You’re the MoneySavingExpert, how do I get the shiny new car/glamourous holiday/designer clothes I want on my paltry salary?

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Managing Your Money
I’m commonly asked “you’re the MoneySavingExpert, how do I get the shiny new car/glamourous holiday/designer clothes I want on my paltry salary?” This type of money philosophy is what leads people to constant overspending; the real question is “On my paltry salary, what’s the best lifestyle I can possibly have?” It’s your finances that must rule your lifestyle, not vice-versa.

Spending more that you earn

There’s no need to stop spending for the sake of it. If you enjoy a cappuccino, can afford it, aren’t in debt and aren’t overpaying; sup away. Yet as Dickens' Micawber principle states,

"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen, nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."

  • There are two easy money mantras, one for when you're skint and one for when you're not. Before you spend money on anything ask yourself these three questions.


Do I need it?

Can I afford it?
Have I checked if it's cheaper elsewhere?


Will I use it?

Is it worth it?
Have I checked if it's cheaper elsewhere?

If the answer to any of the questions is no, Don't Buy It!

50 easy ways to cut back

There's endless little bits of MoneySaving you can do which, added up, can make a real difference. Here's a selection of our favourites...

  • Cancel unused digital/satellite television channels. Invest in a cheap freeview box instead. Read Digital TV guide

  • Don’t leave electrical goods on standby. It's estimated that a typical UK household could save £37 per year on electricity bills if they always fully switched home appliances off rather than leaving them on standby.

  • Try for student night haircuts at top salons. The students are supervised by a fully trained hairdresser.

  • Visit your local beauty college for cut price treatments. Most of the students will be coming to the end of their training and need to be examined.

  • Car boot or eBay unwanted possessions. makes you money and declutters your house. Read eBay selling guide

  • Go to the cinema with 241 Orange Wednesdays. Read the full Orange Wednesdays guide.

  • Turn your central heating thermostat down by one degree – you’re unlikely to notice the difference in the heat, but you will notice the difference in the bill.

  • Use rechargeable batteries. A one off cost.

  • Start a car share scheme at work. It’s MoneySaving and environmentally friendly.

  • Grow your own veg. You don’t need a garden, you can grow lettuce in a window box or potatoes in a old dustbin.

  • Use a Government MOT test centre. They’ve no vested interest in prescribing repairs for your car so it’s more likely to pass. Read the Cheap MOTs guide.

  • If you buy a magazine every month take out a subscription. It is cheaper and many magazines offer a free gift.

  • Quit Smoking. Read the full Stop Smoking guide..

  • Walk/cycle instead of taking the car on shorter journeys. Saves you money on petrol and keeps you fit.

  • Start a compost heap. Any food scraps can be added to fertilize flowers or your home grown veg.

  • Stock up monthly at the cheaper supermarkets for the staple food stuffs – Read the Whats hot at Aldi, Netto and Lidl? guide

  • If the oven is on, use it well. Cook multiple meals/cakes and freeze them

  • Use a sponge or buff puff in the shower to reduce the amount of shower gel required.

  • Visit the supermarket late at night – this is when they have more reduced items on offer.

  • Organise a clothes-swapping party with your friends. One (wo)man’s trash is another treasure.

  • Brew your own beer. Read the Great How to start Homebrewing? Hunt.

  • Organise nights in with your friends and family. Get them to bring a bottle and there are no expensive taxi journeys home from town involved.

  • Use email instead of texts and the phone, or text for free on the web.

  • Ensure your current tax code is correct. You could be paying more than necessary.

  • Never go shopping when you are hungry. You only end up buying overpriced junk food. Read the Supermarket Shopping guide

  • If you hire any equipment then do it over a bank holiday. You usually get an extra days hire for free.

  • Turn off lights when you are not in the room. Simple but will save you money on your electricity bill.

  • Get a calendar to record when bills need to be paid or when library books need to be returned.

  • Use free/opensource software on your PC. It’s usually just as good as the costly equivalents. See whats available in the Free PC Software guide

  • Buy remanufactured ink cartridges rather than new. They work out sometimes at nearly half the price of new branded cartridges.

  • Put a water saving device in your toilet cistern if you have a water meter. You can use a water filled coke bottle instead of an expensive purpose made device.

  • Never take your children to the supermarket with you. “I want” doesn’t save you money.

  • Turn off all electricals, heating and hot water when you go on holiday. There is no reason to have them on, and if you are away for 2 weeks or more that’s a lot of money being spent.

  • Use a shelf in your airing cupboard to dry clothes, rather than putting the heating on.

  • Don’t buy shaving foam/cream for your legs, hair conditioner works just as well and softens up the skin too.

  • Use white vinegar instead of numerous cleaning products. It works and it’s cheap.

  • Only use half a dishwasher tablet per wash. If you are just cleaning glasses and lightly soiled dinner plates then you don’t need a whole tablet.

  • Try camping or house swapping with friends, for a different type of holiday.

  • Invest in a slowcooker. It’s MoneySaving and timesaving all rolled into one

  • Keep old perfume bottles in your underwear drawer. The drawer will always smell fresh without using liners.

  • Buy cheap cola to flush down the toilet. It’ll keep it sparkling clean, and works just as well as the expensive toilet cleaners.

  • Don’t have the heating on and a window open. Just turn the heating down if it gets too warm in the house.

  • When making tea or coffee, only fill the kettle with the amount of water required. Or you can buy kettles that only heat the required amount of water.

  • Keep your fridge/freezer free of ice – it works more economically and holds more.

  • Bake your own bread. You don’t need a bread maker, you can do it by hand.

  • Use money-off coupons, online and offline. Save the money in a piggybank, don’t spend it. See the latest updated Shopping Coupons

  • Retain your mobile phone box and instruction manual. You can often get money back or sell as second hand. Read Mobile Recycling guide.

  • See if your local catering college has a restaurant attached. Good food at cheap prices.

  • Don’t buy gifts. Give vouchers for your time or be arty and make something. Read the Festive Fivers guide for ideas.

  • Go to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual. Get more rest AND save on electricity.

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