Saturday, 11 May 2013

A penny pincher? Me?

I'm sure you all saw in April, it was the £1 coin's 30th anniversary and to celebrate, set bloggers a challenge to come up with 30 different ways to save £1 (or more) in the hope of finding 1000 tips*.

Now, anyone that knows me knows that I'm a cheap kinda girl - I like to find a bargain and I hate paying full price where I know I can find it cheaper elsewhere or could potentially get it cheaper. I am not bothered about looking around or waiting for something if it means I save some money. Most of my friends don't get it and would rather save the 'hassle' as they call it, but I really love knowing I've got something cheaper or saved myself some cash rather than being lazy and taking the easy option. 

So here are my 30 ways to save £1 and I'd like to add, these are all ways I actually use - not just things I have heard other people talk about...
1. Budget - my top tip is having a budget! This year I decided that I was going to set up a budget sheet and stick to it and so far so good! I made one myself with an excel spreadsheet and it basically has my incomings and outgoings and then I work out what's left each month and give myself a weekly allowance. 

2. Take out cash - I have learnt that by taking out my weekly allowance in cash, I spend much less because I can actually see what I have left - paying on card is lethal because you just don't see the money actually going down. It's definitely mind over matter I'm sure but it's working for me!

3. Save your change - I always clear out my purse at the end of the week and any change gets put in to a pot that the BF and I share and the ££'s get put in my own little stash of savings. The change really does add up and usually pays for us to treat ourselves to a takeaway at the end of the month!

4. Cashback - when shopping online (or instore in some cases) I always check online cashback sites such as quidco or topcashback (*if you click these links and sign up then I get some dosh - but once signed up you will get your own links which you can send out too). Basically, companies will offer either a certain amount or a % back off the price of your purchase. This can easily mount up and make you a nice little sum. 

5. Trial products - sign up to agencies that will send you products to review. Obviously this saves you having to go out and purchase it yourself all for writing a few reviews and sharing your experience with others.

6. Keep an eye out for offers/voucher codes. Now there are so so so many websites that you can check for voucher codes for money off shopping online and this is always something I will check before hitting confirm purchase - even if it's just saving on the delivery cost, you're still saving a good few quid!

7. Talking about delivery costs, I always opt to have orders delivered to store - most places offer store delivery for free these days, and if the stores are handy for you to stop by and collect your order, it's well worth it. 

8. Phone App's - there are plenty of app's available for smartphones that will offer discounts you can use whilst out and about - my choice of where we eat whilst out usually depends on what's on my o2 priority monents app or vouchercloud.

9. Keep money off vouchers you get at the supermarket/drugstores in your purse - I am guilty of bringing them home and leaving them on the fridge, which is just no bloody use! Instead, leave them in your purse next to the loyalty card of that shop and there's no way you'll forget!

10. Check out the whoopsies - If you're visiting the supermarket in the evening, make sure to check out the whoopsie isle and see what bargains they have on offer - it's not always just food stuffs, I've recently picked up some lovely flowers that have brightened up my days! 

11. Recycle - there are so many sites out there now where you can recycle old clothes/cd's/dvd's etc for cash.  I have made quite a bit over the last year by getting rid of old clothes that are just sat at the bottom of the wardrobe - have a good clear out and see what you can make! 

12. Pound Shops - I am an avid visitor to pound stores and there's an abundance of them these days so there's no excuse! I buy all my cleaning products/toilet rolls/kitchen bits in pound stores and save an absolute fortune.

13. Buy in bulk - now this sounds like a contradiction as initially it means spending more money, but in the long run, it will save you ££'s. I am most definitely one of these people that buys in bulk (much to the bf's annoyance) - we currently have enough dishwasher tablets, washing detergent and tinned tomatoes to last us a lifetime but they were such a good deal that they were too much to leave at the supermarket and pay double when I needed to replace!

14. Loyalty cards - it's a no brainer - they cost you nothing to sign up (well they shouldn't anyway) and then you receive points whilst doing your shopping as you usually would. There are so many loyalty schemes out there these days, my favourite being boots - 4 points per £1 is just fantastic! 

15. Linking in to loyalty cards, Boots Treat Streets helps you build up your advantage card points whilst shopping online - they even have a handy little toolbar that you can install on your laptop so when you visit a site that supports treatstreet, it will let you know so you never have to miss an opportunity!

16. Look for alternatives - in the beauty world, it's lovely to treat yourself to that high-end product every now and then but we all know there are dupes out there for most products and sometimes, it really isn't worth spending the extra ££ when you can get it cheaper and it's pretty much exactly the same product! 

17. I'm sure we all know this, but cutting your products in tubes when you can't get any more out - there will be a lot more product left inside that's for sure!

18. Freebies - I am awful at stocking up on freebies you get with magazines etc! I have a whole box full of the Benefit freebies that were in last year's glamour I think?? I know the products are only miniatures, but when it's only costing you £2 it's well worth stocking up rather than paying full price for the same product!

19. Grow your own - it seems so obvious but growing your own veg/herbs really does cut down your costs. I grow my own herbs at home and it has saved me from buying herbs, that used once, then just sit in the fridge and go off (i.e. wasting money)! 

20. Make your own lunches for work - I'm guilty of not taking anything to work and then having to spend around £3-£4 on buying lunch somewhere locally! It's a no brainer that it's cheaper to take lunch in from home be it lunches you've made from the supermarket or left-overs. 

21. Plan ahead with travel - I live in North Wales and the standard cost for me to get to London is £80 by train but I don't think I have ever paid that - I always make sure that as soon as I know I'm going, I book tickets as early as possible! Train tickets are released 3 months in advance so if you can, get booking them for the cheapest fares (which may also mean booking 2 singles rather than a return - Oh, and if you go on trainline via treatstreet, you'll also boost your advantage card points too)!

22. Use Ebay - I always check ebay when I have something in mind to see if there's a cheaper version available or if the same product is available on there cheaper. I've just used it today to buy some spraypaint for upcycling some wicker furniture - £9 in shops and £6.50 delivered on ebay and when I need about 7 tins, that's quite some saving!

23. Equally with Ebay - sell your unwanted stuff! I know that sometimes it can be a bit of a hassle when you get 'that' customer, but equally, when you don't it's a great place to make a bit of extra cash for those unwanted bits - especially when you get a weekend whilst there's no insertion fees!

24. Share your skills - out of my bf's friends there is a plumber, gas fitter, electrician & joiner - I have never had to pay a tradesman to do any work!

25. Be cheeky - I have friends that work for a certain phone provider/cable provider and therefore benefit from friends & family discount i.e. 30% off phone bill/50% off cable - there's no harm in asking if you have friends who work for places like this, all they can say is no!

26. Are you paying over the odd's on your bills - check with your provider to see if there's any better tariffs available for your usage be it with your electricity, gas, phone internet - check them all! The BF and I moved on to a water meter last year (after much deliberation) and rather than paying £44 a month we now only pay £20 - that's one heck of a saving in a year!

27. Never renew - this is something I have always lived by - never automatically renew a policy. So many people I speak to have never shopped around for a new car insurance/home insurance quote and it really does annoy me! Do they not know they're being conned out of their own money! I managed to get my car insurance down from £60 a month to just £23 a month this year by shopping around!

28. Retentions - When it comes to renewal time for phone/sky etc, give them a call and see what retentions can do for you if you can't be bothered to shop around. I'm very cheeky and lay all my cards on the table - tell them what's on offer elsewhere and being very honest, tell them if they can't match it or beat it I'm off - no playing games and at least we both know where we stand. There's no harm in asking for that little bit more!

29. Set up direct debits - most companies will offer a discount on your premium if you pay by direct debit (but be aware that some will add on a % charge to pay by DD so double check this)- definitely worth checking out on your monthly utility bills! 

30. Get crafty - now I'm not the most creative person in all honesty but, where I can (and my skills are limited) I will try and make things rather than just go and buy something. Over the years I have made some lovely presents and friends really do appreciate that I've made that extra effort and it have saved a fortune.

This is a lovely crafty gift which I have recreated myself - for my 18th, my Unlce & Auntie gave me this framed 18 coin collection and there is a £1 coin dated for each year since 1986 when I was born (we're missing 1999 so if anyone has one and would like to share it that would be amazing - we have been searching for 9yrs now)!

So there you have it, a few little tips on how I save some money - I hope it helps you somewhat or has given you some idea's on how you can save money too! If you have any other tips, please do share - I love finding new ways to save a bit.

* You can join in too - write your post of money saving tips and follow the instructions on the 30 ways to save £1 contest page. One lucky blogger will be chosen at random and will win £2000. For all the details, check out the 30 ways to save page here.

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