I want next year to be my most frugal yet.

(90 Posts)
TheHippywhowearsLippy Sun 27-Oct-13 08:15:43

So I've decided that I want to save as much money as possible next year in order to pay of debt & become more self sufficient.

Right now I meal plan, sell things at car boots, we don't drink or smoke, I walk pretty much every where but a car is essential for school runs etc.

I was thinking of starting the year by bulk buying the essentials for the first 6 months possibly the full year depending on what the item is.

Can anyone help? Give tips, what should I buy in bulk if anything at all? Or anything else you can think of.

Much appreciated!

MinimalistMommi Sun 27-Oct-13 08:26:44

Google my three favourite blogs to inspire you:
Frugal queen
Mortgage free in three
A girl called Jack

Build up a stock cupboard using approved foods (mortgage free in three does this) to really get your weekly food bill down.

Start writing out how many kWh you use per day on electric in a diary to encourage you to cut down.

MinimalistMommi Sun 27-Oct-13 08:27:39

Try and get someone to give you a breadmaker for Xmas if you don't already have one...preferably a Panasonic LoL
You will save a lot of cash making your own bread.

MinimalistMommi Sun 27-Oct-13 08:28:17

Oh, and have as many meat free days as you can as this will be much cheaper...

Bluecarrot Sun 27-Oct-13 08:40:15

When stocking up on essentials, obviously wait til they are in a great offer. Mysupermarket.co.uk will help you determine good sale prices.

You can often find genuine manufacturers coupons on eBay ( avoid photocopies as these are fraudulent.) I got £30 worth of £5 off Andrex and used them when an 18 roll pack was £6.

Also if you have the time, look at your local discount stores- home bargains, pound world and pound land. But only when you know a good sale price. Sometimes items (like body wash) are cheaper in supermarket offer.

Check out the old style board on Moneysavingexpert.com. All the boards there are great but it would take years to catch up!

Also, on the main site he has a money makeover thing - takes a full day or two but involves checking you are on best rates for electric/gas/bank accounts etc.

Murdermysteryreader Sun 27-Oct-13 11:25:58

Last month I bought a big sack of potatoes from a farm - £3.50. My goodness they have kept us feeed all month and I still have about 2 weeks worth. Jackets, roasts, mash etc. Asmall bag that does about 2 meals from Tescos cost about £1:50. Yes they have cluttered my kitchen but I have found it so useful an money saving.

BrownSauceSandwich Sun 27-Oct-13 13:38:31

I'd recommend keeping a diary of your spends... It'll help you spot good and bad patterns, and assess which bulk buys really help, and which turn out to not be as helpful as you'd thought.

Toilet rolls are an obvious candidate for bulk buying, as long as you have space to store them, because you know they're going to be needed, and you aren't likely to go off a particular brand. Be careful bulk buying sun cream, however good the offers at this time of year... You will go to stash it away, and find you've done he same thing every year since 1996, and you've got more than you can use before the stuff goes off. Same with any foodstuff: check the use-by, and be honest about how much you're going to want to use before it expires!

Start the year (or now) with a day sorting out your energy suppliers, mobile phone, home phone, broadband, home and contents insurance, car insurance, life insurance, current and savings accounts, to get the very best deals. It's mind numbingly dull, but once done you could be saving £100 a month without feeling any difference at all.

Ask for a home energy monitor for Christmas, and spend some time with it working out where your leccy is going, and therefore where you can make savings (if your microwave has a clock on it, switch the bloody thing off at the plug!)

theboutiquemummy Sun 27-Oct-13 14:02:32

Make friends with your freezer and batch cook also stock up on frozen veg and meat that way you'll always have a meal

Save club card points and nectar rewards then use them to do your Christmas shop

Go through your cleaning products and find out which you actually use and which you just keep buying

OurMrsReynolds Sun 27-Oct-13 14:52:03

I'm going to get a small diary and keep a note of my spends and electricity/gas every day I think - good ideas here!

I just joined Nectar adpoints, you get paid to watch ads (you have to click a little box a few times per ad so they know you're watching), think nectar points are worth 0.5p per point (I have over 2000 = £10 odd there to use). It's an easy way to make some money, it's not much but every little helps, I just need to remember to click through them when I shop online and I'd probably have loads more!

TheHippywhowearsLippy Sun 27-Oct-13 15:09:27

some really good tips there, thanks.

I only have a small freezer at the min and was thinking of investing in a large chest freezer. So I can stick pile & batch cook. Just invested in a slow cooker! I have the energy meter so already seen a huge difference between that an my very old cooker smile

I've been tracking my spending for a few months & think it's pretty much under controll but I intend to be very hardcore next year.... I love a good challenge hmm

I've saved up some points so I'll use those for Christmas & start a new in January.

Going to try & grow veg in a little plot out back any tips there would be fab.

Mum2Fergus Sun 27-Oct-13 15:15:46

Ooh Hippy would love to join you!! I've got all our utilities switched and reduced to best deals I could find...only one left is my mobile at £15, I can change that come Dec.

I withdraw £50 cash ow and that's my budget, when its gone, it's gone!

I've started a journal on the Mortgage Free in Three site, Elaine is a real inspiration smile

What sort of things are best bulk bought?!

Purple2012 Sun 27-Oct-13 15:18:54

Groupon! They currently have toilet rolls on sale in bulk.135 £32. I got 2 lorslots so shouldn't have to buy any for nearly a year. Just waiting for kitchen towels to be on there so I can bulk buy them too.

jimijack Sun 27-Oct-13 15:31:03

Whilst pregnant, mat leave rapidly approaching, I bought 3 huge boxes of fairy washing powder & conditioner from a cash & carry.
Was enough for 12 months. Still got a box left.

Chest freezer yes, defo. Buy cheap bread & freeze. Batch cook & freeze.
Farm foods do frozen veg £1 per bag, chicken fillets, 3 big bags for £10, about 6 weeks worth for our house. (4of us).

Slow cooker, any veg left in fridge at the end of the week, Chuck into slow cooker make soup. Freeze.

I buy meat very little. One week I buy bacon, following week pork chops, following week mince .....

Never throw anything away. Spuds left in the pan boxed up & frozen.

Shop at Aldi, cook from scratch where possible.

Mum2Fergus Sun 27-Oct-13 15:59:42

Wish I had room to store an extra freezer grin/

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 27-Oct-13 16:29:39

How about laundry gloop? littlecottagecomforts.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/some-handy-hints-little-bit-of-thrift.html I find its good for coloureds, but not whites.

We use sainsburys smart price tea too, it's only 27p for 80 and dh never noticed when we changed. I bulk buy 15 boxes at a time, sometimes it goes up to 35p but it usually comes back down. Not that supermarkets act as a cartel or anything hmm

Trigglesx Sun 27-Oct-13 17:13:07

I buy a lot of the basics items from Sainsburys. Most of them are quite good.

I've cut back from using a pack of mince to 1/2 pack of mince for certain meals - spag bol, chili, lasagne. Nobody has noticed at all, which means the mince goes twice as far as before. smile

Definitely check out the OS (old style) board on moneysavingexpert. Really good ideas there.

I always keep something that's easy to toss into the oven at the last minute in the freezer - like frozen pizza or frozen veg and fish, basically stuff that can be cooked from frozen. It's when I'm too tired to deal with supper that I tend to cave in and spend money on a takeaway - but if I have quick and easy stuff to throw in the oven, I'm less likely to spend the extra on takeaway.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 27-Oct-13 18:43:59

Moneysavingexperts mortgage free wannabe forum is good. One woman was repaying £30 here & whatever was in her current account at the end of the month so she wasn't tempted to spend it. She made inroads into her mortgage.

Mum2Fergus Sun 27-Oct-13 18:58:46

May 2020 currently my mortgage free date lol

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 27-Oct-13 19:09:08

envy

lifesgreatquestions Sun 27-Oct-13 19:17:00

I'm just piping up to say thanks for the tips. I want to be frugal but splurge now and then. I do take out a weekly allowance in case and limit myself to that. I often have something left over at the end of the week. This thread has made me think. I'm thinking of taking out less and if it's still unspent at the end of the month I can put it toward the mortgage!

souperb Sun 27-Oct-13 19:25:21

Look at your spending - write everything down and categorise it all. Then look at the biggest thing you can change and work it down. The money you save per category should immediately go somewhere, not just float about the kitty. So if you knock 3.87 off your monthly insurance premium, add it to your monthly credit card payment or put it straight in savings.

What really helped me for grocery spending was taking one regular item at a time, getting to know its price and looking at ways to reduce the cost - either by buying elsewhere, substituting for different brand/package size or stretching it out.

Sounds mad, but we used to do 5 packed lunches a week and would buy a pack of 6 choc biscuit type things or multipack of crisps. We used five of them in the packed lunch then someone would snack on number 6 as it was laying about the kitchen. I started to hide this bonus sixth item, then every 6 weeks we would have a week without buying any and could either save the money for a breadmaker etc. or invest it in storecupboard staples. Once the big ticket spends are sorted out, I believe it is these small economies which add up to make the difference. Tightwad Gazette woman talks about rolling forward these incremental savings into a saving snowball. Of course, it would have been cheaper not to buy these prepackaged snacks in the first place - but that was my starting point.

For bulk items, I keep an Amazon wishlist with my target price as the comment - the prices fluctuate and occasionally I score a good deal on a tray of tinned tomatoes or toilet roll etc. Look for giant sacks of spuds and carrots from grocers/farm shops. But most deals come round again soon enough, so I tend not to stockpile too much these days.

Good luck - I really enjoy the feeling of control and generally freedom from The Man that being frugal gives me, but I have much more to do.

TheHippywhowearsLippy Sun 27-Oct-13 19:27:29

mum2fergus hop on board, the more the merrier! that's great mortgage free is such an inspiration. We're trying to save for a plot so I can build my dream Eco house smile currently renting a very old house.... no where near Eco.

Triggle great idea, takeaway is so tempting especially at the weekend.

Love laundry gloop, that idea makes me very smile smile smile

I live in NI so no Aldi at all or Sainsburys (where we live) & Groupon offers are amaze, almost bought that loo roll offer one night when I was up feeding the baby. Decided to wait, read the small print the next day & they charge £24 delivery to here!! That mad me sad lol

BrownSauceSandwich Sun 27-Oct-13 20:00:12

Souperb, I love your chocolate biscuit plan... It does sound trivial, but at stuff adds up. Maybe every couple of months or so, I'll have a week where I try to make do without shopping. It means I have to get creative with whatever's in the cupboards and freezer. We end up with pasta bakes made with non-matching pasta shapes, Toad in the hole made with the end of a bag of flour and frozen veggie burgers instead of sausages, and assorted-vegetable soup served with the naan bread from the back of the freezer... All a bit random, but it makes us laugh, and it's a real bonus those months when it's 5 weeks between pay days! Usually have to top up with a box of eggs and a couple of pints if milk, but it's amazing how far you can get.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 27-Oct-13 20:04:43

Look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves...

Trigglesx Sun 27-Oct-13 20:07:44

I try to watch the portions on things - if we have a huge pan of lasagne, sometimes we'll eat more than we should. So I dish out appropriate portions that we'll be eating and then cover up the rest and let it cool to put in freezer. That way it doesn't get eaten when we don't really need to IYSWIM.

I buy the basics bread at Sainsburys, about 6 loaves at a time, and they go in the freezer until we're ready to take a loaf out to use.

TheHippywhowearsLippy Sun 27-Oct-13 20:18:50

Soup that biscuit idea is great, so simple yet a great money saver! Plus the kids/hubby are always picking at the biscuit tin.

So far today I have:-

*Bought a Slow cooker & cooked an awesome roast beef dinner & saved some for tomorrow & sandwiches too smile
*Frozen the gravy from above
*tracked my electric use
*started to use an airer for clothes rather than the tumble
*Sorted out my diary with my spends for the month ahead
*novembers meal plan (got the kids involved)
*started an invoice of goods used idea from Frugal Queen, thanks Minimum!
*Cleared shelves from the garage so I can look forward to bulk buying... good motivation.

Now I've just put the baby to bed & I am zonked!

Fluffy, so true! (Makes note to open seperate savings acc in time for the new year) I love planning ahead smile

Trigglesx Sun 27-Oct-13 20:32:24

I also do a load of washing in the evening of things I eventually want to tumble dry. I hang them on the airer overnight, then put them in the tumble dryer in the morning to finish them off - no crunchy towels, less drying time. I figure any reduction in use of the dryer is good savings.

Ememem84 Sun 27-Oct-13 20:55:48

Am trying to save for a deposit for a house. This is so far how I have saved money:

- walking to work every day.
- taking in packed lunch (worked out that I was spnding at least £5 x 5 days a week = £25 = £1175 a year)
- bulk buying household things which won't go off - toilet roll, cleaning products, washing powder.
- making a shopping list and sticking to it.
- meal planning.
- have invested in a slow cooker recently and have spent the last 4 weekends batch cooking and filling up my freezer.
- pound shop for take away boxes/freezer bags.
- bulk buying brand toiletries and only when special offer - bought 9 deodourants the other day as were on 3 for 2. not going to go off. will use.
- down branding toiletries and bulk buying (ie boots own brand pads/tampons - just as good, half the price).
- Utilising points on boots card (for treating myself or DH to the good stuff - ie new YSL mascara, more aftershave for his birthday etc)
- Only buying new clothes twice a year or so but making sure I only buy stuff which will go with the items I already have. Tend to spend a bit on these trips, but means I won't spend throughout the year.
- not being afraid of ebay - buying or selling.
-am a bit cheeky and charge my phone at work.
- cool wash. fast spin = less time drying.
- only put small items in the dryer (undies, vests, tees etc).
- bedding & towels are left to air dry, and fluffed up in the dryer for 20 minutes.
- put all pennies/loose change into a jar. then every now and then, count it up and put it in the bank.
- use or lose memberships - I pay £40 a momth for the gym. I wasn't using it. So started. I go 4 times a week before work. By doing this, I save on money by showering at the gym. And use the works milk on my cereal as have breakfast once I get in (cheeky I know, but it saves us about a pint a week).

These are just the thngs I can think of at the moment. I'm sure I do loads more.I want to be able to save £12,500 next year as a minimum. I think this will be tough, as I like nice things. The only thing I have refused (for the moment) to give up is my monthly trip to the beaticians. Bio Gel french manicure, and a bikini wax (£45 a month in total). If I absilutely have to, I'll find a cheaper place (ie beauty school), and if really necessary, I'll stop completely.

good luck in saving. Don't wait until next year. Start now!

Mum2Fergus Sun 27-Oct-13 21:24:46

The tip that has saved me the most money is to withdraw my weekly budget (£50pw for DP, DS and I) in cash, and when it's gone, it's gone!

Witco Sun 27-Oct-13 21:32:34

Marking my place!

SoftKittyWarmKitty Sun 27-Oct-13 23:03:46

Please can I join? I'm already pretty frugal, especially compared to my friends who are better off than me, and I often feel like such a tightwad next to them.

Short term I want to finish paying my credit card off. I've been paying it off, swapping from 0% card to 0% card, for nearly eight long years. There wasn't even that much on it to start with - about £7.5k - but I don't earn much so it's taken ages. I've got just under £900 left to go which doesn't sound like much but I can only pay off between £50 and £100 per month. It seems never ending.

Medium term I want to take DS on a cheap week abroad, and we'd like to have a dog.

Long term I want to save a deposit for a house. Bit of a joke that, seeing how long it's taking me to pay off a £7.5k CC hmm, but it's there as a long term aim.

I already shop at Aldi but live near to small branches of Asda and Tesco and the temptation to pop in for milk and come out with £10 worth of shit junk food groceries is great <sigh>. I really need to get my arse into gear, meal plan and stick to it.

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 28-Oct-13 06:57:36

You can freeze milk you know, if you could defrost one the night before you need it you wouldn't need to pop to the shops.

Supermarkets are designed to make us spend after all.

MinimalistMommi Mon 28-Oct-13 08:12:25

If you don't have room to freeze milk like fluffy suggested! I've read that some people keep a box of dried milk in their cupboard so once all the fresh is gone they have got emergency milk! Some people use this all the time as it is so much cheaper than regular milk. I know A Girl Called Jack uses it a lot to make her macaroni cheese sauce from etc

MinimalistMommi Mon 28-Oct-13 08:12:58

Random exclamation marks...hmm

souperb Mon 28-Oct-13 08:32:02

I freeze milk and make bread in bread machine, which has helped cut down the top up shops. But my current downfall is eggs - online shopping orders always bring broken ones, and once I pop in to buy just eggs it all goes wrong. Any wise tips on the egg fiasco? I find it much easier to be frugal if I'm not in a shop...

gingysmummy Mon 28-Oct-13 08:36:26

excellent thread can i join? really need to tighten belts. i already mel plan shop at aldi but spend fr to much on elec bill don't have gas where i live

Marking my place! DP is going to be living away next year so along with changing my job situation, I desperately need to start being frugal! We're still going to have a joint income but we'll be running two lodgings and lives on it which will double our expenditure even though he's getting £10,000 more that year sad

TheHippywhowearsLippy Mon 28-Oct-13 19:10:40

This threads picking up speed..... Go us! (More random explanation marks, I like those)

Been up since 5 with the kids, so much for a lie in now that schools out. On the plus side I've had lots of time to think about saving money which I will share v soon.

Go Ememem84 that is some serious money saving! Ohhhh £12,000 that's amazing. Slightly jel as that's my annual salary & I work full time sad but serisouky if I save £2,500 next year I'll dance naked in my garden with joy lol

Welcome Softkitty, yes join, invite friends & soak up the money saving, frugality. Goal setting is good motivation I do that with weight loss too, am not just tighting the purse strings smile

Soup, eggs, emm sorry can't think if anything atm. Hopefukky someone wise will pop along soon.

Ginny & Confused, welcome & keep us updated.

Confused, would you consider renting out a spare room to a professional. That could help in a few ways.

Hope no ones been effected to badly by the storms, lucky here just a blustery here.

TheHippywhowearsLippy Mon 28-Oct-13 20:23:31

Forgot to ask, has anyone tried own brand shampoo/conditioner/toothpaste? Asda is selling these at 25p for 500ml/100ml. Pretty good or would it be a false economy? I was my hair 3/4 times per week so do my DG's so think hulk buying these would be a good idea if it's worth it.

souperb Mon 28-Oct-13 20:44:29

Really cheap shampoo I tend to use more of as it often feels thin and it's hard to get a lather. I buy own brand stuff, but not the economy lines if you see what I mean. Buy one bottle and see how it goes?

But shower gel/hand soap/bubble bath is ok. I tend to buy the big bottles of economy bubble bath and dilute into shower gel bottles and hand soap bottles. At the moment I am using diluted ecover handwash that I bought in a massive 10L container off Amazon - but the prices fluctuate, so don't assume it is always a good deal. I prefer the ecover handwash as it's better on my eczema, but it still stands some diluting and when funds are low I use the bargain bubble bath.

Toothpaste I buy the quid tubes of crest/colgate/boots smile when they are on 3 for 2 and focus on using a small amount instead of covering the enture toothbrush head.

I think these deals come round on cycles, so I personally wouldn't tie up too much cash in a soap mountain. The sainsburys economy stuff is regularly discounted and Boots economy lines periodically go on 3 for 2. People rave about the Aldi stuff, but not sure how it is priced.

We've been really bogglingly skint in the past until a series of unfortunate events left me heavily in debt AND skint. I got a grip and managed to pay off the debt and improve our situation somewhat, but now we are doing better I have eased up on the purse strings. I would like to get a bit stricter again and focus on getting rid of the mortgage and having some money for Big Fun instead of frittering it away on diet cokes and other nonsense.

tshirtsuntan Mon 28-Oct-13 21:15:59

souperb our local newsagent/offie sells eggs,milk & bread..I'm much less likely to buy a load of crap! Alberto balsam shampoo is always a quid a bottle and feels (vaguely) luxurious grin

SoftKittyWarmKitty Mon 28-Oct-13 21:29:44

Thanks Hippy, I'm definitely in on the challenge but doubt my friends will be. One is very affluent - 3 or 4 foreign holidays per year, nice things and fab house - and another says they're pretty skint, then in the next breath tells me they spend £150 a week on groceries and makes regular visits to the nail bar. I think skint is quite subjective though and what's skint to one person would be well-off to someone else.

I don't have the freezer space for milk and don't fancy the powdered stuff on my cereal grin, so if I have a milk crisis I'll start taking a single pound coin to Asda where they sell 4 pints for £1.

It's nearly November so we have two months to prepare for the 2014 year of frugality. Think I'll need that time to get my head around meal planning and stopping random spending. I like to think I don't do a lot of random spending but if in being honest, I do. It needs to stop.

souperb Mon 28-Oct-13 22:49:21

tshirtsuntan Unfortunately, our local newsagent/offie is a tesco express... Bread and milk I can work around, but going in for eggs is my downfall. I quite like Alberto Balsam - especially the tea tree one.

SoftKittyWarmKitty Have you tried porridge with water instead of milk? I prefer it, but I really don't like milk anyway. The kids don't notice, especially as I often add mashed banana/cinnamon/maple syrup/jam. Not all at the same time, I hasten to add.

DipMeInChocolate Mon 28-Oct-13 23:16:09

Get a milkman avoids the milk crisis here. Yes its slightly more expensive than the supermarket. 58p a pint but the savings on buying shite when you popped in for a 50p pint outweigh easily. I have frozen milk before, not a fan but will buy a couple of cartons of UHT for emergency. I've started to take my lunch into work and I'm enjoying my sandwich more than days old bought ones.

TBH the big thing thing is adjusting your mindset. You're not scrimping and doing without, you're enjoying a simple more natural life (less bloody tat).

I already shop at Aldi and Lidl and clothes buy from bonprix and Matalan. I work in the town centre so can pick up essentials from poundland and new 99p store In my lunch hour (time limiting helps) Can't remember the last time I stepped into Tesco/ Asda.

Ememem84 Tue 29-Oct-13 06:51:32

Exactly. It's changing mindset. It's not about "I can't afford it" it's more "I don't need it".

Taking in lunch has def helped. Example yesterday. I took homemade pumpkin soup. Pumpkin cost £5. I have an entire bucket load of soup in my freezer. In cafe at work pumpkin soup was £4.50 a bowl. Without bread for dunking. That's extra. So many colleagues complaining about the cost. I was a bit smug.

I might be being overly ambitious with my £12k saving. I'll be happy if I can reach half of that. But am really going to try to reach the target. It will be difficult as we live in a v expensive area (can't move without moving to mainland uk) so normal things cost the earth here (£1.70 for pint of milk) wages are higher to compensate but I dream of tesco, remember it from student days...

JimmyCorpseHell Tue 29-Oct-13 10:27:48

I read a thread on here a while back about hairdressers admitting that their salons used cheapy shampoo. The trick was to use a little bit and spend time massaging it in, then rinse and repeat. I find that the shampoo can be cheap but cheap conditioner makes my hair feel greasy. We have used value shower gel for a few years now. 30p a bottle, not bad! I have also read that you should spend money on what stays on your skin (moisturiser eg) and get cheap for what washes off.

I second taking just the money you need when you nip out for milk/bread. You feel all virtuous walking home knowing you didn't get sucked into buying anything else grin Another tip for the milk/bread run is to take all your shrapnel if the shop has self service tills. I have paid for £3+ shops using just coppers!

SoftKittyWarmKitty Tue 29-Oct-13 13:16:44

Sorry DipMeInChocolate (fab name btw!) but I'd rather not pay 58p for a pint of milk when I can get 4 pints for £1 at Asda, Aldi or Iceland. In fact if anyone's near Morrisons, they do 4 pints for 97p smile. Waaaaay cheaper than Ememem's £1.70 a pint though shock.

I've taken my own lunch to work for years, even though I work near a shopping centre, and there's a canteen at work. I know I can make my own for a fraction of the cost of buying. The real trick is avoiding buying snacks at work - choc, crisps, drinks - so I tend to take a batch of snacks and fruit at the start of the week for many times I get hungry. I also have a box of cup a soups in my drawer for the rare day that I cba to make anything, or don't have anything in the house to bring.

As well as saving money, I'm going to aim to earn more next year and I'm currently looking for a second job, and also looking into doing some kind of work from home. God knows what though!

Littleredsquirrel Tue 29-Oct-13 17:14:43

Soup have you thought about having chickens if you use a lot of eggs? A couple of chickens will cost you next to nothing to keep but will give you a couple of eggs a day during laying season (and you can freeze the excess for use during the winter months)

We have five hens and are generally overrun with eggs. At the moment in my fridge I have 34. We have pancakes every sunday for breakfast, I bake a cake and we have an egg based meal at least once a week.

souperb Wed 30-Oct-13 16:47:14

Littleredsquirrel Not allowed chickens here under the deeds, and we have a rather pesty neighbour who would make a fuss. I've had them in the past though, which is probably what started our ridiculous egg habit. I cook mostly from scratch, so we get through a fair few and at one point I was making pasta to use them up. We've not been here long, but once I am up to date, I may try to get an allotment, and hopefully we'll be allowed to keep a few there.

Tell me about freezing eggs! Cooked or raw? And I assume not frozen in their shells... Do I need to separate whites and yolks?

Littleredsquirrel Wed 30-Oct-13 16:54:36

You freeze raw. Whisk them up a little bit just enough so that the white and yolk is mixed and then I tend to freeze them in large ice cube trays that I had for freezing baby food portions so that I know each portion is one egg. They are absolutely fine for baking, batter and even omelettes/scrambled egg.

Littleredsquirrel Wed 30-Oct-13 17:09:11

Nothing wrong with many cheap conditioners. At one stage I spent a lot on my hair. I have long very thick hair and its my best feature. I now spend a fraction of the money I spent before and my hair still looks the same. Cheap conditioner is fine. It's the combing through and the thorough rinsing that makes the difference.

Cheap toothpaste is also fine. Homebargains had strangely packaged (orange and red) colgate a few months back for 25p a tube. We are still working our way through the 28 boxes I bought!

Littleredsquirrel Wed 30-Oct-13 17:13:17

Oh can I also add about chestnuts. Its been a really good year for them this year (as it has for all berries and nuts due to the late spring). We picked up hundreds last week from just one tree. An evening shelling them in front of the tv and I have enough for loads of stuffing, serving with the brussel sprouts at Christmas and for use in baking now all stashed in the freezer.

Free food!!

graceholl Wed 30-Oct-13 17:34:39

Hello all, hope you don't mind if I join you. New to MN too though been reading for a while.

TheHippywhowearsLippy I use Tesco Everyday Value toothpaste and I can't fault it. Really fresh and minty. Branded toothpaste is one of the biggest rip offs out there IMO.

Ememem84 I'm doing much the same as you for saving money. I too have regular beauty appointments but I think I'm going to curb these and watch lots of YouTube tutorials on doing treatments at home. I learnt to paint my nails 'properly' about 18 months ago so never bother with manicures now but I do indulge totally needlessly in pedicures. More than capable of doing them myself just can't resist the 'foot spa' - £35 sodding quid though so that can stop!

My target is £2,000 by June to pay off my overdraft. That means I need to save £250 per month which is unlikely to happen in its entirety as my income post-rent and bills is pretty measly, but I'm going to give it my best shot!

Things I'm consciously doing:

- Bought a huge money jar. Excavated flat and every handbag for change. Have been topping up with random change left in my purse at the end of the day and so far have got about £20 in a couple of weeks. DP & I are both contributing to this and are leaving it there for any future emergency/shortage.
- Bought a slow cooker. MIL is a brilliant money saver and swears by her slow cooker. I'm making myself an online scrapbook of cheap slow cooker recipes that I find (brilliant ones on Pinterest - in fact I heartily recommend Pinterest to anyone interested in being thrifty - DIY/Crafts category is especially good)
- Meal planning
- Withdrawing weekly budget from ATM rather than spending blindly on debit card. Somehow wink always end up with less in my account than I calculate in my head...
- Entering competitions. Made a separate e-mail address to filter out junk. But taking 30mins or so every day to enter competitions. Supermarket websites have particularly good ones - Waitrose & Sainsburys the best I have found.
- Being vigilant about using store cards. I know a lot of people dispute their worth these days as I guess it leads many to overspend as they want the points (I know someone who's guilty of doing this at Boots) but I know Clubcard can be very rewarding and also if you have your electricity with eon, you collect points too
- Using things up. I have bottles and bottles of shower gels, perfumes, multiples of make up...etc etc & yet I STILL buy new. So pointless. In future I will ONLY buy things once my current stock is completely gone.
- Cat food. We have 2 hungry cats (just over a year so still got the appetites of kittens) who demolish so. much. food. Plan - buy bulk online. I think MIL pays £27 for a combo of wet and dry food that lasts a good 6-8 weeks. Need to do this!

That's all I can think of for now. Looking forward to reading and sharing more frugal ideas!

Oh also one last thing - another fab read is www.athriftymrs.com - some brilliant tips.

graceholl Wed 30-Oct-13 17:36:33

Ok one MORE thing - hair wise - don't bother buying expensive hair masks/treatments. Coconut oil is your friend. Buy in supermarkets/specialist hair shops (especially Afro-Caribbean ones). Brilliant stuff. Also use on your hair and nails - and obviously in your cooking! I work in the industry and have tried crap they try and flog for £40+ and it is no better. Just a 2p sized blob rubbed through the ends of your hair for a couple of minutes and washed out as normal!

Littleredsquirrel Wed 30-Oct-13 17:52:45

I use coconut oil to take off my make up too. Its fab and I'm still working my way through a jar I bought for £6.00 18 months ago (and I wear lots of make up).

I am also going to use up all my toiletries. I have things from years and years ago (some of which probably need chucking out but others will be fine).

RevoltInParadise Wed 30-Oct-13 19:00:03

Marking my place so I can come back and strife down some of these tips!

gingysmummy Wed 30-Oct-13 19:00:30

hi i have a slow cooker which i do use a lot due to convience,silly question do you save a lot more using them a i was unsure as soup takes a lot longer than in a pot ,i use mine mainly for curries stews etc

Littleredsquirrel Wed 30-Oct-13 19:04:32

There may be a slight saving by using a slow cooker. I think mine uses the same energy as a lightbulb but it is of course on all day. I think the benefit comes from being able to bung a frozen chicken etc into the slow cooker and come back home to lovely cooked chicken. It's a time and convenience thing.

Other advantage is you can apparently get away with cheaper cuts of meat by cooking them slowly.

Littleredsquirrel Wed 30-Oct-13 19:08:50

Also pinching from the cold house thread turn off your heating once the children are in bed. Sit with a dressing gown thick sicks and a blanket with a hot water bottle if necessary. Will save a lot on heating costs.

graceholl Wed 30-Oct-13 19:29:02

Slow cooking also enables you to make the shittiest cut of meat tender and delicious!

graceholl Wed 30-Oct-13 19:31:28

Also on heating, as we are currently childless & tend to be in the same room at the same time - living room/bedroom - I plug in a tiny electric heater for about 10 mins on full power and that generally warms up the room sufficiently for the evening. I know it's a drain on electricity but only for a few mins and certainly a lot cheaper than heating up the boiler and needlessly heating up unoccupied rooms. We keep loads of throws and blankets around the place and both have fluffy slippers - haven't had the heating on once yet and don't plan to until I actually can't feel my body! grin

souperb Wed 30-Oct-13 20:37:35

Littleredsquirrel Thanks so much re eggs. I will definitely be giving it a go.

gingysmummy I think slow cookers use a very small amount of electricity (less than a lightbulb usually) to heat a confined space - ie you are only heating the actual cooking pot, instead of the whole oven space around your casserole dish. So I think they are definitely cheaper than using an oven to cook something for a long time. For things on the hob, like soups, I tend to use a pressure cooker. It means I don't have to plan ahead too much and it's quicker (therefore cheaper) than using a saucepan on the hob. The really great benefit for me to using a slow cooker is that I don't need to be stirring things and generally keeping an eye on them. Making cordial, chutneys, risotto etc are much simpler in a slow cooker since food won't get too dry, burn or stick to the bottom if the recipe works. Any recipe that says simmer wants attention I just don't have. And teatime is my worst time of day with small people getting tired, school people demanding attention and wine o'clock within-reach-but-still-too-far-away.

graceholl Good luck with your target. I think reward schemes are useful, as long as I don't buy stuff I don't need just to get points. The little things really do add up. At the moment I am nickel and diming myself to death - so it really works both ways. But getting a grip on the small change will hopefully brainwash me into frugal habits again.

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 30-Oct-13 20:54:48

Our slow cooker uses 200 watts on high & 100 on low. I cooked a small chicken the other day and collected he juices for stock.

Took about 4 hours or 8p compared to 90 minutes in a 2.5kw oven.

Ememem84 Wed 30-Oct-13 21:14:06

Excited re the tips. Did not know you could freeze eggs. Will be giving that a go.

Have also bought long life milk. And the powder stuff for emergencies.

I am terrible for buying things to get points....and not using the things. Ha a clear out of make up bag earlier. 5 mascara's. Made mental note not to buy any more.

Have made dh change my iTunes password. This will help drunk sprees. I hope.

TheHippywhowearsLippy Wed 30-Oct-13 21:58:40

Changed the rest of our light bulbs to energy savers today, hoping that helps. Going to light the fire this weekend & not have the heating on so much, it is so cold here especially at night. Going to invest in some onesies for the kids, can anyone recommend where to go or discount codes if possible?

Got my tesco vouchers & money of coupons from everywhere I could think of today so managed to get everything I needed for the next month for £61 (not including meat that I'll get that from the butchers much better quality)

Agree about the slow cookers been monitoring mine now for a few days only using 9p ph compared to 74p ph on the cooker. Also invested in a thermos, boiled the kettle just once today & drank about 6 cups of coffee/tea. Hoping the keeps the electric down because it has doubled since we had the baby. Also been batch cooking & freezing the portions in cartons from the £1 shop.

started gathering old leaves into the compost bin today so I should have enough mulch come the time to plant my veggies smile

Next on my list is Xmas presents for the IL's & the rest if the neices & nephews, all 18 of them!! Thinking frugal frugal frugal is the only way to go here, even thought most are obsessed with designer brands.

Littleredsquirrel Wed 30-Oct-13 22:19:32

I have switched my energy supplier this evening using the Martin lewis energy switching club thingy. Should save me £469 a year just on electricity!!!

Have also been round to see what I leave switched on. Skyboxes are in constantly but have found out I can put them on standby and they will still record so that's useful. Cooker clock is always on and can be turned off and the DCs night lights aren't really needed anymore. I've also unplugged all the random chargers lying around the house!

Littleredsquirrel Wed 30-Oct-13 22:21:11

The DCs had onesies from next for Christmas last year, a gorilla and a reindeer and they a still going strong despite masses of wear.

Generally I find landsend very good for good quality fleecy PJs and they always have discount codes flying around and cash back on quidco.

Littleredsquirrel Wed 30-Oct-13 22:23:41

I also went to decathlon today hunting for thermals for the kids. Found some decent ones at a really good price. Ski trousers were also £14 and they had beautifully soft fleecy jumpers in kids sizes for £1.50 perfect for lazing around the house.

Pollaidh Wed 30-Oct-13 23:03:37

Some washing tips...
- change out of smart work clothes when you get in, before cooking, toddler wrangling. Some will last another day and no risk of ruining silk tops with splatters.
- I stopped using fabric conditioner as a broke student. I've never missed it.
- lakeland sell dry cleaning bags and sachets for cleaning dry clean only clothes in the tumble dryer (20 mins on low). Much cheaper and easier than dry cleaning. Even then I only do that with clothes you really can't wash. Most supposedly dry clean clothes, cashmere jumpers etc can be washed on wool cycle with delicate liquid.

Littleredsquirrel Wed 30-Oct-13 23:25:07

Tip for getting the fire going quickly. If you are still using the tumble dryer and haven't cut it out due to cost, keep the lint. It burns really well and makes it a doodle to get the fire going.

MinimalistMommi Thu 31-Oct-13 07:45:50

thehippy if you're short on money people say on money saving expert that the Primark onesies are really warm and only £8. The adult onesies are £10.00.

TheHippywhowearsLippy Thu 31-Oct-13 09:24:42

Oh dear Mini your right, I really do come across like we are short on cash. We're not really that bad it's just I am a massive tightarse who is determined not to waste money like I used to. It's just I am honestly ashamed for my pre marriage spending, it was thoughtless & looking at the hoards of designer shoes/handbags in my wardrobe that I havn't worn in ages reminds me of that everyday. (Makes note to sell them on EBay)

Primark onesies sound good I'll have a look in there today, thanks. Might pick up a few bargins for Xmas too smile

Littleredsquirrel Thu 31-Oct-13 09:30:12

Dont be embarrassed about that though Hippy. We are in the same position. We are relatively well off but we need to spend less since we have to start making inroads into our mortgage and I became self employed six months ago so still working on building up the business and have relatively little security.

Every penny counts.

gingysmummy Thu 31-Oct-13 09:39:09

Thanks for your replies i will try making risotto in mine i'd never thought of that before,and yes it does make perfect sense that it's only the pot that is heating.My oven is def packing in, i batch cook every week including cakes for packed lunches and they came out awful think it could be the over door seal that has gone.I have bought a really cosy hooded cape/bedjacket from primark think it was £8 in a cat design and my ds and dh wear onsies trying to keep heating costs down as that is where most of our money goes due to having a crap electric bolier

MinimalistMommi Thu 31-Oct-13 10:05:25

Agree, every penny counts, we're not so badly off but we are renovating cottage so a lot of money needs to go into that so I need to save elsewhere. Nothing wrong with being savvy and saving every penny we can!

MinimalistMommi Thu 31-Oct-13 17:20:57

Really worth checking out reduced sections of supermarkets, just got yellow stickered cauliflowers for 25p each and pots of fruit for 20p each and a whole pineapple for 20p. Not organic (and I 95% of the time buy organic) but at that price I couldn't resist. Going to make a huge cauliflower cheese tomorrow.

Bluecarrot Sun 03-Nov-13 09:05:18

Hoping to have a frugal year too. I hope it every year in fact!

Baby is due on 6th January so I refuse to compromise on heating costs for her ( though for now us older ones have to suffer a little) So I need to make cut backs in other places.

1) food is a major expense for us so keep trialling stores value brands and only buying brand names when on a good offer ( we luckily have plenty of storage space!) I use mysupermarket price alerts for items we don't compromise on or dont need to buy weekly/ dd needs Mitchum deoderant, DP wants lynx... Our multivitamins, loo roll, etc)

2) fridge freezer is on its way out so I'm keeping an eye out for sales on ones with larger freezer compartments. Since I'm not panic buying I can research, haggle etc

3) bulk cooking ESP leading up to birth of baby. Lots will be stuff DP or dd can reheat in the microwave themselves.

4) adding lentils or chickpeas to foods to bulk out since neither dd or DP want to go meat free.

5) splitting shops with my mum. Eg taking advantage of bogof or 2 for £x on short shelf life products like milk, bread etc. I'm the only one in the house who likes brown bread- my mums takes a third if my 50/50 bread in exchange for 1/3 loaf of her whole grain.

6) waiting to do errands in car til I have a few in the same area. Sometimes its cheaper to order online and pay postage than to drive to somewhere where I have no other errands to do.

7) sign up for petrol price alert emails.

8) look out for deals on grocery delivery. I bought a 6 month tesco delivery pass for £30. Not only does it save petrol, allowed me to browse deals at my leisure and plan better using what's in my cupboards, but I don't impulse buy at all. My shopping bills have come down by around a third.

9) basically everything you are going to do, ask what value you are willing to spend on it. I get 10 cards for £1 in card factory... Or similar. The cards aren't m&s quality but they look ok and it's the handwritten message inside that counts. I have a list of events that are coming up, and bulk buy in one go.

10) have a go at making quilted blinds for smaller windows - layering fabric and batting ( I'm using ikea fleece blanket though cotton or wool probably better) and some blackout material or one of those silver emergency blankets? I've read great things about them but in process of getting two rooms redecorated and can't make blinds til after plasterer has been so I know actual window size!

Can think of more but need to get out of my cosy bed and get some housework done!

Bluecarrot Sun 03-Nov-13 09:21:31

m.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24757144. Low tech ways to save money smile

confusedofengland Sun 03-Nov-13 09:50:34

Have only skim read, so don't know if other people have recommended the same things, but here's my twopenn'orth

- Go to supermarkets near closing time for cheap (75% off or more) fruit, veg, deli products, chilled products, meat, fish, bakery goods. Times will vary from store to store, so just ask a member of staff from that area what time they reduce their prices. I tend to do this around twice per month & stock up enough to last roughly a month & freeze.

- If you can't find reduced bargains, try Farm Foods for basics - 2 loaves of Hovis/Kingsmill for £1.50, 2 x 4 pints milk for £1.60, 30 bags crisps (own brand) for £3 etc

- Use loyalty cards whenever they are offered! I have a 'free' coffee from Costa once a month or so & am currently saving Nectar points for a Eurostar trip (or money towards it). It helps to think of bonus offers in terms of money eg 25 Tesco Clubcard points can be worth £1, so if I gain 25 clubcard points I am saving £1.

- A rather specific one, but if you have DC & fancy a trip to Disneyland Paris, consider annual passes if you are going for more than 1 day. We are just back from there & got annual passes for me, DH & DS1 (DS2 doesn't need ticket yet as only 2). They cost just 30 Euros less altogether than if we had bought 2 seperate day passes. Other theme parks/attractions may do the same thing.

- Use Groupon/Wowcher etc for days out, presents, haircuts etc. We have just bought a day at a big local farm park for 2 adults & 3 DC for £9, would normally be about £30.

- Use Nectar or Topcashback or similar when you buy anything online.

- Check you are getting all benefits/funding etc you are entitled to. I did not know that DS2 may be entitled to free nursery funding because of his speech delay until the SALT mentioned it. The funding has still not been confirmed & it may only be a small amount if we get any, but all these things are worth investigating, as we are paying for it anyway.

MisForMumNotMaid Sun 03-Nov-13 13:32:57

We're trying to build up a little savings/ rainny day pot. Lots of extra ideas to copy thank you.

Here's some of my thoughts...

We moved in the summer and I've been playing with the electric use thing which is quite interesting.

With heating I'm currently playing with using the 1 hr boost function rather than timmer - except in the morning when its on timmer for an hour. I have a little rule about not feeling guilty about hitting the 1hr button if I/ we feel cold. We have snuggly fleece blankets by the sofas and in the conservatory and I encourage the children to wear socks and slippers. First mention of cold the response is put a sweater on rather than heat the house for us to live in summer clothes. I think we probably have it on about 20% of the time it would be on timmer.

We use UHT milk which I bulk buy at Costco. Likewise I tend to bulk buy toilet roll and kitchen roll. I use value cleaning products, aldi dishwasher tabs and laundry detergent.

I have price points for just about everything in my head so I can determine if an offer is good and not just that the discount makes it look good - also when an offer is really good that its worth stockpiling. For example we use lots of mature cheddar. I don't pay more than 50p/ 100g. Aldi do an everyday value 827g block for £3.97. If I'm in one of the other supermarkets thats my price point.

I havea coupon wallet. I cut them all out when I see them. You never know when you might use them. Kenco milicano are always doing £1 off vouchers and frequently the refil packs are on offer at £2. Combine the offers and its only £1 for nice coffee (i like it).

We've booked our first full week family holiday next year we got £37 flights to Iceland. We've paid for a rental cottage. Just need to save for passports, car hire and food. I'm planning a big ebay blitz pre Christmas to clear space for new toys and raise some cash.

MinimalistMommi Sun 03-Nov-13 15:05:52

ms £37 flights to Iceland shock
Is that in school holidays?
Tell me more how you managed this fantastic price?!

MisForMumNotMaid Sun 03-Nov-13 15:37:23

Iceland is Easy jet end of July out / early Aug return as they released tickets. It was a fluke really, but you can predict (I've now learnt) when tickets will be released. An offer came up on Groupon, way more than we could afford so I thought I'd check prices. Couldn't believe it. Day later and some flights had gone up to over £100 with Easter ones being over £200 so I booked. The whole holiday will be a over £1000 though so lots to save yet.

LonelyGoatherd Sun 03-Nov-13 19:15:49

can I join? 2014 is the year that the debt all goes, so that we can start to overpay mortgage in 2015. If I get work (self-employed), household appliances don't break, etc etc, it should be achievable... <famous last words>

TheHippywhowearsLippy Sun 03-Nov-13 20:38:13

Some more great tips on here thanks smile

Currys have some great deals in at the min with vouchers for )£10/£20/£30 etc on until Wednesday I think just incase anyone's looking for Christmas savings.

Am starting to line my upstairs curtains with old curtain linings. Have lots & lots of old curtains so may as we'll use those. Also saved about £7 this week not using the tumble dryer smile

graceholl Wed 06-Nov-13 14:10:33

If you live/work near a Waitrose, their loyalty card gives you a free tea or coffee every day. If you buy coffee/tea on your commute or go out with other mums etc could save a small fortune potentially!

TheHippywhowearsLippy Thu 07-Nov-13 13:38:57

Now that we are all down with the flu I've decided its probally a good idea to bulk buy medicines that have a good long date in them. Things to buy, headache tablets, flu tabs, lemsips etc. thinking the £ shop is probally the place to go for these, or maybe tesco/asda own brand would do.

Thatsinteresting Thu 07-Nov-13 19:26:44

Boots/Tesco/Asda etc paracetamol own value brand is about 16p and is exactly the same as the branded products. When we looked at the ingredients lists for medicines we switched to just paracetamol with a hot water, honey and lemon for colds or with a chocolate biscuit for headaches and saved loads. We do keep value ibuprofen for flu type aches and shops own brand sudafed with decongestant for really rotton colds.

Fluffycloudland77 Thu 07-Nov-13 19:31:31

I wish I could convince my dh about that, even watching the chief scientific officer the royal pharmaceutical society on watchdog didn't convince him hmm angry. I make him buy his own now grin

Co-codamol is what you want wink, codeine knocks you right out <addictive substance disclaimer>

Alwayscheerful Fri 08-Nov-13 07:35:51

I bulk buy rice , pasta, tinned tomatoes, cous cous, tea, coffee, sugar, orange juice & squash, ground almonds, nuts, dried fruit, dried apricots, icing sugar, porridge & weetabix. Use buy dates are generally long.

Toilet roll, washing up liquid, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, washing powder, cleaning products I bulk buy or buy on offer.

Butter, flour, soured cream & cheese I buy in catering packs but keep an eye on the use buy dates as they have a shorter shelf life.

I have registered with approved foods and buy a range of items depending what is available, such as delabelled tescos finest caremellised onion chutney, jams, honeys, treats, items such as cous cous are often 10p a pa ket and make good store cupboard essentials.

graceholl Sat 09-Nov-13 01:09:40

I've never ever EVER bought branded painkillers! And have never not noticed. Nurofen as one e.g. is a big fat waste of £.

Does anyone use coupons? I know it's a U.S. thing but I'm jealous and want to know where I can find them.

I also subscribed to a magazine today (yes extra pennies I know) called The Simple Things (a 6 month Direct Debit was around £19) which is thrifty, frugal-focused. Looks like a brilliant read. Definitely worth doing over buying glossies monthly IMO. Just a heads up for anyone who may be interested smile

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