The latest thrifty things:
1) I realised I didn't have my mobile phone network emails switched on - so I wasn't receiving a monthly overview of my best plan. I use giffgaff, which is PAYG but have the option of contract-like packages you can buy. I was on £5 a month, which gave me 60 minutes, 300 texts and I think 20mb of data. I have a smartphone but I mostly stick to wi-fi - either personal or many shops & cafes have their own you can use, so data is not a big must-have for me. After turning on the emails and receiving the first one, it turns out I am not using enough of the minutes, texts or data to make it worthwhile to actually pay for a package - the costs of giffgaff without having a goodybag are cheaper than other networks anyway, and I was using less than £5 a month. So I switched off my goodybag, topped up and now £10 lasts me 3 months instead of 2. Small changes, but over the course of the year I save £20. It helps that my sister and my mum are both on giffgaff, so all texts and calls to them are free. If my boyfriend would switch, I would probably be using even less! I also got £10 in cashback from giffgaff, for introducing my sister and mum - this used to be applied as credit, but you can now get paid to Paypal. If you want to join giffgaff and want to thank me for the heads up, my personal sim page is https://www.giffgaff.com/orders/affiliate/8ofspades - I get £5 for an activated sim card (I do not see your details).
2) My gifted-to-me, smashed-screen iPhone 4 was slowly dying and I had a bit more cash a couple of months ago so I splashed out on a new smartphone. I've been happy with the Nexus 7 tablet I was lucky enough to be given a couple of years ago, so I was happy with the idea of having an Android phone. I was eying up the Moto G 2nd Gen, which was retailing at about £145 (now £135 on Amazon) but ended up going for the Huawei Honor 4x - not really sure why (possibly that the model included 4g and a dual sim slot, or maybe the 13mp camera), but I'm happy with the phone. I was worried about switching from an iPhone to a budget smartphone, but honestly - I'm happier with it than the iPhone. Which brings me to..
2.1) Google Opinion Rewards - if you have an android device, download this app from the store! The surveys you get sent take under a minute (usually being 2 or 3 questions at most) and you get Play store credit as a reward - this can be used on apps, music, books, films, tv shows etc. So far I have earned £22.05 - credit which took hardly anything to earn and which stopped me from feeling bitter as I saw the costs of the theory test and hazard perception apps. I've also purchased songs and a book.
So I purchased a £28 giftcard for Zizzi's - our favourite italian chain. It was listed as £23, so with the £5 voucher I saved a total of £10. I paid with Paypal and the voucher arrived a couple of days later by recorded post, in a smart Zeek card.
The good thing about buying gift cards is most places treat them like cash - if you get a discount voucher, often you can't use it with other offers, but with a gift card you can. Zizzi's frequently have offers such as 30% off food Mon-Thurs, so I'm hoping we'll save even more. It ties in nicely with the Meerkat Movies 2-for-1 cinema on Tuesdays & Wednesdays offer I also signed up for (which cost £2.03 for a year!)
If you want to sign up to Zeek and save an extra £5 (and help me out on my date night savings - I get £5 too!) you can use the discount code '2cono7' (don't worry, I won't get to see any of your details - just a promo credit).
4) Qmee is an extension for your desktop/laptop browser that allows you to earn money from your Google, eBay or Amazon searches. Each time you do a search that has relevant results, Qmee pops up a sidebar with sponsored links - you get up to 6p per link you click (actual cost is stated next to the link). It's easy and fairly unobtrusive. It's not a big earner but I leave it until I get near £1 and then cashout to Paypal. So far I've earned £9.54 over the course of a year, for barely any effort. If you want to sign up through my referral, use this link: http://qm.ee/B0B75110 (I get 50p for each sign up, again no details shared).
And I've pretty much given up with survey sites like Valued Opinions - it is too much time and effort for some of the surveys with too little reward - many of the surveys that used to be £1 are now 75p and the rewards used to be claimed at £10 but now you have a 50p fee so you can't claim until £10.50. I still do the quick 50p surveys, but on the whole, it just wasn't worth it.