Belt tightening tips!

As a business woman and a single parent I am always looking for cost effective ways of entertaining my children and ways to save money on a day to day basis so following the recent budget I have put together some tips!

Below are some of my own personal thoughts and ideas!

  • Review your utility bills – Recent hikes in gas and electricity prices mean you could be paying well over the odds! A company called Utility Warehouse can provide your electric, gas, phone, broadband & mobile and send it all in one simple bill usually saving the average household over £600 per year! Not only that but as a Utility Warehouse customer you will qualify for a cash back card which entitles you to as much as 3% cash back at some places you can use it at supermarkets as well as many places online. I have friends that use Utility Warehouse and because of the cash back they receive they don’t actually pay anything for their gas & electric! Amazing!!! Speak to Andy if you could benefit from saving £600 a year or more.
  • Water usage – I always let the kids bath together and will use the same bath water for me (unless of course they are ditched from the garden or painting!). Otherwise simple things can reduce your water consumption such as; take a shower instead of a long deep soak in the bath, get a water butt to water the garden, if you have an economy setting on your water set your washing machine overnight, only do full loads of washing, don’t fill the washing up bowl when washing the pots or set the dishwasher only half full and my latest discovery was a plastic bag I was given at Sainsbury’s to put in the toilet cistern which reduces the water by a third each flush!  Finally, you don’t need to buy bottled water – if you put tap water into a bottle or jug and put it in the fridge the chlorine will evaporate and taste as good as the stuff that you can buy (a top tip from Sarah Pritchard of bean café in Friar Gate Studios!).
  • Recycle, Reuse, Reinvent! – I save everything (probably too much if I am honest!) and then use bottle tops, toilet rolls, sweet wrappers and odds and ends to do craft activities with my kids and with the children at Kids Church, it is a great way to recycle ‘rubbish’ and have fun with the kids at the same time. Recently I went to a clothes swapping party, taking the clothes and accessories I no longer wore and came back with new items that other people took – not only was this a great way to have a clear out but great fun with friends over a glass of wine and to top it off we donated all the stuff left over to charity!
  • Home baking – When I was a child I spent most weekends baking with my Great-Grandma or my Great-Great-Auntie and can remember how much fun I had, however, in the age of ‘convenience’ it appears that children and parents do this less and less. Last year I started to do simple baking with my children or letting them do simple tasks in the kitchen to get them involved and understand more about what they are eating and about healthy food (as well as cakes!). I often have my children and their friends baking or making simple deserts in the kitchen which provides entertainment, education and a cost effective pudding!
  • Grow your own – Growing fruit and vegetables is a great way to get back to basics and appreciate what you are eating. I am not lucky enough to have an allotment but one of friends has an allotment so me and the kids help her pick the fruit and veg (and eat it of course!). You don’t need an allotment to grow your own produce as many things can be done on a patio or even on a window sill. There are still many local fruit farms where you can pick your own strawberries and such like which kids thoroughly enjoy. My fridge is always full of home-made jams and chutneys and I can’t image buying jam again!
  • Shop Wise! – There is a fab website called ‘my supermarket‘ you can work out the most cost effective place to do your shopping! Don’t buy pre-packed veg and fruit automatically; look at the price per kilo first. Look for good offers on non-perishables, not long ago I purchased some wash liquid which is normally over £6 per bottle and only paid £4 for two bottles!!!! Obviously I took advantage and filled my basket!
  • Entertaining the Family – Look out for the vouchers in your local and national papers for trips to local attractions, I have saved vouchers for holidays before and had a great time. Local papers will have an entertainment section which will have details of attractions, fairs and suchlike which are always worth looking at. My children love the simple things like feeding the ducks, playing on the park and having picnics when the weather is nice. Local Churches often have activities such as craft days, beetle drives, BBQ’s, barn dances, bingo and many more. My local Church, St Matthews, has a dedicated service for families as well as a ‘Kids Church’ – it’s a great way to meet others, have fun with the family and be part of a local community.
  • Tax Credits – If you work more than 16 hours per week and have a household income below £60,000 you are entitled to tax credits.

These are just a few of my personal thoughts about saving money from a personal point of view – for business savings Saylavy can review your business expenditure, look for savings and help with budgets moving forward.

If you have any ideas you would like to share and I can blog about or would like any help with reviewing your business expenditure then speak to ‘sara saylavy’!