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Young Adults' MoneySaving Tips

Save through savvy spending

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Sally and Amy | Edited by Dan

Updated March 2016

There are bundles of tips and tricks for 16-21 year olds to plot the path to financial independence without getting ripped off.

This is a list of 40 tips to start you off. But if you've got a tip not mentioned below, share yours. We've put the best in Your Tips.

Get 3% interest on your income

bank

Getting your first job, whether it's full- or part-time, means you'll need a place to store your cash. Make your money work harder for you by choosing the right bank. Don't get sucked in with 'freebies' - you might pay for it in the long run.

The options below are all free to use and allow online banking. They also come with a debit card you can use to make payments in stores and online, as well as to withdraw cash.

  • Lloyds' Under-19s Account pays 2.5% AER interest up to £2,500 and has discounts on driving lessons with the AA. TSB also offers an account with the same benefits.

  • Santander's* 123 Mini Current Account for 11-18 year-olds pays 3% in-credit interest on balances from £300 up to £2,000.

  • NatWest's Adapt account, for 11-18s, gets you 1% AER interest. As an added gimmick, you can upload an image to go on your debit card (for £5). It's not worth getting just for that though.

  • Most top adult bank accounts aren't available until you're 18. If you're over 18 and a student see our Top Student Accounts 2015/16 guide. If you're earning, you can get up to £150 cash just for switching providers. See Best Bank Accounts

Bag free travel insurance

If you're earning at least £750 per month, one of the top accounts for everyone is Nationwide's* FlexAccount. It gives free European travel insurance for over-18s who switch and pay in £750+ per month.

You can upgrade it to worldwide cover for £40, but always check our Cheap Travel Insurance guide first, as cheaper policies are available.

iPhone users: iTunes isn’t your only option

Apple makes it easy and simple to buy your music through iTunes, but don’t be tricked into thinking it’s the only way to go.

You can buy MP3s from any retailer and still put them onto your iPhone, just by clicking and dragging into iTunes – and other music stores are often far cheaper.

Alternatively, you can stream literally millions of tracks for free on sites and apps such as Spotify, Last FM and Jango. If you want to go ad-free subscriptions start from £3/mth for Last FM and it's £9.99/mth for Spotify. See our Free Music Online guide for more details.

Take more cash on holiday

Whether you're hitting the clubs of Ibiza, island-hopping in Greece or backpacking around Australia, you can get more for your £££s by doing a little research.

Many bureaux de change shout that they're 'commission-free' - surely they're cheap? WRONG. Plus your bank won't be any better. The key is finding which will give you the most euros, dollars or dong for your pounds, after ALL charges are taken into account.

We've built a free tool that does just that. Tell our Travel Money Maximiser how much you want to take away, and it'll reveal the cheapest place to get it.

Slash car insurance costs - save £1,000s

Mini car Finding affordable car insurance can be a nightmare - the average for a 17-22 year old is £1,242. The Young Drivers' Car Insurance guide has a step-by-step system to slice off every spare penny.

  • Do you really need it? For some, a car is a must. But you need to weigh up what it costs - insurance, servicing, etc - versus how much you use it. If you work in a big city, you may want to consider public transport instead.

  • Consider a telematics policy. Telematics prices your premiums depending on how you drive. A device inside your car monitors your actions behind the wheel. So the better you’re driving, the less you pay for cover. Telematics has many aliases so if you're looking at 'black box', 'smart box', 'pay-as-you-drive' or 'usage-based' insurance then you're looking at a telematics policy.

  • Specific young driver brokers. While comparison sites are good for typical drivers, they may not find the best rates for young motorists. Check specific young driver brokers separately - there's a full listing in the Young Drivers' Insurance guide.

  • Learner driver insurance. If you're a learner, it often means being added to parents' or friends' car insurance as an additional driver. This can up the cost and put no-claims bonuses at risk. But you can get specific policies just for provisional drivers - find full info on all these and more in the Young Drivers' Insurance guide.

  • Don't forget to update your address if you move. Always tell your insurer where your vehicle is usually kept. Where you live has a massive impact on your premium.

  • If you have a part-time job, tell your insurer. If you forget to declare it, even if you don't use the car to get to work, it could invalidate future claims.

  • If your car's uninsured, SORN it. All cars need to be insured unless you declare it's off-road. The only way out's to apply for a SORN (Statutory Off-Road Notification) declaring your car won't ever be driven. However, you do have to park on private land, so you can't leave it on the street. See Gov.uk.

Don’t splash the cash as soon as you're paid – BUDGET!

Learning to manage your money is a priceless lesson - and the only way to avoid getting into debt.

This isn’t about living a monk’s existence – if you're earning money you can still aim to get that holiday/games console/iPad. It's just that doing a proper budget is the only way to do this, while keeping up with your bills and not ending up in unplanned debt.

The key here is to not just splurge on the day your pay packet hits your account. Use our Budget Planner – which tracks all income and outgoings – and stick to it. If you end up with excess cash the day before your next payday, then that can be spent on a little of what you fancy (or even put into savings!).

Use Money Mantras before buying anything

Whether you're strapped for cash or feeling flush, before you buy anything, use Martin's Money Mantras to help keep your cash in your pocket:

If you're skint, ask:

Do I need it?

Can I afford it?

Can I find it cheaper anywhere else?

If you aren't skint, ask:

Will I use it?

Is it worth it?

Can I find it cheaper anywhere else?

Find the cheapest gas and electricity

If you're moving in on your own for the first time, you may get a shock when you open the first gas bill. Prices are high, but you can attack this by doing a quick comparison and switching provider. (If you're renting, check with your landlord first, but they can't refuse permission to switch.)

  • Switch to a cheaper provider. If you're on a standard tariff, it's possible to save £240 a year on your annual bill by switching, and even grab cashback on top. Our free Cheap Energy Club takes it a step further and monitors your tariff once you've switched. It then alerts you when you can make a decent saving.
  • You don't need to know how much your bill will be. Even if you haven't a clue what you'll be paying, you can still enter your house size on some comparison sites and they'll estimate for you.
  • Watch out for exit fees. If you're on a longer contract or thinking of signing up to one, be aware that suppliers can charge exit fees if you leave before your the end of contract, typically £30 per fuel. So always check and factor this in.
  • On a prepay meter? You'll know if you've got one - you'll always need spare change lying around to heat the place, and you definitely haven't got the cheapest deal. To save, first try switching to a 'credit meter'. If you can't, do a comparison to find the cheapest prepay provider and you could save £100s. See the Prepaid Gas & Elec guide.

If you've spare cash, start saving now

Whether it's a car, house deposit or beach holiday, chances are there's some big purchases you'll need to save for. Or maybe you've been given a sudden wodge of cash you'd like to put away for when you do want something.

Either way, starting to save can be seen a little like a fountain - put your cash into the best-paying savings option possible, then when that's full and overflowing, fill up the next best, and so on.

  • Bank accounts (if over 18). Some bank accounts's in-credit rates currently smash easy access savings and ISAs. Don't just focus on the rates to get the best account possible. See our best bank accounts guide for more details.

  • Use regular saver accounts. Next try a regular saver account. Here you need to pay in every month (or most months), which helps you get into the savings habit if you can afford it. They generally pay more in interest than standard savings. But the money is often locked away - you can't touch it - for about year.

  • Get a cash ISA. Despite its name, a cash ISA is just like a normal savings account where you pay no tax. You can take out money when you like (providing it's easy-access), but unlike other savings accounts, you don't have to give the taxman any of the interest, which he's usually entitled to.

    Everyone in the UK over 16 can now put up to £15,240 in a cash ISA each tax year. If you're 16 or 17 you can also put £4,080 in a junior ISA, paying up to 4%, though you can't touch that cash until you're 18.

  • Bog-standard savings. If you're raking it in, bung the rest in a standard savings account. If it's easy access, you'll have the flexibility to withdraw cash when you need it.

    Like regular savers, the interest here is taxed - so if your income exceeds £10,000 a year, the taxman is owed some. If you earn less but still have savings, you'll need to fill in an R85 form to get interest without tax taken off.

That's a brief summary, but there's a full Starting Saving guide for more details.

Cut train fares with railcards and our free 'split ticket' tool

Tickety Split App imageFirstly, if you haven't got yourself a 16-25 Railcard and you travel by train several times a year, you're missing out on a third off all journeys.

It costs £30 for a year, or £70 for three years. This might be a pain upfront, but it's a winner in the long term. Check the Railcard deals page for any offers to cut the cost even further.

Secondly, instead of buying tickets for the whole journey, bizarrely, buying separate tickets for its constituent parts can slash the price, even though you're on exactly the same train.

Our revolutionary TicketySplit tool helps you do this. Tell it your journey, and it'll tell you where to split and the saving. This unique tool splits advance tickets as well as on-the-day tickets - often where the supersonic savings are. See Split Ticketing tips for a full how-to.

Get paid to drink (yes, really)

It may sound too good to be true, but if you're 18 or 19, you can actually get paid to go to the pub.

Serve Legal currently employs more than 1,500 mystery shoppers across the UK and Ireland to check whether pubs, bars and supermarkets ask for ID when selling alcohol (it also checks with other age-restricted products such as lottery tickets).

You can apply to become a mystery shopper via Serve Legal's site. You'll have to submit a recent photo and copies of your passport and the photo ID you use, and need to be observant, accurate and dress young when testing a premises.

If selected, you'll be briefed by the area manager before each visit. You'll be required to submit online reports within 12 hours of a visit so will need internet access. You'll also need to be willing to travel around your local area.

Visits typically take between three and 12 minutes, though some can be longer (and if you want, you're usually free to stay). You'll be paid for your time (typically between £6 and £8 per visit but in some cases up to £20 per visit), plus expenses, and get to keep - or drink - anything you buy.

Please be Drinkaware. For more ways to make money as a mystery shopper see Boost Your Income, plus read the Mystery shopping forum discussion.

Remember, a company's job is to make money from you

It's not your friend and it's not there to help you. Most companies aim to make as much profit out of you as possible. It's your job to stop 'em.

Firms spend billions on advertising, marketing and training sales staff, all to make you part with your cash. And once they've got it, they're not likely to care if you're still getting a good deal a year down the line.

Don't swallow their promises and marketing power. Always remember that if a firm's paying to advertise something hard to you, then it probably needs you more than you need it. Remember this and look with a sceptical eye. For more, see the Free Teen Cash Class PDF and the full Financial Education Campaign section.

Your earnings are never all yours - say hello to the taxman

The first payday you ever have is always a magical moment. All this money, that's all yours - a reward for hours of hard work. Result.

But then you realise some of it belongs to the taxman. And then there's some to pay for your access to free healthcare and a state pension when you're old and bald or grey. This is known as national insurance (NI).

For all employees who get paid through a company's payroll (often referred to as PAYE - pay as you earn), tax and NI will be taken off before your cash hits your account.

You'll be given a tax code to determine how much you should pay above the tax-free allowance of £10,600. For most, unless you're earning megabucks, it'll be 20%. But check how much you should pay with the Tax Code Calculator. If you're paying too much, you could be owed a refund.

Cut phone bills - even on PAYG

If your monthly top-up or bill costs leave you needing a lie-down, try to slash the expense.

    Here's a host of tips and tricks that can help:

  • Pick the right contract. Use your bills from the last few months to pinpoint your average usage for calls, texts and data. Then use this to find the cheapest tariff for your needs using comparison sites such as MobilePhoneChecker*, Billmonitor* and MoneySupermarket* - full step-by-step help in Mobile Phone Cost-Cutting.

  • Haggle, haggle, haggle. If you're nearing the end of your contract, test out your haggling skills to get the best deal possible. See the Mobile Phone Haggling guide for tips on how to give your haggle some chutzpah!

  • After an iPhone? These aren't MoneySaving, but it's possible to pay less and get a shorter contract if you know where to look. To quickly compare tariffs, use the tool in the Cheap iPhone guide.

A pension? But I'm not even 25...

You're not old, right?

True, but if you like the life you're used to, you're going to have to figure out how to pay for it when you retire. And the younger you are when you start, the easier it'll be as the cash you save has decades to grow.

Think of a pension like a pot of cash you, your employer or the Government pay into to save for your retirement. Plus if your employer pays in (which it'll soon - if not already - have to thanks to a new scheme called auto-enrolment), it's like getting a pay rise. You may not benefit immediately, but you certainly will in the future.

If you want to know roughly how much you should pay in, take the age you start saving for your pension and halve it - this is the percentage of your salary you should put aside each month. We've a Pension Need-To-Knows guide for more.

Prepaid cards - get one if banks won't give you a debit card

Prepaid cards are one of the simplest financial products - they do exactly what they say on the tin. You can use them just like a debit card to pay for things in shops and restaurants. And once the money loaded has been spent, that's it.

Many are focused on younger people, as sometimes banks won't give out widely-accepted debit cards until you hit a certain age, so this is a great workaround. For the top picks, see our Cheap Prepaid Cards guide.

They're also very useful for spending abroad cheaply, and are safer than pocketfuls of foreign cash. See our Cheap Overseas Spending guide for more.

Debt isn't bad, bad debt is bad...

There's very little chance you'll be able to live your life without borrowing money at any point, but how and when you borrow is crucial.

Whether it's for university, a house or something else you need, borrowing can be the right thing. But get it wrong and it'll cost you a fortune.

Unlike most other things we spend cash on, you can't cancel debts, so you need to get it right the first time. See the Good Debt, Bad Debt video quiz.

Warning! Store cards are the devil's debt

Most store cards charge a hideous 25% interest or more. Even the best aren't cheaper than a bank's credit cards, so don't get sucked in by the sales patter.

However they are pitched to you, remember...

  • They DO NOT give free money

  • You have to pay back every single penny you spend

  • Interest charges can be colossal

They work and feel very much like credit cards, except that while credit cards can be used anywhere, store cards can often only be used in a specific store or group.

Store cards have exorbitant rates, and are often targeted at the young as stores assume they're easy to sell to.

Don't get burned - read The Devil's Debt for more.

Get paid to shop online

If you're shopping online, click to the company via a cashback site and you get paid for it. Used correctly, you can make £100s a year.

The most popular (and generally the highest paying) sites are Topcashback* and Quidco*. Use the Cashback Sites Maximiser tool to compare how much the top sites pay for each retailer.

You’ve no rights to return items if you change your mind (unless you bought online)

If you return from a shopping trip and decide that item you bought wasn’t for you after all, DON’T assume you can just take it back.

Under the law, the store you bought it from is under no obligation to take your item back just because you've changed your mind.

Many have returns policies which do allow this, but these are totally voluntary.

However, if the item is faulty or you bought it online, it's a different story – the store must give you a refund. Online is simplest – if you bought via a website, you can return items for a refund up to 14 days after the item's been delivered, and once you've decided to return them you have a further 14 days to send the goods back.

For faulty goods, you have very strong rights – we call them the SAD FART rules. Goods must be…

Satisfactory
A
s
Described

Fit for purpose
And last a
Reasonable length of
Time

To help you remember your rights we’ve put together a Wallet-Sized Consumer Rights Guide. Or for chapter and verse, you can read the full Consumer Rights guide.

Payday loans - AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE

You're short of cash and see signs promising you £100 in just 15 minutes - the end to all your financial woes. Amazing, right?

WRONG. A payday loan may feel easy, but the reality is it's a short-term gain and long-term nightmare.

Most people who get 'em really shouldn't. A payday loan is a desperate measure, which will affect your chances of getting a credit card or mortgage, even if you do pay it back in time.

Read our Payday Loans guide to see why most people should avoid them. The best way to avoid needing them is to budget. Teaching yourself to be financially savvy now will save you from a major headache later on.

Interest - how does it work?

The most important thing to understand about debt is how interest works and just how clever it is.

The interest is the cost of borrowing money. Often, it's displayed in a way that makes it look cheap but makes the lender a fortune. An example may help:

Let's say you borrow £1,000 on a credit card with 20% APR:

  • After year 1:
    You owe £1,000 for the original debt, plus £200 interest.

  • After year 2:
    You owe £1,200 from last year, plus £200 interest on the original borrowing, and £40 interest on the interest = £1,440

  • After year 3:
    You owe £1,440 from last year, plus £200 interest on the original borrowing, and £80 interest on the interest, and £8 interest on the interest on the interest = £1,728

As you can see, the cost accelerates pretty quickly.

By year 20, you'd owe a huge £38,400 - so you can clearly see that the longer you borrow for, the more it'll cost you.

Get your head around basic financial jargon

Don't know your APR from your AER, or your standing order from your store card? Citizens Advice has a handy jargon-busting guide, so next time you get bamboozled by interest rates or ISAs, you'll know where to turn.

Turn off lights and save money

It isn't just which company you pay, but how much you use. Cutting energy costs is a mix of big and little things, and a few small changes will help to cut your bill.

Turn down the thermostat and dig out that knitted jumper your gran bought you for Christmas. Switch off lights when leaving a room, use energy-saving lightbulbs, defrost the fridge and check it isn't on too high, and don't leave electricals on standby either.

Register to vote and improve your credit score

Once you're 18, you can legally vote for who runs the country and your local area if you register on the electoral roll. Obviously voting is something everyone should be doing anyway, but there's an added bonus if you do.

Getting credit is tough, but being on the electoral roll confirms to financial providers that you are who you say you are. It doesn't mean you have to vote, but not being on the register will affect your credit rating.

Planning to go to uni? Learn the truth about student finance

We've a whole Students section dedicated to the info you'll need, whether you're confused about finance, need loan myths busted or are looking for ways to make your budget go further. Even if you're going into the world of work now, many people go (or go back) later in life.

Save ££s messaging for free

Mobile bills can really add up but if you're more of a texter than a talker, or vice-versa, you can very easily cut costs.

Sending 20 texts a day at 10p a text means spending over £700 a year if you don't have them included in your contract.

A host of apps let you send messages for free, such as the ever-popular Whatsapp, which is a free app for iPhones, Androids, Blackberrys and Nokias for the first year (after that it costs about 69p/yr).

They will all use a small amount of data though - see the Free Texts guide for full details and list of apps.

Warning! Bank advisers are salespeople

A bank's job is to make money – pure and simple. Watch out for their sales tricks, including cross-selling.

You go in looking for a bank account, and often they'll try to flog you credit cards on top. The bank hopes you'll spend on the card and then not pay it off in full each month, so you start owing a tidy sum of interest, which will keep growing until the bill is cleared.

Our job is to try to keep our cash – which is tough in the face of huge institutions trained from top to bottom to get it off us. Stick to your guns and don’t be fooled by their sales talk.

Free mobile calls via smartphone apps

For those who like to chat, use smartphone apps such as Skype, Viber and FaceTime to make cheap or free calls using the internet, providing the person you're calling is also online. But check your monthly data allowance first.

See more info and a full rundown of providers in Free Web Calls.

Get free stuff or money off with coupons

Coupons can save you £100s if you know where to look, giving you that little bit extra when you shop.

You’ll need a printer for most of them, but many coupons are now available to download to your smartphone.

The Supermarket Coupons page has a regularly-updated list. Be aware that sometimes shops turn coupons down, so don’t make a special trip to use them.

Also only use coupons if you buy the product anyway, or else it's not MoneySaving.

If you're feeling really savvy, source, gain and hoard hundreds of coupons and then combine them to push your savings to the max with extreme couponing. Here's one of the best successes we've heard of:

I got £67.24 worth of shopping for 11p after store offers and coupons. I did use my employee discount but I think this is totally doable just with coupons. I used £39.50 of saved Clubcard coupons, £5 off £40, a price promise coupon and Rustlers, Rice Dream, Genius bread, Penn State, PEK Jungle Dogs and Wall's coupons." - Purple Sarah

Never just pay the price they say

Specially-designed websites trawl the net and compare prices from loads of different retailers, in the time it'll take you to search one site. To make things even easier, MSE's MegaShopBot will search other shopbots, automatically picking the best ones depending on what you're looking for.

Turn old mobiles into cash

If you've old mobiles or gadgets such as cameras, iPods and more lying around, there's a mass of sites willing to pay you for them.

Once you agree to sell, you'll be sent a freepost bag for it, so it's free for you. Just watch out for companies claiming your phone's in a bad condition when they receive it and offering you a lot less than their original estimate.

To find the best payer for your phone's make and model, use MSE's MobileValuer tool. A quick and easy way to make cash!

Don't forget discount vouchers

Before you hit the high street, remember to check the latest Discount Vouchers. There's always a huge stash of the latest printable vouchers, online codes and more.

The High Street Sales diary is also well worth bookmarking to keep an eye on clearances in the stores you love.

If retail therapy leaves you a little hungry, don't eat out at full price - check out the restaurant deals and bag more bargains.

Bottle of Coke = £1/day, £31/month, £365/year...

Think buying a bottle of Coke every day in your lunch break, or a 10-pack of cigarettes every week, doesn't make much of a dent in your spending? Think again.

Our handy Demotivator tool stops you spending when you can't afford it by showing you how much of an impact these small things have on your spending over the year and even in your lifetime, if you keep it up.

That £4.50 you spend on cigarettes every week costs you a whopping £234 a year and an eye-watering £10,530 in your lifetime. Buying a bottle of Coke every day could cost you almost £23,000 over a lifetime. Just think what you could do with all that money...

Try the supermarket Downshift Challenge

Moving out for the first time can mean discovering the cost of things that you possibly took for granted, such as food.

Supermarket shopping can be expensive, particularly if you're used to branded or luxury items. A quick 'n' easy way to make decent savings on your grocery shopping is to try the supermarket Downshift Challenge.

Drop one brand level on everything and see if you can tell the difference. If you can't, stick with the cheaper product. If you drop just one brand level on everything, the average bill's cut by a third. On a £20 weekly shop, that's nearly £350 a year less. See the Supermarket Shopping guide for tips.

Get on the net for nowt

There's no need to pay to surf the web, or at least no need to pay a lot.

    Here's how to get Wi-fi for free or slash the cost of your surfing:

  • Get it for free on the high street. Free wireless internet's the norm at high street cafes and pubs now, rather than the exception. Wetherspoon and Walkabout pubs offer all customers unlimited Wi-fi access, as do McDonald's restaurants nationwide. See the Mobile Broadband article for more.
  • Consider shorter contracts. If you decide to get the internet at home, some tariffs offer a 30-day contract. While the monthly cost may be slightly more in the short-term, if you'll only need it for nine months instead of the full year, it could work out cheaper in the long run.
  • Beware download limits. If there's several of you downloading or watching TV online, limits for standard cheap tariffs may not be enough. To avoid being hit by unexpected charges, consider getting an unlimited plan if you live with several heavy downloaders.
  • Check the best buys. Some providers offer tariffs aimed at students. Never assume student tariffs are cheapest - factor in any fees to work out the real monthly cost, then use the Cheap Broadband guide to see how it compares to best buys in your area.

Free eBay tool uncovers local bargains

If you're kitting out your first home with larger items, eg, a sofa or a TV for your new room, pick-up only items on eBay are often cheaper as there are fewer bids.

To help uncover 'em, we've built a Local eBay Deals Mapper tool. Just enter your postcode, tell it how far you're willing to travel, and it'll trawl eBay* for hidden local gems.

Always double-check the seller's location, and stay safe when collecting. Go with a friend, or if this isn't possible, tell someone where you're going and arrange to contact them afterwards. Take a mobile phone, and stay on the doorstep if you can. See more safety tips.

Web communities like Freecycle and Freegle are also worth trying. People offer up a whole range of stuff they no longer want or use, from smoothie makers to sofas to boxes of vintage comics for absolutely nothing. Check out the Freecycle and Freegle guide for more info.

Buying a house - it costs HOW much?!

ddWhen one of the MSE team asked this question to a class of 14-15 year olds, many believed you could do it for around £25,000. In 2015, that'll just about make up a deposit in some areas.

When you buy a house, you'll need to borrow money - but this is what we like to call good debt. It's up there with student loans if you plan to head to university at some point.

A mortgage - a loan used to buy a house - allows you to borrow an amount of about four times your annual salary (this varies between lenders), and pay it back over 25 years. Typically, you'll need a deposit of at least 5% of the property value, though 10% is more likely.

If you're saving to buy a house, read our First-Time Buyers' Mortgage Guide, which'll take you through what you have to do.

Planning a package holiday? Don’t settle for the first price you get - haggle

A package holiday is an all-in-one trip, where the tour operator provides flights, connections and accommodation for one price. That means they're off-the-peg and best suited for standard breaks of standard length – and good for group trips if that’s what you’re planning.

As a rough rule of thumb, packages are usually cheapest for seven, 10 or 14 days away in a traditional holiday destination. So for a lads' or ladies' cheap and cheerful trip to Ibiza, for example, they can be a winner.

However, the golden rule is to NEVER accept the first price any travel agent gives you. Packages are identical whoever is selling it, so they're great haggling fodder. Find the one you want then call up a few agents. Tell each one you’ve been quoted a price for your holiday, and ask if they can beat it.

It takes a bit of charm and stomach, but the worst they can say is no. In which case, move on and try someone else. For a full step-by-step guide, and some inspiration (people commonly save £300-500 per person!) see our Cheap Package Holidays guide.

Score free entry to museums and galleries

Whether you want to see an original Picasso or check out the history of toys, there are Free UK Museums and Galleries to spark your interest. Ideal for rainy days, cheap and quirky dates, or just a general browse.

Your tips

Thanks to all the MoneySaving forumites who emailed in the extra tips below:

Frozen pizza

Know your weaknesses and plan ahead

If you return from the pub craving pizza twice a week, keep a stash of cheap frozen supermarket pizzas in your freezer.

You'll save tonnes if you can avoid ordering regular takeaways!

- Forumite blues

Volunteer at festivals for charity and save £100s

Instead of paying around £200 to visit a festival in the summer, volunteer with Oxfam and receive free entry to many of the UK's biggest music events.

Oxfam recruit volunteers for many festivals, including Glastonbury, Reading/Leeds, Bestival and Latitude, to name a few.

You will usually complete three shifts which are typically eight hours long, and you have the rest of the time to enjoy the festival. Plus you're volunteering for a charity.

- Forumite 123imp
Piles of coins

Save every payday - you'll build a stash without realising

Set up a standing order on your bank account to transfer a small amount of money into a savings account every payday.

This way you're much less likely to spend it, and even small amounts add up!

- Forumite StevieJay