Thursday, 16 March 2017

How I Budget and Save Money

A few months ago I did a post all about ways you can save money on your food shopping. I really enjoyed writing it and I actually have a few other tips on ways you can save money so I really wanted to do another. There are only a few tips but they are all easy ways to cut back and budget each month.

Plan For The Month 

As we're only on one income at the moment a few days before George gets paid we will sit down and plan for the month ahead. We always know the total of our bills but we'll still make a note of how much is to come out, we'll see how many food shops we need that month and set aside a certain amount, we will then account for any extras e.g. Georges brothers stopping, or someones birthday. We will then be able to see what is leftover for the month which can be used on clothes, cinema trips, meals etc. If we didn't plan like this each month we'd be in a mess. The more money you have, I suppose the less need there is to do this but for us it's a real priority so we can stay on track and always have enough for bills and food. If you find each month you're running out of money or struggling, plan, plan, plan for the following month and set aside money for things!

Keep A Bills Book 

Following on from the last point, keep a bills book! We just use a simple notebook but you can get really specific ones from places like Paperchase which go into so much detail. We just write down what we have coming in each month, the total amount coming out and then we will write down exactly what we have leftover so then throughout the month we can update it when we've spent some. It's a bit tedious but to save money it has to be done. For me it's vital to keep it all in a book, it's so easy to refer back to then if we want to check if we have enough money for something.

Survey Sites & Vouchers 

If you're wanting to get yourself some freebies then there are a few brilliant survey sites out there where you can earn money and vouchers for very little work. If you're a student then there is Student Beans, you can get lots of free things and discount codes on here but there is also a panel section where you can sign up to do surveys and with each one you can earn from about 20p to a few quid, but it all adds up and I've had earnt some spare money on there over the last few years. There is also Toluna which does take quite a lot of surveys and time to get rewards on but it is worth it. I've had a few £10 cinema vouchers, £10 Marks and Spencers vouchers, and also New Look. I really think sites like this are worth the time. Another site you could use if you're a student is My Uni Days. You can get loads of discount codes from there and when you're a student any extra money you can get off your shopping is a bonus.

Reward Cards 

A lot of supermarkets offer a rewards or points card. These are great to just scan every time you do your food shop and points get added, all adding up for you to use in the future. There is Tesco clubcard where you collect points and every 3 months they will send you vouchers to use based on the amount of points you've collected. One of my main shops at uni was Tesco so I managed to get some really good vouchers from it. There is Morrisons Match and More card where again you collect points every time you shop there or buy fuel. Every time you get to 5000 points, you can exchange them for a £5 voucher. It can take a while for these points to add up but they all do eventually and then it's a nice little bit cut off your food shopping. You can also get points cards for places like Boots, Superdrug, Paperchase and The Body Shop. These all offer different things like free delivery, birthday gifts, discounts and with some you can use points to pay instead of cash.

Meal Planning & Cutting Back 

I talked about this a lot in my last money saving post but I still wanted to touch on it here. If you want to cut back on your food shopping bills then I find meal planning really helps. If you have no idea what you're making each week then it's easy to just pick loads up from the supermarket and a lot of it goes to waste and never gets used. Spend half an hour each week thinking of meals you want to make and I promise it will make life so much easier. It's also a good idea when you do go food shopping to look at the reduced stuff. You can find some great packs of meat reduced just becase they're going out that day, buy them and freeze them if you have a meal planned with them later on in the week. You can find some really great things reduced sometimes so it's well worth having a look. Another tip that can help cut back on your food bill is going to supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl. They are so much cheaper and the quality is just as good. Asda has some great offers on most weeks but I've found the prices of their meat has gone up recentely so I'm loving Aldi even more at the moment!

So, I hope these tips on saving money and budgeting help some of you! Everyone is different but for me planning, keeping a track of money and changing supermarkets has made a big difference!

How do you budget and save money? Do you think any of these tips will help you?

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