In this post I’m sharing ways I’m using to make sure we can celebrate Christmas without breaking the bank. Set a budget and start saving for a stress free and simple Christmas!
This is one of the most important steps you can take towards making money savings. Learn how to get started with this step-by-step guide. Continue reading below for over 100 precious tips to help you get better at saving money with what you have around the house.
Have a coin jar in the room where you and your loved ones spend most of your time. Call it “please & thank you jar” or “swear jar” and each time anyone doesn’t say “please” or “thank you” or each time you have a “slip of the tong” a coin goes in!
Keep doors and windows closed during the Winter when you have the heating on, it will save you on your heating bill.
Do you need all those different cleaning products? Try going back to basics and use warm water, baking soda and vinegar. For more home made recipes see here.
If you buy new candles every month you know that they don’t come cheap! Stop buying them and use other, more economical, ways to make your home smell nice. For how to guides check here.
Use the black ink cartridge only and insert the colored one only when you need. Black ink is cheaper.
Rather than going out, entertain at home and ask friends to bring something for the table.
This makes so much sense! With everything running on batteries these days, invest in rechargeable batteries and you will save on all the expensive batteries you buy, plus you will be helping the environment too.
Have a shopping list you add too when see you are running out of pantry items and groceries. This will save you both time and money when you come to do your shopping.
Plan your meals trying to use what you already have in your freezer and cupboards. When you are planning what you will cook tomorrow or next week, check your freezer and cupboards first and see what you can use then, plan the meals accordingly.
See what is in season and buy fresh instead of buying expensive fruit and veg that are out of season. Visit local markets if you can and buy there. The benefits are great, not just for you but for local small businesses that rely on shoppers visiting them. Also, if you buy fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables, you are getting the vitamins and minerals you need then.
Nothing can replace the benefits of drinking plenty of water, so ditch the fizz and sugary juices and drink water, tea and coffee instead!
This one saves you time and money! By fish and meat when they are on promotion, then cook and freeze. Take it from the freezer the night before and your meals will be done for the day and at a fraction of the price. You must be organized to get this to work for you. read this post to help you with setting healthy routines the work.
Rather than spending money on snacks, make your own. This includes snacks for the kids lunch boxes. They will be healthier and cheaper too.
I have done this a long time ago and never looked back! I have also stopped using kitchen towels and have small square clothes, I reuse instead.
Have you tried the wines from Aldi and Lidl? Try swapping for a month, try a few brands and see how much money you save.
Buy a coffee machine and make your coffee at home. With all the different varieties you can get these days, you will be spoiled for choice.
Cook more at dinner time and take a portion for lunch next day. Make a sandwich or plan and prepare all your work meals over the weekend and have them ready to go in the morning.
Get a reusable water bottle instead.
Have a weekly take out night and try out home made fast food recipes.
Use discount and thrift stores to buy some of your cookware.
Most apps will offer discount vouchers and coupons you can use on your next order. Keep track of those and use them.
Regularly clean the filters on your dishwasher, fridge, freezer and washing machine. If you have a kitchen exhaust, wash it’s filters every three months too. This will keep your machines in shape avoiding issues and resulting in having to replace them earlier.
Keep your freezer nearly full at all times, it takes less energy to maintain a full freezer than to maintain the freeze levels on a empty freezer because when your freezer is full, the items already inside help cooling the air and maintain a stable temperature.
Make small changes to how you plan your meals and include cheaper meals. Try to have at least two days a week where you introduce cheaper meals and have no fish or meat. Have you tried Pork Shoulder Steak as a replacement for other more expensive cuts? It’s much cheaper and so so tasty! Make a few changes to what your cook and be better off for it.
I always cook larger portions, so I can keep leftovers for the following day. Specially during school term. We finish dinner and organize the lunch boxes for the following day using what is left.
Buying organic fruit and veg is a smart choice both for you and the environment. Financially, this is a considerably more expensive choice! So what to do to find a balanced approach. Know what you should be buying organic and what you can buy non-organic. Be aware of the dirty dozen and know your clean fifteen products you don’t need to buy organic.
This one is so easy! If you don’t fancy water, just make your own favored beverage. Look here for ideas.
Only run your washing or dishwasher when the machine has a full load unless you have a half-load setting. This will help keeping the machine in good condition and keep your costs down.
If you normally run most cycles at 60 degrees, you can move down to 40 or even 30 degrees. This will help keep your clothes looking good for longer and keep your running costs down, plus it helps the environment too.
Use less then the recommended powder or liquid dosage and dilute conditioner. I have been doing that for years and my clothes always come out clean and smelling nice.
I never had a dryer but a lot of my friends say that once you get one you can’t live without them. That is the main reason why I have resisted getting one in the first place. If you have one, use it only when you really need it and save on the energy costs.
I’m lucky that my mum thought me how to use a sewing machine and a needle. I have needed altering every pair of jeans or trousers I have ever bought. At 1.48m only the kids section has clothes for my height:-)
Make dust cloths from old t-shirts. Since I stopped using kitchen towels, I have started cutting old t-shirts and using them in the kitchen instead but you can use these for so many things. Same with old bed sheets, cut them and make cleaning cloths, they are great for glass.
There are many sites where you can rent almost anything. Check out Frontrow.com for clothes and accessories. Use these sites to introduce variety and make a statement when you need. But you can also rent garden tools and almost anything else you need for your home and work. Only rent items you don’t use regularly.
I used to love sales but realized that I was buying many things that I did not need and rarely used. To avoid this, I only visit sales when I have something specific I want to buy. I also always check the price online first, then if I find on sale, great! So the message is be strategic and go in knowing what you want and how much it should cost.
Kids grow fast and investing in designer brands is a mistake in my view. Cut on the designer brands or buy designer brands secondhand. See below.
I’m actually proud to say that most of my kids clothes are secondhand and bought in my local market. I have done this almost from the start. It is a choice we made not because of the money but because babies and kids grow so fast that sometimes a month after you bought something, it no longer fits… If you have good local secondhand markets use them to get kids clothes. You can buy almost new designer brands for £1 – £5 and don’t have to feel guilty when they no longer fit. Even better sell those clothes on eBay and make a profit!
Do you have a list of people you always give presents to over Christmas? I have five friends with kids and I give them presents every year. So, usually I get their presents in January during the big sale just after Christmas! If you have a large list of children you give presents to, this is a great way to save money. And it doesn’t have to be just for kids, I use this for most presents I give, normally by September I have all my presents bought and have absolutely no stress with presents around Christmas time.
Have family movie night and make it as close to cinema as you can! Use parks and home take out nights to keep kids entertained for free. Have cooking evenings and board game afternoons.
Use mum swap sites to get rid of items you no longer use and get the items you need.
Use eBay or similar sites to sell clothes, shoes and toys. You can sell anything really.
Have a drawer or closet where you keep good items you can pass along, swap or sell and go through it regularly.
In addition to buying fresh produce, shopping during sale and using resellers for branded items. Plan your big items shop in the same way. Do your research and use the sale to your advantage.
Maximize the way you use coupons and keep track of expiry dates. Think of them as money.
Use the supermarket’s magazines, some have coupons and offers inside, others show the promotions they will have in store the following week. This is a great way to plan your shopping. If you are low on dishwasher tablets and they are on sale next week, get two boxes then!
Always run a check online before any major buy. If you are looking for anything electrical, do your research first. You can find online discount codes and vouchers for almost anything, make use of them.
There are many store loyalty programs, join the ones where you shop most and use the coupons when they have promotions where you can exchange points for more valuable offers.
If you have read some of my other posts you know I love Aldi and Lidl and have for several years used these supermarkets to get most of what I use week on week. I also use local markets to supplement my shopping. If you have any of these near to you, make good use of them and swap to their brands. Start with thinks that you can get anywhere and are almost the same like rice and pasta for example or some of the fruit and veg. Keep track of how much you are saving on a weekly basis.
There are several types of cashback cards you can have. I get cash back with my bankcard. Whenever I pay with that card I get cashback and at the end of the month if goes directly to my savings account. I also have a cashback card from Utility Warehouse (my gas & electricity provider) and that gives me min 1% everywhere and up to 8% in some retailers. This cashback comes off my monthly bill. I use one or the other in depending on the savings.
Never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry and always take a shopping list! Know what you need and get in and out as quick as you can to avoid temptation. Supermarkets are designed to make you spend, don’t fall for that.
Buy things when they are on promotion and freeze or store to use when you need. I do this with meat, detergents and toilet paper but you can do it with almost anything.
Check if there are any warehouses you can become a member of. Warehouses tend to have great discounts for buying in bulk.
Many of the things you need to organize and decorate your home can be found in the pound or dollar store. Pretty storage boxes, vases and plant holders. Pillows and other soft furnishings all can be bought in these stores, then you can invest in a few quality and more expensive items.
Buy inexpensive frames and make photo montages.
Before you get rid of things ask yourself if you can use them in a different way. Coffee and Jam jars are a great example but there are endless ways you can re-purpose what you have around the house.
There are many places that will buy your old clothes and furnishings, do your research and check what is available in your area and how much they pay per kg.
Have you ever painted your home? Most of the hard work is in preparing the walls, specially if they are in poor condition. If that is the case, doing it yourself might be the wrong thing to do. if your walls are in good condition you can paint them yourself and pocket the difference.
Can you repaint and reuse furniture? Most of the furniture I have is old, heavy furniture I got free and sanded & repainted. I find you get so much more quality with old furniture and the process of transforming it is so relaxing and rewarding! You can learn all you need on YouTube.
Lear how to fix things around the house. Fixing a tap that is licking or putting up a shelve are things you can easily learn how to do online and do yourself.
Do small repairs as soon as they need doing. If you leave them, it’s more likely that they will deteriorate and cost more to repair.
Use thrift stores to find items that complement your decor.
Keep track of what you have in your cupboards and note the expiry dates. Use items before they expire.
Get organized and get rid of clutter, then sell what you don’t use your need. I know it sounds overwhelming but it’s just starting that is hard. see my guide to getting organized here.
Be clever with storage, reuse containers and storage baskets. Have too many plastic boxes? Use them to store things around the house rather than buying new storage containers.
This is a controversial one, do you recycle wrapping paper? I do and present bags too!
Declutter your storage, recycle what you can and sell what you don’t need.
Be organized with you to-do-list, pay bills on time and avoid late charges.
Get your garage organized and set appropriate spaces for different things. Sort what you have and sell or re-purpose what you no longer use.
Aim to pay all your bills online and if convenient set direct debits from your bank account so you are never late paying. Review these payments regularly so you know what is coming out of your account and when.
replace any standard bulbs with energy efficient light bulbs. Using energy efficient bulbs can save you up to 1/3 of your lighting spend.
Look online for better deals and never renew automatically. Look for smaller companies, sometimes they offer great deals. Check here to see if you can make savings.
Do you really watch all those channels? Could you get Netflix, NowTV or an Amazon Fire Stick instead?
I made the move and ditched cable, now I have an Amazon Fire Stick. Check your options and save on TV license too.
Monitor and evaluate all the memberships you are paying for and cancel any that you are not using.
Invest in solar lights for your garden, they charge during the day and privite all the light you need at night.
Check how many minutes and data you actually use before renewing your smartphone plan. Get the best deal with as close as what you use as possible. If you have an unlimited deal, make all your calls from your mobile phone rather than your home phone and sign up for a phone line only home plan.
As much as possible always get three quotes before deciding who to go with. Try to get references too or check their websites for reviews.
Use power strips to your advantage and unplug them when not in use.
Lower your thermostat and put on a jumper in the winter. If you have AC on in the Summer keep it low and have the windows closed when it’s on. Try to open the windows early in the morning and in the evening to let the fresh in.
If you have an emergency heater, turn it off, you’ll only need it if your boiler stops working.
Shop for better deals on your home phone and broadband and bundle these with TV if that gives you a bigger discount. In general the more you bundle together, the greater the discount you will get. I have all my utilities with Utility Warehouse, that is Gas, Electricity, Home Phone, Broadband and Mobile Phone, I pay around £100 for all of these. Check here for a good deal for you.
Once a year, check that you are still getting the best deals on all your main utilities and insurence requirements.
If you have cable, sky or Virgin, you know how it works, you get in on a promotion and three months later the prices go up. If that happens with you call them and complain, they will lower the charges. If they don’t, just leave, do what I did and stream TV. You will save on your TV license too.
Unplug your chargers and electric items when not in use. Even if you are not using them, these items are still consuming energy. This will save you on your electricity bill.
Most mortgages have a promotional period and then transfer to the variable rate. If you are on the variable rate, contact your provider and see what offers can they get you on. Research mortgage rates online and compare with what you are being offered. Take any charges into account before deciding if you should transfer to a new deal.
If you are paying interest on credit cards, apply for a 0% interest card and transfer your credit to that card. Plan to pay during the promotion period and you will save on the interest charges.
Try to save money each month, even if you can only save a small amount. Ideally automate your savings.
Even if what you can save is as little as £10 a month, do it. Set a transfer between your current account and your savings account and move the money that way. You can try to increase the amount you save each month once you have established the transfer.
Check you bank statements each week and query, remove or delete expenses with things you don’t use. remember that gym membership? yes, that one you went to twice…
Check your main daily so you pay all your bills on time. Pay things when you get them.
I try to pay two extra months of mortgage payments every hear as an effort to pay my loan faster, introduce one additional payment in your financial plan and start saving for that a little each month.
If you can, always pay for car insurance annually and in full so you save on interest pay.
Monitor your rewards and use points and cashback together with other promotions when possible. Join rewards clubs to win prizes when you shop. Kerching and Win is new to the market and free to join, they offer great rewards if you shop via their site. Average yearly earning is £300.
Monitor where you’re spending your money and cut down on any plurges.
There are many free apps you can use to help you manage your money. Decide what is important to you and do a little research. Use a free app like Mint to help you with money management.
Have an herb garden for your kitchen and use it!
Go online to learn how to do this. Basically most plans can be divided if they have several stems shooting out of the soil, others you can plant small cuttings taken from the main plant. These are all ways of creating free plants for your garden, use them.
If you have an outside space, why not creating a vegetable patch? Start with Strawberries in a container and go from there. Get your kids involved too, they will love these activities!
Plant perennials in your garden. Perennials are plants that come back every year and require very little maintenance in general. This is a great option if you don’t like spending money buying new plants for your garden every year. Perennials like the Hydrangeas and Peonies have beautiful flowers to brighten your garden and your home.
Use plants to purify the air in your home this is a natural way to keep a fresh atmosphere and it’s free.
Use flowers cut from your garden as much as possible or use your local markets to get better deals on fresh flowers if yo must have them.
Shop around for the best rates for pet insurance. If the unexpected happens you are protected. Money Supermarket are offering 65% savings, see if you can save by renewing with them.
Order your pet’s food online and get great savings. Most pet dedicated stores allow you to order online. With Amazon you can get a subscription and they will deliver every month. I use Tails.com to order Maki’s food and I love the fact that it’s all personalized for him. It’s so simple. You create an account, describe your dog’s age, weight, any ailments he might have and the create the right mix of ingredients to support your pet’s health. I have a discount of 50% on your first order, if you would like to try it:-)
Make sure you have an annual check up. This is particularly important if you are over 40. Eat healthily and exercise.
Be consistent and book your appointments with a hygienist regularly, this will avoid expensive fixes and save you money. Also check if your employer has a dental cover you can make use as part of your health package.
I have a resistance band I use for exercising everyday but there are so many other ways of exercising that do not involve a gym membership. If you like running, why not going every morning, take the kids with you if they are into it. It’s healthy and it’s free.
Learn how to make your masks and creams here. They give real results, you know what you are putting on your skin and saving so much money in the process.
Have your nails done at home. Organize a girls night in and do each other’s nails. If you prefer gel nail polish, you can get close to professional sets under £20 already including a few colors. I do this with my little girl every two weeks and although not perfect, she does my nails quite well. It’s also something we do together!
If you have the space, create a relaxation corner or just decluter your room so you can relax there instead. Learn meditation on YouTube for free and make your own face masks. Learn how here.
Before you enroll in any paid courses, check online what you can learn for free. There are now so many free courses available to explore. Paid courses normally offer a free tester session, use the offer to make sure the course is inline with what you are looking for.
I hope these ideas have given you food for thought on the type of actions you can take with what you already have around your house and start making savings. Everyday I hear other mums struggling to pay their bills, trying hard to make any savings they can and never being able to reach their goals.
Take Action! Look around you and really get motivated to make a change!
Wishing you health and hoping you get to enjoy the simple things!
In this post I’m sharing ways I’m using to make sure we can celebrate Christmas without breaking the bank. Set a budget and start saving for a stress free and simple Christmas!
If you look carefully, with money-saving eyes, there are lots of ways you can save money around the house. Common sense tips and some out of the box hacks will help you save money the easy way.
Starling Bank review – can it help you budget better? With so many new online banking providers offering nifty apps and readily available customer service, how can we use them to improve the ways we budget?