Some time ago now I prevailed upon you all to send in your top thrifty and moneysaving tips and declared that I would compile a list of the best, which I have neglected to do until now. So I am about to put this right. Below you will find our very own Frugal Top 20!
1. Learn how to cook and stop wasting money on ready meals or takeaways! There are lots of good old fashioned recipe books which show you how to cook cheap stews and cheap cuts of meat, for example.
2. Plan your meals so no food goes wasted. Buy everything at the start of the week so you aren’t tempted to buy more from the supermarket.
3. Use up leftovers by taking them to work for lunch instead of buying sandwiches. And if you cook a chicken make sure you use everything. Have the leftovers cold the next day with a salad and boil up the carcass for soup or stock.
4. Which brings me onto the next tip. Invest in a big freezer! This will help you store any leftovers you don’t finish or veg from the garden. Graham suggests buying meat and veg in outdoor markets where the overheads aren’t as high, buying the meat in bulk and then freezing it in portions. Make lots of fresh soups and casseroles too and freeze them to make your own healthy ready meals.
6. A little salt in a carton of milk helps to keep it fresher longer.
7. Fancy a night out? Get your friends to invite you round for dinner instead of going out for a meal.
THE FRUGAL HOUSEHOLD
8. Don’t throw items away that have a hole or are broken. Mend them! Unless they’re electrical items when it’s probably best to recycle them. Don’t endanger yourself.
9. The same goes for old junk cluttering up your home, says Kim. See if you can sell it on Amazon, Ebay or at a car boot sale. Not only will it claw you back a few quid, but you’ll keep it out of landfill. Ensure Ebay listings end on a Sunday or Monday night at 8-11pm because more people are online then. But beware of items getting lost in the post, and some sellers have complained of buyers messing them around.
10. Use Freecycle too, to source furniture or other items you need.
11. Consider getting a Skype or internet phone to save money on your phone bill.
12. Don’t waste money on expensive shower gels – soap is just as effective and cheaper!
13. If you’re spring cleaning, don’t buy pricey chemical cleaners. Use vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, available in bulk containers from Boots. One reader swears by using washing up liquid and water to clean everything including windows. Toothpaste is good for cleaning the fridge, according to DarkRose. And if you need to freshen your carpet, sprinkle some talcum powder on it before you vacuum.
14. Fragrance your home using tumble dryer sheets from pound shops by placing them on top of radiators, says Tia.
15. Petrol is expensive now so don’t waste it. When you fill up, shake the hose when you finish. It’s only an eggcup’s worth but it all adds up!
16. Adopt frugal driving techniques like braking gradually and turning off the air conditioning to save on fuel too. Downsize to a more fuel-efficient car or sell it altogether and get on your bike! You’ll save a fortune and get fit.
17. Got a fancy do to go to but wardrobe looking tired? Instead of buying a new outfit, buy a party dress from a charity shop or borrow from a friend the same clothes size. Mix and match cheap accessories or borrow them too for a glamorous look. Ladies, the classic little black dress is ideal for this.
18. If you’re a frugal gardener, collect the seeds from your plants each year and replant them. And swap seeds or produce if you’re a vegetable grower with friends or other gardeners for variety.
19. Get back to basics, suggests Madeleine. Think about what life is all about. Is it really about spending lots of money to feel good? Or is it about enjoying good times with your friends, family and pets? Decide what you want out of it all.
20. Don’t get depressed if the small changes you’re making feel like small beer in the short term. Write them all down, says Dave, and when you tot up all the savings they’ll quickly add up and you can congratulate yourself on a frugal job well done!
Got any more frugal tips? Have I missed anything out? Leave a comment and let me know.