Hi all and hope you had a lovely festive break and some wonderful pressies, without breaking the bank toooooo much!
This is a short but sweet post to say hello and to recommend my top 10 tips for saving money straight away in 2011, so you're set for the year ahead for some inspiration - please share your tips with us here too!
1 - Make a fixed budget for shopping each month. Take cash out of the ATM if you need to - just don't go over it or buy bad tempting (expensive!) foods.
2 - Cook in bulk, and when you do, pad out the meals with red lentils for example in spag bol and chilli, or pasta shapes in soups, cous cous and things like bulgur wheat and green lentils in stews.
3 - Make a personal budget for yourself, again take cash out of the ATM each payday and make sure it lasts til the next one...
4 - Call your energy / tv / broadband cuppliers and renegotiate. Also check price comparison websites for life, car, pet, travel insurance to see what cashback you can get. See the cashback section on the right for more info, you can make hundreds of extra pounds this year. If you change energy supplier, do it via a cashback site.
5 - Reduce car travel, less petrol, less expenses and walking more helps feel that little bit better about the fact we don't go to the gym...
6 - Reduce gym costs if you do go - are you going at least 3 times a week? If not, maybe take up running, walking or exercise at home maybe by buying a 2nd hand cross trainer or step machine if you have little space.
7 - Get your other half to agree to cut back, maybe have a goal you are both aiming for, and one person controls the finances and had a good overview of what's what.
8 - Use a cashabck credit card when you can, if you have no debts. Many offer at least 1% cashback on all your purchases, which is a great bonus each year.
9 - Spend those Boots / Nectar / Tesco points you aren't using and get the maximum value out of them - see each website for details. Often on Nectar's website they offer better deals than just spending the points at Sainsburys of Argos for example.
10 - Keep a spending diary at http://www.spendingdiary.com/ - easy and quick to log into, super easy to use. Then you can see what's being spent where of your personal monthly allowance, or shopping budget for example.
11 - A bonus one - sall stuff you no longer want or need - unwanted Christmas pressies? Ebay or Amazon them, or see musicmagpie.co.uk, or go to a boot fair. You may also want to Freecycle items if they are unsellable - someone's junk is almost always someone else's treasure. We got a free bathroom suite, ironing board, cd player, 12 magazines, books and much more that way in the past 12 months.
Any idead and tips you would like to share are most welcome - what's the most significant money saving tip for you?
Happy 2011 and thanks for supporting this blog - it inspires me to keep saving money and hopefully help others too along the way!