I save my money and then I buy Lego with it - JD, 5
From kitting out a nursery or playroom, to regular purchases like nappies and clothes, to essentials like groceries and school supplies, the cost of providing for your kids can really mount up. But if you take the time to look, you’ll find that there is always money to be saved by shopping around.
I'm delighted to see some of my money saving tips in the Mrs Crunch pages of The Sun today. They got in touch a couple of weeks back and asked me to share some tips on how we save money as a family. A couple of snippets made it into print, so I thought I'd share the rest with you here.
How do we save? Five top tips
Here are the some of the key ways that we save money all year round:
- When shopping on the high street, we resist buying in-store there and then. If you have a smart phone, jump online and search for the product you're interested in - you may find that you're looking at the best deal, but often there are huge savings to be made by ordering online, even allowing for delivery costs.
- When we find a good deal online, we do a search (using Google or similar) to see if there are any voucher codes or coupons that could offer further discounts. Often you will find that you canknock off up to another 25% from your purchase this way.
- We regularly review our utilities to make sure we're getting the best deal. Switching providers can be very straightforward these days because suppliers want your business so badly. Use comparison services to see if there is a better tariff elsewhere, but before you switch, call up your current provider and see if they can better it. Often, advisors have special 'customer retention' deals that they are able to offer if it will stop a customer from leaving.
- We buy in bulk where it makes sense to do so, but avoid bulk purchases of things that will go off quickly. Big bags of potatoes, for example, can be a false saving as they will often go green before you get to the bottom of the bag, but a bulk purchase of toilet tissue can sit in the cupboard and save you a fortune over the course of the year.
- We're big fans of haggling. It's surprising how many people have never tried it, but no matter what the store, or how low the price is already, there is never any harm in asking, "Are you able to offer me a better deal?", particularly for bigger purchases such as appliances. You will be amazed how often the manager will come over and knock a chunk off the price!
How much do we save?
Across our regular monthly outgoings, we save around £250 a month, as well as making typical savings of at least 25-30% on one-off purchases such as gifts and gadgets.
Our best ever saving was a few years back with a mobile provider. At the time, I was spending a lot of time on my mobile for work and data was very expensive. My mobile provider wasn't offering much a deal, but I haggled a 50% line rental reduction and three months free. A huge saving of over £400 over the course of the year compared with the tariff and call/data charges I was on prior to that. It's so worth pushing for - be polite but persistent.
First steps to money saving
If you're just starting out with money-saving, try these tips to get you started:
- Make a list of all your regular outgoings and the amounts and ditch anything that you don't regularly use like gym membership or movie subscriptions. The monthly savings can quickly run into the hundreds, which can help motivate you to start work on bringing down essential bills.
- Stop over-shopping. Ever nipped out for milk and come home with bags of unplanned groceries? For your next shop, make a list and then stick strictly to it - don't buy a single thing that isn't on the list. You can save a lot by avoiding impulse purchases and it will help to start reset the way you think about what you’re buying.
- Hunt around for money saving online websites and forums and sign up. Have a look at moneysavingexpert, ilikeoffers.co.uk and myvouchercodes - they, and websites like them, are often the first to post details of money saving coupons, events and exclusive deals.
What tips would you add?