88 MoneySaving Life Hacks

Tips & tricks to save, incl free Amazon delivery tool, slash Sky bills, exploit eBay spellng mishtkes, buy stolen goods & more

moneysaving life hacks

Life hacks, tricks, loopholes - whatever you call them, over the past few years we've compiled a raft of quick-hit savvy tips so you can be cute with your cash.

We've hunted high and low to gather the best and brightest life hacks all together in one quick-fire guide - from how to check if you've been hacked and muting self-service checkouts to free Amazon delivery. We've 88 so far in total, but we'll add more as we spot 'em, so watch this space.

88 life hacks, including...

  1. Watch TV and (legally) don't pay the licence fee

    Many have no idea when they actually need a licence, official TV Licensing research shows - and some may be paying £150.50/year unnecessarily. For full info, see Do I need a TV licence?.

  2. Get rare Amazon cashback - if you have (or know) a kid

    With cashback sites, you sign up, then click through them to buy something or get financial products. They get paid for sending traffic and give some of this cash to you (see our full Top Cashback Sites guide for more). 

    It's rare to get cashback on Amazon shopping via these sites – perhaps because it has no problem attracting custom. Yet Amazon cashback is possible.

  3. How to beat school hols travel price hikes

    Including hidden cheap booking dates. See Beat school hols hikes

    Wendy told us: "We saved £2,000 all-in flying out of Glasgow instead of Gatwick as Scottish children were back at school."

  4. How to pay 30p for £1.90 meds

    Drug companies spend millions marketing 'only-use-the-name-you-know' messages - but don't fall for the hype, you can often get the same medicinal magic for much cheaper.

    Watch Martin's drugs bust video and see his five top tips for cutting medicine costs.

  5. Make old £1 coins spendable again

    A whopping 169m are still down sofas, in piggybanks etc, and have yet to be returned to the Royal Mint nearly nine months after they went out of circulation.

    Here's how to make them spendable again - £1 coin help.

  6. Travel in London? Free tool auto-claims when you're delayed

    There's a free service that automatically claims refunds for delays from TfL. Full info in Tube & train refunds.

    MSE Kelvin's happy: "Got a refund the day I connected my account – didn't even realise I'd been delayed."

  7. Use less plastic AND save cash

    Shockingly, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation predicts there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050.

    We've 13 ways to cut down on your plastic use, incl when it's cheaper to buy unpackaged food, where to get free water refills and the soap vs shower gel debate. How to live with less plastic

  8. Little-known ways to bank at the post office - works with most banks

    It has become a familiar story - bank branches are disappearing from our high streets, and some customers fear being cut off from in-person banking. But many don't realise that the Post Office can provide essential banking services for almost everyone with a UK bank account. See post office banking functions.  

  9. Use contact lenses? How to get 'em cheaper

    Buying contact lenses online can often beat high-street prices. But DON'T automatically go direct to retailers – we've found it's possible to buy for less from at least four online shops. MSE Sarah discovered this contact lenses trick that gets up to 20% off. 

  10. Get-out-of-jail-free trick to bag top savings

    Bag today's top rates with the freedom to switch if they rise - which may happen given the recent base rate jump. See savings trick.

  11. Save £550+/yr by getting car insurance at the right time

    An MSE investigation in which we analysed more than 18 million quotes from three of the biggest price comparison sites – Confused.com, Compare The Market and MoneySupermarket – has revealed when's the cheapest time to buy your car insurance.

    See our when to get a new policy trick.

  12. Get free water at airports for your flight

    Avoid rip-off prices after security with our handy guide to airport water fountains

  13. Flog your rubbish for cash

    It might surprise you, but you can make money from selling old loo roll tubes, jam jars, corks & more. See our Sell your junk guide for full details.

  14. 20+ Ikea hacks, including store shortcuts & half-price delivery

    If you’ve shopped at Ikea, you’ll know only too well how easily costs can add up when you pop in for a specific item and leave several hours later with a car boot full of cacti and scented candles. 

    You can swerve the crowds and save with our Ikea tips.

  15. Free Experian credit score and more

    There's a free way to find out whether lenders think you’re a credit dream or disaster with the new MSE Credit Club.

    This revolutionary new concept will tell you how lenders rate your past behaviour, how they assess if you can afford a product, how likely you are to get a deal, and of course how to improve your rating. Mark tweeted: "Wowzers trousers. Loving MSE Credit Club - would never have bothered before. Pleased with learnings from it - thanks."

  16. Sit together for FREE on BA, Easyjet, Virgin etc

    Paying extra to choose your airline seat can soon add up. A family of four could spend up to £240 to guarantee they sit together on return flights - yet unless your heart's set on particular seats, it's usually unnecessary.

    Airlines have sneaky ways to tempt you to pay, but we've airline-by-airline tips to beat 'em.

  17. Free roaming trick now extended to 71 destinations

    Our Cheap Roaming guide shows how to use a UK tariff at no extra cost in 71 countries and territories - including destinations beyond the EU such as the US and Australia.

  18. Some save £100s on car insurance by legitimately tweaking job titles

    Subtly changing your job title can make a big difference - eg, an illustrator is often cheaper than an artist, an editor than a journalist, a secretary than a PA. 

    Play with our car insurance job picker tool to read the rules and find your cheapest. For example, @fabsternation tweeted: "I saved £300+ going from creative director to marketing manager."

  19. Eat neighbours' food for free – would you dare?

    This app links you up with neighbours who have surplus grub to give away (a bit like Freecycle but for food). Once you've found something you fancy, you simply request it and if successful go and pick it up. MSE Jenny bagged some posh currant buns but would you dare? Food sharing

  20. Check your photo licence or risk a £1,000 fine

    More than 2 million have an out-of-date photocard driving licence - see what to check and what to do if it's invalid. And remember it must be replaced every 10 years (no matter how young you look...).

  21. Slash £100s off your Sky bill

    Want to keep your existing Sky package but slice down the cost of your monthly bill? Our Haggle with Sky guide will show you how. @OmicronPersei12 tried it and tweeted: "Just knocked £30 a month from my sky bill thanks to @MartinSLewis."

    And it's not just Sky, either - we've similar guides to help cut bills for BTPlusnetTalkTalk & Virgin customers.

  22. Use a queue-dodging weapon to beat crowds at the gym, restaurants, Ikea etc

    Get ahead of the crowd without being a VIP by being in the know about when a place is likely to be rammed. It works on everything from clubs, pubs, restaurants and even supermarkets, as Anna told us: "Used it the other day to find out when to do my food shop. Most relaxing supermarket shop ever." See queue dodge.

  23. Get an iPhone interest-free deal - far cheaper than contracts

    A new iPhone's never MoneySaving, but there's a way to swerve the long-term contracts with networks and save £100s.

    See how to grab an interest-free deal.

  24. Amazon shopper? You're entitled to music going back to 1999

    If you've bought CDs/vinyl since 1999, our Amazon music reclaim shows how to get them as downloads for free. Great for some, eg Luke, who tweeted us to say: "I got 7,654 songs on my Amazon music."

    Beware though - as GingerJuice said: "Thought this was brilliant, then realised I'd bought the mother-in-law a Susan Boyle CD last year... ugh."

  25. Wear/wore a uniform for work? Are you due a tax rebate?

    If you wash it, repair it or replace it yourself, you may be able to claim £100s back in tax from the past four years.

    JoJo did it: "I phoned tax man re washing work uniform. Got refund of over £100 for a 3-min call!"

  26. Pay at least a penny on a credit card - it could be worth £10,000s

    Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 is a secret financial super-hero - it means your credit card must protect purchases of between £100 and £30,000, so if there's a problem you could get your money back. But here's the clever bit: pay just 1p on your credit card and £99.99 in cash and you still get Section 75 protection.

    In Scott Parsley's case, he's very grateful he paid for £300 of his £26,000 car on a credit card - if not, he could've lost the lot. See credit card penny protection.

  27. Don’t almost clear your card in full – clear it IN FULL if you can

    If you've £1,000 debt from spending on a credit card, clear it IN FULL and there's no interest - yet only clear £999 and you pay interest on the whole grand. So if you can nearly clear it, totally clear it. If you can't, balance transfer it.

  28. Bag secret scholarships and hidden grants

    Amazingly, many of these student-only pots of gold go unclaimed each year. Our Scholarships and Hidden Grants guide has all the tricks in the school book.

  29. Zara shopper? The must-know trick

    If you plan to go to Spain (not France, not Germany), it's Zara's home country and it sells its clothes at vastly lower prices there. Better still, you can compare before you go. Read Zara on the cheap for full details.

  30. Check if hackers have stolen your info

    The recent hacks of sites such as LinkedIn, MySpace and Dropbox mean it's more important than ever to check if you've been targeted. Find out if passwords, address, numbers or your DOB have been nicked using our Stop Scams guide.

  31. Exploit eBay speiling mistaykes to uncover mega-bargains

    Typos and errors on eBay are incredibubbly common and mean fewer people searching for things, so prices are rock-bottom. Use a mistake-spotter to find 'em. See this and more tricks in our eBay Buying Tips guide.

  32. Warning: Don't use PayPal to pay on a credit card

    Using PayPal scuppers valuable extra protection for items over £100. For full information, read our PayPal Warning (and there's added information on debit cards too).

  33. Earn up to £1,000 savings interest tax–free

    Changes made in April 2016 mean basic-rate taxpayers will be able to earn £1,000 of savings interest tax-free (higher rate £500) using the Personal Savings Allowance. Our Tax-Free Savings guide shows how some on low incomes can push it to the max.

  34. Bag 25% extra points Clubcard points and go wallet-free

    There's a new way to pay at Tesco which ensures you'll never miss out on Clubcard points again. What's more, there's a bonus offer available until 31 August. See our Boost Tesco Vouchers guide.

  35. Uncover the cheaper tariffs your mobile networks won't tell you about

    When we talk about ditching and switching mobile provider to save, many say "I wish I could but only Vodafone/EE/3 works in my home". Yet there are hidden tariffs you can switch to on the same signal - see our Mobile Piggybacking guide.

  36. 50%+ of people beat unfair council parking fines even after rejection

    If your ticket's unfair, appeal. But even if you lose that, go all the way to the final tribunal and over 50% win.

    See Fight unfair COUNCIL parking tickets for how to do it (and see below for help on fighting an unfair PRIVATE ticket).

  37. Buy cheaper 'advance' train tickets just 10mins before you board

    Seven train firms let you book advance tickets the day you travel - so even if you're at the station, never assume it's too late to bag a cheaper fare. See Book early, late.

  38. Abandon online shopping baskets to bag a code

    If you fail to finish a web order, shops often send codes to tempt you back, as Charlie found: "Was browsing ASOS wedding dresses then left. The next morning I had a nice surprise email from ASOS offering 20%, so I got £37 off my wedding dress."

    See How to get abandoned basket discounts, including 26 stores we hear do it.

  39. Turn your phone into a free sat-nav for 197 countries

    If it's got GPS, convert it into a free sat-nav for 197 countries, including the UK. Plus you can download maps in advance on Wi-Fi to avoid pricey data costs (especially useful if heading abroad).

  40. Know which keywords will boost your eBay selling prices

    A lot of the time it's not what you list but how you list it that determines how the bids will go. Research shows perfumes described as 'authentic' sold for £34 on average, whereas those with 'genuine' sold for just £21. If you want to earn a bit more, check out the 130 keywords for eBay's most popular categories. See sell for more using the right keywords.

  41. Play the John Lewis price promise to bag a free warranty

    Buy electricals from John Lewis to get a longer warranty and then get it to match the cheapest price you can find. Bry used this trick and tweeted: "Did it on a Acer laptop, comparison at Tesco was £20 cheaper." Longer warranty

  42. Pssst. Wanna buy stolen goods on the cheap?

    Fancy a new bike or bit of bling? Don't worry, it's all above board - in fact, even the police are in on it. It's possible to grab goods at a fraction of the normal cost with this trick.

    Not many people know about it, so you could nab some real bargains. All is explained in our full Buy Cheap Stolen Goods guide.

  43. Always turn your sun cream bottles around

    Why? Well, there's a little number on there than can save you big. See our how to make suncream last tips for full info.

  44. The four numbers that can beat spam texts

    If you're sick of PPI or debt write-off texts, beware replying 'Stop' - it works for legit texts, but if they're spam it means they know you're real. Instead, for full help to fight back see our Stop Spam Texts guide, plus also Stop Spam Calls, Stop Junk Mail and you can grab a free 'No cold callers' sign too...

  45. How to mute self-service checkouts

    Never hear 'unexpected item in bagging area' again with MSE Jordon's demo.

  46. Free 'Amazon delivery trick' tool

    The e-retail giant used to give free delivery if you spent £10. Now it's a minimum of £20 - but a very handy new tool provides a clever way around this. See Free Amazon Delivery Tool.

  47. Never renew AA or RAC policies without haggling

    In our poll of hagglers the RAC was top with an 90% success rate and the AA got 88%, so see what you could save. Dedicated haggler Kathryn said: "Every year we haggle breakdown cover - with the AA we managed to knock off more than £100 this year."

  48. Need a loan? You could borrow more to pay less

    Rates decrease the more you borrow and this has a perverse effect at the borders. For example, if you borrow £4,999 and the cheapest's 7.4%, then if you borrow £1 more the rate could be, say, 4.4% (actual rates change all the time so always check). As our loans calculator shows, on a five-year loan you'd then repay £416 less and you can use the extra cash for repayments.

  49. Free £48/yr for Barclays bank customers

    If you've got an account, there's an easy way to bag extra cash - for how, see Free £48 from Barclays.

  50. Energy firms can't charge exit penalties within 49 days of a fix ending

    On a cheap fixed energy deal? You needn't wait to the last day to avoid exit fees - the rules actually state that you're allowed to switch without penalty 49 days before your fix ends. See our Cheap Energy Club FAQ for more - and if you're affected, use the Cheap Energy Club to compare.

  51. Find discounted grub that restaurants sell at the end of the day

    A free app hooks you up with cafés, bakeries and restaurants to grab cheap grub and prevent food waste. Find out how to get cheap leftovers.

  52. Get a YEAR's 2for1 at 1,000s of restaurants AND cinemas for £1ish

    At Zizzi, Pizza Hut, Frankie & Benny's, independents & more restaurants. Plus Odeon, Vue, Cineworld etc. See 2for1 meals & movies trick. Francesca emailed: "I paid £1.05 and have 2for1 meals and movies till July 2019. Thanks for sharing."

  53. Get up to 5% cashback every time you buy fuel

    The Amex Everyday Credit Card gives up to 5% cashback on everything including fuel and train fares, so just repay it IN FULL to avoid its 22.9% rep APR and you're quids in.

    The up to 5% is an introductory rate for three months (max £100), after that the cashback rate is tiered, up to 1%. For full info, see Petrol Cashback Cards.

  54. Same supermarket, same item - different prices.

  55. Grab 'free' coffee every day

    Waitrose used to offer a completely free coffee (or tea) to its loyalty cardholders every day. You now have to make a purchase to get the freebie, but there's a nifty trick to get it for pennies. See 'Free' Waitrose coffee.

  56. Spend 5 mins now to get unbeatable exchange rates every trip

    For the very best rates every time, get a specialist cheap travel spending credit card - with a direct debit to pay it off IN FULL every month. Eg, when we checked, €1,000 cost roughly £980 at airport bureaux (walk-in rate), £948 on a debit card from hell and £887 on a top card (we checked in November 2018).

  57. How to stop a 2.8% loan costing you 20%

    The cheapest loans are currently 2.8% representative APR, and that big word 'representative' has an even bigger impact. It means only 51% of accepted applicants need get that rate - the rest can and usually do pay more.

    You only find out by applying and that marks your credit file. Our loans eligibility calc can help - in general the higher your odds, the more likely you are to get the advertised rate.

  58. 'I got my Amazon Prime £79 subscription back'

    Our Amazon Prime Refund guide shows those charged for unwanted membership how to get it back. For example Tianna said: "Didn't even know I had it - got £79 refunded. Thanks"

  59. Try adding mum, son or Aunt Dot to car insurance to save £1,000s

    Bizarrely, covering more people on a policy can cut costs if it brings down the risk average - see 7 tips on adding 2nd drivers.

    See if you can save as much as @Faevouritexox, who tweeted: "Thanks, as a young driver my insurer wanted £5,000 but after adding mum and dad it dropped to £1,900." (PS - it's not just for young drivers)

  60. Turn detective and uncover secret hotels for huge discounts

    Secret hotel bookings on sites like Lastminute.com give you big discounts on 3-5 star hotels UK & worldwide, but you don't know the exact hotel until after you've paid... UNLESS, that is, you use our Uncover Secret Hotels tips.

  61. Don't pay to take luggage - wear your baggage instead

    If you’re travelling with hand luggage only, or trying to minimise how many bags you check in – you have another valuable asset – your person!

    See Beat Baggage Fees for how to do it - airlines don't yet have rules to stop it.

  62. Amazon shopper? It could be cheaper to ship it from Europe

    Buying from Amazon's European sites rather than Amazon UK can be much cheaper. This clever Amazon EU tool checks prices across Amazon's sites in France, Germany, Italy and Spain, converts them into pounds and compares them to the UK.

  63. More bedrooms than people? You could save £100s with a water meter

    The general rule of thumb is if you have more bedrooms in your home than people you could save with a water meter - use the Free Water Meter Calculator to check.

    It worked well for Jacqui: "Over many years I’ve paid £65/mth for my water bill. After following your suggestion, my current water bills are now £4.50/mth. A great saving - I wished I’d done it years ago."

  64. Find when your student loan will be wiped

    It all depends on what year you started. See Student loan wiped info.

  65. Monthly car insurance doesn't exist - it's a hidden loan

    Insurance companies simply loan you the year's cost, often at 20%+ APR, which is hardly a competitive rate. You can check our car insurers APR list but often you'll be far better off spreading the cost over a year on a 0% credit card.

  66. Don't apply for credit cards willy-nilly - it hits your credit file

    Applications, not rejections, mark your file. All other lenders see is that an application search has been made. Make too many, especially in a short time, and it can make you look like you're desperate for credit.

    We've campaigned against this anti-shopping around system with no joy. So instead we built our credit card eligibility calculator which shows which cards you're most likely to get, with no credit score impact, so you can home in and minimise applications.

  67. 'I got £67 of shopping for 11p'

    Source, gain & hoard 100s of product and store coupons, then combine them for huge discounts on groceries & more. Purple Sarah said: "Got £67 of shopping for 11p after store offers, coupons & my employee discount (but it's totally doable just with coupons)."

    Few will reach such heights - but many will be able to cut costs using our 30 extreme couponing tips.

  68. Not at car insurance renewal? Check NOW if you can save mid-policy

    With prices rising, everyone should check if they're overpaying. If so, unless you've claimed you can usually switch - read switching mid-policy for the full pros and cons. Andy said: "You gave us confidence to challenge our insurance mid-policy. We were paying £40/mth, now it's £16/mth."

  69. Bag hidden local eBay bargains

    eBay sellers often specify items, from bikes to PS4s, as 'collection only', so they get fewer bids and prices are lower. You can't search for them on eBay, so we built the Local eBay Deals Mapper to find 'em. Zoe said: "Love it - grabbed a new VTech Baby Dancing Tower toy for 99p (was £40ish)."

  70. Walk away with someone else's luggage - it could be worth £100s

    Ever watched Storage Hunters? Now you can do-it-yourself with lost luggage auctions. See how in our 60-second guide.

  71. Book big-brand car hire via a foreign website

    If you're dead-set on using a big name car hire firm, try booking via overseas websites as it can save you heaps. Mechelle tweeted: "Just saved £440 on my hols car hire by booking with Avis France instead of Avis UK. Thanks."

  72. How kids can get a free Blue Peter badge - free entry to Legoland, London Zoo etc

    When you think about Blue Peter, whatever your age, the show’s much coveted pin badges will probably spring to mind. And they can be seriously MoneySaving, with free admission to 200+ attractions.

    Most people assume they’re really hard to get hold of, but actually, by making a little bit of effort, your kids can earn a badge fairly easily. See our Deals Hunters' How to get a free Blue Peter badge blog.

  73. European annual travel cover isn't just for Europe

    Around the Mediterranean a few other countries can be included too, eg, Turkey and Egypt. So use our Europe cover loophole to see how much you can save by booking European rather than worldwide cover.

  74. Are you due the £900 marriage tax allowance?

    If you're married or in a civil partnership, you may be eligible, as @_CorinneMullins tweeted after reading our guide: "Easy - £212/yr better off. Thanks." See Marriage Tax Allowance Help.

  75. Don't be fear-sold car hire excess insurance - get it 90% cheaper now

    When you pick up the car, hire firms push up to £20/day excess cover - usually with dire warnings of problems if you don't. But you can get standalone cheap excess insurance before you go for as little as £2/day.

  76. The answer is "I'll pay in euros"

    Use a debit or credit card in Europe, either for cash from an ATM or in a shop, and you are sometimes given a choice between paying in pounds or the local currency.

    You should always pay in the local currency. For why, see the Pay in euros blog.

  77. Save £100s on school holiday flights by booking the WRONG Easyjet date

    Not 100% straightforward, but savings can be huge using our little-known Easyjet Flexifares Trick.

  78. Use hidden council 'fewer fails' MOT centres

    As they don't do repairs, they've no vested interest to fail you, and many like Jemayhew say it means fewer fails: "Huge thanks. Last year ripped off - £400 repairs. Today passed at council centre with only test fee to pay." Use our UK council MOTs finder to locate your nearest.

  79. Reclaim lost Tesco points, then TRIPLE them

    Check if you've lost, forgotten or just have unused Clubcard vouchers via our Reclaim Tesco Points guide - and then swap them for 3x their value. You might be surprised just how much you have. Alison was quids in: "£132 reclaimed in lost vouchers. New bikes for our boys maybe."

  80. Find the hidden Amazon 75%+ bargains

    Our Amazon Discount Finder manipulates the giant's URLs to create customised bargain basement pages for you, eg, 70%+ off beauty and 25%+ off TVs.

  81. Don't assume you pay less for 3rd party insurance than fully comp

    It's counter-logical but if you want the cheapest cover, fully comprehensive car insurance can actually cost less.

  82. Private parking firms can't fine you - it's just an invoice

    Many tickets from supermarkets, retail parks and private car park firms do better impressions than Alistair McGowan. Some even call themselves Parking Charge Notices (PCNs) to mimic official Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs).

    Yet they've no right to fine you - see how to Fight Unfair Private Parking Tickets.

  83. Watch how to master the art of hand luggage packing

    Many hand luggage restrictions are about bag size, not weight, so our Packing Masterclass video shows how to pack more and keep it neat.

  84. The 're-book your hotel' trick – if you book with free cancellation, you can save if the price drops

    Whether you've booked via a travel agent or direct with the hotel, often you'll find you're able to cancel for free up to a certain point, which is typically around 24-48 hours before your stay starts. See our re-book your hotel trick for full details.

  85. Get up to 50p off most Costa, Pret & Starbucks drinks EVERY time

    Coffee shops aren't MoneySaving, but if you're going to spend there anyway, you can cut the cost and save up to 50p on every takeaway drink served by the barista – teas, coffees and similar – EVERY time by taking your own reusable cup with a secure lid. See our 'bring your own mug' trick.

  86. River Island, Topshop, Zara etc clothes for a fiver

    We've found a way to bag surplus stock from top high-street brands for just £5. See Everything5Pounds.

  87. Never miss a deal on big retailers' sites with MSE Deals Alerts

    Our special tool tells you whenever there's a deal for the site you're on. The idea is to help you save even more money by ensuring you don’t miss a top deal – we know how frustrating it can be when you buy something and then realise you could have got it cheaper had you known about an offer.

    See how to install MSE Deals Alerts.