– By Gemma Francis
Stocking up on free condiments from fast food restaurants, DIY haircuts – and not always flushing the toilet are among the weird ways people are saving money, a study has found.
The poll of 5,000 adults revealed the lengths skint Brits are going to in a bid to make their cash stretch.
One in five only drink tap water when they eat out while more than one in 10 share bath water with their family.
Others admitted to only buying food from bargain bins, re-wrapping unwanted presents to re-gift to other people and eating at a friend or relative’s house instead of using up their own food.
The stats emerged in a study of the nation’s saving habits by Carphone Warehouse, the new home of comparison fighting for a better deal for consumers on mobile, TV, broadband and energy tariffs.
Spokesman Carl Doran said: “With Brits looking to every avenue for new ways to save money, it’s clear that rising household bills are having a real impact, with many consumers paying over the odds for being on the wrong tariffs.
“We want to ensure that our customers aren’t falling into this trap and strongly believe choice is essential to helping people find great value, enabling them to save their money for the things that matter to them the most.
“We want to make sure that surprise charges on their bills aren’t jeopardising our efforts to fulfil their ambitions, and instead help customers get a better deal tailored for them.”
The study also found with shopping bags now costing 5p each, seven in 10 savvy spenders always take their own carrier bags with them.
Almost two thirds collect rewards points to make savings while 55 per cent turn to coupons to cut their bills.
More than half take packed lunches into work to save them buying food there and 47 per cent put extra layers on instead of turning the heating up.
Other common ways of saving money include fixing ripped or broken clothing, growing your own food and charging your phone or laptop at work to save on your electric.
The study, carried out via OnePoll.com, found that as a result of the penny-pinching exercises, 55 per cent are putting money away more regularly than they did five years ago.
And seven in 10 put the money saved with discounts or deals straight into their savings.
However, despite an increasingly pennywise mindset, 73 per cent of Brits keep how much they are saving and the best deals they find to themselves.
More than a third also admit to dipping into their savings at least one month, with higher than expected bills cited as one of the main reasons.
Of those, more than a quarter rarely or never put the money back.
* Carphone Warehouse compares the UK’s leading providers and, in over 950 stores nationwide as well as dedicated comparison tools on their website, matches customers with the best deals for where they live across mobile, broadband, TV as well as energy contracts.
To complement its new offering on energy bills, Carphone Warehouse’s Energy Saver tool allows customers to compare all deals from only trusted suppliers, whilst ensuring the best switching experience and taking the hassle out of switching by doing it for you.
Top 20 most common money-saving methods:
1. Taking your own bags to the supermarket
2. Reward cards
3. Coupon collecting
4. Taking a packed lunch into work
5. Wearing extra clothes instead of turning on heating
6. Sewing ripped or worn clothes
7. Re-wrapping gifts you receive to give to other people
8. Only shopping for sale items
9. Not flushing the toilet every time you go
10. DIY haircuts
11. Growing your own food
12. Buying clothes from charity shops
13. Only drinking tap water when eating out
14. Charging your phone or laptop at work
15. Only buying reduced food or things from bargain bins
16. Picking up the free newspapers rather than paying for them
17. Sharing bath water
18. Stocking up on free condiments from restaurants
19. Eating at a friend or relative’s house
20. Brewing your own beer or wine