Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Money-saving Tips

I wrote this awhile back. I didn't post it because I didn't think that I'd hit on anything particularly new or different, but I figure I'd spent all that time writing this, that I'd post it anyway.

Times are tough. I thought I'd share some of the money-saving tips that have helped our household or that I've come across recently. Everyone knows you should turn your heating down by one degree, use energy efficient lightbulbs or turn electrical appliances off at the switch rather than leaving them on standby but here are some other ideas. You may have heard them all before and have some of your own? Let me know.

Websites: The cashback website that we use (and by that, I mean N uses) is Quidco. Every time you shop online or change gas/electricity or sign up for a new credit card you either get a fixed amount of cash back of a percentage of what you buy. We've saved at least 800 pounds since using it. compares prices and offers from the major supermarkets, and will tell you cheapest petrol stations if you register. Use loyalty cards.

The only paid surveys I use is Yougov. It pays 50p per survey completed and won't pay out until you reach 50 pounds. It takes awhile to get to that first amount of money unless you refer other people. I've asked before, but help me out and sign up using this link. is a good resource for other money saving tips. Everytime I look at the site however, I'm bowled over by the amount of information on display and have no idea where to start. Good luck.

Plan ahead: Do a weekly food menu and shop once. Stick to a budget. Buy online and pay the delivery costs if the offers in store are too much of a temptation. Plan for certain weeks in which you eat food out of your cupboards. Pastas, rice dishes, baked beans on toast. All healthy meals and cheap as well. Try cutting meat out of your diet once or twice a week. Buy store-branded or value products, but don't skimp on quality. We found the value baked beans to be utter crap and not worth the extra savings. Cook food from scratch and don't waste money on ready-made food. Homemade food will be tastier, healthier and cheaper. Curries or stews make great leftovers as well for lunches later on in the week.

Plan ahead for other things. Write on your calendar when your car MOT or insurance is coming up and set aside money for them so it isn't such a huge surprise when the time rolls around or try to work it so that not more than one huge bill happens every month.

Buy greetings cards in advance as well as children's birthday party presents. I have a list of all the names of the children whose birthday parties I think Elliot will be invited to in the year and have set aside a 'birthday party shelf' of toys that I've bought in the sales. I've also bought a few extra just in case. Same goes for Christmas cards/wrapping paper and birthday/Christmas presents for my boys.

Buy and Sell: There are plenty of ways in which you can get rid of unwanted items around the house and boost your income. Selling via ebay,, NCT nearly-new sales. We've gotten rid of a ton of old baby things lately and putting more on ebay this week: a moses basket, a double pushchair, an old wardrobe, toys. Go room by room and I'm sure you'll find some old things to sell. Goes without saying that buying from these websites is also a great way to save money.

For me, one of the hardest problems was buying books. I was addicted for a long time. It was my comfort buy. But now I'm putting my library card to good use as well as a book swapping websites. (I use

There are loads of cheap things to do to keep the kids entertained, but I think that's one for another post. What things do you to save costs?


  1. I am going to register with the petrol site. Also planning to do a big bootsale to get rid of a lot of things.
    I have the same problem as you buying books! I try to only buy them from the charity shops now or buy from the library, that way the money goes to good causes.
    They are my comfort buy too. I am on a diet, so I can't comfort eat, so this is my way round it. I will have to wean myself off it at some point, or start myh own library. Thanks for letting me know about the comments on my blog, I had no idea that they were not working. I wouldn't of had a clue how to fix them!

  2. Scrap - I love the idea of bootsales, but getting up at the crack of dawn sours the idea for me. Good luck on yours though!

  3. Great ideas in this article. As a financial planner, I especially enjoyed your bit about planning ahead - yes yes yes, bet things on the calendar so you know when they are coming have money already waiting to pay that bill instead of it being a surprise and having to use credit to pay it - that is the steep decline into debt! And speaking of savings, Here are some of the easy savings wins I just accomplished:

    Cancelled HBO, which we hardly watch anymore ($10 month / $120 year)

    Switched our phone and Internet to Comcast ($40 month / $480 year!)

    Reduced our childcare by 3 hours per week ($150 month / $1,800 year!)

  4. It's good to regularly look at your fixed expenses and see if there are things you no longer use or need -- things change in our lives, and what we once might have used regularly may well have been replaced by something else -- except we never got rid of the thing it replaced. So, for example, when we realized we do not use our home phone, nor did we ever answer the messages people left on it, we switched our service over to the bare bones service, which saved a ton of money.

  5. I've found Quidco to be great as well. Another site worth a look is Topcashback. I use Quidco most of the time, but Topcashback covers a few merchants that Quidco doesn't.


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