If your like me, there is NEVER enough money in the bank, especially at this time of year. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is still paying off the xmas spending spree and with kids who need new coats, shoes and school stuff every 5 minutes, its a tough time.
But alas, do not fret! There is hope. I have made a list of all the tips and tricks I have picked up along the way and I’m sharing them with you to ensure we all have the chance to get comfortably out of the red this year.
1.) http://www.moneysavingexpert.com…..From free anti-virus software, to free pull ups and body shops freebies, there is something for everyone on this site. Cheap wine deals, supermarket coupons and even restaurant deals can be found here. All this combined with Martin’s advice on how to get the best out of everything, from mortgages to credit cards makes this website invaluable for those on a budget.
2.) O2 Priority…sometimes it pays to be with the right network. We go so much for free by being with OT at Christmas . From wrapping paper, star wars stickers, bags of chocolate coins, kids craft boxes and story books. Even now, you can get lunch from boots or Whsmith for £1, free cookies, chocolates, Mr men books for £1, free hot drinks at selected chains, 50% off Valentines bouquets from Debenhams and so on. The offers are amazing!
3.) On the subject of Valentines day, or any special event for that matter, check out wowcher.com. They do amazing offers on all different kinds of experiences. How about a spa experience this V-Day? Or in need of a wedding photographer? If your after something more permanent, they even do deals on lip fillers, lipo suction and tattoo laser removal! I quite fancy the afternoon tea for 2 at Regents Park myself, or the super car driving experience with 80% off!
4.) On that note, don’t go out for a meal without some kind of voucher or deal. Rather than saying you can’t afford to go out, check out the offers you can get and pick something you and your bank balance will enjoy. Pitcher & Piano are currently offering 1 free drink and Zizi are doing 30% off mains!
5.) Its time to plan your meals. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be exact! You don’t HAVE to have shepherds pie on Monday, it could well be Tuesday. The world will not end. And if you have ingredients that could make a variety of different meals, write all those ideas down. It just means when you get home you don’t have to spend energy being creative (lets face it, by Wednesday that’s no longer possible) and you know what to get out the night before. Did I mention, it saves money? We’ve saved at least £30 last month by planning what to buy for dinners. For 99 cheap family meal ideas, head to foodnetwork.com
6.) Buy in bulk at the supermarket. A few weeks ago Tesco were doing an offer of 3 medium chickens for £10. That lasted us ages and meant we were able to make a variety of different meals. In addition to bulk buying, freezing your leftovers is a brilliant idea. Even if its just one portion of the meal, it means that one night a week all you have to do is defrost something and everyone gets to pick what they fancy, rather than being told whats on the menu. Plus, that’s one night you don’t have to budget for.
7.) Charity shops are golden. Ok, I admit, getting new things does come with its own sense of smug satisfaction….but finding a bargain does too! As a family, we have managed to find all the Night Garden characters, including the train, for a fraction of a price they were new. They weren’t old and flea bitten, they were freshly washed and in need of a new owner. We’ve also found a brand new Micky Mouse soft toy, barbie dolls, nursery rhyme books, musical toys and lots of puzzles to entertain our brood, for hardly any money.
8.) Do I really need that? That is the question. If your anything like me, I can plan what to spend my entire wage on in an hour. By the next hour, I’ve forgotten half of it. Its clearly not that important then! Make a list of all the things you really want and keep going back to them in moments of weakness.
9.) An app called You Need a Budget allows you to track your spending every step of the way. You input all the things you spend your money on a month….petrol/water bill/food…and then at the end of the day/week/month you assign each expenditure to one of the categories. Its really simple, even I can manage it. It allows you to track how much you really spend on each section and you may even find you’re under spending in certain areas. We found it really useful, but its something you do need to keep up with.
10.) Lock it away in an ISA! Protect the money you do have by locking it away in an ISA you can’t touch more than few times a year. Those kind of savings accounts tend to accumulate the best interest rates too. Alternatively, get a decent bank account that gives you money back. The Santander 1-2-3 account is amazing, if used properly you can make up to £530 a year. See moneysavingexpert for more info.