Friday, 6 April 2012

My Piggy Bank Tale - Top Moneysaving Tips!

I am not a saver by nature unfortunately.  As a student I spent my loans on pretty new shoes and pints of lager and black...I then progressed to spending my well earned wages on, erm... pretty new shoes and wine (my palate became more sophisticated - but my spending habits didn't!).

When I got together with my husband I had a shedload of debt, and not a lot to show for it - although I did go on some amazing holidays!  Following the realisation that I was no longer young and ought to be paying off my debt and saving for our future, I decided enough was enough and devised a 2 year plan to pay off my humungous debt.

The plan that I followed to pay the debts off is still followed today, however, instead of debt, we now have savings, hurrah!

So here are a few of my top moneysaving tips!

1.  Meal plan.  Sounds simple, but it really does save you wads of money.  It is so easy to think 'sod it' when you haven't got any food in, and nip out for a Chinese or a chippy tea!  When you have food in the house, you don't have that temptation.  Also make sure you have ingredients for quick fix meals - so when you're tired and can't be bothered, you can just whip something up in no time, even if it is just beans on toast or something equally unexotic!

2.  Swap your supermarket.  We have always been big advocates of Tesco, largely due to the Clubcard rewards, however, we have recently swapped to doing our weekly shop at Aldi or Lidl.  We were dubious of the lesser well known branded goods, however, most of them are the same as the more expensive brands - trust me!  Another benefit of using a smaller supermarket is that it takes much less time to do your shopping, which believe me, is a real bonus when you have 2 toddlers in tow.  In addition because you have less choice you don't leave the supermarket with a million and one things you didn't actually go in for!  I believe we have probably cut our food shopping bill in half by doing this.

3.  Cut down on alcohol.  It is so easy to become reliant on that 1 or 2 glasses of wine a night.  Cut down to drinking at weekends only and your purse will thank you!  Even better cut it out completely (hey, but where would the fun be in that?).  This will not only save you money, but your body will thank you for it too!

4.  Make a vow to cut out a treat completely for a couple of weeks.  So for instance, if you always buy a coffee from Costa on the way to work, cut it out!  Take the money that you would have spent and put it in a piggy bank and count it up after the 2 weeks have elapsed.  When you realise how much you spend on little luxuries, it makes you think twice about making the purchase.  If you do this for 6 months or so, imagine how much you could save?!

5.  Swap expensive nights out for dinner parties!  Invite friends round for dinner and hopefully they will return the favour.  Cooking your own food and drinking your own alcohol is way cheaper than going out on the town, plus taxis will probably be cheaper, or one of you could even drive.  This also means you can socialise easier as no loud music blaring! (god, I really sound my age here!).

Anyhow, these are a few of my moneysaving tips to help you save those pennies, these little habits will help your money go a lot further.  It's easy to get into the right frame of mind, and once you've started moneysaving, I'm sure you'll become addicted!
This forms my entry into the fantastic BritMums Piggy Bank Tales Competition, sponsored by Virgin Money.

Share your savings story for a chance to win £500 towards a Stocks & Shares ISA

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