Penny-pinchers of Britain unite and save your pounds

A FEW weeks ago I asked for good money-saving or money-making hints — scores came in, for which, thanks.

Reducing carpet wear

Ask the family to walk to the left of centre when going upstairs and on the opposite side when coming down, and this will reduce wear in the centre by half. I make this request on an annual basis and always get ignored, though the science behind it is sound —Chris Mitchell.

Step on every other tread of the stair carpet going up and every other one going down —Sarah Hurcum.

Plastic bags
Newspapers, magazines and catalogues insist on wrapping themselves in polythene bags. My wife and I cut off the bags carefully and use them for wrapping sandwiches, etc, and for freezer/fridge items. We haven’t bought cling film or freezer bags in a long time — James McCarron.

Several supermarkets will sell you a superior bag for 10p. They call these a “bag for life”. When it’s knackered you can take it back and they will issue you a new one free. So, buy a few from such retailers and give them to your offspring. They will never need to buy another bag. In years to come such bags may be selling for much more than 10p but your little devils will still be able to claim them free of charge. They should be more and more grateful to you the older they get, possibly long after you’ve gone. What a legacy! — Peter Brown.

Peter Brown also managed to get 26 bottles of wine from Tesco in Milton Keynes — for nothing. He explains: My wife and I selected the wine, which was on special offer at £3.50 instead of £7. When we got to the checkout we were charged £7 a bottle — £182. If we had told the checkout girl she would have called her supervisor and had it corrected there and then. But I happen to be aware that if you pay up and then take your receipt to customer services and they agree you have been overcharged, as company policy Tesco will refund you double the overcharge! This brought the cost of the wine down to zero.


It turned out that the wine offer had finished the night before but staff had not taken down the offer poster, so they honoured the display price. But the message is don’t complain at the checkout — pay up and then go to customer services with your receipt.

Renewal premiums
The single best tip is never, ever accept a renewal price for any form of insurance, be it home, car or breakdown. By investing half an hour on the interweb you can save, quite literally, hundreds of pounds. Customer inertia is a huge money earner for business —Chris Pelling.

Saving water
Store cool run-off water from the hot tap before washing or washing up. I use it for watering the garden, rinsing the car or flushing the lavatory. I pay less than £10 a month for water — Sue Shaw.

Saving money
Perhaps the best advice came from Geoffrey Jackson, who said: My tip for saving money in 2014 is — DO NOTHING.

No more cake and coffee while my wife shops — save £500 a year; No more filling the car with fuel every Saturday so my youngest daughter can use it the following week — save £1,060 a year; No more taking my grandchildren for meals and holidays — God knows how much; No more investing in anything — which will save me the most money of all.

Steal ideas
Blag yourself a column on a national newspaper, ask readers to send in business ideas, pinch the best ones, develop them and then flog for several million to a gullible private equity company. Hey presto! — Alan Harvey.

I hope Mr Harvey is not suggesting that I asked readers for money tips in order to get an easy column. Certainly not.

Join a working men’s club
In the 1970s there were more than 4,000 working men’s clubs in the UK. The current figure is just over 2,000. They are declining sharply due to changing social habits and an ageing customer base.

As a rule, members own a share of their club and when it finally closes, debts are discharged and the freehold land is sold, then the proceeds are shared. There are several examples of clubs in good locations fetching more than £1m, which has been shared among a dwindling band of elderly members.

Therefore, all you need to do is ferret out the clubs within a 15-mile radius of your home, chat up the locals, sup beer, join, never go in again and wait for your windfall.

I am currently a member of 14 clubs. It’s hard work but no pain, no gain. Eh?

This was the suggestion of Martin Knight, from Epsom, Surrey, and a pretty daft one, but it amused me most — so Mr Knight is the winner of a free lunch avec moi at the Groucho Club in Covent Garden.