Friday, 5 October 2012

Special: Food for Thrifty Thought

Image from Google
So this is the food special.

Welcome.

Please sit back in your chair, preferably with a mug of tea (or coffee, but being quintessentially British, it's usually tea), and of course some biscuits, and relax.

So food shopping on a budget is always difficult. Theres countless tricks that the supermarkets and other food sellers use to trick you/ force you/coerce you into buying food you didn't need.
So when you get back and sort out your shopping you think 'Did I really put that in my trolley?'... and the answer is usually yes, unless you have children, or a person decided that you really really needed some Spam.
So Here are a few helpful tips the next time you feel like saving some money on food.

1. I think the first thing is to give yourself a budget for each week's food. (Or two weeks, depending how often you food shop.) So write up, or remember, how much you'd like to spend each week on food, and try to stick to it. I gave myself a budget of £10 per week for dinners for two people. I pretty much stuck to it, and we had some left over for the next week too! So, from experience, it can be done.
Also, only buying what you need is very helpful. Maybe making a list of what kinds of things you (and your family, partner, housemates) eat most weeks, and stick to that.

2. Price comparison guarantees. Supermarkets now offer money off your next shop if it was more expensive than at another supermarket. Which is great! The problem is it only compares on brands, and if you don't buy many brands, it won't make much difference. So it's worth looking at which own range is generally cheaper.

3. Supermarket's own ranges like Tesco Value, Smartprice and Essential Waitrose are always cheaper, and usually they taste just as good, but there are some things you just don't scimp on. Pasta tastes pretty much the same no matter what price it is. However I've found I just can scimp on tea bags.. or soup. Both taste bad on the cheap.
Freezer sections are always a good bet too, because you can use the same things for a few different meals each week.

Farmers Market, Image from Google

4. Poundland is NOT always cheaper. I've noticed that a can of Heinz Soup is smaller in Poundland, and the normal size is currently on offer at Adsa for 50p. I think you know which one is better value. If you have enough time (26 minutes) watch The Secrets of Poundland. Please.

5. If you're after fruit, vegetables, cheeses, meat and other groceries go to a market. Farmers markets happen at least once a week in many towns and cities in the UK. Please utilise them. They offer a good price on quality produce, with the added benefit of it being local, so you support local economy. Bonus!

So I hope these tips have helped you in terms of food, and here, as usual, are some useful websites related to saving on food shopping:
http://www.localfoods.org.uk/
Local Food Advisor - Bloggers, Markets
Saving Money on your food bills
Lovemoney.com

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Special: Beauty on a Budget

One of the most expensive things out there for us women is beauty products.
But it doesn't have to be that way.

One of the easiest ways to cut down on spending on beauty is to buy shop own brands. They'll work pretty much as well as high end brands, and be far, far cheaper. One example is Boots makeup brand No.7, or superdrug's own brand. Or you could go to superstores (I happen to know that Asda does good nail polishes at £1-2). A few cheap brands of make up are: Miss Sporty and MUA. MUA is great for most products, but the nail polish brushes aren't the best quality.

There are also some great deals online, for example on amazon, so don't forget to look there if you're after something specific. As well as this, it's worth looking at your local market. The other day I got a magnetic nail polish by w7 on a market stall for £1. Impressive.

As always, using the internet is one of the best ways of saving money. And shopping around. There are some wonderful health and beauty tips on Pinterest, and in blogs and websites all over the Internet. Mostly, it's cheaper to make things yourself.
Image from Google

Here's a few homemade how-to's to get you started:
1. Channel 4 Homemade Beauty recipes.2. All Natural Beauty recipes
3. Beauty on a Budget.
It would also be worth having a quick gander around these websites, I'm sure they have all sorts of useful tips!

Here are some more awesome websites for your perusal:
1. Pinterest - Beauty Budget boards
2. My Health and Beauty board on pinterest
3. 4Beauty - generally a great place for tips on health, beauty and your wardrobe.

Hopefully you'll be more thrifty in your beauty buys from now on. :)
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Thank you for reading!
(I apologise for the link-heavyness, and I'm afraid all my specials may be pretty link-heavy)

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

How To Be Economically Friendly Online.

Well Hello.
I haven't posted in a while, I've been pretty busy. Evertything seems to be happenning all at once.

I've been working on a series of blog posts all about saving your money. This is because I'd like to work on some about organising your house, but I would be very, very hypocritical if I were to do that. So instead I've decided to write about something I know about. And I'm starting today, with some general tips for anyone who might want to save a good few pounds.

Image from Google
I have come to be a saver from not having much money to begin with. I was taught from a young age not to spend too much, and since going on Education maintenence allowance for college, and having a student loan from university, I've learnt a good few things about how to be frugal.

Look out for these upcoming specials:
-Holiday
-Christmas and New Year
-Clothes and Accessories
-Beauty
-Food Shopping
-General Tips

But the first is online. There are some great ways that you can save by going online.
I challenge you to do something frugal with them this week.

Tips !

One very easy way is to use websites to their full potential. Joining comparison sites like comparethemarket, moneysupermarket and gocompare are great for a comparison of insurance and credit cards. But don't forget to look out for ones that aren't on it, like directline. Also it's a good idea to search the web each year to find yourself a better deal on things like gas and electricity. There's usually an even better offer just waiting for you.

When buying on the Internet, whether it be clothes, food or tickets for that show you want to see, always compare, and look out for discount codes and vouchers. Just do a google search, or join a voucher website, like wowcher. An example is codes for H&M and Boohoo.com, and Dominos Pizza. Also, you can get great online deals for tickets for shows and concerts if you go on opening night. I did this and got a very good discount for a theatre show.

If you're a person who likes to reuse items, or update your wardrobe by adding some embellishments. or just generally like homemade things, I suggest you join Pinterest. I have my own pinterest account full of tips and things to do, how to make cheap gifts, make your own beauty remedies and re-purpose items. It's also a pretty cool way of planning things, like your next staycation or party on the cheap, or maybe just places you'd love to go when you've saved up enough money. Check out mine here.

Don't forget, there's always freecycle, to find items for free in your area. And also gumtree, for pretty much everything. Or your local freeads.

Image from Google
Another idea is to use bloggers and blogs as a resource. They'll give feedback on items and how well they have worked and try out ideas for you to see if they're any good.
Recommended blogs:
A Thrifty Mrs
Diary of a Frugal Family
Frugal Queen

Here are some really useful websites I would also recommend.
1. Tips on being frugal (50 ways.. pretty comprehensive)
2. Frugal Living
3. Top 25 personal finance blogs.
4. Best of the web - Shopping
5.Arts and crafts? try this one.
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