The Great Money Make-Under

Give these challenges a go to save more, spend less, or just for kicks and giggles.*

Blag an office desk, a sofa or the entire works of Franz Kafka through a free cycling website. Because nothing beats obsessing over the origin of other people’s stains. Besides, you could pick up something awesome — for free — while doing your bit for the planet (stains and smells usually come out, by the way).

Make it through a whole weekend without spending anything. No you can’t cheat by cracking out your credit card or asking a mate to pick up the tab.

Keep a log of all your spending for a week — and we mean everything. Get obsessive. Develop a twitch. Be intense. Or use our free Budget Builder and save yourself the migraine.

Make an envelope budget: Get yourself some envelopes and write on the back of each one what it’s for (i.e., groceries, bus fares, etc.). Stick in however much cash you’re giving yourself for that item for the week. Only spend money from the relevant envelope and replace it each time with the receipt. Fussy, but guaranteed to keep your cash flow under control.

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Get yourself an oversized jar

Be the person with the penny jar. Get yourself an over-sized jar. Decide which coin you’re going to dedicate to the glory of the jar. At the end of every day, any of those coins you have left go into the jar. For bonus points, demand that anyone else with you at the time also contributes to the jar. Even on pennies, small amounts soon add up — swap your bronze for vouchers at some supermarkets or pay it in at the bank. Ker-ching.

Slash your bills. Dedicate one evening to using bill comparison sites like and to see if you’re on the best deals and cheapest tariffs.

Spend a day (or a day a week) helping someone worse off than you. It won’t make you any money — but, sometimes, it’s just about getting a bit of perspective.

Extra Credit

  • Downgrade your next mobile phone contract — turn down the fancy phone and only take a new contract if it’s less than you currently pay.
  • End term with only as many clothes/bags/shoes as you started with.
  • Fine yourself for every lecture you miss and put the money into a savings account … or pay yourself for perfect attendance and give yourself one almighty treat at the end of term.
  • Only shop in local, independent stores for a whole year.
  • Give someone your last Rolo, tenner or tin of beans — and feel good about it.

*Deadpan humourists — don’t call us; we’ll call you.