My money saving tips

Before you wash your clothes inspect them to see if they really need washing. Sniff them, do they smell, are they crumpled, have you spilt anything down them, are they stained? If you answer no to these questions, you don't need to wash them. Just put in the wardrobe and wear them again. Waste of money to wash clothes which are not dirty.

Instead of tea or coffee, drink hot water with a dash of fruit juice. You can get a lot of drinks out of one bottle of squash. A lot cheaper than coffee and tea bags.

Do not buy plant labels for your garden, make them from cut up square or oblong margarine tubs. Cut into strips making a point at one end to stick in the soil, and write on the names of the plants, seeds, or veg, with a black marker pen. Free labels.

Have you space to grow some vegetables, even in pots. Eg, salad in an old washing up bowl. Make some drainage holes in the bottom with a drill. I used the sharp point of a tin opener and a potato peeler, to do mine.

Check your bank statements for standing orders/direct debits. Are there any which you can dump because they are no longer a 'need' item. Something you signed up for ages ago but now it is no longer important. Companies push you towards direct debit because they know many people forget about them, they can go on taking the money for ever. Have a de clutter of your bank account.

Make your own plant feed by soaking nettles in a tub of water. It smells horrible, but it's free. You need a big plastic bucket, fill it with chopped off nettles, not the roots, and add water. Leave for several months, or over winter. Dilute down in a watering can and spread it around the garden.

Check out food prices in the discount stores in town, only when you're passing. Don't make an extra journey unless you use a bus pass or a bicycle. I go to town for the bank and the library. While I am there I check the pound shops, Home Bargains, B & M, Savers, and the market. I pick out the best prices from all the shops.

Cherry pick the best bargains from all the supermarkets, but call in only when you're passing. Don't make a seperate journey as it will cost you in petrol. I use Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Aldi, and Sainsbury's.

Keep your car use to a minimum. Can you walk or cycle instead of driving. If you have a bus pass can you go shopping free with that. If you have heavy stuff to carry, get a shopping trolley. I save up my car miles for longer trips, it means I can afford more days out and weekends away. Keeping my car miles low means I can get a cheaper insurance policy.

Don't let the bath water go down the plug hole, leave it in the bath, it will keep the house warm for a while longer. Then use it for washing the car and flushing the toilet. Get another use out of it to save you money.

Buy childrens tooth brushes, they are a lot cheaper than adult brushes. Smaller head so brush for longer, gets into all the crevices. You don't need a massive brush in your mouth to do the job correctly.

Write in very small writing then you will use less ink and your pen will last longer. This is a bit of fun, but it illustrates the point of doing the same job, writing a letter say, in a different way to save money, no matter how miniscule the amount is. It encourages thinking outside the box, and inventing your own methods.

Switch the heating off early and keep some of your day clothes on when you go to bed. Right, you have the house nice and warm and you are going to bed at 10pm. Switch the heating off at 6pm at the latest. Put another layer on, then at 10pm take some of your clothes off but not all, and climb into bed. That way your body will not have the shock of getting into a cold bed. After an hour your bed will have sufficiently warmed up to enable you to take your clothes off  if you want to. Don't forget it will be cold in the morning though, so keep your clothes in bed with you to keep them warm.

Only use toothpaste once a day, in the morning to freshen your mouth. You don't need to squirt loads onto your brush, just a small amount. You can brush your teeth several times throughout the day with just water. It's removing the remains of your food which is important, and not leaving it to rot between your teeth causing decay.  

If you live alone scrape every last bit of food out of the pan, then use it again for the next meal. Cuts down on the washing up, saves money on heating the water and wash up liquid. Make sure there are no animals around to lick them out though, I have a cat who jumps up onto the worktop.

Smooth acceleration and braking uses less fuel. Don't put your foot flat down on the accelerator then brake hard. Watch what is going on in front of you and plan your driving accordingly. Approaching a roundabout ease off the gas pedal, let the car slow down naturally, then apply the brakes at the last minute if you need to stop.

Don't stand around under a hot shower after you have washed yourself. It may feel nice but it is costing you money. Turn it off and get out. You have a clean body now dry yourself quickly.

Use rechargeable batteries. Expensive to start with but cheaper in the long run. Better still buy solar powered gadgets, and gadgets that have a wind up facility to recharge them, eg a torch or radio.

Collect rainwater for washing the car and watering plants. Get some water butts, collect water in any plastic containers you have. Using tap water to wash a car is wastefull and will cost you if you are on a meter. Wash your car for free with rainwater.

Use wash cloths instead of paper towels. Cut old sheets and towels into squares about the size of a face cloth. Hem the edges on a machine if you have one. They can be used for all kinds of cleaning jobs, for mopping up spils, for polishing, cleaning windows, kitchens and bathrooms. Also for wiping cleansing lotion off your face, even wiping erm, other parts of your body. Put them all in the washer with the rest of the washing.

Don't defrost food under a running tap, take it out of the freezer earlier and put it in the chiller, or under cover on the worktop. If you need to defrost something before cooking leave yourself a note so you don't forget to take it out. 

Freezer fillers, fill the gaps with bottles of water or bread to improve performance. The freezer runs more economically if it's full.

De clutter your car, reduce the weight to achieve more mpg. Carrying stuff around which you don't need makes the car work harder therefore uses more petrol. An empty lorry gets a lot more MPG than a full one. Have a sort out. I empty my car after every journey, and only take with me what I need. Your car is not a storage facility it is a mode of transport.

Make gifts instead of buying them, source free materials. Have a look at the stuff you throw out, the packaging, can anything be used again. Colourful card, ribbons, greetings card, fabric, wool. Can you make someting with it. Take a look at the crafting videos on youtube. Plenty of ideas there.

Find a hobby that costs very little or no money. There's a lot you can do outdoors, like my own hobby of walking. Once you have a decent pair of boots and a waterproof jacket you can set off from your house and just walk. Take a pack up so you don't need to buy food while you are out. A pair of binoculars from a car boot sale, and you can become a bird watcher. Get a second hand bicycle and you can go for bike rides. Try crafting using materials you can buy cheaply from a car boot sale.

Cook a meal in one saucepan and eat it staright out of there, saves on washing up. My favourite is a three day veggie stew. Very cheap, throw in any vegetables you have, maybe some rice, or pasta, tin of baked beans, bulk it up with oats, add spices and sauce mixes, stock cubes. Heat it 'n eat it. Delicious.

Use your bus pass for free days out. Visit art galleries and museums, take sandwiches and a flask. You can go a long way on a bus, but you won't be able to use it on a national coaches long distance route, you have to take smaller hops to get to your destination. You can have days out without spending a single penny.

Don't buy small plastic food boxes and bottles, use free ones, magarine tubs, ice cream tubs, coleslaw pots, drinks bottles. I have a cupboard full of saved plastic pots and bottles, it's surprising how many uses you can find for them.

Don't buy microwaveable dishes, wash and re-use the ones you get with ready made meals or takeaways. I don't buy takeaways any more, but I used to buy the ocassional ready meal from the supermarket. I saved all the free trays that they came in. Now I can make my own ready meals from raw ingredients.

Look for horse muck piled up in fields, ask if you can have some free, for your veg garden. A great free fertiliser for your veg. Make sure it's well rotted though, at least six months old, a year is better. You don't want the fresh stuff that has just been dropped. Collect it in the winter and dig it in, let it rot down for the spring planting, or put it on your compost heap for further rotting.

Collect small containers to propogate your veg seeds in. Vending machine cups, yoghurt pots, plastic food trays, milk and juice cartons. Cut drainage holes in the bottom with nail scissors. Never buy small plant pots or ready made seed trays for this, make your own. The idea of growing your own veg is to do it on the cheap.

Walk your children to school, you will all benefit from the exercise, and you will save money. If you can't walk the full distance consider parking the car at the half way point and finishing the journey by foot. The children will benefit from socialising with their friends along the way. Another alternative is to form a group with a few friends and make the journey together, it will be more enjoyable.
Read your electricity, gas, and water meters weekly, record in a note book, and think about how you can cut down. Now I don't do this myself because I am in a one person household, so I have a very good idea of how much my utilities are costing me. I budget for a quarterly bill, which is quite low because of my frugal habits. But meter reading can be a big help to multi occupancy households, especially when you have teenagers switching electricals on and off willy nilly.

Unplug all electrical appliances/gadgets in your house then only plug in the ones you must have on, like the fridge. Switch off things you aren't using and nag the children to do the same.

Look for free courses at your local college, a free night or afternoon out in a warm place. Look in your local paper to see if your college is advertising free courses. Sometimes they send a leaflet out or you can pick one up from the library. My college did free taster courses, to give you a flavour of what it's about, no need to sign up for the whole course.

Use your sun tan lotion all the year round as a moisturiser, don't push it to the back of the cupboard and forget it. I buy lotion and not oil, I prefer it because it melts into the skin and moisturises it at the same time. You can use it all through the winter as well as in the summer sun.

The only money saving tip you need is, if you don't have the money to pay for it, you don't buy it. This takes a lot of discipline when you see loans pushed at you from all angles. It is very tempting to sign on the dotted line and take the money when the lenders almost throw it at you. But think about your position one year on, will you still have the income to service the loan, and how do you feel about paying a heck of a lot more back. Try saving up for big purchases instead.

Do not throw any food away, eat everything you buy, even if you don't fancy it that day. Try and think about food as fuel for your body, and not just a nice taste in your mouth. Ok so you don't fancy having vegetables three days running, but they are about to go off and they good for you. Stop moaning and eat them.

If you smoke, try your best to stop, you don't need me to tell you it's the biggest waste of time and money ever. It's also killing you, it's anti social, it makes you stink, and smoking related illnesses are costing the NHS billions of pounds. Look at an older person who has smoked for years, their skin is dry and wrinkled, listen to their voice, it's sounds like a croaking frog. You don't want that to happen to you, do you?

Don't use a cash machine ATM, which charges you to withdraw your money, find a free one. I only use the cash machine inside my bank, because they don't charge me, and I feel safer doing the transaction within the safety of the bank. I will never stand outside in the street to use a machine. If you need cash, you could consider buying a small item from a supermarket, (something you need), paying for it with your debit card, and asking for a cash advance. You wont get charged extra.

Make big pans of veggie stews to last three days, bulk out with rice, pasta, pulses, oats, seeds, and pot barley. Already mentioned this, but worth pointing out how cheaply you can make a veggie stew. I haven't eaten meat for twenty or more years. Turn veggie and you will save pounds.

Cartons of fruit juices, dilute them 50 - 50 with water, get twice as many drinks out of them. It doesn't say on the box that you can dilute it, but you can. If you are drinking juice as part of your five a day though you may choose not to dilute, but you can still water down any other drinks you have.

Use the least amount of washing up liquid that you can get away with, you don't need lots of foam. Pouring chemicals down the sink is bad for the environment, and bad for your purse. I never fry food so I never have any greasy pots to wash, so I can get away with a very small amount of liquid. I also like to drain my pots, to cut down on tea towel usage which reduces the frequency to wash them, saving more money. Less liquid means less residue left on the pots.

Girls, when your knickers wear out, replace them with boys pants, they are stronger and last a lot longer. It's true, I have been wearing boys and mens pants for years, some of them have lasted up to ten years. Womens knickers stretch, they go baggy, the elastic comes off and the lace comes adrift, in no time they will look tatty. Buy mens pants, give it a try.

Tidy your food cupboard, use everything in date order, make sure you haven't got food becoming inedible. Food is a precious commodity, it is criminal to treat it as a throw away item. If your food cupboards and freezer are stuffed full of food, how can you see exactly what you have. You will have food hidden in there which will be deteriorating, make sure you have a sort out once a month and use up everything before it gets to the chucking out stage.

If you see a heavily laden apple tree in someones garden, knock on the door and ask if you can have some for free. I have done this and it worked well. The owner even provided me with a couple of carrier bags to fill up and take away. So don't be shy, if you see something you want, and it appears that no one else wants it, just ask. They have two choices, they say yes or they say no. You haven't lost anything by asking.

If you have some awful smelling bath foam that someone gave you for a present, use it to clean the toilet. In fact use it for any other cleaning job you have. Mopping the floors, wiping the bath out, don't throw it away, use it for another job.

You don't need lots of diferent cleaning liquids, an old spray bottle with diluted washing up liquid in it will clean everything. I never buy any cleaning products apart from wash up liquid, and bleach for the toilet. Everything in the house can be cleaned with diluted washing up liquid.

Get a big tub of aqueous cream , you can use it anywhere on your body as a moisturiser, you don't need expensive lotions. You can buy it very cheaply from a discount store. Why waste your money on more expensive creams.

Go supermarket shopping between 5pm and 9pm when they reduce prices of goods on their last date. The closer you go to 9pm the cheaper they will be, but you take a chance on whether there is anything left. I have been in Tesco at 8.45pm and picked up loaves of bread for 5p. I head for the fruit and veg section where I can usually get a weeks supply for a pound or two. You have to be prepared to take whatever is on offer and not be too picky. If you can be flexible with your eating you can live very cheaply.

Become a vegetarian, or at least replace some meat meals with veggies, it is cheaper, and healthy. I have mentioned this before, it is definately a good way to save money. I have not eaten meat for the last twenty or so years, and I am a very healthy pensioner.

Save your washing up water and use it to flush the toilet. Find another use for it. Keep a bucket next to the toilet so you can fill it up with grey water.

Ride your bicycle or walk on short journeys, free excercise. I can't say enough about walking being good for you. I would never dream of driving around my village, but I know some do. You only have to see the road clogged up with four wheel drives outside the school every morning and afternoon.

Shop at charity shops and car boot sales, don't buy anything new unless you absolutely have to. Always buy second hand if you can. It is good for the environment and good for your purse. It saves stuff from going into landfill, and it gets a new lease of life if it can be passed on. Don't be a snob, buy second hand.

If you want a cheap haircut contact your local college, the students will give you a trim for a knockdown price. Don't worry you will not come out with a higgledy piggledy hairstyle, there are supervisors present to watch the trainees at work. If necessary they will tidy up your hair before you leave the premises.

Do you get return envelopes through the post in a letter which needs a reply? Keep them if you don't need to reply, stick a label over the address and use them for something else. Just to clarify, it is the envelope you are getting free, not the postage, you still have to stick a stamp on, even if it is a pre paid envelope.

If you are a dog walker collect all small plastic bags to use as poo bags, do not buy any. Bread bags, small veg bags, bags from inside cereal boxes, frozen veg bags, any bags. Store them in your kitchen cupboard so they are close at hand when you go out.

Keep a notebook in your kitchen and record all your spending daily, then try and work out how you can reduce it. This is a must for everyone trying to cut down. You must write down every penny you spend, even the small choc bar or bag of sweets you picked up while you were paying for your petrol. It is so easy to forget the small items. Read through your notebook every week, you may be in for a shock when you discover exactly how much you have wasted on stuff you didn't need.

Use your library. Read the papers and magazines for free in a warm place, most have free access to computers, read a book. I love the library, I can spend many a happy hour in there. With the government cut backs we need to use our libraries to ensure that they are still there for future generations,

Take your wash gear with you when travelling around, get a free shower on the motorway service areas. I used to do this a lot when I was lorry driving. The ladies toilet usually has a shower cubicle, some of them you can walk in, some you have to get the key from the shop or cafe. They are there for the use of people who travel a lot with their work, to freshen up before arriving at a meeting etc.

Dump the clock radio alarm, change to wind up alarm clocks. In fact dump anything which needs an electricity supply if there is an alternative. I happily wind my bedside clock up every night, the last thing I do before I fall asleep. You don't need to be woken up by the radio, a bell or buzzer will do the job just as well.

Only have one light on in your house at a time, carry a wind up torch to move from room to room. Yes I have done this when money was really tight. I don't carry a wind up torch around with me now, but I do use one if I have to go to the bathroom during the night. I still only have one light on at a time though.

Don't join a gym for exercise, incorporate walking into your everyday life, it costs nothing. Joining a gym is a complete waste of money, you don't need it. Find a friend if you don't want to exercise alone. Go on power walks together, jog together. I have purchased a cross trainer, I am able to afford it due all the money I have saved by scrimping. Now I can exercise in my own front room, no gym memberships to pay, and no travelling to get there. Just hop on and off when I have a spare few minutes.

Make your own sandwiches for work, don't buy expensive snack food from shops, and cafe's. In fact always take your own food out with you. Sandwiches, fruit, biscuits, drinks, have a picnic when you have a day out, and you'll save a fortune.

Become a Blood Donor. Swap your donation for a sit in the warm and a free drink and biscuit. Have a chat with other people as well, it makes a nice break from routine and gets you out, as well as doing something usefull.

Hang two sets of curtains on the same rail, double thickness will help keep in the heat. Most people have spare sets of curtains in their cupboard, why not get them out for winter and hang them over the top of those you already have up. You can get cheap shower curtain hooks in charity shops or markets to do the job.

Give yourself more time for car journeys, driving at a lower speed will reduce your fuel consumption. Get into the habit of sticking to the speed limits on urban roads, but when you get onto the motorway or dual carriageway keep your speed to 55 - 60 mph, you will use a lot less fuel. You won't be hindering other motorists because you will be mainly in the left hand lane travelling with the lorries. The maximum they can travel is 56 mph. You will also arrive at your destination a lot less frazzled.