I know of very few people – especially parents – who aren’t looking to save money wherever they can. No matter how much money you earn, saving money here and there is always a good feeling. Here are five simple things you can do to save money at home:
- Look after the pennies.
My dad always told me: look after the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves! It was irritating, but he had a valid point. Many years ago I stopped carrying any coins smaller than a 50p in my purse. All smaller denominations are put into money boxes on the side in our dining room, and every couple of months S and I sort through the coins, put them into money bags and take them to the bank. Sometimes we have £30 or more – and we really don’t notice the change missing from my purse on a day to day basis.
- Invest in a reusable shopping bag.
Since the 5p charge came in, I bet a lot of us have wasted a small fortune on carrier bags because we’ve come out without our own bag. A lot of the shops now have gotten rid of their 5p bags and only have those 10p bags for life – which are great, so long as you remember to unpack them and put them straight back into your bag or coat pocket for next time! One of the worst cuplrits for this is online grocery shopping, which can come from some suppliers in bags for which you are charged 5p each. They will refund the charge when you return the bags next time, but you have to remember to actually return the bags!
- Buy everything in bulk.
Seriously: if you have cupboard or freezer space, buy stuff in bulk when it’s on offer. An extra clever tip here: don’t just buy a bulk load of chicken breasts and shove them in the freezer; take them out of the package and put them into freezer bags of one or two. That way you only need to defrost what you need later on! My house is so well stocked for the apocalypse (and also for lean months where I don’t earn so much); I have spare shampoo bottles; spare toothepaste; dry foods; cans; a freezer bursting with meat and vegetables. The only thing I fail to stock pile is chocolate. For obvious reasons.
- Get cashback when you buy things.
I’ve written before about how much I love cashback websites; as time has gone on I’ve become almost obsessive about this. If I can, I avoid buying things in shops as much as possible. When S has a birthday part to attend I order a gift from the toy shop online, earning myself some cashback, and the gift is ready to collect from my local shop within thirty minutes. I order clothes and collect them from the shop; I renew my insurance through a cashback site. It’s like a game now; whenever I need to buy something I shop around and see if I can find it cheapest somewhere I can also earn cashback! The cashback slowly builds up and then I can withdraw a chunk of cash to treat myself or S.
- Use loyalty cards.
I have so many loyalty cards they don’t all fit in my purse; I have to keep them in a separate zipper in my handbag. I try to make sure I shop in places with a loyalty card scheme, and I prioritise those with the better loyalty scheme over others. I save my shopping for vitamins etc until one of the shops has a 3 for 2 or a points event or something – one well known chain regularly has “double points when you spend £50” events and these are when I stock up on everything.
These are all great ways to ensure you have a little cash (or some loyalty points) saved up for a rainy day when you really need something. Of course there are also times when you just don’t have enough cash tucked away, and something has broken down or just plain died on you. Recently my washing machine gave up the ghost half way through a wash (why is it always half way through a wash!) and I knew there was no chance of my affording a new one with no notice. At times like this, the only thing to do is curse oneself for not saving up a little more of a nest egg… and probably head off to apply for Lendgreen Online Installment loans so that I can at least get my underwear out of the blummin’ machine! I’m determined now to save more money wherever I can, so that the next time something breaks down I can afford to either get it fixed or replace it!