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Money saving tips for the new year

(282 Posts)
MushyPeace Fri 28-Dec-12 00:45:52

New year, new start and all that... Anyone have any fab money saving tips?

Just due to everyday costs I have somehow managed to run up £5k debt and am so embarrassedhmm. I don't budget well. DP and I have been taking about having a baby soon (not getting any younger) and I just can't go into it knowing I have this debt. AF was three days late until today and while i would be so happy to be preg I am also relieved I am not. hmm

So what's your top tip?

I am so far trying the budget supermarkets smile and it will be packed lunches from now on. I will also eBay anything and everything!

And definitely yes to no shopping. Or browsing internet shops. If you can't see it, you won't want to buy it.

SoftKittyWarmKitty Fri 28-Dec-12 14:01:05

Do your main food shop at Aldi. I've saved loads since switching to them two years ago.

Download the Account Manager app - it's fab! I can see exactly when in the upcoming weeks I'll be short of money, so can try and amend my spending accordingly or sell something to make up the shortfall. I think it was £1.99 to download but there's a free version you can download first to see if you get on with it.

Batch cook and freeze individual portions of meals, then you only have to add rice, pasta etc and you've got a full meal. Last night I made a turkey curry with the last of the turkey and ate a portion, put one in the fridge for tonight and four more portions went into the freezer!

Get your hair cut less often.

Cut out/reduce luxuries such as Sky TV, nights out, gym memberships, new clothes etc.

Check your utilities with a comparison site to see if you can save money.

Don't try to save if you have debt. It makes more financial sense to throw everything you can at the debt then start to save.

I also second whoever recommended MSE. They have a fantastic budget tool on there to get you started, which will help you to see where your money goes and where you can make cutbacks. If you post on the Debt Free Wannabe forum you'll get loads of advice about where you could make changes - quite often they'll suggest things you hadn't thought of so it's worth doing. Also subscribe to the MSE weekly email.

FreePeaceSweet Fri 28-Dec-12 14:05:10

Yes i agree with keeping an account of your spending. Run your household like a business. Businesses do what they can to keep costs down and never spend more than what comes in. Make turning off all electricals and lighting when you leave a room second nature. Involve the family in this too. Before you buy anything other than essentials prove that you really need it. If so can you get it anywhere else cheaper? Does it need to be brand new? The latest model or version? I never buy anything for full price. I beg for discount codes.

Set a shopping budget and stick to it religiously. Bulk buy bread and milk and stick it in the freezer. I find always having the basics to hand cuts down on the need to do top up shops (and spend more than needed).

Ball up some tin foil and bung it in the dryer. This speeds up drying time, cuts down on static and makes ironing easier. The same ball can be used again and again.

Use white vinegar, soda crystals, bleach and washing up liquid for all your cleaning jobs. You really don't need anything else.

Do freezer and cupboard weeks every now and then. By this I mean don't buy any shopping and just use whats in your house. It can be a challenge but its fun.

TartyMcTart Fri 28-Dec-12 14:10:08

- Account for everything you buy - we have a spreadsheet that we update when we get paid / for all direct debits / every time we get cash out / spend money on debit card.

- Go food shopping once a week - yes, most of you are already doing this but we weren't and were spending far too much on food when we had ample things in the cupboard. We now go every Monday for food for that week only (meals already planned) and only top up for bread & milk.

- Don't have a credit card - we've never had one and so don't have the temptation of buying stuff we don't need.

TartyMcTart Fri 28-Dec-12 14:12:20

Oh, and don't compare what you have to everyone else. It helps that we're really not car / gadget / clothes orientated (well, I do like clothes but Tesco, Asda, New Look, etc. is fine for me!) Our house is lovely but is furnished by Ikea, Argos, etc. and not really expensive places.

3nationsfamily Fri 28-Dec-12 14:16:21

Set up a monthly standing order to a savings account to pay off your £5k debt on the day you get paid, that way the money is out of your day to day spending account and you can't get to it so easily to fritter away.
Switch your energy supplier, challenge your TV/Phone/Cable company on their prices- ask for the deals they offer new customers, threaten to move to the competition Sky vs Virgin, and they will definitely offer you a better deal. Even better, cut it out altogether and just have Freeview.
Cut up your credit card. If you can only spend what you have on your debit card/ cash each month then you won't get into further debt.

TartyMcTart this is the reason why you should have a credit card and use it for all purchases. I do that for everything I could get away with using a card.

Most cards give you a 1.25% cashback on all spending. In other words, the money you spend are invested with a 1.25% return. It's as stupid as not to use quidco when you are already going to spend the money.

Link working this time ...

FreePeaceSweet Fri 28-Dec-12 14:18:07

Actually we do have a card and all bills and shopping go on it. We get rewards every 3 months because we pay it off in full every month. I find it so much easier just to pay the credit card bill rather than loads of different amounts leaving our account at different times. Its also brilliant for protection when buying larger items over £100. As long as you pay it off every month and aren't tempted to go mad on it a credit card is very useful.

Mosman Fri 28-Dec-12 14:24:17

I find if you pay the credit card or put into your savings first you just manage on the rest of what's left where as the other way around there's always the temptation to dip into the allocation for something even if it's only a few pounds it all adds up.

FreePeaceSweet Fri 28-Dec-12 14:32:35

I agree Mosman. I found that actual cash ran through my fingers like water. But a credit card made me more wary of spending wisely. 3 years ago I would've said it'd be the other way around but its really not. I try to have some cash on me for emergencies (about £20 a week) as the kids school always has its paws out for something.

Also I must say that without dh I'd still be a terrible spender. It's taken him years but he's finally reined me in. grin

TartyMcTart Fri 28-Dec-12 14:34:10

True, I suppose that would work for us as we do watch our money and spending she says ignoring the calls of "Tight!" from OH wink

It's just what we're used to. I much prefer knowing exactly how much we have in our account at any given time. We rarely get statements from the bank, we just look at our handy spreadsheet instead!

FreePeaceSweet Fri 28-Dec-12 14:51:48

Tarty if it works for you then thats the main thing. I know lots of families who don't budget at all and seem to go through life with their fingers crossed. I do get jealous that these families have days out, holidays and treats but knowing that our mortgage will be paid off quicker and in full helps and we also have limited savings. Again all this in thanks to dh.

He has spreadsheets too. He also acknowledges that I'm the one who gets all the bargains. grin I knew I had impressed him when I got a call from his snooty sister asking for help finding a large electrical item as cheap as possible. When I found one for less than half price with a few extras thrown in they converted to frugality too. I see everything as a challenge now. I can't buy it or do it cheap then we don't buy or do it. My mum tells me that my penny pinching embarrasses her and she walks away when I start bartering. It doesn't stop her getting me to do it though. grin

OhDearNigel Fri 28-Dec-12 14:55:59

Get a small chest freezer off ebay/friday ad/freecycle. Use it to stash reductions in supermarkets. We have a tiny house/garden but have sacrificed quite a lot of the garden to house two freezers which house my Waitrose/Asda bargains. I only ever buy food that is on offer, own brand or reduced. Last night I went into asda as they wheeled out a huge trolley full of chicken breast packs reduced from £3.70 to 50p each. I was able to pick up 18 packs because I have enough room to store them.

If you have a DH/DC that insist that "brands taste better" do a blind taste test marking the bowl on the bottom before passing them round. DH preferred the own brand ketchup and beans despite having spent years saying that the heinz tasted better.

OhDearNigel Fri 28-Dec-12 14:59:13

Get an allotment - cheap exercise, fresh air, a hobby and free food rolled into one

OhDearNigel Fri 28-Dec-12 15:03:54

If you have a vocational college nearby get your hair done there. I cut my hairdressing costs from £70 every 6 weeks to £20 just by doing that. The finish is just as good - as they are students they take much more care and aren't trying to rush you through so they can get another customer in to up their earnings.

MrsChestysGlitteryBaubles Fri 28-Dec-12 15:15:44

Oh Facebook too, check out pages for your favourite shops etc. there is a hairdressers I use for dds as its fairly cheap (child's age + £1) so I liked their Facebook page and they put a Facebook offer for £20 for cut & blow dry, I wouldn't have known otherwise and it was a great cut. The normal price was £42 and I just couldn't justify this.

I've also won a few competitions from signing up to newsletters/Facebook pages. (Win my wedding dress this way)

MrsChestysGlitteryBaubles Fri 28-Dec-12 15:16:20

Won not win!

FreePeaceSweet Fri 28-Dec-12 15:23:28

Ooh well done! I have won a few comps too. I find this site brilliant. Some of the stuff is odd but you'd be amazed at what geeks like to buy on Ebay. grin I won some headlights that sold for nearly £400! I've also had 3 baby food hampers, tickets to flower shows, toys, 2 prams, 2 birthing pools, gardening stuff and a golf caddy that was excitedly recieved by my fil.

I've also won a couple of things on Mumsnet.

MrsChestysGlitteryBaubles Fri 28-Dec-12 15:26:45

Uh oh, thanks for the link. Never getting anything done tonight now smile

Want2bSupermum Fri 28-Dec-12 15:27:44

DH is quite the spender compared to me. It made a huge difference when I started using cash in jars to help budget out what is spent where. We have a fun jar too. If we need money for something I always raid DH's alcohol jar and my beauty jar before the fun jar is touched. If there is any money left over at the end of the week in the jars I deposit the money into our savings account.

With children it can be difficult. At this point nearly all of DD's clothes are 2nd hand. DH's family are horrified by this but we have saved thousands. My Dad picks up her clothes at car boot sales, often only paying GBP1 or 2 for a bag of outfits. Most of the stuff is M&S, Next etc. Toys are all gifts or hand downs from our friends who don't have storage space. We have one of those plastic slides in the garden for DD which I picked up for free through the local online discussion board. I don't have many clothes - 8 outfits for work and 3 nonwork outfits. It is so much cheaper and easier.

BreastmilkNewYearLatte Fri 28-Dec-12 15:30:52

Drinking water rather than coffee/wine/etc (if only I could...)

Cycling rather than driving/bus/train (brrrrrrrrr)

Own-brand shampoo (ick)

Turning off the heating and/or wireless (apparently)

Ebay and charity shops for clothes, especially for kids (I agree, cheapie stuff from Primark etc is not good value as it wears out so quickly)

And yes, packed lunches. Being veggie works too, unless you like naice cheeses and obscure organic grainy things

fussychica Fri 28-Dec-12 15:34:43

Just stop buying STUFF - everyone now just seems to buy stuff all the time whether they actually need it or not. Nobody needs to buy clothes and makeup every month. Curb this kind of shopping.


Lower the thermostat but leave it on all the time it won't need to work so hard to keep the place warm (works for us anyway) so is cheaper.

Don't throw food away - only buy what you need then use/freeze leftovers.

We've just come out of a year or so of budgeting hard due to coming back to the UK without having sold our home overseas. Thankfully it's now sold and we can stop worry but I won't go back to my previously wasteful ways.

FreePeaceSweet Fri 28-Dec-12 15:41:38

Try online catalogues for kids branded clothing. Very don't seem to be liked on MN but I find them very easy to deal with. I spent £64 last month and got ton's of stuff. Very have a superb sale section where I picked up jeans and hoodies from £2 a pop. I also got the dd's school summer dresses for 75p each and next years winter coats £5 each. Sure they may not have the sizes you need but its luck of the draw. I got dd a French Connection rain mac with Babushka dolls printed on it for £4 3 years ago. Its still going strong and she gets so many compliments on it. Oh and most catalogues do a generous discount with your first order. I got £50 off a £75 spend 3 years ago. I doubt they are still as generous. Again pay it off in full and don't go mad. Just stay in the sale section

NuclearStandoff Fri 28-Dec-12 16:17:04

just stop buying stuff.

I managed a year without buying any non-consumables - no clothes, books, newspapers, nothing apart from food, cleaning products and the occasional plant.

I did not do it for financial reasons but I saved a lot of money.

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