What’s your best money saving idea?

I belong to a few Facebook groups whose focus is frugality and the question that comes up time and again when people join is ‘How can I save money? Where do I start?’ It seems many people are still struggling to get from pay day to pay day and looking for money saving advice and inspiration.

My first piece of advice is to have a long, hard look at your outgoings. Go through your bank statements and see what you can cut. Have you an insurance policy on an item you no longer own? Are you paying too much for your utilities? Shop around. Can you save money on your mobile phone or your tv and internet package? You need to check if there is a penalty for early cancellation but sometimes it is worth paying, or you could stay with the same provider but downgrade your package. Do you have a gym membership you barely use?

Make a budget and stick to it. I use Budget Brain from Money Saving Expert. Check your bank balance regularly so you know how much is in the account and when you need to rein in your spending.  

It is interesting to see how much cash can drip out of your account in the form of small purchases on lunch, coffees, newspapers, etc. £10 withdrawals here and there can soon add up to hundreds of pounds. You can save a lot of money by anticipating these small expenses in advance and organising yourself. For example, take your own coffee, teabags and milk to work rather than buying it. Take your own packed lunch. 

Avoid temptation. If you know you are prone to impulse purchases, window shopping is not the pastime for you!

Food shopping is often a great place to save money. You can save loads if you stop buying branded goods and use cheaper supermarket own brands, buy your fruit and veg at a local market, minimise convenience foods, plan your menus, make a shopping list before you hit the supermarket, eat less meat…I could go on. There are so many money saving ideas.

Look at your heating and hot water costs. There are plenty of ways to insulate your home cheaply, you could turn the thermostat down a notch, get the family to wear more layers of clothing, etc. More ideas here.

What about transport? Could you car share? Leave the car at home and walk or cycle?

Do you have a garden? If so, how about growing some of your own food. Digging is as good as a gym session 😀.

What are your top money saving tips for the newbie?

15 thoughts on “What’s your best money saving idea?

  1. Jacquie

    I’m a newby myself but I’ve saved loads by changing my insurers for Car and house insurance.
    In fact I think I could have stayed with the same company, just threatened to leave, and still got a good deal.
    I hadn’t realised how expensive our house insurance had got. By changing I saved over £400. When I rang to cancel, my old insurance company immediately offered me a similar deal. That made me a bit cross, why had they charged me so much before?
    Now I realise it’s always a good idea challenge a renewal quote.

    Reply
    1. shoestringjane@outlook.com Post author

      I have heard that before. Just threatening to leave the RAC if they didn’t match the price they offered new customers worked a treat

      Reply
  2. Eloise

    Possibly the best advice is to read the Shoestring Cottage blog! Although it is a very old fashioned piece of advice, looking after the pennies must become the serious saver’s mantra. I shudder to remember how much I used to fritter away on nothing in particular when I was doing my proper job.

    Reply
  3. Gill

    All the BIG saving tips such as haggling for insurances, spending diary etc have been covered so my next best saving tip is to operate a ‘pantry system’. Find a space in your home, a few shelves in the garage is ideal but failing that somewhere like under the spare bed etc and get into the habit of NEVER letting yourself run out of store cupboard groceries. When you run out of cling film, teabags, sugar etc you end up going to a convenience store to pick up the missing item and end up with a basket of 6 random things that caught your eye. I can honestly say that I only go shopping once a week, I have no need to top up on anything, including milk, that lasts the week too.
    I have a spare item of everything that I know we’ll use such as shower gel, foil, tinned tomatoes, tinned tuna, flour, baked beans, sellotape etc etc…and as soon as I finish one item and I reach for the spare from the ‘pantry’ it goes on my shopping list so that I’m buying a new spare to replenish stocks.
    This really comes into force when an item that you regularly buy is on special offer, eg, we only use Twinings Earl Grey tea so when I see the very best reduction using My Supermarket I go and buy enough for 3 months because these offers seem to rotate on a 3 month cycle, I bought 800 of these teabags recently as they were 40% off. These are kept in the house because it’s too cold in the garage and they’ll spoil. I haven’t paid full price for these teabags for over 20 years.
    I know this may not work for everyone as storage space is the key to making it work but if you can keep out of the convenience shops as much as possible and stock up on offers as soon as you see them you’ll save a small fortune.

    Reply
  4. VickiEY

    I think the best advice I ever came across is to question whether I really need a particular purchase or just fancy indulging myself or am buying something out of habit. Will I regret ordering something from a catalogue which comes through the door? (especially when I find out that I have to pay return delivery when it doesn’t fit!) I now always wait at least 48 hours and often the impulse passes, or i find a cheaper alternative. Do I really need fabric conditioner or cling film or is there a cheaper alternative? (White vinegar instead of fc and a bowl with a small plate on top for storage in the fridge instead of cling film).

    I also recommend reading blogs such as this and Shoestring Cottage for ideas and to keep you motivated when the going gets tough!

    Reply
    1. VickiEY

      …….not a money saver but i must also proof read replies for errors! The last sentence should read ‘I also recommend blogs such as this for ideas…etc – a senior moment!

      Reply
  5. Kirrie

    Yep the biggies house insurance I,d become complacent assuming was paying £57 for buildings contents and lodger cover a month ouch same insurance after haggling £15.75 a month Halifax.
    BT haggle use money saving expert tips was £54 month varying, now £30.10 for anytime phone calls and unlimited internet!. Previously only had free weekend and evening calls.
    Scottish Power better tariff reduced bills by 12.50 a month and gave me free boiler cover I was previously paying 16.50 a month for that.
    Not far off £100 savings a month for about an hours phone calls, result.
    Time shopping for yellow stickers, make it a challenge.
    Morrisons last night got 2 pieces of smoked haddock, a trout, gammon tray roast, deli sandwich cold meat turkey and ham. loaf of brown bread. all for £3.75, price on gammon roast was £3.99 alone.
    Tesco baby mini peppers finest x2, cauliflower,broccoli, bag of pears, 2x frozen 6 packs cod they ware selling them off for 50p box. Ready cooked chicken all for £4.50.
    Love nice loo roll BM have 18 pack for £2.99 very similar to Andrex quilts at £4.00 for 9.
    Vape instead of smoke (yes I know ) £1 a week for vape liquid in BM stores instead of £50 plus a week for cigs, safer and healthier.
    Ok off to boot sale need nice hand wash containers as daftly am still buying carex, got a litre of bubble bath in Morrisons for 45p, that,ll do..
    And breathe.

    Reply
  6. Lynn

    When I cook I think~ can I stretch another portion or two out of these ingredients ~ it may mean bulking it out with additional veg, pulses. I then freeze the extra portions so by the end of the month I have a “free” week of meals.

    Reply
  7. thrift deluxe

    So many to choose from, but I think I would say don’t avoid a money saving opportunity because you think it’s too big, or too small.

    Some of the really big money saving things involve work, but that’s no reason not to try (we took our car off the road when we were paying off our debts for example). Some of the small things, picking up a penny, buying one less of something, turning the heating off early, using a small amount of leftovers for another meal might only save a tiny amount each time but they really add up.

    Reply
  8. Kelley B

    when I started getting very serious about saving money I did a total inventory of everything in the house, garage and car…put all the “like” things together…cleaners in one spot, waxes in one spot, candles and so on…going about using up what I have before buying anything else…with my clothes and shoes I could see what needed mending, polishing and was on the road to replacing…made a need and wants list…rarely is anything purchased from the wants list…

    stock up on non perishable items when they are on sale…toilet paper, cat litter and laundry soap are my big three…

    do without…it’s amazing what you can do without when you have a savings goal or debt to pay…

    Reply
    1. shoestringjane@outlook.com Post author

      What a good idea! An inventory so you can see what you have makes total sense

      Reply

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