Thursday, 5 May 2011

Counting the Pennies

I’m trying to win an iPad 2 in the iSave, iWrite, iPad competition from!

We're all trying to save money somewhere aren't we?  Times are tough, fuel prices are going through the roof, and with it the cost of day to day living.  So how do we claw back a few pennies from the ever rising costs?

Of course we could go mad - make clothes out of bin bags (do you remember Blue Peter showing us how to make fancy dress clothes out of bin bags?!), eating every other day, going to bed when it gets dark - but honestly, most of the more extreme money saving ideas are impractical, especially if you have a family.  So I started thinking about the ways that I try to save money and maybe where I could improve.

The new fashion in impoverished times?

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about money saving is laundry.  I have a tumble dryer.  I use it.  But every time I do I think about all the money being used up in electricity when I could dry it on the line for free!  So mostly I do try and line dry my clothes.  But sometimes I have one of those weeks where to get outside with the laundry basket just seems an impossible task.  Or I get fed up of having wet clothes hanging everywhere.  So I compromise.  For every load I dry in the tumble dryer, I dry a load on the line.  It helps ease the guilt!  And at least I'm trying to save money.  It's not like I'm using the tumble dryer for every wash load.

Another place where I can easily waste money is food!  So often I go round the shops thinking 'ooh I'll have that, it looks tasty' and never get to cook with it.  One way round this I've found is not to be too ambitious.  I have 3 small children.  I am unlikely to find the time to prepare and cook salsify (let alone get them to eat it!) so is it really worth buying it because I've seen them cook it on Masterchef just to have it go limp in the fridge (or whatever salsify does when it gets old - I'm basing the limp on carrots.  And parsnips!).  Also meal plans are a great way of making sure you only buy the food you will need and cook for the week.  I'm hoping this way to throw away less food and therefore save myself some pennies.

Salsify - for those of you who thought I'd gone mad!

My third suggestion is to shop savvy.  I don't mean go around all the different supermarkets, though if you can, then do it.  But trailing 2 toddlers and a baby round Tesco's is bad enough let alone going to Aldi and Farmfoods and Lidl and Iceland...

Sorry, I digress!  Yes, shop savvy.  For instance, buy the cheap shop's own cereal - my kids can't tell the difference between Kelloggs Coco Pops and Tescos Chocolate Rice.  However to my mind it is a complete waste of money to buy cheap washing powder - it doesn't work as well and often I find myself washing things twice.  So I buy the more expensive brand, usually when it's on offer, which it is pretty often.  Yes, it is a bit more expensive, but better to have a product that works than one which doesn't work well.

I'm also trying to walk to school more.  When Boy starts nursery in September I will be going up there 3 times a day and at least one of those times I will have to walk, else we will be skint just getting the kids to school!  The way I see it is if I just walk to school twice a week at the minute to start off with, that's 2 trips saved, costing fuel and the environment.  Plus hopefully it will wear the kids out a bit more hee hee!!

So there you go - my money saving tips!  They aren't big but you know what the say: 'Count the pennies and the pounds will follow'!

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