Money Supermarket are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the introduction of the £1 coin. To celebrate they’re asking bloggers to list up to 30 tips of how to save £1 (though doesn’t have to be a pound exactly, of course) and on the 17th May they’re going to put everyone’s name in the hat and someone will win £1000 (Or maybe £2000 if enough people enter!) – *edit* obviously this competition is over now but I look forward to entering more Money SuperMarket competitions in the future!
So, coming up will be my list of 30 tips. Some of these might seem obvious, but then everything is once you’ve thought of it! I’m going to try and make most of my tips aim at everyone but a few may be more angled towards beauty (shock horror!) – So here goes. Be prepared for a very very long post –
1. Meal planning. If you start out your week with a meal plan you’ll be much less likely to spend money on food that you don’t really need plus you can plan to buy larger amounts of food which will make two days worth of meals. It’s also much easier on a day-to-day basis as you won’t have ‘Dunno’ as the answer to that dreaded ‘What shall we have for dinner’ question! Money saving and sanity saving in one!
2. This works well along side tip number 1 – Invest in a freezer. In terms of initial outlay, a freezer might seem like an unnecessary purchase but it makes a massive difference when doing your weekly shop; so many food items are cheaper if you buy in bigger bulk but obviously you don’t necessarily want to use it all at once. So, instead, buy big and freeze half for next week or a week where you’ll be tighter on funds. Obviously, as I’m living with my parents at the moment, neither this tip or tip number 1 work for me at the moment as I don’t run my own kitchen, but back when I did have my own place these two tips saved a Lot of money.
3. Grow your own. I don’t know if we’ll have a garden when we get our own place, so we might be limited to herbs, but growing your own veg and herbs can be a great money saver plus it’s something you can get the kids involved with, if you have them, and you can be sure they’ll be more likely to eat veg they helped to grow!
4. This is a tip my Mum’s always told me, and it’s invaluable. Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry; always eat lunch/breakfast before you go otherwise you’ll end up buying things you fancy now rather than just focusing on what you need to stock up on.
5. Local markets can be fantastic for saving money. Obviously not all areas have them but if you do, take a look – You’ll save money on your fruit and veg, it’ll be super fresh and you’ll be helping someone local. It’s a win win.
6. Another grocery shopping one – Be open minded with your recipes. Yes, stick to your meal plan, but if you’ve got chicken curry on your list and turkey is on special offer, then turkey curry is just as good! The meal plan will help you not overbuy but don’t let it make you pick more pricey options.
7. Own brands. I know this is yet another simple one, but some people really aren’t always aware of how good a supermarket own brand product can be! Just this evening we enjoyed an Asda curry which, my Mum tells me, are an absolute bargain. That’s just one of many examples – There may be certain brands which can’t be rivalled, but some brands are almost exactly the same as their own brand counterpart, give it a go you could save money every week if you find the perfect own brand equivalent!
8. This one is obvious but, eating at home. We all enjoy a nice meal out but my goodness does it cost a lot! There are ways to make it more fun, though, buy or make your own pizza base and pick your own toppings, another one which is fantastic to do with the kids or even when you have friends over if they don’t mind getting their hands dirty! But even without diy food, it’s easy to make a dinner at home nice for either the family or a gathering with friends. And you can be sure your friends will bring a bottle of wine or dessert if you’re helping them save money too!
9. Some people feel that there’s a stigma around certain shops but if you want to save money Poundland, Primark, Wilkinsons etc are your best friend! Primark clothes are often not as bad as you think, and for those with children, they’ll grow out of them in a few months anyway! And Poundland is full of real branded items from food to beauty products!
10. Points saving cards. Only recently I posted a haul of 9 beauty items from boots which I bought just with my advantage card points, and in a few days I’ll be posting another! A couple of weeks ago I posted about the tesco clubcard points I exchanged for a voucher to spend on Beautyexpert.com. Obviously these points don’t have to be spent on beauty, there’s a whole list of things, but these are pretty good examples of the money you can save.
11. Be open minded about bargain brands. Obviously there are plenty of brands we know and trust but sometimes a bargain brand can take us by surprise, there are many examples but one which you all know I will say is MUA. Make up academy have cosmetics which are, on average, between £1 and £5 and they are of a fantastic quality. Again, though, this concept works for brands of all kinds.
12. This tip is the absolute opposite of the last tip, but you’ll understand why when I explain. Don’t Just buy bargain brands if they aren’t working. As my tip above said, bargain brands can save a good few pounds, but don’t just blindly stick with a bargain brand if the product breaks or runs out super fast or just doesn’t work at all. That’s false economy, if you save money but have to buy the product more often or buy another product to make up for what it’s not doing then you may well be better of spending a little more to get a more expensive version. Obviously point 11 and 12 go against each other but both Do work if you just take the time to get to know products and work out what works best for you.
13. Places like Boots and superdrug as just fantastic for 3 for 2 offers, as are many other stores and supermarkets too. When I want to do some beauty buying I’ll often choose which shop to buy from based on which has a 3 for 2. Obviously bargain shops are great, but sometimes a shop like boots can cost less if they have the same items on 3 for 2.
14. Another tip which seems to counteract the last, but it doesn’t, honestly. But be careful when you look at offers. Never buy three of something in a 3 for 2 if you only needed 1 to begin with! And a buy one get one free is pointless if you didn’t need it in the first place. Not to mention the buy two for £3 or some other figure, offers that you see so often; always check the original price as 2 for £3 is less appealing when they were only £1.52 in the first place! Always check how much you’re saving and only buy it if you would have wanted the items to begin with.
15. Another obvious one but who doesn’t love sale shopping?! More specifically, though, if you really want something but know a store has a sale every three months and it’s been two months since the last sale, consider whether or not you can manage to wait another month to get it cheaper. Also, as silly as it sounds, consider stocking up on Christmas and birthday gifts in the boxing day and new year sales – They can be some of the best sales of the year and as long as you have somewhere to store things you could be saving money for the whole year.
16. This one won’t apply to everyone but it could make a massive difference to some. If you, for some reason, need to get a lot of prescriptions for yourself in the space of a month, you can buy a prepaid certificate for either three months or a year which will save you a massive amount. This isn’t something people will really want to need, but as someone who’s on a lot of medication a lot of the time, I know how much of a difference this can make to something that’s already hard enough to deal with.
17. Re-purposing. Some things are junk and they will have to be thrown away, but some things really could have other uses, don’t throw them away until you’ve really thought about what they could be used for. This goes for furniture, clothes or even cardboard boxes – We all know how much fun a child can have with a cardboard box!
18. Saving water and electric. Wash at 30 degrees when possible, turn off lights when not in use, turn off the tv when it’s only noise in the background. And, as an added tip for beauty lovers, check out Soap and Glory’s fb page for their ‘2 minute rinse’ their way of saving water, and time, with super super quick showers!
19. Not much fun but what about a self imposed spending ban? Sometimes we spend money without realising how much we spend so how about no spending on beauty products/clothes/computer games or whatever your vice is for a set amount of time. Alternatively, you could set yourself a target of using up 5 half used beauty products, or completing 5 half played computer games before you allow yourself to buy more – Make use of what you already have before spending more money.
20. Sites like Topcashback and Quidco are better than you might think – Give them a visit to see proper details of how they work, but they enable you to make money back from online purchases. As much as you think this might be too good to be true, the sites are free and you Can build up a decent amount of money – I’ve saved over £100 since I started using tcb.
21. Competitions! I don’t win competitions very often, but then I also forget to enter them often enough. But I do win from time to time and I think if I put a little more time in I could win more. The internet is a fantastic place to find competitions and you can win anything from cash to televisions and from holidays to clothes.
22. Free sample sites. I use the site Freebielist who compile links to various companies who’re offering free samples of anything from cat food to cosmetics. This is a great way to try things out without even needing to buy anything, with most of these links you simply need to input your mailing details and within a few weeks your samples arrive on your doorstep.
23. Comparison sites. They may have adverts that drive us nuts but comparison sites can make a massive difference when you’re looking for insurance, utilities etc. And of course, Moneysupermarket themselves offer advice about these things too!
24. Be aware of how much you’re spending on utilities, and phone bills etc. If you check these yearly and then shop around there’s a chance you could get a better deal elsewhere.
25. It’d be daft of me not to suggest this one, but check blogs and other reviews. This works for so many things, beauty, electronics, films, books, games. Everyone has an opinion and they’re always happy enough to share them with the world, use this to your advantage and get a variety of opinions on things to better help you make the best choice before buying something – Chances are if something doesn’t work for 99% of reviews it won’t work for you too so you’d be wasting your money.
26. It is, of course, vital to shop around. As well as checking various shops on the highstreet this might also mean checking a number of websites online – But always, always keep in mind the prices of p+p when you’re buying online. Some websites charge so much in p+p that the savings become pointless but also some sites are totally free. Also keep in mind that some sites offer free p+p over a certain amount so maybe if you can wait until you need to buy more from a site you can save in p+p costs there.
27. Magazines can be a fantastic source of entertainment and can also offer some fantastic freebies, vouchers or samples. You can also get some amazing subscription deals where if you subscribe for a year you get a free gift – Sometimes worth waiting until the free gift is one you’d make real use of.
28. Oh yes, another one which has an opposite tip too. Don’t be drawn in by magazines too much. As much as they have some great freebies, really really think about what you’re buying. Do you really really want both shades of the free nail varnish given away, so much that you’ll buy Two of that £4 magazine?!
29. Kindle sales. This one might seem a little obscure but amazon, regularly, do kindle sales where they do a selection of books for 99p and from time to time even as little as 20p! Sometimes these are books you’ve not heard of, and sometimes it can be something really popular, but either way it’s a fantastic saving. You may be thinking ‘But I don’t have a kindle?!’ and that’s why it’s such a saving, you can install the kindle app, for free, on tablets, phones, ipods and laptops so that 99p book can, really, cost you 99p (And don’t forget the classics are Free via the kindle app too!)
30. Lastly, another entertainment tip. Sites that allow you to stream films from online, or rent films via the post, for a fixed fee, can be a real saving. Love film, love film instant, blink box and netflix all offer these services and if you’re someone who likes to watch lots of series’ or films in month, then an unlimited streaming bundle, for example, can save you a Lot of money. Though, remember, if you’re the type to want to watch things more than once, then maybe this wouldn’t work for you.
Wow… my fingers hurt, that was a Whole lot of typing.
I really hope that some of these tips have helped some people, and don’t forget to check out the link for the Money Supermarket page above to see how you can be involved in this too.