Wednesday, 27 March 2013

10 Top Money Saving Ideas

Inspired by a Money Supermarket Competition I've spotted on Miss Thifty's blog, here's my top ten money saving strategies that I follow to ensure I have the spare cash to live My Cava Lifestyle!

Save Money - Reduce Debt

1. Allocate The Money You Save
Every penny you save needs to be put to good use.  If you save £2 by buying tinned tomatoes on offer, put that £2 against a debt you need to pay off.  If you save £20 by getting a second hand school uniform, put that £20 in your holiday savings fund.  Whatever you do, don't leave it lingering in your wallet or it will disappear on mundane items such as milk and bread.

2. Watch Money Like a Hawk
You need to know exactly how much is in each bank account and more importantly where the money goes out of the account.  Do you have an old subscription you could cancel?  Are you using your debit card a little too freely? You need to keep control to make sure you are not wasting money or incurring bank charges.

3. See What You Spend
Go to the cash machine at the start of your shopping trip and draw out the money.  When you actually hand over your cash, you are more aware of how much you have spent.  Spending on cards is too easy and many get carried away and overspend.

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4. Cut the Big Bill:  Food
For one week, add up the value of the food you throw away.  You'll be amazed and probably gutted at the amount of money you have wasted.  Plan your meals and only buy what you need to.  Stick to your meal plan to minimise waste.

5. Cut the Big Bill: Gas and Electric
It does pay to switch.  Being loyal doesn't pay.  Prices sneak up without you noticing and before you know it, the good deal you signed up for last year isn't so good anymore. Subscribe to the Money Saving Expert newsletter for the heads up on the right time to change.

6. Cut the Big Bill: Fuel
Petrol and diesel prices are ridiculous compared to 10 years ago, but then are we using our cars a ridiculous amount?  Get fit, walk to the shops, walk to and from school.  I'm amazed by how many people I see driving their dog to the park (there's loads of parks and a beach where I live, there really must be one in walking distance of most dog owners homes!)  If you can manage one less fuel fill up every month, that can equate to around £700 savings per year!! (or as I like to call it - a holiday!)

6. Non-Package Holidays
A self catering holiday abroad in a privately owned property is massively cheaper than a package holiday.  Ask around, someone in your circles will either have or know someone who has a property abroad to let out.  And if they don't, there are many websites where private owners advertise.  Flights are expensive, so night flights and one way tickets rather than returns may bring the price of the flight down.  Ask owners for the very best price on a hard to let week.  They need your booking.

7. Be a Go To Spender
All sales people have targets to meet.  Get chatty and get to know your local sales staff face to face. The  travel agent, home appliance salesperson, the car dealer, the furniture seller and even the owner of the best clothes store in town. Give them your mobile number and your email address and let them know you will spend if the deal is good enough.  Sounds crazy?! Why buy a TV when you don't need one?  Because you can sell the old one on EBay whilst you're getting money off a brand spanking new treasure!!  All stores have to clear stock and there's bargains to be had if you ask.

8. Share the (Child)Care
Kids love going to their mates.  They love having their mates round.  Everyones occupied and your not struggling to meet the high cost of holiday childcare. (ironically usually more than an acutal holiday)  So long as you return the favour and each family takes their turn, this is a great solution for everyone.

9. Second Hand Should Be First Look
Don't spend a penny until you have scoured a site like EBay for a perfectly good pre-owned item.  Baby pushchairs can be picked up for £6, wooden cribs are going for 99p!  Items that are bulky sell for next to nothing and are in perfectly good working order.  This is a brilliant strategy to get your christmas shopping done early and you'll look SO generous and SO considerate!!  Set up alerts on the EBay app on your smartphone to nab the stuff you want for a fraction of the original price.

10.  File Guarantees and Receipts
How many times does something break and you say "What a Waste of Money" and you can't take it back because you can't find the guarantee or receipt?  Either file, or if you're short on space, scan your receipts and guarantees.

This is my entry into the Money Supermarket Competition on The Miss Thrifty Blog.  Hop over and see what other money saving tips have been posted.

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