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Share your top tips on staying on top of the family’s bills with EE – HTC One Mini (worth £365) to be won NOW CLOSED

(83 Posts)
MichelleMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 10-Dec-13 12:45:28

EE want to know what tips Mumsnetters have for staying on top of their family’s bills.

Here’s what EE have to say, “We're the UK's biggest mobile network and we've just created Shared 4GEE Plans. Based on the idea that you share your data allowance across multiple devices (phones, laptops, tablets) you can save money. You can sign up with up to four other people (friends, your partner, your mum and dad) and together you can get up to 50GB data for everyone to play with, as well as unlimited calls and texts for all the phones – all on one simple bill.”

So, what tips do you have for keeping on top of your family’s bills and making sure you stay within budget? Do you revise your bills thoroughly each month? Do you make sure you only run the dishwasher and washing machine overnight? Perhaps you Skype rather than phone call any friends or relatives living or travelling overseas? Whatever it is we’d love to hear about it.

Everyone who adds their comments to the thread will be entered into a prize draw to win an HTC One Mini. For full T&Cs please terms and conditions click here

Please note your comments may be used (anonymously of course) on EE's pages on MN, social media channels and possibly elsewhere.

Thanks and good luck,

MNHQ

Bubbles85 Tue 10-Dec-13 13:45:04

I have an Excel spreadsheet (probably a bit over the top!) But I do find it useful to input our outgoings and add on any income that we get so that I can quickly see by tallying each month whether we have spent more than we should have this month or not. Then we can take action to deliberately cut back in the next month if needed.

I also always look around for better insurance, breakdown or gas/electricity provider deals when ours come up for renewal. I have saved quite a bit over the years by doing this.

telsa Tue 10-Dec-13 16:46:25

I keep an eye out for bargains. Charty shops, reduced for quick sale counters, and the like. Apart from that, I switch off lights when not absolutely necessary and have bought an electric blanket to keep warm when at home alone.

I'd heartily recommend Reastie's bargainous Xmas threads... I spread the cost this year and so I am in December not in my overdraft.

It's a Christmas miracle

ScienceRocks Tue 10-Dec-13 17:58:33

We FaceTime rather than calling people abroad or even in the uk.

I check phone bills to calculate whether all inclusive tariffs would be more cost effective.

I check on comparison sites before renewing insurance etc.

I do online grocery shopping as it stops me impulse buying, and menu plan so I only buy what we need and don't waste food.

I shop around for non-food goods, comparing prices so I don't pay more than I need to.

iclaudius Tue 10-Dec-13 18:13:36

My top tip for staying on top of nasty winter bills is ...
When orange renew your business mobile phone contract that you've had since you started your own small business twelve years ago - employing 6 people and working really hard to sustain - read the small print. Make sure you WONT be switched over to EE without your knowledge or consent. EE will then alter the terms of the contract making you much worse off and with far inferior mobile phone terms and conditions .
Thanks a lot EE - you just made our small business struggle more in this recession

Buzzardisnotina4birdroast Tue 10-Dec-13 18:24:03

Changed all the lighting in the kitchen over to LED bulbs. Only heat lounge, cooking tends to heat kitchen, bedrooms have high tog duvets.

Steffanoid Tue 10-Dec-13 19:06:54

we have our bills all on a spreadsheet and everything is inputted on there, then we know whats for bills etc which all come out of our joint accountsmile

AnnaConda Tue 10-Dec-13 19:18:37

Shop on eBay, at TKMaxx, in the sales. Use moneysavingexpert.com for tips on special offers, vouchers etc. Use Quidco for cashback and Santander for a current acct that pays us a significant amount of money for banking with them. Tesco Clubcard vouchers have paid for many leisure activities we would never have afforded.

Started to grow our own veg, and have a new membership for Costco, and Aldi has been a real money-saver.

mercibucket Tue 10-Dec-13 19:58:50

I use topcashback or quidco especially for phone contracts! and moneysaving expert. and reastie on mumsnet

tinypumpkin Tue 10-Dec-13 19:59:08

Use quidco to buy insurance and gifts for Christmas. Shop around for all insurance policies. ebay is a favourite in our house too.

DH has just insulated the pipes in the loft.

DoctorGilbertson Tue 10-Dec-13 20:15:42

It only works running your appliances at night if you are on economy 7. Most people aren't so beware of this tip!

KnitActually Tue 10-Dec-13 20:43:07

we keep a strict shopping list of low price healthy ingrediants, we have down ranked to economy ranges where the actual product is essentially the same as the normal one too.

lalamumto3 Tue 10-Dec-13 21:52:28

We pay most of our bills monthly by direct debit, as it is normally cheaper. However check as for things like insurance can be mre expensive.

flowerygirl Tue 10-Dec-13 21:58:36

I had a competition with a friend as to who could spend the least that month

BlondieTinsellyMinx Tue 10-Dec-13 22:06:16
WaitingForPeterWimsey Tue 10-Dec-13 22:15:33

Use switching sites to make sure you have the best energy provider!

Hopezibah Tue 10-Dec-13 22:16:03

So, what tips do you have for keeping on top of your family’s bills and making sure you stay within budget?

Firstly KNOW what your bills are and how much they are! All too often things are missed out when budgeting.

Do you revise your bills thoroughly each month?

We occassionally have a big shop around and check what we pay for things like life insurance and home insurance and the energy bills. Have just switched energy provider hoping it will be lower - sometimes you need to try something new to see if it works out better for you!

Do you make sure you only run the dishwasher and washing machine overnight? Perhaps you Skype rather than phone call any friends or relatives living or travelling overseas?

We email anything rather than post it to save postage. We facetime granny. And we get the kids to remember to turn the lights off to help them save energy too.

gazzalw Wed 11-Dec-13 05:39:03

Pay all the bills by direct debit at the day after payday then you have a clear idea of what you've got left to play with.

supergreenuk Wed 11-Dec-13 09:34:35

We had to review our heating bill as last winter our bill shot up by £100 a month. We have changed suppliers and are making sure it's not up high and preferring to snuggle under a blanket watching tv in the evening than sitting in a stuffy house.

We always use our free minutes for phone calls rather than the house phone.

CaramelisedOnion Wed 11-Dec-13 13:25:22

use topcashback, I search for coupons and vouchers on MSE and hotukdeals, I spread the cost of big things like Christmas and birthdays, I always unplug everything in the house when it is not in use, I rarely have the heating on and have lots of fleece blankets at home instead.

I use Skype for international calls, and whatsapp for international texts.

whattoWHO Wed 11-Dec-13 13:30:30

I use cash back sites.
Always use price comparison sites when renewing insurance, utilities etc.
EBay unwanted stuff.
Pay all bills by dd and check them when they come in.
Do online supermarket shopping to avoid impulse buys.

HanShotFirst Wed 11-Dec-13 13:32:44

We shop around for the best deals - we use price comparison websites to make sure we're getting the best deals on a whole range of things.

Being organised in writing down what you need to buy, when to switch energy suppliers/cancel subscriptions when they aren't worth the money anymore/checking for stray direct debits and sticking to budget is also one way we keep on top of our family budget.

GotMyGoat Wed 11-Dec-13 13:36:37

We have duvet days at the weekend - try and stay in the bedroom when the tumble dryer is on, or hang out in the kitchen when we are cooking, and make sure we open the doors once we are finished - get the most out of the energy we use!

nemno Wed 11-Dec-13 15:36:07

Buy during sales or when things on offer.
Meal plan based on offers.
Turn appliances off when not in use.
Never take loans.
Check phone,broadband, utility price plans fairly regularly.
Shop around for insurance, savings rates etc.
Recycle and reuse

momb Wed 11-Dec-13 15:53:05

The shared allowances sound great but with our Dds pulling so many megs of absolute tosh on their phones/tablets/ipods I really couldn't risk them using the up the joint allowance and then being high and dry myself. By having them on capped allowances they are responsible for their own viewing limits I DP and I still get to stream the occasional movie!
Fow other bills it's a matter of budgetting and staying within budget. Showing restraint, showing control. As in life really..

NotCitrus Wed 11-Dec-13 18:18:31

We sit down and budget every few months, checking bills aren't changing (utilities 'regular direct debits' are anything but, automatically changing every 3 months from under £100 to near £200 a month and back...), and see how much we have to play with and where we might be able to cut back (never let MrNC go to the supermarket as he gets seduced by special offers that are more expensive than we usually pay, and brings back lots of 'helpful' ready meals).

sharond101 Wed 11-Dec-13 22:17:15

We do an Excel spreadsheet of outgoings and incomings which we can look at to predict what we can spend and save.
We never buy anything we don't have the cash to pay for (except our home).
We shop around for everything we buy and are (I like to think) thrifty with our money.

CMOTDibbler Wed 11-Dec-13 22:23:18

We review our suppliers regularly, and look at resources such as MSE to see if theres a better deal that might not be easily apparent

HootyMcOwlface Thu 12-Dec-13 07:24:05

I also keep track on an excel spreadsheet.
Pay car insurance/tv license as one lump sum rather than monthly. Pay utilities by direct debit as its slightly cheaper.
Switch lights off when leaving rooms. Boil only the amount you need in the kettle and use all the water while its hot.
Shop around for car and home insurance, and mobile phone contracts. I have a cashback credit card and put the cashback each year towards household expenses. We also put a little more than needed into the joint account to help with large household expenses that crop up.

IncaAztec Thu 12-Dec-13 09:47:49

So, what tips do you have for keeping on top of your family’s bills and making sure you stay within budget? Make a list before you go food shopping and stick to discount places if you can get away with it. Check out prices online for bigger items before you go shopping. Try not to take the kids if you can get away with it!

Do you revise your bills thoroughly each month? I check direct debits online each month and make sure that things remain the same.

Do you make sure you only run the dishwasher and washing machine overnight? No point in this, we don't have Economy 7 so its no cheaper!

Perhaps you Skype rather than phone call any friends or relatives living or travelling overseas? We use skype quite a bit, its easy to end up paying a lot to ring relatives overseas otherwise.

Maiyakat Thu 12-Dec-13 13:13:34

Have bills going out by direct debit each month (soon after payday) so you know how much disposable income you have each month.

Save for unexpected bills such as car breakdown

Use price comparison websites for insurance etc

Use pay as you go mobile, my monthly spend has more than halved

LifeofPo Thu 12-Dec-13 13:24:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CheeseTMouse Thu 12-Dec-13 15:37:15

I always negotiate. I got my car breakdown cover at £50 off because I researched comparable deals and asked them to match it. I've also done this with my broadband and phone bills.

The other thing to watch is when contracts come up for renewal and don't delay renegotiating at that point - otherwise you may be paying more than you need to.

manfalou Thu 12-Dec-13 21:26:33

We try to only switch the heating on twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening (easier said than done when its freezing and you're in the house all day) Layering up helps and ensuring everyone owns and wears a pair of slippers!

We have a credit card but never buy things on it. We buy within our means.

Online shopping.. for EVERYTHING. For groceries its easier to budget as you can see your receipt as you go. For everything else (item wise) you can go through quidco/topcashback and/or use voucher codes. 95% of the time you can claw something back, even if its only a few pence.

Shop around for insurance...and go through quidco. I got £70 cash back last year.

We are on a PAYG tarrif with O2. We pay £10 and for the next month get 500mb of data and 200 texts. After a month our 'freebies' run out and we use the £10 (or what ever is left after making calls which aren't included in our deal) until it runs out. Then top up £10 again. £10 lasts us 6 weeks. Much cheaper than a contract and getting much more for our money.

Doing the washing machine overnight doesn't make any difference to the bills... or at least it doesn't to ours.

daisyjoy Fri 13-Dec-13 14:03:04

I sign up for all the marketing emails from companies I regularly buy from, then when they send me a discount I stock up on things we need and will get through - saves lots of money in the long run!

Letitsnow9 Fri 13-Dec-13 22:53:09

Check all bills and statements frequently so you know exactly how much money you have and how much you have to spend/cover bills

Theimpossiblegirl Fri 13-Dec-13 22:57:59

I'm not very good at this to be honest, but am reading the thread with interest in preparation for my new year new start financial tidy up. So far I am planning on checking all statements more thoroughly, writing down what I spend, comparing energy, tv, phone and broadband suppliers and making any changes necessary.

I have capped mine and DDs phones so we can't go over our allowance, that was a weight off my mind.

ataraxia Sun 15-Dec-13 10:43:34

Buy reduced food that can be frozen
Unplug/turn off as much as possible
Cook breakfast and lunch at work
Shop around, including looking for online cashback

Lots of people who are on benefits don't realise that you can have your utility bills deducted from your benefits before you receive them, we do this and it guarantees that it's always paid and you don't miss what you haven't had.

DeathByLaundry Sun 15-Dec-13 12:55:35

We review everything annually and often save money that way.

I never run laundry or drying overnight, it's a fire risk, but I do dry as much as possible on aiders rather than tumble dry.

I used free minutes on my mobile rather than the landline.

I keep my freezer filled with bread and milk to make it more efficient and to avoid trips to the shop between grocery deliveries.

addictedtosugar Sun 15-Dec-13 16:00:18

Know what needs to go out of your bank account each month - and ideally shift all bills to be paid a couple of days after pay day (assuming monthly bills and monthly pay!).
Then whats left is what you have to spend before next pay day.
Don't have something big due to come out just before pay day.

bellsringingoutforMadHairDay Sun 15-Dec-13 16:49:07

oops ds decided to put the hamster on the keyboard and he managed to post grin

---not only that but the coverage is now crap and I can't get reception in loads of places I used to so it's no use to me anymore.

bellsringingoutforMadHairDay Sun 15-Dec-13 16:51:07

NOw the whole thing has disappeared fconfused

was basically saying we shop online for groceries which saves a lot of money. We meal plan and keep an eye on outgoings. With phone contracts I will be leaving orange for giffgaff when contract up soon as they put my monthly price up and reception has got much worse since ee took over.

BiscuitsAreMyDownfall Sun 15-Dec-13 20:42:06

We have all our bills written on the calendar and highlighted in a different colour depending which account its coming out of so we can see at a glance which bills are to be paid that week.

If we have a bit more disposable cash one week I will use it to stock up on things that are on offer that week in the supermarket so if there is a tight week then at least the weekly shop will (hopefully) be lower.

HappySunflower Mon 16-Dec-13 00:08:07

I review bills a few times a year. I have reflective panels behind my radiators and use draught excluders to keep the heat in.

I run appliances at the most economical time of day and took care to buy B rated items.

CrewElla Mon 16-Dec-13 06:02:23

I think the most obvious answer is to budget, know how much is coming in and how much is going out and adjust from there. It's easy to forget about a paper or e-mail based bill so set-up direct debits where you can and you'll be less likely to spend money you don't really have.

MollyBerry Mon 16-Dec-13 11:25:04

I'm pretty bad at budgeting but I do keep my heating off as much as possible so that I don't have to think abotu budgeting as much!

mjmooseface Mon 16-Dec-13 12:13:03

Every month I make a check list of all the bills to come out, what date they need to be paid and what amount it is. Every time husband gets paid, we put some of his wages into a savings account for the month's bills. We've made sure we are at least a month ahead with regards to savings for bills so if something were to happen, we're covered for at least a month. I make a note on this checklist of when we have that bill's money in the savings account and then I tick when it's been paid. We always make sure we have the money for bills before we share the money between us on any treats or anything else.

We don't have a mortgage or a car so don't have debts like that and we never use any loans. Husband has an overdraft with his bank that he'll be paying off this month so that's one less bill a month.

We only have appliances switched on at the plug when we are using them and switch lights off when no one's in the room. If a night is quite warm compared to the norm for winter, we'll shorten the time the heating is on or switch it off. We have to use the pay as you go for our energy so we always know when it needs to be topped up and we don't run into the emergency energy. I wait until I have a full load of washing before I use the washing machine and I am the dish washer! ;) Husband uses phone apps like KiK messenger and his xbox to talk to friends overseas. We also use skype for business calls overseas.

When food shopping, we look out for deals and stock up and just buy what we need for the week. I always look everywhere when buying something already pricey to make sure I get the cheapest/best deal. And I am thorough recycler and re-user of just about everything!!

DinoSnores Mon 16-Dec-13 13:49:58

We use Skype/Facetime a lot even for UK calls.

I do a lot of meal planning and then do online grocery shopping.

We've only got one car now as we can cycle or walk. Petrol is so expensive now, so we try to limit our car use as much as possible.

We get all our bills online and so can keep a good track of them. We've got an energy monitor so can see (it is quite fascinating in a geeky sort of way) how much energy we are using at any one time and the difference it makes to turn a few things off.

RubyRR Mon 16-Dec-13 19:22:07

Please don't run dishwashers and tumble driers at night, the fire safety advice is not to do this.
My tip is to look a head for bills which will be coming in, if you don't want to look its the time you really need to be looking. Being an ostrich can cost more in bank fees. Our household income has reduced dramatically, I've fixed energy costs so we need to monitor our usage, cut out unnecessary car trips and keeping an eye on budget for food shopping and planning ahead.

NettleTea Mon 16-Dec-13 20:00:05

all my bills have been converted to monthly and paid by direct debit - that way no nasty surprises in the post.
Buy good brand clothes 2nd hand from ebay and charity shops and sell them on to pay for the next lot. Always buy out of season, and sell at the beginning of a new season. Similarly with toys - we do a big clear out in October and sell from mid Nov, whats in paypal pays for new stuff.

loubielou31 Tue 17-Dec-13 00:01:48

Our library (and therefore most others I would assume) lend out energy monitors, we've borrowed one and it really helps you get a good idea of which appliances use most energy. I know we all know which are the big users but seeing the numbers on a screen has more impact somehow.

Our big change since borrowing the monitor is trying not to use the tumble dryer. Drying out doors is free so now I will always peg the washing out if it isn't raining. I might tumble it to finish it off but things need to be in for much less time.

Walking rather than using the car, it's good for us and saves money on petrol.

Switching supermarkets to Lidl or Aldi, (I like Lidl better but that's just my preference) has saved a lot on our family grocery bill.

CozyOtter Tue 17-Dec-13 06:56:05

We meal plan - it focuses our supermarket shop so we don't things we won't use. Has reduced our food wastage and shopping bill! smile

firawla Tue 17-Dec-13 17:56:01

We should probably take more care of our bills. I don't keep a good track of it but I do try to shop around from time to time and change provider, and to save heating/electricity in general

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Tue 17-Dec-13 21:07:43

I have an app on my phone, lets me input bills in, the amounts, date due etc. I can set it up to alert me when one is due. It also tells me how much money I'll have left out of my wage, and I can budget accordingly. Has made it much easier since I used to obsessively list things!

Thank the lord for direct debits though. Me and DP use the app, transfer all the 'bill' money into an account and it takes it straight from that. That way we can't spend the money accidentally, these things happen don't they!

We recently changed the way we shop too. I use asda to get the food cupboard stuff, but now I pop down to the local market to get meat and veg. We've saved over £100 a month by doing this. So saving money, and supporting local people so it's win win! and the meat is always brilliant, for example the supermarket chicken breasts would shrink to nothing once the water had ran out, the market one stay lovely and plump - oh what a nice breast grin

chellyyx Tue 17-Dec-13 23:19:47

Put dates of what needs paying and when in mobile phone calendar! Never without mobile so I'll always see the alert!

CheeryCherry Wed 18-Dec-13 07:23:24

We are overspending every month nowadays and are trying to be proactive, doing overtime when we can, and the house is up for sale.
We change energy provider regularly and always pay at least minimum credit card bills. We try pay them as soon as they come in so they font get missed. We use direct debit as much as possible, so much easier to manage. We also do all the logical things, always wait for a full load in the washer and dishwasher. I do use the drier still when I can't hang it all out, with last minute viewers coming to see the house I can't cope with the washing draped everywhere!
We share lifts a lot with friends, it keeps costs down and saves time.

MrsClauswearsspanx Wed 18-Dec-13 08:17:51

Hello EE! Here are my family budget top tips:

*Easy Savings*: I'm not talking about socking money away or opening an ISA and faithfully putting a percentage in every month. I'm talking about signing up to every top cash back website and reward card going, spend as normal but use these religiously, and forget about what you might be accumulating on them. Then, in 6 months or a year, you'll realise you've easily got a couple hundred to buy free groceries, presents, or take care of a few bills.

*Ebay Bundles*: my kids don't get new clothes, except where family nembers might buy them something for birthdays or Christmases. Instead I shop around for massive clothes bundles from pet/smoke free homes. I just think it's silly and wasteful to buy loads of new things that they grow out of in a year. Bundles I look for are always top quality names (Next, Boden, Gap, etc.) and usually hardly worn. I've had many compliments on my kids' clothes and no one is any the wiser that they've come second hand. Sometimes I've bought something like 5 outfits for as little as £1!

LonelyShepherd Wed 18-Dec-13 09:41:00

We have a spreadsheet which records all direct debits and standing orders, and try to complete this every week (at least twice a month). All direct debits go out on the same day, just after payday, so that all the bills are paid before the rest (haha, if there is any!) gets spent. We're pretty good about turning elec items off to save a bit there, and always use Skype rather than mobiles.

Onefewernow Wed 18-Dec-13 14:58:05

I'm getting quite fed up with these threads which pretend to ask a genuine research question in order to mask their true objective- namely, to advertise a product or service.

It couldn't be more obvious that this thread is aimed at selling the "up to four people" contract.

asuwere Wed 18-Dec-13 16:43:29

I keep a spreadsheet with all bills. I also make sure I transfer a set amount each month to a different account which covers annual bills (such as tv licence, car tax etc) - spreads the costs equally over the year.

I also go through my full bank statement each month and check everything is right and transfer any extra to a savings account. I regularly compare my energy supplier prices and switch whenever I can benefit.

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Wed 18-Dec-13 19:36:20

I''m getting quite fed up with these threads which pretend to ask a genuine research question in order to mask their true objective- namely, to advertise a product or service

I think it's obvious what their real objective is, they're a for profit business so of course they'll use anything do advertise. Doesn't matter either way does it?

MrsRedWhite214 Thu 19-Dec-13 10:13:07

Cashback sites for all big purchases really helps. We put aside the money needed for bills as soon as we get paid and keep a track of what's left for food shopping. I try to buy second hand clothes for my baby as he grows out of them so quickly. We document everything we spend so we always know exactly how much is left each month.

frogger74 Fri 20-Dec-13 13:58:40

I have free spread sheet programs on my computer, A list of shops and there sale days, supermarket shopping 7pm for the reduced items,Luckily i live in walking distance to a large supermarket, So i can pop in daily for the offers and the reduced items, And its helpful when you get to know the staff. And I check out websites like "hotukdeals" and "MSE" For freebies and coupons and misspriced stuff. And for my television package I come out with the I WANT TO CANCEL ITS TO EXPENSIVE TRICK. LOL

OhYouMerryLittleKitten Fri 20-Dec-13 17:49:01

We keep a spreadsheet of our energy use and its easy to spot if things are creeping up. Other than that its just asking the question always 'do we really need that or do we have something that will do the job?' and we have a piggybank for takeaways and if we find any stray pound coins they go in there.

skyeskyeskye Fri 20-Dec-13 18:42:05

I pick up items for Christmas, school draw prizes etc when I see them cheap during the year so by the time Christmas is here I already have a lot of presents. Then I start in October when Boots starts its 3 for 2, so that the cost is spread over a few months.

I pay all bills by monthly direct debit, to spread the cost and to obtain any discounts for paying that way. Our local council offer the option to pay Council Tax over 12 months instead of 10, so that helps too.

Then I buy my DD's clothes when Sainsburys have a TU 25% off promotion, or in the sales.

I switch all electrical appliances off at the wall and only switch the oven, dishwasher, microwave etc on when it is actually required.

SaltySeaBird Fri 20-Dec-13 19:05:29

We manage our budget carefully.

I'm concious never to call mobiles if I can help it from our landlines and if I need to call DH I use my mobile as we are each others "magic numbers".

We only get takeaways and food treats when we have enough spare change saved up rather than going out and buying them consciously.

Hot water bottle... smile

Plus I rarely pay full price for clothes, shoes etc

joanofarchitrave Fri 20-Dec-13 21:40:46

I try not to switch the oven on unless I can fill it - so, cooking at least 2 or 3 meals at a time. I also use the small oven more than I used to - according to my electricity monitor, it costs 15p an hour, as opposed to 25p an hour for the large oven.

shoom Fri 20-Dec-13 21:45:05

Don't leave appliances on standby.
Shop around, think about whether you really need something before buying.
Keep a stash of gifts at home and top it up when you see bargains.
Go through your wardrobe at the start of a new season and remind yourself what you own, rather than buying it again because you've forgotten about it.

FestiveChopinLizt Fri 20-Dec-13 22:02:16

We keep the heating off or low, wear plenty cosy clothes, have blankets on the sofas. Buy led bulbs and AA aplliances. Otherwise we have different accounts for different budgets, eg supermarket/food is separate so that I can judge easily whether different money saving tactics work.

Also love moneysavingexpert.
Unsubscribe advert emails, avoid adverts generally, don't buy magazines and read minimalist blogs instead.

Nerfmother Fri 20-Dec-13 23:35:04

One supermarket loyalty card and all food shopping, credit card and other stuff threw it. Vouchers for christmas.
Excel spreadsheet, put balance in at start of month, auto deduct bills, get left over balance and allocate.

Featherbag Sat 21-Dec-13 05:10:58

Don't know if this has been mentioned already but I read our gas and electric meters every month - usually on pay day so I don't forget! We were landed with a surprise massive bill last spring after having estimated bills for about 9 months, this way I always know how much we're using and can budget accordingly.

RescueCack Sat 21-Dec-13 07:50:58

We use a software called YNAB ( You Need A Budget) and allocate all money for the month as soon as it comes in. DHs income can vary so it's important we do this. No two months are the same. That way on a good month we can out some away. The ultimate goal is to live entirely on the previous months income and be one month ahead, but it's a long way off.

We use a cash back bank account, and DD all bills so we never get behind on paying.

Cook everything from scratch and freeze leftovers

Live in a terraced house with great insulation front and back. We never have to put our heating on wink

MrJollyLivesNextDoor Sat 21-Dec-13 14:54:46

I think the key to it is being totally aware of what is being spent and on what. It can be a bit tedious and time consuming but ultimately if you don't know what you're spending you cannot address any possible wastage/overspends etc.

A good way to budget for, say, groceries is to use cash rather than cards. That way you see the cash physically dwindling and it's quite an eye opener to be in the middle of the month having nearly spent the whole budget already.
Avoid top up shops wherever possible, freeze milk and bread to avoid running out. Once you're in the shop it's so easy to pick up this that and the other.
Use money off coupons/vouchers but ONLY if they are items you will need. Some items can work out free (for example there was a money off coupon in a previous edition of a supermarket magazine for 50p off tinned tomatoes...these tomatoes were reduced in store to 50p, therefore FREE! I still have a large stock of these smile.
Meal plan, stick to it and only buy what you need for the plan.
Check out the reduced counters, sometimes there can be great bargains to be had - find out what time your local supermarket makes their final reductions and have a look. Again though, only buy if it's something you need.
Batch cook, and freeze left over portions to save cooking later in the week/month. Don't waste leftovers. Curry, spag bol, chilli, stews, pies, rice, pasta, mashed potato all freeze brilliantly, and can be heated up in the microwave saving time and energy especially when you come home from work hungry and can't face the idea of cooking so just reach for the takeaway menu instead!
Open the oven door once you've finished cooking, it warms the kitchen up a treat.

Wear extra layers to keep warm instead of turning the heating up too high. Use blankets and throws on the sofa. Eliminate draughts as far as possible - line curtains, use door curtains, draught excluders and close internal doors.

Avoid using tumble driers, they drink electricity.

Transfer any credit card debts onto interest free cards if possible, there are some long term 0% balance transfer offers available at the moment. Do not be tempted to use these cards, in fact it's a good idea to cut them up once the balance has been transferred.

If you smoke, try and give up. The money saved can be phenomenal. And obviously your health will benefit too wink

Look at utility bills - can anything be saved by shopping around and transferring to another provider? Pay by DD if possible to get the discount offered. You don't always need to switch provider, they will often price match to keep your business.

Do not automatically renew car/life/house/whatever insurance. Use the comparison websites, check out the cash back websites to see if they are offering anything decent, put some time and effort into getting the best deal.

Walk wherever possible to avoid using the car on short journeys. Not always practical for everybody I realise, but if it's possible then it is worth it.

Quite often once these measures have been put in place, such as budgeting, meal planning etc then they almost become a way of life and don't feel so laborious.

WowOoo Sat 21-Dec-13 16:22:02

Bills both go out of the joint account that we both pay into. They are arranged to be paid after we've been paid.

I check things like insurance and shop around for renewal. I can't believe people still just renew without checking if they could save first.

For friends and family abroad we use FaceTime. It's a godsend. Skype tried to charge me, so I haven't used it since.

woodchuck Sat 21-Dec-13 18:29:46

I also have a spreadsheet but like to keep a written record of income and expenditure, bills due etc. I lkke to pay things by monthly dd if possible, as we get paid monthly. I also use a cash back credit card for spending on petrol and food shopping, so I can treat these as one monthly payment lik another bill. This helps me keep on top of my money.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Sat 21-Dec-13 18:38:24

Don't buy Apple products. Plenty of other options out there which are cheaper, better and don't sting you with expensive extras because nothing else is compatible.

beatricequimby Sat 21-Dec-13 22:59:40

Meal planning.

Changed supermarkets saving about ten pounds a week.

Negotiating on car break down cover and car insurance. Was really suprised at how much my existing providers were prepared to drop their prices to get me to stay with them.

I limit the use of the car.

MichelleMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 24-Dec-13 14:11:33

This thread has now closed, thank you to everyone who has added their comments. Congratulations to CheeseTMouse who won the prize draw for an HTC One Mini handset. We'll be in touch soon! fsmile

CheeseTMouse Tue 24-Dec-13 23:33:22

Many thanks Mumsnet and to EE. What a nice surprise on Christmas eve!

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