I’ve been meaning to upload this for a little while… I know I say this a lot but this last year and a half has been crazy, I’ve gone from being ridiculously unemployed to the point where I wasn’t even entitled to JSA anymore because I’d been on it to long. I was living at home, being bored in a spiral of job hunting and now I’m in my own little flat, with a proper grown up job. I think, although I’m pretty bad at it, saving money will always be at the back of my mind, there’s always nice things I want to do and I don’t really want to worry about them. It’s because of this mentality that I was pretty excited to see Money Super Market’s ’30 Ways to Save £1′ Challenge, in honour of the £1 coin’s 30th Anniversary, of course – very weird that it’s only 7 years older than me!
I love a good list, so here’s my list of 30 ways to save yourself some pennies.
- Upcycle Your Furniture: Sometimes you don’t need to buy completely new things and just a lick of paint will do – Furniture can be expensive, paint, less so and it goes a long way. We painted a few things that we were gifted when we moved to our new flat and it really gave them a new lease of life.
[Rainbow Clothes Chest.] [Duck Egg Bathroom Box.]
- Sample Pots of Paint: Following on from ‘upcycling’, I guess paint can be pretty pricey too – Wilkinson do really good-sixed sample pots for just £1, which is perfect for smaller items like mirrors and shelves.
- Cold Water for Plants: I’m nicking this one from my Gran a little bit, but why not collect your water in containers while waiting for it to heat up when washing up, then use that water for your plants. It’s just going down the drain otherwise, and this way thirsty plants get a drink and you’re not wasting water.
- Grow Your Own: We’ve not had a whole lot of success growing our own so far, but we did get a metric ton of broad beans last year so I guess that means they’re pretty easy to grow. I’d say the cost of getting things started is definitely worth it once you’re saving money on fruit and veg, which by the way is hella expensive – no wonder there are issues with obesity when it’s cheaper to buy a 6-pack of crisps than it is to buy a bag of salad.
- Save up Cards and Paper: If you can get some nice ones, cards are perfect for recycling into gift tags and using again. Same goes for wrapping paper, you can even use it again for a second go at wrapping a gift.
- Sew Yourself Some Homewares: Cushions can be upwards of £30 in some places, if you spent the same money on the materials you’d probably be able to make at least 4 cushions. You don’t even need a fancy machine, cushions are easiest to make and just require some pins and a sewing needle. Of course they’re much quicker to make with a sewing machine but it’s a pretty relaxing way to spend an afternoon and it gives you a little more freedom with the design.
- Cook in bulk: Cook things like stews in larger bulk and freeze them, great for days you can’t be bothered to cook and want something quick, making it much easier to resist the call of takeaways.
- Internet for Two: When taking out your internet in a long term shared home, be sure to only take it out in one name, that way you can cancel it each year and take it out in another name – new customers often get the best deals and prices go up after a certain period of time so it’s a no-brainer.
- Wrap Up: Having the heating on costs money, we got a major shock when our winter bill came through a couple of weeks ago – just cosy up in a blanket and big jumpers, it’s just as easy to get warm.
Out & About:
- Bring a Drink: If you know you’re going to be out all day, why not fill up a spare plastic bottle with water (or whatever else you fancy) so you don’t need to buy a drink, that way you get to save money that you didn’t need to spend and you can stay hydrated.
- Go for a Walk:
Enjoy the great outdoors, it’s free, you don’t need anything and it’s an easy way to have a relaxing day out, you might even get to see some neat wildlife.
I’ve started to make a habit of reconsidering things when out on a spree and asking myself whether I really need something – more often than not, I don’t, so I end up not buying it, easy way to save money really, just not spending it…
- Cashback Websites: In my opinion QuidCo is one of the best things to happen to online shopping in a long time. All you need to do is sign up and then they give you money back on your online purchases from companies like New Look, ASOS and even Domino’s, sure it’s only a few pennies at a time, but it soon adds up and without it, you wouldn’t get anything back so it’s pretty solid.
- Use Your Nectar Card on eBay: As I use Quidco for Cashback, I don’t really use my Nectar card in the same way (although you can, so there’s a bonus one if you don’t want Quidco), but it’s really easy to earn points when buying things from eBay, just attach your card and each time you win an auction or buy something, you’ll get a point for every pound and the points eventually equate to money you can spend!
- Price Comparison Sites are OK: …but always go to the companies directly once you’ve had your quote. My car insurance was in the thousands when I was looking on comparison sites so I looked at the ‘cheapest’ site and entered my details there, and it already brought it down by £300, I’d recommend ringing them in the case of car insurance too as doing that saved me a further £100.
Pesky emails from companies like Dorothy Perkins and ASOS are great for offers, not great for your purse. If you unsubscribe from these emails it’s less likely that you’ll know about the offers and be less likely get sucked in by ‘great deals’.
- Poundshops for Cleaning Products: I’m a little against Poundshops because sometimes they’re not always offering the best deals and you just think it’s good because it’s ‘only £1’, but cleaning products can be upwards of that elsewhere unless they’re on offer so it really can be a bargain, particularly if you’re after brand names.
- Make a List: … and stick to it! Definitely worth the effort when food shopping, that way you’ll only be buying what you need rather than picking up all the impulse-buys supermarkets are designed to make you buy.
- Share your BOGOFs: Not really a big fan of Buy-One-Get-One-Free offers, sometimes it’s fine, like when it comes to cosmetics offers but with food it can be a bit annoying and you end up with way more than you need. Why not split the cost with a friend, that way you get the item for half the price and you have the amount you need rather than too much.
- Avoid 3 for 2 Offers: Again, this is more about food and sometimes it’s fine if it’s assorted items but just be careful. You could have lots of things end up being wasted when you could have been satisfied with just the one – you’re spending more money buying three anyway, even if you’re saving at the same time.
- Buy Loose Fruit & Veg: (If you’re not growing your own, obviously) – Don’t be taken in by £1 bags of fruit and vegetables, I’ve found it’s often much cheaper to weigh it myself. It also comes back (again) to not wasting it, by being able to choose what you want, you can judge how much you’ll actually need, a much better alternative to a bag of mouldy, rotten carrots.
- Buy a Whole Chicken: Individual cuts of meat are expensive, especially when you can get the whole thing for less than or the same price. If you’re willing to DIY (bit grim, I always get Moon to do it), you’ll more than likely have more than you need if you use it for meals like curries or stir-fries.
- Pay in Cash: I feel like that way it feels like real money, cards are great for convenience but with cash you know exactly how much you’re spending – we started a food kitty this month so we know exactly what we’re spending and once it’s gone, it’s gone.
- Get a Railcard: It can cost £27.50 for me to travel back to New Malden on the train, with my trusty railcard it’s only £13.50, saving me £14. At £28 a year, it seems like a lot, but if I make that journey twice it’s like it’s paid for itself. And that’s just the 16-25 Railcard, there are railcards for everyone, so it’s worth investigating.
- Use Points Cards: Earning points on your Boots Advantage card or Nectar card is free so the little effort it is to scan it could help out with the weekly food shop or make up. It does take a while, I think the most I’ve had on my nectar card was £20 but it meant that that week we didn’t have to actually part with any cash.
- Have a Clear-Out: Selling things on eBay is a great way to make a little bit of extra cash as well as have a de-clutter, if it’s something you haven’t used in the last year, you may as well get rid of it. Carboots are great for this, selling a few items for 50p soon adds up. eBay even offer free listings weekends and days, where it won’t cost you anything to add items. I usually take photos in bulk and upload everything on these days.
- Get your Favourite Beauty Products on Offer: …but only if the offer’s good and you think you’ll use the products. There is an expiration date on make up so it’s best not to leave it sitting around, but if it’s an essential that you use all the time, then the offer will definitely be worth it.
- Squirrel Away: Set up a direct debit between your current account and a savings account, be sure that it transfers out on pay day, so you’ll never see it but you’ll know that you’re building up a little nest egg.
- Orange Wednesdays: Bit of an obvious one, but why not, cinema tickets are crazy prices so go with a friend and split the cost of one ticket.