Wow! After I posted about the MoneySupermarket competition last week, so many great savings tips came flooding in. It takes time and effort to compile a 10-strong list, so it was wonderful (if not altogether surprising) to discover that so many of you OOZE money-saving knowhow.
In the end, you Thrifties ended up sending hundreds of tips in! As I am sure you can imagine, it has been extremely tough to narrow so many great rules, ideas and flashes of thrifty derring-do down to 10 favourites… but you can find my list below. Congratulations to those of you who have made it onto the all-singing, all-dancing hotlist: your tips will now considered by MoneySupermarket for their own Commandments of Saving and, if selected, will net you £100.
As for the rest of you clever old things: there are far too many good ideas in my inbox to go to waste and, as you know, this blog is all about reducing waste. So I am hoping to post some of the best tips over the coming weeks and months, with prizes for every one featured. So you may well be hearing from me yet…
The 10 Commandments of Saving, by The Thrifties
1. Thou shalt plan, plan, plan. Before making any major purchases, thoroughly research the price on the internet to make sure that you get the best deal. However remember that the cheapest is not always the best, so consider the type of item you are buying and if a better quality item will last you longer and provide better value. (Emma Smith)
2. Thou shalt be an Excel demon. Keep a spreadsheet for monthly out-goings, tracking social plans in advance. So if you are attending a wedding, for example, split the costs of present, accommodation and evening money over a period of time, not leaving it until the week of the wedding! It also makes you aware of all of your direct debits and other outgoings that are easily forgotten. (Louisa Muhsin)
3. Thou shalt feed friends. My friends and I have Monday night dinners. It is great: cooking a good meal for five has a cheaper cost per head and then, for the next four weeks, I don’t have to think about cooking on those dreaded Mondays. It is good for trying out recipes that just aren’t economical for one, and injects a massive feelgood boost to Mondays. (Lisa)
4. Thou shalt set up a standing order for savings. To make the most of your savings, set up a standing order to put money into your savings account before you are paid, that way any spare cash is not burning a hole in your pocket. (Emma Smith)
5. Thou shalt dig for victory. Grow your own fruit and veg – we have an allotment which saves us a fortune and tastes so much better. Digging also gets us out in the fresh air doing some exercise, so saves us on gym membership. (Sharon Peters)
6. Thou shalt haggle. Whether it is on the high street or at a car boot sale, if you think the item is too much then ask for a discount. Car boot sales are the best places for this as stallholders don’t want to take things home, so make the most of that. Be nice and have a look for any flaws. In high street shops keep a look out for holes or marks as they will often knock off a few pounds. When I am shopping on the high street I will always enquire if they do a student discount; even if they don’t, sometimes they will knock off 10% just for asking! (Hannah)
7. Thou shalt be a voucher vulture. I never go out to dinner, to the cinema or on a day out without first checking to see if there is a money-off voucher or discount code available. Always get free store loyalty cards – especially Tesco and Boots – and find the savviest way to use the points you collect. (Emma)
8. Thou shalt keep a captain’s log. Keep a small notebook or file on your phone with a target price for different pack sizes for the things you buy most often. Then you will know immediately when an offer is a good one. For example, if toilet rolls are normally nine for £4.99, the unit price is 55.5p. So a £1.50 for four offer is a good one, as this reduces the unit price to 37.5p and is slightly better than a comparable offer of 18 for £7, which has a unit price 38.8p. This is a quick way to tell when it is worth bulk-buying an item. (Liz Donald)
(Note from Miss Thrifty: if you do your shopping online or have time to spend in advance of your shop, check out a great tool on www.mysupermarket.com that does this work for you.)
9. Thou shalt “bank” in the style of The Weakest Link. If you go out and spend less money than you expected to, put the rest away in a savings box – you’ll be less likely to spend it if it’s out of sight and out of mind! (Hannah from Which Way To Wonderland?)
10. Thou shalt hoard receipts and guarantees. How many times does something break and you say “What a Waste of Money” and you can’t take it back because you can’t find the guarantee or receipt? Either file, or if you’re short on space, scan your receipts and guarantees. (Claire at My Cava Lifestyle)
Image credit: The Powerhouse Collection.