Want to save cash and cut corners without living in a cardboard box outside Victoria Street Station? Here are 15 top tips gleaned from brilliant minds, great sites and fabulous parents, just like you.
1. Pay your debt
Get rid of the credit card and pay off the debt. If you can’t pay off the debt quickly, consider a loan to do so by carefully comparing relevant interest rates and choosing the one that saves you money.
If you own a car you own one very expensive item indeed. Keep it regularly serviced and cared for and only use it when walking is not an option. You’ll get fit, save the planet and some money.
3. Be power aware
Turn off lights when you are not using them, conserve money by using your heating sparingly, don’t leave items on standby and regularly compare your fuel package with others using an online comparison tool.
4. Eat at home
Take out, even from MacDonald’s (shudder), is expensive and will cost you way too much money. Cook at home and buy in bulk. Home freezing is also a great way to save cash and time by buying loads, cooking it up in huge batches, and freezing for quick instant meals when you’re tired.
5. Make a packed lunch
You make one for the kids so make one for yourself. Honestly, a nice home sarnie and bottle of juice or water will save you so much over any meal deal anywhere, and, if you make it without tons of processed foods and fatty sauces, it will be a thousand times healthier too.
6. Don’t shop without a list
Just don’t. And don’t go there hungry. Check out our tricks for tackling supermarket cunning here.
7. Dump the loyalty
It doesn’t matter how much you adore X brand, unless they are the cheapest around don’t bother. While in some cases quality is brand, it isn’t that much of a deal when it comes to soap or toothpaste or toilet paper. Buy the cheapest one and save.
8. Ecozone Eco Balls
This tip from Love Money is pure genius. Buy Ecozone Eco Balls from around £18 for a pack and save around £11.44 a year. In fact, the entire feature on Love Money is incredibly comprehensive and needs to be read from top to toe. They even have my Bicarb tips!
9. Clothes and savers
This is a tricky one because my designer clothes have lasted and lasted and lasted whereas my Tesco branded ones died within two months. Literally fell apart. I am a firm believer in spending money on quality for long-term items like jeans or jackets or shoes, but buying El Cheapo tat for kids, seasonal and fun. Kids just grow too fast to warrant designer spend.
10. Do it Yourself
Pay for a course at your local college that teaches you how to do basic home DIY and you’ll soon be reaping the rewards of that course and earning the money back on saved calls to plumbers and handymen. And you’ll feel awesome.
11. Compare all prices
I know I mentioned comparing the prices on your fuel bills but do it for everything from home insurance to life insurance to phone bills.
12. Ignore the sales
Unless you really, really need that item, don’t buy it just because it is half price. It is half price more than you would have spent and you probably won’t use it.
13. Don’t smoke and drink
Look, you don’t have to give up drinking just cut down a bit. Definitely give up smoking. Not only will it save you money, it will save your life. I recommend Champix for those of you who really struggle to quit.
14. Get fit
Healthy humans cost less. You won’t have to pay for as many medicines and you won’t have as many age-related issues if you are fit and healthy and in normal weight parameters. And you’ll feel fantastic.
15. Don’t pay for it unless you have to
Why bother with a gym membership? Unless you need that as motivation, get fit by running outdoors (visit Runners World for tons of advice and ideas for beginners), or going for an evening walk. This applies to everything – picnic for free, visit museums for free, enjoy free days out.