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A-Z money saving tips podcast transcript

Listen to Sam and Ross as they go through an A-Z of their money saving tips from second hand shopping, reviewing your Direct Debits, the benefits of comparison sites, cashback apps plus much more. 

You can listen to this episode here. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed by guests on The Money Pot belong solely to them.

Transcript

Ross: Welcome back to another episode of The Money Pot. I'm joined as always by Sam. And I guess we should talk about what you've been up to Sam because our doors to freedom have pretty much reopened, and I'd like to hear about what you've been getting up to. 

Sam: Pretty much. So the highlight for me, since restrictions have mostly been lifted, has been an actual holiday up to Edinburgh to enjoy the Edinburgh fringe festival or a kind of smaller, different version of it which was really actually brilliant. I loved it. It was a lot quieter, but there's still plenty of shows going on. And being in rooms, small rooms with other people, watching comedy every day, and even watching some music, we got to see Damon Albarn at the Edinburgh international festival. That was great. Being in rooms, watching comedy, laughing with people.

There were still restrictions and precautions in place to keep everyone safe. It was all very well. But it felt amazing. It was great to be back. That's the thing that I love. I love the atmosphere of it. It was fantastic. So for me, that's been a highlight and I was a little bit cautious and hesitant about it, but everything was so safe and brilliantly organised.

So I had a wonderful time. It's nice to be getting back out there. How about you, Ross? What have you been up to?

Ross: I've joined a Skittles team.

Sam: You know what, that's not the answer I expected, but I'm really happy about that.

Ross: Do you know skittles?

Sam: This is type of bowling?

Ross: Yeah. It's kind of like bowling, but not the rolling, you have to throw it right. So a friend of mine has been asking me for ages, like pre-COVID to come and play. And I was just putting it off, putting it off.. once things reopen and we could play in the summer league. I just decided to give it a go and yeah. I'm enjoying it. There's nine pins, about 25 feet away and you have to throw a wooden ball and hit the first pin before you can hit any other pins.

Sam: I know you're quite a sporty person, but I wouldn't have expected skittles. Is it having a resurgence? 

Ross: I didn't know, actually, I don't know. Cause we play in a Sutton and Ripley league. Riply is probably about 10 miles away from me. There's a bit of traveling every other week, but enjoying it. It's not the most calorie burning sport I've ever played because I'm there about two and a half hours and I throw nine times

Sam: But it’s more of a game.

Ross: It’s more of a social event, yes.

Sam: I've joined an M and Ms league, but that's a, that's a different thing to the Skittles league.

Ross: What’s an M and Ms league?

Sam: No, it’s because Skittles are a sweet. Ross, I'm out of practice. I'm rusty. The jokes are not coming through thick and fast. I’m trying but it's not happening. We've been out of the game for a little bit. Yeah, that's fascinating though. That's a really interesting hobby to pick up.

Ross: It's different and I’m enjoying it.

Sam: Are you getting better at it?

Ross: Yes. I'm getting better. The first couple of weeks I was just practicing, just having a go, throwing if needed. And then one week, yeah, they were low on numbers and I've been in the team ever since. So enjoying it.

Sam: You're called up off the subs.

Ross: I even got a stacker one week which is when you get all the pins down in two throws and then your third throw, you go again, all the pins back up. So it's like a, like a spare.

Sam: Great. Glad to hear it. Completely unexpected. I didn't know you were going to say that. Let's made me really happy, I’m going to look into Skittles now. So Ross, what's the plan for today's episode?

Ross: Well, there's a bit of news. There's no guests today. It's just, it's just us two. And as things have re-opened, if you're anything like me, you'd have seen your spenditure increase quite dramatically.

Sam: Oh, massively. Yeah, too much really. I need to get back on the savings train.

Ross: And that's why today we're going to do A-Z of money-saving tips, budgeting ideas, basically providing you with lots of information to hopefully save you a bit of cash. Now, if you don't mind Sam, I'll go first and I ask that because I've done the maths and if I go first, then you end up with X and Z, which I'm sure going to quite difficult.

Sam: All right, you go first.

Ross: For A, is auto-renewing. And this tends to happen with insurance companies. So like home insurance, pet insurance, car insurance, things like that. It's when your contract comes to an end, which is normally every year. And the good thing with auto contracts is the convenience. Your insurer or provider will send you a letter or email before your deal expires with a new cost to cover you for another year. Normally don't even have to lift a finger and all be done for you.

However, in my experience, when I’ve compared the auto-renewal price to the price I paid last year and prices that I've found online for the same cover as a new policy, it tends to be more expensive. So it definitely pays to look around for price that you're happy with, but also making sure it's the cover that you need.

And this isn't always the case. You may find that the company offer you lower costs for your loyalty. So I definitely recommend checking out the price before you agree to the auto renewal. And again, I'd just like to say, it's always good to ensure that you're happy with the policy and the cover you getting rather than going for the cheapest possible price.

Sam: Well B, Ross, is for buying a second hand and I don't know if you're anything like me, but I'm a big fan of buying things second hand, using auction sites, such as eBay, you can find used clothes, cars furniture or electronics at a fraction of the retail price. And the quality can be as good as new.

Now, if we talk about clothes for a second, I think getting thrifty is great. Not only might it save you a lot of money, but resources have already been used to make the garment. So you're doing the environment a favour too. Plus you extend the lifecycle of clothes that could be in perfectly good condition. You might just not wear it anymore. What do you reckon to buying secondhand Ross?

Ross: I’m a big fan, I once went on a sta do, and we had lots of challenges to do throughout the day. And one of them was to spend a maximum of £15 at a charity shop on an outfit to wear that night. And you know what? I got myself, some lovely little bits actually. A tidy little Ben Sherman shirt, that I've still got to this day and some jeans that were genuinely lovely, but wasn't my normal style. So I actually gave them back to the charity shop when I got home. But yeah, I'm definitely down for buying second hand.

Sam: I've got some lovely finds from various charity shops and from eBay. Infact recently I needed a suit for a wedding, but kind of a quirky, cool wedding in London. And I nipped into a charity shop, founded lovely suit, got whole three-piece suit for 20 quid.

And it's great. I love it. And it fit perfectly. It was a miracle, some would say, but you know, something like that, a suit that someone has perhaps bought and they've worn once or twice, by me buying it, wearing it again, I'm kind of extending the life cycle. You know, that clothes don't need to end up in landfills, things like that.

And if you don't want to buy second hand, maybe there's items in your wardrobe that you don't wear anymore, and you can put them online for sale or give them to a charity shop. And I'm sure there's someone out there like me who would fall in love with that garment, just like you did when you bought it in the first place.

Ross: Definitely. And it's a ‘right place, right time’ isn't it. It pays to keep going back and having a look to see what's about.

Okay, C is a biggie for me and it's comparison sites and I compare absolutely everything from the price to the right policy. And that is by using comparison sites. And I look at a whole range of things starting from insurances, so my vehicle insurance, home insurance, pet, travel, life insurance. All my utilities, like my TV package, my broadband, mobile phone deals, gas and electric, just everything.

And I also look at my finances as well. So mortgages, savings accounts, bank accounts, and you can even compare the price of food. And what I love about the comparison sites is how convenient it is. With just a few collects you can have hundreds of prices and policies to compare without putting in too much effort, which is a big thumbs up for me Sam.

But with that being said, comparison sites don't offer this out of the goodness of their hearts. They're here to make a bit of money as well, and they do this by charging a fee, not to you, but to the company that you've decided to go with, which means you could get a better price going direct rather than using the comparison site.

So it's worth checking that out too. And not all companies on comparison sites. So you’re not getting a full market comparison and you could be missing out on the right deal by not going direct. So again, it's worth checking that out and Sam it's not always about the price, you want to make sure the policy and the deal is right for you instead of getting cheapest one.

Sam: Definitely Ross. And D is for Direct Debits. And there's two things on Direct Debits I want to mention. The first is that depending on which company you use for your bills, they might offer discounts if you pay for whatever you're paying for using Direct Debit. For example, my energy bill, let's say costs a hundred pounds per month. If I pay by Direct Debit, it'll save me five pounds per month. So there's many perks of using Direct Debit, including it's a fast, convenient way to pay for bills. You can tend to choose the date the payment will come out of your bank and it's paperless, which environmentally speaking is great.

The other point about Direct Debits could be seen as something of a pitfall, but we're here to help because if you don't regularly review your bank statement, it can be easy to miss Direct Debits that you've forgotten to cancel. So, what I do is, I review them through my online banking and cancel those that I no longer need.

And the first time I did this, I was amazed to see that was paying for things that I can't really remember signing up to. And if you view your Direct Debit, you could potentially see that you're in the same position that I was, say paying for a streaming service that you never use, that you forgot that the free trial had run out for and the Direct Debit had started that sort of thing.

Paying for phone insurance that's no longer needed. What I would say though, is that before cancelling any Direct Debits that you want to make sure that you're not in a contract and it's safe for you to do so without you getting you.

Ross: You just mentioned streaming services there, which is E. so E is entertainment. I'm sure there's a lot of people like myself that pay for things such as Netflix, like you just mentioned, and do get a lot of use out of it. I mean, I don't know what I've done over the last year and a half if I didn't have Netflix. It's helped me through some bad times, some lonely times, but I wonder if there's people out there that are paying for it and not using it.

So it's a good idea to do an annual review on your entertainment package to see if you're getting enough use out of it and see if you can get at a cheaper price, especially on your TV and broadband package, and maybe you're paying for things like sports or movies and you're not watching them as much as you previously did.

See if you can cancel them to reduce your bill. And don’t be afraid to give your provider a call as well, just to see if you can get a cheaper price. And if that doesn't work and you're not in a contract, perhaps you can think about moving to a new provider as being a new customer often gets you good prices. I mean, we all know what new customer deals are like Sam.

Sam: Absolutely. And just to touch on that on one of the popular streaming services, I signed up for that a long, long, long time ago and have got use out of it. But when I signed up, I think I signed up to the premium version of it that got me access to multiple screens at the same time and 4K quality. I look back on it recently and I realised, well, I don't have a 4K telly, I'm not using multiple screens at the same time. So even in some of these things, you might be able to downgrade what you've got already if you're not making best use of it. Sometimes these features will be added and you'll be paying for them and you won't realise, and it's always best to keep reviewing these things.

Now F, Ross, stands for you're a friend and mine, food, especially lunches. Now this is quite different because people are working from home now, but there's still plenty who are working in offices and onsite and there’s savings to be had on your lunch. Our mate in the office, Aaron, who will love the shout-out, Hi Aaron, used to buy his lunch every day, I went on some of those shopping trips with him, but when he started saving for a house, his money became limited. He got into that savings mindset and he started making his food at home and bringing it in, heating up leftovers, you know, kind of meal prepping that sort of thing.

And he couldn't believe how much he was saving. It would be interesting to see if its habits have reverted back now that he's bought his house and he's just, you know, spending like crazy. He can't say no to a chicken nugget box deal, but you're the same as me. We bring in our lunches when we work in the office.

Ross: Yeah but perhaps for different reasons, as you were at the time losing weight. Congratulations to you, you lost a hell of a lot of weight and do it for the health reasons. I'm a bit tight so I do it because I don't want to be spending three to four pounds on my lunch every day.

Sam: Yeah. There could be all sorts of reasons to do it, but making your lunches at home, bringing them in ends up over the long run, saving a lot of money compared to buying, say a meal deal in a shop every day.

Ross: G is for gym membership. And I can't tell you how many these I've had over the years and haven't took advantage of them. I tend to start them in January. I give the first few months. I kind of fall off the wagon and just forget to cancel them. So for the next, I don't know, six months after that, I'm just paying for it and not using it. Yeah. So if you're the same as me, get it cancelled if you're not using it and just check that you're not in a contract with them.

And if you do go to the gym, but maybe I'm use the treadmill, maybe you can do someone in a home or on the streets. I’ve recently got into skipping. So I do about 45 minutes a day, probably not good for the knees, but it's not costing me anything. And I do enjoy it. I enjoy it as much as running and it's keeping me fit, giving me full body workout. So yeah, perhaps a home gym could save you money in the future.

Sam: Yeah, I mean I've mentioned on past episodes, me getting into jogging, doing couch to 5K. And that was just round the block. And that sorted me out that got me into a fitness habit and that there was no subscription, no cost to that. That's all absolutely free. So it's something worth considering.

H is for haggling. Now previously I was not one for doing this at all, but when I have tried haggling, I've been amazed at how much I've saved on bills or from just a five-minute phone call. All I did to get a better price on both my mobile phone package and TV package, when my deal was up was to look online, see what their competitors were pricing a similar deal at and gave my existing provider a call saying, I'd seen this deal at a cheaper price and asked if they were willing to match it or better it. And on both occasions, they gave me a better deal than what I saw online.

Ross: So I've got old power technique, which is telling the provider that I want to leave, which would actually be the case if they didn't give me a better deal and just be honest with them. And in my experience, once I've said that I am leaving, I was actually offered a better deal than I was getting before. So like you said, a quick phone call definitely works rather than just accepting a standard price.

Sam: I'll tell you this Ross, it's a great sign when you're put through to the retention's team. That's when you know the good things that coming your way.

Ross: All right. So I is for ISA and being a building society that offers ISAs, which anytime could range from like a fixed rate, easy access, as well as the Lifetime ISA. There was nothing else that ‘I’ could be. And I just thought I'd give you a few reasons why let's say a cash ISA might be a good savings account for you.

So the first is that you won't pay any income tax on your interest. Results. You can have access to your money if you choose to, or you can tie it down for certain lengths of time, whichever suits you best. ISAs are highly portable as well. So you're able to switch from one provider to another, to take advantage of higher interest rates or deals.

Now that being said, cash ISAs do come with limitations. There's contribution cap, which for the current tax year 2021/2022 is £20,000. And also with the cash ISAs that we offer, the money that you withdraw can't be replenished, which means, for example, if you deposit the full ISA allowance of £20,000 and you want to withdraw say a thousand pounds, you can't then deposit a thousand pounds later to make up that £20,000. That would push you over the £20,000 ISA allowance.

What we'll do is we'll leave a link to a bit more information about ISAs and links to see what ISAs we have available on our website.

Sam: And as you mentioned ISAs there, J is for Junior ISA. So we've just spoken about ISAs, which are for adults, but there's also tax-free savings accounts for children which are called Junior ISAs. These accounts are only available to those under 18 years of age and are often opened by parents looking to save for their child's future. I think this is a great way to do that because any money that is deposited into the account will be locked away until the child turns 18 when they count effectively becomes their own cash ISA and any money in the accounts is theirs spend how they please. Two things I like with this account is you can open The Nottingham’ s Junior ISA with a pound, and there's nothing stopping you from switching provider if you find a better rate elsewhere. Hust like cash ISAs, there's account limitations, such as that contribution cap, which for the 2021/2022 taxi is £9,000.

And unlike normal children's accounts where you, the parent, might be able to have access to the money, which tends to be until the child turns 16, the funds in Junior ISA are totally inaccessible until the child turns 18. So just make sure that you won't need this money before making any deposits.

Ross: So K is keeping on track and this is to do with you spending and what works well for me, when keeping track with my spending is working out how much disposable money I can spend each month. That's after I've put some money in my different pots for bills, food savings, things like that. Pop the rest into a separate account and once that's gone, it's gone. I try not to dip into my savings at all, and I find that someone, so I don't actually spend everything in my little spendie pot, so what I do is transfer that into my savings account. And then start again once I get paid. There's some good tracking apps out there. So you can track what you spending, so you can see exactly what you're spending your money on. And it's good to monitor your spending just to see if you can cut out any unnecessary spending.

Beehive Money, they're the digital arm of The Nottingham, who’ve just recently launched a new website and the app has a downloadable budget planner. So you can see how much you pay for everything in your life and see if it can make little tweaks that could potentially save you a bit of money.

Sam: Have you heard of the 50, 30, 20 budgeting rule? So it's a plan where you work out how much money you've got after paying your bills. Then 50% of that you spend on things you need or must have 30% goes on things that you want. And then the remaining 20% goes into your savings. I

think that's another good way of keeping on top of your spending, which ensures that you're putting money for rainy day.

Ross: Okay. So like 50% need petrol in my car, 30% wants - so going to go watch Spurs. And then 20% into your savings, yeah I like that.

Sam: It's a nice little ratio. It might work differently for different people, but that's a popular one.

L ,Ross, is the Lifetime ISA. Now we did a whole episode on Lifetime ISAs so if you haven't heard that we will leave a link to it on our website, but to give you a brief summary of the account is for those who are saving to buy their first home like myself or saving for their retirement, like myself, there we go. We both got Lifetime ISAs for different reasons. It's a tax-free savings account, which is boosted by a 25% Government bonus so you could earn up to a thousand pounds a year in bonuses until you turn 50 years old, plus you'll earn interest on top of this from your provider. There's criteria you need to meet to open accounts such as being a UK resident aged 18 to 39. It's worth checking out all the criteria to see if it's the right account for you.

It may not be for everyone as you can't access the funds in the account until you buy your first home, or once you turn 60. Any other withdrawals may incur a 25% Government withdrawal charge. The Nottingham’s Lifetime ISA has moved across to Beehive Money and so have all existing account holders. What that means is they can now access their accounts from the new Beehive Money app.

Ross: And if you don't already have a Lifetime ISA it might be worth checking out the Beehive Money LISA and you can download the app that’s recently launched.

Okay, so M we're getting down the list now. M is for money-back websites. I cheated a bit here because they're often known as cashback sites or apps, but the 'C’ was taken for comparison sites, but I had to get this one in there somewhere.

We live in a world now where online shopping is huge, it certainly is in my case. I much prefer to shop online, get it delivered to my door, then actually visiting a store. I know that's not great for the high street, but it's just the way that I enjoy doing my shopping. Cashback sites pay you when you go to a retailer or provider through their website, often offering a percentage in cashback on whatever you buy. Signing up to cashback sites should be free. And once you've created an account and logged in you search for the company that you're looking to buy from, and if they're listed click on the link to visit that company, shop as normal and the cashback is automatically tracked. And once the cashback has been processed, you can withdraw it straight into your bank.

I use this quite often. Anytime I shop online, I always just have a little look. There's nothing to lose. You might have to meet criteria for the cashback, which will again, be displayed on the page so think of it as more of a bonus, rather than a guarantee, just in case a problem does arise.

Sam: That’s another thing I need to get on Ross.

Ross: Are you on no cashback app? Honestly, I've earned a lot of money through them. You can see an accumulation of how much you’ve earned and it’s probably a bad thing that I’ve earned so much because it means I'm probably shopping a bit too much.

Sam: But you're getting a little bit extra. Now N stands for new mortgage deal.

Getting a new mortgage deal could be a good way to save money on your monthly repayments. The Nottingham have partnered with Mortgage Advice Bureau because they’re one of the UK leading mortgage brokers and their advisers search thousands of mortgages from over 90 different to find you the right deal. They have a team of 1,600 advisers and they've won many national awards for the quality of their advice and service.

So whether you're a first-time buyer looking for your first mortgage, a landlord looking for a buy-to-let mortgage, you're moving home and need a new deal, or if you're staying where you are and your existing deal is coming to an end, you can be sure you're getting unbiased advice from mortgage experts.

Ross: Onto O which is own brand. This is a big one for me. Again, definitely when it comes to saving money because own brand items are often cheaper and Sam can be equally as tasty. For example, I have some fruit and fiber nutty own brand cereal, which is absolutely filled with the things you're paying for the fruit and nut. But when it comes to the branded, it's just nowhere near as full. And actually when I did buy the branded one, because the own brand was out of stock I didn't enjoy it anywhere near so that's where I go back to saying it. It can be just as tasty.

There's some things that have to have branded like my sauces, I love my mayo, my ketchup, my beans and stuff, a bit of a snob, I have to have them branded. I've tried it. It's not the same for me, each to their own, but it brings me on to that TV show, I don’t know if you’ve seen it when families are spending thousands of pounds a month or something on shopping, and they get someone into a view they're spending to do a few blind taste tests.

They often can't tell the difference. They calculate the savings at the end of the show and tell you how much you save on your shopping. It is funny where the families are like the kids are running around like ‘We’ve saved so much money’. The dad is celebrating, it's brilliant. But yeah, there's so much money to be hard on just own brand food.

Sam: Yeah. That's the thing. Give it a try if there's something that you always buy branded, try the own brand and see how you got on with it. And you might realise that there's no difference, or you can prefer the own brand version and you can start saving money over the long-term with your shopping.

Now P, Ross, stands for petrol and its Government restrictions have eased and hopefully will continue to do so. Which may mean that people are getting back in the car, visiting families. So getting the cheapest possible petrol is one more thing you can do to save more money. There's a company called petrolprices.com where you can find the cheapest petrol or diesel prices. All you have to do is create a free account, download their app or visit their website, put in your location, and it will give you prices of all nearby garages, starting with the cheapest.

And don't forget to use your loyalty card at the pump, if you can, to make sure you're getting those extra points and also keep those tires pumped up and ensure the pressure's correct, because that will save you money over the long-term.

Ross: Yeah. And I'm bad for that. My front right tyre to seems to be one of them. I need to get it changed, but you know, I haven't, and I just keep putting a bit more air in it, making it last a few more months.

Sam: It’s going to be costing you Ross in the long term.

Ross: So Q is a quit paying too much interest Sam. And here I'm talking about interest on your mortgage and a good way to do this is by overpaying and this is only if you're able to. Money Saving Expert has a brilliant mortgage overpayment calculator, and you can see howcmany months, years sooner you can be mortgage free if you can pay a little bit extra each month or year. When I first used the calculator, honestly, I was amazed at how much sooner I could be mortgage free.

And in my situation, I could pay a few hundred pounds a month. You want to be confident that you don't need this money because once you've sent it to your lender, there's no way of getting that back. And I must say that if you have any other debt such as credit cards or loans, it's a good idea to review these before tackling mortgage overpayments, as these debts might be more expensive to you.

And before making any overpayments check with your lender, just to see if they allow you to overpay penalty-free. And if there are any limits as to how much you can overpay, but it's definitely worth checking it out. Because I think for my situation, I would be mortgage free, like nine years sooner, which is incredible.

Sam: R, Ross, stands for research. I tend to do a lot of research before buying something or visiting somewhere new. So when you're buying something online, I'll always look at the reviews of the item to see if other people who have purchased it were happy with it. And once I've decided that I'm going ahead with the purchase, I will check multiple sites to ensure I'm getting the best possible price for it. And if I'm using a new company, I'll also do a quick search about them to ensure they're trustworthy. Sites like Trustpilot are great to get honest feedback about companies. I also do a lot of research if I'm visiting someone new, I'll look for the right accommodation. Once again, checking reviews, looking for free or cheap parking, good restaurants or bars.

So in my experience, a bit of research before booking or buying anything, it's definitely worth it. And it can save you time as well as money.

Ross: I agreed with you, I always do a lot of research before visiting anywhere. So S is for shopping list and I like to plan my weekly meals before I do the shop. Check the cupboard, see what I've got, write it down, see what I need for the next week and take that list with me and stick to it.

And that is that's the hardest part, sticking to it. It stops you getting drawn into the end of aisle deals that you don't necessarily need, which will save you money because that's what they're there for.

They're there to drag you in. I just couldn't imagine doing my food, shopping at my list. I'd buy everything. I don't need and nothing I do actually need. My wife would be fuming. When I see people just booking on the shop and just chucking stuff into their trolley. I just like cringing inside and I'm like, just get a list.

Sam: It's people like me, Ross, I've done that many-a-time, but I've come around to preparing, bringing a list, knowing exactly what you actually need, especially not when you're hungry, because then you just get so much unnecessary stuff.

Ross: Obviously you can shop online as well. So again, you're not joining to those offers and it's delivered to your door.

Sam: Absolutely. T is for try a savings challenge. I do like a savings challenge, I think is a really creative way to reach your savings goals. There's a few I want to mention the first is the 52-week challenge. And if you complete you'll save nearly £1,400.

So starting at week one, you simply save one pound, week two you save two pounds, week three save three pounds. Keep that going for a year, adding one pound to your savings each week until you get to week 52 while you'll say £52.

Ross: pounds. Yeah, I've heard of that one and if you're anything like me, where after Christmas and the New Year, I don't tend to spend too much, especially in January. You could do it the other way. So starting with the most expensive week first. £52 in the first week, and working back. Any other challenges?

Sam: Yeah. If you feel around £1,400 is too much to save, you could try the 1p challenge where you can save nearly £670. Similar to the 52-week challenge where your savings increase - this is daily. Start by saving 1p on day one, 2p on day two, 3p on day three. Continue increasing by just a penny throughout the year ending with saving £3.65 on day 365, you can end up with £670 or thereabouts. Good little pot for Christmas.

I do understand this can be hard to manage, which is why you can try the simplest challenge of them. All which is to simply save £1 a day for a year, giving you a nice savings pot at the end of the year. And even if you don't finish the challenge, you'll still save some money. And I think that's worth celebrating.

Ross: Definitely. U is for use savings calculators. And savings calculators are a great way just to see how much interest you'll learn on your savings, how long it will take you to reach your goal and how much you need to regularly save to have a specific amount by a certain date. It's been really easy to use calculators out there. I know Money Saving Expert has one, so it's worth checking that out if you're saving for something specific and we'll leave a link to that on our website.

Sam: So V is for vouchers, discounts and promo codes. A quick question for you, Ross, how many times do you shop online and see that little box just before you pay for your order that says ‘Enter voucher code or promo code’?

Ross: Very often actually, in my experience I'd say the majority of retailers do have that code and it's something that I actually looked for before buying anything online.

Sam: Exactly. I'm the same as you. And I see it on most sites and this is an excellent way of becoming a savvy shopper and saving money on your purchases.

Ross: What's a good way of finding codes and are they easy to find?

Sam: Yeah, I mean, I've found that searching for codes can be very easy, but it's also a case of right place, right time. Some of them might not always be available. My technique is just to simply type in the retailer, followed by the words ‘discount code or promo code’ and looking for one that works.

It might take a bit of time to find a code, but I think that it's time well spent, as you can often find one. And you have to think that if there's an area for you to enter a discount code, then there's probably one out there it's worth a look. I think there are also some browser extensions that are completely free. They can automatically search for discount codes for you or promo code. It can do the looking for you. I still tend to do it myself, but there is the option that you can add something to your browser, just to have a look for any promo or discount codes and it can end up saving you a bit of money. So it's a great option.

Ross: Definitely. I like the thought that if there's a space where there's probably one. So yeah, it's definitely worth checking it out. And like you said, those extensions are brilliant. You don't have to do anything. It pops up once you're in your basket and tends to do the searching for you.

So we're on W now just four left and w is workplace pension. And this can be tough because saving for your time and might not be one of our biggest priorities. And you might think you can start planning later in life. But with pensions, the earlier you start, the better off you should be when the time comes. And a great way to start saving could be by using a workplace pension, which is a pension that is opened for you by your employer and contributions are taken directly from your wages and can be matched up to a certain percentage by your employer.

The good thing, in my opinion is that in 2012, auto-enrollment on work-based pensions was introduced. So every employee over 22 years of age, earning more than £10,000 are automatically enrolled into the scheme, which of course you can opt out at any time. So if you're not enrolled into your workplace pension, it could be worth having a look as it can be seen as free cash for your retirement, that your employer is going to give you.

And a good way to get a forecast of the likely pension income you get is by using a calculator again. And we'll leave a link on our website to a good one that is on the moneyhelpers.org website, and you'll be able to see how much you'll get each year based on your current pension pot, and any future deposits that you and your employer.

Sam: Okay. And towards the end now Ross. We’re on X, which is for Christmas, xmas.

Ross: Oh, okay. I see what you’ve done.

Sam: Little bit of a stretch, but you know. What else are we going to do with X? Saving money on your xylophone purchases? I don't think so. We get into that time of year. Again, already. Christmas is getting closer, which is completely wild to me considering it doesn't seem like that long ago, but hey, this sort of thing happens.

And instead of leaving it all to the last minute, like I often do, I've learned from our Christmas savings podcast, we did last year, planning ahead, I've got gift ideas and savings, ready to buy everything. We're nearly done with this podcast today so it's worth giving that one a listen to it if you want to learn more about how to save money at Christmas.

Or you can check out Beehive Money as they have some interesting articles about how you can save money for Christmas, their top Christmas budgeting tips and how save money on the Christmas feast would be the ones to go for.

Ross: I'm glad that you've learned something after last year's Christmas savings podcast Sam.

Sam: I do learn things from these podcasts Ross, I really do. I've learnt something from this one. It's been great.

Ross: Absolutely. Y is for yellow labels. And I don't know about you Sam but I'm a massive yellow label food shopper. And we've mentioned this in our Christmas savings podcast actually. You can often find me in my local co-op after the work I've done a good scrounge around the deals, see what they’ve gone and honestly, the discounts can range from a few pence to sometimes over 90%. So I think they've definitely worth checking out. Plus I get that warm, fuzzy feeling. Do you

know when I find myself a good bargain, I love it. And new also introduced me to an app called Too Good To Go.

And they're like an anti-food wastage company where you can purchase food at a discounted rate from stores, restaurants, cafes that was destined for the bin. They normally post towards the end of the day and what food they've got left over. So you can decide if you want to buy them from them and we'll leave a link to them on our website.

Sam: Yeah. I've had some fantastic meals and deals from them over the years. It's a really great opportunity to get something in otherwise as you say, would go to waste, but instead goes to me and it's delicious and you can feel happy that you've reduced food waste in your own little way. We're at the end of that, Ross,

Ross: Z - this is the one I didn't want, this is going to be hard.

Sam: This is zero spend week. Now I said earlier that I like savings challenges and here's another one for you. This challenge is to only spend money on the essentials for one week making it a zero spend week or no spend week. We’ll leave a link to The Nottingham's website where you can find out how a selection of our team and partners, content creators and the public got on when we challenged them to take part and see how much they can save in a week and perhaps change how they view their spending habits by participating in a zero spent week. And that's Z.

Ross: It’s a good way to do it actually because if you can try to cut out of those unnecessary spends, it's amazing how much you can save.

Sam: It definitely brings into focus the things that are unnecessary. I'm not saying everyone should not spend money on anything forever, but if you spend a week not spending on anything other than the essentials, so you start to realise the things that you don't really need to keep spending on every week. So that's a great tip. Try it for a week. See how you get them.

Ross: Yeah, definitely. Okay Sam, that was brilliant. I enjoyed that, learned a lot.

Sam: Me too. Well, I think that just about does it for this episode of The Money Pot. That's been nice and in-depth, we've touched on loads of great things to do with saving, budgeting, all that sort of good stuff. We'll leave links to various things that we talked about over on our website if you want to check those out. And I think all that's left to say is, Ross I will see you on the next one.

Ross: I'll see you on the next one. Take care.

Sam: Cheers. Bye.

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