Hello my lovelies,
I have some pretty big financial commitments in 2018 and in order to reach my goals I have put in place some strategies for saving money. Some of them are pretty basic and some are more involved but with a little planning they’re totally doable.
The first thing I’m going to be doing is setting a food budget. I don’t know about you but if given half the chance, I’ll walk into the supermarket and just pile anything that looks good into my trolley. When I get to the till I could just about pass out when I realise I’ve spent double or even triple what I can afford. So from now on, I’m setting a budget! I know that I sometimes have champagne tastes on a beer budget but setting a budget for groceries keeps me in check and helps me to menu plan accordingly. If there is any money left at the end of the week that hasn’t been spent on food it goes into the savings account or change jar (see below).
This is one of the biggest ways I’ve found to save money during the month. Once you’ve set your budget for food, menu planning is your best friend. Yes of course, we all want to get take aways every other night and cook steak for the rest of the week but it just can’t happen if you want to stick to budget. If you can go meat free a couple of nights a week your budget will thank you and cheaper cuts like chicken thighs, sausages and minced meat really help stretch your budget. Check out my weekly Monday Menu Planning blog posts for more ideas.
Cooking from scratch
Need I say more? You can knock up a tasty spaghetti bolognese for approximately £1.50 a serving whereas buying ready made meals and sauces could triple or quadruple that estimate. We cook mostly from scratch and I’m going to resist the urge to get anything pre-prepared if I can help it. If you’re after some quick and easy, low cost recipes check out Gill Holcombe’s books. I particularly like How to feed your whole family a healthy balanced diet with very little money: and hardly any time, even if you have a tiny kitchen, only three saucepans (one with an ill fitting lid) and no fancy gadgets – unless you count a garlic crusher
Shop at cheaper stores
While I love Sainsbury’s products, I know that Morrisons and Aldi are better value for money. I’ve found that Aldi are fantastic for the basics like meat, cheese, basic staples and frozen goods. Their dishwasher tablets and laundry products have won Best Buy awards and are as good as many leading brands. Morrisons value range has decent prices on pretty much everything else. I will continue to buy Method Cleaning products from Waitrose when they are on offer.
A few years ago, I did the brand challenge and was astounded not only at how much money I saved but also, how little difference there is between branded items and supermarkets own brand products. I save so much money now buying a stores own brand instead of big name brands. To do the brand challenge, simply buy the stores own value brand item instead of the expensive branded item you usually buy. If you can’t tell the difference, keep buying it! If you can tell the difference in taste and don’t like it, buy the next item up in price. I can guarantee that a lot of things you won’t be able to tell the difference between the stores value own brand and the big brand. You can save quite a bit this way. For instance, a well known brand of chopped tomatoes generally costs 95p. The stores own value brand costs 29p. Last time I checked, chopped tomatoes were chopped tomatoes no matter what the brand was. And switching to the value brand saved me 66p per tin of tomatoes. We use roughly 3 tins of chopped tomatoes a week which means we saved £7.92 per month. On just one item! We’ve even changed brands in our coffee! Now coffee is no joking matter. I love my coffee and don’t like it messed with. We always used to buy the Nespresso coffee capsules but now use Aldi own brand and they taste equally as good!
Having a change jar where you can dump any spare change every day can save you up to a couple hundred quid a year. Provided you don’t dip into it. Some banks like Natwest have change machines where you can dump your coins into the machine, key in your account number and the cash will automatically be transferred into your account. I’ll be keeping a spare change jar and dumping my change in there every day in the hopes of saving at least £100 this year. I’ve done this before and it’s fairly small amounts of money at a time that I didn’t even miss it.
Account skimming or rounding up
I have two bank accounts which is really handy for account skimming or rounding up. Basically, you check your account a couple of times a week (I will be doing this every Tuesday and Thursday) and round up your cash to the nearest fiver by transferring money into your savings account. So for instance, if you had £268.39 in your current account to skim this account to the nearest fiver you’d transfer £3.39 into your savings account. It doesn’t sound like much but even skimming £5 a week would mean I could save £260 in a year. Again it’s fairly small amounts that I hardly miss the money at all. Some people skim their accounts to the nearest £10 which would be in the region of £520 a year. Think I might miss this much over a month though!
At the end of last year, we changed energy suppliers and know there will be a substantial savings there. We’ve also cancelled Sky! I felt nervous about this when we first decided to cancel but I was so sick and tired of having all these channels and nothing to watch. We were paying £100 a month on Sky! That’s a saving of £1200 a year! We have subsequently signed up to Netflix which is £6.99 a month which works out to £83.88 a year but that’s still a huge saving of £1,116.12 a year. Not to be sniffed at.
There are so many other ways to save money that I’m sure this list could go on and on but these are the ways I’ll be saving money this year. I’d be interested to know how you intend to save this year. Leave me a comment below.