/ Money

Do you have a top money saving tip?

Piggy bank £20

Maybe you’re a super coupon collector or perhaps you’re particularly creative with loyalty cards. What are your top money tips and what do you do to keep your finances looking nice and healthy?

We find that our members are often the source of great advice when it comes to tips on keeping finances in check. Over the past year we heard some great tips on ways to save money, and make money too. So we’ve rounded up some, maybe slightly more unusual, highlights from 2016.

Quality pet food for less

Members reported saving an average of £73 a year by choosing to buy pet food online. Prices were not only lower, but the range of food available surpassed the choice in supermarkets or pet shops, as they were able to choose from European brands too.

They could also order larger quantities taking the hassle out of shopping and carrying heavy bags. Popular sites were Zooplus.co.uk, MonsterPetSupplies and Pet-Supermarket.co.uk.

Choose a refurbished laptop

An increasing number of brands and retailers offer refurbished products. These products may have been used for display, have minor cosmetic imperfections or been previously owned, meaning they can be considerably cheaper.

One member saved £350 on his 27 inch Apple iMac with Retina display, purchased via Apple’s certified refurbished store.

But before you buy a refurbished computer, check the retailer’s warranty. Apple offers a one-year guarantee on its refurbished products, while CeX (Computer Exchange) offers two.

Put your house on TV

Renting your house to a film or television production company is likely to be something you’ve never considered before, but one member earned £7,000 after BBC3 borrowed his home for two weeks to film a comedy series.

It’s not just large or particularly special homes that are needed, companies require a huge range of properties.

According to jjlocations.co.uk, homes within the M25 are particularly desirable, as are those with plenty of natural light. Other agencies listing homes and spaces include creativeengland.co.uk (for properties outside Greater London), locationworks.com and lavishlocations.com (which cover most areas in the UK).

Get free wine glasses for your party

Hosting a party isn’t cheap, but you can cut costs by hiring glasses for free through the supermarket or even a local shop, without any obligation to buy drinks there.

One member borrowed tumblers and champagne flutes from her local Tesco, saving £69 on the cost of buying the stores cheapest glasses. Waitrose and Morrisons also offer the service, but phone your nearest store to check availability to avoid disappointment.

You’ll need to pay a deposit (you’ll be charged for any you break) and run the glasses through the dishwasher before you return them.

What about you?

Do you have a great money-saving tip we’ve yet to discover? How much do you think you’ve saved?

Dennie says:
6 January 2017

Ready meals? Are there any really nice ones out there. The ones I have tried have been gross. Can’t go by buyers comments, most of them just say anything.


Dennie – If you can’t go by buyers’ comments, how can we help with your question?

We occasionally use Indian and Chinese ready meals from Waitrose, M&S and Sainsbury’s, as well as some traditional British meals from time to time, and have been satisfied. We’ve had worse in pubs and restaurants.


Nice can, of course, be a relative term.

I agree with John, i.e. inexpensive pub food could be a useful basis for comparisons here.

From that, in no particular order, I’d say M&S, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s & Tesco certainly all do some nice ready meals.

If I am allowed to include fresh (i.e. chilled not frozen) pizza here, then Sainsbury’s certainly do some very nice ones.

For more general meals, a company called City Kitchen used to do some really nice ones that we bought online from Tesco. We really loved their “spanish chicken” but it is no longer sold by Tesco. Perhaps the fact that you had to oven cook it militated against its commercial success.


There are very nice ready meals out there! We buy them regularly, for a number of reasons, from M&S. Many “meals for one” will do two quite nicely at lunchtime – shepherds pie, moussaka for example. Their prepared chicken breasts – provencale for example – are substantial, not from reformed, and tasty. They give us variety we would not otherwise get so conveniently. We rarely eat out and, when we do, think we could have had a meal that was a nice, or nicer, from the ready stock. It’s a job to find decent eateries these days that don’t themselves use ready-prepared food.


Having lived off many ready meals in the last couple of months (no kitchen), there are some decent ones out there. We don’t have an M&S near us but most supermarkets stock something decent. The budget ranges can leave a lot to be desired, but their top ranges are quite good and they are usually on offer in one place or another. Not readily available, but Kirsty’s do dairy-free, low carb meals that are quite good.

I can remember when going out for a steak was a real treat as it was rather a very expensive meal. They were always like chewing through leather, and it wasn’t until I went to the USA, I discovered what steak should really taste like. These days, I never have steak out and defy any restaurant to serve one as good as I can now do it.


Alfa-Yes and I bet the US steak was the size of your plate not some microscopic -“designer food ” rubbish for which you are talked into buying because it is the “latest craze ” but when you leave after an hour you are hungry again and end up “down the chippy ” or the nearest Indian restaurant. i have talked to Americans on what they think of UK “portions ” and its not printable.


They certainly know how to do steak in the US.

The ‘latest craze’ in restaurants is to prissy up cheap nothing and charge you a fortune for it. We struggle to find a menu we like other than Indian or Thai these days. And more pubs are doing designer rubbish as well.

We like TGI Fridays in the US, good food, good price. Some years ago after having BBQ ribs in one, just had to have them here when we saw a TGIF. YUK!!! They were awful, small, tough, bad sauce and twice the price. You would think the name would insist on the same quality but they are nothing like the US restaurants.


Its the Food Industry Policy as applied to Britain Alfa, its already been agreed that the UK will “put up ” with a lot more than the typical US citizen . Imagine a Texan coming here and getting a typical small ,thin portion of steak , I think the “6 guns ” would be out verbally . My wife lived in the US for years and she said the portions were enormous because thats what the typical US citizen expected , she doesn’t eat meat but in the ice cream parlours , she had a “field day ” -dozens of varieties with all sorts of REAL fruit to top it off jars about a foot high and you could get all sorts of mixes and due to US Food Regulations if it said fruit it had to be REAL fruit as well as REAL chocolate toppings and REAL (squeezed ) orange drinks and the cream was REAL cream. Break the rules and a ton weight of government intervention occurred closing down the cafe.


I am sure you are right, Duncan, but until all the doorways in the UK are widened to American dimensions I suppose we are going to have to put up with minute steaks.

I certainly agree with Alfa on the way pub food is going and I am appalled when we go into independent free houses that now have a completely unrecognisable menu. It reminds me of that TV programme where people turn up with a bag of bits & pieces and odds & ends and they have to turn out something edible and half-presentable from it. Over the last ten years or so the catering colleges have been passing out thousands of ‘chefs’ who have been snapped up by every roadside tavern that fancies itself as a tyre-maker’s star-laden gastro-lab. These nascent Escoffiers think that a bit of samphire and some quinoa with anything with the word squash in it will suffice as a wholesome repast with pan-fried this and drizzled that and the jus of who knows what. Not called The Olde Bull for nothing, of course.