Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Happy 2011 - here's to a money saving start!

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!

8 comments:

Jo said...

Glad you are getting the house sorted.

I like the idea of a budget - it helps. However, when I go to the supermarket with a list (often in my head) of what is in the fridge/cupboards/freezer. Then I look at what is on offer or reduced for a quick sale and make up my menu list based on that. That way, I can be flexible enough to take advantage of good offers. Also, I like to have a little spare cash so that if, say, beans are on offer or BOGOF, I can buy several deals to tide me over until the next offer. That may not save me money that week but will save when averaged over several weeks. The idea is to spend as little as possible when averaged over a month or three months. I currently have enough tins of tomatoes to last me about 4-5 months because I happened upon an offer that worked out at 20p per pack. That week's shopping was expensive but when averaged out - every little helps. And I get quite creative with storage too.

sl.tudor said...

Happy new year to you both..good advice there..one more for you..make your own lunches for work from the leftovers of dinner the night before..if possible..
i go to the supermarket at nearly closing time and get the reduced to sell frsh stuff and bung it in the freezer...had some lovely meals from that..and very cheap too lol...
sara

SavingsNow said...

Hi Jo - happy new year! I know what you mean re the shopping and we do a combination of this, we meal plan but I also check out the leaflets through our door weekly from our supermarket to see what else is on offer. Tuna is always good to stock pile, beans etc. However I have found that meal planning and batch cooking is what enables us to stay around the £30 per week mark on shopping, including our cat. Here's to more savings!

Sarah, you're achieving what we can't right now, I'd love to get last minute reductions but we're not that close to the supermarket, hence one main shop per week... bet you get some amazing bargains! I do try in my lunch hour near work, but it's never as great a deal... That's a great offer on tinned tomatoes, even beats own brand! Do you only buy undamaged tins? Happy frugalling in 2011!

Lou said...

I like the idea of padding out meals - the other day I made shepherds pie, and padded it out with extra grated carrot + an extra (value) onion. No-one noticed, and it was really yummy, and there was enough for hubby to take the leftovers to work for lunch!
Lou

SavingsNow said...

Hi Lou, I know what you mean - I use red or green lentils, breadcrumbs, cous cous, grated carrot and any extra veg to pad things out... works a treat! Red lentils are fab in spag bol or lasagne / chilli etc and green or red lentils in stews and soups are good and very good for you...

Christmas Parties UK said...

You have some great tips here. My husband and I are both really bad with money. We are now much better when it comes to food shopping. We used to waste so much meat! Now I buy the meat deals in the supermarket and portion them in freezer bags, then I get one out in the morning depending on what I am going to cook that evening. It works really well for us. As Jo said I also try to take advantage of the BOGOF when we have some extra money.

Lisa said...

Great ideas! I do some of the things mentioned already but I'm not very good at sticking with things so you've given me some ideas to help me keep to them!

The Middle Man said...

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