Family finances are being stretched more than ever at the moment. In fact, the Aviva Family Finances report recently revealed that many families face growing debt in their struggle to keep ahead of inflation. So much so that almost two thirds of the survey respondents said they were worried about meeting even the most basic family needs over the next six months.
Is your family in this situation too? Has struggling to make ends meet become a real problem? Then you need our top tips to get you through – they’ll make all the difference. Read on to find out how you can make big savings on all your family spending, and even enjoy family fun for free!
1. Make your home pay for itself
You can bring in big money from your home by doing the following:
- Rent out a spare room. Be ruthless here if you really want the big bucks – if you don’t have a spare room, make one. Your kids can share a room or a study can become a bedroom. You can make up to £4,250 a year without paying tax. Find out how to rent a room tax-free now.
- Renting out your garage or driveway. Got an empty garage or a driveway that stands empty most of the day? Rent that too. If you live in a popular location (near a major public transport route or close to a city centre) you can make as much as £17,000 a year! Get started with Parkatmyhouse.com.
2. Save on food bills
- Beat the supermarkets at their own game. If you know all the tricks they’ve got up their sleeves to make you buy things, you’ll be able to avoid them – which will instantly save you money. Learn all the supermarket’s sneaky tricks here.
- Eat more vegetarian meals. Making a conscious decision to have one or two veggie meals each week will save you big because meat, especially the decent sort, is so very expensive.
- Steer clear of processed foods. They are bad for you and your kids, and guess what? They cost far more than fresh produce. If you struggle to think of dishes that everyone in the family will enjoy then get a bit of help from Sainsburys. We love their family meal planner – great for inspiration and fantastic value for money, it’ll show you how to cook five meals for four people for just £20.
- Use every last bit of food. Wasting food is a good as throwing your money away, and according to Lovefoodhatewaste.com one third of all the food bought in UK supermarkets ends up in the bin – a horrible waste. So make sure you use all your leftovers with Lovefoodhatewaste’s great recipe ideas. They’ll make your weekly shop go a lot further.
3. Cut your car costs
Don’t forget! You can make big savings just by checking you have the best deal on your car insurance. Confused.com say that half their customers save as much as £206 – so make sure you compare policies with them.
Or if you really want to save big, we’ll tell you all about our favourite car clubs and other alternatives to owning a car so you can get rid of yours altogether.
4. Get money makers, money savers and bargains straight to your inbox
If you want the very best money-making and money-saving ideas, deals and bargains sent straight to your inbox for free then look no further than the Moneymagpie weekly newsletter. It costs you nothing but could transform your finances. Sign up FREE here.
5. Make a budget and stick to it
It sounds boring but a budget is your family’s weapon against the money monster. Use our fab budget calculator here which works out all the figures for you.
If you’re armed with accurate information about your family’s incomings and outgoings, you’ll know where you need to save and how to be more economical with your spending.
6. Be clever with your credit cards
If you have a decent credit record but a few debts to pay off, switch to a 0% credit card – like the Barclaycard Platinum which offers 30 months 0% interest on balance transfers – so you can make a dent in your debts without spending your savings paying off interest. Barclaycard are currently offering six months’ 0% interest on purchases as a nice little bonus.
Or, if you pay off your debt each month, get a card that rewards you for spending. Get Avios, points or cashback with credit cards with rewards here.
7. Use loyalty cards
If you’re going to spend money you might as well get something back for it. If you use loyalty cards like the Boots Advantage card, Tesco Clubcard and the Sainsbury’s Nectar card make sure you get the most out of them.
Remember to use them every time you shop, and be sure to check their websites for special offers. Often the deals on there will give you more value for your points than if you were to use them in store.
8. Share and swap with friends and neighbours
Also, share lawnmowers, power tools and other big-ticket items with neighbours. Bulk-buy food and household goods at the Cash and Carry and share them out with neighbours so that you all end up paying less. See our article on buying in bulk with your friends to save money.
9. Get as much as you can for free
Use freebie sites (wisely – there’s a lot of rubbish to sift through!) for free samples of all kinds of things, Gumtree is good for freebies. Also, get into mystery shopping for free restaurant visits and supermarket shopping trips – make sure they are legit, thoug. We have a list of genuine mystery shopping agencies here.
Get a holiday nearly free (at least the accommodation part) by swapping your house with someone in another country. Try the website Homeexchange.com for an amazing selection of homes all round the world.
10. Shop around to save
It goes without saying that you could save £100s on your insurance, utilities and other bills by using comparison sites like ours. When it comes to food do check sites like Mysupermarket.com and the cheap food sites like Approvedfood.
11. Buy secondhand
A great way to save on everything is to buy things secondhand, particularly big-ticket items like cars, furniture and electronics. Use eBay, Gumtree, your local paper and family forums such as Mumsnet to buy things secondhand. Quite often, items just a few months old can be half price. Even better, get things for free on Freecycle.org. People in your area are giving good stuff away today including household goods, toys, office equipment and more.
12. Be green
Get into green living and you will definitely save money. Men clothes and gadgets where you can rather than buying new ones. Cut down on electricity, and your carbon footprint by avoiding the tumble dryer and hanging clothes out to dry instead, using the ‘off’ switch when you’re not using electronic equipment and keeping the lid on pans when you cook. We’ve got loads more green and monet-saving ideas here.
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