FoodPlan, prepare and portion
- Could your weekly shop be cheaper elsewhere? www.mysupermarket.co.uk compares the prices of four major stores.
- Make a shopping list before you go to the supermarket; that way you'll have a list to stick to and won't be as tempted to buy other things.
- Look for special offers on the things you buy regularly and opt for the supermarket's (cheaper) own brand versions.
- Make the most of your food: Cooking in bulk and freezing some for another day saves you time as well as money. If you work, preparing your own packed lunch instead of buying it can save around £50 a month.
- Above all, cut back on alcohol, takeaways and restaurant visits. By planning ahead and having meals ready in the freezer you'll feel less tempted to grab a takeaway. If you do want to celebrate with a drink and a meal out, look for savings on voucher sites such as www.groupon.co.uk: Many restaurants offer a free drink with your meal or a free second main course.
Home and leisureCut back, conserve and still have fun!
- Compare your energy costs on sites such as www.uswitch.com – you may be able to save by changing supplier, even if you are on a prepayment meter. Paying by direct debit and using one supplier for gas and electricity could also save you money.
- Keeping an eye on what your household uses can make all the difference and many energy companies offer a free energy monitor that shows what your appliances are using and at what cost. Swapping your tumble dryer for a good old fashioned washing line and switching off lights and appliances when you're not using them can save pounds.
- Turn down the thermostats on your radiators and work out how long you really need the heating on for. Do you need to heat your entire house or could you turn off the radiators in rooms that are rarely used?
- If there are only a few people in your household you may be able to save on your water bill by getting a meter fitted. Ask your water provider for details.
- Review your satellite, internet and phone/mobile suppliers. You may be able to find a better deal elsewhere. Do you really need satellite or would Freeview include your favourite programmes?
- Enjoying your free time needn't cost a fortune. Many local libraries have CDs, DVDs, games and videos as well as books to borrow and they can even order a title for you.
- Parks, museums and art galleries are often free and can be great family day out on a budget. Alternatively look in your local paper or council website for events and exhibitions near you. www.postcodegazette.com can tell you what's going on in your area.
- If you have young children look out for free play sessions run by churches or your local council. If you don't have family living nearby why not start a babysitting circle with friends?
- Since the credit crunch many people have rediscovered the joys of the Great British holiday. Opt for self catering as it is often cheaper than room and board or investigate a 'home swap', either with friends or via one of the many websites specialising in home exchange schemes.
TravelGet there for less
- Stop using your car for short journeys and cycle, walk or take the bus if you can. If you use a car to get to work why not find out if someone else lives on your route and car share?
- Change your car to a smaller more fuel efficient make. It could save on insurance, tax and fuel.
- Research whether a bus pass or rail card could save you money on regular journeys.
- Weigh up the travel, childcare and the other costs created by your current job. Could you save by finding a job nearer where you live or that fits around your family better?
Boost your incomeProfit from your spare time, your spare junk or your spare room!
- If you have a spare room why not take in a lodger? The government's 'rent a room' scheme means that you could charge up to £350 a month before being liable for tax. See www.direct.gov.uk for more information.
- You could even rent out your parking space if you live close to a city centre or major attraction (such as a stadium) and earn anything up to £500 a month. Visit www.parkatmyhouse.com for more details.
- Could you be earning money in your spare time? Providing you have internet access you could make a little extra cash even If you're tied to your home. Homeworking options include acting as a 'mystery shopper' by checking out shops and restaurants then reporting back on the experience: Visit sites such as www.retaileyes.co.uk for more information. Survey websites such as www.yougov.co.uk will also pay you for telling them what you think. Be careful to check out the company you're dealing with and make sure that earning extra cash won't affect any benefits you receive.
- Turn your old junk into cash. Traditionally, a car boot sale was the best way to earn a few extra pounds for your unwanted items but nowadays you can sell your stuff from the comfort of your own home. Auction sites such as www.eBay.co.uk and the online classified sites such as www.gumtree.com mean you can buy and sell just about anything online.
- 0161 669 8925
- 0161 669 8925
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