I think this year I know more people who are tightening their belts and trying to make their income go further than ever before, and the Internet is a great place to grab some tips and some nifty tools to help you. We are trying to squeeze our budget painlessly these days so that we can have a few extras without it making too much of a dent in our monthly budget – something which unexpected root canal for me this week did NOT help! These are my top thrifty tips:
1. You can read for free
If you were one of those lucky people who received a Kindle for Christmas, you can stock it full of titles without breaking the bank. Visit Amazon’s Kindle Store and you’ll find dozens of pages of free collections. Now, these are not the most recent of books, as they are usually ones that are now out of copyright, such as the Sherlock Holmes books but, nevertheless, if you like to read then why not fill yer boots? If you don’t have a Kindle, you can still read for free. Why not get together with your friends to swap books? Or – here’s revolutionary – go and visit your local library!
2. Sell your Tut
There are several ways to get rid of your clutter for cash using the Internet. General household stuff, collectables etc can be listed on eBay and sold for a small fee – occasionally there are free listing days too which make it even more worthwhile. If you have CDs, DVDs and Games to sell, why not think about using a service like Music Magpie? I used them a while back and was surprised when some of my CDs got around the £10 mark – although most go for about 30p.
3. Meal Plan!
I cannot stress this enough, meal planning will help you stretch your grocery budget like nothing else! I regularly spent over £400 per month during many, many trips to the supermarket for forgotten items. Since January, I’ve been meal planning and shopping once a week and have managed to get the bill down to £250. Ok, so our plans are sometimes not the most original and sometimes populated with leftovers, but it really works well. For a helping hand with this, Mrs M runs a regular Monday linky on her blog which is great to add your plan too, but also get some ideas for your future meal plans.
4. Shop Smart…
This is really related to the meal planning, in that these days it’s really easy – although a bit time consuming – to get the most out of your grocery budget. The first thing I always do is plumb my shopping list into My Supermarket, this gives me the cheapest deals etc in Asda, my chosen store, as it’s usually the cheapest. I then print out the shopping list from the site, complete with prices, then I go to Lidl. Yes, I did say that right. Although Asda is the cheapest supermarket I can check online I’ve found that there are items that are still cheaper in Lidl, so I go there and buy any items that are cheaper, then proceed to Asda. The savings made doing this usually outweigh any higher petrol costs, so I’m happy to spend a bit more of my time to get the best deals. Another tip, and one I just have to post this picture for, is to try and shop at a time when the supermarkets start reducing their fresh items. The picture below is of the haul my friend, the Crafty Little Blogger, made earlier this year in Tesco – she bought 13 meat items, full cost £72.83, for £29.15. If you can get there at the right times, and have enough freezer space, then it’s well worth the effort.
5. And Finally… Freecycle
Freecycle, if you’ve not heard of it, is a great way to either get rid of yoour own clutter (if you don’t have time for tip 2) but is also a great place to pick up things that other people no longer want. Our local group is a Yahoo group and I’ve got some great, free things that I’ve really had a need for, such as jam jars for jam making, bubble wrap for eBay parcels and (although they were not strictly essential) I got a stack of Family History magazines, so picked up a few tips about my hobby for free – excellent! My only warning is you have to be quick. I signed up to receive individual emails throughout the day as, I found if I waited to get a daily digest, most of the items I was interested in were gone.
So there you have it – not especially making money tips, but hopefully something to help you save a few quid here and there!
This post is part of the thrifty Families Carnival, take a look at A Thrifty Mum’s site for more helpful and thrifty posts.