Rising inflation, increases in fuel and energy prices and budget cuts on top of existing financial pressures are driving more and more UK families to join the ranks of the ‘money saving super savvy’ – those voucher-wielding, bargain-hunting mums and dads whose prudent attitude to spending has become a way of life.
MyFamilyClub.co.uk, the UK’s first website dedicated to money saving for families, has polled 6,000 of the nation’s parents and asked them to share their family’s greatest money saving tips.
Founder Gemma Johnson, said: “Making small changes can have a surprisingly big affect on your family’s budget. Our primary aim is to make money saving easy for families, so on our website we have a constant supply of the best offers, free activities, deals and discounts, alongside a complete range of family-specific saving advice and guidance.
“We even have the only ‘best buys’ tables for the weekly shop, which show parents where they can buy their regular products for the cheapest price.”
THE TOP 20 TIPS
1. Shop around. Use money saving websites, comparison sites and forums to find the best price before you buy. There are real deals to be had if you look around, from buying holidays to insurance.
2. Budget, budget, budget. Assess your income and expenditure and create a budget. That way you’ll be less likely to spend more than you can afford and more likely to stay within your means.
3. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Buy and sell secondhand on auction sites like eBay and in charity shops, and take advantage of hand me downs that are often as good as new. Remember to save the packaging from new items to give you better secondhand resale value.
4. Before you buy.… Always ask yourself, “Can I live without it? Do I really need it?” Don’t waste money on things you don’t need and can easily do without.
5. Food glorious food. Plan the family’s weekly meals so you don’t end up throwing away food that’s past its use by date. And always cook more than you need so you can freeze a few portions for another day. Plus try reusing leftovers the next night in a new dish. If you’re inventive, the kids will never know.
6. Trolley dash. Do your grocery shop online so you’re less tempted to buy more than you need. If you have to shop in store, draw up a list before you get there and don’t deviate. Also, if possible, leave the children at home so you don’t end up with more in your trolley than you bargained for!
7. Buy in bulk. Stock up on offers, deals and bargains of items you use regularly. If you have a baby or toddler, take advantage of the special baby events at supermarkets where they heavily discount bulk buys on items like nappies and wipes.
8. Never pay full price. Before you buy, always look for a relevant voucher or discount code online, and use cashback sites too. And don’t forget to cut out coupons from magazines and newspapers they can be quite generous.
9. Name drop. Consider buying value brands for some items, from school uniform to nappies and wipes, you could save a fortune and you’ll never notice the difference.
10. Savvy Saver. Open a savings account and pay into it as regularly as you can. If you don’t have any spare cash try saving your weekly family allowance or child benefit. A little saved week by week will mount up in no time.
11. Credit Crunch. Try not to use credit cards. If you do have to, then make sure you pay them off as quickly as possible to avoid costly interest.
12. Know your worth. Keep a close eye on your finances so you’re in control of your funds. This way you’ll be less likely to incur bank charges. Use internet and telephone banking for quick and convenient ways to check your account status.
13. Life lessons. Teach your children the value of money by making them work for pocket money, doing household chores for example. And learn to say no sometimes, it’s a valuable life lesson for them.
14. 999. Set aside funds for an emergency situation, whether it’s for a leaking pipe or busted boiler, it’s always helpful to have something in reserve so you don’t have to rely on costly credit arrangements.
15. Forget the Joneses! Don’t feel under pressure to have what other people do. And teach your children not to worry about peer pressure either, so they don’t feel the need to have all the latest gadgets and brands.
16. Buyer Beware! Don’t buy too many expensive toys for your children, especially ones that won’t last. Instead, let them use their imagination, it’s free.
17. Get more from your loyalty. Use supermarket vouchers and loyalty points against family days out instead of against your shopping. You get up to four times the value.
18. Ruffle a few feathers. Keep chickens they can lay up to 320 eggs a year – which is around one box of eggs a week.
19. Supply and demand. Contact your broadband/TV/energy/insurance suppliers and tell them you’re thinking of leaving, they’re likely to offer you a better deal. And check your energy and utility bills and request any overpayments.
20. Use local services. Make the most of public services like libraries, parks and leisure centres. With library services under threat there’s never been a better time to go there. With some children reading more than 100 books a year, this could save you a small fortune.