4 top money saving tips to help you shop smarter

I will be the first to admit that when it comes to money saving I am pretty terrible. Or rather, I used to be. While I don’t have more than 18p in my saving account right now, I’m not actually in debt. Which is, quite frankly, a miracle.

You see in my Twenties I was on first name terms with Steven, the debt collection chap, who would knock on my door every Wednesday night to collect £5 from me. That £5 would then be distributed across several different companies – credit cards, loans, utility bills for previous properties.

The money I owed was thousands and I had done a pretty good job of ignoring the debt right up until the day I was threatened with bankruptcy. It was then I knew I needed to sort my finances out. 

Very slowly, but surely, over the next few years I paid off all my debts. I cut up my credit cards, and for a while even stopped using my debit card, preferring instead to use cash only. It was hard but it needed to be done. 

In that time though I have learnt some money saving tips that really helped me to make my money last from one payday to the next. And I still use these tips today despite finally being debt free – having two small children isn’t exactly cheap, is it?

4 top money saving tips to help you shop smarter

Meal planning

Meal planning is one of the very best ways you can save money each week. How many times have you popped into the supermarket on the way home from work to grab something for dinner and ended up buying half the store? Okay, half the store might be a slight exaggeration but you know what I mean. 

Those after work trips to the supermarket have probably been one of my biggest cash drains over the years. But when I was pregnant with my son I knew I had to organise myself a bit better. So, I started to meal planning, and it has now become an essential part of my week. I have a post about meal planning for beginners which is full of tips and tricks that I still use. 

Supermarket Loyalty Cards

This is sort of related to meal planning but I think it’s worth a separate mention. Sign up for the supermarket loyalty cards – Nectar, My Waitrose, Tesco Club Cards etc. Every few weeks or so they will send you vouchers that are tailored to you, based on your past purchases. With Nectar they might offer you Nectar points rather than cash off – but those points have a financial value and can be used against future shops. I saved my nectar points one year and paid for the Christmas food shop with them!

Price Comparison Sites

Is your car insurance up for renewal soon? Use a comparison site to see if you can get a better deal. Spending five minutes on a comparison site whenever something has been coming up for renewal has saved us hundreds of pounds over the years.

Voucher Codes

Since becoming debt free several years ago I have become very cautious about what I spend my money on. That’s not to say I have become a tight-a*** and refuse to spend any money at all – far from it in fact! It’s just that nowadays when I see something I think I’d like to buy I ask myself do I really need it? Is it something that is going to bring me, or my family, joy (because let’s face it, the majority of my money nowadays is spent on the kids!)? 

If the answer to those questions is YES then I will happily go ahead and buy whatever it is. But, not until I have checked one of the online voucher sites, like Voucherism.co.uk, to see if I can find any type of deal to save a few pounds. Like the price comparison sites, it only takes a minute to see if there is a voucher or cash back deal available – and if that deal can save you pounds then it’s a no-brainer really, isn’t it!

 

So those are my money saving tips to help you shop smarter. Do you have any top money saving tips that helps you to shop smarter that I haven’t mentioned here? I’d love to know!

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2 Comments

  1. 12th April 2017 / 9:43 am

    Great tips Catherine! My ‘just popping to Waitrose for a loaf of bread and spending £40’ moments are my downfall! When money was really tight I used to stick to a cash only budget too. x

    • Catherine
      12th April 2017 / 10:49 am

      Thanks Lizzie! Oh, popping to Waitrose for ‘just one thing’ is impossible for me! xxx

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