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Money-saving hints that aren't...

(210 Posts)
TheFifthKey Tue 08-Jan-19 12:45:27

I've been looking through momey saving blogs etc and the same things come up that annoy me every time because they're either not good hints or just unhelpful.

Firstly, the "if you stop buying lunch/coffees/magazines" tip - maybe there's the odd person who hasn't noticed that £5 a day at Costa adds up but it's irritating when you never really buy these things anyway - funnily enough if I had a £100/month black hole in my budget like that I'd notice!

And the second is "use lemons for cleaning" - they don't bloody work and a bottle of Flash is £1 and lasts aaaaaages for me - I don't use loads and it's fine. A net of lemons is at least 50p and would last one cleaning session - this is not a saving in any form!

FayFortune Mon 14-Jan-19 10:10:31

All the basics mentioned on this thread I've been trying to tell my teen.

Scarily it's having little impact. I am seriously questioning the brain wash of advertising they are being put through now.

FayFortune Mon 14-Jan-19 10:18:48

One thing I try to do do is know the baseline price for stuff we buy regularly and if I see it cheaper stock up. So I don't have a weekly shopping list for longer lasting stuff.

Another basic one a lot of people don't seem to follow in our soft water area is that you can reduce your washing powder / dishwasher powder dose substantially with no ill effect.

TheFifthKey Mon 14-Jan-19 10:22:20

Another thing I use for regular shopping is Amazon Subscribe and Save - I use this for things like kitchen roll, toilet paper, bin bags, vitamins etc. The thing about this is that the headline price often isn't cheaper than the supermarkets, but if you have 5 or more subscriptions in a month, it's 15% off the whole lot so it can work out economical. And I also very much never ever having to think about buying toilet paper, washing tablets, dishwasher tabs and so on, and they just arrive.

You get the chance to review your monthly order before it's processed too, and skip months, so you shouldn't end up deluged with stuff you don't need.

FayFortune Mon 14-Jan-19 10:25:48

That sounds a good idea.

Yep , you need to start advising op!

TheFifthKey Mon 14-Jan-19 12:31:31

With the small drawback that I still don't seem to have any actual money...!

HeyThoughIWalk Mon 14-Jan-19 12:56:44

@Guineapiglet345 that "Shop Well For Less" Christmas episode cracked me up! The £16 hand soap that they hated when it was in a plain bottle! And spending hundreds on Christmas Day outfits!! For babies!!!

The tip I hate is "turn your heating down by 1 degree". Yeah, I've done that. Can't just keep doing it, or I might as well turn it off.

But the Christmas EWFL did show that there are people out there who do need the most basic advice!

hopeishere Mon 14-Jan-19 13:27:36

I saw advice on here for a person who was really struggling that they should try baking their own bread.

The person who was basically down to pennies was supposed to go and buy all the ingredients for a loaf of bread plus loaf tins et cetera only to probably end up producing revolting, inedible bread!! it was just such a ridiculous idea.

TheFifthKey Mon 14-Jan-19 14:07:56

And when you can buy bread from Lidl etc for about 50p, baking your own saves no money at all. The same goes for cakes and biscuits; home made are delicious and needn't cost a fortune to make, but they're not cheaper for people on a tight budget than buying value custard creams and own brand fairy cakes.

AHawkins Tue 15-Jan-19 00:18:33

Haha too true, I always find this when reading blogs, like who buys this stuff when trying to budget anyway! I have found a site that gives helpful, realistic tips that I follow for budgeting advice.

AnotherShirtRuined Thu 17-Jan-19 07:39:19

@AHawkins Would you mind sharing a link to that site, please?

MaverickSnoopy Fri 18-Jan-19 11:56:36

I've worked really hard at budgeting and think I've reached a good place with it all. These are some of the things we do:

* Set yearly budget for everything, eg car service = £300 inc repairs so save (300÷12) £25/month into a separate account. Same principle for every spend. Everything is put into one account and tracked on a spreadsheet. Actual account never falls below £1.5k meaning we can overspend from some budgets and repay later eg children's coat is £25 in sale so snap it up because there is enough money in the account but spreadsheet says I only have £20 to spend on that child's clothes. I spend £25 and following month I pay monthly about of £20 into the account making my balance on spreadsheet of £15.

* Use tesco credit card for everything including water, gas and electricity bills. Only use it for buying things that we have money for and pay off in full each month. Collect lots of points and use on trips, meals out etc.

* Free cinema tickets with bank account and also have the meerkat code thing (can't think what it's called).

* All shopping done via topcashback. Money is pooled and put towards Christmas (currently have £27 for next year).

* Shop in all sales throughout the year, thinking ahead for children's clothes, birthdays, Christmas and gifts for parties. In sales just gone I bought nearly all extended family xmas and bday presents and got started on Xmas pj's for my children. Jojo mamen xmas pj's reduced to £8, Joules adult slippers for £10, science based children's toys reduced down from £20 to £4 gifts for parties...which I can afford to do because I put money aside monthly and overall have a big surplus in the account.

* Use costco for branded things in bulk and only go when visiting other places in the area so not unnecessarily using petrol.

* Reuse recyclable items where possible eg formula tins for felt tip storage instead of buying tubs etc, in a similar vein, melt ends of Crayons to make new Crayons etc

* Buy secondhand where possible - always look on Marketplace first

* Always trying to bring down cost of food shopping and look for better deals

* Do surveys to buy family annual passes for days out which makes days out free

* Check for tax rebates annually

* Check paying the cheapest for fuel, phones, insurances etc but balanced with good customer service - also remember to check topcashback

* Book annual holiday in January when sales are on. This year we got 20% off of our summer holiday.

* In general I have a rule that I don't buy anything full price unless I have to. I always look around for discount codes too. In the summer I needed lots of new bedding (think enough to fully kit out 2 single beds and a few bits for a double). Sainsburys seemed pretty good so waited until their sale - got £250 worth of stuff for £40. Lots knocked off in the sale and then I used a discount code as a first time shopper and got a big chunk off - something like £20. When the delivery arrived the driver gave us 30 packs of Lego cards too!

* I have a shopping list of stuff I need in my phone. I'm always on the look out for these things and when they're on offer I buy them.

* Save gift cards in one place and rather than thinking "oh what can I spend that on" I wait until there's something I need and use the gift card.

* I enter lots of competitions. I won £100 in a MN survey last year and chose an amazon voucher. Then every time I needed to use amazon I used that - think it lasted about 3 or 4 months.

Generally we have a good standard of living for a family on 5 on a low income, but it takes time and a lot of work which can be tiring.

MaverickSnoopy Fri 18-Jan-19 11:57:14

Eugh sorry I did use paragraphs, but it looks like one long one on my phone....

AHawkins Fri 18-Jan-19 16:40:01

Sorry, yes, it moneydog.co.uk I read all their blogs and have planned a call with them at the end of this year for free mortgage advice as I should hopefully be buying my first home by then!

Mrscog Fri 18-Jan-19 17:15:00

My rule (which often is also good for the environment) is really scrutinise whether you really do need something. I think lots of people in this thread are already in this mindset.

A couple of recent examples for me are - I wanted a new colour of nail varnish for christmas day. It would have been £8. When I thought it though, I thought not only about how it would feel to have the lovely new metallic red, but also how I'd feel beyond the day about £8 less towards the things I'm saving for (bathroom) and whether I'd really be bothered. Answer was no - that was £8 saved.

Another was wanting some new wash cloths for my face. At the same time I had put an old towel in the rag bag. Instead I chopped up this old ripped towel into 20 small squares - endless supply of face flannels and didn't have to buy a thing!

Another was my slippers - the inner insole was all ripped and very very smelly. Instead of buying new slippers (the rest of them were intact with plenty of wear) i simply bought a new pair of insoles and ripped out the smelly raggy ones.

Things like this really add up over a year - you can easily save 500-1000 by just not spending/renewing.

Petalflowers Fri 18-Jan-19 17:20:39

Another money saving tipmwhichnisn’t, ismto sell things on eBay/spchock/local selling sites etc.

The item may not sell, can take time to sell (I often relist the same item 3+ times before selling ) and then may not sell for much, plus there’s fees to pay. It’s not the grand money making scheme that it’s often portrayed.

Linguaphile Fri 18-Jan-19 17:29:39

Ha ha, I agree op, some of the advice is dumb.

I saw this on a 'world's cheapest people' sort of TV program, so haven't done it myself, but thought it looked like an interesting experiment. There was a couple the show who had decided that one week a month they just wouldn't go to the shops at all and would survive on whatever was in their cupboards and fridge/freezer. They ended up saving hundreds every month. Maybe hard to do after a few months though once the dregs of the freezer and cupboards have been purged?

Want2bSupermum Fri 18-Jan-19 17:42:12

Best thing we have done as a family is to keep our expenses consistent while our income has increased. We don't have a cleaner, buy food out or have a 2nd car. We could easily afford it but save the money.

Most people who are struggling financially have an income problem. If you aren't earning enough you will never get ahead of your bills. You either have to work more hours or get a skill more in demand that commands a higher salary. It's amazing what a job title change can do to a salary. Admin vs project manager. Very similar skills but project managers are nearly always paid a lot more.

QuietContraryMary Fri 18-Jan-19 17:54:28

Well tbh the best money-saving hint is to actually budget. If you don't ever find out where your money is going then it might not occur to you that you have £x/month of discretionary spending (coffee, takeaways, etc.). I don't think 'don't spend £4/day on takeaway coffee' is a very good tip, but that sort of stuff does add up.

For someone else it could be alcohol, an overly expensive car, but until you write it down and see then you can't get anywhere.

ALongHardWinter Fri 18-Jan-19 18:16:37

I think the 'best' money saving tip I've ever had was from my DMum,quite a few years back. My washing machine had packed up,so I was going to the local laundrette once or twice a week. She asked me how much it cost each time to use the laundrette. I said £3.00 for the wash,and another £1 for the dryer. She said 'You'd be better off saving that money for a year then buying yourself a new machine with it'. Yes mum,great idea. But in the meantime,how do I get my washing done?! confused

miggeldysthepres Fri 18-Jan-19 18:21:52

I have an excel spreadsheet which at the start has an estimated amount for each bill ,absolutely everything. i then save 12th of that every month so when the bills come I've got it there and I don't have any leaner months. I put x amount into the joint account every month, leaving £100 each for dh and I to spend as we wish.

OldJoseph Fri 18-Jan-19 18:27:16

A few years ago there was a program where celebrity chefs were supposed to help people struggling with money and cooking healthy meals.
One chef decided to help this particular single male who ate most tinned ravioli by showing him how to cook salmon in a fish kettle. It's economical because you have salmon to last a while.
Ridiculous, the man only had a couple of saucepans and a small hob. He really needed help to cook cheap basic meals on a budget.

NWQM Fri 18-Jan-19 18:27:34

Sorry but I’ve just lost a mouthful of coffee laughing at the washing machine ‘saving’ idea. Home made coffee luckily not Starbucks. Am loving these ideas.

grannybiker Fri 18-Jan-19 18:32:24

It's not saving money if you buy up half a shelf of food with yellow / "Whoops" stickers if your freezer hides them until they're all freezer-burnt sad

Rudgie47 Fri 18-Jan-19 18:32:56

I got our water bill cut in half from applying for a scheme for low waged households. So it went from £700+ to £350 per year, quids in!!.
I changed from BT to EE, £200 saving per year there.
Also I always take a flask and a bottle of water or squash when going out for the day I wont buy coffees.

Also I have cut down on buying shoes/ trainers and bags etc.

DowntonCrabby Fri 18-Jan-19 18:32:56

I start doing the “pay yourself first” method in 2017 so savings are budgeted before ANYTHING else.

I’ve worked on the method so I now only keep what I know we’ll need in the current account, a buffer is kept in our savings accounts that can be easily transferred over if something unexpected comes up and permanent savings are kept less easily accessible.

Plum is great for saving wee amounts that you don’t notice. I’ve saved £250ish since about August.

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