Got a tight budget? Tried and tested moneysaving tips that will help
With inflation continuing to reduce the power of our pounds, we all want to ensure we get the most out of every penny we spend. Finding tried and tested moneysaving tips is an ideal way to help you stretch your budget.
When your budget is tight you will want to look at what you spend your money on to see if you can find some quick wins to free up those pounds.
Many of your bills are set and you can’t change how much you pay (mortgage, rent, council tax). Your household and grocery spending are areas that are more flexible and are ripe for saving money.
These 25 tried and tested moneysaving tips will help you save money. Some you may not have thought about before along with a few classics.
Cutting your budget is always a personal choice, what you are willing to cut down on someone else might not. The trick is to know as many different tips as possible and choose the ones that work for you.
Savings at work
You go to work to earn money to live your life. If you won the lottery would you still work where you do and for the hours you do?
You want to keep as much of the money you earn to spend on your life not your work. Reducing the costs involved in you working leaves you more money for your life.
The tips below don’t include the usual cost reducing ideas of walking or biking to work:
Create your own work ‘uniform’
Working in an office you can often wear most things, but this means you can end up wearing all your nicer things to work then feel like you need to buy something new for going out.
Why not build your own work uniform revolving around base colours such as black or navy trousers/skirts and jackets along with a number of blouses/shirts?
Go one step further and purchase them from charity shops. You also save decision making time in your morning routine.
Take lunch and snacks to work
I am sure you know about this one already, take 10 minutes to make a sandwich or salad each morning or evening, throw in a couple of snacks and you are done.
You can save upwards of £3 a day.
Don’t use the workplace canteen
This is in line with the above tip. My current office has a canteen and vending machines.
I have worked there 3 years and not once visited the canteen, not even for a 20p cup of tea. Always bring your own and save your pennies.
Shopping & Activity Savings
Don’t buy coffee on the go
If you are out and about and think you might want a cuppa, take you own! I have a great flask which goes everywhere with me, work, car journeys, walking.
Why would you want to pay £2 or more for a teabag, pay yourself £2 instead.
Cut your own hair
Depending on your hair style, this could be a big saver. Mr2P has used clippers for years to give himself a haircut every 5/6 weeks.
He has also cut my hair for the past 10 years! Why not check out YouTube for tutorials to cut your own hair or swap hair cutting skills with a friend or partner?
Reduce car parking charges
Its not super expensive to park in many towns but why pay £2 in one car park when you can park for free in another?
You can also often park on a side street a few minutes away and walk in to town (a healthy bonus).
Be the designated driver
If you are stressing about spending money but you are committed to going out, perhaps it’s your best friends birthday?
Why not reduce your stress by volunteering to drive or be the sober chaperone? You could save on the alcohol, the taxi fares and the hangover – triple win!
I bet you have just as much fun as well.
Don’t use a car wash – clean it yourself
These days there are so many hand car washes around as well as the DIY option at many petrol stations that you are spoilt for choice.
Why not take the alternative option and do it yourself? You could easily save £10 or more depending on whether you clean the interior as well or just exterior.
Use the library
Great for books for all the family including non-fiction books. A great place to take little ones for story time, choosing their own books etc and its almost all free.
You can also rent DVDs although not always the latest and the newer the film the more it costs (£1 – £3).
Choose restaurant that offers a meal deal or money off coupon. This might mean going at a slightly earlier time or not on a Saturday but that’s all doable isn’t it?
Use cashback sites
When shopping online you can earn cashback on many purchases by going via an online cashback site. I use Quidco and Topcashback and have earned over a £1000 in the past few years.
I see other people reporting huge sums of cashback earned but this means they are also spending a lot!
Cashback is great as long as you were going to buy it anyway.
Household finances – oldies but goodies
Review utility companies every year
If you are not on a fixed rate for your gas and electricity chances are you are paying over the odds. These days its really easy to switch utility companies all of it online and a few clicks of your computer.
Make a note of when your fixed rate ends and start looking a few weeks before this. There are price comparison sites you can use to compare all the prices in one place.
Get the best interest rates on your mortgage
This can take a little time but never get yourself stuck on your lenders variable mortgage rate, start looking around for a new deal 6 weeks before your existing one ends.
With a re-mortgage new deals often include many of the fees so there isn’t even much upfront money to pay to switch, if any.
Get the best interest rates on your savings
Banks are constantly offering headline leading rates to draw you in to opening an account with them only to drop the rate a year later.
Don’t get caught like this, keep moving your money around to get the best interest rate.
Line dry inside & outside all year round
Tumble dryers are expensive to buy and expensive to run but they can make life a little easier. However with a little planning and 15 minutes you can dry clothes outside or inside.
Our bedroom doorways are often festooned with hanging clothes – they dry much quicker this way than draped over an airer.
Just make sure you have an air flow – crack open the bathroom window to allow the moisture to escape.
Re-use plastic food/freezer bags
Most bags can be re-used a good number of times if you wash them out with soapy water. I have a short line in the garage where I hang them to dry but you can dry on your drainer.
An added bonus with this tip is you are helping keep those plastic bags in use and out of the rubbish. We’ve all seen the pictures of oceans awash with plastic.
Use a concentrated cleaner
Don’t buy lots of different household cleaners, buy one concentrate and decant a small amount into a spray bottle and top up with water. Use as normal in your kitchen, bathroom and everywhere else you would use a spray cleaner.
Your concentrated cleaner will last for ages! I use Stardrops Original and one bottle (99p in Home Bargains) will last almost a year.
Again you are reducing your use of plastic bottles with this tip so give yourself some eco brownie points.
I know you can buy these fairly cheaply but if you can save a £ why not do so? Use a cloth, rinse and repeat. Bung in the washing machine on a regular basis.
As above, you are squeezing your spending here so forget surface wipes and go old style with a cloth.
Household Grocery saving tips
Check cost per kg/lb
Check the shelf edge label for the cost per kg/lb.
Some supermarkets are sneaky as they show similar products with a cost per kg then others with a cost per 100g – usually the more expensive option.
As there are 1000g in a kg I don’t fall for that one and do the maths in my head. Sometimes it can be cheaper to buy 2 small packs of a product than the one large one.
Don’t be (supermarket) brand loyal
Sometimes a premium brand is on offer which can make it cheaper than the supermarket own brand.
If you are looking to save pennies then don’t be brand loyal, switch to whichever is cheaper as long as your taste buds don’t rebel too much.
Yellow sticker shopping
Buying items reduced in price as they are near their use by/sell by/best before date. There is always a margin of tolerance so a yogurt with yesterdays date on is not dangerous or inedible.
Use what you can and freeze the rest (not yogurt though!) My parents started me on this and I have continued to shop for reduced items.
Stretch your meat
I am a great fan of stretching meat with the use of vegetables, lentils and beans to make it go further.
A 500g pack of mince will be enough for 8 large portions of bolognese by the time I have finished stretching it.
An added benefit of stretching meat is that is reduces the calories in the meal and boosts your vegetable intake.
Buy fruit and vegetables in season
I love a good strawberry like most people but only ever buy them in June/July as this is when they are in season, taste the best and are cheap!
You can make your money go further by shopping according to the season. It’s usually quite easy to work out when fruit and vegetables are in season as they are that much cheaper.
Use dried beans instead of tins
You can buy all sorts of beans in tins these days; black eye, butter, cannellini and of course kidney beans. You can also buy them dried in larger packs which are usually much cheaper per 100g than the tinned versions.
Try processing a whole pack in one go. This involves soaking the beans overnight, rinsing and then boiling for 10-20 minutes.
The beans are then half cooked, ready to be added to whatever recipe you want them for.
It is especially important that you do this for red kidney beans due to the level of toxins when uncooked – a stomach ache waiting to happen!
You can freeze the beans you don’t use straight away or you could soak only enough for your recipe.
A 500g pack of dried beans is roughly the equivalent in drained weight of 5 x 400g cans of ready to use beans.
All of these 25 tried and tested moneysaving tips could help you shave pounds off your budget today. All are tried and tested by yours truly.
Some of them won’t be your cup of tea, Mr2p considers some of them too much faff or too hard, which is why he is not responsible for the grocery shopping!
Try them all and keep the ones that work for you and watch your savings grow.
Do you have a tip to share? Do you do any of the above as standard or tried and stopped? Why not leave a comment?