Money saving tips: Free concert tickets and mobile network perks

The cost of living squeeze is the topic in households across the country. Inflation is forecast to hit 11 per cent by October and the cost of essentials such as food, fuel and housing keeps rising. 

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t simple tips and tricks to help navigate your way around it.

Each Friday, one of our expert team of personal finance journalists rounds up five tips we think are worth noting that can go a little way to helping you save money, or make money in the midst of sky-high inflation and rocketing bills.

This week, it features cheap concerts, a free three-month music subscription, and tips to get the most out of your mobile phone contract. 

Free festivals: Music lovers who volunteer at concerts can get in for nothing – usually finishing their shifts before the big-name acts take to the stage

1. Get free gig tickets by volunteering

Having forked out £280 for my Glastonbury ticket (pre-cost of living crisis) I was left feeling a bit of a mug when I found out a friend had got hers for free by signing up as a festival volunteer.

She had to work three six-hour shifts as a steward over the six days she was at the festival – but two of them were during times when the big-name bands weren’t playing, and she had the rest of the time to do as she liked. 

And unlike the rest of us, she also had access to plentiful hot showers, clean toilets and even a staff sauna.

There are lots of ways you can get free entry to gigs and festivals by agreeing to work as a volunteer. 

Festaff lists some good opportunities, most of which involve checking tickets, handing out wristbands or stewarding for a few hours before finishing in the early evening in time to see the headline acts.

For example, tickets for the Kendal Calling festival this July, headlined by Supergrass, The Stereophonics and The Streets, come in at £178 with the booking fee – but you can get in for free if you do two eight-hour ticket checking shifts between Thursday and Sunday. That still leaves you with two days of uninterrupted music. 

Similarly, volunteers can see the Rolling Stones’ sold-out show in Hyde Park this weekend. 

They’ll need to do an eight-hour ticket scanning shift and pay a £10 admin fee – but with the cheapest tickets selling for almost £200 on resale sites, it could be a price worth paying for die-hard fans. 

You Can’t Always Get What You Want – but if you’re willing to work for free for a few hours, you just might find you get what you need.  

Save on streaming: Amazon is offering a four-month free trial of its Amazon Music Unlimited service, worth up to £40

Save on streaming: Amazon is offering a four-month free trial of its Amazon Music Unlimited service, worth up to £40

2. Free music for four months

If you prefer listening to your music from the comfort of your own home, there are also plenty of ways to save money on streaming services. 

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In a bid to challenge the music streaming titans of Apple Music and Spotify, Amazon is offering a free four-month trial of its Amazon Music Unlimited service with access to 90millions songs. 

So why not ditch your usual music subscription for a while and save some money? If I cancel my Apple Music subscription, I’ll be saving £40 over the three months, and Spotify users would be saving the same.

You’ll need to remember to cancel after the free trial is over, or you’ll be charged £9.99 per month – or £8.99 if you’re a Prime member. 

If you are already a Prime member, it offers a slim-downed version for free with your membership, with 2million songs. 

3. Do a free local fitness class 

I cancelled my gym membership just before the pandemic, and was shocked at the prices when I recently looked to rejoin.

For me, going to the gym isn’t about using the fancy equipment but instead about cajoling me into doing some exercise. 

Knowing I was paying through the nose was always enough to make me pull on my trainers and get out the door. 

But now I think I might have found a cheaper alternative. I’ve signed up to some free weekly fitness sessions in my local park, which involve interval training and running around the track.

Sprint and save: Free running clubs and fitness classes keep the pressure on to get fit - but without the cost of joining a gym

Sprint and save: Free running clubs and fitness classes keep the pressure on to get fit – but without the cost of joining a gym

It’s put on by the local running club as a way to get new members, but there is no obligation to sign up – and even if I did decide to, the few pounds a month they charge would still be far cheaper than the gym.

The guilt factor comes because three of my friends have also signed up. With none of us wanting to lose face by being the first one to drop out, we’re guaranteed to keep going. Well, at least until the winter weather hits. 

You can find local running groups on sites such as RunTogether or the Good Run Guide, by searching local Facebook groups, or popping along to your local park’s notice board. 

4. Change your mobile phone’s data plan

The sky-high cost of buying a smartphone outright means many of us will tie ourselves in to lengthy contracts in order to spread the cost.

But I had no idea until recently that my mobile phone contract, an O2 Refresh tariff, gives me the option to change my data allowance once a month – potentially saving cash.

This type of tariff splits your bill into two parts: the cost of paying back your mobile phone, and the cost of the airtime – the latter of which can be flexed up or down.

I looked at how much data I was using and found it was an average of 13GB per month – so I switched from my unlimited data plan at £38 a month, to a 15GB one at £28 per month. Over the remaining term left on the contract, 13 months, this will save me £130.

If I was prepared to really squeeze my data use I could have paid £22 per month for a 1GB plan, saving me £208 – but it is quite easy to go over that mark, especially given my typical usage. 

Some other networks have their own flexible tariffs, so it’s worth checking the terms of your contract and whether you could save.

5. Check out your mobile network’s perks

It doesn’t always have the cheapest tariffs, but O2 does offer plenty of perks. If you’re a customer, do check out the O2 Priority website or app if you haven’t already.

At the moment you can get a free Greggs breakfast roll, sausage roll or pizza on Fridays or Saturdays before 11am, and two free drinks at O’Neills, Ember Inns or Sizzling Pubs between 5 and 8pm on Thursdays. 

Phone freebies: Most of the large mobile phone networks offer customers free or cheap cinema tickets with one of the big chains

Phone freebies: Most of the large mobile phone networks offer customers free or cheap cinema tickets with one of the big chains

You can also get complimentary Odeon cinema tickets, and £75 off a holiday booked with Jet2.  

And a final tip for music lovers – you can access ticket pre-sales for lots of gigs at O2 Academy music venues, and even put your bag or coat in the cloakroom for free just by showing the app.

Lots of other networks have these perks too. On EE, iPhone customers with pay monthly plans can get a six month free trial of Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and Apple News+. If you paid for them all in full, that would cost £180.

On Three, you can get a £3 adult cinema ticket every weekend at Cineworld, and 20 per cent off Uber Eats orders over £15, up to a maximum of £10.

Meanwhile, Vodafone’s customer app VeryMe is offering two weekly Vue tickets for £7 and a one-year membership to EatLocal – which gives discounts and offers at independent restaurants and cafes across the UK, including 2-for-1 meals and 25 per cent off food and drink. 

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