Dirty cash

Weekends are the daddy, it’s official.

Having come to the end of a flat-out week, I spent all this morning up at the yard with Inka. We had a bit of a wobble last night, when she decided to do motorbike impressions towards the jumps, race in at about 100mph and take off a good 8′ too soon… I think riding under the floodlights may not be the way forward in future 🙂

I’ve also got time today to post something I’d been meaning to for a while because I realised after I’d published it that my budgeting post was a bit rubbish! It’s because I’m so ridiculously conscious of what I spend anyway, so I thought I’d share some of the other things I do to keep track of the cashish.

It might be I’m just teaching my grandmothers to suck eggs, of course, so feel free to leave a rude comment saying so if I am 🙂

My budgeting (for the original challenge of Laura’s, click here) starts with this:

A few years ago, when I was doing mainly cash work, with a few cheques, I had no idea what was in the bank. One day, I looked at my statement to find I had hundreds of pounds less than I’d thought – with nothing to show for it.

So I started writing down everything that comes in and everything that goes out. It might sound stupid but I still, in that book, write my monthly salary at the top of each page, then the direct debits that go straight out underneath. I then write down everything (to the £5) I spend as I spend it, so I know exactly where I am at any one time.

It sounds ridiculously anal. But it does work.

Other money-saving things I always do are:

– Set aside money every month (I transfer it every month to an online savings account). I class it as holiday fund between January and August and Christmas fund between September and December. It spreads the cost of both and it’s also an insurance in case something goes wrong.

– Buy loose rather than packed fruit and vegetables wherever possible. The sneaky supermarkets will have a big sale sticker on a box of mushrooms, but if you look at the price per kg (and watch Asda, they price some by grams and some by kg, the cheeky buggers) and you’ll see the loose ones are still much cheaper.

– Buy own brand. Supermarket toothpaste, shampoo, painkillers, cleaning products etc are just as good as the brand names and cost much less.

– Get online deliveries. I know Maria mentioned this and in my case, although Tesco say has a £3 delivery charge, it would cost me at least that in petrol to get there and the temptation to buy what I don’t need is removed.

– Make use of pound shops. I mentioned my two giant bottles of washing-up liquid for 99p bargain but they also do loads of brand name products. I like Johnson’s Holiday Skin, for example, but don’t like the £4ish price – but they do that in the 99p Store (can you guess how much?!) They also do tea, coffee and other food and drink but just watch that those are actually cheaper than in supermarkets – they have to make money back somewhere!

– Join Quidco. It’s a site which collects together retailers and if you click on to their sites from the Quidco link, and then buy things, you get  cashback – and it’s all legit. You can go through the site to insurance websites, credit cards, all sorts of retailers and can end up with lovely free money for things you were buying anyway, result!

– Make use of loyalty cards. I save my Nectar points up till Christmas, then shop through the Nectar site for presents – you can get loads of books, CDs, DVDs, home stuff on there and it’s basically free. and if you’ve used a Nectar card for Sainsbury’s petrol too, you’re even more quids in 🙂

On top of that, I’ve been making the most of the seasonal produce with my current breakfast obsession:

Carrot cake porridge is still such a winner – but so is this:

Chopped apple, microwaved with mixed spice until soft, topped with almond butter sauce (2tsp each almond butter and milk with a bit of maple syrup), vanilla Munchy Seeds and home made granola – perfect 🙂

What are your ultimate money-saving tips?

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15 Responses to Dirty cash

  1. I always make sure to buy store brand and seek out the sales/coupons, but I really need to start a budget and keep to it…especially with the holidays coming up. I realized the other day that I have a serious buying addiction…to food! Yeah, some women shop for shoes…some for purses…I shop for nut butters and cereal! 😉 My pantry and fridge are bursting at the seams and I LIVE ALONE! So, I guess if there happens to be some sort of national disaster, half the city could just come over to my house and have meals for months! 😉

    • Haha, me too, I couldn’t have anyone else move in because there would be no room in the cupboards or fridge! But that’s the silver lining though; if there was a disaster, we’d be lifesavers 🙂

  2. My saving tips are: get coupons and buying stuff on sale! 🙂

  3. Man I REALLY need to stop spending so much money on groceries! I’m a bad food budgeter, but when it comes to clothes, I’m awesome! I buy TONS of stuff at outlet stores, and secondhand stores. Just this week I got some brand new asics running shoes for $16 and a J Crew sweater for $10!

  4. Hannah says:

    Well done to you for taking control of your budgetting! I’ve never really done this seriously as I’ve always been really good at saving (not ever caring about brand names or fancy clothing helps in that regard 😛 ), but I’m going to have to start being more careful for the next few months as I may be paying twice the amount of rent I have been. Ugh! I’ll be going back to the cheap vegetables and the homebrand pasta, I think! 😛

  5. Great tips! I have an excel spread sheet and an app on my phone for me to keep track of things, I save all my receipts in my purse and then log what I’ve spent. Your so right about checking the price of loose fruit and veg – its almost always cheaper!

  6. You have listed some great tips. I always try and shop where items are cheaper. I now know where I can get my regular purchases cheaper which is great help.

  7. I love the book budget idea – I do a yearly spreadsheet, but that shows my intentions, rather than my actual spending. So I think it’d be great to find out where I am actually spending money! So interesting to be a part of this challenge, as I’m learning loads from everyone 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment! Writing it all down can be a pain but once it’s there in black and white, it really make me realise where I can save… the spreadsheet sounds a great idea too 🙂

  8. Pingback: Everlasting cookies? | Eating like a horse

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