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Saving is caring!
Member Name: kiss_me_now9
Advantages: Lots more money to play with!
Disadvantages: Requires some dedication and will power
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.
Summary: Be sensible!