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What little things do you do to save money?

(94 Posts)
confusedofengland Fri 31-Jan-14 17:09:49

OK, confession time, I know this should be in the credit crunch section, but I thought it'd get more traffic this way wink

Anyway, with DS3 arrriving in 20 days (not that I'm counting, or anything), I keep hearing about how expensive it will be to have 3 boys - mainly from a food & clothes point of view! I am in the middle of changing energy suppliers, switching credit cards to 0% etc, so think I have the big bases covered. So, I was just wondering what little habits people have to help save a few pennies.

Here are a few things I do:

- If we are having food out of the freezer, I always defrost rather than cook from frozen, to save using the oven too much. Eg, the turkey crown we had on Sunday took 2.5 hours from frozen or 1.5 hours when defrosted.

- I make any old (going brown) bananas into milkshake for the DSes (just add milk & whizz up). This can work with strawberries too, but they prefer banana. Other fruit going old I puree to have in rice pudding or weetabix.

- I charge my phone in the car

- I don't charge my laptop constantly, I charge the battery to full then unplug & use it on battery only.

- I reuse gift bags blush

Your turn!

stillenacht Fri 31-Jan-14 17:16:13

Smoking ecigs instead of real cigs.

Put heating on when get home from work, not on timer to heat house up first.

Have showers instead of baths.Having said that DS1 (14) has just shouted from bathroom "Mum I'm having a bath"(DH isn't here so its finewink).

Dont flush loo at night.

KiwiBanana Fri 31-Jan-14 17:19:54

Go shopping late afternoon/evening for the bargain corner. I got a whole side of salmon for £4 yesterday shock it made 9 adult portions when cut up which went straight in the freezer.

LightsPlease Fri 31-Jan-14 17:25:11

Where extra jumpers and have a blanket when in front room instead of turning heating on.

Turn hot water on an hour before actually need to use it.

Charge phone at work.

Sparklysilversequins Fri 31-Jan-14 17:25:38

My dc will only drink through straws,b both have ASD with sensory issues so when we eat out I grab a handful of straws from the dispenser.

We used to go swimming four times a week at the club we were members of and that would save money on the cost of baths and showers as we always did that there.

Recycle dc's birthday presents as quite often people doubled up. Or buy a colouring book and a big pack of felt tips or crayons from ASDA or pound shop, only a couple if £ and give those as presents.

Heating ALWAYS switched off when we go out. My flat warms up very quickly so it does take long to warm back up.

Always buy books, board games, video games and DVDs "used" on Amazon. It's rare that you can actually even tell the difference.

(If at all possible) don't shop with the DC . The impulse buys rack up when I take them.

And confused - congratulations on your 3rd DS grin

DDs (well in my experience) are much. much more spendy. Mainly clothes and washy things. Or maybe my DS just doesn't care that much .

siblingrevelry Fri 31-Jan-14 17:31:03

This might sound weird advice, but with three boys you've lots of scope for utilising hand me-downs!

I have three DC and most (if not all) of their clothes are in very good condition (with the exception of things ripping), even the well-loved stuff. I'm convinced this is due to three things: not using fabric conditioner, not tumble drying their clothes, washing at 30'.

This could be absolute tosh of course, but just a theory of mine. It's been remarked upon what good nick our cast offs are-which I love because I'm a thorough slattern in all other areas.

Oh, and the whole 'buy cheap buy twice' is absolutely true of kids clothes. Buy next/m&s pj's for the eldest and they'll do you three kids. Supermarket/primary just don't seem to last more than one/two at a push.

Bearfrills Fri 31-Jan-14 17:31:25

- I also reuse gift bags (so does my DM, it's obviously genetic).

- if I see reduced toys and I know x, y and z have birthdays coming up then I buy them so I have gifts ready. For example I had four birthday parties coming up - two for toddlers and two for children from DS class at school - saw a reduced to £5 Barbie doll in Wilkinsons (was supposed to be £14) and a reduced £5 Hot Wheel set that was meant to be £11 or £12 so nabbed them. Then in Asda saw some little books where you press the button to make a sound with matching torches, reduced to £2 from £10, so nabbed those too.

- I cut the feet of DDs sleepsuits to make them last longer. She's a little titch (2.5yo and still wears 12-18m clothes) and outgrows the feet while the rest of the sleepsuit still fits, so I just chop the feet off. Then I cut arm/head/leg holes in the chopped off feet bits to make matching PJs for her little teddies to wear - she thinks its funny when whichever soft toy she is taking to bed has the same PJs on as her.

- we save our Clubcard points until there's an exchange on so that we can get double the value (usually use them on clothes for the DC)

- we're signed up to the Shop and Scan research panel. We scan the barcodes on everything we buy and transmit them once a week, in return they give us points which we can exchange for vouchers. The vouchers are for high street and Internet chains such as Amazon, Argos, HMV, Next, Top Shop, Halfords, loads of others, plus experience days, hotels, etc. We earn about £100 worth of vouchers each year which sounds rubbish but comes in handy at Christmas.

- if a specific something we use a lot of that won't expire/go off is on special I stock up. So nappies, soap powder, etc. if our brand is on special I buy a few, it makes that particular shop cost more than usual but then my next few shops are slightly cheaper because I don't need to buy those items for a few weeks.

- I use cheaper cuts of meat if I'm using the slowcooker, so chicken thighs instead of breast and stewing steak instead of prime cuts and off-cuts of gammon £2.99 for 2kg at local butchers) rather than a whole joint if its just for soup/broth.

- I buy my fruit and veg from the local wholesaler because its cheaper than the supermarket.

ThatBloodyWoman Fri 31-Jan-14 17:31:43

Take a bottle of water out whenever I'm out with the kids.

Buy very few new clothes.

I get reduced bananas and we have banana custard.

I make sure I pay attention to length of phone calls so they are free on the plan - we avoid using or phoning mobiles.

woooooooobooo Fri 31-Jan-14 17:32:08

Use half the washing detergent dose.
Switch oven off 5 minutes before finished.
Sell old furniture, shoes, clothes etc on Facebook.
Always make double and freeze in portions. Dh does shifts so it means there's always something decent for him to take to work.
Walk as much as possible.
If you have to take car try and combine other errands at same time.
Shop weekly and avoid the rest of the time.
If I run out of milk or bread I take the correct money and no cards so I can't buy anything else.
Only clothes shop when you need something and don't go just to browse. If you do leave credit card at home.
If you shop online leave the things in your basket for 24hours. I usually forget or change my mind.

Can you tell we've been on an economy drive grin

ThatBloodyWoman Fri 31-Jan-14 17:32:46

I have stopped eating meat, and my kids get meat free meals in the week.

KayleeFrye Fri 31-Jan-14 17:33:51

OP charging your phone in the car isn't saving you money unless you don't have to pay for your own petrol. The power isn't free.

After realising that my "work smart" tops were becoming scruffy and needing to be replaced more frequently than I could afford to replace them, I have take to wearing each top on two days before washing rather than washing after every use - I hope thereby to make them last a bit longer...

K8Middleton Fri 31-Jan-14 17:34:08

Get a MyWaitrose card. Free hot drink every day! You do have to go to Waitrose but you don't have to buy anything.

Always do a taster class before signing up to anything.

Take a packed lunch/picnic.

Buy clothes in bulk from NCT sales.

Never pay full price for anything and ALWAYS get cashback if you can. I like Topcashback. I could do a clickable link but I'd get a tenner when you sign up and that's probably against the rules.

Always check your standing orders and direct debits to check you still use the services/subscriptions.

Cancel phone contract and move to Giff Gaff. Calls between Giff Gaff users are free so change family over too.

Shop around for utilities, insurances and home phone/broadband.

Pay your landline rental upfront for the year. Saves a lot of money.

K8Middleton Fri 31-Jan-14 17:35:38

yy to using half the washing powder. You can also cut it with soda crystals to stretch it even further.

I bulk buy washing powder when it's on offer.

woooooooobooo Fri 31-Jan-14 17:38:37

Oh and I second what sibling said buy cheap, buy twice. I've 3 dds and I'm still passing on dd3s hand me downs as they're still like new.

I also recycle gifts. If dds get stuff that I know they won't use or already have it gets put in my gift cupboard for the next birthday party.

Use your library. Free books and cheap dvds. Often have free stuff on for the kids

Bearfrills Fri 31-Jan-14 17:39:36

We do our food shop online and find we spend less as we don't make many impulse buys, we stick more closely to our list, and because we can check the cupboards/fridge/freezer to see what we have already (means we don't accidentally buy something forgetting we've already got some at home).

ThatBloodyWoman Fri 31-Jan-14 17:41:36

I have these special plastic things with slots in that you put on a toothpaste tube and move them down to make sure all the toothpaste comes out-good for the kids.

I resist buying any gimmicky products especially cleaning products where a cheaper hefully more natural approach will be just as good.


Struggling90 Fri 31-Jan-14 17:43:35

We bring a packed lunch to work

We bring drinks and snacks whenever we leave the house. No stopping at expensive newsagents and petrol stations.

We do not eat out/have take aways unless celebrating

No bought coffees/teas/hot choc

We budget each month and only spend what we actually have.

I buy clothes when I need them not want them.

No newspapers or magazines. I read online.

I colour my own hair.

The dcs clothes are bought in H & M/supermarkets.

ThatBloodyWoman Fri 31-Jan-14 17:45:08

MN haircut.

Bearfrills Fri 31-Jan-14 17:47:09

As you'll have a DC under 5 you can use the services at your local Sure Start/Children's Centre. They usually do day trips in the school holidays for vastly reduced costs and your older DCs can go too. Last summer we went to Alnwick Garden for £5 per adult and £2 per child including coach travel there and back - usual price is around £14 per adult and I think £5 per child so we really saved loads. They also do baby classes like Baby Massage, Baby First Aid, Baby Sign, Post Natal Fitness classes (with a proper gym instructor), arts and crafts for toddlers, etc for really low prices, if not free - ours charges 50p per child for all their groups/classes (which always includes a snack for older babies and children) and accompanying adults are free.

Local pools usually have cheap swims on during school hours. Baby swimming classes are £11 each here whereas parent and baby swim at the local leisure centre is £2.40 for me and free for under 2's.

scottishmummy Fri 31-Jan-14 17:50:07

Regift unwanted presents
Buy food with yellow reduced sticker freeze it
Take own food to work
Reuse gift bag,remove tags and it's good to use
Switch mortgage
Switch phone contract

ThatBloodyWoman Fri 31-Jan-14 17:59:13

Ii buy fruit and veg from the market. Miles cheaper.. Not always so pretty.

Beanymonster Fri 31-Jan-14 18:04:03

Take a step down in the branding you buy at the shops e.g. Normally Heinz- try asda finest- like asda finest?- try Asdas own.. We buy very few branded things and a handful of finest, rest own brand!!

confusedofengland Fri 31-Jan-14 18:08:58

Some great tips so far, thanks. I have to confess to being queen of the bargain counter, forgot to mention it in my OP! I try not to buy anything that is more than 25% of the original price, means we get some weird & wonderful things to eat - veal last night, smoked salmon for DC's tea tonight, dough balls & pizza for me & DH tonight for less than £2 total (will probably have leftovers for lunch) wink

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