I am a huge saver. Not in the conventional sense of putting money into an account to actually save but on every day things, I like to save money. People often ask me how I have so much but spend so little money and it's really very simple. I'm used to living like this because for as long as I've been on my own, I've had to. I've had to choose between food and rent some months so I know my way around a budget. The problem is that depriving yourself is not sustainable. You start to become envious of everyone, you get depressed because you don't have those things that make you feel good and generally, life without good things is a little disappointing. Yes, there's love and wellbeing but sometimes you just need to be a bit materialistic. This is how I do it.
❥ Buy clothes in the sale. Almost everything I once wanted is marked down within a month.
❥ Buy clothes from charity shops or boot sales. Pre-worn, yes but certainly taken care of in most cases.
❥ Re-vamp old clothes for new trends by sewing in lace, pressing on studs or dying the fabric.
❥ Borrow or swap clothes with friends with a similar taste. If you're different sizes, do the same with accessories.
❥ Call up your cable/phone provider, explain you've come into money worries and usually instead of losing you as a customer they'll offer you a deal on your package.
❥ Never underestimate the charm of second hand furniture, a piece of sandpaper and a pot of paint.
❥ Buy food from the discounted aisle and freeze it if it's fresh. You can defrost it at your own leisure and the meat is usually significantly cheaper this way.
❥ Go food shopping in the evenings, ideally 7-8pm when things start being marked down. It's hit and miss but I tend to find some great things with a decent discount.
❥ Frozen vegetables are cheaper and arguably healthier than fresh. Don't be afraid of them.
❥ Before you buy beauty products, take a look at the deals. Usually you'll find Boots or Superdrug have an offer on (lots of 3 for 2's). ❥ Buyapowa, Wowcher etc are great sites for deals on everything from dining, spa days, hair treatments, beauty products and gadgets.
❥ Fancy a takeout? Google for deals. A simple Google brought me all these codes for Dominos. Some work, some don't but they're worth it for often £15 off a £30 order.
❥ Make your own lip scrub. Sugar and oil is all that you need and you can add in essential oils for flavourings. So much cheaper than the pots you buy from companies and just as effective.
❥ Don't be afraid of places like B&M, Home Bargains and Poundland. They are cost effective until you realise you went in for Dettol and have spent £10.
❥ Make a list. Write down all costs in that list. Stick to the list. It sounds so simple but it really isn't. Once you've mastered it, impulse buying isn't so tempting.
❥ Instead of going out for a night on the town, ask everyone to chip in £5, buy a few bottles of wine and make a meal at home. Don't blame me if you envision yourself on Come Dine With Me, though.
❥ Buying for your child's new best friend's birthday present? Books. Go to The Works and you can pick up 3 for £5-6. All of the reception children this year are getting books.
❥ The sole of your shoe coming away from the upper but you can't afford to replace them? One word: superglue. Just make sure you don't stick your fingers together.
❥ Instead of buying new books, order them from the library. If it's not in the library they can order it in for you within around a week.
❥ Spend the extra time and get the Megabus to London. £60 return on the train compared to £10? A no brainer for me for the sake of two extra hours.
❥ Make meals in bulk to save time, gas and electric on cooking more the next day. You can refridgerate or freeze leftovers and reheat as necessary. Excellent for weaning babies or adults on a budget.
❥ eBay is your friend. Most of the time things from China are cheaper and are the exact same quality as things from the UK as most things are made in China by these very people. They're simply selling from their home country rather than companies buying the products in to sell at an inflated price. For small items or low quantitiescustoms fees are almost non-existant too.
❥ Request plant cut offs on Freecycle to grow your own garden within a year.
❥ Add glitter or cut up sequins to a generic clear nail varnish for your own unique glitter nail varnish.
❥ Own brand value ranges are often made in exactly the same manner as branded, even in the same factories. Give the 38p Sainsbury's beans a chance - they're better than Heinz!
❥ If you're a huge film fan like I am check out Netflix. The best by a mile in all the pay monthly streaming services and cheap at £5.99 a month.
❥ Expensive hair oils? Heat up virgin olive oil in a pan until warm to the touch, apply to damp hair ends, wrap in clingfilm for 10-15 minutes and it's pretty much the same thing.
❥ Eat out earlier in the day for early bird deals and 2 4 1 deals in most restaurants during lunch hours.
❥ Switch to e-billing if you still get paper bills. Most companies charge between £1 and £2 for paper bills and because it's usually written right at the end of a contract or email nobody ever really notices. Contact your providers to see if it would make a difference to switch as it did for me and I save over £10 a month on all of my bills combined.
❥ I've said it before, I'll say it again, Boots own brand nappies are better than Pampers and £4 cheaper.
These are just my tips. If you have tips, be they similar or completely different to mine you can enter the MoneySupermarket ways to save £1 competition where if you share your own tips you could be entered in to a draw to win £1000 all in the honour of the 21st birthday of the £1 coin. Better yet if there are 1,000 tips in total the prize fund will be doubled to £2000. So go do that and get inspired to save up, even if you're only saving for that Zara bag as I am.