I was quite shocked to discover that the £1 coin is 30 years old this year. Yes, 30 years old. I still remember the £1 notes and it really only seems like yesterday that I last used one. I guess it is a little like suddenly realising that the policeman or doctor is younger than you are. A sign of ageing for sure. To celebrate it’s 30th birthday those lovely people over at Moneysupermarket.com are running a competition for bloggers. They want 1000 plus bloggers to blog 30 ways to save £1. Well, I am always up for a challenge so let me see how many I can get up to.
Books and magazines
I love reading. It has been said that I would read a bus ticket if nothing else was available. I used to spend a lot of money on books and magazines. I still buy some books but nowhere near as many as I used to. Here are my top tips for saving money on books and magazines
1. Use the library – you can preorder new releases too.
2. I have a long commute and my local station has a community book shelf. I pick up a couple of books a week and swap them for ones that I have already read. So for the cost of the first book I put there I have now read 20 books. It has opened up my mind to trying new authors and different genres. Why dont you organise a community bookshelf at your local railway station, community centre or anywhere public in your communtiy. Start it by filling it with good books and encourage people to leave one for each one they take
3. If you have a smart phone, kindle or tablet check out audio books or ebooks there are often free offers from new authors. Classics are often free too.
4. Read Blogs and magazines on line.
5. Use vouchers to buy magazine subscriptions – you can use supermarket points to do this.
6. sign up for surveys that pay out in amazon vouchers and use the earnings for buying new releases.
7. If you have a mobile phone contract or use Pay as you go with Orange, make use of their Orange Wednesday when you can visit the cinema at 2 for 1 prices. Or Film Thursday. By downloading their Orange Film to Go App you can download a film every Thursday for the cost of a text at 35p.
8. join the Odeon Premier Club for discounts when buying tickets on line. Saving points to spend on tickets and soft drinks is also another option
9. Register with BBC for information about the latest shows being filmed. Apply on line for free tickets to be in the audience for recordings of tv and radio shows. Other sites are also available such as Applause Store.
10. If you don’t watch a lot of tv but have some favourites then why not get rid of the tv and the cost of the tv licence and watch your favourites on iplayer. (nb, you cannot watch them live or you will still need a licence).
11. Look out for new plays coming to your local theatre. Lots of theatre companies now offer cheap entry to dress rehearsals. Places such as Royal Opera House have £10 tickets for standing tickets in the galleries too (see tip 13)
12. Sign up to your favourite theatre or concert hall. By being on the mailing list you will hear about special offers in advance. You will be invited to buy tickets at lower rates. I recently got £1 tickets to go to the Liverpool Philharmonic. Ok, I had to queue but that isn’t a big deal
13. Go to the BBC Proms and see world famous musicians, the best orchestras in the world and amazing conductors for just £5. Yes you heard that right. I go to the proms every year. I like to go into the gallery but you can also be in front of the orchestra in the arena. You know the crowd that go mad at the Last Nights? Well, I will let you into an open secret. Those guys only pay £5 to be there. Added to which they have great fun queuing and picnicking and I have made lifelong friends in the queus.
14 The latest craze is geocaching. A new take on treasure hunts. You can find treasures locally or if you are heading out for a day out check out if there is any stash in the area you are going to.
15. Use websites to compare flight prices when going on a long haul. Kayak and Skyscraper are the two that I use most often. I have saved lots of money on a trip to Chicago
16. Book train tickets via a bookings site such as Trainline or Redspotted Hanky. Get to know companies that do special offers like Big Bus company. Cheaper tickets are on offer about 6 weeks in advance. I have saved nearly £200 in one year by booking tickets in advance on trainiline. A ticket from Liverpool to London can be had for as little as £11 when booked in advance.
17. Check split ticketing sites before booking train tickets. You can save pounds by buying individual tickets for the same journey.
18. Why not look for university rooms to rent during the summer in your favourite city. Imperial College rooms cost from £35 for a double en suite in Kensington London, right by the Albert Hall and in walking distance of all the best museums.
19. Some museums are free in London so why not spend the day visiting them?
20. Check out offers with your train travel provider. Greater Anglia offer 2 for 1 entry into lots of London attractions. Other train companies have similar offers.
21. Ever wanted to visit St Pauls cathedral but not wanted to pay the hefty charge? Why not attend a service. Entry is free. Ok, you wont get a tour but you will get to see inside. This is also the case with the church in the Tower of London. If you are a church goer and attend a Sunday service then you wont be charged and entrance fee.
I love my dog and parrot and I would spend my last £1 on them if I had to but I refuse to be “ripped off” just because of that love of them.
22. I buy toys for my lovely african grey from charity shops. Baby toys are robust and he loves the mobiles with rattles, mirrors and noisy bits on them. Last one I bought for him was Fisher Price and cost £1.50 as opposed to a £20 parrot music box. (You could also use a charity shop to buy your baby toys. Children dont know these things)
23. I have been very lucky with my great dane Max. He has rarely been to the vets. I have also been very blessed to have used the same vet for over 20 years. He knows that I will do anything for my dogs but he also knows that I am a bit canny. He told me once that he could write a prescription and I could go to the Chemist and order the medication he needed from them and it would be much cheaper. I since discovered that I can also buy pet prescriptions on line.
24. Contact Lenses. I buy my contact lenses on line (and through a cashback site) for just £25 for 12. This was how much I was paying on a monthly basis. It does mean that I have to pay for my contact lens checks once a year but I still save overall.
25. Clothes – organise your friends to have a clothes and accessory swapping party. You could turn it into a charity fundraising event by charging everybody £5 to attend and give the proceeds to your favourite charity. You all get to clear out your wardrobes and come home with a whole new outfit for just £5.
26. Check out freecycle to see what people have available. A friend of mine picked up a dining room table and chairs and I gave away a widescreen tv (I gave up television and saved myself the tv licence fee) so lots of money to be saved there.
Food and Drink
27. Take a picnic when going on a day out. I often took a flask and homemade cake to the prom in Aberystwyth, sat on the bench near to the outdoor cafe and watched the world go by. Fresh coffee costing just pennies per cup rather than the £1.95 the cafe was charging
28. Like a tipple? Try homebrewing. A kit of stout cost me £18 and the sugar was less than £1. I got 35 pints out of it. Quite a saving on the bottled stuff I had been buying , add in the great feeling of achievement which enhanced the taste. My foraged elderflowers made the best cordial and champagne I have ever tasted. My usual elderflower tipple costing me £3+ per bottle making 10 litres. For the cost of a bag of sugar I ended up with 30 litres. Not bad going there.
29. Try foraging, there are lots of courses and books, on line tutorials and blogs that you can learn from. It is great fun and gets you outdoors to boot.
30. Use cashback sites. By buying things on line via a cashback site you can both save money on things such as insurance, breakdown, contact lenses etc etc and you can choose to be paid in cash or Amazon vouchers you get an increase in the amount earned for Amazon vouchers. Can only be a good thing right?