When I decided to take a Career Break last year, I was asked quite a few times how everything will be going down to one salary.
Well, it’s not easy but by nature I am a saver, I always have been, it’s something I have really learned from my Grandparents from when they gave me a “loan” for my first computer, we had a contract and if I couldn’t pay back those few pound each week they wanted to know why and held me accountable for my spending.
I think it’s always important to be aware of your spending when you are on a budget, but there are a few ways as a household we make savings without even really trying. So here are my 9 top tips for making some savings without really trying.
We LOVE Quidco! It’s a cashback website that you use as a ‘gateway’ for online shopping. If you’ve not heard of Quidco before, you sign up and then when you want to do online shopping, get car insurance, book a hotel, magazine subscriptions etc, log into Quidco first, search for the retailer you want to use, click through to their website and then shop as usual. Quidco track your spend and then you get a % cashback. It can take a few weeks and Quidco keep the first £5 you earn as their fee. We’ve made great savings with this, both of us earned over £400 each since we joined.
You can sign up to Quidco here and get a bonus 50p when you earn your first £5.
I dont use Google as a search engine much anymore because I use Swagbucks. With Swagbucks you earn ‘Points’ and you can turn these into a variety of vouchers for various places including New Look, Starbucks, Zizzi, TK Max, and my favourite – Amazon. There are a few ways to earn points once you have created a new account. There is a daily survey, quizzes, watch “SBTV” clips (watch 10 short clips and get 3SB) and also using it as a search engine. You dont get points for every search but you can earn 5-50 points at times. I help my points by “searching” for Facebook or Twitter etc rather than going straight to the direct URL and that adds points. Since starting to use Swagbucks a few years ago I have claimed over £300 Amazon vouchers for very minimal effort.
You can sign up to Swagbucks here and get 50 points to start with.
Shopitize is a phone app available to both Apple and Android. Once you have the app and create an account you can see what offers they have. Each Wednesday a new set of offers are released, have a look to see what is included and then you have until midnight the following Tuesday to make the relevant purchases and upload your receipts. The offers are mainly for groceries in the major supermarkets (not Aldi or Lidl). We’ve been using Shopitize for a few months now and have claimed about £30 back so far.
This is a new saving method for us! We like to go to the cinema and used to use Orange Wednesdays but now thats stopped, Meerkat Movies have taken over. The general deal is that you can get 2-4-1 cinema tickets on a Tuesday or Wednesday at participating cinemas, but they catch is you have to be a Compare the Market customer. The great thing however, is there is no minimum purchase needed so what I did was purchase a single day travel insurance, it cost me £2.03 and that then makes me a Compare the Market customer. You can log into their website or download the Meerkat Movies app but each week you can get access to a code that is valid for either Tuesday or Wednesday but you have access to it for an entire year! We used it last night for the first time, we saved £9.60 – not bad for a £2.03 outlay.
5. Complain / Compliment!
Us British don’t really like to complain, but it can pay off! After reading some blogs about extreme couponing, I read how some people get good deals if they compliment companies, but also complain if something is wrong. I have tried this a few times recently and it’s paid off, for the time it took to write a few emails! We had some Tilda microwaveable rice, there must have been a small hole in the bag as it was off, a quick email and I get a £5 voucher. A quick email to a bread company saying how we love their bread and I get 4 x £1 vouchers.
Taking my career break means I have a little more time, and something that is good to do is online surveys. There are many companies but I use Valued Opinions and I get at least five surveys a week paying anywhere fro 50p to £3 if you qualify. You have to go through a few qualifying questions first so not all surveys are relevant. Once you get to £10.50 you can claim a variety of vouchers including John Lewis, Boots and Sainsburys.
You can sign up to Valued Opinions here.
When we booked our honeymoon we needed to try and make our budget stretch as far as we could. One way we did this was utilising hotels.com (going through Quidco of course to get up to 10% cashback). Our reason for using Hotels.com was that for every ten nights you book you get a free night equivalent to the average price of the booked ten nights.
8. Credit Card Points
We both have credit cards, and I am not advocating everyone run out and get one. However, if you do use one, using ones that pay rewards can be helpful. Paul has one that accrues points whereas mine is a Tesco Clubcard one and I build up Clubcard points which we then use in the Clubcard exchange for vouchers towards holidays.
Collecting loose change is a super simple way to save some pennies. I’ve done this since I was a child, I have a few separate jars – 1p’s, 2p’s, 5p’s, 10p’s and £2 – and when I got loose change I would put it in the jars. Once the jar was full it would be counted and either banked or used for a treat. This is a great way to get children to learn to save.
I’d love to hear how you save money without really trying? Any tips?