30 Ways to save £1Lots of bloggers are posting about This MoneySupermarket.com Challenge at the moment - I spotted Sue talking about it earlier in the week, and others have mentioned it too. I guess finding ways of saving an "actual" pound are quite tricky, but we all have lots of things that we do which save that over time, or maybe even more, in one go - here are mine:
1) Drive GENTLY. Cut out harsh braking or acceleration, leave in time that you don't have to rush, and clear out the toot in the boot! You MUST carry a tyre pump, and some water & screenwash is sensible "just in case" - but most of us carry a whole heap of nonsense that doesn't get used from one year to the next!
2) Keep your car maintained - while servicing etc can be pricey, at least a basic service is needed at the interval recommended by your car's manufacturer (or close to it, at least) and pumping up your tyres costs nothing, and keeps the Miles-Per-Gallon good too.
3) Wash your car by hand, not at the jetwash or carwash. This not only saves a fortune, but means that you spot any little bits of damage, rust spots etc before they spread and cause a problem.
4) Stick to the speed limit, and DON'T call or text while driving - obvious, I know, but if you drive within the law, you won't get hit with pricey fines or, worse, more expensive insurance!
5) Consider whether you actually NEED a car - if you live and work in the same city, then it may be that you don't, and hiring one when just needed would save you a fortune.
6) If like me you forget to return library books on time, then try buying from charity shops instead - I pay 40 0r 50p a book at our two excellent local independent charity shops. You're acquiring your reading material at a cut price, helping a good cause and saving on library fines, too!
7) Agree with friends/family to swap books between you once they've been read
8) Set up a "Community book exchange" either in a common area at home if you're in a flat and your lease allows it, or at your place of work maybe.
9) If you have friends with common interests, magazines are also a great swapping commodity - 4 of you into photography (for example) buy one magazine each a month, and get to read 4 for the same cost!
10) Consider a box of charity-shop books as a Christmas or Birthday present for a keen reader - they will love the amount of thought that has gone into it, AND the amount of money they will save on reading material!
11) Before buying new toiletries or cosmetics, sort through what you actually have - you might be surprised to find what stocks you've amassed!
12) Check out Pound Shops for bargains on toiletries - but go in with a clear idea in mind of what actually constitutes a "bargain" - a bottle of Shampoo for £1 is NOT cheap when Asda have an ongoing "4 for £3" deal on the brand - buy four bottles at Asda instead and that's your pound saved!
13) Check the pack sizes on things you buy in pound shops and discount stores - a lot of manufacturers make goods specially for these chains, in smaller-than-normal sizes - you might get better value elsewhere!
14) If you're on "Economy 7" electricity, and your living environment allows, use timeswitches to set up things like washing machines and dishwashers to run overnight on the cheap rate.
15) Charge your mobile in the car, or in the office (better still!) but only if your employer allows it!
16) Keep your eyes peeled - MrEH is a master at finding money lying about on the streets - he found over £80 that way in 2012! (OK, this is pushing the boundaries of "Saving" £1 - but it's in the spirit of it!)
17) Carry your charger cable with you on train journeys and plug in your mobile or tablet to charge for free while you travel.
18) Research before you buy tickets for travel - learn your way around sites like Red Spotted Hanky and Megabus - as well as learning the dates and times that the individual train companies release their "advance" bargain tickets. Even buying the night before rather than on the day saves you money on some routes.
19) Another perfectly legal and above-board way of saving money on train tickets is "Split Ticketing" - where you find out where your intended train is due to stop, and then see if tickets are cheaper "split" across two legs - ie - Totnes in Devon to London, Buy one ticket from Totnes to Bristol, and a second from Bristol to London - far cheaper than buying the straight single journey! Your train MUST stop to pick up passengers at the "splitting point" though.
20) Back to that "Economy 7" Electricity - learn the times when your cheap rate is in effect - with night-rate usually being around a third of the rate per unit in daytime, it's worth getting up ten minutes earlier to shower at a fraction of the cost!
21) When you think you have reached the end of a tube of handcream, or makeup, grab the tube, with the lid tightly on, by the very end and "flick" it hard to force the remaining contents towards the "exit". Once that stops working, cut it open and you can use the rest that way. Seal the cut end with a clip to keep it hygienic.
22) In lean months "audit" what food you have in the fridge, freezer and cupboards and plan your meals around what you have. Make mealplans flexible enough that if you don't fancy Cottage pie one night, you can have beans on toast instead...
23) When shopping make a list and stick to it. Try to shop without kids, or Partner in tow if you can - it's far easier to keep your resolution when you've not got someone else egging you on to buy treats!
24) Keep the foundations of some "easy" meals in - so if you get home late, and what was on the plan will take too long to cook, you can easily rustle up something as an alternative, rather than succumbing to the lure of the takeaway!
25) Shop around - get into the habit of price-checking everything you buy, from Milk to Insurance. At the time of writing one leading supermarket was selling a branded 2 litre bottle of milk for £1.98 - but look a bit harder in the same store and you can buy 4 pints (2.27 litres) for just £1 - under 50p a litre, or just 25p a pint!
26) Take care of the things you have - from mobile phones to shoes, everything lasts longer if you take care of it, saving you money on replacements.
27) Are you paying for expensive mobile phone insurance, because you think it's sensible to do so? If you have a habit of losing phones, or flushing them down the loo, then it might well be, but if that's not "you" you'd possibly do better putting that monthly payment into savings against replacement costs...
28) Check to see if products you pay for are included elsewhere - for example travel insurance with some bank accounts, and basic breakdown cover with some Car Insurance! You might be paying twice!
29) Cut out food waste. Check the fridge regularly and work out how to use up what's heading past its best. Remember - "Best Before" means just that - it's still safe to eat after that date but may taste slightly different (mostly things taste just as normal, in my experience).
30) STOP AND THINK. Do you really need whatever it is? Can you actually afford it? If in doubt, step away...
There's my 30 tips - have you already done yours?
** For transparency, this post is part of a blogging challenge in which bloggers are being paid to offer their 30 favourite frugal tips**