Have you overspent this Christmas? Find out how to save money in the New Year with these hints and tips.
- Before you start, check the internet. Moneysavingexpert.com is a great place to begin, look for any deals for your chosen item or retailer, and sign up for the free weekly email to be kept informed. For deals on travel, energy, insurance etc, moneysupermarket.com can compare the whole market for you in one step.
- Earn cash while you shop by signing up for free to sites such as topcashback.co.uk, or quidco.com, every time you shop online with one of their retailers you will receive cash back.
- Ask for a deal! Sales are no longer limited to January and July, find out when the next promotion will be or ask for a discount now. Most stores are able to discount up to 10% which could be a lot on a large ticket item.
- Downshift a level by looking at cheaper options, this could be on everything from your weekly supermarket shop to cars, holidays, clothes- anything! Expensive is not always best, do a taste test/test drive to find out.
- Second hand isn’t always second best, look at ebay, gumtree and preloved to find bargains and sell your own goods. Plus ebay and charity shops are great sources for unwanted new items which will be sold much cheaper.
- Make your casseroles and stews go further by bulking them out with lentils and pulses or tinned tomatoes. For example add a tin of tomatoes and baked beans to a shepherd’s pie.
- Buy a huge sack of potatoes and store in the garage or a cold, dark place. They work out at a fraction of the price of supermarket bags.
- If you are a meat eater, resolve to have 2 vegetarian or meat free meals a week, you’ll be much healthier too! Also, instead of pricey joints, buy minced beef, lamb, turkey or pork.
- Local markets are much cheaper than supermarkets and the produce is often local and fresher, better for the environment too!
- Make your own snacks which are healthier and much cheaper. Ice lollies made from fruit juice or squash cost pennies or try these easy flapjacks:
150g brown sugar
Put butter, sugar and syrup in a pan and heat until melted then add the oats. Spread the mixture on a baking tray and bake at 180c (160 fan) for 30 mins. Leave to cool and cut into 24 fingers. They will keep for up to a week in an airtight container.
- Why spend a fortune on a new appliance when you might be able to fix the old one? The internet is a fantastic resource for “how to” advice and even step by step videos. If you need a spare part for an electrical appliance, espares.co.uk is an online parts store with over 500,000 parts for home and garden accessories.
- Make sure your house is in the right council tax band. Check the Valuation Office Agency to find out.
- If you need a new item for the home, don’t impulse buy. Weigh up how many times you would use it and consider renting/hiring an appliance for limited use or clubbing together with friends to share the cost.
- To remove mildew, dilute 3/4 cup of bleach with 1 gallon of water and apply to tiles and grout, leave for 10 minutes then give them a good scrub. This also works on shower curtains. Keep a supply in a spray bottle and spray after showering to stop mould and mildew developing.
- Use baby oil to shine stainless steel hobs, sinks and splashbacks.
- Line your curtains with cheap fleece blankets (£1.60 Ikea.co.uk) instead of expensive thermal linings. They insulate the room better plus they make your curtains look very expensive!
- Vinegar is a cheap solution to hundreds of cleaning problems:
- For shiny, streak free windows use a solution of equal parts vinegar and warm water. Dry with a soft cloth.
- Remove sweat stains by scrubbing with equal parts water and vinegar.
- Whiten tile grout with neat vinegar.
- Clean your iron with a solution of vinegar and salt (1tbsp to 1tsp). Rub on and wipe off with a damp cloth.
- A water/vinegar solution is ideal for cleaning the fridge, use neat on mildew.