"Could you save money on your food shopping? Supermarkets are convenient, but if you live near a good market you might be able to save on fresh produce by shopping around. Making a shopping list and meal plan can also be helpful, to help you stop you buying things you don't need!"
This is something that we do! I have found that the price and quality of fresh meat from our local market is a lot better than the supermarket. Last month we had a trip to the market and stocked the freezer up with meat. It was a lot up front, everything cost about £50, but it filled up the freezer and I know, after looking, that it would have cost us more from the supermarket. I also get our fruit and vegetables from a local supplier. One week I did a comparable shop online and it worked out £5 cheaper than the supermarkets. Plus, again, the quality of the produce is better and I have found that it lasts longer and therefore reduces food waste!
I never go shopping without a shopping list! If I do I end up buying things that I do not need and forget the items that I do need so end up having to do extra trips to the shops. If, one week, we don't need as much I try to add on a few little treats or items which I will need soon which are often more expensive and are the first things to go back on the shelves if I have reached our budget!
"What's your talent? If you've got a skill that other people want to learn, it could help you earn a bit of extra cash - could you teach the instrument you play, or tutor in your specialist subject? Alternatively, if you've got another skill like writing, you could try taking on some extra freelance work."
Freelance work is something that I would love to do, starting my blog has enabled me to earn a bit of money, but not much. However it is a starting block! Once the twins have started school this will be something that I hope to pursue.
"Has the miserable weather got you dreaming of a summer holiday already? You could save money by booking early and using flight comparison sites to get the best deal. If you can be flexible about your dates, try to avoid flying on the weekends as this is usually the most expensive time to fly!"
Yes the miserable weather has got us thinking about a summer holiday, but we have found that holidays abroad are just too expensive! In the past I have been on holidays abroad when I really could not afford to go and have ended up getting into more debt. Now, we enjoy holidays in England and Scotland. We have found that our holidays so much cheaper and just as enjoyable. The sun and sand is not everything!
"The NHS prescription charge is pretty good value at £7.85 per item, but if a medical issue means you need a lot of prescriptions, the cost can really add up. If you usually need more than 1 prescribed medicine a month, you can cut the cost with a Prescription Prepayment Certificate. A 12 month PPC costs £104, which is a saving of over £80 a year if you need two or more medicines per month. There's also a 3 month version which costs £29.10. You can find more information and purchase a PPC on the NHS website"
Thankfully this is not a problem that we have. But I was aware that this was available. Families that are on a low income could also be getting help with the NHS. Visit NHS Low Income Scheme if your income is £16,000 or less you may be eligible for extra help!
Our Month So Far
Next week is the end of February and so far we are doing well.
Unfortunately the dreaded sickness bug has hit all of us during the last 6 days. Therefore our budget weekly meal plan has not been kept to and this last week we have had to do some unexpected trips to the shops. We have had to use the credit card to cover the costs of these extra shops, however this week our shopping list will be shorter due to us not eating a lot so the money that we do not spend will go straight onto the credit card to cover this.
Today I have entered our meter readings. Last month I was horrified to see how much our costs had gone up!
This month I was determined to keep it down and have been reducing our heating by a degree and putting on a jumper when it starts to feel cool instead of turning the heating up.
I was relieved to see that this has paid off!
Last month our total months use came to a whopping £193.63!
This month I am delighted to say that it has gone down to £123.74!
That's a huge £69.89 saving!
Thankfully we pay our fuel by direct debit over the year and manage to get credit built up over the summer months to cover the extra costs over the winter. So I would definitely recommend that families do this. If we were not paying direct debit and got a bill for nearly £200 we would have struggled. It is worth paying the same amount throughout the year.
Throughout February Your Wealth are challenging people to create a budget and to stick to it!
They have a great tool that is available to help you manage all of your outgoings which is available as an app for your mobile phone so that you are always able to control your finances.
Check out Your Wealth on twitter @yourwealthuk as they are running a photo challenge where you will be entered into a prize draw to win one of four £50 Love2Shop vouchers.
But its also a fun way to join in!
Don't forget to add #GreatBritishBudget to your tweets!
Disclaimer: I have volunteered to take part in the Great British Budget as it is a subject that is close to my heart. However there is a prize draw for the panelists who are taking part.