Money saving tips for the new year(282 Posts)
New year, new start and all that... Anyone have any fab money saving tips?
Just due to everyday costs I have somehow managed to run up £5k debt and am so embarrassed. I don't budget well. DP and I have been taking about having a baby soon (not getting any younger) and I just can't go into it knowing I have this debt. AF was three days late until today and while i would be so happy to be preg I am also relieved I am not.
So what's your top tip?
I am so far trying the budget supermarkets and it will be packed lunches from now on. I will also eBay anything and everything!
Treat your money like it was someone else's. Be able to account for where it is spent, how much, and that what ever you spend it on is good value for money.
I have been trying this for a bit now, and I am spending far less on impulse buys.
I am happy to see this thread, I can use some more tips too!
I'm rearranging my finances to pay off more on my mortgage over saving at the moment as long term benefits will be better.
I'm also taking control of my pension funds and am going to review my investments annually from now on.
What works for me;
Writing down everything I spend
Always having drink and snack/lunch in my bag so I don't have to buy out. With me it's the little things that I fritter money on
Buy all birthday cards in bulk at beginning of the year
Go through all your direct debits and see if you can cancel or change anything
Where possible walk instead of car/public transport
Don't feel any shame in buying second hand. Think of it as environmentally friendly!
Basically I've changed my outlook. I try wherever I can to do free/cheap things. I only shop now when I absolutely need to, I don't shop as a leisure activity I just can't afford it anymore.
The Credit Crunch topic on here is very helpful
Meal-plan. Go one 'point' down on every supermarket buy: eg. if you buy 'best of' go to normal, if you buy normal go to 'basics', etc. You'd be surprised - tinned fruit and tomatoes, etc the budget brands are fine.
I live in an area where there's bargain shops - loads of cheap stuff!
Joining thread. Got 1.5k debt (though 400 of that it because I'm waiting for some expenses back from work, they're late due to Christmas and so ive taken out a wonga loan )
I need, by the end of 2013, to have at least 6 grand in savings towards a house deposit and be debt free.
My problem is I fritter away money on crap. I earn 1800 quid a month for gods sake and pay out about 800 so there is NO excuse for not saving
I'm dieting in Jan. So no buying food out, no buying clothes until I'm in the next size down and need them. Good luck OP and others
Meal plan - its fun once you get into it. My teenage son loves it, and has even started cooking with me because he's interested in the meals hes chosen.
Pay in cash, not by card. Only take out a set amount each week, and stick to that amount. You quickly relearn how to add up as you shop! And if you don't have the cash, you cant buy it.
Look out for freebies, discounts, offers. There are lots around.
Join money saving expert, read the valuable advice, and read/join the very helpful credit crunch forums.
Walking is free, and family friendly; cycling good too, if you have bikes.
Walk whenever you can. Healthier and if you have a vehicle, cheaper.
Make do and mend, the old wartime slogan! Thrift is back!
Batch cook, and freeze.
Take small picnics, snacks, and flasks of hot chocolate when you take kids out. Mine loved picnics when they were little, whatever the weather! Buying food and drinks out really mounts up.
I am gradually whittling away a big whole heap of debt this way, and now that I'm becoming much thriftier, I can't believe how much money I wasted in the past!
Join an online cash back site.
Everytime you shop online
a) go via the cash back site.
b) type "voucher code for (which ever shop you are buying from)"
Doing ^ ^ saved me over £100 on my laptop (I was getting an expensive one)
Turn the thermostat down 1 degree and wear a cardigan / jumper. If you are in a T shirt you do not need the heating on.
Get a smart meter so you know exactly how much gas and electric you are using.
Mine actually stopped working, I got a phone call from Eon, my meter hadn't sent information for 6 weeks so it had to be replaced, so I got 6 weeks free gas.
I'm just marking my place as I am a terrible spender and my goal this year is to stop spending money on crap, pay off my credit card (£1000) and have at least £500 in savings.
I agree, Topcashback is great
Never heard of the cash back site!
I'm already thinking of free entertainment - I spend a lot on going out and seeing friends...
Can anyone recommend a budgeting/money app for iPhone?
And Anyone else with tips??
I shop a lot at Tesco because it's the only supermarket close enough to public transport for me to use sensibly. I use the Christmas saver points scheme. All my club card points are saved until the end of November, and I ten double them up on toys for the kids for Christmas. That was £120 of 'free' toys this year.
Have you got a Home Bargains near you? They are so cheap for toiletries and cleaning stuff. They, also, tend to have food stuff in there cheap as well.
Bulk meals like shepherds pie, bolognaise out with lentils.
Lidl's washing powder is brilliant. It is only £6.99 for a massive box, it lasts for ages as you need hardly any.
Bake your own cakes/treats. I use basics flour and have had no complaints.
We have a soup night once a week. I use up whatever veg we have in the fridge. DH takes it to work for his lunch a couple of days and DS1 and I have it at home too.
Stop going into shops, I don't (very rarely) so I spend very little.
Stop coveting things,
Get into the great outdoors, it's free, complete entertainment, and consumes all your free time.
Have a separate savings account and transfer the money into it straight away on payday. If you just try to leave it in the account it will get spent.
Actively reduce your overdraft each month, even just by 25 quid.
Meal plan and shopping lists. Eat before shopping. Really think about the amount of fruit and veg you put into the bags - I would overfill the apples and bananas but now I think about how many we will eat a day.
Use the freezer, it's your ally in cost saving. Old stale bread - make breadcrumbs and freeze, all leftovers can be packaged into lunches and frozen. Bulk bake and cook one day a week and make the most of your oven space - with the Sunday roast chuck in a homemade lasagne or casserole and freeze the for the week.
Soup is a really cheap, healthy and nutritious food for this time of year.
Turn the heating down a few degrees at a time, pop on socks and jersey clothes to keep you warm.
Marking my place.
I have relocated offices to one away from the shopping centre and with no canteen so it's packed lunches for me but its now costing £4 a day in travel as opposed to nothing before so it cancels out.
Going to start writing down every penny I spend!
Dont go browsing in shops or on the internet. if you don't see it you dont want it. Now Im working full time, I spend much less and am more in control of my finances.
Meal planning saves me loads of ££.
I bulk make lunch on a Sunday (and freeze) and bring it in to work most of the week.
I cycle to work and walk where I can.
I've cut back on alcohol consumption.
Plus also not buying cheap clothes - buy cheap buy twice (and feel rubbish the whole time). Buy less but better.
i'm going to have "soup night" once a week now! Also, "omelette night" is a good one too.
Oh, and I bought a coffee grinder and oven-top coffee pot, and Illy beans that I keep in the freezer. I now have all the lovely coffee I want for about £5 a month.
Making lunches saves me a fortune, and in know it's not practical for everyone but I got rid of my car and we have one between us now and I usually take the bus
Get a cheap diary and write down everything that goes in and out of your account/s on a regular basis.
That gives you a starting point to manage the 'little things' that we don't think of when working out a budget.
Budget for everything and reconcile your account with your budget weekly until you get into the habit of not spending without thinking.
I spend on my debit card as much as possible because then I've got a record of what got spent where, otherwise take out a defined amount of cash from the machine for the week for spending money, and when it's gone it's gone.
I use online banking to check where we are against the budget every week. If we're over one week then we've got to try and make it up the next (within reason). It's amazing how quickly you get the hang of it and start to see the money pits - for me it was coffees and snacks at work and a few subscriptions that I'd long since ceased caring about but which came out every month regardless.
Meal plan so that you can budget for food shopping, and stick to your list as much as possible.
- I never "go shopping" as a leisure activity as I always used to when I lived in London and ended up buying stuff I didn't really need. Now I live in the middle of nowhere and there are no shops, I spend my free time running, cycling, keeping my garden neat and tidy so never spend any money (and I lost weight too!)
- Never browse on internet shopping sites to avoid temptation.
- Sell stuff on Ebay
- Only go into a shop if you need something specific. Only buy the item you went in for and don't buy anything else.
- Write down everything you spend. Set yourself a budget and stick to it.
- In the supermarket we tend to buy what's on offer (if its a genuine offer rather than a con) and we never buy any expensive non-essential items (magazines, chocolate, ice cream etc). Have a list (based on meal plan) and stick to it. Buy frozen veg as doesn't go off and get thrown out.
- When a friend asks me to go to lunch or dinner I always say can we just go for coffee or a drink instead, and limit myself to one coffee and no cake or two drinks. If they live close enough just invite them round to yours for a cup of tea instead.
- If you spend a lot on alcohol, perhaps have an alcohol-free January.
- Buy Birthday and Christmas pressies in advance - I get most of mine from the TK Maxx (a big one which has a lovely homeware section). I have got some beautiful pressies that look really expensive so cheap.
- DP and I share our bathwater - sounds gross but we both shower in the morning and bath at night so we are hardly dirty or anything!
- Turn the heating off!
We have been living on a very tight budget for the last couple of years, thankfully getting better now as my husband has built up his business and is doing quite well.
It hasn't been as hard as I thought it might be, and we've managed not to get into debt. We've always had everything we need and the occasionally treat, and also had a baby in that time.
Cut down current outgoings as much as possible, like another poster said, go through your direct debits and check that there's nothing that needs cancelling. We changed all our gas, elec, phone and internet to Utility Warehouse, who just take one payment per month and are cheaper than all other suppliers. You can go on their website and see if they cover your area.
Give yourself a (realistic) budget for food and petrol and stick to it. Shop at the beginning of the week for a full week. If you have a market nearby you could cut your fruit and veg bill by about 2/3rds. Good food isn't necessarily expensive food, you can cut your food bill and improve your diet by cutting down on processed foods and making things from scratch.
Freecycle, ebay and charity shops, or jumble sales are a great way to come home with a whole new wardrobe for about £3!
I think the main thing is know exactly where all your money is going - perhaps make a budget in excel. This helps as even if you overspend you know exactly how much and it stops you thinking 'sod it' and carry on overspending. You need to decide what things are most important to you - I always manage to buy gifts or go out for coffee or lunch with friends because those are the things that are really important to me. Expensive clothes, buying music and dvds etc isn't. But don't try and deprive yourself of something you can't live without because it won't work!
In regards to the debt, I would decide how quickly I wanted to pay it off and set up a direct debit for the beginning of every month.
Meal plan, and don't ever buy anything that's not on your shopping list. That includes all crisps, chocolates, fizzies.
Packed lunch. And resist that vending machine at work.
Use a cashback website. I use quidco because it pays me automatically. (Found topcashback a hassle). I also have a nectar card for ebay and amazon purchases.
Use a cashback credit card. Have to disagree with the poster who say pay everything by cash. As long as you pay back the entire sum every month, you should benefit on the lack of financial planning abilities of others.
And definitely yes to no shopping. Or browsing internet shops. If you can't see it, you won't want to buy it.
Do your main food shop at Aldi. I've saved loads since switching to them two years ago.
Download the Account Manager app - it's fab! I can see exactly when in the upcoming weeks I'll be short of money, so can try and amend my spending accordingly or sell something to make up the shortfall. I think it was £1.99 to download but there's a free version you can download first to see if you get on with it.
Batch cook and freeze individual portions of meals, then you only have to add rice, pasta etc and you've got a full meal. Last night I made a turkey curry with the last of the turkey and ate a portion, put one in the fridge for tonight and four more portions went into the freezer!
Get your hair cut less often.
Cut out/reduce luxuries such as Sky TV, nights out, gym memberships, new clothes etc.
Check your utilities with a comparison site to see if you can save money.
Don't try to save if you have debt. It makes more financial sense to throw everything you can at the debt then start to save.
I also second whoever recommended MSE. They have a fantastic budget tool on there to get you started, which will help you to see where your money goes and where you can make cutbacks. If you post on the Debt Free Wannabe forum you'll get loads of advice about where you could make changes - quite often they'll suggest things you hadn't thought of so it's worth doing. Also subscribe to the MSE weekly email.
Yes i agree with keeping an account of your spending. Run your household like a business. Businesses do what they can to keep costs down and never spend more than what comes in. Make turning off all electricals and lighting when you leave a room second nature. Involve the family in this too. Before you buy anything other than essentials prove that you really need it. If so can you get it anywhere else cheaper? Does it need to be brand new? The latest model or version? I never buy anything for full price. I beg for discount codes.
Set a shopping budget and stick to it religiously. Bulk buy bread and milk and stick it in the freezer. I find always having the basics to hand cuts down on the need to do top up shops (and spend more than needed).
Ball up some tin foil and bung it in the dryer. This speeds up drying time, cuts down on static and makes ironing easier. The same ball can be used again and again.
Use white vinegar, soda crystals, bleach and washing up liquid for all your cleaning jobs. You really don't need anything else.
Do freezer and cupboard weeks every now and then. By this I mean don't buy any shopping and just use whats in your house. It can be a challenge but its fun.
- Account for everything you buy - we have a spreadsheet that we update when we get paid / for all direct debits / every time we get cash out / spend money on debit card.
- Go food shopping once a week - yes, most of you are already doing this but we weren't and were spending far too much on food when we had ample things in the cupboard. We now go every Monday for food for that week only (meals already planned) and only top up for bread & milk.
- Don't have a credit card - we've never had one and so don't have the temptation of buying stuff we don't need.
Oh, and don't compare what you have to everyone else. It helps that we're really not car / gadget / clothes orientated (well, I do like clothes but Tesco, Asda, New Look, etc. is fine for me!) Our house is lovely but is furnished by Ikea, Argos, etc. and not really expensive places.
Set up a monthly standing order to a savings account to pay off your £5k debt on the day you get paid, that way the money is out of your day to day spending account and you can't get to it so easily to fritter away.
Switch your energy supplier, challenge your TV/Phone/Cable company on their prices- ask for the deals they offer new customers, threaten to move to the competition Sky vs Virgin, and they will definitely offer you a better deal. Even better, cut it out altogether and just have Freeview.
Cut up your credit card. If you can only spend what you have on your debit card/ cash each month then you won't get into further debt.
TartyMcTart this is the reason why you should have a credit card and use it for all purchases. I do that for everything I could get away with using a card.
Most cards give you a 1.25% cashback on all spending. In other words, the money you spend are invested with a 1.25% return. It's as stupid as not to use quidco when you are already going to spend the money.
Link working this time ...
Actually we do have a card and all bills and shopping go on it. We get rewards every 3 months because we pay it off in full every month. I find it so much easier just to pay the credit card bill rather than loads of different amounts leaving our account at different times. Its also brilliant for protection when buying larger items over £100. As long as you pay it off every month and aren't tempted to go mad on it a credit card is very useful.
I find if you pay the credit card or put into your savings first you just manage on the rest of what's left where as the other way around there's always the temptation to dip into the allocation for something even if it's only a few pounds it all adds up.
I agree Mosman. I found that actual cash ran through my fingers like water. But a credit card made me more wary of spending wisely. 3 years ago I would've said it'd be the other way around but its really not. I try to have some cash on me for emergencies (about £20 a week) as the kids school always has its paws out for something.
Also I must say that without dh I'd still be a terrible spender. It's taken him years but he's finally reined me in.
True, I suppose that would work for us as we do watch our money and spending
she says ignoring the calls of "Tight!" from OH
It's just what we're used to. I much prefer knowing exactly how much we have in our account at any given time. We rarely get statements from the bank, we just look at our handy spreadsheet instead!
Tarty if it works for you then thats the main thing. I know lots of families who don't budget at all and seem to go through life with their fingers crossed. I do get jealous that these families have days out, holidays and treats but knowing that our mortgage will be paid off quicker and in full helps and we also have limited savings. Again all this in thanks to dh.
He has spreadsheets too. He also acknowledges that I'm the one who gets all the bargains. I knew I had impressed him when I got a call from his snooty sister asking for help finding a large electrical item as cheap as possible. When I found one for less than half price with a few extras thrown in they converted to frugality too. I see everything as a challenge now. I can't buy it or do it cheap then we don't buy or do it. My mum tells me that my penny pinching embarrasses her and she walks away when I start bartering. It doesn't stop her getting me to do it though.
Get a small chest freezer off ebay/friday ad/freecycle. Use it to stash reductions in supermarkets. We have a tiny house/garden but have sacrificed quite a lot of the garden to house two freezers which house my Waitrose/Asda bargains. I only ever buy food that is on offer, own brand or reduced. Last night I went into asda as they wheeled out a huge trolley full of chicken breast packs reduced from £3.70 to 50p each. I was able to pick up 18 packs because I have enough room to store them.
If you have a DH/DC that insist that "brands taste better" do a blind taste test marking the bowl on the bottom before passing them round. DH preferred the own brand ketchup and beans despite having spent years saying that the heinz tasted better.
Get an allotment - cheap exercise, fresh air, a hobby and free food rolled into one
If you have a vocational college nearby get your hair done there. I cut my hairdressing costs from £70 every 6 weeks to £20 just by doing that. The finish is just as good - as they are students they take much more care and aren't trying to rush you through so they can get another customer in to up their earnings.
Oh Facebook too, check out pages for your favourite shops etc. there is a hairdressers I use for dds as its fairly cheap (child's age + £1) so I liked their Facebook page and they put a Facebook offer for £20 for cut & blow dry, I wouldn't have known otherwise and it was a great cut. The normal price was £42 and I just couldn't justify this.
I've also won a few competitions from signing up to newsletters/Facebook pages. (Win my wedding dress this way)
Ooh well done! I have won a few comps too. I find this site brilliant. Some of the stuff is odd but you'd be amazed at what geeks like to buy on Ebay. I won some headlights that sold for nearly £400! I've also had 3 baby food hampers, tickets to flower shows, toys, 2 prams, 2 birthing pools, gardening stuff and a golf caddy that was excitedly recieved by my fil.
I've also won a couple of things on Mumsnet.
Uh oh, thanks for the link. Never getting anything done tonight now
DH is quite the spender compared to me. It made a huge difference when I started using cash in jars to help budget out what is spent where. We have a fun jar too. If we need money for something I always raid DH's alcohol jar and my beauty jar before the fun jar is touched. If there is any money left over at the end of the week in the jars I deposit the money into our savings account.
With children it can be difficult. At this point nearly all of DD's clothes are 2nd hand. DH's family are horrified by this but we have saved thousands. My Dad picks up her clothes at car boot sales, often only paying GBP1 or 2 for a bag of outfits. Most of the stuff is M&S, Next etc. Toys are all gifts or hand downs from our friends who don't have storage space. We have one of those plastic slides in the garden for DD which I picked up for free through the local online discussion board. I don't have many clothes - 8 outfits for work and 3 nonwork outfits. It is so much cheaper and easier.
Drinking water rather than coffee/wine/etc (if only I could...)
Cycling rather than driving/bus/train (brrrrrrrrr)
Own-brand shampoo (ick)
Turning off the heating and/or wireless (apparently)
Ebay and charity shops for clothes, especially for kids (I agree, cheapie stuff from Primark etc is not good value as it wears out so quickly)
And yes, packed lunches. Being veggie works too, unless you like naice cheeses and obscure organic grainy things
Just stop buying STUFF - everyone now just seems to buy stuff all the time whether they actually need it or not. Nobody needs to buy clothes and makeup every month. Curb this kind of shopping.
Lower the thermostat but leave it on all the time it won't need to work so hard to keep the place warm (works for us anyway) so is cheaper.
Don't throw food away - only buy what you need then use/freeze leftovers.
We've just come out of a year or so of budgeting hard due to coming back to the UK without having sold our home overseas. Thankfully it's now sold and we can stop worry but I won't go back to my previously wasteful ways.
Try online catalogues for kids branded clothing. Very don't seem to be liked on MN but I find them very easy to deal with. I spent £64 last month and got ton's of stuff. Very have a superb sale section where I picked up jeans and hoodies from £2 a pop. I also got the dd's school summer dresses for 75p each and next years winter coats £5 each. Sure they may not have the sizes you need but its luck of the draw. I got dd a French Connection rain mac with Babushka dolls printed on it for £4 3 years ago. Its still going strong and she gets so many compliments on it. Oh and most catalogues do a generous discount with your first order. I got £50 off a £75 spend 3 years ago. I doubt they are still as generous. Again pay it off in full and don't go mad. Just stay in the sale section
just stop buying stuff.
I managed a year without buying any non-consumables - no clothes, books, newspapers, nothing apart from food, cleaning products and the occasional plant.
I did not do it for financial reasons but I saved a lot of money.
Fussychica has hit it spot on. No new adult clothes except underwear and shoes, and those only when you do not have an appropriate pair for work or walking. Clothes only to replace those you have when they are getting worn, IF you actually use the item. Bet you don't.
makeup - not really needed, but if you must ONLY when the old stuff has run out. Imagine it is WWII and look up ways of making the stuff last. All toiletries are the same so shop around.
anyone on a budget should not be buying or using: perfume, downloads, Sky, (there is enough telly for everyone on freeview) gym subscriptions (open front door, pass through it - free exercise), magazines, books (libraries are WONDERFUL), any mobile phone except a budget simple PAYG job that does calls and texts (internet access at home or work is plenty, you do NOT need it on the move!), savings stamps/schemes (the money goes into an account, even at current pitiful interest rates). Plus the obvious wasters like lottery tickets, takeaway coffees, bottled water.
kids toys and books - to the charity shop. They are CHOCKFUL at the moment!
if you throw away any food except peelings you are wasteful. Put less on the kids' plates; if they want more they can have more, but most children leave half what you give them. If it hasn't hit the plate it can be saved for later. A freezer, a slow cooker and a microwave are your best pals. (I have shamefully only recently discovered you can freeze bread and milk, so stock up on decent seeded wholemeal at Tesco at between 89p-99p a loaf rather than £1.50 at the others)
heating down a bit, hot water when needed only, laundry according to weather if possible (tricky at the moment but there is no need to use the tumble dryer from April to October if you have any outside space)
hours of fun. :-)
Just marking my place, lots of great ideas here.
Can i ask a daft question, what do you freeze the leftovers in? I find i cannot get much tupperware in the freezer, or if i do there is no room for anything else and I have no room for a chest freezer.
If you have a Costco near you they are great for bulk buying essentials like l
Ugh bloody phone! Essentials like loo roll and washing powder and the meat is really good value, it comes in massive packs do I split it out and freeze - don't assume everything in there is cheap though, toiletries are really expensive!
I use Ziploc bags for saucy stuff. These are great because you can also boil the bag in water. It has to be Ziploc though. Cheaper bags just can't hack it.
For stuff like pies, lasagne etc wait until the food is stone cold and make a little parcel out of foil which you wrap up twice and tightly. When you get them out of the freezer you can bung them straight in the oven on a medium heat. I find a portion of lasagne takes an hour at 180 degrees to be thoroughly reheated and not burnt.
How do you lift the lasagne out of the dish to put it in the foil? Or do you mean cut it up and freeze portions? I'm new to freezing meals, but determined to have no waste from now on.
If you wait until its cold its easier to cut into portions. I usually add some cheese to the sauce if I plan on saving some as this helps it stay in one piece. Also if you cook extra to save some (like pie, lasagne etc) make sure you get everyone to eat from one end of the dish so it stays intact. Some of it is trial and error. I have served up some smashed up food but it still tastes good.
My friend lines all her stuff with greaseproof paper so she can lift it up but she is a serious frugaller (that a word?) and she always makes extra. She taught me about making my own boil in the bag curries and stews.
I find those Chinese takeaway boxes wash well, and make good portion sizes. They stack well in the freezer too.
You can buy them cheaply in Costco if you don't eat takeaway.
I tend to cook mine, cool, cut, freeze. Then defrost in the fridge and micro/grill in my combi oven for a few mins.
Marking my place as there's lots of good stuff here to think about.
We need to have a very frugal few months and ltd of ideas how to do it on here.
I find i cannot get much tupperware in the freezer
Bag it, don't use tupperware. If you put stuff in a freezer bag, suck out the air so that the bag adheres to the contents you won't get freezer burn either. You can fit much more in the freezer like this
Don't take out Wonga loans, get an overdraft set up with your bank.
I am going off on mat leave in 3 weeks and both me and DH would like me to remain a SAHM but I feel like I need to prove I can budget so will be watching this thread too. I use an app just called spending and it's good as I put stuff in it straight away when stuff goes on cards or cheques so it's not a nasty shock when I forget and the money comes out a few days later. Am also going to try the getting cash out at the start of the week trick because I am a nightmare for putting the odd coffee on my card - massively adds up! Oh and pack lunches are essential - I worked out I was spending an average of £7 a day in sainsburys just on food for work
As that MP said today - "british people do not have a god given right to a prosperous life, they have to earn it."
Good luck everyone!
Everyone can budget but I suppose its nicer when you want to rather than have to. Like I said earlier I love the challenge but if we didn't have a budget to stick to we'd be up the swanny. I am a SAHM but I have had a part time bar job for the past 3 years which really makes a difference especially over the summer.
Do cash only, for the first month. Gets you in the mindset of counting the pennies and watching how fast they disappear.
Start from the mindset of a point of zero. As in, you will spend no money today. Not a sausage. Then grudgingly work backwards from that. Essentials only, which are Food, Bills and Travel.
For birthday presents, either buy more inexpensive items (supermarket scarfs, hats, gloves, dressing gowns etc) and wrap them up pretty, or explain to everyone you are saving for something essential so it "isn't much, if that's ok" (ie a box of chocs/book) but that you hope to be more flush next year. Most people who you are in the business of buying presents for will fall over themselves to reassure that a small gift is more than fine.
Oh and try to take up a hobby that costs nothing or next to nothing. Keep fit for example - borrow fitness DVDs from friends, or go running. Learn a new hobby like crochet or knitting - doesn't require much in the way of materials. You need to keep your hands and your mind busy so you aren't tempted to spend.
I have found I have cut down food wastage by resisting the temptation to go to the supermarket and using what's in the house. I also do not buy anything on sale that I did not like at full price.
Oh and buy perfume off ebay - great savings!
Throw away your credit cards!!!
Further to buying cheaper presents, how about having a 'no present pact' with friends and family, just buying for kids?
If you suggest it, others in your social circle may be relieved!
Further to buying cheaper presents, how about having a 'no present pact' with friends and family, just buying for kids? Oh God. I've been trying to implement this for years. Then someone always goes back on their promise and makes me look dead tight... Grrr!
Ha, yes FreePeace, I have found that too!!
Also, there are some people who you just can't not buy a birthday present for, for a variety of reasons. ie. you don't want them to know you are skint/they would be disappointed/they think you are being tight/it would draw attention to itself and you can't face fronting it up. Plus you can only do it for people who have kids you would normally buy presents for. What of the elderley aunties etc? Being realistic is the way forward otherwise there is a temptation to throw the towel in if it all feels to awkward....
I agree with don't buy stuff...... one week a month in our house is no spending week.... we spend NOTHING at all that week -barring emergencies... we save for our holidays that way.. but if we were in debt it would pay it off
Best advice I ever got was: get out of debt and stay out. Always live within your means. Sort out what comes into and put a huge chunk aside for the next three months to really lower that 5k debt. It'll keep climbing if you don't, as interest rates are so crippling.
Live on beans and don't go out for six months if you have to, but get rid of that debt. Then follow all the tips on here to stay out of it.
Loads of good tips! Thanks all.
I spend far too much on coffee so that will be struck off my spend list straight away!
Not read the whole thread so apologies for duplication
Buy wrapping paper in gold or silver so can be used for any occasion
Be ruthless with gifts. If you have no use for them, re gift
You will save a fortune by shopping at Aldi, using your freezer, cooking from scratch and batch cooking
Cut down on meat consumption
Use pay as you go mobile and use for emergencies only
Write a list before you go shopping and stick to it
Keep to a steady weight so you don't have to buy clothes every time you change size
Be ruthless with clothes buying. Only keep what is perfect and don't buy into faddy fashion
* Find out when your local supermarket reduces the produce going out of date and you can get things for pennies, (last week I got a 2kg free range chicken for 89p!)
* Work out the cost per portion of your meals and avoid those which use up too much of your budget.
* Don't buy food until you have eaten what's at home. If you are having chicken for instance have it with the vegetables you have in rather than going and buying something for the sake of it.
* Have leftovers for lunch or freeze.
* Use Quidco or Topcashback.
* Walk or jog instead of paying a gym membership.
* Use Homebargains or B&M bargains for discounted food, cleaning materials, toilet rolls etc.
* Try Aldi - we get 90% of our shopping there now.
* Avoid acohol.
* Clean out your wardrobe instead of going shopping, you'll find clothes you never knew you had.
* Review your mobile phone contract.
* Read the newspaper free online from Metro.
* Buy an insulated mug and make your own coffee.
Thanks for the ziplock tip, i've ordered a pack of 50 from ebay Can you reuse them?
My tip is: try to have a few days of the week (or a full week) without buying any shopping (except bread etc) and use what you have in. I try to do this once a month. Making a batch of homemade soup with some bacon i found in the back of the freezer for tea yummy!
I don't know if anyone else has said this but I find if I allow myself x amount of money each week it is much easier to budget if I withdraw that amount of cash. It's harder to spend "real notes" and easier to see what's left and what will be left if you buy something on a whim. Using a bank card it's too easy to:
buy a round
buy a coffee and a toastie
buy a magazine
buy a bottle of wine
and have not a clue what you have spent and nothing to show for it either.
With regard to your 5k debt, is this on a credit card that charges interest? If it's on one that charges interest, apply for a 0% on balance transfers card - there was one on the moneysavingexpert email this week that has a 0% period of two years which would give you time to pay off the debt without it increasing the to interest.
Yes, you'll pay a transfer fee but on 5k it won't be much and the amount you'll save on having 0% interest will more than cancel
Will more than cancel out the fee.
Don't forget that January and February are council tax free months too so a couple of hundred pounds saving there straight away!!
OK so I do not live in the UK so some of this might not work but over the past few months we have really been reigning in the spending as we are looking to move back home and need every penny we can save. We are just about to move to a smaller house so I took the opportunity to declutter. I usually give stuff away but this time spend 3 months painstakingly selling things on groups in my home town on Facebook. I also advertised and had a garage sale. In total, in selling all the stuff we do not need (toys, clothes, old electrical items, spare parts on bikes) we made over 2000 pounds!! Really, we couldn't believe it. Secondly my kids just got 5 small presents for Christmas and our New Years resolution is Reduce, Resell, Recycle and also not to spend so much money on other people who are not generous back Also now we are going to sell things quicker rather than wait for old cameras to gather dust for 2 years and be totally archaic.
I have just asked my DH to set up spreadsheets for me (I'm a total technophobe!) so that I can log my spending on groceries and utilities and see how I can tweak it month on month to reduce costs.
Make laundry gloop. Not suitable for woollens.
Eeba is a good app. Works on s system of envelopes. I have it on android tho
Sorry if I'm duplicating but work out a proper budget and take out cash weekly for as much of your spending as possible. It's been proven that you spend 33% less when you spend cash. I was a bit when I heard this but I gave it a go and I agree. We found that we were able to have more guilt-free treats and save more money by using a cash-based system.
The one thing that saved me the most money was no buying any new books, and only getting them from the Library, its saved me £££
There are some great challenges on the MSE Debt Free Wannabe board, which have helped keep me motivated.
softkittywarmkittyI am looking for that account manager app you mentioned but can't find it. Do you know exactly what it is called?
Some great tips on here and it has reminded me to update my money spreadsheet!
Zelda I rinse out my ziplock bags and hang them out to dry!
I've made laundry gloop and I've used it on my woollens. Was I not meant to? <worried>
It doesn't seem to have done them any harm. Yet...
It says on the soda crystals not to use them on wool. I don't suppose it's as bad as using bio detergent on them.
What about stuff like shepherds pie (a whole one)? what do you make them in to freeze? Those foil trays? Been doing loads of recipe searching today and have next 3 meals planned out of freezer leftovers
And Binfullofgiblets i can see me doing that too
Bring drinks and snacks for dc when going out. Either go out first thing or after lunch to avoid eating out.
No magazines, take away coffees or impulsive buys. I have not bought a magazine in over two years. I read the Metro and Evening Standard- both free. I only ever have a coffee out if meeting a friend and this is planned into my budget.
Do not go window shopping whether physically or online. It always makes me feel crap looking at items I cannot buy.
Plan your meals for the week and write your shopping list based on this.
Bring lunch and all snacks to work. I never buy lunch, not even on pay day. Dh will treat himself now and then. He is not as disciplined as me!
Bulk cook, leave some in fridge and some in freezer.
Freeze milk and bread - less chance of waste.
I am naturally careful with money but this has been a real challenge for me.
It will all pay off.
I have never saved Shepherds pie because everyone has seconds. But making them in their own foil tray to freeze is a great idea. I don't cook with the sole intention of freezing. If I did I'd make 2 portions using foil trays. I'm all about not wasting leftovers. dh always takes a portion to work the next day of whatever I cook so that helps too. I always reuse Ziploc's. They can be reused up to 5 times before they become damaged. Don't waste them on wrapping sandwiches. Use clingfilm or foil for that. They are great for keeping your sandwich meat and cheese fresh in the fridge too. dh takes them in his pocket on the rare occasion we go to the Red Hot Buffet for a meal. Cheeky but well worth it.
Keep an eye on the prices of things that come in different sizes - such as ketchup and mayonaise. Sometimes the biggest container or the one on special offer is the best buy, but quite often the price per gram or ml is the lowest on one of the medium sized ones. Tesco are very naughty in their pricing of these sort of things. Never buy dishwasher tablets or toilet rolls ( unless you have to) when they are not on special offer.
I've adopted most of the basic tips about menu planning etc but still look for ways to fine tune the budget a bit.
My main motto is never pay full price for anything if you can avoid it. To this end, I do the following:
Buy fresh food (meat, veg, bread etc) last thing at night to get the yellow label reductions of up to 80%.
Buy clothes, books, toys, house stuff at charity shops & car boot sales, also freecycle & Ebay
Use cashback websites, vouchers & codes
Make sure to use loyalty schemes to my advantage
We're both having our wages cut in 2013 so will have to make cutbacks. Previously when we were short of money these tips helped a lot.
Use cash for every day things. Get an amount out of cash machine and don't take your card out. Sticl to your budget. Ia lso used a list at supermarket and cash. This made me really consider what was essential.
Bulk up bolognese and pasta dishes with lentils so go further.
Buy essentials at lower status (like basics)
And my new tip - trust me it works - instead of expensive pasta sauces use a squeeze and stir cup a soup with your onions and leeks and herbs! Sauces are incredibly expensive.
And bake biscuits or cake.
Cut out meat as much as possible (we've had to do that anyway)
Has anyone mentioned the Planet Earth shops ?
save the Earth run Planet Earth shops - you can pick up books whenever you like, totally free - they are great (though may have old book smell about them) and are springing up in many highstreets.
Here's the real winner though - they also host free stuff events monthly in London, saturdays for droping of unwanted items, sundays for people to fill up bags and trollies etc, basically its totaly free take what you want, the sales dtes are on their website and may well be worth train fare to london if your not local.
I swear by meal planning. Before we could easily spend over £70 a week on two of us by chucking things in the trolley. Even when you think you're being good you're not. We now meal plan and spend £70 every other week on the three of us. That includes nappies and baby milk. I also tend to ignore the "special offers" and promotions unless it's something I would usually buy or need.
Keeping a money diary for a month will also really open your eyes! I couldn't believe how much my £1 here and 50p there was totalling per week
For ladies clothes how about a visit to a contryside jumble sale ?
Sounds odd but out here in the sticks (rural Hampshire / Wiltshire) there are loads of WI jumble sales all year, specialist mum and baby ones run by the breast feeding folk, and as there are many wealthy patrons and land owners jumble tends to be of oddly high quality if your not too fashion concerned (or bold enough to start your own trend), loads of tweed, queenie type heals, barbour jackets, those diamond sown puffy jackets for horse-riding, horsey boots, and a never ending supply of new knitted items, knitting is a competitive sport in the shires !
You can google the websites of local papers and whizz round three or four sales in a day.
We take a thermos flask everywhere, saves us a fortune as would otherwise go into too many coffee shops - plus a cheap pack of biscuits/fruit and bottles of tap water or budget fruit juice (cartons or decanted into bottles) for the dds.
love these frugal threads!
marking my place, and also adding that I try to change my mindset. I consider my money really precious, and as a resource that i want to spend on niace things, rather than giving to mulitnational companies. thereore i do all the savvy shopping aournd for utilities and internet providers, and when I DO have any extra money, I think of myself as being 'choosy' in to who I give my precious cash to!
not sure if i have explained my strategy very well, but basically i don't want to give my hard-earned cash to just 'anyone'
RosemaryandThyme Is there a link to Planet Earth shops? I've tried Googling but can't find anything!
For shepherds pie, lasagne, cottage pie etc I use pyrex dishes (made by ziploc but concept is the same) with plastic lids on them. I found them reduced at the supermarket and they had a coupon inside for another $1 off. They cost $3 each and I have 6 in total.
If I make a lasagne I will cook one to eat and I try to do another two for the freezer. I bake them all at the same time and the two for the freezer are cooled with the plastic lids on them so they retain their moisture (wait 10mins before you put the lid on or they will melt). When it's time to eat them I leave them in the fridge to defrost during the day and zap it in the microwave for about 4 mins with the lid on for lasagne but lid half off for anything with a potato top layer.
I make a huge pot of pasta sauce when I start to run low in the freezer. Freeze in ziplocks and make a plain version so it can be used for a basic bolognase, chilli or soup. If we have roasted veg one night the following night is soup because reheated roasted veg is horrible!
We are in the US and buy our ziplocks at Costco. I pay $9 for 4 boxes and don't reuse them as they are pretty much only used to freeze with while the sandwich ones are used for DD's snacks so get pretty grubby. I use ikea tupperware type stuff for my chopped fruit I take to work. They were $2 each and are looking like new two years in. We have a couple of bigger ones for leftovers that are being kept in the fridge. I use foil for sandwiches and that gets reused all week and thrown out on Friday.
I will also say that it is interesting to see the difference between my parents and my PIL. My PIL waste so much too as does my mother but my Dad is very careful with his money. Going to the supermarket with my Dad is an education. He bangs on that the only thing you should buy are their shares! He goes to the market and starts haggling with them (What time are you open till? Ok, if i come back then what will you be looking to get rid of? How much will it cost? Ok, can we do a deal so I buy it now for x so you're not worrying about having to throw it away come closing time?). He doens't pay to park as he knows all the free places in town to park. My mother and PIL go to the supermarket, buy organic, buy expensive meat cuts etc. As an example, my PIL threw out the turkey carcass on Christmas Day. I was furious and it was only my Dad who understood that the carcass would have made enough soup for a weeks worth of dinners/lunch.
I freeze stuff in Tupperware lined with a freezer bag. Once the food has frozen into a solid brick I remove it from the Tupperware. Takes up less space in the freezer and easier to remove from the bag for reheating. Oh and if you must use foil trays then poundland is your friend.
The thing I've found helpful is to use a small convenience store or petrol station when I run out of one or two things. I used to think they were more expensive so avoid them in favour of a supermarket. But I would never go in and just get the milk or onions, I'd always come out with a basket or more. Even though I didn't
often buy treats and mostly bought extra fruit and veg, cheese, cereal, etc it was all stuff we could have managed perfectly well without.
Apologies if this is a repeat of a previous post:
1. Get car serviced at a private garage rather than a dealership, hundreds cheaper.
2. Shop around for all insurances and don't accept the first offer, I asked if Tesco could price match and they did - just by asking they took another 50 quid off.
3. Definitely just stop spending - it's an addiction I'm sure and you have to find a way of breaking it!
I agree if you really want to budget Go back to using cash and when its gone its gone using a card is far too easy to overspend as its not real money.
Holly you have reminded me of another. When your mot is due, take your vehicle to the local authorities garage, that services council vehicles. They do not do repairs for private vehicles, so will have no reason to find non-existent faults just so they can charge you for their repair, iyswim. Got this tip from money saving expert newsletter (well worth signing up to, for free)
Second hand shops for lots of clothes and esp coats and jackets.
Bulk up meat dishes with lentils.
Keep track of fridge leftovers and make using them up part of your meal plan.
Always use a shopping list when you grocery shop.
Make a master list that includes every single thing you have ever bought for your home from a grocery shop and refer to it when you compile your grocery list so you will avoid nipping in for 'one or two things' another time in the week.
Try to keep trips to the shop to one a week.
Buy frozen veg instead of fresh.
Consider frozen fruit too, maybe make an exception of bananas, apples, oranges.
If you don't have one already, invest in a freezer and get a good system going for keeping track of what's in it.
Make your own lunch.
Stop buying fancy coffee when out.
No need to buy special foil trays for freezing items like the makings of shepherd's pie. Freeze in any container and then reheat in the microwave, then transfer to the pan you want to serve it from.
Consider stopping buying things like crackers and biscuits that can really add up and are not good for you anyway. Only serve homemade baked goodies.
On washing machine/dishwasher always use eco wash if you have one mine is much shorter on washing machine too.
Do all your food shopping at budget supermarkets it's much less stressful too.
Bulk buy nappies/wipes etc when there are offers on at Boots join the parenting club and build up points to use on essentials such as nappies etc when money is short.
Get a big box and dump anything in at all that may sell on Ebay add things as you go and keep relisting take advantage of free listing days etc.
Sign up for the MSE email it has loads of tips.
Buy cheap/economy and bogof who cares what brand baked beans are when you can no longer see the tin?
Join loads of survey sites and answer them everyday. You can do it whilst watching the soaps. I always use the ones that pay cash not vouchers and have made a fair few pounds from them but they take ages to pay out so you have to be patient it's worth it when they pay! This month I reached the threshold on a few so had over £100 into paypal plus a few ebay things just for sitting on my bum and tapping the keyboard!
I love that I seem to be really frugal to myself yet am still always skint
Muchostinky it's called Accounts Tracker (or might be Account without the 's'). The developer is Graham Haley if they helps you find it. There's a free version and a paid for one. I started with the free version then upgraded when I realised how useful it was going to be - you can transfer your info from the fee version to the paid one very easily.
Get a spreadsheet going of all your incomings and outgoings, with dates they leave your account. Use it to set a budget, you might spot random DDs coming out of your account and remember to tot up all those little extra purchases on your card. We've got a budget and although we don't have to religiously stick to it, it has been brilliant at cutting back our outgoings.
Interest free credit cards which you change annually - so you never go slightly overdrawn in the bank as I used to and pay £5 a time. My banking has been completly free for about 5 years.
Go shopping at around 7pm when stores are doing their reductions - I went to Asda a few weeks ago and they were selling packs of prawns that were £3.99 for 60p - so I bought lots, portioned them up and put them in the freezer
I eat a lot more pulses now - if I'm making a dish such as shepherd pie then I just do half mince and half lentils - it makes it cheaper, healthier and just as tasty
I've stopp buying preprepared fruit salads and now make my own-I realized that I can buy a whole melon for less than what I used to pay for a pretty small one in Tesco
Ask yourself one question every time you want to buy something: "Do I really want this top/eyeshadow/latte more than I want to pay off my debt/add to my savings?"
Children's clothes: Buy popular brands (Boden, Joules) in the sale or second-hand on Ebay. When the kids grow out of them, sell them on Ebay for almost as much as you paid. Things like denim skirts/dresses/dungarees also work really well like this as they don't tend to wear out. I have bought things for DD on Ebay which she has worn for a year and which I have then sold for more than I originaly paid.
Sell everything you no longer want on Ebay and use the free listing days to avoid the listing charges. Things that can't be sold on Ebay sell at a car boot sale if you can. Kids clothes with small stains on I wouldn't sell on Ebay but people are quite happy to pay 10/20p for a t-shirt at a car boot sale.
Get a blanket and turn the heating down/off.
Join as many survey sites as possible and do them every day.
Get an allotment if you can plus a freezer to put produce in.
Have 2 days a week where you don't take your purse to work. Don't spend a penny on these 2 days.
Grow as much of your own food as you can.
Pay off the credit card as soon as your wage comes then you have to budget with what is left. Paying interest is throwing money down the drain.
My big one at the moment is Amazon Subscribe and Save.....
We use Johnsons Sensitive wipes on DD.
£2.44 per pack or £10 for 12 packs.
Amazon - £7.78 for 12 packs, free delivery.
Amazon Subscribe and Save - £7 for 12 packs, free delivery.
And I shop around for nappies too, I have never paid full price.
Someone on here suggested getting a tesco credit card. You get points everytime you use it so use it to pay for absolutely everything (even if you don't shop at tesco), pay it off every month and see the points accumulate.
It's great for getting vouchers for theme parks and places to take the kids in the holidays.
One person on here even managed a holiday to Turkey for her family all on the points!
Boots card, nectar card, tesco club, etc, and actually cash them in rather than just hoarding them. this works for us as we see regular savings.
offset mortgage (saves us almost 1000 per year)
bringing-your-own-coffee to the park, on a walk, stay and play, etc (thermos flask has saved me a lot as i'm a caffeine addict)
Ebay, ebay, ebay! I've sold so many baby things/toys/clothes etc that I rarely feel guilty about buying clothes, etc (also on ebay)
charity shops, NCT sales
re-gifting things that my children have duplicates of or don't play with or I know will never play with.... (they're young so they don't notice this!)
pound shop for things like birthday cards, wrapping paper, etc - would never pay 'real' prices for these types of things.
Marking my place, hell I need as many tips as I can possibly get this year!
Own brand shampoo great - own brand conditioner hideous. If you have long hair, steer clear.
After any purchase, delete your card details from online sites (eg amazon) it will reduce the likelihood of impulse buys.
Wash up as soon as you eat - you'll use less washing up liquid and hot water.
Only machine wash full loads.
Use a tea pot - I get 4 cuppas from 2 teabags by doing this (you'll need a cosy).
I'm off to Aldi today to see if I can pick up some Christmas bargains for the freezer or for next year. Anyone been and spotted any?
Free peace, got a 2.5 kg boiled ham down to 3.00 at aldi last night, one of the pre cooked Christmas range, will do for a meal tonight DH's sandwiches for the rest of the week and maybe add a bit to soup or pasta sauce. Also a few of the frozen Christmas party stuff is down to £1 , got dd a few packs of spring rolls , will make a few cheap lunches for her. Also got dd a lovely wooden train for next Christmas there, I think about £7. Am aiming to buy her one thing a month and save £10 a month towards next Christmas, so I've done January already!
shop on foot if you can! If you have to carry it home, you're less tempted by things you don't actually need.
Oh, and if you can, send you're other half to the supermarket. Whereas I'm tempted by offers and stuff in the non essential aisle, he never is.
Ooh thanks Theveryhungrymuma. I hope there are some similar bargains at my local one.
oh, and i think cash-back sites are false economy. They're about spending more overall, rather than saving.
The two things we've done this year that have worked are menu planning (also helps with life in general) and leads to less food wastage and not drying clothes on radiators. We bought a electric clothes airer from Lakeland and dry clothes in a separate small utility room. We've been able to turn out heating down from 18 to 16 and watched our bill shrink.
Every £2 coin we get goes into one of those jars you have to take a hammer to in order to get to what's inside. We've not been going long, but our friends just broke theirs after 3 years of collecting.
There was £1,800 inside.
We also have a change pot, which gets dipped into every so often for parking, but twice a year we take it down the coin star and today I got £25.80 and it was all 1s and 2s really.
coorong we've got one of those heated airers too! Aren't they just the best?!
softkittywarmkitty thanks for that, I am downloading it now
I disagree about cashback sites. They work if you are buying stuff you need in the first place. You might as well get the savings or money back. I got a £35 M&S voucher just by going through the site to change energy suppliers last year.
I read about a lady on Pinterest who saved every $5 bill she got over a period of two years. She managed to save around $4000! I'm tempted to do this with £5 notes.
Buy all shampoo and conditioner in Poundland. It will be cheaper than the supermarket UNLESS you are happy to use supermarket own brand, which will work out cheaper.
Don't buy squash or fruit juice. Kids don't need it.
One thing I do is use a cheap filter coffee machine to make decent coffee that I can then take on the train in a special flask. You can make a huge amount for a few pence as opposed to £2 for a takeaway coffee at the station. Filter machines start at £10.
It may sound counterintuitive but DH and I save up and buy the best kitchen things we can afford (fancy breadmaker, crockpot, etc) and then we use it till it begs us to let it die. Really.
We get the best ones because we're more likely to use them consistently (as we like them, or they're quiet or easy to clean, etc) and they're more likely to last. We haven't bought in bread for years and have easily paid for the breadmaker now.
Likewise if you're going to do all the baking, get bakery-size staples. I buy 20 kilos of flour, oats and sugar at a time at the warehouse store and we go through it all in about 4 months. Yes, It means our cramped kitchen is even more cramped than it should be, but we save a bundle.
Great thread, have resolved to use freezer much more!
Two things I've done recently that have really helped are:
Checked online comparison sites for both car insurance and pet insurance, I've saved several hundred pounds doing this. The wierd thing about it is I've that I've actually stayed with the same insurers. They've sent me renewal notices, I've compared online, I've telephoned them to say can you match this and they've said no, you'll have to do it online not through our renewals system
Second thing is I've switched to Lidl (from Ocado/Waitrose). Not only is Lidl much cheaper but they have far less selection so I'm not tempted to pop vair naive goodies in the trolley. I do still need to pop into Waitrose for some things but on average I'm saving £50 per week.
I disagree about cashback sites too, I think they're brilliant for - and this is the key point - things you need to buy anyway. For instance I recently bought my car insurance (after comparing prices on comparison sites ) and I bought it through Top Cashback which means I'll get £55 cashback in a few months.
SlatternlyMother where did you get your terramundi pot from? I really think I'd benefit from one. I save £2 coins but have to admit I dip into it if I need change for parking or something like that.
I do agree about expensive machines, I get Bosch appliances as they use less electric and water than cheap models. Relatives of ours buy Miele, before they we replacing major appliances every few years.
Filter coffee from Lyons and douwe egberts is available in pound world, home bargains too.
Locate free on road parking in your town centre, mine gives you an hour in some streets, plenty of time to walk in and do my banking and pound shopping.
Don't press the quickwash buttons on the dishwasher or washing machine, they use more water and electric to get the same results faster.
Filter coffee for £1?
We usually buy 2 for £5 in the supermarket!
How can it be so cheap?
I'm off to poundland this week and buying 5! Should keep us going for a bit.
Will have a look at other food/drink items.
I've only ever bought kids craft stuff from there and tinsel for school play. I've never looked at the food. I just assumed it would be rubbish stuff.
slatternlymother With coinstar, do they charge? I normally take my bags of coppers to the bank but the last time I went they said, "we're not doing this anymore"
Can this thread be moved to Credit Crunch? Be a shame to lose it.
Don't ask! I checked the dates etc but not short dated.
They do Duchy of Cornwall jams and tea sometimes, again £1 a jar. I've seen Lindt chocolate bars too.
Don't fight the bargains.
Coin star are 8 or 9p per £1. I ask my bank for change bags and count it out at home.
Yes I think it's 8p per pound, and there's an option to donate that to charity. It's not as good as the bank, but I went and got directed to the coin star machine at the local Sainsburys!
I have a business account so they bank change for me.
Lloyds do a save the change option online it rounds up to the nearest pound on any direct debit's, for example £25.25 the 75p will go into the save the change account. It is surprising how much is in there by the end of the year. I also put any money left over at the end of the month into this account.
Coinstar charge 8%?! Jeez. I knew they charged but didn't realise it was so much . I know they're convenient but if you think you might deposit, say, £100 over a year, that means they keep £8 of your money.
I'm with HSBC and in one of the big branches in my city they have machines you can deposit change into. It counts it as you put it in so you don't even have to bag it up fully counted. Most banks will accept a certain number of money bags over the counter, think it's five. Not sure why they're a bit funny about money bags of change - it's not like they have to count it manually because they weigh the bags digitally these days.
Dont use coinstar - use self service tills. You can put handfuls of coins in there
Natwest have cash machines you can pay coins into, you just tip the contents of your jar/piggy bank in and it counts them and credits them straight to your account. Most of the mid/large branches seem to have the machines. I think you do need a natwest account to use the machine but it doesn't seem to charge you.
My local Poundland sells Douwe Egberts and Twinings breakfast tea now. Does anyone elses store now sell eggs, bread, sandwich meat and milk? They have ham trim which my dh adores. Proper slices of ham and not wafer thin stuff.
I love putting copper s in selfs service machines.
I also love saving up my 5ps for car parking!
I play a game where I see how long I can go without spending any money. It really helps cut down the frittering as it makes me think twice before I buy a chocolate bar or a drink.
I had about £4.5k on credit cards, now will be debt free by April having worked away at it for three years - paying off at £150 per month plus a few 'one off payments' from ebay sales or work bonus (not large but avoiding the temptation to 'spoil myself!')
I moved the debt around always onto a 0% card (see moneysaving expert how to reduce debt in a common sense way) but don't use any credit cards to add extra - or if you do spend on one then have that one set up to pay off in full automatically via direct debit each month so there's not a temptation to leave it - as it then starts another vicious circle on another card.
Then live on what you earn and build in a set amount as a direct debit to gradually reduce the debt (say £100 a month or whatever you can realistically afford to pay off each month).
The key bit is don't buy what you can't afford (clothes/magazines etc) and ask if you really need anything before you buy it. Don't put anything on credit again - for me that meant no holidays for a while and buying less clothes. There is also a big saving in making packed lunches, avoiding starbucks, buying magazines - little things that you don't really notice but really add up.
Make a strict budget and a plan to get rid of the debt - there is no other way and you will feel a million times better when you are on top of it. No more guilty purchases - I know cos I've been there. Also, in that time, I have also managed to get married and have a baby whilst reducing debt and we've just had an offer accepted on a house so the main thing is to have a budget and stick to it.
In terms of other things - yes, Quidco is great, or search for online coupons for money off. However, the main thing is whether you actually need to buy anything. Also, check you are getting best rates for insurance, electric, check you mobile phone is the best deal, or if you have satellite TV, broadband - see if you can reduce costs of those or get rid.
Bit seasonal this one - but we made arrangements with various friends that we normally exchange Christmas gifts with, not to bother this year - after years of swapping
rubbish gifts back and forth.
We just had them round for a mince pie, mulled wine and a chat instead - saving time, money and more unwanted tat entering our house.
Another one gleaned from the MSE newsletter. If you get a rail season ticket to work, buy one by tomorrow to start tomorrow & you will pay 2012 prices, instead of 2013 prices if your ticket starts on 2 Jan. Dh has a monthly ticket & is saving 16.60 this way!
Hi. I think setting up a standing order into an e-savings account or ISA works well - something that you can only touch online or not touch for a certain period of time, if you can afford it. If you arrange it so that the money goes automatically on the first of the month, you won't have any temptations to spend that money.
Also, buy presents, cards, etc in advance at sales or EBay - to avoid last minute panic buying. Buy stuff like bread or meat when reduced (it freezes well). Use left overs (I am the queen of left overs, scrambled eggs or soup go well with almost everything.) Think hard and long about whether you need something or you need to have the cash in your pocket instead. Remind yourself what your goal is and what you will do with the cash you save, and try and ignore advertising. Good luck!
That's a great achievement, Katla! You must be delighted to be so near the end of the hard work!
We're paying off our extension, and, while it is painful not to have any money to spare, I find it helps to have an excel file with a savings target for each month.
Working to hit the target of reducing the debt by x amount turns the saving process into a bit of a game, and it gives me a positive way of looking at it all.
Bit seasonal this one - but we made arrangements with various friends that we normally exchange Christmas gifts with, not to bother this year - after years of swapping rubbish gifts back and forth.
How do you enforce this? Seriously? I keep trying and trying to implement this. dh reckons we go cold turkey over the next couple of years and stick to our guns. I am not arsed about receiving gifts (always preferred to give than recieve and besides sil keeps giving me stuff from the kids Cute or What? range at Boots). We've managed to stop sending Christmas cards after spending over £40 one year.
Start with the big stuff - if your mortgage is standard variable rate, go get a discounted deal sorted for the next few years. Friends of mine drove me mad for ages fretting over saving a couple quid on food shopping but eventually agreed to have a financial adviser visit their home and saved them £300 a month on their mortgage.
Then look at all insurances. I've saved hundreds by phoning round rather than just renewing. Most subscriptions are aimed to make you think you're getting a bargain while spending more, eg magazine monthly for cost of 10 a year, but you only bought one every 2-3 months so actually it costs more. Cancel them.
Definitely get season tickets starting before 2 Jan - saves me £100 a year. And if commuting into London, could you get a ticket to zone 2 and walk/Tube? Eg Brighton to Vauxhall is half the price as going to Victoria, and possibly easier if working round Westminster.
Resist all upselling. BOGOF offers and anything advertised in the supermarket are always more costly than own brand. Remember to take own bags or shopping trolley to Lidl.
I am really in need of this thread.
One problem I have is the cafe-culture of being on maternity leave. It is sometimes hard to find anything to do out of the house that doesn't involve shopping/coffee/softplay - especially in winter. Feeling depressed just at the thought of more time in the flat
I noticed we were running out of milk and bread midweek and when I went to get more I was buying a few other bits too. I got a breadmaker for christmas from my parents so that's sorted and we have decided to buy loads of milk and freeze it, so we will never do top up shops.
I need to find a recipe for nice granola / yogurt, something I can take into work with me for breakfast. I take salad etc fro lunch but spend £2 a day buying breakfast. I have an £1600 OD I am going to pay off this year and I've just realised I spend £500 at least on bloody canteen breakfasts
I went to the extreme to avoid puting the heating on at Christmas- I got a temp job in a shop . I stayed warm, earnt money that I can spend without feeling guilty (I have a FT job as well) and met lots of new people.
In fact, I am hoping they will keep me on afterwards as I will get a discount that I can use in waitrose (nearest supermarket to me, so its where I dash to when we're out of bread) and JL. This way if I do buy anything, at least I am saving something!
I work by a jar system (got ones with a clippy lid from IKEA). Me and DP each put £30 a week into the jar for food. I meal plan and aim for £40. What's left in the jar gets used on cinema, takeaways etc. If there's nothing in the jar, we don't go out.
I also save all of my pennies and silver (if my purse is bulging with it) and keep them in a jar. I was able to buy our christmas tree this year with it and didn't notice a difference.
I online bank and have the natwest app on my phone. I transfer £240 for food and "fun" into a separate account to my main account that has OD and DDs that go out. I live off this card. Any money that is left over in both accounts at the end of the month goes into a third savings account. After a month or so (when I know I won't need it for an emergency), the money gets transferred into a high interest savings account. I get penalised if I withdrawl from this too many times and the card only works at cash machines, not in shops.
I also downgraded my car to an aygo. It is great on fuel consumption, £20/Yr to tax and low on insurance. I don't care if I look like a berk in it.
I'm savvier than I thought .
Hydro as you work FT, did you work in the shop on Saturdays only?
Nothing wrong with the Aygo, I've been eyeing them up as I know they're economical. Mind you, with my leaky old banger it would be an upgrade . Just wish I could afford one .
I make the Jamie Oliver granola and rotate it with an Annabel Karmel one and another one I have somewhere,maybe a Nigella one-saves a fortune on Dorset cereals!!!
ItsIginning: can you arrange stuff at your flat? Maybe you and the mums can take turns to host once a week? Everyone brings a plate/bottle of vino and you guys can catch up while the kids play/cry etc? Or do movie afternoons with DVDs and popcorn (which you can make yourself super cheap)?
Would agree that TopCashBack or Quidco worth looking at for things you would be buying/ doing already such as getting some cashback if switching energy supplier.
Have not yet used either cashback site, but saw I missed out on getting around 80 quid back when I took a 12 month SIM-Only contract in March (if only I had known about them beforehand). Have since seen loads of TV ads but never saw anything about them before.
> HotUKdeals.com < may be worth a look (whether for food, clothes, or gifts, heck almost any deal seems to have someone listing it for others to benefit!)
I'd disagree with suggestions to cancel credit cards - sometimes you will see a deal online which is significantly cheaper than in most shops, and do remember that in the event of a trader going bust, if item costs between 100 and 30,000 GBP then the card issuing bank is equally liable for the refund.
That's not true if you'd paid with cash, cheque, or most debit cards (but > the MoneySavingExpert.com web site has < examples and more info).
Think of those people who might have bought white goods at Comet and were waiting for delivery, or when other big chains have gone into receivership with items ordered and paid for (such as furniture). Actually, regarding Comet, there's a piece on MSE site mentioning Visa/Mastercard debit card 'chargebacks' so all hope is not lost with debit cards.
Also for services - you might pay a significant portion as a deposit when having a conservatory built - best done on a credit card.
It does depend on you having will power not to let spending on a card go wild though, which can lead you to debt (or silly levels of interest, but still below 'wonga' loans, or 'payday' deals).
Thanks blahblah for the suggestions - usually it's just me going to the coffee shop so would be a sad coffee morning at my house! I like the popcorn/dvd idea for something cheap to do with older one when he's home from school - softplays cost an arm and a leg!
So you need to meet some other mums Its! Are the local boards on here any good?
Also have you tried your local library? They have free sessions during the week
Always check your till receipts in the big supermarkets (Morrisons, Tesco etc). There are often mistakes between the till receipts and the offers advertised on the shelf. Never had an issue at Aldi as they don't do offers as such.
bigkids This is the best granola recipe I've ever used, don't worry about the rice syrup (I used agave) and instead of apple sauce I simply heated a sliced cooking apple in a little water until it was mushy.
So that this doesn't disappear, we have moved this thread out of chat and into our lovely credit crunch topic
Happy new year and happy new money to you all
Sainsburys basic tea bags, good every day tea. Dh never noticed the switch from pg tips, that was 2 years ago.
A handful of porridge oats in mince dishes makes it more filling, it doesn't bulk it out but dh doesn't snack later on in the night when I do this.
Never tell your OH if you change something and its cheaper. They swear blind they can tell the difference. Second World War propaganda on cheaper cooking told housewives not to let on.
With your name I should have guessed you'd add apple
You can look on your water boards web page for free tap inserts and shower inserts so you use less water.
Can anyone recommend which survey sites are the best to join/most reliable at receiving your money/vouchers?
Clothes for cash website, postage is free, payment within 24 hours
Must try to go to sleep now, goodnight!
ItsInning - couple of ideas for those long damp childlead days !
Libary - many have websites, some have classes / activities for the little ones, reading groups from 8years for older ones.
Discovery centres - some bigger town libaries have bloomed into discovery centres, child activities here can cost but even without these an hour or two can be passed warmly, browsing, reading aloud in a corner with children, looking at gallery etc.
Nature reserves - look on local council website for activites at local green spaces, walks and talks and other bits and bobs throughout the year, often free and always looking for volunteers for a bit of pond clearance, tree planting etc, take own drinks and snacks, can get warm whilst working and fill a morning.
Bus travel in holidays - often bus companies run £1 offers for children, plot a short route and times and bung kiddies on a bus tour, stretch activity by giving older children use of cameras and video phones they can make a nice little project out of this, for younger ones its great to get them reading road signs etc.
If you find the draw of coffee shop still pressing try eating a ceral bar (£1 for 6 at Lidle) before you go in, then have s small full fat latte when your in, the combination will make you feel surprisingly full, always get your loyalty card stamped if they have one, for children if they are small enough take sippy cup drinks for them (no-one would object to this) for older children give them a financial choice ie you can have a milkshake for £3, or £3 in your moneybox,or small toy for the same, or smaller drink, or share a drink and save half etc - children can spend an inordinate amount of time picking throug options and discussing this one - meanwhile sit back and enjoy your coffee.
Sneaky tip - kids milk bottles can be, ahem, topped up from the jugs of milk provided for tea and coffee drinkers at Starbucks. Of course it would be polite to buy a small filter coffee if you plan to, ahem, avail yourself if this (filter coffee being one if the cheapest drinks they do in there).
Also Waitrose do free samples in the daytime in some areas, as do Whittard and Planet Organic. Nom nom.
If you are in a university town, there will be a student union type cafe or canteen where you can get a cheap hot meal. In most places you just walk in off the street. At London Uni the Hare Krishnas serve free food at lunchtimes in term time near the Senate House.
FreePeace yes I'd agree with cold turkey approach - if you have agreed not to do gifts then don't. If someone gives you then you just have to say but we said we wouldn't do presents and leave it at that. Cos if you get them something in case they give you then the cycle goes on.
Also good point by earlier poster (sorry forgot to note name) re sorting the big stuff like mortgages first as that makes huge difference rather than saving few quid on expenses.
When I was a student I used to work out (still do actually) how long I had to work to earn what I was spending and ask myself of it was worth it.
Also marking my place...
If you have a water butt the water is soft enough to go in the iron and steam mop.
blayblahblahyeh and RosemaryandThyme thank you both for the tips about cheaper fun with children! (Better than my idea of sending the 5 year old off to clean chimneys)
"Brighton to Vauxhall is half the price as going to Victoria"
That's quite a shock (used to use the Littlehampton - Hove - Victoria service in the 80s, but would never consider working in London and living on S Coast - seems such a waste in hours of travel and X.x thousand quid, and while higher salary would be paid, you're losing more in tax and travel and feel shattered being out 12 hours a day, surely ? ).
Jahan the only thing to watch out for if you are buying branded groceries e.g. filter coffee in pound shops is pack sizes - sometimes the £1 items are in special smaller packs made for the pound shops and the price per 100g is actually higher than elsewhere.
Agree that coinstar machines are a ripoff - save your pennies to put in self-service tills!
When I was pulling my hair out with rainy day boredom on non-work days with toddler ds, but completely skint, I used to occasionally go to IKEA for free coffee with my Family card . Ds would have a play in the play area in the cafe or we'd play "house" in some of the rooms.
Of course this only saves money if:
1. You don't then go mad for amazing "bargains" in IKEA (luckily I am mostly immune these days)
2. You can get there without spending a fortune on transport (ours is only a couple of miles away)
I did also arrange to meet a friend there for coffee a couple of times but she broke cardinal rule 1 and I think spent about £50 each visit...
Thanks for all of the replies on this thread and thanks HQ for moving it!
So far I have:
-taken £100 from my isa to pay off an overdraft of an account I never use and closed that down.
-paid off a credit agreement I STUPIDLY set up for a laptop I bought years ago by moving money around.
-cancelled a couple of direct debits that really don't need paying
-applied and got approved for an 18 month balance transfer credit card - I will then transfer my 2 credit cards and a store card. I will pay off some every month but as it is interest free I will try and earn money through my ISA and savings account too. These 'savings' can always be used
-bought a reusable water bottle to stop buying bottled every day or so
After I've done these transfers I will not have any debt with interest on!
I still need to do a thorough budget plan and think about lunches for work - I usually buy fresh soup which works out at about £10/wk. Not sure whether to keep doing this or do something else. I also need to sort the coffee thing- I buy one every day at work, about £11/wk.
I'm also going to try and negotiate a better deal on our Sky TV/Internet/phon deal.
Anyone have any good lunch ideas?
Oh and another thing to do is go through my clothes - both to see if there is anything I can sell but also to have a good sort out!! I buy too much stuff so need reminding if what I have. I aim to not buy any clothes for at least two months (small steps!!).
Mushy re soups - can you not make a batch of your own, say once a week, then freeze in portion sizes? Then when you need one, take it out of the freezer in the morning, it will not make a big leaky mess being transported to work & will be at least part-way defrosted by lunchtime. Voila, fresh soup . You could be even more frugal & make the soup out of only whatever veg you can find cheap that week, as a sort of personal challenge!
With Sky, just tell them you are leaving & they will be sure to offer you a better deal.
mushy get yourself a flask or one of those ceramic kidded mugs that look like takeaway cups and supply your own coffee.
Check if you are entitled to warm front or green deal. I have just had the loft insulation done in my Victorian terrace. It's actually amazing I've turned the heating down to 1 and its plenty warm enough without a jumper
I stay in hotels a lot for work and always "liberate" nice teabags, coffee and the odd pen
or hundred pens.
Obviously I wouldn't do this in small hotels and I take a couple a day so it looks like I'm drinking them.
Also don't ever buy ready-made breadcrumbs again!! Nip down to Waitrose just before closing (mine is at 8 so is convenient) and pick up huuuge bagettes for 50p or less! Leave a couple of days and then whizz up and freeze.
You can also get some bargains. I got two tuna steaks for TWO POUNDS the other night. They were gorgeous.
Mushy You're doing really well! With regard to your lunches and coffees, if you're spending a total of £21 per week on these, multiplied by 48 weeks (am assuming you get four weeks' holiday) that's a total of £1008 per year just on soup and coffee! As a poster above mentioned, could you make your own soup and heat up in the microwave at work? Or take in leftovers from the night before and heat them up. Failing that, a home made salad or sandwich will be cheap and cheerful. I always take a packed lunch to work and to avoid a rush in the morning, I make it the night before.
I rang Sky last April and gave them a
made up sob story about having my wages cut and negotiated free line rental for twelve months. I'm going to ring them again in the next few weeks to see if they'll knock anything else off. I'm out of contract so I'm more than willing to switch to Freeview if they won't reduce my bill. The trick is, if you don't get any joy from customer services ask to be put through to disconnections. In the Sky office they're known as Retentions and their job is to keep you as a customer, so they have more power to give you discounts than customer services do. If the worst comes to the worst and they won't budge (unlikely) but you don't actually want to cancel Sky, just tell them you need to think about it and double check your budget and will ring them back later. Then ring back and try again with a different person later on.
Do Sky not get wise to people phoning up to cancel? Just a bit worried they might call my bluff and I'll end up without
mumsnet broadband or telly!
Yes I did the maths after I posted Soft. That's a lot on lunch and coffee!
I'm going to make some soup at these weekend!
And I MAY have one of those thermos things for my morning coffee...
I'm already sensing I need to be more organised...
I really really really wanted to cancel sky ( went tv-free) and the retentions folk were V persistent! Before I got cross and kinda shouted at the guy he was offering me 6 months free inc movies and sports and no contract.
And in the last 8 months the offers through the post have been even better. DP wants it when he moves in at Easter so unless I get more convincing we will have his mega big tv screen in the house with a bazillion channels telling us about all the products we "need". I hate advertising!
For mobile phones, check out bill monitor. If you have a contract phone it will analyse your bills for you and in the few weeks leading up to your contract end it will email you with best deals.
My O2 super deal ended a few weeks ago and bill monitor showed me a three deal at £7 a month that meets my needs- that's £5 less than what I was paying last year with O2. ( O2 retentions team seem to offer great things unless you have already done your research!)
I use cashback sites and made about £600 in last few years. One actually made my broadband and landline pay me to have them and my three contract will technically cost me £4 a month average after cashback.
Food wise, the resourceful cook is a good place to help newbie meal planners. Also google "budget bytes" it's a lovely blog. Haven't cooked anything from it yet as been eating pre-made from the freezer since I discovered the site, but it's gonna be a major resource for me in the next few months.
My biggest money saver is that I have a list of my goals on the back of a cupboard door- this reminds me daily of my goals ( have more kids and to be a sahm for a few years) to do this I * have* to be financially savvy. I try to daydream about it too so its heavily ingrained in my mind. ( NLP trick)
Re soup and coffee at work -- make your own soup -- I recommend lentils added to make it more filling -- or bring leftovers (insulated bag needed so you don't get food poisoning) and get a good insulated mug and make your own coffee to bring with you. A french press is the cheapest option or if you could try instant that would be cheaper still.
I like the idea of going on a clothes freeze.
An aside, but I've just been tinkering with the account for my Austerity Housekeeping ebook on Amazon, and I have conquered the technology and managed to make it free for one day, if you want to download it. You don't need a Kindle as it's iPhone/iPad compatible, or can be downloaded onto a PC. Might be helpful for some people.
If anyone felt up to writing a short review or rating it, that would be good too, as last time I looked there weren't any yet.
As you were.
Mushy try and get a ceramic lined flask think for your coffee, stainless steel or worse plastic changes the taste of hot drinks slightly.
bluecarrot- Sky is great for missing the ads! Just watch everything 20 minutes after it starts (by recording or pausing at the start) and then you can zoom straight through them.
If you watch on demand there aren't any ads at all.
I didn't know you could get ceramic flasks. Where do you get them from? DH takes a flask to work and it tastes pretty dire, so he might like one for his birthday.
Right, update re: free book download. Apparently I have not quite conquered this as it works on Pacific Time plus a few random Amazon hours, so I would recommend checking at lunchtime if you want to do this. If you have problems just PM me and I'll see what I can do behind the scenes.
I paid for the book the day before yesterday Boffin and it was definitely worth it. Will write a review for you when the little ratbags give me three minutes peace!
Flask think? I meant flask thing! :D
This is a glass lined flask by Thermos: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Thermos-Eclipse-Glass-Lined-Flask/dp/B004ULPCBW
And I know you can definitely get ceramic lined thermal drinking cups too.
<blush> That's great Scooter. I have now sold 12 copies!! (Including one to DH LOL) If I sell 30 more I will have covered the costs of paying the man in Pondicherry to code the HTML for me!!
If anyone has a Waitrose near them with a cafe, get a Waitrose card which is free, and you can sit in the cafe or have free hot drinks to take away! You can have up to one a day. I have never seen our Waitrose cafe so busy...
Sorry link again www.amazon.co.uk/Thermos-Eclipse-Glass-Lined-Flask/dp/B004ULPCBW
After a very quick google here is a ceramic travel cup : www.amazon.co.uk/Creative-Housewares-MGR2542-CERAMIC-TRAVEL/dp/B005DKHDMK
I'm sure there are other styles out there.
Going off line now, I'll pop back on tonight, love this thread!
Mushy - it's not ads for me, it's DD. I'm fully capable of ignoring them but she just gets sucked in!
Thank you boffinmum I've ordered your book and will post a review once I've read it. Sainsburys basics chopped tomatoes can e turned into a really amazing (and super cheap) tomato soup with a little carrot, celery, onion, stock and a spoon of sugar and splash of balsamic vinegar.
Out of interest, has anyone actually managed to download the sodding thing onto a Mac? Mine can't seem to manage it ...
How do you actually make that soup Wolf? I've never made soup - do you need a blender?
SoftKitty If it's the same recipe as I have done:
Sainsburys basics chopped tomatoes can e turned into a really amazing (and super cheap) tomato soup with a little carrot, celery, onion, stock and a spoon of sugar and splash of balsamic vinegar.
Finely chop carrot, celery and onion (TBH, I usually grate them. These are the basis of almost every soup and stew I make. Once you've done this stage you can just add whatever suits you really)
Lightly fry in a little oil until soft (no colour, I tend to use olive oil)
Add tinned tomatoes and sugar to taste, simmer to thicken
Add balsamic vinegar to taste
If you like, use a stick blender to blend until smooth
A hand blender is useful for soup I have a £4 one which does an adequate job.
Wolf's Tomato Soup
Chop one stick of celery, one carrot and one onion. Sweat together gently in a little oil for at least 10 mins. If you like garlic chop a clOve or two and sweat with the other veg for 2 mins. Add 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp tomato purée and a slosh of balsamic. Allow Tom purer to cook out for a minute or two. If you like add some dried herbs - no more than a teaspoon. Add two cartons of sainsburys basics chopped tomatoes and a pint of stock - veg or chicken doesn't matter which. Add a bay leaf if you like but remember to remove before blending. Bring to the boil and then simmer for ten mins or so. Season to taste. Blend with a hand blender until relatively smooth. Is nice eaten just like this but if you like it creamier you can add a good splosh of milk and simmer for a couple more minutes. Freezes and reheats nicely either on stove or in microwave. Quantity should make enough for 4-5 portions.
Cross post with hellesbelles sorry hadn't seen that you'd already posted a recipe
Thanks, it sounds lovely, I must try it. DS and I like soup but I find shop bought ones are a bit too salty. Might see if I can pick up a cheap blender in the sales. Can you freeze the soup in tubs or is it only suitable for fridging?
wolf I've never added stock as I find the cheaper tomatoes are quite liquidy - I imagine it gives extra flavour. Thanks for the tip!
I've got a very cheap £5 blender, that dh took from work (it was an orphan hand blender) and I can confirm it does soup just fine.
I had a sandwich today that I made at home and froze, it was really fresh when I had it so I will be batch freezing them from now on.
I must get dh a waitrose card, I have one and I got a Xmas card off them with a £5 voucher.
What was in your sandwich Fluffy? (Does cheese freeze? Have only just learned from this thread that milk does!)
White bread, aldi spread, corned beef and pickle.
Cheese freezes too.
Apparently peanut butter and jam freezes, but to make it work you need to spread peanut butter on either side of sandwich and then pop jam in middle of this. The peanut butter acts like a barrier so you don't get soggy sandwiches.
Grated cheese freezes very well in sandwiches.
What other sandwiches can be frozen? I love cheese but don't fancy it every day. Since my slow cooker arrived today , I want to start having sandwiches at lunchtime with a main meal at teatime.
I would imagine any sliced meat or chicken would freeze well.
Maybe prawns too.
Thanks Fluffy - I'm shopping tomorrow so will stock up.
Cheese freezes. Cut it into smaller chunks than it comes in originally so you can defrost faster and defrost smaller pieces. Wrap it well in greaseproof paper and then a freezer bag.
All sliced meats freeze well. Wrap carefully.
*Remember to mark what you put in your freezer, and include the date of freezing too. Nothing worse than inspecting something you paid good money for only to find you don't know what it is or how old it is.
Rashers also freeze and they make delicious sandwiches with sliced tomatoes and a little lettuce.
Steal little packets of mustard, mayonnaise and ketchup if you're out somewhere these are available and keep them for bringing with you and assembling your sandwiches at lunchtime so they won't be all soggy.
mathanxiety half of my freezer is full of things I don't remember buying but refeuse to throw away because i'm sure it'll be ok in a stew!!
this pulled pork in slow cooker is lovely and I make frozen rolls/wraps with it as suggested in the recipe for work.
Hi - can i join? :-)
I switched to doing thd big food shop once a fortnight rather than weekly, with double the budget i can take advantage of bulk buys etc.
I also keep a list of all thd people i need to get birthday/christmas presents for and buy things throughout thd year when i see offers, makes it cheaper and stops me buying things in a panic at the last minute.
1. Those who add lentils to cottage pie etc, what sort of lentils do you use and when do you add them, when browning the mince? (Lentil virgin!!)
2. Anyone got a good tip for organising the freezer? I batch cook and buy reduced items but the freezer ends up rammed and i forget what i've got
Thanks for cheese-freezing info! (What about egg?)
Wish I had a bigger freezer though.
Marking place on this thread, some great ideas!
I bought the soda crystals now what do I use them for apart from in the drains?
I also have the mat leave problem
I have the child benefit paid in to a separate account I only ever use for stuff for the dc. I also don't shop for them locally (I don't like what's on offer here which helps) but go to a different city about twice a year and shop at jojo/gap/John Lewis. My dc are the same gender so I invest in better quality clothes that will last through two kids why h I presume I will sell one day . It stops me window shopping for clothes etc when I have to go in to town and then the proper shopping trip feels like a luxury splurge .
Accept hand me downs. If you don't like second hand you will once they go to nursery! I also buy 2nd hand from here/eBay/nct (if I can be arsed with the scrum) for nursery stuff but also nice brands if jeans etc. I would much rather have 2nd hand gap than new tesco. I learned the hard wAy about supermarket clothes with dc1! If I have to cut back more I will just but less outfits instead if going cheaper it's not worth risking things falling apart.
Same with shoes - dc1 has kickers - yes v spendy but v robust and in winter all they need +wellies as they look great with everything and they must be v comfy as dc1 is in live with them and has had the same style repeatedly just in different colours.
I need help with meal planning. I love stews/lasagne/all the stuff you can batch cook but dc1 won't eat anything like that. I am persevering with the this is what there is mindset but still need guidance for feeding a 3 year old cheaply.
I also need lunch box ideas pleas
When I am at work I struggle a bit with lunches. I travel a lot so food I take gets to the office fridge and gets abandoned. I end up buying lunch at 3pm whatever I can get! Not organised I know
I need to get my food shop down to 50 a week inc cleaning stuff but not nappies. For 1 adult and 1 3 year old is that realistic?
I cook the lentils first, then add them to the dish I'm making. I use the plain brown ones that can be hidden easily and turn to mush faster.
It's a pita but keep a list on a dry erase board of what's in the freezer and the date you put it in. You can stick the dryerase board to the freezer door. Try to keep similar dishes together in the same section of the freezer
Iggis found this about freezing eggs (gotta love Google - although did come up with entirely different stuff first !)
liking the freezer list. couldn't you just write straight onto the door with a dry wipe though? (my freezer has an enamel coating)
I was going to ask about freezing eggs eg egg mayo in a sandwich.
I don't think that would work HellesBelles - mayonnaise doesn't freeze well.
V motivated by this thread. Declaring war on the freezer today. I have a 4 drawer one and a dinky chest freezer. Why I haven't categorised it before I dunno but that's the plan since I have no idea what's under there!
Same goes for the larder which is huge and like a black hole.
I'm going to find a cheap shop and bit lots of storage containers so I can split up pack lunch dry food, cereals, tins etc. I think (know) half my pproblem with shopping is I worry I don't have enough of things to last but actually I have loads knocking around.
I only shop when dc1 is at nursery (twice a week) which is good in some ways as I never top up shop (I can't I'm a lp and find small shops with 2 dc too stressful) but I also slightly panic buy.
Going to try the ongoing list you add to when things run out too
I freeze nearly everything - cheese, eggs, bacon, ham, cream, milk, herbs, left over citrus fruit chopped up and pushed into the ice cube tray with water, leftover crusts of bread zapped in the food processor or grated to make breadcrumbs (use for schnitzel, rissoles or Queens pudding).
If I have veg that looks due to expire, and i can't eat that day I blanch or steam it and put into freezer bags. Most veg blanches and freezes well.
If I have potatoes starting to go soft I peel and cube them, steam for 5 mins, cool and bag up for the freezer. You can defrost and microwave into mash, or put them in a pan with olive oil and roast in a hot oven.
I don't have a fancy stacked steamer, I bought one of those metal inserts from IKEA that fits inside a normal saucepan.
Hard cheese freezes well, as does whipped cream piped into sticks or rosettes (freeze on a tray first on greaseproof paper, then bag it up once it's frozen). Berries can also be prepared and frozen on trays, although strawberries go a bit soggy (fine in smoothies and crumbles, though).
Thanks hola - mental note not to freeze egg mayo!
Ten sandwiches in freezer for next week:
tuna (no mayo)
It only took 20 minutes which is how long it takes on a morning when I'm trying to do 20 things at once!
Thanks Jenduck, lots of good advice on that site!
The tips on cooking/freezing food that's about to go off are great, ashamed to say I throw a lot away.
I often write a list of what's in the freezer, but never thought of a whiteboard. I don't know if freezers would be like school whiteboards, the pen tends to show through after a while.
Thanks mathanxiety -lentils on the shopping list! :-)
good point 13iggis not going to write on the freezer!
Don't sandwiches go soggy if frozen?
Will someone tell me about the lentils? Which ones (tinned please?) for bolognese??
You've been reported, Olivia.
Red, but you didn't hear it from me.
I just add red lentils with the stock / passata. No soaking, no pre-cooking. They take 20 mins to cook and IMO make it taste better.
Tip: I went to Oxfam today - bought a load of random and varied birthday cards for sending to friends & family through the year. All 49p each. All
some quite nice. Saves me both money and hours agonising in Paperchase over whether to go Humorous or Sincere.
Also money goes to Oxfam.
'Test in an inconspicuous area first' HellesBelles.
Mayo separates when you thaw it out after freezing and is pretty much impossible to re-emulsify. You live and learn..
You can also use green lentils in spaghetti Bol if you use tinned.
Frozen sandwiches don't go soggy. Promise. Unless you add salad.
With the cards I buy plain ones from tesco I think it's 3.50 for 50 or thereabouts. I give them to dc to decorate with stamps/stickers they love it and it makes the cards special stickers v easy but using paint stamps is probably the cheapest option. Which reminds me I must find some new ones as crowns/Xmas trees don't quite cover all occasions!
Inconspicuous areas of the freezer are tucked into the wall so I think I'll find a less ricky option
Re-organised freezer yesterday into:
Top Drawer: accompaniments - oven chips, steam fresh veg (I know but I love them), frozen yorkshires (I know but I hate making them), crusty bread rolls.
Middle drawer: ingredients - frozen meat, onions, garlic, chilli, veg, fruit
Bottom drawer: leftovers, and, now, frozen sandwiches!!!!
Also stacked meat in the fridge into date order so the meat that needs using on Monday is at the top ready for cutting up and putting into the pot tomorrow ready for the slow cooker being switched on on Monday morning! Quite excited
Not excited that I may then only be on mumsnet once a day....
just loaded slow cooker pot with a beef stew to put on in the morning
I wrote a menu plan for next ten days or so and shopped strictly to it today - went to Aldi's for first time, and bought what I couldn't get there in Asda's. Spent £80 - would normally be about £100 with loads of top-up shops, so we'll see how it goes!
Feel free to post your meal plans, mine has gone to pot due t a sneaky Chinese take away last night and chips beside the sea tonight although. Dd do the lulled pork ready for tomorrow and it smells lovely with so much meat from a £6 shoulder of pork.
Tesco Everyday Shampoo
40p per litre as opposed to £1 for 400ml alberto balsam
I bought some on Friday and it isn't strongly perfumed (good, because I don't like my body / scent and hair to clash), doesn't lather up as well, but it got my hair clean using the same amount. It was fine.
Then again I wash mine every day as it tends towards greasy so I don't need TLC from my shampoo. Even so, t would be great for the DC / DH who don't have coloured or damaged hair.
Been watching this thread with interest, and thought I'd add my two pennyworth.
My passion is breadmaking! And there's no doubt at all that you can save quite a bit of money by making your own loaves and other bread products - pizzas, Chelsea buns, that sort of thing.
I've put together a post on my blog:
where I've gathered together some ideas, especially with a view to saving money.
If you have any questions or suggestions about other breads you don't see on my blog, please feel free to come back to me.
Bluelightsandsirens - heavens you wouldn't want my meal plans - baked potatoes, omelettes, stir fry and pasta pasta pasta is the order of the day! (We are vegetarians) (and crap cooks).
Thanks for some great tips . i have applied for a myWaitrose card and made a playdate with a friend to go to storytime at the library tomorrow!
This is just me being anorak_y, but when we had dd1 I very carefully "filed" clothes in age range (three to six months etc) in labelled pillow cases before vacuum packing away.
Expecting dc5 and recently moved dd4 up an age range and it felt sooo good to just reach in, grab bag, and re file other clothing for next one!
Sorry, slightly smug post but I really felt proud of myself!
Pancake day is fast approaching - but did you know you could make an excellent pancake with just flour and water?
These will cost you approx 1p each - as against 9-10p for those using traditional ingredients - and they taste just as good:
And, I don't know why I didn't mention this earlier, but, if you practice the 5:2 diet, you'll save 20% of your adult food bill - and you can lose weight at the same time!
Meant to include a link to the current Mumsnet 5:2 diet thread:
Check it out, there are scores of posters losing weight on there - and saving money into the bargain!
Hello: I not only wanted to save money, but wanted to make money. i joined www.retaileyes.co.uk and have had 2 assignments from them. One was to do mystery shopping on hotel receptionists and give feedback. 90 minutes got me £90.
i also went through http://www.sarosresearch.com/home.html and that questionnaire took 2 minutes and I've just done 4 surveys @ Stansted for £78 in total. They choose who they want to take on, after you fill out a questionnaire for every market research assignment. I try and be as open to suggestion as possible ;) I had to go Pet's Corner & buy dog food. I got to keep the dog food, and got a rennet for taking part. The questionnaire afterward was LONG! Not quite worth doing that one. But, it gives me about £1,000 extra a year, which I whack into premium bonds.
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