Your top ten for everyday frugal living(26 Posts)
Can I please have your top ten (or however many you have!) Tips for living frugally?
We don't live frugally at all, but I want this to change. We are very fortunate to earn well but have outgoings to match, mostly debt because we are terrible with managing our money (is, we just spend it).
What can we do to get things under control? Thank you
Start by writing down everything you spend money on for one month. Absolutely everything. Every coffee, sneaky chocolate bar when you get petrol etc. See exactly where it is actually going.
Start with the basics - checking you're on the best tariffs with energy providers, phone deals etc, mortgage etc.
You need to start by working out your budget, and where your money currently goes. Set aside a couple of hours to go through bank statements, bills etc
Get a decent water bottle and take it everywhere (or Thermos if you prefer).
Join local library.
Look for cheap days out and bring picnics (or hot dogs in the Thermos plus bread rolls!)
Join local facebook sites - ours has loads of good quality children's clothes, almost brand new, for pennies.
Check if you are entitled to free school meals, tax credits etc.
Meal plan and batch cook cheap meals- bolognese sauce, chunky veg soup etc. Freeze in takeaway containers and use as midweek dinners when you're in a rush.
Porridge and value weetabix = cheap breakfasts.
We’re currently using You Need A Budget - I’ve tried budgeting before but this is a different way of doing it and so far I’m finding it really useful. If you google codes you can get 3 months free!
Stay out of supermarkets except for weekly shop. I always come out with twice the number of goods I intended.
I echo monitoring your spending. I started a few years back and found my frittering to be the issue, mid week top up shops £30 gone, ebay and amazon £10-20 here and there.
MSE budget brain is really good, set aside some time, gather paperwork and fill in. It’ll give you tips as you go through too.
Thanks all, keep them coming! Any tips for getting the DH interested...
I think the biggest thing is to work out where it is going and then areas where you want to cut back. If it was me I would cut back on everything until I paid of the debt.
We went from living free and easy to having to really tight.
I would say you need to:
Learn what things cost, you should know the cost of the things you buy regularly, milk, bread, washing powed coffee, chicken beef. Have an upper limit that you allow yourself to pay for each. I used to be clueless, now I can walk into a shop and know what is a good deal and what isnt.
Learn what is a luxury and what is a necessity. This one is a bit of a reality check and is budget dependant. I used to HAVE to have Stokes tomato ketchup, actually Hinze is fine and at one point we used supermarket own brand.
Buy a good mug flask, IMO this only works if your coffee stays hot and doesn't taste of plastic so I paid extra and bought a Contigo, make your morning ccoffee instead of buying it.
Cut your meat portion size, we used to eat a huge amount of meat per portion, now I eat more veg and sauce and use far less meat and we are still getting the required amount.
I would list what your 'necessities' are and do your own reality check.
Also use the website 'money saving expert' and check out that you are paying the right amount for all your insurances.
A goal is good. What does your Dh want out of life, what's enjoyable to him? We wanted to be able to maintain the same standard of living even if I had an accident or became ill, for example. Well, that meant prioritising pensions and taking out income protection insurance (not right for everyone, we had special circumstances). We wanted to feel relaxed even if unexpected bills came in. Well, that meant building up a slush fund, so for quite a long time we lived on my income and saved most of my dh's. The most we ever got it to was £4,000 but that covers quite a few bills - £400 was our minimum so that we could replace a washing machine if needed. We also budgeted down to the last pound in order to do what we wanted - eg my dh had a budget line of £3 a month for art materials, £4.50 for his art website hosting etc.
Does it all sounds very dull? Didn't feel like it, once it was all set up we only looked at it all every 3 months or so just to see if changes were needed, then we got on with having fun. We were lucky to have enough money but it sounds like you do too.
Our guiding light on this was Geoffrey Boycott. He advises looking at the cricket score and saying 'ah, what if a couple of quick wickets went, what would it look like then?' In the same way, what would your finances look like if one of you were made redundant/you had a stroke/interest rates hit 8%?
Work out where you spend and the triggers for spending. Avoid the triggers eg Frida night takeaways.. get a frozen meal in on Thursday or better still cook one and freeze ready to bung in the oven when cant be arsed end of the weekitis strikes
Look for easy wins eg better tariffs on bills and insurance
Recognise there are some non negotiable things you "fritter" on and set a budget for them.
Get your spending high from saving instead.
Eat seasonally and befriend allotment holders.
Look for free or cheap days out in your area.
Look at your shopping bills and work out if it is cheaper to make it at home.
Grow herbs and salad leaves on the window sill or garden.
Meal plan and don't waste anything. We use loads of frozen veg and fruit as well as buying fresh but it stops me shopping for veg and fruit towards end of week.
I don't visit the shops unless I have to.
Will not buy my clothes full price.
Use cashback site.
Cut back on amounts you use of things like cleaning products washing powder etc. I used to go mad spraying the kitchen with spray when really now I only use soapy water and a final spray of anti bac or bleach. Wilko I thibk is the cheapest for cleaning stuff.
I save all my change less than a pound. That builds up.
I use a butchers to buy cheap cuts of meat. Only today I have made a casserole with brisket and dumplings. Enough for three days meals with a hungry 16 year old.
Just read my meters, always do it once a month and secured a £60 refund without altering my monthly DD.
My DH is hopeless at sorting his DD's out and contact less has sent him into unauthorised borrowing. Spoken with NATWEST and as a goodwill gesture, they have refunded him £96 in bank charges.
My savings account is linked to my current account so I can transfer only the amount of cash I need for each transaction. When my salary is paid I move into my savings account and transfer as I go. Makes it easier to manage my money.
Read gas and electricity meters once a monthly to monitor usage. It makes a huge difference to end of year debts.
Find ways to do the things you enjoy doing more cheaply:
E.g. We have a taste card through DPs work, so when we eat out we can often get a 2 for 1 deal or a decent discount
We use Tesco vouchers for holidays / nights away etc (4 kids so they accumulate fast!)
I hunt around for sale bargains/ decent second hand clothes for the children.
DP spends lots of time analysing offers and deals to make sure we are getting things like utilities etc at a good price
I get my shopping online from Tesco so I meal plan then order what I need as well as getting some local bargains.
I have found paying more for some things helps i.e fancy pizza bases may seem expensive but a lot less than takeaway pizza. Same applies to curry sauce etc. Some things are non negotiable like my Nespresso coffee and diet coke but I buy mostly generic products and cook from scratch most of the time. Only buy certain items when half price i.e. ice cream. If I don't feel deprived I am much more likely to stick to it.
Stop buying what you don't need.
Books ( use library)
Cosmetics until you run out
Coffees - learn to walk without one...
The place we save is food shopping and we eat very well. Ocado offer £20 off your first shop then send you vouchers for £20/15/10/5 off subsequent shops. On top of that they give you coupons to get money off products. This week I got a free cooked chicken, a free sticky toffee pudding, a pack of lurpak for 75p and a few other things too. I buy products that are on offer mainly. This week I got food for 6 days, for 4 of us for £56. I also spent £20 in Costco on things for lunches this week.
Pay for every day items in cash- it feels like real money, rather than using a debit/credit card. Often, you realise you don't really need an item when you have to hand over hard cash.
- shop at discounters, they are great these days
- cook EVERYTHING from scratch. It is not more time-consuming or difficult once you get used to it. Get a bread maker and a slow cooker. Pizza bases are a waste of money, you can whip up pizza dough with 0 effort in the bread machine.
- do not buy food out. Give up restaurants. No take-always. Take sandwiches, thermocup coffee. Again no biggie once you get used to it. You will save a fortune. These days I hate shelling out for food less delicious than I could have made myself at a tenth of the price, and I am no cook
- eat mostly vegetarian
- give up booze if you have to, otherwise don’t. Too frugal, and you’ll not stick to it. You are better off spending £15 on wine each week and then not cracking over a take-away.
- get cash out at the start of the week, once it’s gone it’s gone
- invite friends round instead of going out, cook frugal, box of wine. Good friends understand
- keep a running shopping list on your phone (ToDoIst or similar), buy what you need, plan
- use the library
- city-dwellers: get rid of car. Get a good bike, join carsharing
- go out without your purse
- make friends with your neighbours. I hardly ever pay for babysitting or household repairs, and I help them out too. It’s lovely, we are a (frugal) community
Get a decent travel mug. I have a Contigo and it saves me a fortune! I am not a coffee drinker but I use it for tea and it stays hot all day. I also use a travel food flask to feed the kids when out and about (hot dogs and buns).
DH and I have a set amount of pocket money each that I draw out in cash each Friday. We also have a budget for food (£100 per week) and fuel for 2 cars. We stick to it!
Try to buy clothes in the sale or from ebay. Don't buy kids too many clothes like I used to as they grow so fast!
I'm not sure to what extent you can become frugal if it isn't in your nature, and I don't think you can force your DH to take an interest, but you can for sure take charge of some of these things yourself.
Firstly, you have to find the line between being frugal and a joyless tightarse. Spend money on restaurants if that's how you socialise, but perhaps be proactive in finding and suggesting places that are good but not pricey.
Secondly, examine your fixed costs. We got ours down to £800 per month excluding baby stuff, which gives me a lot of peace of mind. Most months we spend a fair bit more than that, but it's always a choice.
Automate your savings: 75% of our income goes directly into another bank account so doesn't exist for all intents and purposes.
Pay off your mortgage faster. We are mortgage free now and it is a huge saving as well as a great feeling.
Try supermarket own brands, they are often made by the same companies as the big brands. We always try the cheapest version of something first and then work our way up until we find one we really like. So e.g. we have the value yoghurts but the most expensive cheese.
Processed foods can be a lot more expensive without adding much value. For example, oats are cheaper than cereal, but porridge made in the microwave or overnight in the fridge isn't much more work.
1) Check moveable bills. Electric, gas, mortgage, broadband, mobile phones. Are you on the cheapest tariffs? Can you get cheaper?. Ask the question.
2) Food. Absolutely cook from scratch with old fashioned ingredients. It might only save pennies but proper food fills you up. Bake your own bread. 65p of flour gives me four loaves and it’s palm oil free.
3) Try vegan. If you have a dish you like look for a vegan version. I bake a vegan sponge. Really nice and costs literally pennies.
4) Use aldi cleaning products. They’re all leaping bunny approved now. Water all purpose cleaner down and put it in a spray bottle. Break dw tabs in half.
5) Make laundry gloop, lasts ages. Leave the borax out.
6) LED lightbulbs. It’s saved me loads and I bought them cheaply.
7) Heat water for 20-30 minutes a day. Don’t leave it on all day. Lower the stat to 60.
8) Wear thermal base layer. Really cheap in the sales. They do black ones now.
9) shop around for everything. I mean everything. Cat litter, contact lens fluid, sanitary pads.
10) If it’s available free, get it. Condoms and pg tests are free on the nhs.
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