Unfortunately we live in uncertain times. Everyone has their own views on the current financial climate and how brexit will pan out. The fact is that the majority of us will feel the effects on our finances. I see so many blogs posting their own versions of ‘how to be frugal’ or ‘top 5 ways to beat austerity’ usually filled with pie in the sky suggestions such as buying a goat to save money on milk! (ok bit of an exaggeration) I have always considered myself to be sensible with money and certainly before kids my wife and I never had any money worries. Having kids was the best thing I ever did but it has had a negative effect on our finances. I try and save money where I can and I am always looking for the next ‘get rich quick’ scheme! In this post I have tried to think of the areas I have actually saved a notable amount rather than the odd penny here and there. I have also tried to look at the areas that are realistic and achievable. You may have read them before and never got around to actioning them, the thing is you aren’t going to save money just by reading. So here are my top 5 tips on being stingy!
1) Menu Plan
On a Sunday when the kids are in bed, my wife and I sit down and begin to plan what we are going to eat for the week. Based on this we will write a shopping list and either do an online shop or head to the supermarket the next day, either way we only buy what we need and keep to the list! This saves us money as we aren’t tempted to buy extras (Particularly if it is an online shop) by doing this we have saved ourselves between £10-£40 a week!
Golden Tip: Pick up a magazine from lidls and use the themes to assist with your menu planning for the following week
2) Grow your own
This isn’t a new concept and the roots (excuse the bad dad pun there) can be traced back to before ‘The Dig For Victory’ campaigns of WWII. You may believe that you have no space to grow your own vegetables, the answer is to utilize the space you do have. My garden is approximately 20m by 10m in this space I grow:
Admittedly this isn’t enough to live on and the amount of strawberries we produce are more of a snack. However we have a constant supply of peas and cucumbers for 3 months of the year, Potatoes, onion and carrots that will store for at least around 3 months if stored correctly and a constant supply of herbs. Quick approximate calculations this saves us around £40 a month.
3) NEVER pay full price for anything
We all want the new latest gadgets and products, becoming a parent does not necessarily mean sacrificing this, but maybe re look at how we get it. I am a huge fan of Groupon, Groupon along with other money off sites have many products and services at the touch of a keyboard! Its always worth checking for items before buying. If Groupon doesn’t have it, try eBay. I bought a reconditioned recordable freeview box from ebay (A product that had been fixed after being returned faulty) – it was £40 instead of £80 so another saving of £40 no problems with it and still going strong
4) Visit the Money Saving Expert
http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/ is a website run by Martin Lewis. It is an excellent resource providing a huge range of ways to save money from the best energy provider deals to assisting with PPI claims. My wife put in a PPI claim through them and received £3000! The best part was because the website is free she did not owe the standard 25% to a 3rd party solicitor. Sign up to the mailing list and see what savings you can make.
5) Ask yourself ‘do I need it or want it?’
This may sound obvious but its a question we rarely give a real answer to, we attempt to trick ourselves. As a general rule of thumb if you did not go with the intention of buying a product you don’t need it!