10 top ways to save money and live better

 1. Check out these websites for freebies. Websites like Gumtree, Freegle and Freecycle are an absolute goldmine, I'm currently moving into a new house after being in rented university accommodation for a while and I've managed to get a bookshelf, 2 coffee tables, a shoe rack, an office chair, a mirror, a wardrobe, and a bedside table for £15. There are free books, clothes, furniture, electronics and lots of other unwanted items, you can get beds and sofas for free or for a bargain, why buy a new sofa for hundreds of pounds when if you're diligent you can get a nearly new one for free?

2. Rent out your spare room.  It is so easy and simple to make a couple of hundred pounds a month just from renting a room out on sites like AirBnB, a private room rents out for an average of £41 a night in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, or over £1000 a month if you can get it booked out every night.

3. Travel for less. By using the above mentioned AirBnB for a place to stay when you're travelling instead of a hotel you can save big time, you can stay in Budapest for 7 nights for under 80 pounds, and get £20 off your stay with that link, an absolute bargain. Find cheap flights using Google Flights, for example you can search Europe as a destination and filter by price and see all the amazing places you can go for cheap. See my article on Top ways to have an amazing holiday for less.
4. Change your current account. A number of different banks give a bonus for switching to it, First DirectThe Co-operative Bank and Halifax are just a few of the banks that offer a free cash reward for switching, see more information in my article on comparing the best bank accounts for bonuses.

5. Consider moving your money around to get the best interest rates. A number of different banks offer a high interest rate for balances up to a certain amount, if you pay in £1000 or so a month, currently I'm moving £1000 into my nationwide account at the end of the month, and £1000 out on the 1st of the month and getting £10 in interest just from that! There are accounts with cashback and a fee, and you can save lots of money via investing in an ISA as well. To see which bank is the best bet for your savings, see my guide to Making the most out of your savings,

6. Drink water. This is one for your belly and your budget, drinking a glass of water 30 minutes before a meal helps you stay fuller for longer and eat less in general. By drinking water rather than fizzy drinks or juice you save can much money, even if you only follow that rule when not at home, as a pint of coke can cost more than £3 at a restaurant, if you can wait til you're home you can buy the same drink for £1 in a supermarket.

7. Use price per kilo when food shopping. Don't fall for their advertising of £1 for a pack of sausages, read the price per kilo and you'll be astonished sometimes, my general cut off for if I can justify buying something is £4/kilo, but cheese is usually £5/kilo for a big bag of Tesco's own grated mild cheddar, and around £7-8/kilo for nicer stuff. Looking at price per kilogram while shopping helps you avoid the supermarket's tricks, as sometimes deals will be advertised that aren't actually better e.g. diced chicken breast for £5.70 a kilogram, whereas whole breasts are £5, It isn't too much hassle to chop up some chicken.

8. Prepare your meals in advance. When you're cooking a meal, why not cook twice or thrice as much, box the rest and freeze it in nice portions to heat when you don't have time or to take to work or school. This allows you to have healthier home cooked meals and saves your wallet by preventing you buying meals for lunch, as even a so called meal deal for £3 is a lot more expensive than putting a lunch together at home. Simple lunch ideas is a good place to look for some inspiration on what to take for lunch. Taking lunch everyday can save more than £20 a week, or more if you are eating out for lunch.

9. Get cashback from your online shop. There are a number of cashback sites like Quidco and Topcashback that will give cashback on your purchases once you have created an account, you use the sites to browse High Street and online retailers and then once you have bought an item, you will receive a percentage paid into your account after it has been verified.

10. Learn to cook. Home cooked meals taste so much better than the takeaway version almost every time (this definitely rings true when it comes to Chinese cooking - check out my mapo tofu recipe), a Domino's pizza can cost £15 whereas you can get pizzas or pizza bases for around £2 in Tesco, and add more toppings if you'd like. You could even learn to bake that delicious Domino's base yourself and impress your family and friends.