We always feel a little bit of a financial pinch in January after additional expenditure over Christmas - especially with Ellie and Phoebe's birthday's either side of it. It's not necessarily a bad thing as it really makes us think about what we are spending and encourages us to be financially smart with what we do have left until that long awaited January payday. Now, I'm no money saving expert but here are a few ways I save money and make it go as far as possible during what feels like the longest month of the year:
This is probably where I save most money, not just in January, but across the year. Planning out your meals and then buying only what you need really helps if you're on a budget, not to mention saves on waste. This week I managed to do our food shop for under £50 when it usually averages £75-£100 per week, which for a family of five isn't bad. I saved money this week by going through our cupboards, fridge and freezer and looking at what we already had in and then creating meals around them. A flick through a cookbook or two gave me some inspiration of what we could do with the ingredients and encouraged me to get a bit creative ready steady cook style! I even managed to cook a chilli and a curry with leftover's to freeze for next weeks meals.
Online Food Shopping
Online food shopping always saves me lots of money as I work from a shopping list which we write as we run out of things which means I shop smart and only buy what we need and am not filling the trolley with store offers or buying things I might fancy because I've been tempted as I walk up the supermarket aisles.
It works really well when you meal plan as you know exactly what you need to buy. It also means that I save time by saving my basket each time and just re selecting the things we need and the biggest bonus of all is that I don't have to drag three children around a shop who constantly put things in the trolley! When we do pop to the shops for the inevitable top up of milk or bread I always look in the reduced section for anything I can find to pop in the freezer and save money, particularly things like meat; the last hour of opening on a Sunday is a particularly good time to find a bargain.
We do our online food shop with Tesco's which means we earn Clubcard points each time. These can be converted into vouchers for all sorts of things such as days out or restaurant vouchers which come in super handy at this time of year when we don't have any spare disposable income. If I do need to buy anything online I always check for a discount code before purchasing as there usually is one.
January doesn't mean you can't do anything fun. They say the best things in life are free and there are loads of ways you can enjoy a lovely day without spending a penny. Some of our favourites are a trip to the park, riding bikes or scooters, doing some arts and crafts, playing games together, watching a movie or using our national trust membership which gives us access to hundreds of places for a run around for free.
Shop your wardrobe
The sales are so tempting and the emails popping into my inbox make me want to buy ALL the pretty things with the big discounts making them look extra pretty... January is a good time to have a look at the clothes you already have, have a clear out and rediscover some things you might have forgotten about at the bottom of the drawers or back of the wardrobe. You'll then have a good idea of things you really need and if you do make any purchases in the sales they'll be the right ones rather than impulse buys. I try to buy things that go with stuff I already have, which for someone who practically lives in jeans isn't particularly tricky, but makes lots of sense.
I hope that helps. I think all of the above just come down to thinking about what you are spending, budgeting and being a bit creative. They are habits I want to continue, not just in January, but for the rest of the year too so that we can make our hard earned pennies go further.