If you thought saving money involved hard work and sacrifice, think again. These amazingly clever life hacks could save you hundreds of pounds at the click of a button. Others are actually much easier than the more expensive alternative, saving you both time and a lot of money. One thing’s for sure: you really can’t afford to skip this article.
1. Buy gift cards at a discount and then use them yourself
Via Creative Commons/Flickr: 401K 2012 In the last few years, card resell sites like Gift Card Granny have sprung up to allow people to sell on unwanted gift cards at a considerable discount. If you’re planning to visit a particular shop it’s well worth checking to see whether you could pick up a half price gift card first first. Every day will be a 50% off sale from now on!
2. Check if your smartphone could do a task before buying a new gadget
Via Creative Commons/Flickr: Karlis Dambrans A branded SatNav like a TomTom will set you back around £80, but you can buy an app for your smartphone that does the same thing for just £27.49. You can also buy an app that turns your phone into a baby monitor that even allows you to record your voice singing a lullaby to automatically soothe your baby back to sleep. Baby monitors cost around £50; the app is just £3.09. See our 12 top money saving smartphone apps
3. Switch off those sockets and avoid ‘vampire charges’
Via Creative Commons/Flikr: Matthew Venn Your devices are still sucking up electricity even if you aren’t using them. This annoying, expensive phenomenon is known as ‘vampire charge’, but you can avoid this by simply switching off sockets or unplugging your chargers when not in use: and train your kids to do it too!
4. Teach your cat to use the loo
Via Creative Commons/Flikr: Joey Hamidon Cat litter isn’t particularly cheap: ‘posh’ versions can cost as much as £6 per bag and each bag only lasts a week or two. It’s estimated that the average cat owner will spend around £2000 on cat litter over their pet’s lifetime. However, you can buy a kit to help your kitty use the loo instead of a litter tray, and the good news is that the kit only costs £20. What’s more: it actually works.
5. Clear your browsing history before shopping on-line for flights
Via Creative Commons/Flickr: Emran Kassim If you’ve ever compared flight prices on-line, you’ll know that the rates seem to go up every time you log on. This isn’t a coincidence: flight comparison sites actually track your computer’s IP address, realise you’ve visited before and raise the prices accordingly. To avoid this, simply switch your browser to ‘incognito mode’ or delete your cookies and browsing history before searching. See our 10 sneaky ways to get bargain family flights
6. Share a Netflix subscription with up to three friends
Via Creative Commons/Global Panorama The streaming video site Netflix is great, but it costs £5.99 a month. That might not sound like a lot, but wouldn’t you prefer to get it for £2? All you have to do is convince a couple of friends to share the account – and your password. You can even set them up with separate usernames on the system so that they have access to their very own playlists and ‘recently viewed’ section.
7. Reduce the brightness on your laptop, PC and TV
Via Creative Commons/Flickr: Kim If you reduce the brightness on your HDTV, computer or laptop monitor you can save about 40% on power consumption costs. If you do the same to your smartphone you can drastically increase its battery life. TVs are automatically set to maximum brightness, which isn’t necessary and can also hurt your eyes: you might find you actually prefer a darker setting.
8. Get on well with your neighbours? Why not ask if you can use their wi-fi connection?
Via Creative Commons/Flickr: Dayna Bateman It’s polite to offer to split the bill, but who knows: they might let you access it for free, or in return for the occasional babysitting or lawn mowing shift.
9. Rent someone’s driveway and save a fortune on parking costs
Via Creative Commons/Flickr: Jason Sullivan Tired of pouring your spare change into parking meters? Justpark.com allows you to browse free driveway spaces in the area you’re travelling to and book a slot outside someone’s home for up to 70% less than traditional car parks. And it isn’t just houses either: big name parking companies are also getting in on the action and offering discounted spaces like this one for just £4.50 a day. See our 14 ways to make money from home
10. Become a DIY expert using YouTube
Via YouTube/eSpares It can cost a fortune to call out a handyman to fix a washing machine, dishwasher, fridge or similar appliance. If you want to learn something new and save money, you should consider attempting to fix it yourself rather than reaching for a phone. There are lots of great tutorial videos on YouTube that could save you hundreds of pounds compared to handyman call out fees. See our 10 ways to cut your DIY costs
11. Become a B&B owner (sort of)
Via Creative Commons/Flickr: Charlotta Wasteson Last but not least, we have Airbnb. The relatively new service allows you to rent out your home to guests when you go away on holiday. The company puts a large number of safeguards in place to protect your property and you can add a cleaning fee to get your house professionally cleaned after each visit. If you add little touches to impress your guests- pillow mints, perhaps, or a fully stocked fridge- you’ll end up with positive reviews that boost your ranking. Have you used any of these life hacks? If so, please let us know how much money you saved- or earned- in the comments below!