10 ways to start saving £15k

The current individual savings accounts (ISA) allowance for the tax year 2017/2018 is £20,000.

Savers can choose whether to save the whole lot in cash or split their ISA allowance between cash and equities. Returns on ISAs are paid tax-free so the accounts should be savers' first port of call. We show you how you could get started saving below and how you can afford to put away £15,000 a year.

Switch your bills

Energy prices have rocketed over the past decade but you can reduce your bill, often by hundreds of pounds, by switching suppliers.

Comparison websites can help you find the cheapest fuel tariff for your property and usage. For the biggest savings opt for an online tariff and pay by direct debit. For information on ways to save money on energy and switching suppliers visit www.moneyadviceservice.org

If you've been on the same mobile contract for some time, you could save money by switching tariffs. If you're happy with your existing handset, check out Sim-only deals as these may work out cheaper.

Cut out the daily treats

Coffee fans who can't resist the lure of takeaway beverages could save hundreds of pounds a year by re-thinking their caffeine habit. Buying a £2 coffee every working day works out to about £40 a month or £480 a year.

Workers who spend £5 on a takeaway lunch every day will spend £100 a month on their sandwiches - that's £1,200 a year.

Get organised and make a packed lunch for work and either take a flask of coffee or get together with your colleagues and invest in a kettle for the office.

Declutter

A good clear-out at home could result in a pile of things you don't need but other people would pay good money for. The days of car boot sales are behind us - these days it's all about selling things online.

There are several auction sites where people can bid for your items which hopefully mean you can achieve the best price possible. Other sites will simply allow you to name your price and then see if you get any takers.

Re-think your debts

If you're paying interest on existing debts, do some research to find out whether you can move the debts to a cheaper form of borrowing. Some credit cards offer a 0% interest introductory period which means 100% of your repayments will go towards paying off the money you owe rather than on interest.

However, it's important to do the sums before you switch. Most balance transfer cards will charge a balance transfer fee which needs to be taken into account. You might also find that the rate when the introductory offer ends is higher than average - so keep an eye on when the rate will increase and either make sure your debt is paid off by then or be prepared to switch cards again.

If you have personal loans or overdrafts you might be able to save money by moving these debts too.

Cut out the bad habits

Smokers can save a packet by kicking the habit. According to the British Heart Foundation (https://nosmokingday.org.uk/), a 20-a-day smoker would save about £56 a week by giving up. This adds up to £2,912 a year - all money that could be saved in an ISA.

Reformed smokers can save money on other ways too. Life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection are all cheaper for non-smokers. However you will have to have been nicotine-free for at least 12 months to be eligible for the cheaper rates.

Meanwhile the Office of National Statistics estimates the average household spends £7.40 a week on alcohol consumed outside the home and £7.80 on alcohol drunk at home, a total of £15.20 a week or around £60 a month. (Source: BBC)

Giving up drinking completely is quite extreme but just one "dry month" a year would mean an extra £60 to put in your ISA. Alternatively one dry week a month would save around £180 a year.

Recycle old mobiles


If you've got some old mobile phone handsets sitting around unused, you can recycle them for cash. How much you'll get depends on the make, model and condition of your phone.

There are a number of websites which offer cash for old phones. Gadget addicts can also recycle tablets, games consoles and cameras every time they upgrade.

Cut the cost of grooming


If you need a haircut, any part of your body plucked or waxed, or even a spa session, you can cut costs by heading to a local college rather than the high street. There you will be treated by a student under supervision for a fraction of the normal cost.

For example Newcastle College is home to The Retreat, where supervised students carry out more than 40 different facial or body treatments from just a few pounds.
 

Re-think your commute


However you travel to work, there are ways to cut the cost of your commute. People who use public transport could look at the cost saving of getting off a stop earlier and walking.

Really keen cyclists might consider cycling all the way to work - even if it's just in the summer.

Drivers can save cash by sharing lifts with colleagues travelling the same journey each day.

Direct debit audit


Print off a list of your direct debits and standing orders and work out which ones you don't use or can do without. If you pay for gym membership and rarely go, then cancel it. Alternatively look for cheaper gym - there is plenty of choice these days.

Other monthly costs to re-consider include extra TV channels such as sports and films, and magazine subscriptions.
 

Save money on shopping


Whatever you need to buy, the chances are you can save money on your purchase by using either a cashback website or a voucher code - in some cases both.

Cashback sites give you cashback when you buy certain things online. It's really simple: you go to the site, click through to the retailer you want to visit then make your purchase as normal. The cashback will then be "tracked" and appear in your account within a few weeks. Voucher codes are redeemable either at an online check-out or a physical one in a shop.

With these handy tips you could save up £15k in no time, and will be in the perfect position to start looking at mortgage types, should you want to enter the process of buying your first house.

There are many other things you could do though – such as purchasing your dream car, or taking a once in a life-time holiday. Whatever you choose, the money is yours to enjoy!