I was recently asked to provide some thoughts and feedback in response to a recent survey of 2,000 families throughout the UK carried out by Santander.
Those surveyed were asked about their family finances and on their ability to save in the current financial climate.
I noted that almost half the people surveyed have a savings account but never pay into it and one in six families with children borrow money to cover day to day expenses. This is a downward spiral and terribly difficult to get out of. We had a wake-up call a few years ago and have been downpaying our existing debt whilst making efforts not to take on any more. It has meant going without things, sometimes big things, until we were able to get the money together to pay cash for them. We were without a minibus for three months, seven weeks without a fridge freezer, almost a year without a boiler and this month we have gone six months before replacing our broken oven and grill with a second hand range cooker from eBay which we bought for a fraction of the cost and which looks and performs as well as a new one. Our aim is to be debt free within the next year or so.
I believe more should be done to educate people about not resorting to debt and with regards to money management – perhaps teaching “old style” tricks such as dividing cash into jam jars to cover food, bills, entertainment etc.
One thing our family has done for years is to shop online to keep tabs on how much our shopping bill comes to as we go. I menu plan according to which foods are on special offer and plan a menu for the week accordingly, ensuring I buy only the ingredients I need for each meal. This means I don’t have any wastage and end up throwing food out. Often people resort to stocking up on BOGOFs only to discard much of it as it has expired before being eaten. This is a false economy.
I was surprised that nobody seemed to mention growing their own food as a way of decreasing their shopping bill. Even growing salad foods in containers when space is limited can go some way to providing healthy, fresh food which will save some pennies.
Using cashback sites also hasn’t been mentioned. When needing to make purchases I always check and see if we can buy via a cashback site or look for internet codes and coupons which will knock a little off the bill. Setting up the cashback sites to pay any cash earnt back directly into a higher rate savings account means something – anything at all – is siphoned off into savings.
These are some of the points I touched on in my response but I know there are far more moneysaving ways than I could cover and I know there are several of you reading this who can give us some great frugal tips and tricks.
Please do share your moneysaving tips with us!
This post was written in response to a survey carried out by Santander, provider of the 123 Current Account designed to help save you money on your bills through cashback and interest.