10 articles Tag saving

5 Basic Money Saving Tips that Really Work

Photo by Ibrahim Rifath on Unsplash

A lot of people assume that if they want to accomplish incredible things with their cash, they need to be saving hundreds of pounds worth of income every month. However, this isn’t really true. The fact is that just a couple of pounds placed into a savings account every week can make a huge difference to your finances in the future.

Rather than letting yourself get overwhelmed by the idea that budgeting has to mean changing your entire lifestyle, why not make some basic changes to your relationship with cash that really work instead? Here are some top tips to get you started.

  1. Think Bulk, Not Brands

When you’re shopping for essential items like toilet paper, tissues, and even cleaning supplies, it’s easy to get carried away looking at brand names and packaging. However, it’s important not to let the good marketing brainwash you. Instead, look for opportunities to save some extra money by buying supermarket-brand options in bulk.

More often than not, you’re going to get the exact same experience from a supermarket that you would get from a big-brand company, but you’ll save a fortune on the packaging. Remember, you can always buy extra of the things you always need in when they’re on sale, so you don’t run out too.

  1. Rethink your Electricity

When you start searching through your monthly statements for opportunities to save, you’ll notice that you spend cash in some areas more often than others. For instance, a lot of us overspend on food shopping, but we also tend to use a lot of our cash on gas and electricity. If you’re paying over the odds for your electricity, start by looking at offers from other providers to see if you can get a better deal. At the same time, you can also think about exchanging some of your high-consumption appliances with energy-saving alternatives.

While buying a new fridge, washing machine and other essential utensils might require you to take out a loan initially, it will mean that by the time you’ve finished paying what you owe, you’ll have much lower bills.

  1. Stop Over-spending on Drinks

Sometimes, it’s easier to see how much you spend on food from takeaways, restaurants and cafes than it is to recognise how much you’re spending on drinks. How often do you buy yourself a bottle of cola when you go shopping on a weekend to keep you going until you get home? How much do you spend on a morning coffee when you’re on your way to work.

Invest in a reusable water bottle and take it with you wherever you go. Not only will you have an instant source of hydration when you need it, but you’ll also get a health boost by switching away from sugary and caffeinated beverages too.

  1. Prep your Meals in Advance

Next time you’re going shopping at the supermarket, make a list of all the meals that you’re going to make for that week. This will help you to make sure that you’re not overspending when you’re walking through the aisles. However, it will also mean that you have everything you need to start prepping your meals in advance.

While spending an afternoon cooking and chopping on a Sunday might not seem like much fun, it will mean that you have all the food you need ready and available to throw into the oven when you get home after a long day at work. Pre-prepped meals make it much less likely that you’ll end up turning to a takeaway for food.

  1. Make Saving Automatic

Finally, if you’re the kind of person who finds saving difficult, then why not simplify the process by making it completely automatic? Take a look at your budget and find out how much you can afford to put into a savings account after your bills are paid for. Then, you can set up a direct debit that moves your money into your savings account before you have a chance to spend it.

Making saving automatic will reduce your risk of spending the cash that you wish you had put aside for later. At the same time, it also means that you don’t need to think about saving at the end of each month. Just make sure that you come and re-check your budget every once in a while to make sure that the amount of cash you’re putting into savings, and the cash you’re using elsewhere still makes sense.

Easy Ways to Get your Kids More Interested in Saving

Easy Ways to Get your Kids More Interested in SavingAs parents, we need to teach our children many life lessons. One of which is how to handle money. Teaching your kids how to budget and save for their future will make a huge difference in their lives. They are far less likely to end up burdening themselves with debt. There are lots of ways to teach your children to be good savers, but these are some of my favourites.

Open a junior ISA for them

Opening a junior ISA from Wealthify, or a similar provider is a good idea for most families. The cash in these accounts is not available to your child until they are 18. Although from the age of 16 they can play a role in managing their ISA accounts.

Eighteen is a good age for a child to be given a lump sum. At that age, they are likely to be preparing to learn to drive, go on to further education or thinking about moving out of your home. Having some cash saved up for them in an ISA will enable them to do all of this without having to get into debt.

Get them an old-fashioned piggy bank

Old school piggy banks are still popular because kids love them. Giving them physical pocket money and encouraging them to put some of it into one is a great way for them to get the saving bug at a really young age. Even a toddler can understand that the bigger the pile of coins is the more of what they really want they can buy. So, as soon as it is safe to do so, get each of your children a piggy bank.

Open a full bank account for them

The next step is to open a proper bank account for each of them. At first, you will have to help them to manage it. But, gradually, they will be able to take over the reins. Handling money on a daily basis and getting used to budgeting so that their allowance gets them through the week is all good practice. They can use that bank account to save up for short-term financial goals. For example, holidays or buying something like a new phone or games consul.

Play games that help them to learn about managing money

Kids learn best through play. This YT video provides you with some ideas of how to do that.

Get them to help with the family budget

As soon as they are old enough to do so, get the kids involved with helping you to manage the family budget. Now, I am not suggesting that you burden your children with the full ins and outs of your finances.

But, you can, for example, get them to help you to shop around for the best power deals. Or, to find coupons for the products your family likes to eat. Giving them little tasks like this will really help them to better appreciate the value of money and learn how to save for their future.

Small Changes to Help Cut Your Carbon Emissions

wind farm producing low carbon energyOne of the things that I’m really conscious of is the carbon footprint of our household. Because we live so remotely, I have to drive everywhere, and I do feel guilty about the amout of carbon emissions I’m putting out on a daily basis. As much as I’d love an electric car, it’s just not in our budget to invest in one, so I have to think about other small things I can do to reduce our output as much as possible. Here are a few ideas, if you want to do the same:

Stop Driving Everywhere

Okay, so I know I literally just said that I drive a lot, but I have no choice when it comes to the school run. However, when it’s not absolutely necessary to drive, I do try other forms of transport, such as getting a bus or train. I’ve been thinking about investing in one of the fab adult tricycles from Jorvik to help me get around on days when I want to leave the car at home.

Turn Things Off

Although we’re making strides in wind-powered electricity (I can actually see a coastal wind farm from my house!), most of the UK’s energy is produced from coal. That means that every time you switch off a light or turn an appliance off at the switch when it’s not in use, you’re reducing your carbon footprint at home.

Buy Second Hand

There are SO many things that we would benefit from buying second hand, rather than from new every time. Items of furniture, for instance, don’t always have to be brand new and a cursory search on Facebook Marketplace often comes up with an almost-new version of what you want. This is a doubly good thing to do as it both reduces the amount of production in factories, and also stops rubbish from ending up in landfill.

Buy Sustainable

One of the biggest culprits in contribution to carbon emissions is cheap clothing production. Things are made cheaply and get thrown away, ending up in landfill and polluting the oceans. Buy your clothes from places which invest in sustainable production or even try to buy from charity shops if you’re able.

Plant a Garden

Whether you live in a house or an apartment, planting some greens is a quick and easy way to reduce your carbon footprint. We all know plants absorb carbon dioxide – a beneficial relationship for humans, that we should all be seeking to nurture. Plant some bee-friendly flowers, a few trees, or a vegetable garden. Balcony gardens are great for urban dwellings. This will reduce the “farm to fork” transport needs, AND you’ll know exactly whats in your food.

Bonus: Share a Car Service

If you only travel on high days and holidays and know someone else who does the same, why not share a car service? It will save you money to hare the cost and will reduce the carbon emissions of your journey by half, just by sharing it with one other person. Add more people and your emissions will be even lower!

Summer Holiday Money Saving Hacks

summer holiday money saving hacksWe’re now in July, which means the summer holidays are just a few weeks away and we’ll have six whole weeks of entertaining the kids to keep up with. It can be an expensive time of year, especially if you have to factor in childcare while you work, so I’ve put together a little list of money-saving summer holiday hacks for you to use, so you don’t bankrupt yourself by September!

Meal Plan

If your kids are anything like mine, your main role in the summer holiday is to keep them supplied with a steady stream of snacks, the cost of which really mounts up over the course of a month and a half. What we tend to do is meal-plan for dinners so that everything is sorted for the evening meal, and then let them graze throughout the day. Recipe boxes like Hello Fresh are a good way to keep organised and also get them trying healthy and exciting new dishes like their Chicken Laksa.

Vouchers

I know for a fact that I’m not alone in having a purse full of loyalty cards that I use each time I shop and some of the points really add up. Some cards will give you a monetary amount off of your shopping, which can be a massive help if you save them until the holidays, while others can be exchanged for days-out vouchers, saving you an absolute fortune in the long-run. Go through all of your loyalty cards and see what you’ve accrued.

Local Libraries

Your local library can be an absolute fountain of resources in the summer holidays, many of which are free or cheap. As well as being able to borrow books, DVDs and CDs, lots of libraries have reading challenges and crafting events which cost little, if anything at all. We usually allocate one day every week or fortnight to visit the library to see what’s going on.

Kids Eat Free

If you’re partial to a nice lunch as a family but don’t want to spend a fortune, loads of restaurants offer a Kids Eat Free menu during the holidays. Some of them are just walk-in deals but some of them require you to print a voucher, so do make sure you check before you go, or you might get hit with a much bigger bill than you expected!

Scour Facebook

Facebook might not be your cup of tea, but it can be a wealth of information at this time of year. Join a local parents group and you’re sure to see dozens of weekly posts regarding events that are happening near you, ideas for daily activities, reviews of the best parks and picnic spots and even selling posts for pre-loved toys that your kids might love.

Get £10 off your first delivery with HelloFresh, here: https://www.hellofresh.co.uk/plans/?c=OS10OFF

5 Ways to Save Money Ahead of Summer

save moneyI don’t know about you, but for us, this always seems to be an expensive time of year. Between birthdays, holidays, needing to spruce up the garden and all the other expenses that pop up, I seem to be spending money hand over fist at the moment. Because of this, I’ve been thinking about ways to save, so that we’re not skint by the time summer is over, and these are some of the things I came up with:

Shop Around

Recently, we needed to buy a new tumble drier, because our ancient one wasn’t really up to the job anymore, and because it was a big purchase we decided to shop around to make sure we got the best price. There are sites to look up the cheapest prices in the UK for just about everything you want to buy, and we scoured these before making our purchase.

Check Your Tarrifs

This is a great time of year to make sure you’re not paying over the odds for all of your bills, including gas, electricity, mobile bills, internet and TV. Providing you’re not at the beginning of a new contract, there is often room to negotiate with your service providers and could find yourself saving a significant amount each month (I recently did this with our BT will and am saving almost £40 per month on that one bill!

Scrimp on Fuel

Do you take the car on unnecessary short journeys where it would actually be possible to walk instead? I know SO many people who drive when they could walk and they’d save loads across the course of the month if they left the car at home. There are also websites and apps which tell you which petrol stations nearby are the cheapest, allowing you to get the best value there, too.

Use What’s in the House

We’re naughty when it comes to food and tend to buy our meals on a day-to-day basis, but recently I decided that we were going to actually use up what was in the house. It meant a few days of slightly odd meals that you probably wouldn’t eat ordinarily, but it saved us from buying new stuff and helped make space in the cupboard and freezer for new shopping.

Check Your Subscriptions

I know so many people who subscribe to the full TV package and never watch the channels, or have services like Netflix, Disney Life or Amazon TV and rarely use them. Do a stock-take of all of your subscriptions, including newspapers and magazines, and ditch any that you barely use.

How do you save money?

5 Ways to Boost Your Finances in 2018

No matter what happened in 2017, a new year has begun. For many people, organising theirfinances will be a new year’s resolution. After all, Christmas is an expensive time of year and we can end up spending huge amounts of money over the festive season.

January can be a tough month for finance, but it doesn’t have to be. PPI claims, gathering unwanted gifts and reviewing your current account is all part of the plan to have a healthy bank balance in 2018.

It’s important to have some extra money to pay for financial emergencies and events throughout the year. Thankfully, there are some great ways to boost your finances this year — and these five ideas can all be done right now! So, why put off getting that cash boost?

  • Try a New Way of Saving

The website Apartment Therapy came up with a new way of saving in small amounts. It’s a simple, yet effective way for people to save money from the very first day of the year to the very last. It’s not too late to start either! It’ll be incredibly easy to get on schedule quickly if you start soon.

The idea is simple: For each day of the week, you save some money. You increase the amount saved each day, but when the week restarts, you start all over again. The amounts below are the recommendations about how much to set aside every day:

Sunday £1

Monday £2

Tuesday £3

Wednesday £4

Thursday £5

Friday £6

Saturday £7

When Sunday arrives, you start back at £1. This way of savings means you will have £28 a week, equating to nearly £1500 by the end of the year. Find a big piggy bank or set up a direct debit to a savings account and add £28 a week. You’ll be so grateful by the end of the year and taking it out in small amounts every week can make the saving that much easier.

  • Make a PPI Claim Today

The PPI deadline is getting ever closer. While we’ve all seen and heard the adverts about payment protection insurance claims, the reality is that there are still thousands of people who haven’t claimed PPI. Many consumers were unaware that PPI was sold to them alongside a mortgage, credit card or loan. It’s so important to check old bank statements and find out if you’re due a refund. It could well be thousands of pounds; a substantial amount to boost your 2018 finances. Even if you no longer have the paperwork, you can still find out if PPI was added to your account.  Make your PPI claim today before it’s too late!

  • Sell Unwanted Christmas Gifts

Are there still some Christmas gifts at home which you know you won’t ever get around to using? Those bath salts from your secret Santa might be lovely, but you’re not really a bath person. Selling unwanted Christmas gifts is an excellent way to make some extra money and make sure the gift doesn’t go to waste. Using eBay or even Facebook to sell gifts can be a good boost of income and is very simple.

  • Cash in on Gift Cards

Instead of presents, you may have received some gift cards for Christmas. Some of these can be really useful, but, if you got a gift card for a shop you rarely use, you can cash it in online. Websites such as Zeek will show you various options about how to get cash for your gift cards. Although you’ll never receive the full price, the cash can sometimes be much more worthwhile than the card.

  • Switch Current Accounts

Years ago, the thought of switching current accounts was too much effort. Now, however, thanks to the Current Account switch guarantee, changing current accounts is swift and easy. Most banks are signed up to the switching guarantee, making it a painless experience.

The best part about switching bank accounts is the great rates that banks offer to entice you. Rates do change regularly and there are terms and conditions, so be sure to check on websites such as Money Saving Expert for the best deal.

So, why put off getting some extra cash in 2018? Whether you’re possibly due a huge refund from PPI claims or can sell £50 worth of unwanted Christmas gifts, making use of these finance-boosting tips can make a huge difference. Start making money today!

Having Great Adventures While Travelling On A Budget

A Strategic Approach

Even if you’re in debt, you’ve got to go on a vacation every now and then. If you’re clever about it, you can do so without seriously compromising your payback strategy. You may always have that dream vacation to Australia on the backburner, but just because you can’t go Down Under, doesn’t mean you can’t have the same kind of adventure on a budget vacation.

One of your best bets in this regard is going to involve getting assistance from professionals who understand your situation, who can give you the proper information to help you inform your travel plans.

According to Debt Academy, “When you are overwhelmed and consumed with worry about debt, you need answers. And more than answers, you need solutions. Debt Academy is committed to helping everyone struggling with crippling debt so that you can hold your head high and not avoid another call from the ‘unknown number’.”

Once you have the right answers, you can ask some additional questions. As in something to the tune of: “Now that I’ve managed to consolidate my debt into a single monthly payment of $1,200, after expenses, I have $200 a month left over! What kind of vacation can I put together with $200?”

Possibilities

Well, with $200, you might be able to finance a weekend trip somewhere. But with $2,400, you might be able to spend a month in a fine locale and really get your emotional and psychological well being back where it should be. How can you turn $200 into $2,400? Well, in a word, save.

It’s hard to save money when you’ve got debt, but it’s not impossible. Perhaps establish a secondary revenue stream through the internet. Provided your wages aren’t affected, and you’ve just got debt, it’s possible to pay all your bills and save a little, too. It just involves cutting on creature comforts.

Take coffee and food at a chic coffee shop, for example. If you buy something from such a place daily, you’ll spend three dollars per visit at least, which is $1,095 over the course of a year. Instead, spend $95 on a Sam’s Club-sized tin of your favorite coffee and a machine, and save $1,000 for a vacation!

Once you’ve managed to secure a vacation “nest-egg”, however small, now it’s time to determine where you’ll go. You want to find areas where you can get the best amenities for the lowest price. Well, in some scenarios. Sometimes you may be interested in camping somewhere exotic. But if you’re going the resort angle, you may find some decent options.

Affordable Vacation Packages

You can find some great, affordable vacation deals on this website which offers some low rates. This is certainly worth looking into. As you’re researching potential areas where you might want to travel, you might also want to look for options that have similar discounts. Think of it like vacation “Big Lots”.

Are you familiar with “Big Lots”? Well, this is a department store that sells overstocked items and those which have been discontinued, but yet must be moved. You can get great discounts.

Sometimes you’ll get something at a quarter of its initial selling value. Sometimes with vacations, if you go to a resort town in the off-season, you can get some excellent rates. Additionally, there are sometimes rolling promotional packages during the “in” season as well. Whatever your budget, there are ways you can have the vacation you need on the budget you’ve got.

Saving Money – 5 Tips on How to Maximise Your Stash

savingHusband and I have got a few major expenses coming up in the next few months; our car is unlikely to get through it’s next MOT so we need to get serious about buying a new one, plus we have to buy our LPG in bulk because we live off the grid, so we need to do some saving. Saving money is all well and good in theory, IF you’ve got money “left over” after all of your other expenses are taken care of. We’ve had to do a bit of financial jiggling to allow ourselves a chance to save, and I thought I’d share some of our money-saving ideas with you:

Check Your Deals

Lots of us have monthly Direct Debits which go out of our account without us even thinking about it but you could be paying over the odds if you’re not on the best deals available. Speak to your mobile company, TV provider, insurance companies and utilities to make sure you’re only paying for what you use instead of frittering money away needlessly.

Get a Loan

Sometimes, it’s easier to get a loan and deal with an extra monthly payment than it is to find spare cash to save. SwiftMoney Payday loans with no credit check would allow you to buy what you need and deal with the cost later. As long as you keep up with repayments you’ll potentially even improve your personal credit.

Give Up Takeaways

Husband and I have a tendancy to be a bit lay with cooking at times and resort to takeaways a few times a month. We’d save a significant amount of money if we stuck to only using the food we bought in our weekly shop rather than supplementing with take-out food and it would probably also be healthier.

Walk More

Living where we live means that we have no choice but to drive everywhere – our nearest shop is over 2 miles away! However, there probably are a few journeys I could take on foot by parking somewhere when I take Sausage to school and doing some of my errands on foot instead of driving here there and everywhere. Fuel is one of our biggest expenses, so it makes sense to see if there’s a way that we can cut this down.

Shop Somewhere Cheaper

Although I have a well-documented love affair with Aldi, I do also have a tendency to buy stuff from Waitrose because it’s the shop closest to Sausage’s school. This means that I spend well over the odds on certain things for the sake of convenience but I reckon I could save a packet if I stopped shopping in more expensive shops.

BONUS TIP: £2 Jar

The other day, I was in a shop and I heard a lady ask for her change in £2 coins. She told the cashier this is because every £2 coin she got went into a big jar and if she forced herself to save these specific coins it really helped her to save money. I’m planning to get a big jar or bottle for us to save our change into and hopefully this will give us a little stash towards the car.

Do you have any great tips for saving? Do leave me a comment below.

Vouchers This Christmas

We love Christmas, here in the Mum’s the Word house, and we try each year to make it a big deal for the girls. However, one thing that I try to maintain is that although Christmas is a big event, it doesn’t have to cost the earth. I see posts of Facebook of people having spent literally thousands of pounds on toys and Christmas experiences and it seems bonkers to me. I try to start planning in advance to make sure I get the maximum for my money and I thought I’d share some tips with you here:

Second Hand

I know people sometimes blanch at the idea of giving second-hand things for Christmas but kids, especially smaller ones, don’t know the difference. Toys like Jumperoos are often for sale in local groups and can be used again and again, saving you money and ensuring your kids have great quality toys.

Voucher Codes

Keep an eye out for discounts throughout the year, especially for large department stores, like Debenhams promo codes, and buy things early to put away for Christmas. Someone I know buys things whenever she sees something which would make a good gift and keeps it all in a specific cupboard, which she empties out at the beginning of December. Last year, she’d bought so much stuff that she had TOO MANY presents and ended up giving a load to charity!

Make Things

Handmade gifts are a great way to keep costs down and often mean so much more than some random piece of tatt that you could buy. If you’re REALLY organised, you could even forage for fruit, makes jams at home, jar them and make them into festive gifts, costing you next to nothing!

Secret Santa

Another good way to keep costs down is to buy presents for the kids in the family but do a Secret Santa for the adults. Set a limit of say, £20, that way everyone gets one decent quality gift, everyone saves money and no-one feels left out!

Start Saving

This one might not necessarily SAVE you money at Christmas as it doesn’t exactly limit your spending, but starting a Christmas fund in January is a really good idea. Put in as much as you can afford each week or month and by the time it comes to shop for Christmas, you’ll have a good chunk of money saved towards it, lessening the burden of finding funds in December.

Do you have any great tips for saving money at Christmas? I’d love to hear them so please do leave me a comment below.

Saving Money Around the Home

Save money by washing your own car. Despite my unhealthy relationship with almost daily trips to Waitrose, I am a gal who likes to make a saving (and in my defense, my of my Waitrose obsession is thanks to the FREE coffee and newspapers!). I’ve been making a few little changes here and there lately which have helped us to conserve the pennies, which over the course of a year will hopefully turn into pounds, and here’s just a few of them:

Energy Efficient Bulbs

Switching out your regular bulbs for energy-efficient ones (Bulbs2Go offer a great range) can save you a surprising amount of money – according to current research, replacing your bulbs can save you around £100 a year, which is pretty significant!

Only Use What You Need

This may seen like an obvious one but only using what you need of something can really help you to save. For instance, only filling the kettle with the exact amount of water you need means you aren’t spending money to heat water unnecessarily. Equally, I know SO many people who just chuck in a capful of washing gel or softener, when most of the newer concentrated solutions actually need far less for a whole wash. Measure properly and I guarantee it’ll last longer.

Turn Off Radiators

If you have rooms of the house, i.e. a dining room or downstairs loo, which have radiators in them but hardly get used, turn the rads OFF! Paying to heat spaces which are rarely occupied is a false economy and you can always turn them back up for half an hour before dinner so that it’s cosy while you’re in the room.

Get Selling

So many of us have got clutter sitting around, taking up space and hardly being used. Be ruthless and have a really good clear-out of the things you no longer use and work out what’s sellable. Facebook selling groups are an easy, commission-free way of making a buck off of your unwanted goods and you’ll be making money whilst decluttering your living space.

Do It Yourself

Do It Yourself doesn’t just apply to decorating and jobs around the home – take a look at areas where you’re paying someone to do something you’re capable of doing yourself and make a cut back. Buying expensive coffees on your way to work? Buy a travel mug and make your own. Paying someone to valet your car? Get your rubber gloves on and get stuck in! There are many things that you can do yourself rather than paying and if you have the time you can make a huge saving.