As a nation, we're facing the biggest cost of living crisis we've seen in decades.
With that in mind, Quidco has reached out to the UK money bloggers community on behalf of our members to ask how they're surviving during these difficult times.
Here are their top tips on how to save money on food, energy bills, mobile contracts, broadband, fuel, and insurance.
How to save money at the supermarket
Claire from Money Saving Central
Create a monthly or weekly meal plan and shop online to save getting tempted around the store. If you create a meal plan you can easily stick to a budget. There are plenty of free apps to download on your phone to help, or if you prefer to write things down you can use a free meal planning printable from Pinterest, or simply pen and paper!
Pete from Household Money Saving
Use receipt scanning apps when you go shopping. By taking a photo of what you’ve bought, you’ll receive points which can then be converted into cash or gift cards.
Fiona from Financially Independent Me
My top tips for saving money on your grocery bill include:
1. Shop your fridge/freezer/cupboard when making a meal plan
2. Make healthy snacks at home like hummus and breadsticks or cheese and crackers with fruit, rather than buying ready-made sugary/salty snacks
3. Buy meat to provide 2/3 meals at a time (Spag Bol, Chilli, Shepherds pie) and use beans/peas/lentils, etc. to bulk out meals
4. Look for cheaper cuts of meat and cook slowly for maximum taste and minimum cost
5. Buy frozen fruit and veggies for big savings and maximum nutrition
Al from The Penny Pincher
My favourite tip, and I think the least utilised, is the supermarket cashback tip; so if you know you are going to spend £100 at your local supermarket, buy a £100 gift card through a cashback app, such as Quidco.
You receive the gift card immediately, so can use that for your shopping trip, but also earn between 2.3% and 2.8% cashback on the gift card purchase, (depending on the supermarket), so up to £2.80 every time you spend £100, which is far more than you are likely to earn using your debit/credit card to pay for your shopping in the supermarket.
Plus if you buy your petrol from a supermarket petrol station, buy a gift card for that as well, I spend £100 filling up my vehicle, so buy a £100 gift card, so earn 2.8% cashback (Morrisons), on the gift card, which basically means I've saved £2.80 on my tank of petrol, which is no bad thing at the moment!
The cashback savings, based over a year's worth of supermarket shopping will really add up, and maybe save the cashback and then redeem it all Christmas and that could be Christmas paid for, all by being supermarket gift card savvy throughout the year!
Chloe from It’s Not Your 9 to 5
Eat what’s in season is a great way to save money on food while being healthy. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, what’s in season is often the cheapest to buy.
For example, in the winter, apples and pears are at their lowest prices of the year while strawberries and Grapes are quite expensive. When produce is in season, it is also most flavorful and nutritious, which also contributes to having a well-balanced healthy diet.
Lesley from Thrifty Lesley
Most families waste a third of the groceries they buy. If you can prevent that, you will get the equivalent of a week's shopping for free - every month! Plus you’ll be helping the environment. Bread is one of the top five items wasted, but there are lots of ways to use it up.
Mark from Not Taught At School
Get double money back every time you are shopping online. For example, Quidco gives money back on every purchase from thousands of sites including Tesco, Argos, eBay, and more, I then use a card to pay which also offers cashback, my recent Tesco shop resulted in £4.08 cashback which is essentially free money.
Dan from The Financial Wilderness
In terms of those rare opportunities to save money and make your life easier, batch cooking can be an absolute godsend! Buying food in bulk (especially meat) keeps costs down and makes it easier to plan meals as most batch dishes can be stuck in the freezer.
Bear from Save Like A Bear
Here's an oddly specific tip that saves on energy and grocery costs: I switched off my filter coffee machine and now make cold brew coffee. Leaving ground coffee in water to steep saves on electricity, but this method also makes a stronger tasting cup, so less grounds go further too. Ground coffee is often cheaper per 100g than buying instant granules anyway if you choose your brand wisely.
Kathy from Glitz & Glamour Makeup
Vouchers have always been a great way of saving money on your weekly shop. You’ll often find vouchers in newspapers and magazines, especially when a new product is launched so keep your eye out.
Lisa from My Money Spot
Never go supermarket shopping hungry. The University of Minnesota did research that shows people spend up to 70% more grocery shopping on an empty stomach.
Collette from Cashback Collette
Use apps like Quidco ClickSnap to get cashback deals and freebies in-store on a range of household essentials like kids snacks, yoghurts, milk, and loads more!
Amandeep from Comparism
Getting a credit or debit card that pays you passively every time you shop, is one of the easiest ways to save up money. If you’re not using cashback credit or debit cards, you’re missing out on free money. These cards offer rewards in the form of cashback for every purchase that you make.
Also, reviewing your unused subscriptions and (bank/gym) memberships is an easy way of cutting costs. For example, if you’re not using your gym membership or Netflix subscription, cancel them or look for free alternatives! You could save quite a bit of money each month by doing this.
Easy ways to get cheaper energy bills
Adam from Money Savvy Daddy
For energy bills, two simple changes in how you pay your bills could save you money every month. Firstly if possible pay via Direct Debit as you’ll often get a cheaper rate. Check with your provider.
Secondly, pay all bills from a cashback bank account. For energy bills some reward you with 2% cashback a month up to £5. You can also get 3% on water bills & 1% on many others. (Note there’s a £2 monthly account fee).
Claire from Stapos Thrifty Life Hacks
If you can afford the initial outlay, then you should consider fitting a smart thermostat system. Since we installed our thermostat system, we have saved around 25% on our energy bills.
We now have much more control over our energy usage and we are able to boost the temperature in specific rooms, rather than heating up the whole house. We can also see, via an app, how much energy we are consuming and how it compares to previous days and months.
This system cost us around £400 to initially install, but we estimate that it will have paid for itself in energy savings within the next two years.
Emilie from She Does Money
Liaise with the landlord to make the home more energy efficient if rented. Things like draft excluders, radiator reflector foil, setting up timers & thermostat efficiency (these often just have default settings, especially if the landlord has never lived there, they won’t know the property needs.)
Other than that and traditional energy-saving methods, contact the landlord about what type of insulation there is, and whether they’ve considered grants to help make the property more efficient, especially if it has a low EPC rating.
Emma from Tuppennys Fireplace
Keep yourself warm through extra layers of clothes, drinking and eating hot stuff, and move about more (hoovering warms you up nicely!). We keep our thermostat at 15c during the day because we focus on keeping ourselves warm, not the house.
Yasmin from The Wallet Moth
Reducing your energy bills - Energy Saving Trust reported that the average household can save around £140 a year simply by turning off appliances like your hairdryer, toaster, and TV off at the plug.
Phantom load is the small but noticeable energy consumption used by keeping these items on standby, and it really makes a difference to your bills over time! If you've exhausted all other options for getting your bills down, this is a small but super effective tip to consider.
Sara from Debt Camel
Anyone with a combi boiler (the sort with no hot water tank) should check what its settings are as they may be able to save c 8% of their gas bill by changing them without turning the room thermostat down so your home is just as warm.
Top tips to save on mobile contracts & broadband
Ruth from Money Savvy Mum UK
My tip would be to opt for a SIM-only mobile deal and utilise cashback to reduce your bill further. I ditched my expensive contract for a SIM-only deal and after cashback, my bill works out at £9pm for 100gb of data and unlimited texts and minutes, saving me £21pm. to get the cashback all you have to do is submit your bill every 3 months and you receive a cheque through the post.
Qin from Hey Money Talk
Don't automatically go for the well-known mobile network providers. When it comes to roaming, some of the smaller challenger networks provide much better value and you can get plans starting from £5 a month with unlimited texts and minutes.
Naomi from Skint Dad
Households who receive certain benefits, including Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, or Jobseeker’s Allowance can cut their bill in half and save £144 a year on broadband by moving to a mostly unknown social tariff. Most of the main providers offer the tariffs but don’t advertise them!
Cheap fuel & petrol money-saving hacks
Faith from Much More With Less
Check where you can buy fuel the cheapest nearby using a site like Petrolprices.com, which reckons drivers of petrol cars could save more than £220 a year. Generally, supermarket petrol stations will be less expensive than being forced to fill up at motorway service stations.
Jordan from A Money Thing Happened
Nectar is doing 300 points for 5p off a litre of fuel at Esso but you need to make sure you fill up over 30 litres to get the value, otherwise, you're just wasting more money.
Emma from Tuppennys Fireplace
Drive hypermiling style. Use your brakes less and accelerate slowly. You can get 10% or more miles to the gallon. My favorite hypermiling saying is: "If you brake, you've made a mistake".
How to save money on insurance
Joseph from Thrifty Chap
Mine would be to never accept your auto-renewal price for insurance or breakdown. A quick 10-minute call can always bring the cost down, especially if you know what price you can get it for elsewhere. (The AA knocked £70 off my renewal straight away.)
If they don't lower it to a price you are happy with, you're already on the phone to cancel that auto-renewal and take your custom elsewhere.
Andy from Be Clever With Your Cash
Some insurance is vital - your car, home, and travel for instance - and you shouldn't skimp here. Make sure you're getting the coverage you need. But other policies often aren't needed.
Things like boiler cover, extended warranties, and gadget protection. If you think you can go without then ditch them and save.