Why you shouldn’t upgrade your mobile

Five money-saving tips - including how to reduce your mobile phone bill, cut-price West End show tickets and online shopping on the cheap. Plus one wheeze you really should steer clear of.

If you are happy with your mobile, keep it rather than upgrading the next time your contract is up for renewal. Offers vary according to your contract, but typically you can negotiate cash back, some free months or a discount on the cost of your monthly line rental or bundled calls and text package. Also check that you are using all of your free minutes and texts each month, and ask to switch to a cheaper package if not.

Cut the cost of online grocery shopping

You can cut delivery costs from the likes of Tesco.com or Ocado.com by booking ahead and taking the less-popular, cheaper delivery slots. While shopping, always scroll down past the branded items towards the top of each item menu to get to the cheaper own-brand products and check for discounted and two-for-one offers. If you have the cupboard space, consider buying non-perishable items such as toiletries in bulk to cut down deliveries and maximise discounts.

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Seek out cheap event seats

A summer trip to a West End show can be a bank-breaking experience. However, there are ways to bring down the cost. Don't book to see a new show or play immediately, as the seats are always pricey. Also consider the less-popular matinee performances, which tend to be cheaper BroadwayBox.com are currently offering to admit one child free with every adult who books the West End show Candide for selected weekend matinees. Finally, if a show's popularity is dwindling, often towards the end of its run, consider booking the cheapest seats in the house you may be offered better ones for nothing on the day.

Buy second hand

You can often find music and books cheapest online via sites such as Amazon. But you can get them even cheaper by buying second hand. For example, Neil Diamond fans can buy his latest album

Home before Dark

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for £8.98 plus postage, brand new, or just £4.95 from one of their customer-rated private sellers. You can get even better savings by buying second-hand furniture, says The Sunday Times. For a £10 membership fee, Trade Secret offers 50% discounts on cancelled and returned orders "from the likes of M&S and Laura Ashley".

Become a guinea pig

Next time you need a haircut, you could put yourself in the hands of a trainee at one of the UK's hairdressing academies. For example, the Vidal Sassoon training school (020-7318 5205) recently advertised for volunteers.

One money saving tip to avoid...

Experimenting with your hair is one thing. But taking part in clinical trials is only for the seriously hard-up. Sure, you can earn between £100 and £1,000 to trial new drugs or procedures. But even though a "serious adverse event" only occurs every one in five thousand cases, is it really worth it? We don't think so.

Tim graduated with a history degree from Cambridge University in 1989 and, after a year of travelling, joined the financial services firm Ernst and Young in 1990, qualifying as a chartered accountant in 1994.

He then moved into financial markets training, designing and running a variety of courses at graduate level and beyond for a range of organisations including the Securities and Investment Institute and UBS. He joined MoneyWeek in 2007.