Being someone who has never really had a great deal of spare cash one of the things that I am reasonably good at is saving money. I must admit that myself and my husband don’t drink, eat loads of take-aways or even go out so that saves us a lot to start with, but we do manage to have quite a nice lifestyle on a fairly modest budget, given the enormous mortgage. These are the things which work for us:
Bulk buy things like toilet roll, nappies and baby wipes: If you like nice stuff you can find some really good deals on Amazon for bulk buying toilet roll. I buy own brand nappies and wipes in bulk at the times when the supermarkets do their special deal baby events.
Water down fruit juice, or put squash in a jug in the fridge.
Eat more vegetarian food, this is not only better for you but cheaper!
Keep the heating low the majority of the time (ours is at 15/16 degrees unless we have guests)- you’ll be surprised how quickly you get used to it.
Don’t flush the toilet at night and use the dishwasher as much as possible. This saves us a surprising amount of cash.
Join a local attraction and use your tickets. We have membership at the zoo and a local farm. This has meant that we don’t drive for miles (using petrol) and we are never short of somewhere to go so we don’t make ‘panic’ decisions about days out. Although there is an inital one off payment we have found over the course of a year that we have saved money.
Take a bottle of water & a snack for each member of the family everywhere. Make sure you use your lunch boxes as well!
Buy second hand toys. Toys have no resale value and only about 10% that pass through the door will be of any long term value to your children.
Use charity shops to buy books or look for special deals from places like The Book People, The Book Depository and Amazon.
Swop toys and books between friends.
Keep gifts for school friend birthdays to £5 budget or re-gift. I counted up the amount we spent in a year when I bought what I thought the child would like and nearly had a heart attack.
Bulk buy celebration cards from somewhere like the Book People, this works out 20p per card rather than £2 usually.
Babysit for friends and family in return for them doing the same for you. This makes a night out a bit more affordable.
Ask for magazine subscriptions for birthdays/ Christmas or make use of your local libraries free on line offer, this often isn’t advertised well but we can access some brilliant stuff for free on our tablets.
Look at the best offers for mobile phones. If your contract is coming up look at Sim only deals especially as its unlikely that you really need the latest phone, the one you have is bound to be alright for another couple of years.
If you read blogs, but you don’t have your own then start one. Blogging has afforded my family so many experiences and things which we would never have had and it has genuinely enriched our lives as well as saved us thousands of pounds in providing things which we haven’t had to buy!
Finally, my biggest tip which is probably even more obvious than all the others is to find ways to stay at home as a family. I find that going out with 3 children nearly always ends up costing money either in petrol, additional sustenance, equipment or other. I’m not advocating using the television, because this actually costs quite a bit in electricity, but make use of all those board games, crafts and get them doing some gardening and play in the garden. Its what our parents did…
I’d love to hear your ideas.