‘Life hacks’ phenomenon saves £220 a year

Neatly arranged jars display buttons sorted by color and category.
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.