Top Tips for UK Consumers

On this page, we list our top ten tips for saving money, and another ten tips on how to make a bit of extra cash.

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Our top ten moneysaving tips

1 Bring your bills down

According to recent surveys, you're almost certainly paying over the odds for your gas and electricity. Changing to a new supplier is free, and pretty painless. Save up to 20% on your fuel bills by changing today. See our bills page for more advice, or try the quick calculator from the image on the right, to get a feel for what you can save.
We recommend: uSwitch, an online comparison site accredited by Consumer Focus.

2 Shop around

If you're buying anything over £5- from a CD to a settee, chances are you'll be able to find it cheaper by a little careful shopping around. Doing your Christmas shopping online, for instance, can bring big savings. Take a look at the main comparison services for an idea on who has the best deal.
We recommend:Comparing online retailers with Pricerunner or Kelkoo

Also, make sure you're paying the cheapest local petrol prices with

3 Reward schemes

When it comes to our regular shopping, most of us keep our eyes out for a bargain - the 3 for 2 offers, buy-one, get-one-free deals, etc. Remember that staying loyal to one store also brings savings, and many stores running loyalty schemes also let you save money online as well as instore.
We recommend: Nectar, offering savings at Sainsburys, Debenhams, BP, TalkTalk, eBookers and many others

4 Credit cardCanny credit card users can save considerably by changing credit card, and if you have the patience, by moving cards on a regular basis to take advantage of short-term introductory offers. Credit card deals to watch out for are low interest rates on new purchases or balance transfers, and cards that offer cashback schemes
We recommend: A low-interest or reward card - See our Finance Page

5 Phone bill

Phone bills can easily spiral out of control. Keep an eye on your phone bills when they arrive, with special attention being paid to your BT Friends and Family numbers (which can be changed online). If you use a dial-up Internet service, and are spending over £10 a month for calls to your Internet Provider, then changing to a new package is likely to save you money too. Mobile phones are another area to watch carefully. If you send loads of text messages at 10p per message, then you can save by switching services. A recent report has indicated that many pay-as-you-go customers can do a lot better by moving to a monthly tariff.
We recommend (Mobiles): o2 online for texters - 500 free messages a month (£50's worth)
We recommend (Internet): Virgin Media - for their dial-up and broadband services that don't tie you to a 12 month contract.

6 Change your bank

If you're with one of the main high-street banks, you're probably losing out in several ways - low interest rates on your current account, and higher overdraft fees, to name just two. Look around for accounts with building societies, or online accounts, where there's a higher interest rate, and lower fees, as the company has fewer overheads. Savings accounts are another area worth shopping around.
If you're worried about the hassle of moving accounts, most banks now make moving much easier , and if you're worried about losing your history with your existing bank - just don't close your old account!
We recommend: First Direct for their excellent customer service (and £50 to switch!).

7 Auction sites

Another tip if you're looking to buy, is to try one of the online auction sites. With a little common sense, sites like eBay and QXL are perfectly safe to use, as you can check comments from a seller's previous customers, and you can potentially make a big saving. You can also stop bidding at any time, if the price starts to exceed a high street price. Bid for new, used and hard-to-find items.
We recommend: - Huge, and now well established

8 Mortgage

Probably the biggest expense, and provided you're not tied into a long-term fixed rate mortgage, moving around can bring you great savings.

We recommend: Compare from a huge range of mortgages online at Charcoal Online

9 DVDs

Into DVDs? Building a large collection? How many times do you actually watch each DVD? Rather than buying your own copy of your favourite DVDs, consider renting new films by mail-order. If you are buying, see our DVD page for details of online retailers (Amazon isn't always the best bet). Also note that pre-ordering a DVD often works out a lot cheaper than waiting until it's released.

We recommend: Rent as many DVDs as you can watch for a single monthly payment:LOVEFiLM.

10 Cheaper insurance Motor, car, home, contents, buildings, health and life insurance. Are you playing too much? When renewal comes around take time to shop around for cheaper quotes. Independent online sites can make it easier to track down the right deal.
We recommend: For cheaper car and home insurance, try the AA for discounts of up to 7.5% when taking out insurance online, and greater discount for AA breakdown members. The AA compare quotes from hundreds of insurers, and are independent. See our Insurance page for more.

The Money DietConsumerDeals recommends.
The Money Diet, by money saving expert Martin Lewis. This book contains over 400 pages of excellent financial advice including sections called "forget loyalty", "find the loopholes" and "be a better shopper", this book is our top recommendation. Help with current accounts, mortgages, consumer law, broadband and mobile costs, savings accounts and shopping around. Sound advice from a respected source. Recommended price £7.99. Amazon price £3.99

Our top ten moneymaking tips

1 Online specials

Keep your eye out for special deals online, such as money for opening a new bank or credit card account. There's so much competition out there for our custom, that £10 off first order, 10% off and other discount offers are always there to be found.
We recommend:Quidco and Top Cashback - as well as our Special deals page

I love Quidco

2 Selling stuff

Take a look around your house or flat? Anything you don't use any more and don't know what to do with? Stuff in the attic to get rid of? Before it gathers too much dust, consider selling it via an online auction. The cost of using a service like ebay and QXL is pretty minimal, and if you follow the instructions on their sites, you shouldn't lose out. Take a look around the sites first to see what kind of stuff fetches what kind of money.
We recommend: - Huge and a well established way of getting cash from your tat. Also, get cash for recycling your old mobile

3 Card surfing

A popular and profitable game for those who can keep track of their funds. Find a credit card that lets you withdraw/transfer funds for free (or a minimal fee), then withdraw as much as you can within your limit. Put the money into a savings account, at 4 or 5%, then transfer the credit card debt to a card that offers 0% on balance transfers for an introductory period. When the period runs out, transfer to another similar credit card. Do it right, and you pay no fees, you
We recommend: Cards with cashback - See our Finance Page

4 Surveys

Companies will pay to find out what we think. Sign up to any of the online survey companies,
We recommend: Tough to judge, as the volume and quality varies. Try any of the following: PickThem, Lightspeed , MyVoice, Consumerlink, , Ciao Surveys and You Gov (Politics)

5 Lotteries

Do you feel lucky? Well, do you? As well as the UK Lotto National Lottery, you can increase your chances of winning some cash by trying one of the many online lotteries. The online UK schemes are free to try with your favourite lucky numbers - and your chance to win happens in return for clicking on an advertising link, so there's nothing to lose!
We recommend: The free lotteries... Bananalotto.

6 Website

If you have a website, make money from it - this does actually work, especially if your site has unique content on a specialist topic. Cash for clickthroughs, sales or referrals. Use companies like Commission Junction, Tradedoubler and Affiliate Window to put some big names and big earners on your site.
We recommend:
See our dedicated UK affiliate page for details. For details of starting a site, see FileSaveAs Starting a Website Guide

7 Online betting

If you fancy taking a gamble, of you've been given a hot tip, take a look at some of the online betting sites Mostly geared around sporting bets, they also offer "free bet" offers to help get you started.
We recommend:
Big names Coral and

8 Open a new account Banks are really, really keen to get your business. Many of us believe that staying loyal to our banks has benefits, but it's time to review that belief. Take a look around and see if you can switch accounts - and get paid for doing so.
We recommend: First Direct for great customer service, and Alliance &Leicester for good interest rates.

9 Other schemes

Here are a few of the other schemes on offer. These require a little more perseverance, but may be worth trying, especially if you're a frequent surfer...

  • Ciao- Write reviews of products. Points make pounds.

10 Refer-a-friend Some companies offer incentives for referring a friend. Here are just a few to try:
  • Amazon refer-a-friend - Send a friend a £5 voucher, and get £5 when they make their first purchase.
  • Sky TV - If you help a friend to subscribe, you get £25 of Marks & Spencer vouchers, and so do they - A great way for them to make a little extra when they get Sky TV installed, and you make too. See the Sky Magazine for monthly referral code.
Needless to say, if you'd like a referral, please contact us.

See our Make money page for more on the above tips


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