‘Life hacks’ phenomenon saves £220 a year

Neatly arranged jars display buttons sorted by color and category.

'Life hacks' are all over the internet now, and 90% of us are using them. They are designed to make life cheaper, easier, and smarter, and in many cases they make a striking difference. A new study has revealed that hacks save us an average of £220 and 368 hours a year - as well as making us feel smug for having mastered the art of the smarter life. Some of these hacks could save us all money.

SEE ALSO: Save hundreds of pounds without trying

See also: 10 unexpected uses for your spare change


A study into the 'life hacks' trend by Nectar found that three quarters of us use hacks at least once a week. Some 64% use them to save money. Other motives include saving time (51%); making their lives easier (52%); and because it's now cool to be thrifty (20%).

The most popular life hacks for saving money were revealed by the study, and the top five are:

1. Save leftovers to avoid food waste
This is used by 40% of people, and while you can argue that people have been doing this for generations, there are some modern twists on the trend that people are sharing through social media.

These include freezing the dregs of a bottle of wine in ice cube trays to use in cooking, blending and freezing wilting greens to use in healthy smoothies, blending stale bread into crumbs and freezing them for cooking, using flat coke at the bottom of the bottle to clean your toilet, and microwaving stale crisps to make them crunchy again.

2. Buy and freeze meat in bulk
One in three people use this approach. It's a good idea to portion it up, to make using it easier. You can even put meat into bags with your favourite marinade and freeze them together, to make cooking marinated meat a doddle.

3. Reuse food jars to store other items
This is used by 30% of people, and while it was popular for generations, it died out for years when people preferred to buy matching storage. Now, however, a shelf of 'vintage' jars containing ribbons and buttons is perfect for Instagram - as well as being free.

4. Browse the internet for vouchers
Some 29% of people use this, which can help you save 20% or more on your shopping in seconds. One newer new development is a plug-in called Pouch, which automatically displays vouchers when you visit on online store. At the moment it's only available when you search using Chrome, but it's coming soon for other web browsers too.

5. Use flight comparison sites to save money
This is popular with 27% of people. There are a few of these, but one of the best is skyscanner.net, which scrapes flights from other sites, so it all can help you track down real bargains.

There were also clever 'hacks' revealed by the survey that don't save you money, but make life a bit smarter. These include rolling clothes instead of folding them when you are packing (to get more in your case and stop clothes creasing); discovering the best place to stand on the station platform in order to get out of the station quickly at the other end; cleaning a microwave by heating half a lemon in a bowl of water for five minutes to loosen the grime; and making a hole in the middle of any food you intend to microwave, so that it heats more evenly.

But what do you think? Are these clever 'life hacks'? Or do you have some better ones? Let us know in the comments.

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Vintage money-saving tips
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Vintage money-saving tips
Back then there was no choice, because the mass-produced microwaveable meal was just a glint in a marketing guru's eye, but now, cooking from scratch can save substantial sums.
The older generation learned that there were meat-free days of the week to save money, and that if you had meat you''d stretch mince with breadcrumbs, or buy cheaper joints and use every scrap.
Perfect fruit and vegetables and top-of-the-range brands are a new phenomenon. Buy generic non-branded food and fruit and vegetables in whatever size and shape is most affordable

Nowadays we rush around the supermarket grabbing things we like the look of - with little idea of what we're going to do with it. Making a list and thinking about what you buy can save you thousands of pounds over the course of a year.

There's no such thing as 'left-overs' there's just the ingredients for tomorrow's dinner. The remains of the meat can be stir-fried the next day, the vegetables blended into  soup, and the potatoes saved for bubble and squeak.

Try an experiment and eliminate everything from your life with the word disposable in the title. Not only will you save money, but your bin will take far longer to fill too.

Before you bin anything, think twice about whether you can give it a second life. Think carefully, does your granny have her tried and tested tips that she has a habit of mentioning, for instance, washing out freezer bags? If you mock, you're missing a trick and wasting money and resources.
Cutting out draughts and insulating your home properly can cut 10% off your heating bill.
Back in the 1940s when no-one had central heating, people got used to wearing another layer at home. Try lowering your thermostat gradually, and only stop when those around you start to notice - you'll be surprised how much you can save.
If you save your washing and dish washing until you have a full load every time you'll save energy and save money.
Over the generations we have been sucked into believing the hype. In the days when adverts were few-and-far between, we managed without many of the things we consider essential nowadays. Re-consider what you buy, and why. Without advertising, would you buy any of it?
It's always cheaper to save in advance and plan a purchase than to rush in and borrow - which could end up costing you hundreds of pounds more in interest.
Older generations typically withdraw what they can afford to spend in cash and then leave their debit card at home or deep in their wallets. This has the advantage that they don't tend to reach for a debit or credit card and spend more than they can afford.
Because the older generations couldn't borrow their way out of trouble, they tended to plan more. Give your family a financial safety and a nest egg for the future.
Back when there were only a finite number of items of clothing to go around in a neighbourhood, people borrowed from each other for special occasions. Nowadays swapping and sharing can save substantial sums
Back in the 1940s when no-one had central heating, people got used to wearing another layer at home. Try lowering your thermostat gradually, and only stop when those around you start to notice - you'll be surprised how much you can save.
There was a time not so long ago when no-one could actually remember anyone who had actually bought a bike. They were passed through the siblings, then across family and friends networks, so that decades later, children were still learning to ride a bike for free. Of course it helps if you buy something gender-neutral, then you can hand it down, and reap the benefits as others hand expensive toys on to you.
In previous generations, neighbours would think nothing of asking each other to babysit, walk their dog, or to borrow a ladder. Nowadays we pay handsomely for babysitters and dog walkers, and each have an expensive ladder gathering dust in the shed.
The army of people who come to our homes to do odd jobs is a new phenomenon for all but the very wealthy. You may well have the skills required to complete these jobs, so get stuck in.

Ditch going out for dinner or browsing round the shops for taking a walk, visiting the beach with a picnic, or holding a family DVD night.

Nowadays we're constantly striving for a bigger TV, a flashier car and a better kitchen. Generations ago people never considered that they would ever be able to afford bigger, flashier and better, so they got on with the business of enjoying what they had.
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