I received a flyer through the door yesterday about Warwickshire’s Thrift Week, which runs this week.
It’s a celebration of all things frugal: saving money, recycling, conservation, sustainable living, that sort of thing. So I thought I’d get involved by sharing with some of my own money-saving tips that have helped me…
We are signed up to Tesco’s Clubcard scheme, through which we get heaps of money-off vouchers each quarter. You can spend these vouchers on your shopping at face value, or they can be redeemed at four times their value on days out and restaurants, so we often get free meals out at places like Bella Italia and Ask.
Free days out
We hardly ever pay for days out. Granted, we are lucky enough to have been given National Trust membership this year, but we do plenty besides that. Country walks, for example, are a great free day out – here’s one we did recently from the new Walks Around Wellesbourne leaflet. There are loads of free museums around too, such as the Coventry Transport Museum, or the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. We also keep a lookout for free events happening locally, such as the light show at Shakespeare’s Birthplace last Christmas.
I’ve won loads of stuff in free-to-enter competitions over the years. Tickets to the premiere showing of a film with a night in a five-star hotel, a Roberts DAB Digital Radio, CDs, perfumes, tickets to Grand Designs Live, and lots more. The chances of winning are small, but there’s nothing to lose by entering. Even if you win stuff you don’t want, you can still sell it on eBay and make money!
Take advantage of cheaper energy times
We have a storage heater that heats up overnight when electricity is cheap, but gives out heat for the rest of the following day. In the winter we will often do a load of washing early in the morning, before the day electricity rate kicks in.
Minimising food waste
We try not to throw anything edible out. When we buy a pack of diced chicken, for example, we carefully divide it into two bags and put one in the freezer for another day – that way we get two meals rather than eating too much or having stuff left over that gets thrown out. We do the same with other packs of meat, including minced beef and sausages, so that they go further, and if there are any leftovers after a meal we will freeze them to have for lunch another day. Also, we pay little attention to sell/use by dates for fresh food (except meat), as fruit and veg keeps for way longer than these dates would suggest. There are more tips for reducing food waste over at the website of one of my old clients, Love Food Hate Waste.
Bake your own
I bake cakes and flapjacks for a fraction of the cost of buying them in a supermarket, and they taste much better too!
Don’t be drawn in by supermarket offers
Those 3-for-2 offers are designed to trick you into buying stuff you don’t need, and they don’t necessarily save you any money. Compare the unit prices, decide whether you’re actually going to use the product and only buy if it’s a substantial saving and it won’t go off before you get round to using it.
Supermarkets aren’t always cheaper
Contrary to common misconception, local shops aren’t always more expensive than supermarkets. Our local farm shop is significantly cheaper for cheese, and we can pay less at the butcher for meat. The added bonus is that the experience of shopping local is so much nicer and more personal than shopping in a supermarket.
Google discount codes
Before you buy anything online, Google discount codes for the retailer. You’d be surprised how many there are floating around that can save you money.
These tips have all worked for us, and many have enabled us to have a better quality of life, too. If you have any more money-saving tips that you’d like to share, leave a comment below!