Todays post is all about my own experiences of living on a budget and how to make your cash go that little bit further. For those who haven’t read any of my posts and don’t know my circumstances, I was diagnosed with a sudden debilitating illness last year which meant since then I’ve been unable to work as many hours as I’d usually like to and that has meant my income has dropped dramatically to almost half of my usual salary. On top of this I’ve recently moved house so have lots of diy projects on the go and I also work for a major fashion retailer so I have a huge clothing addiction! So here are my top tips for making your hard earned cash go a little bit further and how to manage on a tight budget.
1. Always ask for a discount.
So if you’re a frugal spender like me then I’m sure you already know to search for discount codes when spending online. You can do this by just googling discount code and then the name of the retailer you are looking for or by using sites such as www.vouchercodes.co.uk or www.vouchercloud.com but sometimes you just can’t find one that works. My top tip is to email the retailer or message them on social media and ask for a discount code you can use. This is especially useful if it’s a smaller retailer that wouldn’t advertise discount codes very often. It’s worked for me numerous times, so definitely worth a try.
2. Sign up to a free cashback site.
These sites are an absolute godsend for me when I’m not able to put money aside into my savings account I can use these sites as a kind of piggy bank to save a few pounds here and there and it soon mounts up. If you’ve never used one before it’s really simple. You just sign up with your email address and then every time you shop online just go to their site first and navigate to your chosen retailer from there. They track your purchase and offer free cashback on what you buy. I use TopCashback and Quidco for my purchases. I’ve given a link below for you to use if you wish to sign up. It’s great for annual purchases such as internet providers, insurances, utilities, sky TV etc, these deals can be up to £70/£80 cashback. Even smaller every day buys mount up pretty quickly. I’ve earned over £900 so far which you can withdraw as cash to your bank, paypal or shopping vouchers. Use my links to sign up: TopCashback Quidco
3. Use supermarket shopping apps for cashback.
As well as the above cashback sites I also use a couple of apps on my phone for supermarket shopping. While this doesn’t give you big money cashback it does allow you to get cashback on your normal purchases, even when they’re on offer in store. I personally like to use ClickSnap which is by Quidco or Shopitize. I’ll keep an eye out for items which I regularly buy and get them when they have cashback.
4. Buy clothing out of season.
If you’re like me and are a bit of a shopaholic when it comes to clothes then this tip is one for you! I always buy out of season. When stores have a sale on they often bring older items out of the stockroom from the season before and these are heavily reduced in price. For example you’ll often find last years winter jumpers included in the current summer sales in store and online. August is a great time to buy as the weathers still hot so no-ones thinking of buying winter jumpers just yet but winter is right around the corner. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking well it’s last years and it’ll look old, no-ones going to know. I work for a major fashion retailer and every year the same styles come out just in a different colour option or a slightly different cut. If you’re extra savvy like me I’ll buy additional ones to sell online during winter and they’ll easily sell for a profit.
5. Look for bigger household items on local selling pages.
I’m currently doing up a new house and have a VERY limited budget. A good place to find almost new items is the local Facebook selling page or eBay. You can search on eBay and list items in order of distance from your home and there’s often some bargains particularly if you live in a secluded area or you’re willing to travel to a secluded area to pick things up. I live in a small town with lots of quiet villages dotted around. Alot of people can’t be bothered to drive round little places looking for the right house so these items often don’t get many bids. I’ve recently purchased a brand new bathroom sink for £100 which retails for £333 at my local store and a second hand fireplace suite for £150 which is good as new. You’ll be surprised how often people change their home decor and get rid of things they haven’t long had. Or even better they never got round to using!
6. My buy one, sell one rule when it comes to clothes!
I use this rule whenever I treat myself to a new item of clothing but I suppose you can use it for whatever you like to buy far too many of! For every new piece I put in my wardrobe I’ll pick out an item to sell that I haven’t worn in a while. There are lots of sites you can use for selling online. I find Facebook can be a bit too time consuming, lots of time wasters on there and people that want you to deliver something they’re buying for all of 50p! Not worth the effort for smaller items. I have selling pages on Depop, Vinted and eBay which I update regularly with new items.
7. Have an email address specifically for brand newsletters.
I never like to pay full price for anything and I tend to buy the same products and brands quite often. Stores on the high street don’t always offer the best value for money particularly when it comes to toiletries and cosmetics and lots of online retailers now offer free home delivery and promotions covering most items on site such as 10% or 20% off. I always sign up to email newsletters and it’s a great idea to set up an email address that you use solely for this purpose. You don’t have to check it every day just check it when you want to buy something and see what offers are available. Some sites like Feelunique offer you a 10% discount off your favourite brands for life. Another favourite of mine for toiletries and cosmetics is Lookfantastic they always have good discount codes and regular offers. Gone are the days I’d regularly pop into Boots or Superdrug on the high street! Don’t forget to also use your Topcashback account for even more savings as I mentioned in tip number 2 above.
8. Don’t be afraid to complain!
If I’m paying money for a product or a service and something goes wrong I expect to be compensated for that. So if you’re mobile phone/internet provider has signal issues and you’re unable to use it then tell them! I’ve had a couple of £5 goodwill gestures from o2 when I’ve had signal problems. If I’ve had to travel a long distance to return a faulty product then I’ll ask for travel expenses, big companies often have a policy to include these types of refunds. Train delays are also easy to claim money back for if you’ve reached your destination significantly later than planned so always keep your tickets. I find the golden rules with complaints are to remain calm, speak in a polite manner and ask yourself what is reasonable to expect in those circumstances. If you’re unreasonable and aggressive then you won’t get very far! Social media is also a good tool to use as companies don’t like bad publicity, twitter is a good one as lots of people will see your tweets not just your friends.
So those are my Top Tips for today. Please feel free to comment and share your own tips with me. I’m always happy to hear some new ideas! Thankyou for reading.