Times are tough for a lot of people, but you can make a real difference with these sensible money-saving swaps.
You already know all about the cost of living crisis, but with spiralling inflation and yet another energy hike just around the corner, doing something about it is something else entirely. It can feel a little bit overwhelming, but these ideas are no-brainers that can cut down some of your regular expense without having to cut back on the things that make you happy. These swaps might not solve all your money issues, but they’ll definitely help.
Swap your gym membership for a free workout
Whether you’re an avid gym-goer or your monthly direct debit goes out without you ever setting eyes on a treadmill, a gym membership can be pretty expensive. But it’s not the only way to get fit in Leeds – there’s a range of free outdoor gyms and calisthenics parks across the city you can use for the square root of zero. From Horsforth Hall Park to Roundhay and Bramley Parks, you can structure a workout without the overheads – and there are parks galore to run wild in too.
You can find outdoor gyms in parks throughout the city.
Swap your takeaway for a takeaway-inspired cookery class
A takeaway is a real treat, but they’re also increasingly expensive. To paraphrase the famous saying, ‘If you teach someone to fish, you feed them for a lifetime’ – there are cookery classes across Leeds that, for an initial outlay, will give you the basics of making your favourite takeaway at home. Head to Chaophraya on Swinegate to master Thai classics like massaman curry or pad Thai, while Farsley’s Get Cooking can walk you through Mexican and Spanish fast food favourites.
Chaophraya, 20A, Blayds Court, Swinegate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4AG. Classes are £69. Get Cooking, 43a Springfield Mill Commercial Centre, Bagley Lane, Farsley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS28 5LY. Classes start from £55
Swap throwing out clothes for sustainable fashion
Not all of us have the skills to get on to The Great British Sewing Bee, but throwing out clothes when they get damaged or show a bit of age is a false economy, as you just have to replace them. Sustainable fashion is increasingly a hot button topic, which is why it’s great that Leeds has places you can get clothes mended for a great price, breathing new life into old classics. Make it Sew can fix zips, tears and more to help make the old new, while Trad Collective offer similar services and sell sustainable clothes too.
Swap your daily coffee for an indie coffee subscription
You’re not alone in needing a morning cup of coffee to get going for work, but with coffee prices rocketing, that soon adds up. Lattes and flat whites have crept over £3 at many of the chains. Luckily, you can save some money, support an indie and still get your coffee – in fact, even more of it! – for less cash. Join 92 Degrees’ 92 Club for £20 a month and you can get 5 coffees a day, every day. Knock back a couple of barista-made coffees daily and it will even pay for itself in four days!
92 Degrees, 100 Clay Pit Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8EU.
Swap soaring pub prices for go-home growlers
A good pub is a wonderful thing, but if you’re feeling the pinch you might not feel great about paying the prices some bars charge, especially if you’re fond of an exotically hopped craft beer. Well, you don’t need to miss out. The city has some wonderful bottle shops that do growlers for the craft beer experience at home. Head to The Hop Shack in Horsforth or The Curious Hop in Otley and take home whatever they’ve got on tap at the time for as little as £6 a litre – it could be something local or the latest far-flung beer.
Swap expensive furniture buys for the joys of Freecycle
Whether your current furniture just needs a refresh or your kids have outgrown their beds, you can save a whole heap of money by exploring Freecycle. The Leeds group has some 45,000 members, many of whom are looking to give things away for nowt. Need a sofa? A load of wooden coat hangers? An ice cream maker? A bed? Chances are you’ll find what you’re looking for and all you’ve got to do is make contact and arrange collection. It’s not only thrifty, it also stops those items disappearing into landfill.
Join Freecycle Leeds online.
Swap pricey family days out for free things to do with the kids
A day out with the family can really tax your pocket. Buying tickets, a snack at the cafe and the obligatory gift shop visit are all part and parcel of keeping the kids entertained. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Leeds has loads of amazing free things to do, much of it family-friendly. Take them to see the famous mummy at Leeds City Museum, or go on a dive deep back into history at The Royal Armouries. Want more? There are nature reserves, street art trails, parks and even a certain abbey that are all completely free.
Swap your big shop for Too Good to Go
The cost of the weekly shop is a headline issue for many people, as the rise in food banks attests. But rather than groaning as the till rings up, you can save a whole heap on money by using Too Good To Go. This app connects with participating Leeds restaurants, shops and cafes to gather together food they’d otherwise dispose of at the end of the day. That means you get quality food for a fraction of the normal price, with an exciting ‘lucky dip’ element as you don’t know what tasty delights you’ll be getting.
Too Good To Go can be downloaded from Google Play and the Apple app store.
Swap fixed prices for pay-as-you-feel
The city is full of lovely people and organisations that are fully aware that not everyone is flush with cash, but also realise that people still need access to good food, culture and entertainment. Hence the rise in pay-as-you-feel, where you contribute what you can afford. The Rainbow Junk-Tion at All Hallows Cafe, for example, works to reduce food waste with a changing pay-what-you-can menu. Slung Low at The Holbeck provide theatre shows and workshops for the community, and you only have to pay what you’re able to.
Swap buying tools and tents for borrowing them
Spending all your hard-earned money on tools you need for one job is a false economy. That bow saw will be shooting you rusty looks from the back of the garden shed forevermore. The genius of the Buy Nowt Library of Things in Headingley is that they have a constantly updated inventory of things you can borrow, all donated by the local community, and it’s ideal if you’ve got a one-off job. And it’s not just tools – they’ve got everything from tents to pizza ovens, sewing machines to bass amplifiers. The cost? Zero.
Buy Nowt LS6 Library of Things, Methodist Church Centenary Room, 1 Chapel Street, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3HZ.
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Everyday, made easier.
Rising energy costs. Soaring supermarket prices. Record rates of inflation. We’re all feeling the squeeze, so why not let first direct lighten the load?
- £175 when you switch your current account to first direct
- A £250 interest-free overdraft for when you're caught off-guard
- 24/7 customer services because life isn’t 9-to-5
Switch using the Current Account Switch Service, deposit £1,000 within 3 months of account opening. Sorry, we can only offer this to people who haven’t previously held an account with us, and/or has not opened a HSBC current account on or after 1 January 2019. Current account subject to status. Offer can be withdrawn at any time.
How does our overdraft compare? You can compare our overdrafts with other ways of borrowing by looking at the Annual Percentage Rate (APR). APR is the cost of borrowing over a year and lets you compare the costs with other credit products.
Representative example: 0% EAR variable on the first £250. 39.9% EAR variable on anything above that, giving a representative rate of 30.5% APR variable (based on an assumed arranged overdraft £1,200).