10 tips to help money go further
Loretta Hourigan, family budgeting, fitness and nutrition expert and author of From Little Acorns to Mighty Oaks, offers expert offers 10 top tips to help save a few pennies this year.
1. Befriend your local butcher
Make friends with your local butcher. A local butcher can help you find the meat you need and the amount you want. Any butcher worth his salt will be only too happy to find you cheaper cuts of meat and deals to suit your budget.
2. Plan your week
Plan meals for an entire week before you shop based on what's in the store cupboard, fridge or freezer. This prevents overbuying, reduces waste and forces you to use ingredients that are creeping towards their expiry date.
3. Try a different supermarket
Swap supermarkets. Shopping at a budget supermarket like Aldi can slash your weekly bill by 50% or more! It's always worth trying own brand labels rather than market leaders and watch your bank balance swell.
4. Say no to ready meals
Ban the ready meals. Making your own food from scratch is healthier and much cheaper. Buy ingredients in bulk, cook several portions and freeze for future hassle free dinners. Stretch one-pan dishes like cottage pie with extra vegetables.
5. Get inspired
Find out how people manage a really tight family budget and pick out ideas. Read agirlcalledjack.com is a blog by a young single mother who has experienced life way below the poverty line. Now a Guardian columnist, what this lady can cook on a few pence will blow your mind but not your budget.
6. Get online help
Subscribe to Money Saving Expert for weekly emails packed with discount vouchers and the best deals around from utilities to eating out.
7. Get fit for free
If you're new year resolutions include getting fit, don't think an expensive gym membership is the only way. You can invest in free exercise. The NHS offers expert advice on how to keep moving without gym costs. From free apps to realistic ways to get active with or without the children.
8. Brave the wintery outdoors
Wintry, wet weather makes the outdoors less appealing to grown-ups but children love it! Instead of shelling out for indoor soft play and expensive coffee, Nature Detectives offers heaps of ideas on free outdoor play and details of local woods to visit.
9. Plan picnics to keep cost of eating out down
Make winter picnics for days out; far cheaper than buying lunch and drinks from food outlets. Planning and preparation is the key to not getting caught out 'snackless'. Keeping long life food like raisins in the car avoids those expensive pit stops.
10. Something for nothing?
Want something for absolutely nothing? Websites such as I Love Freegle, Free Cycle and Snaffle Up are where people give stuff away they no longer want. By recycling, this avoids perfectly good items going into landfill and you get to pick up something you want for free.