Friday, July 29, 2016

My 7 Top Money Saving Tips ♥

These days, saving money is something that I'm becoming really good at. I've always been quite thrifty but I've never managed to save much, but now that I'm a mother of two, saving is something which I've had to become serious about. 
I have made some changes to how I spend my money and have put plans into effect to help me be a better saver. I have learned to stop wasting money on unnecessary items or bills (although resisting gorgeous clothes for the boys is still something I struggle with!) Below are my seven top money saving tips, all of which I'm following in order to save my money and set myself and my family up for the future.

1. Use discount vouchers and codes to reduce the cost of what you want/need to buy

When shopping online I always look up discount codes for websites before making a purchase because if one is available then I'd rather use it and not have to pay full price for something. There have been many times when I've looked for a code on a whim and found one, so you never know when there's a discount to be had - always look! One site I use for codes and savings offers is Promo Vouchers - they have offers available for lots of well known sites and high-streets shops including John Lewis, Boots, etc. They also have an app available for checking offers when on the go.

I purchase from Etsy a lot too (I can never resist the vintage loveliness on there) and always check the shop bio for any discount codes as sellers usually pop one up to clear stock.

2. Manage your money sensibly and budget, budget, budget!
This is something which a lot of people struggle with and I'm one of them. I always feel so in over my head when people talk about different bank account options, interest rates, etc. but once you sit down and look into them it's actually not that complicated.

Setting up a savings account and having a direct debit taken from your current account for a portion of your wages to go into it every week is a great way of saving up for those rainy days aand big purchases in life. Regular saving like this is also a positive for you if you go about getting a mortgage. We've just begun saving for our mortgage and it's great to see the pot building up and being one step closer to the dream of owning our own house.

Budgeting for everything is a great way of ensuring that you don't overspend, therefore saving money and not spending money allocated for other things. Nevertheless, there will be times in life when an unexpected bill or situation crops up that you may not have the money for right away or available in your savings and it can be stressful - we've had one of these moments this week with Jacek's car breaking down and now we've decided to just get a new one because the cost of repairing would be too much.

Availing of a loan from a reputable lender such as UK Credit can be a good way of getting the money you need and as long as you budget in the repayments into your finances there should be no problem paying it back. They offer guarantor loans for both homeowners and tenants and I've actually had to take a loan such as this in the past and I was able to pay back the loan before time. However, I would only ever consider taking out a loan if you really are in need of it and are one-hundred per cent sure that you can manage the repayments. UK Credit also have a great blog called Money Life, where you will find, in their own words "stories, musings and tidbits about the weird and wonderful world of money".

3. Be more energy efficient
As a family, we are probably overly conscious of how much electricity we use in our house due to Jacek having a bit of a thing about having too many things on at once. You can save a lot of money on my monthly electricity bills by simply taking more care about what appliances and lights you're using at one time. I no longer use the big lights in our house unless I really have to, the table lamp gives sufficient light. I unplug and switch off sockets when I am done using them and I try not to have the television on whilst I'm on the laptop because I know I can't focus on both at once. These simple changes have really helped keep our energy bills down and it's great to know we're being energy efficient too.

4. Follow a saving money plan and stick to it
This year I am doing the 52-week money saving challenge (or at least I'm trying to!) and although it can be hard to stick to it when I have so many outgoings, I am determined to put away money each week to save up for trips that Jacek and I want to take next year. Having a plan to follow can really help to focus on what you need to save every week and it's great to tick off the weeks as they go by and see your saving stash getting larger each week. If the 52-week money saving challenge isn't for you there are other templates which you could follow to be found on Pinterest.

5. Set up a savings account and contribute to it weekly/monthly
I used to never have a savings account and I'm kicking myself about this because I know that if I had had one sooner I would have actually contributed to it and would have had a bit saved up by now. Last month I opened credit union accounts for my boys and I and plan on contributing to them on a month basis. It was actually a bit of a thrill depositing money into the accounts and seeing the savings figure on our books - money that I know I won't touch because it's not readily available. I've already begun thinking about how much I'll be depositing into the accounts this month and I know it'll be great seeing the savings stack up - especially the boys ones as I don't plan on letting them touch those savings until they're eighteen.

6. Sell unwanted/unused items
This is something I've been doing the past few months to try and save up for some things which I've been wanting and needing for some time now. I've begun selling the clothes Beau has already outgrown, as well as some things we never used and I've already made €100. I'll be honest, it can be hard letting things go, I thought long and hard about selling the Peter Rabbit photo prop I featured him in for his one month old photos, but he hated wearing it so what was the point in holding onto something that will never be used again? Seeing the money build up to put towards things I really want has been great - as has seeing the house get a decluttering too.

7. If you need to shop, shop in the sales
This is a relatively easy way to save money and if I'm honest, I usually wait until there's a sale to buy something as I hate paying full price for things. Some places seem to have a permanent sale on, particularly Debenhams and Mothercare, and I always pick up clothes for the boys in the sale. I've even seen some of my fellow bloggers shop in the recent sales for Christmas gifts and just this week I purchased some of Beau's Christmas gifts as they were discounted on Amazon - being super organised and saving savvy this year. 
*This is a collaborate post.

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