Andy’s top 10 money hacks

The clever tricks that could make and save you cash

I officially launched Be Clever With Your Cash on 24 February 2014 to share all the ways I made the most of my money. 10 years later we’ve saved readers (and viewers and listeners) countless sums, with more 20 million page views alone!

To celebrate, I want to share my top hacks. Ranging from small money savers through to potentially lucrative money makers, these are the workarounds, the loopholes and hidden tricks that take being clever with your cash beyond the obvious.

I could have written many more (my initial list was over 60!), but since it’s our tenth anniversary, I’ve whittled it down to my favourite 10.

The save at the supermarket checkout everytime hack

How do you pay for groceries? A pat on the back for anyone using one of the top cashback debit or credit cards. Though you’re not top of the class.

The hack to save even more every time you hit the checkout is to use a discounted gift card. You’ll be able to get 2% to 6%, depending on the supermarket and when or how you buy the vouchers. That works out as £2 to £6 for every £100 you spend in the supermarket.

The average spend per person per week was £41.11 back in 2022 (that’s the latest report), and will easily be closer to £50 now thanks to food inflation since then. So let’s say that’s a £2,600 annual spend each.

So using these vouchers could net you between £52 and £156 a year, but remember that’s per person. For a family of four, that jumps up to between £208 and £624. And all you’re doing is changing how you pay.

You can of course do this for other retailers, but the reason I favour it for supermarkets is it reduces the risks that come with gift cards, such as refunds back to them and expiration.

The best places to buy these gift cards are via cashback apps. Rates vary so check them all for your supermarket. We’ve reviews of the main players, though also look at TopGiftcards on TopCashback:

The dummy current account for switching hack

I’ve covered this a lot, so I’ll let you read the full guide to dummy current accounts for all the details, but essentially this is opening up an extra bank account that you’ll use purely for switching deals.

This means you can keep rewards and benefits from existing accounts as well as protecting older accounts from dropping off your credit report.

The cheeky extra direct debit hack

This is another hack I use for bank switching when an offer requires the old account to have active direct debits.

Since I’ve used up all my everyday ones on accounts that give freebies or pay cashback on bills, I sometimes need to set up new ones. The potential issues are the time this can take, and also that the obvious ones cost you money.

But the workaround is to create direct debits that pay money from your existing current account to a savings account. They’re fast and you can just withdraw the money back when you’ve met the required criteria.

My top ones are Plum and MoneyBox, and I tend to activate them when an offer comes along. There are many other options for extra direct debits, so check those out.

The 2-4-1 movies for £1 hack

There are lots of ways I get cheap cinema tickets, but my a top way is to get Meerkat Movies, offering buy one get one free every Tuesday or Wednesday. Getting this itself isn’t a hack – you just need to take out an insurance policy from Compare The Market.

The hack is what policy you buy, and rather than get your home or car insurance via the comparison site, you can simply pick up a £1 UK day travel insurance policy. Simple as that, and you’ll get access for a year, along with 25% off meals.

The best cinema deals

Our pick of the best offers in our dedicated cinema deals page

The O2 Priority even if you’re not on O2 hack

Virgin Media broadband or TV and O2 mobile customers can get the loyalty app O2 Priority for free. But you don’t need to miss out if you’re on another network.

You simply need to buy a PAYG SIM and top up by £10, which will give you access for at least six months, though normally more.

I first wrote about this 10 years ago, and the hack has got me freebies from Odeon, Apple TV+, Greggs and more, as well as priority booking on gigs and other discounts – though it does vary year to year just how decent these are.

There are similar hacks for Three and Vodafone, though they’re more expensive, requiring top ups every 90 days and 43 days respectively.

The £180 from Halifax every year hack (and £180 on top)

This is one of my favourites, and it’s a double hack. The Halifax Reward current account pays £5 a month if you spend £500 on the debit card and deposit £1,500 into the account each month. Easy enough.

The first trick here is you can have up to three different accounts. So rather than £60 a year, that’s £180 a year! Though spending £500 on each card could become tricky.

The next part solves that, and also lets you earn cashback on the total £1,500 debit card spend. Rather than use those Halifax debit cards for your normal spending, you instead use a cashback credit or debit card, which can earn you 1% back, adding up to another £15 a month. That’s another £180 you’ll make!

But if you do this, how are you going to trigger the £500 requirement with Halifax? Well, you can use your debit cards to pay your cashback credit card bill, and / or transfer money to banks like Chip, Monzo and Revolut as they all allow top ups via debit card! I’ve written about this Halifax Rewards hack in much more detail here.

The student discount even if you’re not a student hack

One of the first articles I wrote 10 years ago was how anyone could take advantage of a loophole to get an NUS card (now called Totum), and all the discounts that come with it – including Apple. Sadly it was closed five or six years ago, but there are a few ways you might still be able to nab it and if it works it’s a really good hack.

First, if you previously did this (or actually graduated in the last three years) then you should log into your Totum account and look for an alumni options. You can renew for £35 for three years!

If not there are courses costing £12 which could give you eligibility. It’s still a little grey as to whether it’ll work, but I think if you are going to be buying a Mac or iPad it’s worth a punt. There’s also 10% off at Boots and plenty of other savings.

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Episodes every Tuesday.

The Avios to Nectar points hack

I’m not the biggest fan of Avios points. Usually I’d rather shop around for the best deal on flights. But that shouldn’t put you off any ways to earn Avios, especially when they come in boosted offers from Amex and Barclaycard credit cards.

That’s because you can swap Avios into Nectar points, to spend at Sainsbury’s, Argos, eBay and a few others. So, when a credit card offers 25,000 Avios, that’s actually £167 you can earn.

Even better, this same hack can be used to boost American Express Reward points. First you swap those points into Avios points, then swap over to Nectar. This increases the value of a point from 0.5% to 0.67%.

The credit card waiting hack

I’ve spoken a lot recently about a hack that allows you to get up to three different American Express welcome offers. Well, you can get even more of these bonuses – if you wait.

The rule as it stands for most Amex cards and the Barclaycard Avios Premier Plus is you can’t get a welcome offer if you’ve had a card in your name in the last two years. So simply cancel your existing card (probably after a year before new fees kick in – though make sure you’ve protected existing points earned) and wait.

In that time you don’t have to go without. If you have a partner, they can open up an Amex or Barclaycard in their name (also for a welcome deal) so you can both spend and earn. Getting a supplementary card will make that easier.

There are also welcome deals at other providers in that period which though less valuable are worth going for. We list the best offers here.

Once your two years is up, your partner can cancel their cards and start a new two year cycle!

The cancel NOW TV hack

A big money saver is to cancel Sky or Virgin TV and move to Sky’s streaming service NOW. You’ll get most of the same channels and it’ll cost less – though you can’t record.

Now, here’s the hack. Never let NOW TV auto renew. Always go to your account and start the cancellation process. Though it can take a few clicks you will almost always be offered a discount to stick around, bringing the cost down massively.

Of course you don’t have to take the discount, and you can save even more by ditching the service for a few months here or there, signing back up when there’s something you really want to watch.

4 thoughts on “Andy’s top 10 money hacks

  1. Thank you Andy. A very helpful tricks with the banks. I switched my bank and open a new digital account- thanks to you (your hard work). God bless you 🙏 ❤️

  2. Some of these seem to be a bit of work/hassle and some element of stress wondering if you have got all you ducks lined up – and for relatively small gains.

    Be careful with any sort of a gift cards as I have lost out a couple of times. Sometimes if you use a gift card then you can’t use any form of other offer/discount. So you could for example save 2% on Deliveroo but then loose out on a 10% voucher code, meaning you’ve lost 7.5% by using the gift card!

  3. My monthly Audible subscription is £7.99. It has been years since I’ve paid that though. Just cancel it on the app and they then offer you 3 months for £3.99.. then when it comes to renew just pause membership. They always come back with a £3.99 offer. I have pretty much done this for 2 years without issue.


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