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As many of you are aware I was made redundant about 5 weeks ago, and so I’ve had to come up with some good tips for saving money, and with a holiday at the end of May every penny I save will be put towards my spending money. Some of these things will save you money instantly while other you’ll need to wait a while to see the rewards but are well worth doing.MoneySupermarket are offering bloggers the chance to earn up to £30 (£1 per tip) by writing a list of money saving tips, not only that but they are also offering a £1000 prize to one blogger!
1 – When shopping online always search for a discount code! A quick Google will bring up many websites which will often have discount codes on, whether it’s 10% off or free delivery.
2 – Always use your rewards cards! It’s quite easy to forget about the cards you have if you’re not asked for them but get them out before it’s your turn at the till, if it’s in your hand you’ll use it. Adding up the points means you can get something for free at a later date, or they’ll send you vouchers to use.
3 – Always look closely at special offers! When you’re in the supermarket there’s special offers left right and centre but think about what you need. An offer might be great but is there any point in buying it if you won’t use it. If you’re at university do you need to buy enough washing powder for 50 loads, the chances are you’re not going to use it all before the end of term, and taking it home won’t be easy. It would actually work out cheaper to buy a smaller box which you will use up.
4 – Take advantage of the Mcdonalds Monopoly – If you like Mcdonalds then the Monopoly game is a great way to save money with the instant wins, get your friends to pass on their stickers and you can easily get yourself a free meal! In one meal I got 2 instant wins for drinks, and one for fries! If you have a friend saving up the other stickers then you can swap so that you get the instant wins which you will use.
5 – Always check out the reduced section in the supermarket, but do look closely at how much it has been reduced by. Sometimes you’ll find food which has only been reduced by 20p, but other times you’ll get great bargains. A few weeks ago my local supermarket has mini naan breads at 9p for a pack of 4, so we bought them up and stuck them in the freezer.
6 – Always freeze food, if you’ve got something coming close to it’s date and you won’t use it then put it in the freezer rather than coming to it a few days later and having to throw it in the bin. If you make too much and don’t want to eat it then next day then put it in some plastic tubs in the freezer and you’ve got a meal sorted for when you’re not in the mood to cook.
7 – Meal plan, I know it sounds quite simple but by planning your meals and writing a shopping list you’ll be less tempted by the special offers. When we go into the supermarket without a list we can get sucked into buying food that we don’t need, and often come away without enough to make full meals, and so it means popping out later in the week and spending more money.
8 – Use comparison websites, if you need to renew your car insurance then do shop around, the first website you go to might not be the cheapest. I know it isn’t fun but by spending an extra half hour looking you could find a cheaper price and safe money.
9 – Sign up to newsletter emails, set yourself up with an email account which you can send all of these emails to so that they don’t clog up your inbox but you will still get all of the special offers which are sent out. If the newsletters come to your normal email inbox it can be tempting to purchase something you wouldn’t normally buy.
10 – Use your supermarket coupons, a lot of supermarkets are now giving you money of your next shop if you pend a certain amount, such as if you spend £40, they’ll give you £5 off your next £40 shop. It’s a great way to get money off your shopping, especially if you use the same supermarket on a weekly basis. I know other supermarkets will have you collect vouchers for a number of weeks if you spend say £40 and then they will give you say £20 off a shop if you collect all of the vouchers.
11 – Always see if anyone else wants to order from the same website as you so that you can split postage costs, when I was at work I would always ask if anyone wanted to place an order because we could split the cost of postage, but also many websites will give you free postage if you spend a set amount such as £45.
12 – Collect fuel points, many petrol stations offer rewards cards and after you’ve earned a number of points they’ll give you a voucher for £5 off.
13 – At the moment Morrions are offering you 5p off every litre of fuel when you buy £20 worth of gift cards, so if you have a birthday coming up pick your gift card up at the supermarket. If you’re in need of something expensive from a well known store buy gift cards with your weekly and get money of your fuel and then you can pay for what you need in gift cards. Win, win!
14 – Shop on eBay! You can usually find some great bargains on eBay whether you’re buying a new pair of shoes or need a new bookcase! The auctions are great for getting a really good deal, but getting the best deals can mean staying up late at night so that you can get that last minute bid in when most people are sleeping, and the auction is ending.
15 – Sign up for free trials, there are many subscription services for watching TV like Netflix which will give you a months free trial, by signing up you can watch a series of your favourite TV programme without spending a penny. The important thing is to remember to unsubscribe a day or two before your trial ends so that your not hit with a payment, I say put a reminder on your phone and computer calendars.
16 – If you’re a student then make sure you take student ID out shopping with you and ask for discount in all stores, because even if it’s not proudly displayed they may offer it. Many stores will also accept any form of student ID not just NUS cards.
17 – Claim your parking back, we have a Morrisons that charges £1 for parking but you can then claim that £1 back in store on your shopping.
18 – Always check the back of your parking tickets, one of the car parks near me prints a voucher on the back of the parking tickets and currently it’s for a £5 eye test at Specsavers if you go to the branch printed on the voucher.
19 – Turn your heating down by 1 degree, it’s beginning to get a little warmer so turn your heating down and put those winter jumpers on to snuggle up in while watching TV at night.
20 – If you like to sleep with a light on buy a little night light rather than leaving the main light on, it’ll help to save you money and often night lights are designed to be energy efficient.
21 – If you like eating out then choose to go mid week when they have special deals on rather than at weekends, my local Italian offers 2 courses and a coffee for £9.90 on a Wednesday and Thursday which means we can have a nice girls night out at a fraction of the cost.
22 – Always return clothes that don’t fit, I know a number of people that won’t return clothes which means they’re losing out on a lot of money. Most companies now offer free returns so there’s no reason not to package it up and get it sent off, that money is much better off in your pocket rather than theirs.
23 – During the summer instead of paying to go to the gym go for a run outside, it can be tempting to sign up for 3 months but while the nights are brighter for longer, take the time to go out for a walk with friends and your dogs, or go for a run. You’ll save money and get to see more of the area where you live.
24 – If you’ve bought beauty products that don’t work for you whether it’s a foundation or a face wash, swap with your friends, they might be in the same position so you can try a new product for free, rather than buying a new one and having your old one lying about.
25 – Trade in your text books, summer will soon be here and some people will be finishing uni. Now is the perfect time to trade in your books, Amazon offers great trade in prices which they give you in the form of a gift voucher credited to your account so you can spend it on things you really need, like next years text books!
26 – Take stock of what is in your food cupboards before you go shopping, you don’t want to be buying tins of soup if you already have 4 in your cupboard. It’s very easy to get into the routine of buying the same things week in week out but we get bored of them and so they soon begin to pile up.
27 – Swap brands for supermarket own brand, some items don’t need to be branded, your tinned tomatoes are going to taste the same once their in a curry whether you choose the cheapest supermarket brand or go for a big named brand. There are many foods where you can’t tell the difference between branded products and supermarket own brand.
28 – Haggle when buying electronics, when we bought our sat nav the only one they had in store was the display model, the shop offered a price match so we got it down to the cheapest price we’d found which saved us £30, but we then asked for a further discount because it was the display model, and after a little discussion they knocked a further 10% off for us. If you don’t ask then you don’t get and it’s really worth doing when buying an investment electronic.
29 – Shop around for savings accounts, it can very easy to choose the first account you find but it might not offer you the best deal. When I was opening my ISA I was going to open it with the same bank I had my junior savings account with but they didn’t offer a great interest rate. I went to the bank I have my current account with and they were able to offer a better interest rate because I already had an account with them.
30 – Last but not least, save your pennies in a jar! It’s one of the easiest ways to save money and often the coppers clutter up our purses, by putting them in a jar you can save a lot more than you’d expect. You can then choose to count it yourself and pop in the bank, or you can use the coin sorting machines the supermarkets have, these machines do take a small percentage but they give you a receipt which can be spent in store or taken to customer services and exchanged for cash.
I hope you all enjoy my tips, and I encourage you all to get saving!