26 February 2014

We know. You're a busy person. And you haven't got time to reorganise your whole life around budgeting. That's why we've previously offered you 10 tiny little ways to save money (without even noticing) and 10 more tiny little ways to save money.

But for those hardcore amongst you, or those who just want to save tons and tons of money, we're stepping it up a level.

Here are 10 huge and difficult ways to save money. Massive they may be, but then so are the benefits. You could literally be thousands of pounds better off by this time next year if you do all these - but if it's too hard, just pick one to start with and see how you go.

So let's get stuck in. (Savings given are averages over a year).

Give up smoking

Let's start with the obvious, shall we? A packet of fags is £7.98 these days, so your 20-a-day habit is really expensive. Quitting is really hard, but it can be done - thousands of ex-smokers (including me) are proof. The NHS Smoke Free website is a good place to start your fag-free journey.

Saving: £2,913

Give up drinking

Mmm... booze. Alcohol comes in so many delightful flavours and makes you wittier, more confident, and of course, a superb dancer. But that all comes at a cost - and not just your red face and the pounding headache the next day. Average alcohol consumption in the UK is 11.5 units a week - which adds up, whether you're drinking at home or down the pub. If you're reading this thinking 'I can't get through the day without a drink', that's a big indication that now's the time to quit. Drink Aware can help, or, if you are properly dependant on alcohol, contact AA. They've helped thousands of people get off the sauce and they can help you too.

Saving: £733

Sell your car

Your car is eating money even when it's just sitting on your driveway looking dirty. Those costs are not only road tax and insurance, but the biggest - depreciation. I know that you might need your car for work, because there's only one bus every three days, or to take your cat to the vet - but if you're not using it that much, or you have good public transport, selling your car could make financial sense.

Saving: £5,560 (Standing costs: £3,350, running costs: £2,210)

Stop going to the supermarket

This is one for you if, like me, you're a sucker for offers, discounts, buy more stuff and get money off deals, etc. I stopped going to the supermarket recently after reading about people who saved money when they ditched the big shop in favour of little ones. Obviously you have to plan a bit better but if you live somewhere with a lot of smaller shops close together, it doesn't actually take any longer. I've found that shopkeepers will often chuck in freebies or give you a discount once they get to know you as well.

Saving: £900

Clear your debts

Any spare cash you have at the end of the month should be going on clearing your debts, not buying another Hello Kitty figurine. The more money you spend on clearing your debts, the cheaper it'll be over the long run, because you'll avoid racking up huge interest fees. By debt, we mean credit cards and personal loans - you'll probably still need a mortgage unless you plan on living in a tent. Savings are based on the average UK debt of £13,000 with a 6% interest rate - adjust your savings accordingly.

Saving: £780

Switch to a pay-as-you-go phone

Yeah, pay-as-you-go phones are for terrorist and old people, but they are cheap. If you want to be really tight, you can save money by only using your mobile for receiving calls, and make all your calls on your landline (we looked into ditching your landline but it doesn't actually save you that much). Plus, I know you're always going over your minutes and data every month (I do it too) so you'll be saving more by being aware that you're paying for each call or text.

Saving: £500

Stop eating out

Whether it's stopping off for a bacon sarnie on the way to work, nipping out to the sushi place with your colleagues for lunch, or going to a fancy bistro for somebody's birthday, eating out is a real treat. But it's expensive. Food you consume in a restaurant is roughly 4 times the cost of the ingredients (which should give you the heebie-jeebies if you've ever eaten off a Maccy D's 99p menu). Obviously you're paying for nice ambience, and for someone else to cook better than you ever could, and that's why you'll save a packet if you eat at home.

Saving: £1,012

Stop getting takeaways

You thought you could cheat when you read the above, didn't you? Nipping down to the Lucky Dragon for some spring rolls and something in black bean sauce doesn't count as eating out, right? Well no, technically it doesn't, but it's still costing you money. It's not enough to just eat at home if you want to save, you have to actually cook the food as well!

Saving: £1,310

Work from home a couple days a week

Your commute is costing you around £2,000 a year. As well as saving money on petrol, train or bus fares by working from home a couple of days a week, you'll also save a bit on clothes by being able to work in your pants. Just remember not to Skype the office.

Saving: £845

Cancel your gym membership

You weren't going anyway.

Saving: £447



Grand total



Exciting stuff, eh? Now why not have a look at all the cool stuff you could spend it on.


Sources: Tobacco Manufacturers' Association, Tesco, Alcohol Consumption Factsheet from the Institute of Alcohol Studies, The Drinks Business, Pint Price, the AA, the RAC Foundation, Daily Mail, BBC, Hotel Magazine, The Mirror, Which