Photo: Douglas Mcintosh
Most of us, unless we’re rolling in it, are noticing the rise in prices these days and having to tighten the belt somewhat, like it or not.
One way of dealing with it is to see the situation as a challenge rather than a problem. With the right plan of attack, it’s possible to cut down expenditure considerably and still enjoy a relatively high standard of living.
As I’ve always been a thrifty type of person both through necessity and the belief that there’s no point in wasting money, I’ve picked up a few tricks on the way that help keep the belt a notch or two tighter. Maybe some of them could help you.
- Make a list of the contents of your freezer/food cupboard to avoid doubling up
- Menu plan
- Use leftovers
- Bulk buy non-perishables
- Look in Aldi, Netto, Home Bargains and other similar stores before heading to the main supermarkets
- Make a shopping list and stick to it (unless you find a product you use regularly on special offer)
- Use cash rather than a card - that way you’ll see exactly how much you’re spending
- If you have online banking, check it every day for the same reason as above
- Write down everything you spend for a week. You’ll probably be surprised by where your money’s going
- Only use 2 for 1 offers if you really need the products
- Use a club card to collect vouchers (voucher codes can also be used when shopping online)
- Use eBay, visit car boots and charity shops and make use of Freecycle
- Avoid buying designer labels
- Buy baby items second-hand. They’ll hardly have had much use and it’ll save them clogging up the landfill as well as saving you money
- If you have young children, try joining a toy library. Kids get bored of the same toys so quickly and they’re hardly cheap
- Arrange a swap evening with friends and neighbours. Swap clothes, toys, household goods... anything really
- If your mail doesn’t have to get there tomorrow, use second class stamps instead of first class
- Drive efficiently
- When clothes aren’t heavily soiled, use the quick wash cycle on your washing machine.
- Wash on 30, maximum 40 degrees
- Only use a tumble dryer when absolutely necessary - they practically double the electricity bill of the average household
- Use soda crystals and soap flakes instead of washing powder. Cheaper and the soda crystals keep your machine, including the pipes, really clean
- Use white vinegar instead of fabric conditioner (add some essential oil for a nice scent)
- Use cheap cola to clean limescale in the toilet. Just pour it in, leave it overnight, scrub with your loo brush and flush
- Use cheap conditioner when shaving your legs. Much cheaper than shaving foam
- Clear your credit card debt
- Use a cash-back credit card to make larger purchases but only if you know you can definitely pay off the balance as soon as its due
- Turn off appliances at the mains
- Turn off lights when you leave a room
- To minimise heat loss, close the curtains in the evening during winter and chilly periods
- Fit heat reflectors behind radiators, especially those on outside walls
- Try camping for a cheap holiday
- Supplement your dog’s food with leftover rice and pasta
- Buy giant bags of pet food. It works out much cheaper than several small ones. Better still, make your own dog food
- Only boil the amount of water you need
- If you have more bedrooms than people in your house, you’ll most likely be better off with a water meter (more info can be found here)
- Learn to do at least some of your own DIY repairs
- Learn to mend your clothes (it’s surprising how many people can’t sew on a button)
- Don’t leave the fridge door open for longer than necessary
- A full freezer is more efficient than a half empty one but a full fridge will use more electricity
- The chances of winning the lottery are very slight. Put that money in a jar instead and watch your savings grow
- Keep a couple of £1 coins in the car for parking meters. Saves you having to nip into a shop to buy something just to get change.
- Look for a home hairdresser. One that comes to your home is generally much cheaper than a salon stylist. Even cheaper, check your local college as those with hairdressing courses generally offer very cheap cuts etc. The same applies to beauty treatments
- Check that your phone and utility supplies are the cheapest. There’s lots to be saved by switching.
- Check that your getting the best insurance deals
- If you regularly phone abroad or to mobiles, consider signing up with 18185.com
- Use the library instead of buying books, or buy second-hand from charity shops, car boots or Green Metropolis
- Box wine works out cheaper than bottled wine and there’s no waste if you don’t polish it all off in one sitting
- Give up smoking (easier said than done, I know). If you can’t or don’t want to give up, consider switching to rolling tobacco instead of tailor-mades as it’ll work out far cheaper
- Avoid using cash points that charge you for withdrawing your money. Paying £1.80 to withdraw £20 is the same as paying 9% interest to use your own money
You might also want to read my post about saving water, which is good for the environment and can save a considerable amount of money for those on a meter.
Other posts that may be worth looking at are:
20 Uses for Vinegar
Grocery Shopping - 20 Money Saving Tips
One website that’s really worth visiting is MoneySavingExpert by Martin Lewis. It’s huge and full of useful advice. The forums are also superb for anybody looking for save money!
No doubt you all have your own ways of saving a few bob. If you have, it’d be great if you could share them in the comments section.