Take care of the pennies ...
Something my great auntie always used to say to me when I was little has stayed with me throughout my adult life;
"Take care of the pennies, and the pounds will take care of themselves!"
Over the years, I have found this to be so true. It's not always easy to build savings, especially when you have a family to care for. We find that as soon as we manage to save towards anything, whether it is a little family holiday, or saving towards a birthday or Christmas, something always crops up to eat into those savings, or, more often than not, diminish them completely! A household appliance will give up on us, an unexpected, hefty bill will drop on the doormat or the car will decide to break down. Something will always come along that simply cannot be ignored!
However, it doesn't stop us from trying! Throughout the year, we will always be looking for ways in which we can save money. Ways that will see us spending a little less without having to go without. And I am sure we are not the only ones!
Thinking back to what my auntie used to say, one of the things we always try to build is a copper jar. Every time we find ourselves with loose coppers in our pockets and purses, we pop them into a jar. We actually try to do it with pennies, 2p and 5p coins. When the jar is full, we will count what we have. Occasionally, we even manage to save enough so that, when we count it up, we actually have enough to cover a weekly shop at the supermarket! It is such a great way to save, because we don't even realise we are doing it. Losing a few small denomination coins from our pockets each day or so really does go without noticing, but when it is counted up, it can make a huge difference! So, instead of saying "Keep the change, it's only a couple of pence" when you're in the supermarket, keep it and pop it in the jar. Those huge supermarket chains really don't need it, but you might find that you and your family do!
We recently changed our choice of supermarket too. We would always default to our closest store, but have found that, since switching, we are saving up to 50% each week on our groceries and essentials. It has made such an enormous difference, and we most certainly have not lost any of the quality that we used to get. Shop around! Some will find that they get better value by doing two separate shops - one for fresh produce and one for frozen, or one for fruit and vegetables and another for everything else. Take the time to look at what each store offers. You may find that convenience doesn't always get you the best deal and, if you have the time, visiting more than one store can save you an incredible amount of money each month.
Promo sites are also a great way to save money. When you find that your child needs new sports gear for school, or there is an online purchase you need to do, always look for discount codes on the web. Quite often, there are offers to be had if you are a first time customer, or there is cashback on offer if you complete your transaction through a specific site. Always take a look before you checkout, just in case you are missing out on a deal. Google is a great way of finding these codes, or you may have a site you have used previously that you had completely forgotten about. Either way, promo codes are a wonderful way to save yourself a few pounds on items you are purchasing anyway!
Local selling sites are also a little treasure trove too. Especially at this time of year, people are selling unwanted, unused gifts from Christmas, or they are having a clear out of items to make space for the new things acquired during the festive season. Whilst some are dead set on avoiding used goods, I think there are often some real surprises to be found. One man's trash is another man's treasure, as they say, and I like to think of everything as preloved rather than just used. We have found some wonderful things for the home, for ourselves and for the kids on local selling sites in the past, and when they are very local, you are also saving on any pricey postage costs. In addition to this, buying someone's preloved items may also be contributing towards their savings too, so think of it as spreading the benefits!
Then there are cashback and reward sites. I have written a number of times previously about Swagbucks - a site that lets you earn vouchers for your favourite stores by performing everyday tasks online. Vouchers that can be saved towards annual occasions or just put aside for those times when things unexpectedly crop up.
There are so many ways in which you can pinch those pennies, and as we are all recovering from the more excessive spending we do during the last few months of the year, I hope that these tips might help you save a little extra.
Make 2017 the year that you save!
This is a collaborative post, but all words are my own.