staring at the bottom of your glass hoping one day you'll make a dream last

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Living on a budget isn't easy. Whether you're saving for a deposit on a house, you're unemployed, a single mother, a student...I could go on. Times are hard and most people are feeling the pressure. This is not a definitive guide on how to live within a budget but these are things that I have done, still do and have worked for me.

1. Write it all down. I live by my phone's calculator and I make weekly estimations of the incomings and outgoings so I know what needs to go where. There are some things I'm not too worried about overspending on as I just take that out of whatever is left over but it's good to have a guide.
2. This brings me on to my second point. Tally up what you have when you go around the supermarket for food and toiletries. Have your phone calculator out and just total it up as you add an item. As you see the number go up I guarantee you'll think twice about whether you need or desperately want a few of the items piling up.
3. Shop in different places. Poundland is fantastic for shower gels, shampoo, conditioners, cleaning items etc and if you still want the named brand rather than ASDA Value bleach it's a cheaper way to get them. Iceland is fantastic for desserts, quick microwave meals, frozen everything and if you hunt around in ALDI there are some amazing bargains to be had, especially on alcohol.
4. Don't be put off if something isn't a named brand. ASDA and Sainsbury's Value ranges are the best and for things like tinned tomatoes, beans, pasta you can't go wrong and it's things you'll always find handy to put with other ingredients to make a meal. The products are made in the same fashion in the same factories but without the added fancy label for usually less than half of the price - what's not to love?
5. Invest in a few good blankets. When it's freezing cold and the heating costs a fortune as it does in my house then sometimes one blanket doesn't cut it so get a selection of thickness and materials and layer them up. Much more cosy than central heating too.
6. If blankets aren't your thing invest in an electric/oil heater. Electric heaters can be bought from Argos for as little as £10 and while it isn't the best heater, it heats a big room up within 45 minutes and uses 24p an hour on the electricity. You can pay a little extra for heaters with more settings if you want to or can afford to.
7. Stay in. Catch up on some TV you've missed online, watch a DVD and grab a bottle of wine in a deal on in a supermarket. We often have a film, a big bottle of Coke, bottle of wine, three pizza's to share, two sticks of garlic bread and chips all for under £15!

For those of you with children or who are pregnant - take it from me, there's a lot marketed that you don't in any way, shape or form need. Like wipe warmers. No. I have bought pretty much everything for my children second hand including their pushchairs and cot (I obviously bought a new mattress and car seat as I don't want to mess with health and safety). One of the best purchases I made was a handheld blender for pureeing my own baby food. Not only did I know exactly what went into it it was also a hell of a lot cheaper, especially when I could make it in bulk and freeze the meals until they needed to be defrosted. I still bought jars here and there while out and about for convenience but for the most part, I blended my own. Things like toys can be found in charity shops which work perfectly fine with a good wipe down or wash. The easiest thing for babies is to give them a wooden spoon and something to bang it on or an empty bottle full of pasta. Sensory play wins every time and is extremely cheap.

These are just a few little tips but if you'd like anything like specific money saving tips just let me know and I'll try my best.

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