My husband is working away at the moment, he is working very hard and earning pretty good money. My job back at home is not to spend it all as fast as possible, although it is occasionally tempting, having not had disposable income for a long time! But to save it, as much as I can. I like saving money, it gives me a sense of achievement and security. And my bank account would have been looking very rosy now if it wasnt for two recent events, one of which was desired and needed, the other not so much but had to be done. So now, we are on a 'super saver run'
Here are my tips, which help me
1. Discount Vouchers - there are several sites where you can find discount vouchers off various brands, such as http://www.discountvouchers.co.uk/ or most of the supermarkets have loyalty cards which give discounts, decide carefully how to use those to the most advantage.
2. Recycle gifts - obviously they need to be in the original packaging and dont just pass on tat, decent stuff that maybe you didnt need as it was duplicate. This last birthday, Sophie was given something which she already had and would have been a great gift to recycle, but before I knew what it was the kids had ripped up the box, there was no way I could pass it on after that. I always remember my mum having this drawer full of unused gifts, to recycle as needed.
3. Take showers, not baths and short ones. This saves a lot of water, although I read some people boast about having a two minute shower, but frankly if Im washing my hair is impossible. To be honest, probably most mums practise this already in the pre-school rush of a morning!
4. In summer, when its hot and you really dont want to be at a hot stove, do no-cook meals like salads or cold quiches etc. This saves on the gas/electricity used.
5. Use supermarket / internet budget meal ideas - cut down the food costs by doing budget meals. Most supermarkets now have great ideas for tasty, good value family meals. I would recommend this route if possible, as whenever I try to do a cheapy meal, it just ends up tasting bland and boring.
6. Use leftovers - we are notorious in our house for leaving leftovers and throwing them away, although if we made smaller meals that wouldnt be necessary but that isnt always possible. But leftovers are easy, just re-heat and off you go, can be abit boring and puts some mums off as it means more work, if people are having different meals but its not really. And dont you hate wasting food?
7. Cut down the treats / impulse buys - these days I rarely treat myself, unless I feel I really can and I deserve it. But it is all too easy to buy those extra little things for the kids, a pack of sweets here, a magazine there. It was a friend of mine, who started this and made me realise how much we spend a year of these things and its true. It can run into hundreds.
8. Keep a record of fuel readings - this way you dont get any surprises, you know what you are spending and it can help you identify ways to cut it down. You can identify the peaks, when you are using high or extra amounts and this can help you reduce them, because you dont always realise how much all the appliances use and some can be switched off when not used. I have effectively reduced my electricity bills this way.
9. Avoid expensive snacks, like Doritos or other big snack brands, instead buy fruit and yogurts or make your own snacks. This is a 'no-brainer' and probably healthier for you and your children.
10. Make birthday cards, you can go online or to a craft store such as, Hobbycraft and buy a card kit which will make up to 10 cards and cost you the price of 3 if not less. It makes it more personal and you can get creative or make simple, attractive cards in a few minutes. I always find people appreciate the effort more than a bought card and my problem was, here in Portugal, cards are very expensive and not very good.
11. Meal planning - make a weekly meal planner and buy everything you need in one go, this cuts down on impulse buying and overspending. I have found the more times I enter the supermarket, the more I spend, so now I try to get everything bought in one or two trips during the week, helping me reduce what I spend overall.
I hope these money saving tips may help you, if you have any you find particularly useful, I would love to hear. And watch those pennies stack up, even if its only a small saving, over time will make a big difference.