There is a lot of talk at the moment, about rising costs and the likes.
While it is clear the cost of oil and food is rising, not many people are talking about the savings that can be made from your budget, without having to feel a cut in your daily life.
Below, I am going to provide you with some useful tips on how to make some real savings on everything from Groceries and Supermarket Shops, Petrol, Utilities, and your TV Package.
How to save on Groceries
Firstly, I shop at Tesco Online, I have used Sainsbury’s and ASDA Online, ASDA was cheaper for the goods, and especially there in store bakers goods were better value, what let ASDA down was the actual service, I don’t use Sainsbury’s, as they were more expensive, and while the methods I’ll explain below can be used at Sainsbury’s or ASDA, I chose to shop with Tesco Online, and I would recommend them.
So how to save cash off your shopping. The method that I use, is to review the discount area of the store first, to make it easier you can browse each isle, and see what offers their are, I’ll fill my basket with all the goods I want at this point, and often end up with three or four of the same types of items whilst going through the store, I take this approach given that some offers appear around the store on different isles, so if I was looking for a pizza, I may find good offers on both the frozen and fresh isles.
Now I have shopped at Tesco for almost two years now, and I have a good favourites list built up – this is a list of all items I have previously bought, which I review and add all the usual items that are bought each week, again looking out for offers I may have missed.
I check the isles for some items, on a monthly basis to ensure I am still getting the best price, this is useful with vegetables where the prices may change seasonally, and is also useful when you realise you need washing powder, as I’ll wait till I come across our usual, if its not on special offer price I’ll see if there is something that is cheap.
Buy One Get One Free Offers. These are good offers, but it has to be used carefully with items such as food. I buy items such as washing powder in bulk when it is on special offer, the best offer to get is a BOGOF, but there are often Save Discounts, where you can buy two products at a cheaper price, and obviously half price discounts are great too. So I’ll fill my store cupboard with a couple of months supply of these items, by rotating the purchases with other bulk buy areas such as rotating the purchases of Shampoo, Washing Powder, Shower Gel, you’ll find your paying half price for some of the more costly items.
Once I have gone through the above, I then click checkout, and add coupons. I then do a quick Google search for terms such as “Tesco Voucher Codes” and visit sites such as The Tesco Voucher Code Blog, or Money Saving Forums, with my ultimate aim being to find a voucher of a decent enough value, the minimum I intend to leave with is enough to cover my delivery fee, however I tend to manage to find £10 – £15 per shop by spending a little time looking. Generally searching Tesco Voucher Codes will bring you a list of sites that are up to date, and showing decent codes. Now you can only use one XX code on Tesco, however if you added an £8 voucher, followed by a £10, and £12 one, the site will save the two lower valued tokens to your account, and use the higher value voucher. It is always worth looking for additional vouchers you can also add, such as 1000 extra ClubCard points is always nice – We’ve now got enough ClubCard Points for a weekend break, and trip to the Chester Zoo.
Its at this point, I can work out how much I want to spend, I generally want to spend £100 a fortnight, so I work through my basket adding, and removing items until I get it to the price I want. Choosing the cheaper item from the two pizzas I added. Its easier to work with the basket as it groups similar items, so if you’ve added several blocks of cheese while looking through the various bits on the site, they will all show together.
Its worth noting as well, I review all the offers I have added, for example a recent Buy Two for £2 promotion, offered a saving of 6p, I didn’t need two of them, so I took one out and saved a pound.
To make the shopping easier as well, me and my partner produce a meal list, covering the two week shop. We don’t have to stick to it religiously, as there is always other food in the house, but it ensures that we have two weeks food in.
By the time you have got your shopping down to the amount you want, its time to place the order. Now I tend to tot up all my savings from multi-buys before checking out, but its always nice to see it on your bill, but if your on a tight budget its another way of factoring in savings to buy more goods.
Now if your working it right, and not getting multi-buys when you don’t need two items etc, and are working through your list to make sure you actually need everything, adding vouchers, and making multi buys work for you, you should be able to make savings of about £10 – £15 in voucher savings, and if you start working multi-buys like I do, I tend to save another £10 – £15 per shop, with my average fortnightly bill coming out at around £120 – £130 for two of us, were saving a good 23%.
Its also worth noting, sites such as mySupermarket.co.uk offer price comparisons between all the major super markets, and I often use this site to ensure that I am not missing out on savings by shopping at another supermarket.Using this site, you can save as much as 20% off your shopping bill, they import your favourites and show suggested offers and savings, which when used in conjunction with voucher codes, and by using BOGOF offers correctly you could be looking at some pretty hefty savings.
How to Save on Petrol
Now I don’t drive, so I’m probably not the best person to ask how to save money. But, then again I get 5p per litre off vouchers with every shop which I generally give away at work. Add to this, that petrol is generally cheaper at Supermarkets its worth a look in.
You can also use sites such as www.petrolprices.com which search local fuel prices, and show you the best results for getting cheaper petrol.
How to Save on TV
I use to subscribe to Sky, with their 4 Mix Pack. Total monthly price £19, which I think has since gone up to £21. I also had Tivo, which was another £10 a month** which effectively gave us Sky+, so the total monthly bill was £29 a month. Although we had hundreds of channels, me and my partner tended to watch only several channels on a regular basis. This had previously raised the should get rid of Sky issue, and we set about working out what channels we actually watched – This was the hard part, we couldn’t organise ourselves. To our joy, a problem with the Sky feed into our flat and a couple of weeks later, we came to the decision that we didn’t need Sky, we had survived on Freeview without noticing any difference apart from not having Tivo record all the shows we watch.
At this point we could have saved £29 a month, but we missed Tivo, as it didn’t work on Freeview, and we missed a couple of the movie channels so we started to look around for an alternative.
We then stumbled upon BT Vision. We could take a BT Vision box for free, which acts live a Tivo Box, or Sky+, and it will have HD content by the end of August 2008, without the need for us buying an expensive piece of equipment or set top box. We the subscribed to the TV Mix package for £6 a month, which has been discounted for the next 6 months at least to £3 a month (I think we have 15 months half price TV Mix package for signing up to the package at the time of getting the box.
With a movies package, from £1.99 a month, or a Movie Package from £6 a month, which we didn’t take as we felt it would be more economical to watch films as we need, and subscribe if we feel were paying too much or missing out too much. However, had we had films with Sky, this would have been another £10 a month.
Similar with Sports, we don’t subscribe to them, but there is a Sports Package showing all 242 Barclays Premier League and 28 Clydesdale Bank Premier League same-day games per season for £4 a month. Or with Setanta Sports for £9.99.
* Saving of £23 does not take into account that you require a BT Line, and BT Broadband Package which we already had, that said savings still be made by taking up BT’s basic package, of Broadband and Phone Line along with BT Vision.
** I could have opted for a one of payment of £199 for my Tivo subscription, however, and with hindsight it was better value for me to pay the £10 a month option.
How to Save on Glasses, Frames and Contact Lenses’
Whilst the cost of an eye examination generally costs up to £15, you can often get a voucher from your employer if you work with VDU’s on a regular basis. The real cost comes when choosing your lenses and frames. What most people forget, is that they do not need to buy their lenses from the same store where they had there eye examination.
Me and my partner recently saved over £120 on a pair of Vivienne Westwood Glasses, you can save up to 70% by entering your prescription into online Optical Stores, and and getting our lenses and frames online. We’ve found service to be great, we did receive one faulty frame which was due to the coating applied, but one email to support, and free postage back to them we found that a couple of days later we had a perfect pair.
Vision Direct – Online Frames, Lenses, and Contact Sales
If you know of any other great money saving offers, post them in the comments below.
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