1. Save up the little bits. Ben and I keep a change bowl on the side in the house where we put random coins – does anyone really use 1p, 2p, 5p or 10p coins regularly anymore?! Occasionally a pound coin finds its way in too. You can those use those Coinstar machines at the supermarket to get a voucher or ‘real’ cash.
2. Budget budget budget! We’ve worked out how much of our money goes out on bills (gas, electric, council tax etc.), how much for rent, we approximate how much we need for food in a month. Put the little bits that are left over into a savings account – whether it’s £1 or £20, it all adds up.
3. Do your food shop online. We used to just go to the supermarket whenever we needed something and only do a big food shop very occasionally. The problem was we’d be picking up things that we didn’t need every time just because they were on offer. Now we get a food delivery once a week. We try to keep it between £40 and £50. It means you can keep track of what’s in your basket and what you really need.
4. Speaking of which…if you do your online shopping regularly, take a look at the delivery. All those costs add up pretty quickly. We signed up to a scheme where we’ve paid £60 for our Tesco delivery costs for 6 whole months. We usually get an expensive delivery slot, on a weekend at midday, which should cost around £6. So within half that time, we’ve already paid that off.
5. Make your own snacks. I tend to eat some sort of snack mid-morning every day and occasionally mid-afternoon. These little bits can add up. We decided to try making our own cereal bars from this recipe. Not only do they taste really good, they’re fun to make and save more than £1.
6. Buy designer clothing at outlet stores or high street names at charity shops. I’m not that big on designer anyway, but I don’t really care where I get my clothes from. If I happen to pick up something like a piece of Joules Clothing from a charity shop, I’m pretty pleased with myself. That’s definitely saving more than a few pounds, plus it’s going to charity!
7. Plan your meals in advance. Again, another shopping tip…we plan out our meals for the week on a weekend, get our delivery and try to not buy anything extra that we don’t need around those meals. Never do a big food shop without planning; you’ll end up buying random things that you won’t use.
8. Get loyalty cards for places where you would buy things anyway. I have a Nectar card because I buy my lunch in Sainsburys a couple of times a week and a Tesco Clubcard because our food shop comes from there. The points all add up eventually. Don’t get one for somewhere that you won’t go because you might end up spending extra money trying to get those points.
9. Fashion blogger type idea: remix your old clothes! Make sure that every item of clothing you buy can be worn in a number of different ways.
10. Whenever you buy anything online, search, search and then search again for discount codes. Most stores will have at least one 10% code floating around somewhere. Even try expired ones, because sometimes sites forget to turn them off.
11. Along the same lines, use cashback sites when you buy something online. A huge number of sites will offer you a percentage back on your purchase when you click through to the site via the cashback site.
12. This is a new (and scary!) one for me – use a credit card in place of a debit card. I’ve always been terrified of credit cards thinking that if I have the possibility to spend what I don’t have, I probably will. But as long as you only use it where you would be spending money normally, it’s great because you get rewards. (Make sure you’re signed up to a reward one first though!).
13. Make use of leftovers. We tend to make meals that are big enough for 4 although there are only 2 of us, then eat the extra portions for lunch. It saves you going out to buy food the next day. Most tins and packets are bigger than you need for 2, and if I don’t use them in one go, I always forget that I have them open and have to throw them away, so this helps to stop that wastage!
14. Search for new things for your home such as furniture and kitchen appliances on Gumtree or Freecycle. We once got an ice cream machine for like £15 or something on Gumtree.
15. Use auction sites like eBay to search for cheaper deals. We needed a lawnmower for our new house and discovered sellers on eBay pricing them at almost half the price of the ones in the shop even when they were brand new!
16. Drink more water. Don’t buy bottled water, drink tap water. If you don’t like tap water, fit a filter to your tap or get a filter jug. When you go out, take a bottle of tap water with you rather than buying fizzy drinks at the shop (healthier too!).
17. Make your own drinks. Ben has recently started brewing his own beer, cider and wine (although I read the instructions wrong on that…it had to be tipped away!!). Although I don’t drink much (I only have the cider), it does save a lot in the long run.
18. Got a Kindle? Search Amazon for the 99p books. Even better, the older ones are free. Find those! Not got a Kindle? Buy books in charity shops. I’ve found books that have just been published sitting unread on charity shop shelves for only a couple of pounds.
19. Save on fuel by driving economically. Try to keep your mpg as high as possible by driving sensibly and not too fast. My mpg has changed dramatically since we’ve moved house because I’m driving on country roads rather than motorways, proving just how much difference speed makes.
20. Reuse old clothes and fabrics as cloths rather than buying them at the supermarket.
21. When you need to go into town, try parking somewhere a little bit further away from the centre which will either be cheaper or free.
22. Walk more often. When I lived in Newcastle, I was lazy and took the bus most of the time. I would save a lot of money when I just walked…it wasn’t even that far!!
23. Set your washing machine on a lower temperature. Not only is it good for the environment, it saves money. Normal clothes don’t really need to be washed above 30C unless they’re really dirty.
24. Switch off the lights every time you leave a room. And don’t use them when it’s light outside, you don’t need to!
25. Get some curtains to cover external doors. You get huge amounts of draughts coming through that you don’t even realise. Curtains will save on your heating bills.
26. Check your bathroom for any minor leaks that you may not have realised you have, they could be costing you money.
27. Get some water saving fittings to add to your taps, shower heads and toilet flushes. It’s only a small amount you save, but it’s something.
28. Use reusable fabric bags instead of plastic carrier bags. They usually cost anything from 1p to 5p, so you’ll be saving in the long run.
29. Swap clothes with friends and you’ll feel like you’ve got a whole new wardrobe for free!
30. Buy Christmas decorations and presents in the January sales! Might seem a bit silly, but you’ll regret it if you don’t. Just remember that you’ve bought them though, I tend to forget when I buy things in advance, oops!