16 money-saving Manchester lifehacks every local needs to know
manchester tram

Wouldn’t it be great if you could travel the city for free? Or knew which night to get 50% off your food bill?

Did you know that you can bring your own booze to a top restaurant, or find vintage designer clothes at bargain prices?

If you’re looking to make life in Manchester that little bit easier, check out our selection of lifehacks.

1. Catch a free bus

Metroshuttles are free buses linking the main rail stations, car parks, shopping areas and businesses in Manchester city centre. They run 7am – 7pm, so save your taxi money for later in the evening and travel about town all day for free.

2. Hawksmoor for less, and BYOB

If you fancy eating at Hawksmoor but money is a bit tight, try making your visit at lunch rather than dinner, when an excellent rump steak with chips is £15. If you do go for dinner, check out the Express menu before 6pm or after 10pm, with three courses at £27. Make it a Monday, and can you can bring your own bottle of wine for only £5 corkage charge, too.

3. Free walking tours

If you want to learn more about the city, take a free walking tour. The entertaining tours operate on a tips-only basis, and last about three hours, and you can learn about the Manchester Blitz, the Suffragette movement, Factory Records and The Hacienda and much more. Or if you’d rather do it in your own time, you can download a free Manchester walking tour app.

4. Steak supper for less than half price

Tuesday night is steak night at Simple Bar & Kitchen, with two steaks plus a bottle of house wine for £20 – that’s just £10 each for a steak supper, and a huge saving on the regular menu price (where steaks are usually £16 each, and wine £14.50).

5. New films for less when you book ahead

HOME Manchester c Paul Karalius
Photo: Paul Karalius

Go off-peak (Mon – Sun before 5pm), book your cinema tickets online in advance, and a cinema ticket costs just £6 at HOME (£4 concessions – and cheaper still if you become a member). It’s still only £7.50/£5.50 for advance online tickets in the evenings, and students can get walk-up tickets for just £5 anytime.

6. Lunch for around a fiver

From Tues – Friday , 12pm – 3pm, £5 at Splendid will get you any grilled cheese sandwich, fried chicken burger or pulled meat roll, plus a drink. £5 could also get you a Fat Annies hotdog made using prime cuts of quality pork and beef from British farms, baby back ribs with fries or salad at Cane & Grain, or enjoy a fish butty with chips and a drink for £6 at the Hip Hop Chip Shop. Now put that boring pre-packaged supermarket sandwich down.

Our guide to lunch for a fiver

7. Thursday lates at The Whitworth

Head to Museum of the Year The Whitworth for Thursday Lates, a series of sociable, after work and late night openings where you can explore the gallery and enjoy a specially curated selection of talks, performances, film screenings, live music and artist interventions. It’s free, too.

8. £1 tacos at El Capo

For a tasty post-work treat, check out Taco Tuesdays at tequila bar and cantina El Capo. All tacos are just £1 from 4pm until late every Tuesday, and there’s a choice of five fillings.

9. Take your work with you

Whether you’re freelance, work flexibly, or just fancy getting out of the office for a few hours, Manchester has a great selection of comfortable cafes with fast free WiFi. Try Foundation Coffee House in the Northern Quarter, Icelandic inspired Takk, Federal Café Bar, or co-working and free creative space Home of Honest Coffee.

Five of the best coffee shops in the Northern Quarter

10. Soft launches and previews

Many new restaurants and bars have a soft launch or preview period, where you can try their food for a discounted price, or even free, whilst they iron out any creases before they officially open. Sign up for their newsletters and keep an eye on social media for special offers, and the chance to try new restaurants first.

11. Takeaway breakfast

Atlas do a great breakfast deal available to takeaway – perfect if you’re in a hurry or on the way to work but still need a bacon fix. £3 gets you a good takeaway bacon or sausage butty along with a cup of their own blend premium coffee. It’s only £1 if you just fancy the coffee.

Our guide to the best bacon butties in town

12. Discover some discounted books

Paramount, a family owned business since 1965, is a Manchester institution, and a characterful city centre haven for book lovers. With a reasonably priced collection including science fiction, fantasy, classic novels, academic titles, paperbacks, comics and graphic novels, they also boast an enviable selection of out of print books.

13. Order in from your favourite restaurant

Get food delivered from your favourite restaurants with Deliveroo. With food from Filthy Cow and Beef and Pudding to Gaucho, Almost Famous and Mughli, now you don’t even have to leave the house to get delicious food straight to your door.

14. 50% off food on Mondays

On Monday nights, Splendid offer 50% off all food, plus there’s a happy hour from 5pm. Or late-night speakeasy bar and restaurant Black Dog NQ offer 50% off their New York style menu every Monday – which means dinner could be a large 12″ sourdough pizza for as little as £3, a burger from £3.75, or a hot dog with a choice of toppings for just £3.50.

15. Free live music and free pizza

With free live music and special offers including buy two drinks and get a free pizza (and who doesn’t love a free pizza?), head to Matt and Phreds for great jazz performances and a fun night out without breaking the bank. There are two-for-one cocktail offers on Tuesdays from 6pm until midnight (or early evening on other weekdays), too.

16. Designer clothes for less

With all the best items from the region, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find a bargain in Oxfam Originals on Oldham Street. Stock changes weekly, so keep an eye out for Burberry coats, Levi’s, Barbour and Fred Perry at a fraction of the original cost.

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Main image via Shutterstock