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Tell me your best money saving tips please!

(150 Posts)
SevenOnwardsAndUpwards Sun 06-Oct-13 13:21:40

DH is going down to a 4 day week soon, it's intentional as he works over 50 hours and is finding it too much, but it does obviously mean we'll have less coming in than before. On paper we should easily be able to afford it, but we don't seem to have much spare cash and nothing in savings blush though I don't know where it all goes tbh. We don't spend loads on going out and don't have sky so no obvious savings to be made there. I've already thought we need to cancel experian, switch phone away from BT and drink less wine. What are your best and easy money saving tips so cutting back doesn't come at the expense of a worse quality of life for the DCs? They're 5, 22 months and 5 months if that's relevant.

flipchart Sun 06-Oct-13 23:16:27

After working out how much I spent on holidays mine would perhaps don't go away. ( I would have saved a shed load!)

mameulah Sun 06-Oct-13 23:44:28

Write down your monthly allowance and as you spend it write it down. Take note of any money that has been spent, either in cash or direct debit, each night. It really, really makes you think. I halved our shopping today by being really, really aware that every penny counts.

When you are thinking of buying a gift for someone, halve the amount you would normally spend. And don't spend more than £1 on a card.

If you have people you would normally give a £5 box of sweeties to at Christmas then change your tradition. Give them a small £1 and a card with a £1 lottery ticket. Or better still, tell them you have changed the tradition and do they want to come over for a coffee instead? They will probably be relieved.

Make a Christmas gift spread sheet now. Write everyone's name, then choose what you are going to buy them. Source it as cheaply as possible. But it NOW. Don't buy anything else when all the tempting Christmas stock hits the shelves.

Buy second class stamps for your cards and post early.

Bulk out all meat meals with beans and veg, especially chillis etc.

Soup and pudding one night a week. But don't call it soup and pudding night. Just do it.

Unlike what other people have said, go out for a coffee and a walk in the park for a treat. Cheaper than the cinema.

Make your own bread, apparently Hugh F Whitting-whatever has a good recipe online, or so my brother says. A good weekend activity for your family.

Go for walks and collect things, then make collages.

Halve the amount of shampoo etc you put in your hand before using.

As someone said above. Don't take your purse out.

Meal plan. And buy only what you need.

Will keep thinking...don't be afraid to say 'can't afford it.' Most people will be relieved. You and your partner agree to have very small Christmas gifts, a box of chocolates or whatever. And stick to it.

Good luck!

BadSeedsAddict Mon 07-Oct-13 00:33:38

Find your local ccollege and get your hair done there. I got a cut and colour plus two children's hair cuts for nine quid last time I went (they let me off the kids ones!).

Plan your meals for the week, then make a list of everything you need for the meals, then check prices. We have just done this, and looking at the prices really helps focus you on where you can make savings - eg a litre of 'brand name' super milk is €1.44 in my local Tesco, but just 99c in Aldi.

Plan meals where you can use leftovers or the same ingredients, eg, we will be having roasted veggies with dinner one night, then bringing the leftover veggies for lunch the next day in wraps with hummus. We'll then have fajitas that night, so the same pack of tortilla wraps will do lunch and then dinner.

Definitely cut back on the meat. DP and I eat meat only once or twice a week. Veggie curries/fajitas/casseroles/pastas are delicious.

Shopping in Aldi/Lidl helps. We used to always go to Tesco/Dunnes, and spend a huge amount throwing magazines/DVDs/random shite into the trolley. Aldi and Lidl have no magazine section or fridge filled with cold drinks and sambos etc by the checkouts, I think we have saved a fortune by not throwing such things into the trolley.

Stop drinking fizzy drinks (if you do). We used to spend a fortune on Diet Coke. Now, we drink loads of water, so are spending less and are probably much healthier.

MangoTiramisu Mon 07-Oct-13 01:16:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IWipeArses Mon 07-Oct-13 01:26:10

I fell into the habit of taking DS to the shop on the way home from school last year. So I stopped taking my purse out.

Don't buy magazines or newspapers anymore.
Toys are for birthdays and Christmas only.
If you could manage without a car, it's a quick win.
If you don't watch lots of things like football, consider cancelling tv license and watching catch-up.
Go to bed early. Saves on the electricity and you'll feel better too which helps willpower when faced with spending dilemmas, less need to overeat and over caffeinate which all adds up too. (She says, posting at 1.30am blush)
Develop a more limited wardrobe as your signature look. The more essential a capsule wardrobe is, the more flexible it is and the more wears per pound you'll get. Less handbags, shoes etc.
Let hair go more towards natural colour/texture. A style that can be quickly trimmed either yourself or by a cheaper hairstylist can save lots over the year.
Don't go on expensive holidays. Break the habit, look at UK hols, staying with relatives etc.

The main thing I personally struggle with is the food shopping and buying food when out and about. I'm terrible at meal planning.

HoraceHorseface Mon 07-Oct-13 07:59:12

We went frugal on Jan 1st this year. Not for any particular reason but just to save a bit of money. Some of my tips:

I use washing powder and dish washer powder, not the gel tabs or liquid. Don't use conditioner unless theres something woolly in the wash. Line dry, finish in the dryer only if really necessary. Don't iron.

Make your own soups - especially as winter approaches (yum yum)

Packed lunches only - I lasted until July until I had to buy a lunch!!!! I lost a stone in weight too.

We record loads of films from the TV - much cheaper than renting a film or Sky.

We do our own decorating and DIY. Only get the profs in for important or difficult jobs. Begrudge those professionals that charge by the day then drag their heels and charge an extra day - arrrrgh, work faster and stop talking on your mobile all day....

Take-away's are a treat. The last one we had was about 2 months ago at a get together with friends. This is instead of every weekend...


ElbowPrincess Mon 07-Oct-13 08:02:05

Meal plan. Buy whats on your list only!

ElbowPrincess Mon 07-Oct-13 08:11:17

Buy a bag of porridge oats, about 80p for a bag that will last a week! Fab breakfast for everyone & so quick.

Making your own bread is a false economy. A nice enough loaf costs 50p in Morrisons (thats not even the value one) and it works out about £1 to make your own, plus all the effort!

Always chuck leftover veg into a soup or fritatta = another nutritous meal.

Basics washing powder is just as good as any other.

PinkStarStuck Mon 07-Oct-13 08:27:30

Working out a budget for the week, drawing out the cash and leaving your cards at home works. You quite literally can't spend what you don't have. We had to do that when DH lost his job and we were down to a JSA budget, even if there was money in the account it was quite often accounted for and had to be left alone. It's a bit miserable but it works.

Also not going into shops so you don't see stuff that you 'need'. Look at your wardrobe and decide what you need then go shopping for that specific item.

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 07-Oct-13 08:27:39

Moneysavingexpert is good for recipes on the grocery challenge in the forum.

Aldi & meal planning. Plus their own brand toiletries and cleaning products are not tested on animals so its ethical too.

Thermal underwear, I love my thermals.

Sign up to so the things you have to buy give you cash later on, very good for car insurance, home insurance, utility switches etc. literally everything I buy is via there or eBay.

Use moneysavingexperts energy club to swap providers, turn the thermostat down on hot water tanks if you have one, 60 is enough but lots are set to 70.

Check the house has enough loft insulation, it should be 270mm, and look on moneysavingexpert for companies doing free loft insulation if you don't have enough. Makes a huge difference. Draw the curtains! I can't believe how many people don't because they think double glazing is as heat efficient as a wall but its not, I bought cheap fleece blankets at asda last year as the curtains in the rented house didn't even have a lining.

Make laundry gloop for coloureds & delicates Costs pennies to make. I use an aerosol cap to dose it. One per wash.

If you look at the credit crunch section on here there's lots of information on it.

Sunnysummer Mon 07-Oct-13 08:31:05

Go online and check whether you can get a better deal with your utility providers.

When it comes to insurance and telephones, always shop around.

When you need a new phone contract, look up the best deals online... Then tell them you're going to cancel! The cancellations teams have access to better deals than the ones advertised, so they may be able to match whatever the new provider can offer. They might even be able to do better!

Depends on the rest of the family... But with DH's family, we've now got a sort of Kris Kringle going at Christmas time, where each adult randomly gets one other adult to buy or make a present for, up to £10. For kids, the adults club together and they might each get one 'good' present from the whole family and one fun thing in a home made cracker that is specifically from grandparents. BIL started it because he said his kids were drowning in toys and everyone was spending masses on travel and food already - his new system has worked really well so far!

gindrinker Mon 07-Oct-13 08:43:26

Go to a supermarket where you scan as you go along.
Makes you aware of the costs. £50 at tesco becomes £40 at waitrose because you can see it totalling up.

expatinscotland Mon 07-Oct-13 08:55:38

Go veggie and watch food bills fall. I also buy veg frozen or about to go off,cook it and freeze for throwing into sauces, soups, curries.

Thepursuitofhappiness Mon 07-Oct-13 08:58:48

Buy clothes bundles from EBay for the children, save a fortune.

hazchem Mon 07-Oct-13 09:02:46

Buy with cash.
Work out what your outgoings are each month and put them in envelops then spend from there.

Knowing how much you have left means you tend not to overspend.

Our bills envelops are actually kept in a high interest account but I keep a spread sheet so know what is in each one. We also put aside money each pay for christmas and savings.

We have been doing this for a year as we have had a drastic pay cut and it's working well. Also we both get a cash amount as pocket money.

HoraceHorseface Mon 07-Oct-13 09:05:54

A few more:

Defrost your freezer, clean the oven, clean dishwasher and washing machine (filter and drawers), bleed the radiators. Descale the kettle, shower heads and iron (if you use one), defrag your computer.

Keeps everything in good working order and running efficiently.

Test smoke alarms!!

xuntitledx Mon 07-Oct-13 09:26:08

Do you have a Costco nearby that you can join? Although there's an annual £30 joining fee, we've saved a fortune by bulk buying meat (which we then freeze), washing powder, dishwasher tablets, zip-lock bags, squash, sugar, loo roll etc!

We used to spend a fortune on eating out which seems daft as I love cooking so instead, we recreate our favourite dishes at home which stops the craving and will save us £30+ per week!

Frozen veg and herbs is another trick I've found - much cheaper than fresh and you don't throw anything away.

Packed lunch for work everyday rather than buying expensive canteen or cafe food, you just have to be organised with this one and prepare everything the night before.

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 07-Oct-13 09:26:41

I use smart price vinegar to descale the kettle, I pour a bottle in, leave it overnight and decant it back into the bottle the next morning. Quick swill round with cold water and I'm done.

When it stops working I use it as fabric softener.

Moneysavingexpert frugal food advice

HmmmWhatAMess Mon 07-Oct-13 09:55:07

Make sandwiches for kids lunches and freeze them. I have a big freezer so this weekend made four loaves into sandwiches and clingfilmed them.

Not only does it make mornings so easier, it is also much cheaper as all the ingredients get used.

hamncheese Mon 07-Oct-13 10:01:45

Get pregnant, morning sickness, bedridden. Saves a fortune.

Might not pay off in the long run though...!

Seriously though, staying at home more helps

mylovelymonster Mon 07-Oct-13 10:26:46

Am getting a lot of useful stuff from this thread - thanks x

I have started only buying meat when on offer - I still get good quality though. Have taken to buying good cuts of pork shoulder for roast rather than leg. We eat a lot less meat. Am buying frozen fish & prawns instead of fresh. We never eat out or have takeaways - costs 4x the cost of doing a tastier healthier version at home, we just invite people over to eat.

Drinking a lot less wine - buy six bottles at a time to save then willpower to make it last - usually only special occasion.

I buy all children's clothes from supermarkets or outlet stores/sales - still go for good quality. We have two girls so easy for hand-me downs if we look after stuff.

Buy my clothes only good quality and usually only in sales - order via internet and am ruthless about sending stuff back if doesn't suit/fit/flatter. Go for good quality and free P&P/returns. Saves a lot on driving to shops, parking, snack/lunch out etc. DH's clothes mostly from outlet stores and sales. We look after things ruthlessly too so they last.

DIY/home decorating all the way where possible and negotiate for all plumbing/kitchen/bathroom fittings - 20-30% off generally (we are renovating & have renovated before).

I will be without salary from the end of October - on paper looks fine but we are like rabbits in headlights at the moment and trying to be as careful as we can. Hopefully will work out fine.
Birthdays and Christmas looming though - that will be a big test to be frugal with children's pressies. We have already seen a nice bike for DD1 though which is half price smile

I'm sure you will all benefit from your DH cutting down his hours, and you will make it work financially. I think for us, we're giving it six months to settle into cutting back and fitting into the new budget plus saving some of that too for our holiday fund.

IamSlave Mon 07-Oct-13 10:26:58

Ruprekt grin love the name.

We also only eat reduced from Waitrose. Its amazing the reductions they do and you do not compromise on meat quality or integrity of food chain.

I have 3 bags of reduced fillett steak in my freezer from there reduced by 70% to something like £3.50 for three steaks?! Also a freezer chock full of free range and organic chicken all brought for cheaper than say tesco normal chicken etc.

We also love aldi.

blue2 Mon 07-Oct-13 11:47:29

When do Waitrose discount their stuff? I know our local M&S puts stuff out after 6pm

Katienana Mon 07-Oct-13 12:22:32

Buy the basics range in the supermarket, for things like tinned tomatoes, pasta, rice etc you can't go wrong doing this. At least give the cheap brands a go - personally I won't buy cheap squash as it doesn't taste good so what's the point, but for very plain basic ingredients who cares what the packet looks like!
Cut down on alcohol. Try drinking fizzy water instead or soda water and lime. Fewer calories too so you also lose weight!
Work out what is important to you and find a way of keeping it in your life. That might be a manicure once a month, or a magazine every week. You can cut back without cutting everything back.

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