good month to do this – lots of people chose January to try going vegan or drinking no alcohol. It’s that time of year when fewer of us go out after the excesses of Christmas there is less temptation to spend.

If a four week savings challenge sound too much, try a smaller time frame, like a no-spend week every month for a year, or a no-spend weekend every second week.

It’s likely you’ll save more, if you have a clear financial goal, whether that’s building a vacation fund or buying a new smartphone. We have lots more easy saving tips and tricks in 20 ways to save money.

2. The 1% challenge

This is great if you are new to saving:

  • Calculate what 1% of your monthly wage amounts to
  • Set up a savings account
  • Arrange a standing order to put money in. The 1% figure automatically moves from your bank account to a savings account every payday
  • Come back to the account in a year
  • Increase the amount you save the following year to 2% or whenever you get a pay rise

Initially it won’t seem like a lot of money, but you will be surprised how much the pot grows and how easy it was to save that money.

Now you are starting to build up your savings, you need to find somewhere to put it that pays you a decent rate of interest. Check out our top savings accounts in 2023.

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3. The banned list challenge

Is there a habit you would like to kick this year or one you would like to promote? Perhaps you want to stop smoking, to not spend money on fast fashion or junk food, or go to the gym twice a week?

It’s time to get tough with yourself. Commit to paying a set amount, say £5, into a savings account every time you spend money on something on your banned list or when you don’t go the the gym. You could use a savings or investing app to help you like Moneybox, Tandem or Chip.

Hopefully you’ll get so fed up of paying out that you kick that bad habit – if not, you will have saved extra money that can be used as emergency funds.

Having a financial goal can help you stay focused, so check out our top 10 financial goals for 2023 for some inspiration.

4. The 52-week challenge

With this challenge, you set aside an incremental amount of money each week and by the end of the 365 days you’ll have saved £1,378.

  • Week 1: you set aside £1 per week
  • Week 2: £2 per week
  • Week 3: £3 per week, and so on
  • Week 52: £52 per week

By the end of the 52-week challenge, you will have £1,378. Using an app or a savings account is probably safer that storing the cash at home in a piggy bank.

One of the best ways to manage your money is to draw up a budget and stick to it. Check out our Guide to budgeting and use a budgeting app to help you.

5. The 365-day challenge

This is a step up from the 52-week challenge as it requires you to transfer a small amount of money to your savings each day. However, it can be a particularly effective way of starting a “rainy day” fund to cope with unexpected expenses such as fixing or replacing a broken boiler.

Have a savings plan where you decide on an amount that you could realistically afford to put away every day, and then set up a standing order. Saving in this way means you shouldn’t have to alter your lifestyle dramatically.

Fancy a financial deep clean, to rid yourself of any bad habits? Check out our Guide to a financial detox.

6. Cupboard clear out

This challenge requires you get familiar with your kitchen

  • Take an inventory of your freezer and cupboards every couple of months
  • Create a meal plan based on what you have
  • Buy fresh produce to complete the meals as you go

Meal planning and using what you have already means that you spend less on food and reduce waste. You will be surprised at how much you can save this way. Shopping online can really help reduce temptation by sticking to your list.

Read more about how Times Money Mentor’s Faith Archer had 40% lower food bills when she did the cupboard clear-out challenge

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7. The borrow-rather-than-buy challenge

Whether it’s a new laptop, mobile phone, some DIY equipment or an outfit for a special event, family and friends may be able to help here. Alternatively there are websites and apps that can help:

  • Olio is a free sharing app that lets you share and receive free food and items from people in your local area, helping its users lead more sustainable and waste-free lifestyles
  • The Library of Things in south London lets you borrow useful products such as drills, gazebos and carpet cleaners at affordable prices
  • BookBub offers free or steeply discounted ebooks

Toy libraries where children can borrow toys to take home are useful for parents, and don’t forget your local library for books, films and music

If you do decide to splash out on an item, you could include a 30-day waiting rule if it’s a big purchase. Put the date in your phone calendar, or similar, and really push yourself to find an alternative, or the cheapest option possible.

8. The £5 challenge

This is easy and wouldn’t make much of a difference to your spending if you mainly use card payments. But when you’re using cash, just save every £5 note you receive in change. (Don’t cheat by asking for specific change!)

Avoid making lots of trips to the bank by putting the notes in a piggy bank or similar. And when you get to a certain amount, say £50, visit your bank or building society to deposit them.

9. The 1p challenge

Each day, you save what you saved the day before, plus a penny more. So you start by saving 1p, then 2p, then 3p a day – right the way up to £3.65 by the end of December.

Start on January 1 and by December 31 you will have saved £667.95

You can collect actual pennies in a piggy bank or log into your online banking to transfer 1p, then 2p and so on into a savings account. It may sound laborious but that’s the challenge.

If you have a Monzo current account, you can transfer increasing amounts automatically using the free web service If This Then That (IFTTT).

10. Sell stuff you don’t need

Find your inner Del Boy because there’s a market for everything.

There are also lots of books you can read to help you get started, for example, Never Go Broke: How to make money out of just about anything.

Read more about how Times Money Mentor reader Amber saved £3,000 in 2020 by selling unwanted possessions online

*All products, brands or properties mentioned in this article are selected by our writers and editors based on first-hand experience or customer feedback, and are of a standard that we believe our readers expect. This article contains links from which we can earn revenue. This revenue helps us to support the content of this website and to continue to invest in our award-winning journalism. For more, seeHow we make our moneyandEditorial promise

Important information

Some of the products promoted are from our affiliate partners from whom we receive compensation. While we aim to feature some of the best products available, we cannot review every product on the market.

Ten money-saving tricks - Times Money Mentor (2024)

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