Plastic straws will be banned from April 2020 in England – so what are the cheapest alternatives?

The Government has just announced that the sale and distribution of disposable plastic straws will be effectively banned in England from next April, in a bid to reduce the amount of plastic we throw away. Yet many of us like (or even need) to use some form of straw – whether due to disability or simply wanting to protect our teeth. So what are the cheapest reusable or eco-friendly alternatives?

13 ways to use less plastic AND save cash

Plastic waste continues to make headlines, with Scotland planning to charge a 20p deposit for plastic bottles and Morrisons doubling the price of reusable plastic bags. And it's with good reason – shockingly, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation predicts there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050.

Got a student loan? Bizarrely, working extra shifts or getting a bonus this Christmas could COST you cash

Many people may be hoping to earn a bit more cash over the Xmas period. You might be getting triple pay for working on Christmas Day, getting cash for covering shifts of those who want time off or – if you're lucky – simply receiving a nice bonus from your employer. Bizarrely though, if you're a student loan borrower, a festive spike in your income could actually leave you with less money in your pocket...

How to give to charity for free with loyalty points, cashback and rewards

If you want to help a worthy cause but are strapped for cash, there are still ways you can donate. A few loyalty schemes allow you to donate your rewards points to selected charities, which is a great way to give without feeling the pinch.

How to make fake blood: A last-minute Halloween make-up trick (or treat)

Ahhhh – not sorted your Halloween costume yet? Here's a quick tip on how to make fake blood using three ingredients you may already have in the kitchen cupboard.

Why I paid a 7-year-old to draw me a picture

In January, I became a dad, and while pocket money's probably a way off (our nine-month-old baby isn't pestering us yet), it's something I've already thought about. How much would I pay, and what could my kid do to earn it?

My landlord charged me £100 to replace a lightbulb... and then another £50 to clean it

How many landlords does it take to change a lightbulb? It might sound like another variation on the classic joke format, but it's a genuine question my four flatmates and I were left asking last year after our landlord at the time tried to take £150 from our deposit to replace and clean just ONE lightbulb.

Is couponing kaput?

Couponing and in particular, extreme couponing, took the UK by storm in 2012-2013 and many of us have enjoyed years of free goodies and following the escapades of couponers like our Coupon Kid, Jordon – see how he got £105 of shopping for £1.62 as an example. Recently, although the availability of coupons ebbs and flows, we’ve seen the rise (and sometimes fall) of cashback websites begin to outstrip traditional coupons. So, is it just a blip or is couponing kaput?

British Airways launches flight sale - is it any good?

British Airways has launched a worldwide sale on flights and holidays as long as you book by 25 September. It includes £317 return flights from London to New York and £512 returns to Cape Town. But you can never assume a sale price means it's the best deal, nor whether the deals are available when you want to travel, so we've crunched the numbers.