Moneysupermarket.com challenged bloggers to come up with a list of 30 ways to save money to mark the 30th Anniversary of the £1 coin.
Since we have managed to get by on as little as £20 a week for food, for a family of 4 plus 2 cats, I thought I might have a go at this challenge and share some of the tips, tricks and hints that we use in daily life to cut our costs.
1. Don't go shopping on an empty tum! Being hungry will make you buy things you don't really need but really fancy now you've seen it *grumble grumble tum*
2. Plan ahead! Make a meal plan in advance so you know exactly what you need to buy.
3. Try to do meals that you can use the same ingredients for twice. We often buy a sack of spuds,a whole chicken, sausages and veg so we can get a roast, bubble and squeak, bangers and mash and left over meat for sandwiches out of those few ingredients - 3 meals and a lunch.
4. Look at the lower shelves as they are usually full of cheaper items!
5. Shop with a friend to take advantage of 2 for 1 offers without ending up with much more than you need, you can split the bill to make it cheaper for you both.
6. Shop at the end of the day for the bargain shelves, you could find something for your dinner at a fraction of the price or something you can freeze for later in the week.
7. Ask at the fresh counters for any cut offs or scraps of fish if you don't need it to look pretty. Perfect for fishcakes, fish pies or even if you have a pampered kitty who is partial to fresh fish. You can get a bag of off cuts for around a pound.
8. If you can make it cheaper yourself and you have the time, do it! We recently started making our own butter from double cream. You can buy 300ml cream from Lidl for 80p which will make you 200g butter, it may be a small saving but it all helps. You can freeze butter so it's well worth looking out for reduced cream,
making up batches of butter and freezing. I've found cream from as
little as 5 pence so that's a massive saving.
9. Use the buttermilk from your butter making in cakes or muffins which means using one less egg ;)
10. Use white vinegar for cleaning. You can use it for almost anything from cleaning surfaces to descaling kettles, deodorising drains and sinks, cleaning toilets and even to deter ants from sneaking in. You can buy white vinegar in a spray for £1 at Wikinsons so you really can save pounds on cleaning products.
11. If you shop online use Cashback sites! I use Quidco a lot and have received over £100 cash back already, there are other cashback sites but I'm not up to speed with them, another one I have heard of but not used is Topcashback. The cashback rates vary but its definitely worth checking before you buy anything online.
12. Don't be afraid to shop in 99p stores. The range is actually amazing and most things available are exactly what you would get anywhere else but at a much higher price. For example I recently bought a plain A3 canvas in the 99p store having seen one the previous day for £3.95 - the exact same product.
13. Collect loyalty cards anywhere that offers them.
Use your loyalty to your advantage!
14. We often apply for the newspaper holidays £10pp and such, which are in themselves great offers but if you have a favourite holiday park that you visit each year or more often, phone up if you want to rebook, give them your reference number and explain you are a regular. It might not work for all companies but Haven certainly reward regular holiday makers.
15. Grow your own herbs, chives, cress, basil etc are often available in supermarkets, as living plants for 99p but you can buy a packet of seeds for the same price and get at least half a dozen lots out of one packet. Cress grows quickly so if you have 6 pots on the go and each time you use one plant some more you will have an ongoing supply.
16. Prepare early for Christmas. I always buy through the year, Boxing day sale, New Year sales, end of season sales. End of summer sales are fab as you can buy outdoor toys for very low prices and they are fab presents for Christmas.
17. If you shop somewhere that you have to pay for shopping bags invest in some decent reusables. You can get pretty and funky bags from Amazon and ebay for under £1 each but if you are doing a weekly shop buy need several and keep them in your car, handbag, changing bag, so you always have them handy.
18.Use the internet for dot to dots and other activities instead of buying activity books. Connect the dots has ready made puzzles you could print out for your children to complete and colour and there are other sites such as Picture dots where you can make your own dot to dots and they can be completed online so you don't even have to print them out.
19. Make use of venues that you can visit for free. Museums, parks, gardens, woods. There are so many places you can go that kids find fascinating and you don't need to spend a penny to visit. Take a picnic, some jars and nets and head off for a walk in the woods looking at bugs and collecting flowers.
20. Go back to basics. Remember when you were a child on summer holidays and could spend hours chalking on the pavement? Your kids will love it as much as you used to, invent games for them, draw with them, doodle a boat onto the patio and play pirates and when the evening draws get them to water it down and brush over ready for the next day.
21. Make your own ice lollies, these moulds come in at £1.50 for 4 and it's so quick and easy to make them up. Even if you just use water the kids will love them. Jazz them up with fruit, juices, jelly sweets, yogurt and the savings on shop bought lollies is massive.
22. Websites like Food Bargains & Approved Food are great for making big savings on tinned foods. Some of the items are past best before dates but are perfectly good and safe to eat, you can see what the dates are in the product descriptions before you buy anything and there are many items within date if you do worry about that kind of thing. Fantastic for non fresh food and drinks, household bits and some gifts. Also some products give you a discount on shipping which is a fab bonus. Our first order was £30 with a RRP of £163!
23. Use Groupon for treats, short breaks and meals. You can make some great savings and still get out and do the things you like to do. We have had meals out, bought home accessories, photo shoots etc at at least half the usual retail price.
24. If you get something for Christmas that really isn't your thing but you know your friend will love it, pop it in your birthday cupboard ready to regift. It might seem cheeky to some but I think it makes sense ;)
25. Check for free e-books regularly. e-readerIQ updates very regularly and there is a huge variety of books that are free or heavily reduced. If you think you might fancy a book grab it while its free as tomorrow it might be £5. I have a lovely e-library of books thanks fo this site.
26. Keep an eye on the free app of the day if you have an kindle tablet, they are only free for one day so you have to remember to check but there is all sorts available, games, organising apps, check lists, TV apps and I've even seen airport time table apps.
27. If you have a passion for animals or books or anything in between, instead of paying to visit a zoo or farm ask about and see if you can volunteer some time to help out. You get to spend some hands on time with things you love without spending money for the privilege. My husband has just done that very thing and volunteers for an owl sanctuary.
28. Use free instant messaging instead of text messages, you can send photos, video clips, drawings for free using Kik messenger. I find this particularly useful for sending photos which usually cost around 40p on a text message. As long as you have internet access (through wifi or contracted minutes) the message won't cost you any extra.
29. If you have a Tesco Clubcard check out Clubcard TV which is exclusive for clubcard holders and is full of films and tv programmes you can watch online with no fees!
30. Simple but important to remember, don't keep your car loaded up! The heavier the car is the more petrol you will use so if you have junk hanging about in the boot get rid and cut your petrol costs ;)