Saturday, 20 April 2013

Calling All Scrimpy Bloggers - 30 Ways to Save £1.

Money Supermarket are running a 'competition' to find the best 1,000 money saving tips. They are calling on all bloggers to supply them with their own best top 30. There are prizes and cash incentives for participants

Here are mine.

1. Don't guesstimate quantities when you're cooking or making fresh coffee, or indeed adding fabric softener to your wash. By using a measure or scoop you will find the best amount for the job and won't waste extra ingredients or product unnecessarily.
2. Use large pretty wallpaper samples or old vintage scarves to wrap presents. Brown paper carrier bags are also good turned inside out to cover parcels.
3. Look out for new and unused items in charity shops. After Christmas especially there are loads of good quality bath and beauty sets that can be recycled as birthday presents. But do check they are still sealed and in date.
4. Jumble sales are good sources for fabrics for patchwork and also yarn. Woolly items can be unpicked and  the yarn reused - they did it all the time during the war to ring the changes.
5. If you see a good deal on everyday items, buy a few extra but don't overstock. It ties up your funds, takes up space, and items can go off before they are used, this includes toiletries.
6. Use reward cards and loyalty cards but not slavishly. Always analyse what is on offer elsewhere.
7. Don't accept supermarket prices on face value. For example tomatoes can be sold price per kilo, price per pound or by number in packet. Decide what you would like, then convert the measurement to one common denominator by using the supermarket scales. You will then have a clear indicator of true price.
8. When following recipes substitute similar ingredients that you already have rather than buying extras - herbs and vegetables can easily be interchanged. Have the confidence to develop and tweak recipes. Make notes about what works.
9. Invest in a slow cooker. Not only does it use less energy but you can use cheaper cuts of meat and your food will be tremendously flavoured. Cook double the amount and freeze second helping for another time.
10. Don't be afraid to experiment where food is concerned. If you have leftovers and you don't think you can use them up in time, freeze them. Even small amounts like wine and meat juices can be frozen and used in sauces at a later date.
11. Don't compost the ends and outer layers of onions, celery leaves, carrot ends, wilting herbs and their stems. Pop them in a bag and freeze. You can add to the bag as and when, then when you need to make a stock you're not wasting whole veg. You can also do this with chicken bones.
12. Eat more vegetarian meals and use beans and pulses. Use dried not tinned as they are much cheaper. Make sure you follow the cooking instructions though.
13. If you like spicy and curried food buy an already mixed blend of spices (like garam masala) rather than lots of individual spices. They cost more and can lose their flavour and intensity if kept for a while.
14. If you like the idea of raising your own livestock or keeping chickens but do not have the space find a partner who does and share the cost of raising and looking after them, then reap the benefits together.
15. Sign up to newsletters from suppliers or companies you are interested in. You will be the first to know about offers. That's how I learnt about the free three month Arts Council pass, which will be valid until the end of this July.
16. Share your knowledge about thrift with others, they will reciprocate. Always ask friends and neighbours when you are looking to have work done, they usually know someone local who is good value. This also keeps the money flowing in your local area.
17. Sign up to other thrifty blogging websites as they might come across something you've missed. Like this competition.
18. Check out local venues for days out and events that are free to local residents on production of proof of address.
19. If you're travelling to London by train for the day you can get 2 for 1 entry on loads of attractions, just produce your rail ticket when paying for admission.
20. Don't buy new book titles order them through your library and be the first to read them for a reservation fee of 80p.
21. Or if you like lots of fiction organise a book swap with friends and neighbours. You could add a small fee and donate to a book charity.
22. If your tee shirts are in good material order but faded, collect a batch of them and dye them - it will give them a new lease of life.
23. If you like expensive magazines buddy up with a friend and take out a subscription each to a favourite mag. You can swap after you have read them, so you will be getting the mags at a quarter of the cost. You might also get a free gift with your subscription. I recently got a pair of real pearl earrings with my 'The Lady' subscription.
24. If you don't have funds to buy glossy magazines, check out the best of the supermarket ones. Morrison's is every bit as good as the high street ones and it is free. Also, Waitrose will discount their magazine to zero if you have a 'My Waitrose' card. At my branch you can also help yourself to a free tea or coffee without making a purchase. Great for taking on the train.
25. Don't buy small versions of toiletries for holidays they work out very expensive. Either just take your larger bottles half empty or decant what you need for the first few days then supplement your requirements with the hotels free toiletries. Keep the free shower caps they make good food covers.
26. Organise a clothes and accessories swap with friends and work colleagues for a new look.
27. Don't just switch energy suppliers, take advantage of off peak tariffs like economy 7.
28. Buy large items and household furniture secondhand on Ebay and use the 'collection only' app that you can find on Money Saving Expert. You can often find a real bargain and you won't pay postage or have far to travel and in some cases they will deliver for a small fee. I bagged a solid oak Edwardian fire surround for £4.99.
29. Don't forget to sign up to your local Freecycle group where you can give and receive stuff for free. You could extend this idea yourself and offer to swap skills and help with your friends and neighbours. For example swap babysitting for a haircut, car washing for eggs etc.
30. Try not to rush into buying, plan ahead, a little research here and there may reap great rewards. The three elements for successful thrifting and saving money are effort, imagination and creativity.

And just for a bit of fun, enter some free competitions there are always loads on-line. Someone has to win it may as well be you. if you don't like what you win gift it or sell it.


  1. Glad your back, and great tips. I love the idea of using wallpaper as gift wrap, also about sharing the magazine subscription. The tip is a great place to find treasures, most of our vintage furniture is either from the tip or freecycle. My best finds were an Ercol chair and a singer sewing machine base. I love a bit of thriftiness.

    1. You sound like my kind of canny thrifter.
      Jean xx

  2. Blimey - you are good at scrimping! I'm struggling to think of more tips, but I'm relieved to find I'm already doing most of yours.
    As I'm in the trade, I'd better say "Antiques are Green". Very true and I love all my old furnishings like old friends - I NEVER replace any, unless they completely disintegrate. Also, if you do want to replace antiques you might even make a bit of money when you sell them.

    1. So true Nilly. I have been buying nice old pieces of furniture all my adult life, eventually selling them on and using the money to buy other pieces.
      Jean xx

  3. Wow!! So many thrifty tips Jean! Glad to know I'm already wised up to some of them, but good to come across lots of new ones too. Thanks for sharing them, and for sharing the competition.
    I've enjoyed the thrill of hunting bargain vintage furniture, fabric and clothes since my teens (now in my 50s), and have found absolute treasures for my home for a few pounds including my best buys, a pair of antique victorian oil paintings (£12 at a boot fair,value approx £900)and an arts and crafts Liberty table in a junk shop for £5 (worth £500!).
    Nothing like grabbing a bargain to set the pulse racing!
    Gill xx

    1. Hello Gill, sounds like we've been living parallel lives. I agree it's a truly great feeling to find something with integrity and beauty at a bargain price, such a buzz.

      The best of everything for the best price it's the way to live.

      Jean xx