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It’s rarely too late to save on train fares and tickets.

I’m going from London to Leeds in 12 weeks, so following my tips I’d made a note to book as soon as tickets went on sale. I rarely pay top whack for train travel through one trick or another and I was able to get it for just £5.50. If I’d left it to the day, it would have been £124.50, so it’s a massive saving.

I think many people know to book in advance, but I expect it’s one of those things that keeps getting pushed back. And how often do you know exactly what you’re doing on three months, let alone where, when and whether you’d need a train. So it’s easy to expect that all the cheap fares are gone by the time you know what you’re doing. But there are plenty of savings that can be made even the day before travel.

The infographic below breaks down some of the ways to pay less to show the kind of savings you could find.

Spendonomics: How to save on train fares chart

Though the really big price differences are on longer distance journeys like the one above, you can save on almost every mainline train provider.

I’ve had a look at my Save-Ometer spending diary and in the last 9 months. Through a mix of different methods I’ve spent only £35 on thirteen train journeys that could have cost around £477. Even when you take out two big saving journeys to Manchester and Leeds, it works out as a spend of £20 on £255 of travel, so you really can save on every trip.

Think what you would do with an extra £250 to £500? You might even be able to afford more train trips!

It’s worth remembering that different train providers vary how they price tickets. Some don’t even have advance deals! It’s worth just trying different methods for the journeys you need.

There are many other ways to save than those in the infographic. I’ve got a railcard which I can use on some journeys. There are often freebie vouchers (which I’ll list in our Travel deals section when they appear). You might even find advance First Class seats cheaper or getting two singles less than a return.

Read my 10 Cheap train tricks guide to make sure you know the basics.

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