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Money-saving tips! What helps you cut costs?

Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,795 Disability Gamechanger
edited September 2020 in Coffee lounge
This week (21-27 September 2020) is officially National Recycle Week and this Moneysavingexpert.com guide explains how you can get paid to recycle your old clothes and shoes.  I had no idea you could do this  :o

With this in mind and the financial squeeze many of us are facing, I wondered what helps you save money?


Pennies spilling out of a jar

Could we use this thread to compile a list of handy hints for saving the pennies?  Let's have a go - share your tips below.

Here's another goodie: Scope's webpage about free and discounted events with your friend or personal assistant.
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Replies

  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 4,315 Disability Gamechanger
    I’m really into saving money :)

    Here are a few things that me or my family do...

    - Let go of brand loyalty and buy whatever brand of a certain product is on offer. I always buy whatever brand happens to be on offer that week. I hardly ever buy a product that is full price as I regard that as a failure of sorts :D. It is also a good way to try out lots of different brands.

    - Negotiate over the final bill with people like tradesmen and mechanics. Often their price is not firm and there is room for movement.

    - Look at fuel prices whenever you pass a filling station and only fill up at the cheaper garages. That said do not drive more than a few miles SOLELY to get cheaper fuel, as this is a false economy, try to fill up as and when you pass a reasonably priced garage.

    I will post more if I think of them!
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,795 Disability Gamechanger
    @66Mustang Some great money-saving inspiration there.  I have only recently started to 'haggle' bills and have had success with renewing mobile phone contacts and Sky bills.  It's definitely worth a go.
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  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 4,315 Disability Gamechanger
    Yes those are good ones to haggle over too, well done for getting a discount.

    Socially I am not very good but I have no issue asking for a discount (well no more than speaking to them for any other reason haha) if I think it is possible, I’m not sure why more people don’t do it!
  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 7,450 Disability Gamechanger
    Few tips from me 

    Use blankets and warm clothes to avoid having the heating on and make use of the warmth from the oven when it is on

    Turn off radiators in rooms you dont need them on eg I never have heating on in the bedrooms 

    Make meals from scratch using basic ingredients, like pasta, tomatoes, beans, rice , veg, Cook in bulk an d freeze

    Use your smart meter to review power usage

    Get rif of any un necessary expenses like sky, subscriptions, prime etc 
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,795 Disability Gamechanger
    edited September 2020
    Lots of wisdom there @janer1967

    I'd add stop buying take-away coffees too, I'm a glutton for a fancy latte when I'm out but they are expensive! 
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  • leeCalleeCal Member Posts: 3,019 Disability Gamechanger
    edited September 2020
    In the winter I tend to wear jumpers in the house instead of turning on the heating. I realise not everyone can do this especially if they are sedentary and I do turn it on if it’s really cold. 

    You can save quite a bit when driving by not over using the brakes and accelerator and by ensuring correct tyre pressure and oil level. 

    Knowing roughly what time of day food is marked marked down at the local supermarket is helpful. Most of our food comes with a yellow or red reduction sticker on it!

    baking your own cakes is far far cheaper than buying made ones, depending on what kind it is. Ie a sponge cake for a pound in a supermarket is hard to beat I’d guess when you add everything up. 

    I also only ever buy coffee when it’s on offer, you can save quite a bit that way if you’re a big coffee drinker. 

    Diy skills are well worth gaining and you can save a lot of labour costs that way. There are lots of diy skills on show on YouTube these days and plenty of solutions to common problems.
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,795 Disability Gamechanger
    @leeCal My boyfriend tells me off about the brake and accelerator thing a lot  :D Lots more good ideas, thank you!

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  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Community Team Posts: 3,271 Disability Gamechanger
    I also love a fancy coffee @Cher_Scope. The best way I've found of stopping me buying one when I'm out is to invest in some nicer coffee, and a milk frother. This means that I can make myself a really nice coffee at home, and take one out with me in a keep cup if I want. My goal is to have a nice coffee machine, but I'm not there yet!
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  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Community Team Posts: 3,271 Disability Gamechanger
    Some really great tips here!

    Charity shops and other second hand stores are a good way of getting items more cheaply, and it's a more sustainable way of shopping too. Scope charity shops are the best choice, of course.
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  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,795 Disability Gamechanger
    @Tori_Scope Sound advice and I agree charity shops are mini treasure troves.  I try to buy all my books from them and donate back afterwards.  There's nothing like the thrill of getting a total bargain!
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  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 4,315 Disability Gamechanger
    leeCal said:

    You can save quite a bit when driving by not over using the brakes and accelerator and by ensuring correct tyre pressure and oil level.
    Indeed driving smoothly saves a lot in petrol and general wear and tear. 

    Braking is basically wasted energy, when I press the brake I imagine the money going away, haha.
  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 4,315 Disability Gamechanger
    Some really great tips here!

    Charity shops and other second hand stores are a good way of getting items more cheaply, and it's a more sustainable way of shopping too. Scope charity shops are the best choice, of course.
    Do charity shops pay VAT?

    I was just thinking that it would maybe be a good move both for the environment and peoples pockets if there were tax incentives to buying used items, such as no VAT or something?
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Community Team Posts: 3,271 Disability Gamechanger
    Great question @66Mustang.

    According to the Charity Tax Group website:
    charity shops benefit from exemption from corporation tax, zero rated VAT on the sale of donated goods, and business rates relief. Money raised by selling donated goods like clothes does not qualify for Gift Aid. However, by concession charities can act as the donor’s ‘agent’ to sell goods on their behalf if the owner will give the sale proceeds (minus any commission charged) to the charity as Gift Aid donation.
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  • woodbinewoodbine Member Posts: 2,998 Disability Gamechanger
    Don't accept poor service, in the last month I have had £100 returned to me from 3 companies who gave us poor service, £50 for a table that came with no assembly instructions , £47 from my new isp who messed us about and £3 from asda for failing to deliver as promised.
    my advice is given freely and is correct to the best of my knowledge.
  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 4,315 Disability Gamechanger
    That’s interesting and really good @Tori_Scope thanks!
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,662 Disability Gamechanger
    I also love a fancy coffee @Cher_Scope. The best way I've found of stopping me buying one when I'm out is to invest in some nicer coffee, and a milk frother. This means that I can make myself a really nice coffee at home, and take one out with me in a keep cup if I want. My goal is to have a nice coffee machine, but I'm not there yet!
    I agree with you there @Tori_Scope
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  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,511 Disability Gamechanger
    It would help me save money if Terry's Chocolate Oranges weren't always on sale for £1
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  • chiariedschiarieds Community champion Posts: 6,897 Disability Gamechanger
    You might guess my biggest saving is growing vegetables & flowers from seed. This year I've grown lettuce, onions, leeks, miniature cucumbers, tomatoes, courgettes (some of which escaped into being marrows!), squash, beetroot, green beans, purple beans, runner beans, achochas, & a solitary watermelon, nasturtiums, livingstone daisies, & some perennials. I've also already got rosemary, sage, thyme, lemon mint, bay leaves, chives & garlic.
    Like Jane, I make extra to freeze away, & I make my own soup.
    In the winter, I snuggle up with a hot water bottle under a fleece, or my cat, who doesn't seem to like the feel of a fleece. My cat doesn't save me money....her latest escapade has been to bite nearly through the flex of my kettle, so have had to order a new one! Which reminds me, only fill a kettle with the amount you need.
    I've also haggled 'politely' since I was 17, as the saying goes, 'if you don't ask, you don't get.' :)

  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,795 Disability Gamechanger
    @chiarieds Do you have an allotment or is that growing in your garden?  We stayed at a smallholding last weekend and had fresh eggs and veg they had grown, it tasted so much nicer than shop bought too.
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  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 4,315 Disability Gamechanger
    It would help me save money if Terry's Chocolate Oranges weren't always on sale for £1
    Haha I am the same with snacks, they are always on offer, they should cost £25 each then I couldn’t afford any and I’d lose weight.
  • chiariedschiarieds Community champion Posts: 6,897 Disability Gamechanger
    Just what I grow in my small garden in raised beds & containers, & in my equally small greenhouse @Cher_Scope
  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 4,315 Disability Gamechanger
    @chiarieds it is interesting that you can save money by growing your own food. We used to have an allotment and found that, after paying for the allotment, buying the seeds, equipment, materials to build protection to keep animals off etc. it was just as expensive to grow your own produce as to buy it in the supermarket, albeit it did taste nicer! :)
  • chiariedschiarieds Community champion Posts: 6,897 Disability Gamechanger
    @66Mustang - The seeds I buy are not F1hybrids, which means you can save the seeds for the following year, so with many, it's just the initial cost of the first years seeds. I buy from the following website, & they tell you how to save the seeds. https://www.realseeds.co.uk/  Also, if you indicate you're on a low income, they reduce the postage. I've been buying from them for 5 years (I keep trying new things), & can't fault them.
    The only animal I have problems with is my cat......she scratched up 2 lots of filet beans, & they're my favourite type!
    My one luxury was getting my joiner to build me a small greenhouse. I used to just start seeds off in my lounge as it's south facing, but not practical to do now with a cat about! However, I rarely go anywhere, so my garden helps a lot in other ways, & my cat is really rather lovely (most of the time). 
    And, as you say, homegrown, well, you can't beat the taste, & no air miles. :)

  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,662 Disability Gamechanger
    It would help me save money if Terry's Chocolate Oranges weren't always on sale for £1
    Too true @Ross_Scope:D  

    I struggle to chop things so tend to buy pre-chopped onions and veg if I can, but this can be more expensive which is fustrating.

    If I'm at home I can get someone to chop things in advance so I have a freezer full of different things that have been chopped. 
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  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 4,315 Disability Gamechanger
    @chiarieds sorry I missed your post when you posted it. That site looks good and I like that they allow you to state you’re on a low income to reduce postage costs. 

    That is interesting about the lack of animal trouble you had. If we didn’t completely cover things up on the allotments they would get eaten mercilessly! Even if a small hole appeared in one of our protective shields or netting, that would be it for the plants, so we would have to keep an eye on them to make sure they stayed in good shape. Do you use any products on your plants to deter animals or, I guess, perhaps they are just less commonly found in a garden?

    On the topic of greenhouses one thing that we did do which worked well both as protection and as a makeshift greenhouse was cutting those large 5L water bottles in half and growing the plants under them! Not particularly attractive but very effective. A family member was able to get an endless supply of empty bottles from their office which was good.

    I can definitely understand that a garden helps a lot when you rarely go out. I found it quite therapeutic working on the allotment when we had it.
  • chiariedschiarieds Community champion Posts: 6,897 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @66Mustang - the only problem I have had is with slugs, as they've had more lettuce than me before. 
    My next door neighbour is a chef in our local Sicilian restaurant, & their wine is delivered in large plastic bottles. He saved these, & gave me some that he'd cut the tops off, which I used outside. Yes, they are effective. In my greenhouse, I put clear, pierced poly bags over my seedlings, & use these as a miniature secondary greenhouse for a week or 2.
    The website I mentioned really is good, as are their seeds. My next door neighbours & I often exchange seeds, but I can't save seeds from them for subsequent years, & my veg often seem to fare that bit better, altho he has taught me an awful lot about growing tomatoes! :)
  • leeCalleeCal Member Posts: 3,019 Disability Gamechanger
    I struggled to grow a dahlia this year and eventually found that every new growth was being eaten by a slug, so cut a water bottle in half and place it over the growth area and prey hesto, job done. Now it’s a bit late for dahlias but never mind. The plastic bottle trick is a good and effective one.
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,511 Disability Gamechanger
    It would help me save money if Terry's Chocolate Oranges weren't always on sale for £1
    Too true @Ross_Scope:D  

    I struggle to chop things so tend to buy pre-chopped onions and veg if I can, but this can be more expensive which is fustrating.

    If I'm at home I can get someone to chop things in advance so I have a freezer full of different things that have been chopped. 
    I've started doing the same, I find it takes me too long to chop an onion, peppers and mushrooms so I've cut down that time by getting chopped onion and mushroom so I just have the pepper to sort. It's annoying that you have to spend more but for me I think it's about finding the right balance between finance and convenience. 

    Whenever we do the shopping, we always find ourselves saving a few pennies by checking the section where they put things that are nearly past their best before date. You get so many bargains and some of the things can be just shoved in the freezer and preserved.
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  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 4,315 Disability Gamechanger
    edited September 2020
    @Ross_Scope we always check that section as well. We often go into the shops later in the evening when the stuff from the bakery is going cheap plus often there is the fridge with cheaper products as well.

    In Waitrose (I don’t go in there much) they sometimes give the stuff that’s close to its sell by date away for free! I guess they are too posh to reduce the prices :D the staff sometimes come up to you and ask if you want a certain product which I find really nice.
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,511 Disability Gamechanger
    Yeah it's always best to go in the evening @66Mustang, there's always a higher chance of getting something yummy :) 

    And yeah I've never been to Waitrose either, so I can't comment on how things are there. Although free stuff sounds great!
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  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,662 Disability Gamechanger
    Definitely @Ross_Scope! It saves a lot of time and energy doing it that way. Also a fan of the clearance section.  :D   
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