The somewhat fabulous and rather wonderful Miss Thrifty (I am allowed to say that as I have met her) is hosting a competition for Money Supermarket who are compiling a list of tips called The Ten Commandments of Saving.
This completely changed the way that I looked at our finances and I even made some cash envelopes to help me with it. We use a cash only system for incidentals, fuel, groceries, lunches etc though the month. This means we draw enough cash out after pay day to cover the expenses (just, if we have enough) and then use the cash through out the month.
Second Hand is not Second Best
Why buy new products when you can get something second hand. Yes you may not always be able to get the exact thing you needed at the exact time, but often you can get something of a better quality for a lower price.
Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan. I can not say this often enough. On average a family of four will through away £600 plus of food a year. This is shameful in a society where half the world goes hungry and is financially like burning money. Yes it can be a chore and yes people will think you are a bore, however, my boys adore having a look on our chalkboard wall and knowing what is for Dinner and helping to plan and cook the meals too.
Never Automatically renew anything!
Always take the time to compare costs when something is due for renewal. Weather that be your home, buildings or car insurance or even your breakdown cover. We got a £42 reduction from our current breakdown supplier just for the cost of a phone call. I have a dairy which has all the dates when things are due for renewal and the annual charges in it. At the beginning of each month I check and dedicate some time to getting quotes.
It does not pay to be a loyal customer
Do not become stuck in a rut with your energy suppliers. Make sure you compare costs on a regular basis.
Look to the past
It often pays to look at the things our grandparents used to do to save money. Line your curtains, use draft excluders, wear layers, use a hot water bottle, use a tea cosy, repair clothes, batch cook, cook from scratch. Why not have a chat to the older generation and ask how they used to save money and mend and make do during the war and in times of hardship.
Repair not replace
One of the best things we did was to find a reliable and good repair man for our white goods. He is much cheaper than paying for an extended warranty and has saved us hundreds of pounds over the last eight years. Rather than replace our washer, dryer and dishwasher all have been repaired and some more than once!
Learn the value of something
Sometimes it pays to work out a cost per use for an item. It does not always pay to buy an inexpensive item if it is not going to last and you end up having to pay out again. LED bulbs are a typical example of this for us, they cost more initially but the savings over a year are massive and the cost per use a lot less than other bulbs
Why pay for something when you can get it free
Why buy books when you can use the library? I am finding more and more free online magazines, so why but them?
Do not give in to pester power
By teaching your children the value of money you can help reduce their spending and set realistic expectations with them. When I was small toys were for Christmas and birthdays, not for being good when you went round the supermarket