How to stretch every penny until it screams!

I mentioned that DD1 will soon be moving out. I am worried about how she will manage financially and hope she hasn’t bitten off more than she can chew. She will need to stretch every penny!

I also hope she heeds some of the advice I have been giving her. She doesn’t need it because the optimism of youth says ‘it will be ok’… Us older and wiser folk know that sometimes it is not ok, but if you plan and budget and live according to your means, it can be.

My top advice to stretch every penny will be:

Make a monthly budget, and stick to it.

Set up direct debits for your rent and all your bills to go out the day after pay day.

Put a regular small amount aside each month for emergencies.

Never give in to expensive credit cards or pay day loans to get you through the month.

If you don’t really need something or you know you can’t really afford it, don’t buy it! Retail therapy is dangerous.

If you need new clothes, try the charity shops and boot sales.

Walk as much as you can to save on bus fares.

Use up the make up and toiletries you have before you buy more. Mac lipsticks may be beautiful but at £15-20 they are a luxury. Check out cheaper options (there are many!).

Plan your meals and write your shopping list around that and what you already have in the cupboard.

Try to cook as much as you can – this is the best way to eat cheaply and healthily. But keep some frozen pizzas in for days when you just can’t be bothered so you don’t give in to the takeaway.

Take a packed lunch to work.

Buy your food at the market or in Aldi rather than expensive convenience stores.

Turn lights and appliances off!

Put some thick jumpers and socks on instead of the heating.

Wear your clothes more than once to save on the laundry.

Get a second job.

Get your friends to visit and bring a few beers over rather than going to the pub.

Don’t start smoking again!!

I could go on about how she can stretch every penny. She will no doubt say that I do tend to! I hope she heeds my advice and enjoys her independence without the worry of debt.

What are your tips for stretching every penny?

7 thoughts on “How to stretch every penny until it screams!

  1. Ooh, exciting!

    If you have direct debits going out for utilities, council tax and phone/broadband, sign up for a Santander 123 account and use it only for your DDs. They’ll pay you cashback on each of those DDs that goes out (monthly account fee is £2, we usually make £6 in cashback) and you can leave the card for that account at home and never touch the money in it once it’s gone in. You then know that everything in your current account is yours to spend (particularly useful if you have stubborn supplier who won’t shift a late-month DD date).

    Yellow sticker runs – stick to your shopping list by all means but try and get to the supermarket about an hour/30 mins before closing every now and then and check for yellow stickered items that can be frozen or used the next day (I have to admit I’m not precious about use by dates on things like yoghurt that have basically already gone off…)

    If you have friends living nearby, pool grocery shopping every now and then – if it’s cheaper to buy rice, potatoes, onions or similar by the sack then all chip in, buy a sack and split it down into bags rather than paying more for smaller packets. If you have a nearby market you can sometimes do the same with packs of meat from a butcher’s van.

    • The one thing that always works for me is to try to stick to using cash if possible. When handing over “proper” cash rather than a debit card or whatever, it does make you think twice about whatever you’re buying and I also find it easier to keep on track with what cash I have left after leaving some in the bank for household bills/direct debits, etc. (I just wish our youngest daughter at Uni would bear this comment in mind!!)

  2. If I was your daughter’s age I’d start a savings account, making a vow not to touch it until at least my 50s. (Hard for twenty somethings to imagine being that old!!) By that age it could be used toward paying off a chunk of a mortgage or even downsizing from full time work to part time. Or more optimistically for taking jaunts overseas and having a good time. Compound interest would mean £10 or £20 a month would mount up nicely, and saving it would become as regular a habit as brushing teeth.
    Also, I’d recommend an ‘everyday emergency’ savings accounts, one that could be dipped into when the boiler breaks or an animal needs urgent vets treatment.

  3. Sign up for the various club and loyalty cards for places you shop at. Having points you can use for a free sandwich when an unplanned lunch happens, or having nectar points you can use if there’s more month than cash and you still have to buy groceries, is always reassuring!

  4. I can’t find the post now but we buy our cat food (Felix As Good As It Looks) from Zooplus, £19.99 at the mo for 72 packs, it’s the cheapest we can find at the moment and Zooplus offers cashback through Topcashback- happy days! We also buy Advantage flea treatment from Petfleas online which is half the price of Pets at Home. Hope that helps! X Sarah

  5. A lot of the tips I use every day already feature in your post, your daughter is getting a great head start 🙂 Best of luck to he in her new home!

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