As a mother to three I am always looking for ways to save pounds and pennies. We love going out together as a family, seeing new places and traveling abroad and in the UK; all of these ‘hobbies’ can become expensive so I always have my eye out for bargains to make life simpler and cheaper.
Living life on a voucher
One effective way to save is to plan meals out and ensure you always have a voucher. Tastecard is a great investment as you can always pre-book cheap dining experiences in well known restaurants. Likewise looking at 2 for 1 voucher sites before heading out for the night can save you up to 50% on a bill.
Car Hire vs. own car
When we go away for a short break we always make sure we check out different car hire comparison sites – hire cars tend to be more efficient than our old banger, so we spend less on petrol and keep the mileage off our own vehicle, which realistically would struggle to get us any distance without collapsing under the traveling strain.
Planning dinner a week in advance
Meal plan: Before we had children my husband and I went food shopping with reckless abandonment. If we liked the look of it on the supermarket shelf it would go in the trolley and we would figure out what meat went with what veg when we got home. Since having children I have dramatically altered how we eat and cook. Before heading out to the discounted supermarket I plan the meals for the next seven days and write a list of all ingredients needed. I use a slow cooker which turns cheap joints of meat into delicious stews and we opt for pasta base dishes which can be made without spending a fortune on fillings.
No brands and grow your own
On a similar note when hitting the supermarket we buy no brand items saving a small fortune on the total shopping bill. It is also on my to do list to learn how to grow vegetables in the garden, however I have not mastered this skill (yet) but many tell me it is a pain free money saver which also gets the whole family involved.
Making everything last longer
A thrifty lifestyle can be achieved by ensuring you maximise what you have. I religiously measure out washing detergent rather than carelessly tossing it into the machine. Often you don’t need to use as much as the packet says to achieve perfectly sweet smelling clean clothes and you can stretch what you have for longer.
Get festive in January
I buy my Christmas gifts throughout the year but with a splurge in the January and August sales. If I spot a bargain I pop it in my ‘Christmas box’ and work out who it is for as the festive season arrives. By November I am usually ready for Christmas which allows me to spend more time with the kids enjoying the run up to Santa without stressing about shopping.
Wrap up warm
It has been a bitter winter and energy bills have soared in the UK and continue to do so with increased costs. We make sure the children go to bed snuggled in a fleece blanket with double duvets wrapped tight around them, and then we turn off the heating and wrap blankets round our legs whilst passing a pleasant evening in front of the TV. If you can’t bear to ‘go cold’ consider turning the thermostat down by 1 or 2 degrees it will still save dividends in the long run.
Switch it off
If the kettle isn’t boiling then turn off the power, likewise unplug phone chargers, TVs and radios. In a world brimming with electrical appliances it is easy to create huge bills by simply leaving items plugged in. It is the easiest way to save money instantly by remembering to turn something off!
About the author: Jane Blackmore is a freelance writer, editor, blogger who is always on the hunt for bargains and money saving tips, often found rifling through charity shops or in the reduced aisle at the supermarket she also takes care of three children and a very cute hamster.