Somehow, I've been around on dooyoo long enough to rack up 199 reviews, and since we count in base ten it seemed in keeping to do something a bit different for my 200th piece. If the news is anything to go by, we've never had it so bad since the bankers and politicians cocked everything up in 2008 and the economy is skidding off the rails into more woe and misery. Except for said bankers and politicians, of course, who have massive stacks of cash hidden away tax-free in the Cayman Islands. For the rest of us, making our money go further has never seemed so important. A wise person once said to me that you never really own any money, you just look after it for a while, so here are 8 of my tips to help our monetary pets last a little longer in these days of poverty stricken gloom.
1) Want it. Need it?
Advertising and marketing bods have known for a long time that our desires far outweigh our needs when it comes to deciding to part with our cash. Whenever I am confronted with anything for sale, I always ask myself the same question - "do I really need this?". Basics like food and petrol answer in the affirmative quickly, but a lot of other things are superfluous. If the answer is no, and I simply want the thing in question, then I weigh up how much I want it, and how much I'm willing to spend. Staying smarter than the marketing suits that want to sell you the latest iThing, fad diet or useless junk can be a bit wearing especially as we're battered from all angles by their adverts - I find the easiest way to combat this is to turn the TV off and read a book.
2) See a penny, pick it up...
... and put it in a jar. If I see even a penny lying on the pavement, I will pick it up and stash it away. Some people would find doing such a thing demeaning or even embarrassing, or dismiss such an activity as not worth their time. Some simple maths makes a nonsense of such a notion. It takes about 2 seconds to pick up a coin, so even if it's one penny, that means you've earned a penny for 2 seconds of effort. Let's translate that into an hourly rate: there are 3600 seconds in 1 hour, so that equates to 1800 pence per hour, which means it's a minimum rate of £18 per hour. True, it doesn't happen very often, but two years ago I found a grand total of just over £21 in loose change lying about on the streets, which I saved up over the course of the year, which bought a nice dinner for two in a restaurant. Who says there's no such thing as a free meal?
3) The early bird catches the worm...
...but the night owl stoops on the bargains. Shopping late, if you can do it, is a very easy way to save a huge amount on your weekly shop. I'm quite fortunate in that I live very close to two big supermarkets, Asda and Morrison's, and can nip out at a moment's notice to get groceries. At certain times of day, the staff with the yellow discount stickers will do their rounds, vastly reducing produce that is coming to the end of its sell-by date. Most times, this produce is absolutely fine for a few days after the date has expired, and I often pick up fruit and veg that is perfectly edible for a fraction of the cost. And even if it is just about to turn and there's more than I can feasibly use at the time, I will sling them straight in the freezer for use at a later date. The other day I picked up 4 x 300g bags of chopped carrot and swede from ASDA for 4p each, and turned the lot into a tasty winter soup. The bakery section is also a good place to visit at about 9:30 pm, with loads of reductions to be had. Same goes for the dairy isle, where pots of cream are reduced to about 5p per unit, which I chuck in the food processor and churn into butter (making butter is dead easy - there are tutorials on youtube on how to do it). I can't remember the last time I paid full price for bread and butter.
4) Live for the (O2) moment
If you have an O2 contract phone, their O2 Moments app thing is great, with loads of reductions or 2 for 1 style offers to be had, from shopping to eating out and entertainment. The offers tend to be found clustered in cities though, so if you're not near a big town or city it can be a bit useless. I live not too far from Sheffield and Lincoln though, so quite often my wife and I take advantage of the restaurant deals when we want to eat out. WH Smiths also turn up on the moments list of offers as well, and seem quite keen to chuck free stuff at you without having to make a purchase at all.
5) Waste not want not
This ties into no. 3. The amount of food (and therefore money) that is wasted by dogmatically sticking to sell-by dates is ridiculous. With cut-price bargains to be found in the supermarket, using this produce is easy with the help of the freezer, blender and more traditional preserving methods. Got a load of root vegetables that are looking a bit sorry? Blitz them into soup or stock, and freeze the excess. Loads of food is also suitable for home freezing, even though the packet may not indicate this or indeed say otherwise.
6) Charity begins and ends up at home
Charity shops are a great way to pick up some bargains, if you have the patience to rifle through the trash to get to the treasure. Clothes, CDs, books and films of good quality can all be found for next to nothing at these places. About 20% of all my CDs have come from charity shops, with hardly any being scratched or unplayable. True, most of their stock is usually rubbish, but my last find among all those horrible Westlife albums was Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours' for 50p.
OK, this might be a bit extreme for some, but I love foraging. We're lucky enough to have a wood burner and an open fire in our house, so fallen branches or unwanted wooden pallets usually end up in the back of my car and on their way to our wood basket. There is also an abundance of fruit to be had in the summer and autumn, with elderberries, blackberries, plums, pears, cherries, apples and sloes all readily available. Most of what I forage goes either into jam, chutney or homemade wine. Doing a quick bit of calculation, my blackberry or elderberry wine costs about 10 p per bottle, and tastes rather grand (when I get it right). Jam costs a little more, but both are ways of procuring large amounts of preserves and booze for hardly any cost at all.
8) The internet (now in delicious mobile form!)
The net is great for saving and making a bit of money. Obviously there's dooyoo, which is great for generating those Amazon vouchers and finding best deals, and there's a wealth of other money saving advice out there, such as moneysavingexpert.com, vouchers for free items, etc. Amazon is also a good place to sell second hand books, CDs and DVDs, with free listing and easy to use selling tools. Shopping around also pays, especially when it comes to things like insurance, train and air tickets, and energy providers. Those irritating adverts full of fake Italian opera singers and CGI meerkats might put some people off, but they really are worth a look. A separate email account and a fake phone number are worth having when using these sites, so that when they try to harvest all your details you're not immediately bombarded with cold calls from some lousy call centre in Slough from insurance companies you've never heard of.
None of these tips is going to save you a fortune, but I find they do free up money that would otherwise have vanished unnecessarily, and hopefully some of them can even be kind of fun, if you're into collecting blackberries and fermenting the hell out of them. Maybe that's just me though...
As I am currently on an internship that promotes energy saving actions, I thought I would write a post on my energy-saving tips that will help save you money.
I study Environmental Economics and if there's one thing that has been drilled into me from day 1 it's that using too much energy is BAD. You may disagree with climate change/global warming (that's a whole other argument I'd be willing to have with you), but there are so many other social and economic factors involved in wasting energy that it is pure and simple bad and you shouldn't do it.
So to save those pennies here are my top 4 eco-tips you might not have thought of. Even if you disagree with the moral reasons for saving energy, these are worth doing from a purely financial perspective. As I said, my internship is about promoting energy saving around my University Campus - they are putting a lot of money into promoting this kind of stuff because it WORKS and there is a clear financial return. You may not notice it at first, but if you don't do this stuff every day for years on end, the money wasted really does add up.
1) Turn off everything at the plug when it's not in use. This includes laptop and phone chargers, microwaves, lamps, your internet modem, printers, TVs and any other devices you may have. All these items will still be using energy when plugged in regardless of whether you're using them or not. And this counts even more if the product has a little light on even when it's switched off or if it feels hot to the touch. It's good practice to turn everything off at the plug when you don't need it AND it can be good for fire safety as well.
2) Buy a jumper for goodness sake! I used to live in a shared student house and would be faced with obscene gas bills because the heating had been turned up while all my housemates were walking around in shorts and t-shirts. Just think - could I put on a big cosy jumper or shall I whack up the heating. It seems simple, but you'd be surprised how many people just don't think about it. Next time you're standing in front of your thermostat, look down at yourself and think 'am I dressed appropriately for this weather?' This also goes for those of you with air conditioning (perhaps you have air-con at work - they could do with saving energy too!). Over the summer I was sickened by the fact I had to put on a jumper at work because the air-con was set to a chilling 18 degrees and nobody else would compromise. Big thick jumpers in winter, thin loose clothing in summer - it's that simple!
3) Only boil as much water as you need. This is one of my biggest pet hates and boiling too much water has so many disadvantages. First of all it takes longer, second of all you're left with old water in the bottom of your kettle and third of all it wastes energy. The minimum line on most kettles is probably enough to boil two mugs of tea (depending on your make of kettle and size of your mug) and is certainly enough to boil one. On my kettle the minimum line contains enough water to boil a sauce-pan full of pasta! People seem to think that if you're making anything more than a cup of tea for yourself you need to fill the kettle up to the very top - NO! If you want to go one step further, next time you replace your kettle get one of the eco-kettles that has an option to only 'boil' to 80 degrees - perfect for a cup of tea you want to drink straight away!
4) Perform some maintenance on your windows. This last step is actually a few steps in one. The first is to declutter your windowsill - this allows more natural light to get in to the room and means you will put your lights on that little bit later - it sounds daft, but the research shows that it really does work. The second is to not open it if the heating is on - sounds obvious doesn't it? But sadly, so many people on a warmer autumn's day will just open the window even though their heating for winter is already on and they forget to turn it off when it's not needed. The last is to double-glaze if you haven't already. Obviously this isn't something you'd do on a whim, but I'm living in non-double glazed windows for the first time in 15 years and I am freezing all day every day.
With oil prices set to rise and rise and no clear alternative fuel ready to power the country, these simple actions will help your bank balance and the planet. Every watt counts!! Never underestimate the power of just doing your bit and never ever let 'just being one person' be an excuse not to do anything!
...and the pounds will look after themselves, as the saying goes! So my review is going to be about saving the pennies. As a self-funding student, every penny really does matter. I earn bits and bobs online as well as having 2 or 3 jobs through the holidays, and also try to save every penny I can.
I empty my purse every evening and remove the coppers, which I put in a jar, that then goes into my savings account. I don't miss the 1p and 2p coins, but over a year I accumulate up to £20 worth. I also pick up every penny I see on the floor (unless in an awkward place) which my brothers laugh at!
I live on a tight budget, and know exactly how much money I have to spend every day. I put what I have to spend each day in an envelope and try to stick to that, putting anything left at the end of the day in my penny jar.
I buy all the cheapest brands of food, and shop depending on what is on offer. I often go to the supermarket near closing time and buy reduced food, which is out of date that day, which I can eat that day, cook for the next day or put in the freezer.
I only buy clothes when they are on offer, and only buy what I need. If buying from a market stall or similar, I always haggle the price. I also haggle a lot, for example when buying electronics, insurance or currency. Do your research and make sure you know the prices that their competitors are charging, and its amazing what you can save.
I sell any clothes, books or gadgets that I no longer need, on facebook for sale pages and free advertising sites. I also purchase items second-hand, and of course I haggle then as well! I recycle and re-use as much as I can, so I will often re-use wrapping paper, and make my own cards using bits of coloured paper, ribbons and stickers that I have saved.
So I will do anything to save/earn money!
I think all my reviews have a bit of a theme, in my quest for Mortgage Free status I have becoming increasing frugal. As the saying goes "A goal without a plan is just a wish" so here are my 15 current top ways for being mortgage free.
1.STATEMENT OF AFFAIRS
Go through your spending for the last 6 months and find out exactly where your money goes.
Based on your statement of affairs, you can work out a realistic budget.
Have a good clear out, its very cathartic. Its surprising how much money you can make by flogging unwanted items. My method is Ebay, but also consider other online sites or even car booting.
Challenge every quote you receive, is this the best deal you can get, go to price comparison sites, ring up and haggle. Ensure that you don't over insure. For example for building insurance you are needing cover to rebuild and therefore need to cover that not how much your house is worth to buy, as you own the plot. If you never / rarely claim, then increase your excesses as this will bring the quote down. Don't take out unnecessary warranties, is it really worth getting the warranty? Is it worth getting annual travel insurance rather than single trip?
Frequently check your on the right deals, for example use the gas and electric price comparison sites (ie U switch) Regularly send in meter reading and ensure you are not paying to much. Better in your bank than in theirs.
Check your on the best deal when your fixed rate ends. Make sure if overpaying that you are within the allowances made by your mortgage provider to ensure you don't end up paying any redemption penalties. Go and have a look at the mortgage overpayment calculator (MSE Website) and you'll be shocked how many thousand's of pounds you save by paying off early.
Try the brand drop challenge. Next time you shop drop a brand on several items, if you don't like them, then go back to your old brand but its surprising how much you can save.
Always think before you buy, do you need it and if you don't need it but want it, can you afford it (martin Lewis mantra).
Can you get it somewhere else cheaper? Is this the best quote? Do your research if its a big spend.
I have also found some great places locally, genuine factory shops, a local furniture auction (ex-display and bankrupt stock) as well as the more common but excellent Home Bargains, B&M etc
Go through cash back sites where possible as its really surprising how much money you can get back. I was shocked when I booked a Thomas Cook holiday and got over a £100 back just for clicking there first.
From Nectar Adpoints (paid to watch ads) to Swag Bucks to Doo Yoo. There are so many sites that pay for survey completion or reviews or any variety of tasks.
Nectar, Tesco, Coop, Boots, it seems everywhere has loyalty cards, so don't forget to keep them handy
12.MAKE DO AND MEND
Its surprising what a lick of paint will do..
13. ALL ABOARD
Involve those around, especially family members. Even my husband is slowly becoming Mr Frugal. Have also introduced friends and family to many of the online sites (often getting referral fees!)
14. SEALED POT
Join a sealed pot challenge. You need (spookily) a sealed tin with a hole in the top. All spare change can get inserted and can be opened for specific event. For example just before Christmas to go towards Christmas presents.
15. EMERGENCY FUND
Don't forget to keep some money stashed for life's little disasters.
Sorry if preaching to the converted. Hopefully some of this may be of use, but if not, apologies. I am truly converted so I'm scoring money saving a unsurprising 5 DOOYOO stars
Over the years I've tried LOTS of things to try and save money or get things back from products that I've purchased so I thought I'd share below to hopefully help others do the same!
If you're a big lover of Coca Cola then you've probably noticed that they advertise CokeZone points. This is one of the ways you can get something back from the product that you have purchased if you take the time and effort to save the codes and visit the website.
Each specially marked pack will give you the following:
A single 330ml can will reward you with 1 point (usually found on the ringpull)
A 375ml bottle will also reward you with 1 point (found printed under the label on the bottle)
A 500ml bottle will reward you with 2 points (also found printed under the label on the bottle)
A 2litre bottle will reward you with 3 points (also found printed under the label on the bottle)
A 10/12 fridge pack of cans will reward you with 10 points (i think these are found inside the pack on a card)
The code can be entered online or via text to 88555 (however the latter option will most likely cost money) and your account will be rewarded with the points in correlation with the can/bottle size. The website also gives you the chance to get 2 bonus points with its poll.
Rewards on CokeZone
You can then go onto the websites rewards page and browse through the selection of products, experiences and competitions that you wish to spend your points on. These range from 2 points +.
I know this isn't a saving tip but it means that if you drink A LOT of coke as a few of my friends do, you'll atleast be getting something back from your purchase!
The Student Panel: http://www.opinionpanel.co.uk/community/student/
Whilst at University I signed up to The Student Panel to give try and gain a bit of pocket money in the form of an Amazon voucher however during that time a lot of the survey's had already been fulfilled to the quota that the panel needed so to get enough points you had to be fast! You manage to get £10 worth of Amazon credits just for signing up and can receive between £1-2 for each survey and can be redeemed at £25.
Springboard UK: https://www.springboarduk.com/PORTAL/default.aspx
More recently after finding out about Springboard on another money saving review on here I signed up straight away. Most survey's reward between 25p and £2.00, once you've reached £25.00 you can cash it in to your paypal account, receive a personal cheque or make a donation to a UK charitable organisation.
Brand match/ offer vouchers / savings coupons.
I manage to save quite a bit on things that I buy through making sure I save vouchers that are given to me at the till during a purchase. I shop at Sainsbury's as I have a colleague discount card (I work in Sainsbury's first Hospital pharmacy) so each week upon payment I receive a 'Brand Match' voucher telling me if I've saved money or saved money and along with that often receive extra bonus nectar points or money off coupons. These used to be accepted at Tesco but I think they run their own similar scheme now as do Asda.
In the hospital my pharmacy is in there's a WHSmith's next door and every week they have different coupons that they hand out, most recently for a free Graze box. These offers may seem like a good idea at the time but I often have to warn patients that sometimes you have to put your debit card number in which can mean they can charge you at a later date.
In Boots as well as gaining advantage card points you sometimes also receive vouchers at the till. Whenever I am given one for £5 off No.7 products I always treat myself to a pack of their face wipes that usually cost £7 for £2.
I'm a HUGE fan of complaining if something is wrong with a product or a service that I'm receiving. Here's a couple of examples:
I went last year (In August) with my friends to the branch in the Metro Centre for a meal before we saw a film. To cut a very long story short the waitress misheard mine and my friends order and we were brought the wrong meal 3 times before we decided to explain that we didn't want to wait. I went up to another member of staff and asked to speak to the manager and he directed me to the toilets. At the time we had our drinks taken off the bill and were given 20% off vouchers for our next visit (basically he handed them out a day before they were supposed to be given out with the bill). I got home and emailed the complaints department and only really got a response in December. When the manager of the branch called me up I explained how disappointed I was at the time but now also at the length of time it had taken to get a response. I was then told that I could just be offered a voucher but that would limit my friends and I to a certain amount we could spend. I was then offered a complimentary meal at the restaurant at any time I wished, all I had to do was ring and let them know I was coming. We're planning on going and ordering A LOT of food!!
As my review on here states I had a terrible time with Tesco Broadband. My problems finally got sorted out this week however and I was finally cut off from the company! I went through the complaints department however and explained to them how unhappy I was that I have had to spend more money calling them from my new provider. All I have to do is send them evidence of my bill and I will have the money reimbursed.
A couple of years ago I bought some Sainsbury's Chicken strips, whilst eating them I choked on a piece of plastic that had been in the middle of the strip. As gross as this is, I put it in an envelope and took it into the store along with my receipt and the packet which included the 'TRY promise'. I was laughed at at the time as I was a member of staff but they soon realised that I didn't find it funny. I was given a £20 voucher for my inconvenience!
Spare change kitty/ Save the change
I try to take out the money that I'm going to need for the week and only spend what's in my purse. Then on Sunday whatever's left I put it into 'the kitty'. After the month I see how much is in there, depending on the amount I either put it back into my account or treat myself to a little something.
I'm with Lloyds TSB and have signed up to the 'Save the Change'. The scheme runs every time you spend money on your debit card. Every time you spend Lloyds will round the money up to the nearest pound and transfer the amount to your savings account.
Sweet and Crisp competition codes
This is another way to get things back from the products that you're buying. Most chocolate bars and occasionally crisp packets have competitions on them to win a prize or to try and win some money back. Last year during Cadbury's 'Unwrap Gold' promotion I entered the codes from my chocolate bars religiously. I eventually won VIP tickets into Cadbury world in Hyde Park. Unfortunately I couldn't get time off work and would have had to pay for my own accommodation and travel. So I emailed the company back and complained (I told you I LOVE complaining) that I hadn't really won anything as I couldn't get the time off. I was then sent a Cadbury Hamper which included chocolate and two Cadbury Olympic 2012 mugs. It wasn't much but it saved me buying chocolate for a while and the mugs have saved me buying any for the house!
Getting down to a make up products "pan" and making sure you get more from your make up
I have ENDLESS amounts of toiletries however I seem to just keep buying them. So my goal over the next few months is to try and get to the end of all of them to save some more money.
I also find that my skin is best (after years of trying various foundations) when I use MAC studio fix foundation. However at £20.50 a pop it's not a cheap foundation to get through. My trick is when my foundation starts to look like it's running, place the pot into a mug and boil the kettle. Once the kettle has boiled pour a mug of water around the pot-I'm always cautious to let it get above the top of the bottle so leave myself a bit of space. I tend to be able to do this three or four times before I need another bottle and you get so much more from it.
Aluminium tins are recyclable as are most things but these can earn you cash! My Dad saves tins that he's drank from and gets them weighed in at the local scrap yard. He does take a fair few bags and gets about £20 back from them. The more you drink from a can the more you will get back. Scrap yards will take anything-last time I was there I saw someone weighing in old curtain rails!
Turn things off at the wall and DON'T leave things on standby!!!
I have become a little OCD since moving out of my parents. To save on electricity my friend and I have a rule that after we've used something we will turn it off at the wall. We were hugely worried about the bills but after six months of being in the house we have managed to rack up £293.89 (as of 5.1.2013) of credit as we've been using less than estimated! The only things left on in our house all day is the telephone and the fridge/freezer!
I am a huge fan of nectar points! You receive 2 points for every pound you spend and it is a GREAT way to save money at Christmas! My points are gained through getting petrol from BP and Sainsbury's alongside my weekly food shop.
You can however get points from a wide variety of places that you may not have expected all of which can be found on the website. My favourite thing is the Nectar app for my iPhone. It enables you to get bonus points when buying certain products and can instantly tell you how many points you have when you access the app. Don't forget to take your own bags shopping too as you get a point per bag!
At the supermarket it's VERY easy to be dragged into BOGOF offers but take that extra few minutes to make the calculations on how much you're really saving. I watched a programme last summer about how companies can be very misleading with their offers such as 2 for £2. I think the example was on bottles of coca cola that were 99p each. The obvious answer to the sum is 2 bottles would cost £1.98 so you'd end up spending an extra 2p! I always make sure that I look out for these and tell the checkout person to ensure I make a saving!
As obvious as it sounds-go shopping with a list and a budget! My housemate and I managed to get our weekly shop for roughly £13 last week as we planned our meals for the week and made sure each meal would have ingredients that could be used in most meals.
Finally if you find a product on the shelf that is still usable or can still be consumed but the packaging is damaged but the item is not reduced do not be scared to ask. The price on the shelf is there for a product that is in a good condition. Last year my partially sighted friend wanted to buy 2 packets of Cushelle toilet tissues however there were only two on the shelf and one had been ripped right down the front. All the toilet tissues were undamaged however just looked a little dirty. I took them to the customer service desk and asked for a reduction and got 75p off the original price.
It does seem A LOT easier to get everything you need when you go to the supermarket but the pound shops have AMAZING deals in them as do Wilkinsons and other stores. I manage to get most of my cleaning products for a pound and under from Wilkinsons and in the poundshop my favourite purchase is definately 3 tubes of Colgate toothpaste for £2!!
My spending weakness is impulse buys, especially when it comes to food. I know there is food at home that I can eat, but something tasty catches my eye and I have to have it now. Being out and about means that I'm more likely to pay a premium for them too, especially if I'm in the city, but I look in my purse at the £1 I'm handing over and decide I won't miss it. It's a silly thing to decide really, that I won't miss £1. I wouldn't miss £1 too much if it only happened once, but this happens at least 100 times a year. I'd definitely miss £100 if it disappeared from my purse but because it happens gradually over time, it doesn't feel like I'm spending £100 a year on pointless things.
I've started to think a little more about the money I'm saving when I decide not to buy the shiney object that catches my eye. I've developed a new system where I put the amount that I was going to spend into my savings account instead, where one day it might take me on holiday or pay towards my studies. The money will go towards something I actually want long term instead of something I would like to eat while I'm on the train home.
I also have a little Sealed Pot at home which I keep all my change in. It might be change that I've been given in a shop or change that I've found in the street but either way it's probably too small to be spent meaningfully if it stays in my purse. Once it's full, all that little change makes a more impressive amount.
Hmm. I'm sure a lot of us are on here because we want to save money! The way I see it you have two major factors when it comes to money and money saving. You either need to spend less, or earn more. As earning more doesn't really define 'saving', we are left with the first option.
The obvious answer is to seek help from someone who knows more about it. Yes, I'm referring to the king of money saving, Martin Lewis. If you haven't heard of him then your first step is to google him and his site. I have found invaluable information via the money saving website, on all aspects of money related topics. The website will put in the right direction for survey sites, consumer panels, etc.
The second thing you can easily do (and from the comfort of your chair) is get better deals on things like insurance policies, and interest rates. There are many price comparison sites that will help you with this. On the same subject, it's worth giving your internet, tv, phone, etc provider a ring when your contract is due for renewal as they sometimes give you better offers so that you stay with them.
Another thing you can do is get tighter on the amount you spend on weekly outgoings such as petrol and the shopping. Take advantage of good weather to walk or cycle. Perhaps there's someone who lives nearby that you can car share with to work. As for the weekly shop, pick up the free supermarket magazines as they often have coupons. Read till spits for offers. Take up club cards for the stores you use. Maybe buy in bulk if you're in it for the long haul, or possibly downgrade on the brand you buy.
Make do and mend. It's nice to have new things all the time - but it's also nice to feel the accomplishment of saving some money that can be spent on more important things. Fix things (that can be) rather than replacing them. Buy second hand -at car boots and charity shops there are some great items to be had and if you really can't bear it there are often clothes new with labels still attatched.
On that note, wait for sales. If you must buy something, get it as cheap as you possibly can. Look out for promotions, join voucher code sites, sign up to email newsletters. A great example of this is Homebase. Nearly every other week I see adverts on tv for 20% off weekends. Argos is another one, they're frequently offering free £5 or £10 vouchers when you spend a certain amount.
Lots of shops also offer discount to students, so if you are/know one then be cheeky and take advantage of it. The same goes for OAPs, for example B and Q offer an over 60s discount on Tuesdays.
Create you own entertainment, and take your own food. Going out for the day can be so expensive when you factor in travel, entrance fees and the cost of food. Make the most of the free places around your area, keeping an eye on local papers for events and discounts.
Grow your own - not something that's for everyone, but if you've got green fingers or fancy yourself as the next Alan Titchmarsh then there's definitely some money and peace of mind to be saved in this area.
Got some free time? Become a brand representative. If you find yourself spending a lot in a particular place - for example The Body Shop or Avon then why not become a rep or throw a party for which you get your products cheaper and stand to make some money.
There are plenty more ways to save money, I'd never be able to cover and probably don't know them all, so I'll finish with an insightful money quote from the late Steve Jobs:
My favorite things in life don't cost any money. It's really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.
I have to say the main reason I joined DooYoo is to earn a little change as I am always online up to something mischevious! I have read a few reviews in this category and as a general they are stuff I am sure most of us know, but whilst I am an old scrooge (not really, but I do like to get a few bob here and there where I can!) I thought I would share my few tips that I have been using! I have lot's of holidays coming up so every little helps!
If a company/brand have given poor service make sure they know about it! I am always quick to file a complaint, having studied Law I know what is meant to be done and I make sure it is adhered to! It doesn't hurt to let their complaints department know. Here are a few examples of what I have done in the past:
I went to Sainsburys last year boxing day and was very annoyed as there was bread on the shelf which was expired (25th dec), also salmon on the shelf which was expiring the same day (not reduced) and as a general the shelves were empty of most basic items I wanted to buy so ended up going to Tesco to doing my shopping so was a double journey! I wrote to their complaints department online telling them of my dissatisfaction, and they promptly wrote me back a letter to apologise for the service and gave me a £20 sainsburys voucher! Like I said it won't make you rich but for me thats a weekly top up shop at Sainsburys for free!
Last month I called my network provider 02 to upgrade my phone but wasn't sure what handset to take. So the advisor told me to change to a rolling SIM plan in which I could upgrade at any time and would be cheaper than the tariff I was currently paying for so I agreed. About a week later when I knew I wanted the Samsung Galaxy SIII I then discovered I could not upgrade at any time but had to give 30 days notice when I wanted my phone that day, so I had embarassed myself going to the phone shop. I called them and explained my unhappiness and only had a lot of incompetent staff all who were unhelpful. I wrote an email to 02's complaint department that I did not like being given false information as I was told I could upgrade any time. i received a call back about a week later and they were nothing but apologetic, they changed my account so I could upgrade immediately and have now given me 2 months free on my contract (I pay £36 a month!) so this is a nice little saving for me!
Last year November I went to spain and booked through LowCostHolidays.com and on our departure back home we discovered the travel agent booked us on the wrong flight and we were told we had missed our flight (although our travel documents said one day the system for the airline said a different day). We had to wait 8 hours in the airport communicating with their office and they eventually booked us on a flight to Exeter (we live in London by the way!) and was a big hassle to come home. Eventually when back I wrote them A VERY LONG LETTER detailing our dissatisfaction and their poor service and negligent booking system. It took 4 months but I didn't back down in my complaint eventually I got back over £400 in compensation and to cover mobile costs for calling them and for the hassle of getting back to London!
I have honestly written a few complaints to Pizza Hut, T-mobile (when I used to be with this terrible provider!) and generally they will give a £10-£20 voucher or a refund or something of the like so make sure you put ur opinion across strongly and don't take no for an answer!
2) Get Grants/Bursaries/financial aid
When I was a student I got every grant going, and as a parent of a young child I got a lot of help. Uni's usually have a service for people in need and give counselling and financial support so it is always worth asking for extra help. I got £500 additional from my uni and also applied for a grant with my local borough for equipment for studies and got £900 which I used to buy my beloved Macbook!
In addition British Gas energy trust do grants for anyone who is in arrears. We somehow got into arrears with the gas account as they were trying to charge £80 a month for our tiny 2 bed flat! The man on the phone told us about this grant service, although we eventually settled and paid the gas bill ourselves having corrected the meter reading. However, they also help for rent arrears, and to buy new furniture. Application is online and simple although the process does take 6 weeks and you will need to provide proof of the situation like Tax Credits claims or wage slips but it is worth it, we got a response within 4 weeks and got over £300 which was a big help! They pay directly to your landlord if you have rent arrears, or to the energy supplier for arrears of those kinds or will give you an Argos voucher for furniture etc so don't go thinking you can go shopping with it! go to www.britishgasenergytrust.org.uk for more info :)
3) Buy wisely
This one explains itself really, just thinking twice about all purchases! I often whizz arond the supermarket picking up all kinds of things that they lure you in with the "buy one get one free" deals, and then as soon as I get to the till and put it on the conveyor belt I ask myself "do I really need this"? When am I going to cook this? So end up putting things on the side. This double questioning myself really does help me save a good fiver each trip as I put back things I really don't need!
Buying in bulk is sometimes good in places like Costco or general Cash and Carry stores but I find only for dry things (or laundry products etc) as bulk buying fruit and veg really is pointless with their short expiration date.
99p stores are often a good bargain. Look for drinks, chocolate and crisps multipacks in here are a good alternative especially if planning a party. 7 packs of hula hoops can be bought in my local one as opposed to in sainsburys it is £1.59 so I always have this in mind....can I get it cheaper elsewhere?
I also try to avoid shopping with my little one as she likes to pick up bits n bobs and put them in the trolley which add an extra fee to my average shopping as I tend to buy them just to keep her quiet!
4) Cut back on travel expenses
I used to get tube to work costing a whopping £2.60 just to get there! So over £5 a day eek! I then realised this was way too much so I now get bus which is a much more friendly £1.35 so only £2.70 a day on travel! It means I leave my house 20 minutes earlier but it is totally worth it. Also, sometimes even though I have a car, walking is a lot cheaper and on a nice day it is a nice experience just to enjoy the weather and save on petrol and parking money!
5) Sell unwanted stuff
I am a lover of ebay, selling all my daughters old puschair, toys, high chair, baby clothes she never wore etc and have made well over £400 with this.
I also upgraded my phone recently to the Samsung Galaxy S III and so made a good few £££ selling my old iPhone but definitely shop around as Post Office recycling offered the best value for me, so don't assume the poplar ones like mazuma mobile are going to give the most money!
Also Amazon is great for selling or you can do trade-ins. I have sold on textbooks from uni days on here and so this is also a great website to make some money and de-clutter the house same time!
6) Find the cheapest provider with the best deals
Earlier this year I had broadband internet and phoneline with BT paying around £30 a month. Deciding to make cutbacks I switched to Tesco Homephone and Broadband and paid the same £14 for line rental with the usual free evening and weekend calls but they give 2,500 clubcard points when you first sign up (equivalent to value of £25 Tesco voucher!) so this was a BIG draw in. £25 can go towards food shopping or you can use their exchange scheme and get double the value for the points and buy in their electricals or so we are using ours to go towards a new TV which is amazing. Also I changed to 02 as I have been with they have been my provider for over 3 and a half years so i only pay £6.50 a month for unlimited broadband. So combined I now pay less than the £30 a month for the same service I had with my previous provider! Plus a new TV to show for changing!
7) Bring food from home
I have definitely found I used to spend a good £5-£10 a day on food and drink when working in central London. This is so easily done when factored in breakfast, snacks, lunch and drinks etc it literally is just absurd! I now bring to work a diluted botle of ribena so I can simply add water throughout which makes a lot of glasses for me, as opposed to buying cartons here, there and everywhere which the price of soon mounts up. Also bringing sandwiches and snacks helps to curb my urge to go to the shop frequently and end up spontaneously buying more than I need!
8) Make a few pennies on the internet
DooYoo is something we have all found as a way to make a few extra pennies! There are survey websites like Springboard which I mainly use which pays betwee 25p-£1 for surveys and they can be 2 minutes long or 15 minutes is the maximum I have ever done. Springboard on average send me 1-2 surveys a week. This should be noted it will not be instant cash as you have to accrue up to £25 worth before you can redeem it and get your cheque.
9) Focus Groups
I am a member of Saros research and focus 4 people which both have good various focus groups, and I have found I have participated in about 4 a year. These can be quite limited but are always worth applying as they look for different people of different criteria and I have done one for an hour and earned £80 cash so it definitely isn't bad for giving my opinion which I love to do! There are numerous others out but these are the ones I have had most luck with. The focus groups have always been interesting and wide varying, some are even online and give amazon vouchers but most will usually pay cash.
10) Saving loose change
This is quite easy and I quite like throwing my loose change in my jar at the end of the day. Making the best out of something simple, is nice and cost effective. I currently use an old celebrations jar that I cleaned out, and put all my coppers up to 50p coins in here. I can never bring myself to do the £1 coins! In the space of a week, it is surprising how many coins I actually get in my purse and how full the jar gets so quickly! Finding a small 5p coin in the street helps, I like to pick them up (but I won't risk my life or anything doing so!) and put them in my jar when I go home so every little helps! I have been reading around of these Terramundi pots so I am now going to get one of these and use it for my fivers! Knowing breaking it open will mean it's gone forever will help me stack it up long term!
These are just a few tips so I hope everyone enjoyed reading and maybe they will come in handy :)
I am an extremely frugal person, i wont splash out on anything unless its something i really want, and is a long term purchase with a genuine purpose. A car for example, or a games console. (An xbox 360 doesn't last as a long term purchase but thats another story) so here are my wierd and wonderful money saving tips for us fellow frugals out there and those who just want to save a bit of money.
These are tips generally for making the most out of what you get.
> Toilet paper
This is a pretty disgusting subject but im sure this will save you a lot of money so bear with me. A single square of toilet paper is 2 ply usually and can be folded in many different ways to double up really small, but if when you use the paper, you take a single square, fold it, use it, fold it, use it, fold it use it, right up until it is too small to use, that means 1 square of paper will do you for every time you need the toilet, sometimes you need more granted, but normally 1 square will do you for most toilet trips.
> Junk mail is useful
You know those free envelopes you get with your junk mail? USE THEM! Place a label or selotape paper over the top of the address on the front and use them yourself, saving envelopes and time buying them. Also those charity bags are useful if youre not using them for clothes, taking them to the supermarket, using them to Clear up dog mess, storing rabbit food in, and any thing else you like.
> Empty blank CD Tubs
You must have bought blank CDs at some point and wondered what you do with them after use. I have burned hundreds if not thousands of CDs before now and i had tons of these things lying around so i started coming up with ideas to use them. The base can be used as a toilet roll holder and the plastic top can be used as a pen pot, or any stationary for that matter.
DO NOT use for bagel holders, or any food - the plastic is harmful to consume, dont eat food that has been on it!
> Old hard drives
If you have an old hard drive rather than smashing it and binning it, you can re use it for games consoles just by casing it, and then converting the format suitable for your consoles use. You can also use it an an external hard drive with the correct modification.
> Uwanted CD-R's
Once burned when they no longer serve a purpose they can be used as decorations, coasters, placemats etc
> Car Parts
The seats of a car can be used for furniture and make fantastic looking features in the house of a car enthusiast. Using the front seats as office chairs on wheels are absolutely stunning, and get a mixed response from guests at home. Number plates can be used as artwork, as can car badges, and the cupholders can be used next to the sofa. Speakers can be used to make your own home hifi and the the engine block parts can make good decoration when cleaned up.
The amount of money you can save on furniture by using (unique and interesting) car parts for your home.
These are all the things i can think of right now but my house is a wierd and wonderful place of reused stuff that is used properly so its useful.... I wouldn't call it junk when its being used for a purpose.
Saving money? Are you a natural saver? Or are you someone who find it hard to save money? No matter which type of person you are, saving money is actually easier than you think!
Don't treat saving money as a task, treat it as a game and the reward of your game is $! Isn't it great? In that way, you will enjoy a lot more in the progress! So what do I do?
Think before you buy
I got this super saving tip from my sister: are you going to use this product for more than 3 times? If yes, buy it. If not, put it down.
It is an extremely useful method to stop impulsive buying, especially when buying clothes. Don't buy a skirt or a pair of pants just because it's on sale. Think whether you are going to wear it for 3 times, if so, buy them. Because it is likely that it is a good bargain.
Use up everything
Make sure that you use up everything you buy. Look around, are there many half-filled bottles of moisturisers, shampoo, hair conditioners? Use them up before you buy new ones! If you are using a product contained in a plastic container, make sure that you shake it a few times before you throw them away. Usually by shaking the bottle, you will be able to use the product for a few more times.
There are still other ways to use up the products if you don't like them. For example, toothpaste is a good cleaner for water taps. Your water tap will become shiny again after rubbing it with toothpaste. Your shampoo can be used to clean your make up brushes... do some research and you will find unlimited uses for your unwanted products lying around!
Share with your friends
Thinking about getting a new deep fryer / juicer but don't know whether they are good? Of course, come to dooyoo and see what people say about them. However, you may also want to ask around between your friends, colleagues and neighbours and see if they have got them. They may be able to lend it to you for a short period and you can try them before actually buying them?
If you have anything you no longer use, why not give it to your friends (or lend to them)? It's money saving for everyone!
Find someone who enjoy saving
It's always easier to achieve something if you have someone to share your joy with! Talk to your friends (or put up a review here in dooyoo if you find a good deal) who also enjoy saving, then you will soon find out that saving is fun! You will soon find yourself sharing with everyone every single tip you discover on saving!
Up until this year, I'd always been pretty terrible with money. I would spend spend spend, although never beyond my means, but it did leave me with very little to save at the end of the month. I think we're probably all a little bit familiar with having too much month left at the end of the money..!
I've recently been able to curb my habits and actually get a bit of money saved up, so I figured I might as well share it with you all because everyone could use a few extra pennies for a rainy day :).
This one seems obvious and easy, but it is something I always struggled with before now. Figure out how much money you'll be taking in that month, how much of it goes on bills and necessities and how much you want to save. Anything extra is money that you can do what you want with. If you don't happen to spend it, great, save that too! If you do, then do not dip into your savings because you've run out of "social money," as I like to call it. This will just make bad habits and you'll end up never saving anything.
2) Have something to work towards.
Be it a holiday or a house having something to save for makes it that little bit more doable than just putting money away for the sake of it. I'm currently saving for spending money for my holiday and buying myself a car. Both are things that I am very excited about so cutting back on little luxuries seems totally worth it.
3) Take lunch to work instead of popping out and buying it.
I used to spend around £6 per day on lunch. That's £30 a week just on lunch! Buying ingredients and preparing meals - especially those with leftovers - will drastically cut your spend on lunch.
4) Don't buy things you don't need.
Yes, it's okay to treat yourself every once in a while, but get out of the habit of shopping for the sake of it.
I was always told "I want doesn't get" as a child, and it never really worked because I did usually get what I wanted (bless my parents, I was a very lucky child). Now I'm proud to say I actually understand the value of money and enjoy working towards something I want instead of just getting it then and there. If I see something I want, I don't buy it instantly anymore. I wait and think it over, if I don't think about it again until the next time I see it then I obviously don't want it that badly, however if it's all I can think about when I go home that night, then I allow myself the treat.
5) Leave the card at home.
I only have a debit card because I don't trust myself with a credit card quite yet, but I often find that I spend more when I take my card with me. If I take out a certain amount of cash for the week and then leave my card at home for the rest of the week, then I know exactly what I have left to spend.
6) Ebay, dooyoo etc
I use ebay quite a bit. I had a bit of a shopping addiction between the ages of 16-18 and often purchased things and never wore them. I've recently made roughly £250 by selling things that I'd never worn or only worn once. Remember and give good, lengthy descriptions of the items and dispatch quickly to boost your feedback so that people are aware you're a trusted seller. Ebay often have no fee weekends which means you can sell things without having to pay any seller fees. This is great because seller fees add up pretty quickly if you have a lot of things to sell!
Dooyoo is an obvious one because we're all already here, but I'll point out that more often than not, the more you read the more you'll be rated back, so get you're reading glasses on and get rating because it pays off in the end!
7) Terramundi pots, piggy banks etc
I have one terramundi pot and one electric coin counter. The electric coin counter is just a cheap one from avon that I got for christmas in 2009, it's lasted me pretty well throughout these years! I put coppers and silver money in that, leaving my £1 and £2 coins for my terramundi - with a few notes going in there too! Terramundi pots are much better for people who aren't great at saving in my opinion, you can't get any money out of them until you smash it open, and you wouldn't want to waste £20 on a pot that you were just going to smash open when it was halfway full, would you?
8) The £2/£5 rule.
This is something that I started in January. I rarely ever get £2 coins or £5 notes, so anytime I do get them, I put them straight into my terramundi pot. It adds up pretty quick and it's such a small amount that it's barely noticeable, but it's certainly worth it. Sometimes I'll only have £2 to put in my pot, but the next week I might have £19 to put in there.
9) Save the change
I'm with Lloyds TSB and their internet banking allows me to participate in a scheme called "Save The Change" - this means that anytime I use my card, the transaction will be rounded up to the nearest £1 and the change will go into a separate account. Doesn't sound like much - especially when I'm being strict with my cash only rule, but I've found myself saving a good £15 at the end of the month with it before.
Hopefully you've found this somewhat helpful, I know it's nothing groundbreaking but these little tips have helped me go from a spender to a saver, so maybe they'll give you a push in the right direction too!
Thanks for reading!
Whether finances are difficult or not, it's always great to save some money, especially around Christmas! Who wants to pay more for something than they should have to?! The old saying 'rich people are rich because they don't spend their money' is incredibly true, after all. So what do I do to save money? This 'review' will be in a slightly different format to my others as it's a wide category, rather than a single product.
==Don't be ashamed to be frugal==
Who care's if all your Christmas presents were bought in Poundstretcher? If they work the same as ones bought in a more expensive shop then only you will know that you spent less on them if you don't tell the recipient! If you're doing a hamper then search around for the best deals. Use websites like mysupermarket.co.uk to search for the best prices in supermarkets, and then HDUK or the Grabbits section of the moneysavingexpert forums to see if you can save even more!
I've recently discovered that eBay sometimes has an 'offer' button. If you find it on a listing that you want, use it! It may not be the cheapest item listed but you can offer to make it so. Also why not message the seller and ask if you can have your item sent at a cheaper rate? Some people only list first class on their items but would be willing to send second class if you ask. It's cheeky, but you don't ask and you don't get!
Roadkill does not in this instance refer to the dead badger at the side of the road (though if you're that way inclined, it is a good way of getting meat for free!). Instead it refers to loose change dropped on the floor which most people will walk over. OK, so it looks a little bit desperate to bend down and pick up a penny in the street but isn't there a rhyme about that one? 'See a penny, pick it up, all day long you'll have good luck!' and you'll be a penny more rich. Pennies soon add up into pounds.
At this time of year, supermarkets and shops know that we're likely to be stressed when shopping and so rely on us going into their shop and buying it there no matter what the price. Yes, it's a hassle to walk around 6 different shops taking down the prices and sizes to find the best deal but when you've got more money in your pocket it's more than worth it! Note that not all the 'cheapo' stores such as Poundland *are* the cheapest for everything. Currently, you can get a box of After Eights for a pound in Poundland; but it's only a 200g box and it looks tiny. A 300g box is £1.50 in Tesco; making it exactly the same price mint per mint. Sometimes it's worth stretching that extra mile to get the better deal!
==Keep a hold of your finances==
Don't let things go out of control. Have a budget, have some leeway in it, but don't go crazy. If you only want to spend £20 on someone, then only spend £20 on them! And make sure if you're buying online you add in postage and delivery costs as well. Nothing worse than spending an extra £3.50 on everyone because of P+P and then realise you've done that for the 10 people on your list and spent an extra £35!
Never food shop when hungry. Sometimes this can be avoided but studies have shown that we want to buy more food when we're hungry and find it harder to resist things. Make sure that you've had at least a little something to eat before you go! Also, make sure you go at the right time. Find out what time your local supermarket does it's reductions and go in then. My biggest success with this was in Marks and Spencers a few weeks ago; I went in half an hour before closing and got 8 free range chicken breasts, two large sweet peppers, a quiche and a cauliflower (not reduced!) for a grand total of £2.85 = should have cost me well over £14 at full price! Make sure you can freeze what you know you won't use before the date, there's no point buying something for 50p if you're going to throw it out because you won't use it.
==Cook for 5000==
Now this one, I don't really agree with because for me, it doesn't really work. I live alone and find that if I eat the same meal twice in a row I feel really sick and never want to eat it again! However if you're a normal person you may find that buying and cooking in bulk works for you. Make sure you keep everything properly though, freeze when you can and don't put it in the fridge until it's cooled.
==Wrap up warm==
As we go into winter, it's all too tempting to whack the heating on and up and not have to worry about being cold. We've got the luxury of modern heating systems, we may as well use them right? Well, yes, but right now I can guarantee you don't need it. Put socks, slippers, legwarmers, tights, leggings, vests, t-shirts, jumpers and cardigans on! There's nothing wrong with layering up. However if you can see your breath inside I suggest that may be the time to do away with the layers and blast that heating up! Also, set it on a timer so you're not using it constantly.
==Earn some cash==
Sign up to survey and review sites such as dooyoo. If you're near a university, enquire about doing experiments for money; I get paid £6 an hour with my school of psychology to do them. (I'm required to do them for course credit, but can receive money too) And look out for opportunities such as focus groups and grants that you can use to kick start a business or venture. Keep your ear to the ground and make sure you jump on any opportunities you're given!
Those are just a few of the things I've used to save myself a little bit of money, and even earn a little bit of money at the same time.
In the last four years or so or since I started university I have been very conscious over where my money went and the general value of a pound, possibly even more so since jobs are dwindling and the price for everything seems to have gone up two fold if not more since I was a child.
So here are my hints on how I have tried to save and earn extra money etc.
So first off it really doesn't hurt to purchase brand name tinned foods such as beans or tinned tomatoes and you can save 50% on food by scrutinising all the food brands and funnily enough I have noticed with Tesco in particular that nicest of cheeses, cereal and cooked meat aren't always the most expensive either, I am always scouring the shelves for the best deals and the best price per g or ml.
Secondly if you are in a 9-5 job, school, education or any situation which requires you to have a meal, bring a packed lunch instead of buying from the shops ready-made sandwiches, you can spend between £3-£10 for a bought lunch when you can make your own for the equivalent of maybe £1. It doesn't have to be boring either you can get yourself a flask and make soup for the week or bring your leftovers from the dinner the night before.
If you have a microwave in work that makes life even easier as you can just bring your food in a Chinese takeaway box and heat it up and eat it there and then, we have stockpiled these as well as ice cream tubs, we get these tupawear boxes for free with our food so we may as well use them instead of contributing them to the landfill!
Thirdly grow your own vegetables and herbs! Admittedly we have a rather large garden but there are some vegetables that can be grown quite literally anywhere providing you water them plenty and give them some nice soil to grow in. The vegetables I am thinking about are the likes of lettuce which you can grow either indoors or outside on your windowsill, courgettes which you can grow indoors or outdoors in pots providing you can find them a little sun or if you have a paved concrete yard with a wall that gets a lot of sun you can grow beans and peas from a grow bag or potatoes from Ikea tub bags, if you are willing to experiment your possibilities are pretty endless. Usually if you start from scratch seeds start at around 59p per bag and last two years on average so it's definitely worth ago, we had around 100 courgettes this year from one bag of seeds, we are still eating through the beans too!
Fourthly you can earn maybe an extra £100 a year or more through survey sites currently I am on onepoll. My voice, rewarded opinions, toluna and dooyoo here and when I can finally cash them all I will have at least £100 worth of vouchers and or cash. They aren't worth giving up your day job for or anything but they do help out with Christmas time or if you are having trouble setting money aside for a nice holiday and are a student like myself.
Fifthly if you can make things that other people like or you are artistic sell your stuff! I know for a fact from artists that attend video game and anime conventions you can take in up to £100 a day if you can sit in a room full of sweaty teenagers for 6-8 hours. These are also good places to sell your rare foreign DVDs and comic books if you don't think that you are getting what you want for them on amazon or eBay. Conventions are much better than craft fairs to in that you usually just have to pay an entry fee and not the table plus you get to enter the same competitions as everyone else and get access to kettles and plugs that the staff organisers also use. There are also hundreds if not thousands of people who attend these things instead of maybe 50 at craft fairs so it just seems to be a better deal overall.
Another thing which I do, though it's easier for my family since we are all over 20 is that we never buy DVDs, video games or anything electronic brand new. Thankfully I have also got my boyfriend to think like this too now as video games usually drop in price by around 50% after being released for a few months and let's face it if you get it brand new, you will not get that money back and it doesn't hurt anybody to buy in games that are second hand.
It's just a general rule in life that I know have that I never purchase anything for full price, it's always best to check the price for something online and in different shops before making your decision and handing over your well-earned cash.
In terms of mobile phone usage if you are spending more than £8.50 on pay as you go a month and you have no interest in using the internet on your phone and just want a basic package with unlimited calls and texts switch over to a contract it's much better value.
I also think it's a good idea to have either a piggy bank or jar where you keep your change aside when your purse or pockets get too heavy, if you subconsciously put £2 away every week you will soon have a nice little nest egg built up.
Something I have been doing recently since I am out and about more is getting the park in ride; I would definitely suggest using it if you have access to it, especially if you are heading into the city centre regularly. For me it is £1.70 single or £2.20 for a return and surely you could be spending that much on parking alone in the city centre never mind petrol. I also find I get into the university so much quicker too.
This one is a little random but if you hang around your local university or students union at certain times of the year there will be masters and PHD students wanting you do complete surveys and volunteer to help them with experiments. I earned £10 worth of vouchers and £5 through these and it didn't take me very much time at all.
If you smoke or drink a lot, give them up! You will be surprised at how much money you can save and how much better you will feel. The same can go for your gym membership you don't need expensive equipment to lose weight, just walk more, take buses instead of getting the car everywhere, I know some people who spend money on the gym and maybe only go twice a year! What a waste of money!
So those are my little money saving options, comments and reads are appreciated.
Up until a couple of years ago (I was almost 35 when I finally moved out of home and got a flat with a mate) I did as I have just mentioned lived at home with my parents. I had moved out and lived there on and off through the years but this time decided I had to make the break and be a grown up!
Up until this point in my life money wasn't a problem and had never been an issue at all. I never had a lot of money but lets face it I never got truly stuck and I had no real bills to pay. If I spent up on a lipstick it didn't matter, food was in cupboards and Mum paid the bills and I could cadge money if need be! I had it so goooood.......
However as soon as I got a flat share and had to pay my way properly I was a bit shocked. Gas, electric, water....well the bills never end do they? lol. I carried on ordering like I had done from the catalogues and suddenly I couldn't pay them and then I fell behind with the general bills too. My flatmate moved out as we no longer could tolerate each other and I ended up staying in the flat we shared until I find a one bedroomed just for me which is proving really difficult. Not only am I struggling to pay half the bills we ran up together, I of course have new ones now and I have to make up the £179.00 a month for her share of the rent as well!
However I'm not in debt. Once again my parents came to the rescue and paid off all the debts I owed but I have had to learn to cope since and try to keep my head above water!
So here are my money saving tips and I hope they may help you!
In no particular order:
1) Service providers. Check through all your services, gas, electric and internet and so on and make sure your getting a fair deal. Moneysavingexpert.com is a good site to get this sort of information from and its an easy to navigate site too. You do need to be very careful doing all this though and really read the small print on deals! I personally have 02 Sim and an old deal of unlimited texts to any mobile and a whole host of other things and won't be changing from that!
2) My food bill was really, really high! I love food. I swapped to instead of buying premium brands to buying shops own and stuff on offer or reduced cos of shorter use by dates and so on. Ok some stuff isn't as good and some is and it is hit and miss and trial and error. I freeze leftovers and allsorts now and I never used to! I shop online to avoid taxi bills and get it delivered and all. I also love make up and toiletries and now invest in cheaper brands such as make up from elf.com or 'MUA' from Superdrug and any of that is usually priced between £1.00-£1.50 an item! I like luxury toiletries too but swapped Lush for Marks & Spencers toiletries which can cost as little as a pound for bath foam, shower gels and allsorts so cos its Marks stuff I still feel like I'm still treating myself and they really do have a fantastic, large range of products to choose from!
Of course join loyalty schemes too and shop about. I shop in Boots and tescos alot and get plenty of free stuff from Boots with my card there and often recieve money off vouchers from Tesco which really helps!
3) Cleaning products
Once again I have converted to buying shops own brands and save myself a fortune! I buy multi purpose cleaners instead of specific products now too! I clean less, using less electric and having more fun time too!
Ok I am a smoker and you should quit! However I try and try and then I smoke again however I now smoke only roll ups which have dramatically reduced the money I was spending weekly however a 50g pouch that lasts me a week still costs me a little under £14.00! If you can't quit cut down and if you want to quit there are quit smoking groups and allsorts out there an you can get so much free help with this now and products to help!
5) Charity Shops:
I love clothes too! I can't go a week without treating myself to something to wear however I always shopped in Primark and the likes anyway which never really cost too much. Now though I have no Primark nearby and only rather expensive shops so now I am really pleased to say that I go to charity shops alot. I like to call the clothes Vintage rather than second hand mind you but always think once I've washed them they are as good as new and I never buy tat anyway! I've had such bargains and alot of the stuff in their isn't whats in stores right this minute and so the stuff is rather unique!
Not only do I get clothes I also get dvds and books etc, I mean we all need some luxuries in life and I'm no different! Of course for dvds and books cheap I also buy from Amazon and thats mega cheap too but shop about and you can get some right bargains even from Blockbusters that sell there older dvs off at a song!
6) Selling Things:
I am not one for selling my possessions though recently I was looking through my dvd collection and about to throw some of them in the bin because I wasn't impressed with them. Musicmagpie.com buys dvds and cds from you. Ok you don't get a fortune but its a straightforward and easy to use website and you basically type in the bar codes for all you want to sell, you get a total of how much you will get, print of a label and post them off and wait for a cheque! Of course there are loads of shops and sites that do this though I have never and never want to walk around with my wares trying to sell them! You can of course part with mobiles and the likes online to your hearts content! Of course there is also Ebay.com to buy and sell and days with free listing days on from time to time so you don't even have to pay a fee!
7) Review And Fill In Surveys:
You are never gonna be rich reviewing on websites such as this. However from Ciao.com you earn only money and I claim it every few months for a lump sum and then on here I get vouchers or whatever for Amazon for bits and pieces for my home. I do Ciao surveys and a few others, Google if interested. Not only can make a couple of quid here and there but think of it this way whilst you on here keeping busy your probably not spending anything! lol.
8) Claim What Your Entitled To:
Most of us have no idea what benefits or extras we are entitled to. Until recently my Stepfather had worked all of his life earning decent money and was made redundant. He's bored stiff and looking hard for a job but at 62 years old, sadly its just not happening but he assumed he was entitled to no money from the state at all and was embarrassed to go and find out. Turns out he is entitled to money that he's paid into the system and whilst it really isn't much its HIS money and he should have it. Citizens advice bureau offer free advice on this sort of stuff and of course you can Google if interested.
9) Bits And Bobs Info:
There are other things that I do to save money so I thought I would list them here randomly! Instead of using my big oven to cook just for me I now use my George Foreman Grill. I barely use my tumble drier now and got myself a cheap airer (I live in a flat). I hand wash some things instead of doing washing in the washing machine and I tear up old clothes to use as dusters and things like that. If I'm cooking dinner for me and my mate downstairs is in I'll do her dinner too and then she does it back another time and we do this often lol (we are close friends though and it a bit like meals on wheels lol).
There are many ways of making cut backs of course. Stop driving so much and get some air you car drivers and course if you have a spare room and can rent it out...well do that but just be careful who you have in for heavens sake! The only thing that hasn't been cut down money wise is my hamsters...they still and always will cost me a fortune as they are my pure joy!
Like everyone else, I am having to be more careful with my money these days, especially since my partner and I decided to get married. Although we've set a small budget for the wedding so it doesn't cost the earth, we still need to be careful with money to be able to pay for the wedding, pay all our outgoings, and in an ideal world have a contingency for potential job losses.
Here are the things I have found most useful when times have been hard (before meeting my partner I lived alone with a hefty mortgage on a low salary - lots of baked beans were consumed during this time!). I hope you find some of these tips useful.
1 Review your direct debits - so many people never really look at what's going out of their account, but you can save so much money by cancelling things like gym subscriptions you no longer use, old insurance policies you forgot to cancel and so on. I check my bank daily and know exactly what's going out of my account.
2 Pay off your debts with savings - sounds obvious but you'll be charged more on debts than you'll earn on savings so get them paid off first.
3 Join loyalty schemes for shops you use regularly. I collect about £20 per quarter on Tesco clubcard, and use my Boots points towards Christmas shopping. You can earn Boots points by buying things through the Boots website for lots of other companies (Ernest Jones, BHS for example), I actually only found that out from a dooyoo review! Lots of places have loyalty cards these days including Superdrug, WH Smith, and Waterstones.
4 Earn money online - obviously you're all doing this already, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this, but there are also some good survey websites out there. The best in my opinion is Pinecone who offer £3 per survey and pay straight into Paypal. You have to be invited to join the panel but if anyone is interested I get regular emails to invite friends and family so just drop me a line. You can also get free samples from Pinecone which you later complete surveys on so it's a win-win situation! Others I've had money from are Lightspeed (now called MySurvey) which takes a bit longer to acquire points but you do get regular payouts, and Toluna but they've changed their format recently so I think it would take ages to get a payout from them.
5 Shop around - although life's too short to spend your weekends visiting different supermarkets for the cheapest of everything, it does pay to shop round and compare prices. Often when looking at groceries it's worth comparing larger packs against two small packs and seeing what the difference is. Probably the biggest money saver is switching to supermarket own labels on the items you're willing to sacrifice this on. Also just popping to the supermarket and picking out the offers is a good way to save, but don't buy things for the sake of it unless you would have bought them anyway.
6 Turn a hobby into a money maker - I decorate cakes as a hobby and have recently had a few paid jobs for friends and colleagues. It doesn't earn enough to leave work but it's a bit of pocket money and I hope one day I can set up my own business. If you have a hobby such as jewellery making or making cards, try setting up an Ebay shop or promoting yourself via Facebook
7 Pick up free supermarket magazines - they often have money off coupons you can use next time you go shopping
8 Get your petrol from Tesco - it's usually cheaper than other petrol stations and you earn clubcard points too!
9 Eat fresh - I thought cooking from scratch would be more expensive than buying convenience foods, but cooking proper meals in bulk and freezing them is a very cost-effective way of feeding everyone. Also, I pad meals out with vegetables which means I need less meat so it's cheaper and also healthier.
10 Give up one extravagance - although I believe life's too short to stay in and never spend a penny, it's interesting to add up how much you spend a month on coffee, magazines, wine and so on. I've pledged to stop buying lunches at work but instead take my own packed lunch, and the money I save is going to our wedding fund. (Yes, Cinderella WILL go to the ball, lol!)
Reading this back it's all obvious stuff really, but even if you pick up just one thing you'd not thought of it was worth writing 