A new survey shows we're getting pretty inventive when it comes to being thrifty and making ends meet, as Vicky Shaw reveals.

With many people feeling the squeeze from the cost of living, looking for ways to save cash here and there can really help - and, according to a new survey, we're finding ever more creative ways to do this.

Carphone Warehouse quizzed more than 5,000 people about the lengths they go to to save some precious pennies. However, we're not always shouting about our thrifty ways: nearly three-quarters (73%) said they like to keep how much they're saving, and the best deals they've found, to themselves.

So how are people saving cash? While some methods on the list may seem fairly standard, others might be less obvious to many people (and just to note, this is not a list of recommendations - and some of the methods revealed may require permission from others to avoid getting into trouble!).

Here is a selection of some of the weird and wonderful ways people say they are saving cash...

1. Taking your own bags to the supermarket (70%). A great way to save forking out, as well as doing your bit for recycling.

2. Making the most of reward cards (65%). Building up loyalty points can help you save money at your favourite stores.

3. Coupon collecting (54%). Keeping your coupons organised will reduce the chances of you forgetting when you make a shopping trip.

4. Taking a packed lunch into work (53%). A good way to make tasty savings.

5. Wearing extra clothes instead of turning on the heating (47%).

6. Sewing ripped or worn clothes to make them last longer (31%). It helps to be handy with a needle and thread for this money saving trick.

7. Re-wrapping gifts you have received to give to other people (31%). While this may give unwanted goods a new purpose, you may run the risk of offending the original gift-giver.

8. Shopping from bargain bins (25%). Getting to know the time of day your local supermarket makes markdowns, and keeping an eye on social media and emails for alerts about stores' upcoming sales could help to save a fortune.

9. Not flushing the toilet every time (25%). You may want to come to an agreement with any fellow housemates about this first.

10. Becoming your own hairdresser to give yourself a DIY haircut (23%). Just be careful you don't end up needing to fork out for someone to put your 'on-trend' new hairdo right.

11. Growing your own food (23%). A healthy and rewarding money-saving option.

12. Buying clothes from charity shops (22%). You can grab a one-off bargain and put money towards good causes at the same time.

13. Only drinking tap water when eating out (20%). One in five people thirsty to make some savings have tried this one out.

14. Charging your phone or laptop at work (20%). One in five say they have tried out this one - but it's wise to check with the boss first or risk getting into trouble at work. Plus your colleagues may not take to kindly to tripping over a mass of wires plugged in at your desk.

15. Sharing bath water (13%). How appealing this is to some people may rather depend on who you're sharing with.

16. Stockpiling free condiments from restaurants (11%).

17. Eating at a friend or relative's house (8%). This could save you cash - but at someone else's expense. If you start turning up to a loved one's house with a knife and fork and a napkin tied round your neck it could be a fast way to ruin a friendship.

18. Brewing your own beer or wine (7%). If you love a tipple and you have the space, this could be a good option.

19. Searching for discount codes online (7%). A quick win to get instant money off an internet purchase.

20. Watering down drinks such as juice or milk (7%).

21. Buying books second-hand (7%).

22. Negotiating utility contracts one month before renewal (5%).

23. Asking shop assistants for discounts on damaged goods (4%). Good negotiation skills can go a long way when it comes to saving money.

24. Using a cash back card for in-store purchases (4%). Money earned from cashback can soon add up.

25. Watching TV with the lights off (2%).


Grandmothers are the most generous gift-givers when it comes to welcoming a new baby into the family, spending an average £102, slightly more than grandfathers who typically spend £99, according to a survey by American Express. Uncles splash an average £46, while aunts spend £45, and cousins typically fork out £44 on new baby gifts.

Clothes were found to be the most popular gifts, followed by toys and practical items like dummies and blankets, the survey of over 2,000 people found. Maggie Boyle, a director at American Express, says: "It's great to see so many people sharing the joy and supporting parents with generous gifts. Whether you're a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, everyone who contributes wants to find a great gift for the special occasion and make the most of their money too."

Here are American Express' top tips for buying new baby gifts:

1. Take your time and shop early. With many people buying their gift the week after the baby is born, some people might be pressed for time and end up over-spending or buying something unsuitable. By shopping earlier, you may find more opportunities to snag a good deal or catch a seasonal sale.

2. Club together. Buying a gift together with friends is a great way to purchase something special while sharing the cost with a group. Together you have more spending power for a bigger item or something personalised.

3. One of the best gifts new parents can receive is more time. If money is tight, consider getting a smaller gift and making a thoughtful offer of help, for example by taking brothers or sisters out for an afternoon, or helping paint the nursery.

4. Make the most of any cashback or points when you're buying your gift, which you could then save up to buy something for yourself.

5. Just one in 10 people say they make gifts for a new baby, like knitting a jumper or a cosy baby blanket. If you have a special skill or something you enjoy, whether that's photography, knitting, or painting, it's a great way to offer a thoughtful, personal gift.


Financial fact: April 3 was the most popular day for Isa investing in the tax year 2016/2017 according to Fidelity International, which analysed its own figures. In the 2015/2016 tax year, investors left it even closer to the wire to use their annual Isa allowance before the end of the tax year, with April 4 being the favoured date for last minute investors to boost their Isa savings.


More than half of people (56%) say their daily spending habits get in the way of their ability to save for the longer term, a Lloyds Bank survey has found.

Around 51% said money they set aside for longer term saving is often swallowed up by unexpected expenses or emergencies.


Parents believe their children understand the value of money at 10 years old on average, a survey by Santander suggests. This is when they stop believing money is infinite, and instead learn that it must be earned and that it's important to save. However, some 7% parents think children understand the concept of money even younger, by age five.


The animatronic head of Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in a fresh awareness drive, reminding people to check whether they had payment protection insurance (PPI) and decide whether to make a complaint before the August 29, 2019 deadline.

Animatronic Arnie highlights that PPI was sold alongside a vast array of products which many people may not think of, including car finance, catalogue credit, credit cards, store cards and mortgages. Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), says: "We know PPI was sold on a huge variety of credit products throughout the 1990s and 2000s, but many people just don't realise they had it."