How much is your time worth?

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We've all seen the latest TV advert from We Buy Any Car, in which customers say that they don't mind getting a lower price for their old car as long as they get a quick deal. It seems to show they are happy missing out on what could be hundreds of pounds in order to save a couple of hours of their time

So do we really value our time properly?

One method of finding out just how much an hour of our time is worth is to use GoCompare's Value of Time calculator. Enter your salary, and discover just how much money you're missing out on by looking after your children, exercising or cooking.

"A generally shared perception of time is that it never slows down but only seems to speed up," says GoCompare's Sean Fitzsimons.

"As we lead increasingly busy lives, we felt the Value of Time calculator can give each of us greater insight into how we spend our hours in the day and encourage us to make positive changes to our daily routine accordingly."

Value of Time by

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Of course, with most Brits complaining that their work/life balance is worse then ever before, few of us would want to spend more time earning money at the expense of playing with our kids.

But there are plenty of ways in which investing just an hour of our time can bring a big reward: here are seven of the simplest.

Switch your energy deals
If you're on a variable rate tariff you could save a couple of hundred pounds a year by locking into a fixed cheap rate.

Change to a fixed-rate mortgage
If you're on your lender's variable rate it's definitely worth looking at switching to a cheap, longer term fixed rate - speak to a broker if you're not sure. You could typically save around £5,000 in two years and own your home outright sooner, says

It's worth checking whether you were mis-sold PPI or hit with unfair bank charges in the past or if you're entitled to compensation for delayed flights or trains. It's easy to do this yourself - so don't pay a company to do it for you. You might get nothing, but it's always worth checking.

Go through your bank statements
Look through all your bank statements to see if you have any direct debits for services you no longer use, such as kids' computer games subscriptions or insurance products. You'll need to go back for a whole year to be sure, as not all direct debits are taken every month.

Sell stuff you don't need
It's easier than ever to get rid of unwanted stuff and make a few quid at the same time. Check out Facebook selling groups, eBay or Gumtree and pop an ad online.

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Change your shower
A water efficient shower head, says the Energy Saving Trust, will reduce your hot water usage while retaining the sensation of a powerful shower. A four-person household can save around £80 a year this way from water heating, as well as a further £120 on water bills if they have a water meter.

Change all your light bulbs
The average household can save about £35 a year on bills by replacing all remaining old-fashioned bulbs with energy-saving CFLs, and all of their halogens with LEDs, at a cost of about £100.

Money-saving websites
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Money-saving websites

This website brings travellers together with people offering a huge variety of places to stay in 190 countries. The spaces range from an air bed in someone's lounge, to a luxury holiday home, so you can search for something to suit your needs and price range.

Before you travel, you need to sign up, search the site for accommodation, contact the host, and if they approve you can book their space. It means, for example, you can book a two bedroom flat in London for £80 a night - which is cheaper per person than a hostel - and much more pleasant.

This service connects people looking for a lift with drivers offering them. In the UK it is only operating in London at the moment - but it is expanding.

The service works through a smartphone app. When you're out and about you can use the app to find a driver in your area, hail them at the push of a button, and track their progress in reaching you.

The rates start at £3 plus 32p per minute for travel under 11mph and £1.75 per mile if you're driving faster. The flat fares include Heathrow to West London for £30 - which is significantly cheaper than a traditional taxi. The service was seen as such a dangerous competitor to London's black cabs that they staged a protest in June.

This is a free shopping app, which lets you scan barcodes when you're shopping, and the app will do a price comparison for the same products in local shops and on websites. You can even buy it online through the app.

It will also let you scan products you have at home and find the cheapest local (or online) stockist.

This started life as a flight search website, and has expanded to include car hire and hotels too. It draws together the advertised flight prices from over 1,000 airlines and travel agents and displays them in one place to save you the legwork.

It isn't perfect, because it relies on the information provided by the agents, so if the agent is tweaking the headline rate and then reverts to a higher price when you enquire, you'll waste a bit of time with the agents. It's therefore worth checking reviews on the cheapest agents that come up before you go any further. The prices drawn direct from the airlines, meanwhile, tend to be accurate.

This is a clever site which is designed to help you get a cheap deal on It has a few features, which you can use together to make sure you always get a good deal from the site.

The first is the price history charts, which show how the price has changed over time, and how the current price compares. If the price is comparatively low you can just buy at that price. Alternatively, if it has risen recently, you can set a price alert, where you input a price you would be happy to pay, and you will receive an alert when the price drops to this level.

If you use a lot of data on your smartphone, onavo extend will help you dramatically cut the data you get through.

It is a compression app, which works in the background on services like sending and receiving emails, checking maps and browsing the web, and ensures it all uses less data (although it doesn't work on things like Skype or streaming video). It works by ensuring that before any data is sent to your device, it goes through the company's servers and is compressed.

It can cut the amount of data you use by up to 50%, which can help you keep within data limits and save you a fortune. It will also monitor how much data you actually use which will help you pick the most cost-effective plan.

When you call 0800 numbers from your mobile it's not free, and it's usually not counted as part of your monthly inclusive minutes, so you'll be charged extra for the call.

If you install the free 0800 Wizard app, you type in the 0800 number, and it will automatically re-route your call to an 01, 02 or 03 number instead. These cost the same as a standard local call, so will be part of your monthly package. If you don't have any minutes left it will be charged as a standard geographic number.

This website is designed to let you shop around without leaving your home. You can use it in whatever way suits you best. For the dedicated bargain-hunter, you can input everything you want to buy, find the supermarket where each item is cheapest, and spend the absolute minimum.

For those who need a bit more convenience, you can fill your trolley as normal through the site (and use the swap and save button to see if you can save by buying a different size or brand). A basket icon on the right hand side of the screen will show you the cost of the same shop at alternative supermarkets, so you can switch the whole lot over at the click of a button. And there's even a vouchers button you can use before you checkout to see if you can save more. The site claims that you'll save an average of £17 every time you shop using the site.

There are lots of voucher apps and websites out there, but one which is worth a look is vouchercloud. Whether you're shopping, eating out, going to the cinema or going for a drink with friends, you can use the location function of this app to find the best deals on offer near to where you are. 
This site has been around for a while, but remains a vital tool. You can search for the cheapest petrol in your area - or the area you are visiting - so you can pay less for your fuel without going out of your way. It's free to sign up and you get 20 free searches a week. There's also a PetrolPrices Pro app, so you can check prices when you're on the road.
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