MY 8 WAYS TO SAVE:
1. First and foremost, www.moneysavingexpert.com is an excellent website for finding out the cheapest way of buying just about anything. The website is run by Martin Lewis, who happened to do the same Broadcast Journalism postgraduate course at Cardiff University as me. It gives you an excellent overview of the ways to save money in the different areas we spend money on from travel to banking, and food shopping to mobile phones. It's well worth subscribing to the weekly email.
2. Use the 'shopping' tab at the top of the Google webpage to quickly do a price comparison of the item you're interested in buying.
3. Before going to eat out check www.vouchercloud.com for money off vouchers for restaurants in your post code. If you have an iPhone you can download the free app and just show the voucher on your phone rather than having to print it.
4. Thanks to a friend's tip, I've recently started using the cashback websites www.quidco.co.uk and www.topcashback.co.uk. Before purchasing an item that you've decided you want to buy, go to either of the websites above first and you will be directed though them to buy the item if the company is listed e.g. HMV, Tesco, Orange. If the company is listed , buy it via the cashback site and you'll get a percentage of the cost, normally around 5%, back in your bank account, although it can take a good few weeks for the money to arrive. Sometimes they do offers for example I recently got £120 cashback for signing up to and iPhone 4 on Vodafone.
5. If you are buying new electronic goods such as radios, TVs, laptops etc it's worth investing some time in finding the best product. Public libraries have the latest Which? magazines. It reviews products and recommends the best ones. Just ask behind the counter for the latest editions and find the item you want in the index. You have to pay for Which? subscription, hence going to the library to access the resource for free.
6. www.tripadvisor.co.uk is an excellent website for finding out reviews of hotels and hostels when searching for holiday accommodation. Customers leave their feedback on the website and you can then book the accommodation on the website or try to find it cheaper on the likes of http://www.hostelbookers.com/, www.hotelbookers.com or www.hostelworld.com
7. Don't book your train tickets on www.thetrainline.com as there is a £1 charge on each transaction. Go to www.virgintrains.co.uk which doesn't add this charge. If you're 25 or under, buy a 16-25 railcard for £28 to save a third on most journeys for a year. And buy it the day before you're 26 as I did recently to make it last as long as possible!
8. And perhaps my favourite tip...when you're booking single train tickets (and two singles can often be cheaper than a return, especially when booking well in advance) scroll down to see if the first class ticket is cheaper. I went to London from Derby recently and it was cheaper in first class. Don't ask me why!
Please leave a comment below if you have any other ideas on how to save money.
I've thought of a ninth way I save money! You can get John Lewis and Waitrose vouchers by using the John Lewis Partnership card (credit card). You get more points when you use the card to pay for goods in Waitrose and John Lewis. I've had the Partnership card for more than a year now and have earned £60 in vouchers - with more than a little help from Emily! Just make sure you pay off the credit card bill on time.