Wherever possible, I like to save money, of course I do, who doesn’t? So when VoucherCodes.co.uk got in touch with me and invited my to share my top 3 money-saving tips as part of their VC Life Hacks campaign, I was keen to get involved. It got me thinking about where I make our biggest family savings, and also how easy it is to make those savings, You see, I am keen on saving cash, but I’m not especially keen on having to go to enormous lengths to do so – yep, lazy! So these top tips are for cutting costs, with minimal effort….
On the Home:
Plan. Yes, I know I said it was easy, and if you’re naturally quite organised this one does come easy. If you’re not, well, ponder the ease that it could bring to you! A few examples of how planning helps me…
I meal plan, which saves me time as I’m clear on what I’m doing daily and I don’t faff about trying to decide, and it saves on money as there’s very little waste and I can plan around whatever’s on offer in the shop that week. I food shop on-line, which allows me to plan this all well, grabbing cookbooks if need be and checking cupboards for what we have in.
I plan ahead for birthdays and Christmas. I keep an ongoing gift ideas list for the kids, as and when things occur to me, and because I plan ahead for buying, I manage to grab bargains at sale and offer times.
I plan the kids clothes a year ahead. What I mean by that is that now that Boo is 5, I’ll be buying her aged 6-7 clothes soon, always in the sales, ready for the year ahead.
I note down all renewal dates for utilities on my calendar, so that I can shop around a week or so before to get the best deals ready to switch.
(Oh, and I do not count the cost of pretty stationery as detrimental to planning. I never consider pretty stationery to be an unnecessary purchase anyway, and in this case, it makes me all the more eager to complete the tasks! On the off-chance you have a different viewpoint on this, I can reassure you that planning on your laptop, on dull plain paper, or using free printable downloads found over on Pinterest will aid you just as well. It just won’t look as gorgeous.)
I do most of my shopping on-line, from groceries to Christmas presents. I find it allows me to search around for the best price, as well as read reviews on the items. Once I’ve decided where I’m going to make my purchase from, I then go through and use my Kidstart account and check to see whether the retailer is registered with them. If they are, by shopping through that link, savings are added to the kids’ savings accounts, which I love to do. That done, I always search for a voucher code before I check out and I’ve saved some serious amounts of money over time by doing this. It takes seconds, and is easy, it’s just a habit that you meed to get into! Oh, and to make sure I am wringing the very most that I can out of every purchase, I also use my credit card which gives me vouchers back to spend, and then ensure that I clear it monthly so that I do not pay any interest. If I can buy something that puts money into my kids savings, for the best price around, with a discount code found and then gives me vouchers back, then I’m pretty pleased with myself!
As regular readers will know, over the past year I’ve really taken an interest in my garden. I really enjoy getting out there and keeping it looking pretty and colourful. But I also discovered that gardening can be quite costly. I’ve been working on introducing new plants, and looking after them in as natural and inexpensive way as I possibly can.
I’m fortunate in that my mum is a keen gardener, which has meant that so many of my plants have been able to come from cuttings from her garden. I’d recommend that whether you have fab green-fingered folk around you or not, you team up with another friend and take cuttings and swaps from one another’s gardens. Similarly, if you do pick up bargain packets of seeds or bulbs, split them, and you’ve then twice the variety for the same costs.
I’d also recommend keeping the upkeep as inexpensive as possible out there, by using natural garden remedies to look after it, such as egg shells to deter slugs and baking soda to kill weeds. They’re easy to do, and are pretty common things to have in the house. For example, I feed my roses with banana skins, of which we always have plenty as the kids love bananas!
In connection with my garden, I’ve a little bonus tip here! I like to keep fresh flowers in the home, as they brighten the place up and are just one of those little pick-me-ups always guaranteed to make me smile. But they don’t always come cheap when you’re buying them regularly. So to be able to allow myself this indulgence, part of my garden, from spring through to autumn, is now a cut-flower patch to provide me with flowers indoors (I blogged about how to create a cut flower patch in your garden here – so simple, so colourful!).
Looks pretty, too, doesn’t it?
What are your top, easy, money-saving tips?
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post