How to save money
Times of austerity mean we all have to cut back a bit more. But saving money doesn't need to be a painful process that puts your wallet through the wringer. Gransnetters are a frugal lot, so if you need to get started we've got some first steps for how to save money.
Write it down
This is the scary bit. If you want to start saving money, you need to have an idea of where you can make those savings. You're not alone if feel like money is just running away from you and you don't really know where it's gone. Take the first positive step now:
- Buy a ruled ledger and make headings such as gas, electricity, phone, insurance, etc. and for three months enter all spending religiously. Greatnan
- Keep a small notebook with you and write down EVERYTHING you buy. It's like keeping a weightwatchers record - slimming for the purse. NfkDumpling
Weighing scales for the wallet - we like! A good way to become more aware of your spending is to use either cash or a debit card. If you can see the money leaving your purse, you might find can keep track and budget much more easily. On the other hand, it might make more sense to use your debit card whenever possible. That way, you can see on your statement what you're spending on.
- I find I can keep better control if I use my debit card rather than drawing cash. Euros in my wallet just tend to disappear! Greatnan
- Only take enough cash for what I intend to buy (leave debit card at home). Hankipanki
Once you've worked out where the money's going, it's a case of choosing where to cut down. Big purchases are an obvious target.
- For any big spend - that's anything over £20 in my book - always have a cooling off period before splashing out. vegasmags
And don't forget the little things - don't let yourself get tempted by small purchases that just seem like "add ons".
- Never ever buy anything just because it's cheap. All those "get an extra chocolate bar for 99p" things are such a trick. bakergran
There are also ways of cutting down on essentials - even if they're things you have to pay for:
- If you have a free water-meter fitted it could save you some extra cash each month. Pete
Check out all of your household bills - are you definitely getting the best deal you could be?
Other things you might like...
The obvious way to save money on food is to grow it yourself, even if it's only the odd thing.
- I know not everyone has a vegetable garden, but I think even a small raised bed or a growbag or two can make a real difference. We grow the "cut and come again" salads and these save a lot of money. Mamie
Next tip: eat cheaper types of food. Try a different cut of meat, or a less exotic vegetable on the side.
- We eat lentils and offal and all those things that taste so good and that no one eats anymore. The cat likes liver as well. MargaretX
And once you've bought the food, make it last longer. Odds and ends can always be used to make stock, or added to soup or a stew. But had you thought of these?
- I used to throw away lettuce, coleslaw and fruit juice all the time. Now I wrap lettuce in tin foil and honestly it lasts for ages, try it. I make coleslaw as and when now I have the right equipment. Fruit juice makes fantastic ice lollies for the granddaughter. POGS
Check out our food section for more ideas for eating well on a budget.
Gransnetters are full of tips on how to make sure you still look your best while saving money.
- Make an appointment at one of the training colleges where the trainees are supervised whilst they learn. Don't be afraid of going as they only allow hairdressers who have been training for a year or two and they are supervised all the time. The last time I had a trim (1 inch) instead of costing £18 at one salon, I paid £6 at the college and had a very enjoyable morning. glammanana
- Ask at your local department stores for sample pots of make-up every time you go through the store. One of those pots lasts all week and can save a fortune. glammanana
- Cut plastic tubes of hand cream etc in half when you can't squeeze any more out. The bottom half will fit into the top half and you will be amazed at how much is left that you can use. It's clever of the manufacturers to design these tubes so you can't use all the contents unless you perform surgery. Daisyanswerdo
The great thing about fashion is that what looks horrible now will almost definitely come back into fashion at some point (yes, even that lycra sequinned catsuit that's been gathering dust at the back of your wardrobe. Whether you'll want to wear it is another matter...) One day, you (or someone else) might want to wear those outfits again, so if you have the space, why not keep them around?
- I put away clothes I don't wear then after a while go through them again. I have started wearing my hand knitteds I made years ago and had put them away as I thought they were frumpy. Now I am enjoying them again (and getting compliments!). mrsmopp
- Something which gives me great pleasure (sad old dear) is reviving either a garment I haven't worn for ages and suddenly seems quite right, or rescuing a pair of scuffed neglected shoes, giving them a good polish and a few days on shoe trees and rediscovering why I bought them in the first place! After a couple of years in the suitcases in the loft it's almost like having a new wardrobe. gracesmum
If you still hate it after 10 years, you can always ebay it...