This is an expensive time of the year for us – lots of birthdays, plus there’s the Christmas juggernaut approaching. I suspect I’m not the only one feeling the pinch lately.
It doesn’t all have to be gloomy though. Here’s a little frugal inspiration for you…
Make a hearty vegetarian casserole
Surprisingly, my children willingly eat swede. Capitalise on any enthusiasm for cheap, hearty vegetables and turn them into a huge casserole. Add a can of pulses or beans (even baked beans will do!) or a handful of lentils. Serve with rice or dumplings – no one will notice the lack of meat.
Buy tinned fish
One of our store-cupboard staples are those little tins of mackerel in spring water. They cost about 60p each and are a fantastic way to eat your oily fish. We eat them with salad, or jacket potatoes. The boys love them – especially mashed up with mayonnaise or cream cheese. So great if you’re trying to reduce your food bill and can’t afford to buy lots of fresh fish.
Order your food online
It’s a simple one, but doing an online grocery shop every week saves me so much money – and time! I don’t get tempted to put random things (or clothes etc) into my trolley and just buy what we need. We don’t end up with much waste at the end of the week, and definitely don’t over-buy.
Picnics aren’t just for summer
As a family we love still love to walk and explore during the colder months. Buying everyone lunch can be ridiculously expensive, so we often pack up some nice picnics to take with us. One particularly sublime Autumn picnic is a crusty roll filled with sausages and lots of chutney – cook your sausages in the morning, wrap your rolls in foil and they’ll still have a whisper of warmth to them at lunchtime. Perfect with a flask of coffee. Yes, you might get a wet bum from sitting on a damp bench, but the smug glow from saving all that money will keep you warm.
Choose some new accessories
If you don’t want to spend lots of money on coats and clothes, then you can still feel a bit different with a few new accessories. Re-invent an old coat with a big scarf and some coloured tights. My love for scarves knows no bounds. They’re a little (affordable) window into the seasonal trends and can completely lift an old outfit. Ditto a new hat.
Make do and mend
Have you got a pair of boots with a worn out sole? It’s definitely worth finding out if you can have them re-soled. I had a pair of long leather boots done last Autumn and it gave them a new lease of life for under £28. You couldn’t buy a new pair of leather boots for that.
Buy books from the charity shop
Go into most charity shops and you’ll usually find some of the new-ish bestsellers. I love a real bookshop, but I also love finding something great to read for a bargain price. You never know what you’ll find – mostly fiction, but sometimes lovely cookery books. To be even more frugal, visit your library. You can order books online now at most libraries and have them reserved for you from other libraries – which gets past the problem of the limited Mills and Boon-style stock. Clearly, this only works though if you remember to actually return your books and don’t accrue massive fines (like me). The charity shop usually works out cheaper for me in the long run.
And finally….drink some Aldi champagne
You deserve a treat after all that frugality. I can’t believe how nice it is for only £10 a bottle!
What are you favourite money-saving tips?