Money Saving Hacks in the UK

These are not strictly “HACKS”, just a few things that I do regularly to save me a bit of money on day to day stuff – same stuff for less – LOVE it!

The NUS Student discount card

This is brilliant. What’s that you say; but you’re not a student? You could be!

If you buy a course through Groupon (don’t forget to get extra cash by using TCB first for groupon purchases) or Living Social, Wowcher or similar voucher places, you will find that many of them provide you with a validated student status (check this before you buy) which allows you to apply for a NUS student card. Most of these courses set you back less than £20 and you even though you might not end up actually doing the course itself, it’s still worth the investment.

This is how my NUS card has helped me so far

Cost of course:                 £12.00

Cost of NUS membership for 3 years: £35.00

Annualised investment in NUS membership: £ 15.67

10% saving in Co-op: I pretty much shop here for everything so I estimate it saves me at least £100 Per year and I get the store points on the full value of my spend.

20% off in Peacocks clothing stores (my daughter loves their clothes) £100 Per year (ish)

Student entry into cinemas, shows, etc. maybe about £50 per year for me but I don’t get out much !.

You can also get a student Prime account on amazon which is ½ the usual price saving over £35 pa. This used to work with Spotify too but I think they have closed that loophole.

Plus if I buy anything from a shop or online, (you can even use it in some bars and restaurants), I check the NUS app first to see if I can use it, so there are extra discounts all over the place depending on your spending habits.

This could work out without any particular effort at about £900 in savings for £47 investment over 3 years! Not bad eh?!

Meercat movies

This gives you a bogof every Tuesday and Wednesday in most cinemas. You probably know this if you’ve been anywhere near a TV or computer in the last few years, but what you might not know is that you can buy ANY Meercat policy to qualify, even if you want to let’s say get travel insurance for 1 night in Wolverhampton, which will be about £3. I’ve nothing against Wolverhampton but I very much doubt I will use the policy itself, I just like the 12 months free cinema that I get with it! Thanks Mr Meercat!

Blue light card

This only applies if you work for the NHS, armed forces or emergency services. It doesn’t matter if you just do admin though, you are still eligible.

Voucher sites

There are so many voucher sites about these days, it’s hard to keep track of them all but be aware, just because it’s on Groupon or something similar, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any cheaper than it would be somewhere else. I have found deals on these voucher sites that are actually cheaper on the Argos main website or new on eBay and Amazon.


Get a friends and family or other relevant railcard of you can. If you’re traveling with kids this saves a fortune!

I also have a Tesco credit card for purchases and I get points on everything I spend anywhere so I rack up my Tesco points and use their club card site to get cool stuff but you can also use Tesco points to buy your railcard – extra bonus!


It has been said that insurance is the one thing you should spend your money on in the hope that you never need it. This is so true.

Quite a large proportion of our income goes on insurances in the UK, house, car, life, sickness, indemnity….the list could go on I’m sure. The basic premise here is just not to take the first offer. If you can afford one, get a financial advisor, a good one. Chances are that they will save you money in the long term. Failing that do your research (do it anyway if you have the time) and set a date in your diary every year or two to check that the cover you are paying for continues to meet your needs.

Another piece of advice I’ve seen for this is to keep a crib sheet of all your insurances, costs, policy numbers, expiry dates etc.

The same applies here as would spending money on anything;

  • Be sure about what needs you have and the criteria you want to satisfy
  • Research the best value options through comparison sites and reviewers such as, customer ratings sites and independent blogs.
  • See if you can get it cheaper through referral schemes, topcashback etc.
  • Pay annually as monthly tends to attract a high interest rate.

Don’t skip on research in this area, there is no point paying for something if it really doesn’t cover what you need it to, plus getting the wrong policy has the potential to cost you a huge amount of money over the long term that you simply might not need to pay out.

Childcare costs

This is something that everyone who needs to pay for this is shocked about how much it costs, it’s equivalent to a decent size mortgage in some cases. Kids are expensive and when they are young and you have to work, they are REALLY expensive.

That said, they are also your most precious possession and I know that I couldn’t be a full time child carer for all the tea in China.

What you do about minimising costs in this area depends very heavily on your situation, some options could be;

  • Look into the world of tax credits but be sure to dot all the i’s and cross the t’s, it’s a minefield – keep copies of everything!
  • Get childcare vouchers from your employer – these come off your pay before tax so you save some money that way, though I believe many of these schemes are now closed so you might need to research some alternatives.
  • Offset the costs against your own limited company – again this reduces the tax burden.
  • Set up one of the grandparents / relatives etc. as a registered childcare provider, pay them (at a hopefully lower cost) and offset the costs as above
  • Get a nanny or Au Pair
  • Work from home and / or get flexible hours to minimise need.

If you are screaming at this book now because I’ve missed something or I just don’t understand, I apologise. I do however know from experience that trying to work or study with a small child, especially if you’re single (and the child NEVER sleeps!) is all kinds of unfun. I do get that, but I also know that trying to skimp on childcare isn’t good for them, your mental health or your career so just find the best way around it and settle in for the ride.

Other savings

There are savings to be made on pretty much anything you need or want to spend money on and they are constantly evolving. Check out, and  to name but a few. These are usually up to date with the latest deals including cheapest places for petrol, food vouchers and deals and even money off prescription costs.

Check them out before you spend on anything.

Travel can be another huge expense but do your research as you would with any other purchase and then where possible: negotiate!


Whilst eBay seams to have been overun with people selling new items now, there are still some bargains to be had (and money to be made!) in the used market.

if im looking for something inparticular, I’ll look for the items with the worse images and descriptions as they wil typically have less interest. also i never actually place a bid, i just “snipe” it!

there is a site called “Auction Sniper” where you link you eBay account, pay a nominal few dollars and add in the items that you want to buy with the price you want to pay. This clever piece of software then BIDS FOR YOU in the last few seconds, thus meaning that your competition doen’t get the chance to outbid you and you get the item you want at a much lower cost as there is no bidding war. Don’t worry though, if you bid £10.00 and the item is only £4, you’ll only pay the £4.

Alternativly, wait for the item to end (without bids) and message the seller with an offer. Quite often doing this during the auction is possible too but be careful not to contravene eBay’s rules.