Our Piggy Bank Tale…

As part of Britmums ‘our Piggy Bank Tales’ we decided to do a post on what we do to pinch the pennies and save the pounds (£’s).

Yes! Yes you can save as you shop… 

This topic has almost been over done recently and everyone seems to have developed their own tricks to shopping weekly for less… like shopping without the kids, making sure youre not hungry when you shop, shop to a budget and/ or list or shopping at the end of the day when items are reduced. Theres also the infamous downshifting which means buying the stores own value brand items or shopping at a budget store (like ALDI 😀 ). I personally like to shop around, Our main wwekly shop comes from a budget store (ALDI!), our meat from the same store or local butcher depending on value and fruit/ veg from a local grocer. We also make use of our local pound stretchers and pound shops when needed. Poundland is WONDERFUL for crafty todos for the kids!

We like to overpay on our utilities!

You read that correctly, we overpay on our water bill by a few pounds every month… and at the end of the year we have a nice little check for £50+ which more than covers our food and festivities in December. Other more conventional money saving on utilities would be to research who does the best deal in your area…. and of course to make sure your home is well insulated and ceiled. Turning down your thermostat can also save you £££££ pounds per year.

Cooking from scratch saved our bacon.

Just a catchphrase… I think not! Cooking from scratch (dispite the myth) saves us time, money and means we know EXACTLY whats going into our bodies. Time is saved by baking in bulk and storing the goodies for the week. Money is save because so much premade stuff is rediculously overpriced…. and healthwise….well thats not hard to work out. Cooking food from scratch cuts out all the preservatives needed in store bought food to keep them fresh on the shelf.

Other benefits of cooking from scratch is that recipes can be tailor made to suit the family… theres nothing more draining and time consuming than cooking a different meal for everyone in the house.

Luxuries? What are those?

 Kidding, budgeting and being generally thrifty does NOT mean you make your life miserable and wrap yourself in potato sacks to fetch the kids from school. Nor does it require you to stop shaving your legs and plucking the mono-brow. Its the little luxuries (and big ones) that make the thrifting and frugal shopping worth it.

I personally consider my £2.50  per week boxercise membership worth their weight in gold. Thats time just for me and friends my own age.

Larger luxuries may include thinks like our holiday next year that we’re saving for and clothing for the summer (Gawd bless George at ASDA) for us and the kids. But evern those we BUDGET FOR and so they dont come as a shock.

Online banking… its not just paperless!

This is perhaps our best and greatest money saving bit of magic to date!  We have a regular current account that our weekly money goes into. Bog standard so far. Because the internet is marvelous 😀 we do our banking online and over our life time will probably save a tree or two in statements. We also used our banks online facilities to open 3 online saving accounts which, cleverly, we cant access except online!

I get paid at the beginning of the week, out of that some goes to the BILLS AND UTILITIES ACCOUNT (saver 1)  and the weekly £40 goes to our grocery/ food shopping. We also pay £20 each week to the BANK OF MAM who is under strict instructions not to hand over the £££ unless we REALLY nead it.

MrC gets paid at the end of each week. Half of his pay will go to our HOLIDAY FUND (saver 2) and the other half to THE BUFFER ACCOUNT (saver 3) which is reasonably self explanitory…. its a cash buffer which goes to bus fares, emergency taxi fares, emergency footwear for growing kids, exploding appliances etc.

Honestly its wonderful knowing you dont have to think about the bills coming out on the 1st of the month because your online bank is automatically debiting the money youve been setting aside all month. PLUS the money left over from that bills account can then go an a family treat like a day out etc.

If you dont use it…loose it.

We’re currently selling old CDs, DVDs and PC games on PLAY.COM so far we’ve sold about £40 worth of goodies… which can be send to our bank (for a %) or kept in our play account for when we want to get some DVDs, CDs, Games, Books etc (I recently bought half a dozen DVDs and a new cookery book on there second hand as new for under £6 BARGAIN!)

Never underestimate what you can collect in a penny jar

Before we went on holiday last September we emptied a huge glass vodka bottle (we didnt drink it…bought it from the local pub for £1) and discovered a treasure trove of over £60 in change which had been collected over 2 years or so. When youre on a budget (home or on holiday) £60 can make a big difference. At home its pretty much 2 weeks shopping for the 5 of us and on holiday it meant a dinner out and some cuddly toys etc for the kids to bring back home. We still empty our pockets every night because the pennies REALLY DO add up over time.

Future Plans for a veg garden

…this ones a goodie. Not only do we save money by growing our own but its a great (and free) workout as well as a great adventure for the kids.

They love watching the seeds grow and learning about them. PLUS nothing beats the taste of HOME GROWN veg and a MADE FROM SCRATCH meal!


11 responses to “Our Piggy Bank Tale…

  1. Wowsers – you certainly have a few curls in your piggy’s money saving tail/tale. Love your description of wearing potato sacks! I, like you, am a fan of those pound stretching shops and Aldi. Amazing the bargains you can get if you have a good shop around.
    Good luck with the comp!

  2. Some wonderful advice! I wish we had Aldi’s here in South Africa! I also marvelled at the amazing bargains I found in the pound shop when I was last over there in 2008. Well done on being so wise with your pennies and saving up for that holiday next year! I definitely will take a leaf out of your book and put some of these tips into action, thanks!

  3. These are some great tips. I especially agree with the ones about cooking at home, indulging in little luxuries (they’re so important), and eBaying. We recently got £75 for some old baby equipment that was just sitting in the cellar.

    • Definately home cooking is the way to go…. unfortunately not everyone will know how if these skills dont get passed on. Long live good old Home Economics classes at school hey. 😀

  4. Great tips – it’s lovely reading other peoples tips and knowing that what I’m suggesting is not too difficult, because other people like yourself are managing that AND MORE! Well done you – you’re kids will grow up with great money mgmt skills.

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