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your top tips for money-saving and a more frugal life..

(492 Posts)
amigoingmadhere Sun 19-Aug-12 09:07:12

Right - having until now led a relatively good lifestyle, am about to be single with 3 young dcs and very little money (not going to go into background here as it's depressing and will only get me down on this sunny morning).

Rather than sit here terrified, I would like to gather the collective wisdom of MN to see how I can immediately live a more frugal life and preserve any little money we have for a house and the dcs' future.

So, here's what I can think of to start with:

- get a new Boots card (old one is connected to my stbxh's email account)
- get Tesco clubcard
- get Nectar card
- always scour the internet etc. for vouchers / codes etc. (do this anyway but in a more random way)
- only ever buy presents in sales
- when moving house, try to get as much as possible from charity shops / freecycle etc.
- use library more
- see if Surestart still exists (a while since I used their services)
- start looking for any local free/cheap gym / sports facilities

There must be more that I'm not thinking of.. would be grateful for your ideas! - shopping / cooking / kids' activities / house furnishing etc.
I'm starting afresh on a new and wonderful life.. but it's going to be hard.

thanks smile

crackcrackcrak Fri 14-Sep-12 16:39:09

I predict I have the same problem. Maybe we can crack it together! Got a few weeks before heating needed grin

OliviaLMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 14-Sep-12 18:17:45


Virgil Fri 14-Sep-12 20:57:28

Buy whole milk and add water. Double the milk for the same cost as the semi skimmed

flubba Sat 15-Sep-12 07:06:15

I have a cunning if slightly convoluted plan crack - when the heating's on and needed, but the hot water isn't, turn the thermostat on the water down (but apparently not lower than 55 confused but maybe it's okay to go lower than 55 when you're not using it confused confused), and remember to turn it up to a higher temp for when you need it??

Anyone wiser than me on the temp. thing?

Fluffycloudland77 Sat 15-Sep-12 09:59:19

If your not using it theres no harm in turning it right down, when you turn it up again the bacteria should be killed.

flubba Sat 15-Sep-12 21:47:43

That's what I thought too. Am a bit worried though that either the kids or their friends would use the hot tap in the day without me knowing. Hmmm....

An FYI though, I put the water on for half an hour this morning and it wasn't enough for our crap shower, but was good enough for the handheld shower attachment. Will up it tomorrow smile

pookey Sun 16-Sep-12 00:09:42

Flubba the leggings look really expensive!!! love the button detail smile

pookey Sun 16-Sep-12 00:26:52

Flubba you are clearly a fabric genius, can I ask some advice grin what can I do with my supersoft skinny jeggings they wear out because of my thunder thighs so I love them but can't afford to keep buying them all the time? Should I patch them or turn them into something? Is there something I can buy and spray on them to make them tougher?

Anyone with very old boiler/ heating system who is on benefits should check out the warm front grant if - website lists the benefits covered by the sceme . Not sure if you have to own the house to be eligible but seems quite likely.

theancientmarinator Sun 16-Sep-12 11:08:24

Re packed lunches, I bought a pack of differently shaped little cookie cutters. DS1 would only eat Cheese Strings for a bit and 'didn't like' normal cheese but was quite happy with normal cheese cut into stars, little people, etc and put in a weaning pot. DS2 has been turning his nose up at sandwiches recently but will quite happily eat them cut into hearts, stars, etc. Even DS1 who is 9 now likes a bit of variety in his sandwich shapes so I buy packs of mini-rolls, little croissants, mini pita, etc and fill them all in one go to freeze. I am totally chaotic in the mornings so it helps to be able to just grab a box from the freezer the night before and stick it in the fridge to defrost.

Homemade popcorn with butter and a little spice (cumin and coriander is good) mixed through is very cheap and easy to make and will keep till the next day. It always goes down well as a snack or a lunchpack extra with my boys.

When DS1 became besotted with smoothies I used to buy Asda's cheap version and decanted into plain drinks bottles with a home-made label - he was into Horrid Henry at the time so I googled HH pictures and pasted them into a label with made up juice names (Horrid Henry's Stinking Strawberry Smoothie for example) and printed them out on label sheets.

We also got a set of alphabet cutters with a birthday gift of playdough years ago and I make cheesy biscuits cut out with DS1's initials. He likes them being especially HIS biscuits that no shop sells so he is happy to eat them. And they are v cheap to make! He's past the stage where I can kid myself they are educational though... When he started school and was missing his mum a bit I also used to make cheese scones cut with a big heart cutter and he loved these as a reminder that mum loves him even when he is at school. In P1 he referred to these as Love Scones but when he started to refer to them as Humiliating Scones in P3 I dropped the heart cutter grin. That was two years ago but cheese scones are still referred to in the Ancient house as Humiliating Scones.

crackcrackcrak Sun 16-Sep-12 11:18:46

Oooh ancient, thanks! I am a but obsessed with cookie cutters and I already have alphabet ones and a few others. I will be trying the cheese/sandwich cutting forthwith!

crackcrackcrak Sun 16-Sep-12 11:35:00

I'm applying for the warm front grant - I can't make sense of whether I am entitled but noting ventured. I looked up the water bill one too but down here you need3 kids to qualify - gits!

Badvoc Sun 16-Sep-12 18:17:59

On the Mse website there are companies (tesco, mands etc) offers free cavity wall and loft insulation and vouchers/points too.

justwanttobehappy Mon 17-Sep-12 14:22:22

This thread took me days...and...days to read in between all the other things I need to do as a busy mum. I don't have the time to go through them again blush but was intruiged to read that you specifically need to live in the SE for market research jobs.

Please could someone tell me how to find more about this, it would help the hole in my pocket immeasurably! wink

It may have been on one of Xenia's threads - I'd love to meet her, she sounds awesome and where I'd like to find myself some day soon. I just wish I knew where to start, I have also faced so many closed doors! confused

justwanttobehappy Mon 17-Sep-12 14:40:07

Forgot to add blush that I wrote down a vast amount of amazing hints and tips, so wanted to thank everyone for their thoughtful contributions as they will help me to save loads! smile

crackcrackcrak Mon 17-Sep-12 15:28:52

I do product testing but it only amounts to free stuff now and then.

I have also loved this thread and dd1 had flower shaped sandwiches today!

theancientmarinator Wed 19-Sep-12 11:08:19

<hangs head in shame> my own two are off with normal sandwiches today.

crackcrackcrak Wed 19-Sep-12 11:31:21

My house is freezing. There will be no heating until I've been to b&q later. Hear me roar!
Had a great haul on eBay of winter clothes for dd. I had hand me downs until she was 3 but she's out of them now and realised I have to actually buy all her clothes - meh! She now has a pile of gap and Boden clothes 2nd hand :-)

Virgin telly box is broken sob that's it - it's going.

Mse email this week had cheaper landline deal for 7.99 going to see of I can get that too grin

Molepom Wed 02-Jan-13 11:23:17

Can I add a weird one?

If you can turn the temperature off on your washing machine for a white wash then do so. They are still clean but for some reason whites do come out brighter. (found this out when my old machine decided to play up a bit at a time) saves a little on electric but also on any bleaching agents you use ie, vanish etc.

Virgil Wed 02-Jan-13 13:29:35

If you shop in tesco make sure you keep your receipt and go onto the price promise website after your shop. They price check and give you a voucher for the difference if your shop would have been cheaper elsewhere.

Twinkletoes91 Mon 14-Jan-13 22:48:40

Marking place smile

maigwa Thu 25-Apr-13 14:39:46

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

milk Sat 04-May-13 12:11:08

I go on the Quidco "no brainers" section smile I got £4 for joining smile

gracehurley1990 Sun 12-May-13 20:26:26 emails you when products you choose from online retailers drop in price. Its free to use. I dont buy anything until it goes into sale smile

MostlyCake Wed 03-Jul-13 13:12:32

If you are changing your mobile check if your company uses the mobile network supplier for company phones - i know Vodafone do it (as i just got my mum a new contract) and you get a discount if your company is there. You can also add (I think) 4 other people. You do need your employee number but you should be able to get this easily from HR or payroll.

Sorry, can't remember the discount but it's worth asking about!

MostlyCake Wed 03-Jul-13 13:15:39

Also, if you work for a reasonably sized company you might be able to persuade them to start a discount scheme where employees can get cash back or discounts e.g. or

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