As I am now a stay at home mum, our family income has more or less halved. To top this off we’ve also moved to a larger house so are expecting larger bills to be coming our way. We’re not destitute or anything like that but it would only be sensible to be careful with our money. And let’s face it everyone wants to save a bit of money if they can!
Heating and energy costs:
As we have a baby in the house we need to keep the house nice and warm so we have the thermostat set to 19 degrees, if it were just Jamie and I we’d have it lower. However in the rooms where we don’t go very often we’ve turned the radiators right down, such as the currently empty spare room, the utility room, downstairs toilet and our ensuite. There’s no point heating rooms we’re barely ever in.
Our old house had a combi boiler that we loved, so we never had to wait for hot water. Our new house however has an older boiler that requires you to put the water on if you want to have hot water, most people we spoke to who have these boilers told us they have their their hot water on twice a day. After living in our house for a couple of weeks we have realised that we can get by perfectly well only having the water on once every other day. The washing machine and dishwasher we have both take in cold water so there’s no problem there, and as we have the dish washer I’m not needing to run the hot water in the kitchen to wash the pots. So we simply have the water on every other day so we can all have showers or baths. The only restriction this gives us is we all have to have showers etc on the same night, which doesn’t actually bother us at all. This means we have our hot water on for a quarter of the time everyone else we spoke to does.
We’ve been trying really hard for a few years now to eat fresh healthy food. In the early days when we first got together and had no money at all we managed to have very low food bills simply by living off pasta and ready meals. But that’s not how we like to live now. These days I do one big main shop a week at the supermarket, but if I’m out and about in town on other days I pick the odd bits up from other shops such as home bargains or B and M bargains. If I spot something is cheaper then what we would usually pay then I stock up on a couple of weeks worth of that item as I don’t usually have time to go round all of these shops on a weekly basis.
We eat mostly all fresh cooked meals these days, but on the whole we don’t buy much meat and a lot of our meals are vegetarian simply to keep costs down, again this hasn’t been anything that has bothered either of us. We also choose a couple of meals a week that will be very basic such as a beans on toast meal or a jacket potato. Planning to have a couple of simple cheap meals really does help to keep the weekly shopping bills down.
Sell unwanted items:
Every now and then we have a big clear out of things we don’t us and we sell them. We’ve recently made £50 sending unwanted CD’s and DVD’s to music magpie. And when either one of us gets a handset upgrade for our phones we either sell the new handset or the old one for a bit of extra cash. I’m not a bit ebay person, but there probably is quite a few things we could sell on ebay too if we had the inclination.
Stop buying coffee:
One of the family things we like to do on a Sunday is go for a walk with Jake in his pram around the local woodlands. Jamie and I both love a good coffee, so we quickly got in the habit of stopping off at costa coffee on the way so we could walk with a lovely hot coffee in hand. Though on a weekly basis this was costing us £8 a week. So I decided enough was enough, I bought two insulated travel mugs, and I make our coffee up at home before we go. We enjoy it almost as much, and once I think about the money I’ve saved I probably enjoy it even more. Now we save going to a coffee house for a treat.
Shop in the sales:
I’m a big fan of shopping be it for me, Jake or the house I love buying things. but I am gradually learning to be patient and waiting for shops that i frequent to have sales so that we can avoid buying things full priced. We bought a load of new things for our house in the sales such as new dishes, bedding and mirrors all of which was half price or less. Also when I see children’s clothes in the sales I stock up on clothes for Jake in larger sizes as I know he’ll grow into them eventually. I’m trying to also take a quality over quantity approach with my own wardrobe and really thinking about what things will last me for a couple years as opposed to being unusable or out of fashion by the end of the season.
If you’ve got any other money saving tips I’d love to here them!