I use my card.
Everywhere and for everything. Tapping away I didn’t have a budget for how much I was spending each week. Money trickles out of bank statements in a steady stream of a few pounds here and a few pounds there. In earnest I don’t feel I could make the steps for extreme frugality but it is much easier than I thought to reign spending in.
Saving money is not rocket science.
Join us and check out these easy to implement steps to cut what you spend that could clear your debts or boost your savings this year!
BULK BUY AND OWN BRANDS.
Are you like me and are in a Supermarket rut? Using the same one because you know what’s in each isle so can speed round in twenty minutes and avoid the toy area? Fortnightly I switch to a budget store such as Lidl or Aldi. Saving just £10 a week on shopping will save £520 a year.
It used to worry me that own brands were made of cheaper ingredients and were poor quality. This is not the case, buying own brand chopped tomatoes…same as the ones £3.00 cheaper.
Also, buy a bag of frozen broccoli instead of fresh, it’s cheaper and will last longer. Your kids will whinge that it is green whatever.
When to shop?
If you’re happy to visit the supermarket after 8pm you’ll probably find plenty of items which have been marked down in price. Consider online shopping as many supermarkets offer large discounts for first deliveries.
You do not have to cook to Delia level mastery. Check out Jack Munroe’s affordable easy recipes, good portion sizes and meal plans. As working parents time is tight in our household. Sunday we tend to whip up a Shepherd’s pie and some bolognaise sauce to freeze. Planning cuts down on food waste and overbuying. Lovefoodhatewaste offers recipes for ideas on how to use up those lentils sitting at the back of the cupboard.
By the end of the week you may have over ripe fruit left in the bowl. Don’t chuck it! Soft bananas are perfect for banana bread.
FIND THE DISCOUNT.
Get scissor happy and get couponing. It is one of my resolutions to be thriftier. Previously I have used Vouchercodes.co.uk on the odd online shop. If you use it now and again why not do it all the time? Check out sites like Savoo and Money Savings Expert for tips!
Make sure you are using supermarket loyalty cards i.e. Nectar and Boots advantage. The other day I paid for a whole shop on my Sainsbury’s cards and keep an eye out for double up deals. Supermarket loyalty points can get you money off at attractions, have a free family day out! Look into the best online cashback services for when shopping online to earn as you spend.
CUT DOWN ON TAKEAWAYS & COFFEE.
I thought we did not spend much on buying food outside our weekly shop. A sneaky Mcflurry here, a costa there, a pizza when my partner and I are both shattered from work and hate the oven. It builds up. A frozen pizza from the supermarket it £2.00 where takeout will average £15.00. Stick a couple in your freezer.
If you do want to treat yourself make sure you look online at the different deals and vouchers available, we always have Domino’s deals posted through our letterbox.
On weekend days out I stopped packing picnic lunches and started buy meals at cafes because it was less effort. I admit, I got lazy. Spending an extra 15 minute whipping up sandwiches and making a flask of coffee will save you £20.
WAYS TO SAVE ENERGY.
Look in to getting a radiator booster, get draft excluders for the doors, if you are buying a home or redecorating you can look into buying thermal wallpaper. For single glazed properties you can cling film you windows in widow to help retain heat!
Turn off plugs and buy energy saving lightbulbs. Shop around for the best deals from energy suppliers. You can also get roof and wall insulation for free from certain companies like British Gas.
ARE YOU OVERSPENDING ON EXTRAS?
Ask your phone/broadband company to notify you if you go over your call/data allowance and download the company’s usage app so you can check. When at home or in a café etc turn off mobile data. Use the Wifi as much as possible! It sounds simple but it saves.
I have various subscription packages, you can either cancel them and go for a month without and see if you actually miss them. Or, give the relevant company a call and see if they can do a deal for you. Some, when you cancel online will offer a cheaper package alterative.
Look out for extras, buying my car insurance through Compare the Market means I now get free cinema for Tuesdays and Wednesdays for a year. This saves me £20 when my on demands we go watch the newest film about a singing animal.
Go through your wardrobe. If you haven’t worn it in the last year, consider selling items to make some extra money.
Be savvy and check out comparison websites such as Love the sales to find the best deals. Buy what fits: don’t buy clothes that are too small or too big on the idea that you’ll fit into it eventually. That trick only tends to work with growing kids and their school uniforms! Use sites such as Quidco to earn money when you buy.
There is nothing wrong with charity shops. Much of what I buy for my son is second hand, he grows so quickly and has little understanding of brands and style. If a t-shirts got Batman on it great but he does not care if it cost 50p.
DON’T GO SHOPPING JUST BECAUSE THERE IS A SALE (GUILTY!)
When birthdays come around check out Gumtree, Ebay and Freebiesiteuk. I recently bought a Superhero playset for £40 when it would have cost me £120 new. Your littles won’t mind if it has a couple of bumps and scrapes!
For babies consider cloths nappies and make and freeze baby food. For primary age children in Key stage 1 make use of free school meals. Don’t be put off by having a fussy child, they will eat if they are hungry and my son actually got better eating after seeing other children touch peas without having a meltdown.
Don’t bankrupt yourself on school uniform. When he stared school I bought all the pricier logoed uniform. Two years later I get the supermarket versions and save a fortune, especially with the white polo shirts which are often covered in permanent marker and ripped in two weeks.
Are you a fan of couponing? Tell us how much you’ve saved or any tricks and if you have and tips. Do you find it easy to save and what do you find you spend the most on?