A new site pinching-pennies.com has got a lovely little bloggers competition running at the moment to see if we bloggers can give a few tips on how to save pennies. I'm all to do with saving pennies or making my money work harder, basically because I always seem to have too much month left at the end of the money.
I'm not a huge spender, but I'm not a huge earner either and bills just seem to take up more and more of my income each month. I should be really good at saving money, I'm married to a financial advisor and work for another one; my problem is that my talents lie in investing large sums of money or investing regular sums into pensions or inheritance tax avoidance schemes. My problems would be easy to solve if I was rich, so in my efforts to get there, here are some of my tips.
1. Don't shop when you are hungry or thirsty. You will only splurge on impulse buys.
2. Shop with a list. Again this will stop impulse buys and also should mean you don't forget something and have to go back. No one can ever really go to the shop for a pint of milk and just buy a pint of milk....
3. Use coupons. They are everywhere, cut them out, print them off, grab them off shop shelves when you see them and keep them in your purse. There is nothing worse than buying something to realise at the checkout you have a money off coupon for it at home on the pinboard.
4. Make use of cheap deals site like Groupon, but only buy things you really need.
5. Before you buy anything ask yourself "do I really need this?" "Is this worth me working for x minutes/hours?" Quite often you don't really need it at all.
6. Car boot sales are a great way to get rid of old stuff you no longer want and make some money in the process. If you haven't got much, grab a friend and share a pitch.. just don't spend all the money you make on someone elses stall.
7. Make use of free cinema ticket sites like seefilmfirst and showfilmfirst. Not only are the tickets free, you get to see the film before anyone else.
8. If you fancy eating out, check online for voucher codes. Large chains often offer really good discounts if you look on their websites before you go. Pizza Express, Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge always have some kind of deal on their website or for people who sign up to their mailing lists.
9. Don't be a lable slave... sometimes own brands are as good as named brands.
10. Shop around for discounts with your car insurance... NEVER take the renewal quote, even if you want to stay with that company.. they will always wiggle the price down a little bit.
11. Shop around regularly for your gas and electricity, it is so easy to switch nowadays and there is always a cheaper tariff if you look for it.
12. Don't be afraid to haggle with your mobile phone or TV company either. Threatening to leave may sound callous but they will normally offer a deal to stay with them.
13. Always pay your credit card bill off on time, unless you have a 0% deal. Otherwise when working out how much something has cost, remember to add on the interest you will pay on that purchase to your credit card company.
14. Take a packed lunch into work. Shop bought sandwiches are so much more expensive than home made, and probably laden with calories.
15. Use a library rather than buying a book. Ask yourself how many times do you read a book, if it's only once, then why pay for it?
16. Rent DVDs rather than buying the film, or if you must own a copy, wait a few weeks and watch it fall in price before you buy it.
17.Daytrips with the kids needn't always be an expense... a picnic on the beach is just as much fun as a day at a zoo, when you're little. Take a kite, or a ball and play with them rather than letting them be entertained by others. They will appreciate getting parent time so much.
18. Always feel like you are a taxi service,,,, why not see if other parents are travelling to the same clubs and events and car share.
19. If you must drive to work, why not see if there is a car sharing scheme in your area for other people doing the same journey. Devon has a fantastic one, which puts people in touch with other drivers, or just people after a lift willing to share petrol costs.
20. If you use public transport, invest in a weekly, monthly pass. It is always cheaper than individual journeys.
21. Send letters second class. Most of the time it will get there at the same time as a first class stamp anyway.
22. Turn off lights if you are not in the room
23. Learn to hate your standby buttons. Keeping that little red light on is costing you electricity... switch it off
24. Turn down your central heating by 1 degree and you won't notice the temperature change but you will see the electric bill difference
25. Don't use your dishwasher half empty, wait until it's full or better still wash up by hand.
26. Sales are everywhere, take advantage of them.
27. Empty the boot of your car, the extra weight uses more fuel.
28. Re-use carrier bags, it will save you 5p a go and the enviroment, so it's a win/win.
29. Not every sale is genuine or every discount a real saving. Double check first.
30. Use your freezer... stock up on reduced goodies at the supermarket and put them in the freezer. You can save a fortune on your shop that way.
If like me you like the idea of pinching pennies you can find them on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pinchingpenniessite and on twitter at @Penny_Piggy.