Saving money doesn't have to be time-consuming. In fact, sometimes it's just about not doing something or thinking twice before you buy. Follow these 10 really easy tips and you might just find a little extra cash in your pocket...
Saving money doesn’t have to be time-consuming. In fact, sometimes it’s just about not doing something or thinking twice before you buy. Follow these 10 really easy tips and you might just find a little extra cash in your pocket…
By Meera Dattani
Lather, rinse, repeat – that’s what the average shampoo bottle says, but the reality is you only need to do it once for a clean head of hair – which means you’ll only use half the amount of shampoo you’re currently getting through.
If you’ve got short hair, you really don’t need to use very much and if you do wash your hair every day, you could try getting your hair used to less frequent washing (give it a couple of weeks at least to get used to the change). Some people also find conditioner is unnecessary so you could save even more money by putting warmed olive oil overnight into your hair once a week instead.
Do you have bleach, kitchen cleaner, bathroom mousse, surface cleaner, tile cleaner and 7 different cloths and sponges? You’re probably spending a small fortune on keeping the house clean, yet you really don’t need so many.
A multi-purpose cleaner works for kitchen and bathroom surfaces and a toilet bowl cleaner will see you through most ‘events’. Microfibre cloths are excellent for absorbing dirt and cleaning electronic equipment while baking soda mixed with water is great for removing soap scum, keeping drains clear and general dirt removal.
Buy one, get one free and half-price offers are only good-value if you were going to buy those items anyway – otherwise it’s £3 or £5 that you were never going to spend. If you view offers in this way, it’s amazing what you’ll save. One of the best ways to stay on track is to use a shopping list. Sounds simple but it will make you question whether you really need items.
Of course, if it’s a deal on a product that you buy anyway, such as cereal, tea bags or washing powder, that’s fine. But in cases where you’re going to eat/drink/use more just because you have double the amount, it’s a waste of money.
On the other hand, if it’s a product you can’t normally afford but is now good-value, do bag the bargain. You can even club together with a friend or neighbour and buy in bulk.
You could save anything from 25%-75% on laundry detergent if you stop following instructions. Often, the amounts stated on the washing powder box or bottle are far more than you need to get clothes clean, especially if the clothes are not particularly dirty.
You’ll need to experiment, but try using half the recommended amount first. You might find you can get away with less or that you need more, but generally speaking, you’ll rarely, if ever, need to use as much as the manufacturer suggests.
It’s also worth thinking twice about whether something needs washing. If you wash everything after one wear, think before you bung it in the laundry basket.
If you haven’t tried the supermarket version or a cheaper version of many items, give it a go. As an example, look at 1-litre cartons of orange juice at Asda. Their Smartprice Orange Juice from Concentrate costs 56p, their own-brand Pure Orange Juice with Fruity Bits costs £1, Del Monte 100% Pure Orange Juice costs £1.58 and Tropicana Pure Premium Smooth No Bits Orange Juice costs £2.28. You can save a huge amount by going own brand or trying ‘value’ versions. This goes for food, drinks, household products and everything else.
Obviously if you don’t like the taste, texture or quality, that’s fine. But if you haven’t tried them, you won’t know and you could just be paying for a name. Some products are virtually identical but packaged differently, so look at the higher and lower shelves to find cheaper alternatives – you might even find a brand or own-version that you prefer. In goodtoknow’s biscuit taste test, we found that we liked Aldi Jaffa Cakes more than branded versions.
A day out for a family of 4 can often cost around £100 and that’s not even taking into account travel and food. Instead, why not base the day out around an offer you’ve found instead and stop paying full-price for attractions.
Warwick Castle, Alton Towers and many other popular days out have frequent 2-for-1 offers or other deals. They’re not always valid all day at weekends or during the school holidays, but very often, they’re valid at a certain time, for example after 3pm, so it’s well worth taking advantage of.
It may only be small amounts here and there but it all adds up. Whether it’s over-charging your mobile phone, leaving your laptop constantly powered or leaving the television on standby, you may as well not pay for it. Smaller appliances only use low levels of electricity, but computers and TVs are definitely worth turning off at the mains you’re not using them.
Some people turn their modem off when they’re out or away and it doesn’t take long to turm back on so if you’re away for a weekend or a holiday, it’s worth it. Leaving lights and lamps on in rooms you’re not in is also wasteful yet very common, so reduce your outgoings by just thinking about what you keep on.
If you find you’re always throwing away a half bag of lettuce here and a handful of carrots there, it might be time to re-assess how much fresh veg you can get through in a week. It can be cheaper to buy less from the supermarket and stock up from a local shop – it may be more expensive per item, but you may save more on the fact that you didn’t over-buy during your ‘big shop’.
Frozen vegetables are a great money-saver as they last for months. Peas, spinach and bags of mixed vegetables work particularly well as you can add them to omelettes, bakes and casseroles. They’re nutritious too so they still count towards your five-a-day.
When you’re even a little peckish, it’s incredible how much extra food creeps into your shopping trolley without you realising it. Everything looks more tempting when you’re hungry, so always do your shopping after a meal or have a snack before you go.
Otherwise you’ll find quiches, chocolate bars and packets of crisps landing in your trolley because your stomach’s dictating your shop, instead of your tried-and-tested shopping list.
With so many discounts, voucher codes and cashback offers on the market, it’s almost unnecessary to pay full-price on more expensive products, especially on items like TVs, white goods, electrical appliances and even insurance, package holidays and hotels. Whether it’s a straightforward half-price offer, a voucher code that you type when buying online or a clickthrough cashback site, it’s really easy to save with almost no effort.