Following on from the Tots 100 #swagbucks Twitter party on Wednesday night last week (from which I was one of the lucky winners), I thought I would write a post sharing all of the ways that I find to save a little money here and there. Almost everyone could do with making savings right now, check out hashtag #swagbucks on twitter and you will find loads of fantastic suggestions from bloggers & twitterers, and here are mine:
There are no fees, and all you have to do is sign up and remember to click through when you are shopping online, it is seriously that easy. I have earned back over £400 since I opened my account. I save it to use for Christmas & birthdays throughout the year and have found great deals and promo codes via the site. You can also earn money for recommending your friends, if you'd like to sign up & also help me out, you can do so here - http://www.topcashback.co.uk/jooleroo.
Do not check out without searching for promo codes first.
It is literally as simple as googling "SHOP NAME PROMO CODE", why pay full price if you can get 10% off? And click through Topcashback first!
Meal plan & grocery shop online.
At the beginning of the week, I sit down and plan meals for the following week. I then shop online and only buy the ingredients and items that I need. That way, I am not throwing out food that I bought on a whim and that didn't end up getting eaten. Less waste, more money saving. I'm also not faffing about during the week deciding what to cook at the last minute, & shopping online means I am not tempted by displays of things I don't want or need.
Finally, always check the BOGOF and multi-buy deals against single purchase amounts, you might not be getting the savings that you think you are (for example - the offer might be to "Buy 2 x 300ml pots of cream for £1.70", but a 600ml pot is only £1.68), and if you're not going to use it don't buy it, it's not a great deal if you're buying two when you only need one.
Buy meat & vegetables from Farmers Markets.
Check out your local paper and find out when & where they are held near you. You may be able to work out a weekly deal, and get good bargains on bulk buys that you can take home and freeze.
Batch cook and freeze.
Following on from groceries, if you have bulk bought you may be able to batch cook meals and freeze them for busy days, or just for the week or fortnight ahead which saves you time and money. You may also be less inclined to just 'grab a takeaway' on days when you have been on the go all day & don't want to cook, just pull it out of the freezer, put it in the oven and you're done.
Skill swap with friends.
You can bake a mean cake, but you're rubbish at sewing? Is your friend a talented seamstress but burns everything she bakes? Then skill swap, you bake her cakes in return for her sewing your kid's fancy dress costume. Save money, and help out a friend. What's better than that?
Collect newspaper holiday tokens.
You're getting the exact same accommodation for hundreds of pounds less than you would if you booked directly through the holiday operator. Our weekend by the lake in Weymouth was a fraction of the original cost because we used tokens collected for us by my mother-in-law, we saved a massive £573.60 on the exact same holiday listed on the holiday operator's website. We had a fantastic long weekend in a lovely cabin for less than £100 for the seven of us. Keep an eye on the papers!
Once a month, empty out your freezer & cupboards and see what meals you can make with the ingredients you already have. We did this just before Christmas and saved over £70 on our usual grocery bill. It also freed up space ready for the big Christmas shop the following week. This is a monthly thing now, it is amazing even with meal planning and careful shopping what you end up accumulating. Don't just leave it languishing in there, use it! Save money on your grocery bill!
Buy day trip tickets online before you go.
A lot of companies offer a certain % off their on-the-door prices simply for booking in advance online & printing off your tickets at home. You can often queue jump by doing this too!
Spread out Christmas purchases.
In addition to saving money monthly, I also start Christmas shopping in January. If I find things in the sales, I buy them and put them away. I try and buy one thing a week, and hide it ready for Christmas and keep a list of items hidden deep within my files on the computer so I can keep track of what I've bought. This way I am not forking out hundreds at the end of the year, and we always have a lovely Christmas. Same goes for birthday presents. Why wait and buy it full price if you can get it half price in January?
Do the same with Easter eggs.
In addition to my 5 children, I have I think 18 (or 19, I genuinely cannot remember) nieces and nephews, spreading it out as much as possible is an absolute MUST. I have been buying Easter egg multi-buys with my weekly shop for weeks, and putting them away.
De-clutter and sell, sell, sell.
Sell your unwanted & unused items through shops like Puddy Muddles (which then also is supporting local businesses), or online with eBay and Gumtree. This way you're recycling as well as making money, and also helping others save money by selling them your items second-hand at a bargain price, everyone wins!
If you have any handy money-saving ideas, I would love for you to share them with me in a comment.