I’ve always been one for being careful with money and over the years I’ve discovered different ways to save money, some of which I am going to share with you today…

1. Whenever you boil vegetables and are making gravy from granules, use the water from the vegetables to make the gravy. Not only does this save water but it actually makes the gravy tastier.

2. Make sure you have a supply of tubs in the house and carry one with you in case of any leftovers from eating out. The girls often don’t eat everything when out so rather than let it go to waste, tub it up or wrap it in a napkin and take it home for later.

3. Never throw food away (unless it’s gone off). – freeze leftovers or turn them into another meal… some of my favourite meals are those that just get thrown together! This is also a way of discovering new dishes!

4. Recycle, recycle, recycle – save boxes, egg boxes, toilet roll tubes, kitchen roll tubes, takeaway tubs, yogurt pots, envelopes, cardboard out of new curtains, duvets etc. You never know when they may come in handy for an art project, for making crackers, making toys for pets, writing notes on, catching a spider…the list goes on! (I was saving cardboard boxes to give to my guinea pigs to hide in but it’s recently been reported that some animals have died after chewing boxes that have been sprayed with chemicals so I won’t be doing this until I know it’s safe to).

5. I find it frustrating when shopping as it’s often cheaper to buy more of something e.g. bigger tins or bigger bags of vegetables etc however batch cooking could resolve this issue and most food will keep in the fridge for at least 2-3 days.

6. Washing up water or water from a vase can be used to water the grass or plants.

7. Invest in a travel mug or flask as this saves spending on drinks from cafes…especially at the minute with it being lockdown and being so cold, having a flask with you can make it more pleasant (it may be worth making sure you have some toilet roll in your pocket too!!!)

8. Always make sure you have some snacks and a drink available in the car (this is especially true if you have children as no matter when they last ate, I can bet your bottom dollar that when out in the car they will say they are hungry!!)  as this saves on paying garage or service station prices. Even if you end up popping to the supermarket for a snack, no doubt you will end up buying a lot more than you intended!

9. Invest in a slow cooker. I only recently got one but it definitely saves me time if nothing else and has actually encouraged me to cook more as it is so easy to just bung a few ingredients into the slow cooker and then a few hours later you have a meal ready and waiting.

10. Be open mind when it comes to supermarket own brands or value brands as sometimes these products can be as good if not better than branded produce and obviously cheaper. It can also depend on what you’re going to use something for e.g. if you’re putting some beans in a stew or casserole you won’t notice any difference.

11. Offers in supermarkets can sometimes be confusing so I often look at price per 100g which can help work out value for money.

12. If something you buy is expensive e.g. branded tea bags or coffee it is ALWAYS worth shopping around or waiting for an offer as they will always go on offer sooner or later and when they do, stock up… if you can afford to!

13. Check your tyre pressures – if they aren’t at the recommended inflation you will end up using more fuel. Tyres also need more air in them if there are 4+ people in the car or if the car is full of stuff!

14. Again with fuel it’s definitely worth shopping around – at the minute my local petrol station is charging 121p per litre for unleaded fuel, yet my local Asda is only charging 112p per litre which is worth going to instead!

15. Medicine is another bug bear of mine – paracetamol and ibuprofen are the same whether they are a supermarkets own brand or a leading brand – the ingredients are the same, yet the price difference can be ridiculous! This is the same with children’s medicine – everyone assumes children can only have Calpol which is about £4 yet supermarkets do their own and places like B&M or Home Bargains sell it for around £1 – again it has the same ingredients in it. Fair enough it might not taste the same, but it does the same job, so is it really worth paying more for?? Especially if little ones are going through a teething phase! (In the past I’ve been known to add medicine into a yogurt to hide it but now both girls happily take it when needed.)

16. Obviously when it comes to female time of the month products, its a very personal choice, however, I would encourage you to consider at least trying a menstrual cup. Not only are they a lot better for the environment, but they will also save you a lot of money. If every teenage girl who started her period was given one there wouldn’t be such a thing as period poverty! I personally tried one as I suffer with heavy periods and was always conscious of having accidents, since using a menstrual cup I’ve never looked back. I can’t tell when it’s in and I no longer have to feel self-conscious including when going swimming. I don’t need to worry about making sure I have anything with me when its time of the month or making sure I always products with me when I’m out and about.

17. I always look for vouchers or discount codes when buying anything online and quite often there’s a discount available or free postage so it’s always worth having a quick look especially if you work for the NHS – there’s Blue Light rewards or Health Service Discounts.

18. If I ever get a letter that has an unfranked stamp on it, I tear it off and keep it as it can be used again. They can either be steamed off and then stuck on again with sticky tape or carefully cut around it and stick it on. (I’ve been informed that you’re not allowed to do this anymore – it’s the first I’ve heard of it. However, as far as I know, most charities still accept used and new stamps).

19. Always make sure you have a carrier bag with you when you go out, leave at least one in your car and in your handbag. And if you get caught out consider resisting buying yet another bag for life to add to the ever-growing bags of life hiding in a drawer or cupboard somewhere in your house. Can you carry what you’ve bought to the car? I’ve been known to put things in pockets and a handbag as well as balancing things precariously just to make a point by not paying 10p for a bag because I know I have lots already at home!!!

20. Think about lights when in the house – do you leave all the lights on even if you’re not in the room? Does your house look like Blackpool illuminations?! Not only will this add up on your electricity bill, it’s not very good for the environment. I’m not suggesting you sit by candlelight (unless you’re trying to create a romantic atmosphere!!) but if you’re not in the room then it probably doesn’t need to be left on.

21. If you don’t use a room in the house, is the radiator still on full? Fair enough it’s worth having on a bit to stop the room getting damp but it’s not worth having on full blast as no one will feel the benefit other than your gas supplier!

22. If you know you’re going to be cooking something that takes a long time in the oven, maybe consider utilising it by cooking something else even if it’s for the next day? I’ve been known to put something in for the girls lunch the next day that they are happy to eat cold or that is safe to warm up. Again, this saves time and money.

23. If I’m boiling eggs I often boil extra for the next day or two. Once fully cool I pop them in the fridge – making sure to keep them apart from any other eggs so as not to get them mixed up!

24. When I buy a loaf of bread, I know that I won’t get through it all before it starts to go off so I split it up into pack-up bags and freeze them and take a few slices out at a time. This can be done with tea cakes, crumpets, wraps, pittas and quite a lot of other things. It’s definitely worth checking on packaging whether it can be frozen.

25. At the minute as part of my healthy eating I’m having blueberries with my muesli every morning but blueberries don’t last long and are expensive, so I buy frozen blueberries. This way, I don’t have to worry about them going off and I just put a handful in a bowl in the morning and within 10 minutes they’ve defrosted. They also work out a lot cheaper than fresh ones.

….I hope some of these tips are useful! I’m sure I will add some more of about my ‘frugalness’ at some point.

Just think…if you manage to save some money by making a few small tweaks to everyday life, you’ll be able to treat yourself to that pair of shoes, handbag, lipstick or dress you’ve been umming and arring about!!

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