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 Post subject: Money saving tips
PostPosted: 03 May 2014, 16:36 
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Donating it to the Childrens' Ward
Donating it to the Childrens' Ward

Joined: 22 Feb 2008, 18:42
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For those of us without the private income seen as the norm at the CS....

Feel free to add any tips or ideas.

I'll start with one from my late mother:

Write down all your income and expenditure in a little book - it's amazing how little things (like coffees, and lunches) add up, and when you actually see it in black and white you can see where you can make savings.


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 Post subject: Re: Money saving tips
PostPosted: 03 May 2014, 16:43 
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Joined: 10 May 2013, 15:49
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Meals for one are expensive,whenever possible batch cook and freeze.


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 Post subject: Re: Money saving tips
PostPosted: 03 May 2014, 17:23 
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I use a little red book rather than a little black book :D , and put everything on a spreadsheet at the end of the month - possibly rather sad of me to spend so long over it, but at least I can see what's gone where!

Buying sandwiches etc is expensive - take food from home to eat at work.

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 Post subject: Re: Money saving tips
PostPosted: 03 May 2014, 17:50 
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If you use supermarkets, it's worth finding out the pattern to their deliveries - bargains (especially in perishable stuff like meat, fruit and veg) are more likely to be had when a new delivery is due. Even if you can't take advantage of this in a working week, it's worth going along occasionally if you're free and hunting for bargains, especially if you have a freezer for the food items.

And as anyone knows who has worked in retail, it's always good to get to know the staff and other regular shoppers. If nothing else, it makes it a bit less of a chore for all of us !


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 Post subject: Re: Money saving tips
PostPosted: 03 May 2014, 21:30 
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For those with phones able to run apps, there's some good apps that can add expenses to as you go along, I use one called Spending Tracker, which is free and easy to add things as you go quickly along with categories etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Money saving tips
PostPosted: 04 May 2014, 08:59 
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Donating it to the Childrens' Ward
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Joined: 22 Feb 2008, 18:42
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Something that really helped me as a short term measure after I bought my first flat (and mortgage rates were much higher than they are now) was to take in a lodger. In my case it was a colleague who needed somewhere to stay because of a relationship breakdown. Getting some extra money for around four months was a real boon. It's tax free as well up to a certain amount under the rent a room scheme.

Sometimes it's possible to do it on a Monday-Friday basis for people who need a base for work but go home at the weekends, which means you still have the place to yourself sometimes - especially valuable if you're giving up your bedroom!


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 Post subject: Re: Money saving tips
PostPosted: 04 May 2014, 09:16 
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I'm sure everyone's already aware of this, but just in case...one thing that really opened my eyes was checking out the 'price per 100g' - large sizes aren't necessarily cheaper than small ones, and (for example) a skinless boneless chicken breast reduced for approaching 'use by' date can still be more expensive than an un-reduced one with skin attached.

Sadly (since they can be good for cheering up or when one's too tired to cook), take-aways are probably the worst value of anything!


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 Post subject: Re: Money saving tips
PostPosted: 04 May 2014, 09:26 
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The price per 100 gram tip is brilliant. I sometimes stand in sheer amazement in front of supermarket shelves wondering whether people really fall for some of the price offers when there is a cheaper combination standing right there on the same shelf.

I hope this isn't advertising, but if you can get to an Aldi or a Lidl you can save massively on your weekly shop, without any loss of quality that I have been able to detect. Their weekly special offers are particularly good and if you are on-line (which I guess we all are on here :) ) you can subscribe to their weekly newsletter which arrives during the week before any offer starts. So you can plan ahead for shopping....

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 Post subject: Re: Money saving tips
PostPosted: 04 May 2014, 11:21 
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ChubbyMonkey wrote:
I bet if I looked into it, there are all sorts of expensive cleaning products I wouldn't need either - eg I do believe that vinegar can be used to clean windows.
Plain old hot water is all I use to clean windows, mirrors and picture glass - tip of the trade from work! The more 'product' you put on such surfaces the more you have to get off again - apart from when removing bird droppings from outside windows etc...


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 Post subject: Re: Money saving tips
PostPosted: 04 May 2014, 12:22 
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for anything bought online have a look if you can use a cashback site. I use Topcashback whenever possible. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Money saving tips
PostPosted: 04 May 2014, 13:12 
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Learning to cook and bake from scratch!


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 Post subject: Re: Money saving tips
PostPosted: 04 May 2014, 13:30 
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Laura V wrote:
for anything bought online have a look if you can use a cashback site. I use Topcashback whenever possible. :D
That reminds me - in the UK if you do any shopping online, and have a good cause/ charity you'd like to continue to help while economising, at no extra cost to yourself, try looking at easyfundraising here.


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 Post subject: Re: Money saving tips
PostPosted: 04 May 2014, 14:05 
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On things you don't buy every week i.e. large boxes of soap power, the normal price can be as much as £10, but every few weeks it goes down to £5. Shampoo is another example, every few weeks it appears as 3 for 2.

Beware of pound and 99p shops they can sometimes be more expensive than supermarkets on branded goods although mostly the deals are good.


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 Post subject: Re: Money saving tips
PostPosted: 04 May 2014, 16:24 
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Noreen wrote:
If you use supermarkets, it's worth finding out the pattern to their deliveries - bargains (especially in perishable stuff like meat, fruit and veg) are more likely to be had when a new delivery is due. Even if you can't take advantage of this in a working week, it's worth going along occasionally if you're free and hunting for bargains, especially if you have a freezer for the food items.

I would add to this that it is worthwhile discovering what time the supermarkets do their "final" reductions.

The Co-Op and Sainsbury's "final" reductions are to 25% of the original price. Both Tesco and Morrison's routinely reduce to 10 - 20%. Aldi and Iceland rarely reduce fresh produce these days and Lidl tend to reduce to 70%.

If you go in for what my family politely call "urban foraging" (American: Dumpster diving; English: Binning) as I do, it is astonishing what you can get "for free"!


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 Post subject: Re: Money saving tips
PostPosted: 04 May 2014, 17:02 
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ChubbyMonkey wrote:
I bet if I looked into it, there are all sorts of expensive cleaning products I wouldn't need either - eg I do believe that vinegar can be used to clean windows.


Here's another, use a tablepoon or two of soda crystals in your wash. You only need half as much soap powder, no fabric softener and no stain remover.

Soda crystals are also very good for getting burnt on marks off the stove and cleaning sinks/drains amongst other things.


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 Post subject: Re: Money saving tips
PostPosted: 05 May 2014, 12:24 
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Joined: 20 Sep 2004, 18:32
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Most of my tips have already been mentioned.

Caty wrote:
Learning to cook and bake from scratch!


Can't emphasise this one enough. It saves so much and the food is usually better than anything you can buy. Even when I lived alone, I would make a big dish of something and eat it for several days. I'm now married to someone who doesn't like the same food for consecutive meals, so leftovers go in the freezer - like ready meals, but so much nicer!

I agree with all the tips about shops, although I've had very bad experiences with Lidl - rotten fruit and veg that was wrapped so cleverly you couldn't see that it was off until I got it home, watery milk and pasta that was so bad that it made us gag. Cheap prices aren't worth it when the food's inedible! Aldi is amazing, though, and I wish I had access to one at the moment - it's better quality than most other supermarkets.

My only other tip is to recommend markets and local shops if you have access to them. It's particularly worth cultivating local shopkeepers - last Monday I got three chicken breasts and ten pears, completely free, because of making friends with local shopkeepers. They were from different shops: it's not the first time I've been given free food and I'm sure it won't be the last. Of course, it's usually stuff that they might have trouble selling, but when there's nothing wrong with it I see no reason not to eat it!

In my experience, greengrocers are particularly worth cultivating - the fruit and veg is usually fresher and more varied than from the supermarkets, and often cheaper too. The local butcher is more expensive than supermarket meat: the quality is better, but that's not always a choice you can make if you need to save money. (The butcher is also popular because he gives a free slice of chopped pork to children who come into the shop with their parents.) But bakery bread is also cheaper than supermarket bread, and much, much better. This won't be an option for everyone, but in York and Cambridge it was possible to buy fruit and veg from the market, and for a few years in York I lived near an excellent greengrocer, so even if you do live in a city it's worth looking round.

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 Post subject: Re: Money saving tips
PostPosted: 05 May 2014, 12:43 
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My money-saving tip is possibly more relevant for those who, like me, are on a not-so-tight budget but are trying to save up money, and it is that, once you have worked out what you can spend weekly on 'extras', then take that amount of money out as cash, half at the beginning of the week and half halfway through. I find that having actual money in my hand makes me think much more carefully about how to spend it, as plastic money doesn't count, does it? Sounds daft, but it doesn't feel the same to me as handing over pennies, and I know I'm not the only one. Taking it out in two lots means that you don't overspend at the beginning of the week, but can space it out evenly, and the restriction on cash stops me from being tempted by books and other things that eat into my (potential) savings.

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 Post subject: Re: Money saving tips
PostPosted: 05 May 2014, 14:06 
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Donating it to the Childrens' Ward
Donating it to the Childrens' Ward

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Two years ago I decided to limit myself to spending £20 per month on clothes for a year. (I had planned to do the same with books but that soon fell by the wayside).

It was quite a good challenge as it meant I really thought about what I wanted, and that I saved up over a few months for any particular item (for example, I bought a dress for a wedding with several months' money, and actually ended up buying nothing most months. I ended the year with a 'surplus'.

The ongoing impact of that is that I do now think 'do I really, really want it?' when I'm buying things, even in sales.

Another tip is to ask for discounts. A simple 'what's your best price on this?' can be very effective, particularly in second hand shops.

BTW Finn, I agree that plastic is less 'real' than actual cash - paypal and pre-inputted credit card details for online shopping is even worse!


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 Post subject: Re: Money saving tips
PostPosted: 05 May 2014, 15:12 
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I bought a large leg of lamb on Friday. Andrew and I had it roasted yesterday, and as we like our roast lamb to be fairly rare, today it will be cooked again, this time as a casserole. I shall have one portion tonight and put the rest in the freezer to have whenever I want it.

I always make a big pan of Bolognaise sauce and freeze several portions. This precooking means that I save on fuel costs and on time.

Home baking too. Why buy a sponge cake that is dry and does not have enough filling, when you can bake one for less than the price of a supermarket one, and it tastes better? Again, bag up and freeze slices of it, so you can take it out with you.

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 Post subject: Re: Money saving tips
PostPosted: 05 May 2014, 15:36 
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I'm the other way around, I find cash doesn't get accounted for as easily, whereas plastic means I see the total each month and see what we spend more / less on.

Just be careful with Aldi and Lidl, as they can seem cheaper for example if you are someone who buys "a bag of apples" you may think you are paying less but when you look at the number of apples or size of them they are much more expensive than for example sainsburys basic range, and the apples aren't anything like as nice. I'm guessing that sainsburys use whatever apples they have in surplus for the basics range, as it changes through the year, but usually it's a really nice apple between a cox and braeburn taste.

Same for lots of the food, I use the price per kg option to compare loads of different fruit and veg, and Aldi and Lidl are occasionally nearly as cheap as Sainsburys basics, but usually more expensive, which works for a lot of the food we buy.

If you drink or are a brand name buyer then Aldi and Lidl probably are cheaper, but I've checked a lot of products price per kg or per item size quite a few times, and we'd pay a lot more in Aldi than Sainsburys, and can't walk there, so it's even more expensive in the long run. The way it works is you can feel like you are getting something cheaper as their sizes for things are often smaller. So "a pot" of cottage cheese is cheaper, but the pot is much smaller than the size we normally buy so it's only cheaper if we then eat less (unlikely :-D )

That could be an area / typical shopping list specific thing, as I know lots of people swear by Aldi etc, and we used to shop there all the time and find them loads better than the supermarkets when we lived in wales - but at that stage we were comparing with having bought brands rather than supermarket own brands. I'd love it if the adverts actually were true for me, as I'd like to spend less, but the local ones here are usually quite a lot more than sainsburys if you compare like with like for things like carrots, tomatoes, apples, sliced ham, cottage cheese etc. And sainsburys wins hands down on the quality.

Whether that works for the other supermarkets don't know but I know last time I checked Tescos middle range, which we find more equivalent to sainsburys basics, it was also usually same price or cheaper than Aldi for the things we buy.

I find best money saving in the supermarket is mainly ignoring the deal stickers, and working it out purely by price per kg, unless I actually WANT two or three of the buy one get one free / half price items. I've been sad enough to work it out quite a few times, and usually it's not actually very different in price, it just looks cheaper / better value. Especially as someone said earlier, with bigger boxes. It used to be that buying in bulk saved money, but I think they have clocked onto that now, and often it isn't such a bargain.

The cooking more from scratch and eating through the week bit makes a big difference as people have said.

The other thing for eating out is checking out the light bites or child portion type menus - quite often the serving size isn't actually much different, but the price can be, and it's a godsend when out with people who have a lot more money and choose somewhere relatively expensive as you can choose something reasonably sanely priced without it being too obvious. Being overweight I can use the excuse it's for weight control, though this rarely holds up as an excuse as I do often then have pudding...

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