7 February 2014

Free Up Your Money By Budgeting, Saving and Winning!

Everyone needs to save money sometimes. Just after Christmas is a horrible time for anything to break down and that's exactly what happened to us. On Sunday night, I went to run a bath and realised that the hot water tap was running cold. After checking the boiler, I was gutted to see water pouring from the bottom of it and I was a little scared too. I know not to mess with boilers but was so frightened that something was seriously wrong and it might blow up or something. 

After ringing up a plumber/gas man or whatever they go by, he said that he would need to order a part after looking at it and that it could cost hundreds. Gutted for us as we were skint. After looking at it though, it turned out to be something else which cost £58 to fix so wasn't so bad. It still left us with no money though. 

Then it got me thinking, what can I do to budget and save money whilst not cutting out the things we love and so I am giving my tips. 

I always budget our money, paying bills first, going shopping and then buying things we need before getting the rest to treat ourselves, not that there is usually much left. 

Separate your bank accounts, if you can, and always leave bill money alone. Don't dip in to it to buy something that is on sale. It could just cause agro in the coming weeks.
Try to set up bills through direct debit. This is usually the cheaper option and also means that it will come out automatically. Many times, before setting up direct debits, I have forgotten about a certain bill and then received letters from the companies and charges on top.

I know, I know, You've been with 'that certain' electric company for years and it will be a farce to charge. Well no, not necessarily. Pop online and do a quick compare of how much you are paying now versus how much you can save by switching. Changing to another company is usually fairly easy too.

When you go shopping, write a list of what you need and don't deviate from it. Yes, 2 packs of apples are better than 1, but will you really need that many? No, well don't buy them just because they have a discount on them. 

Saving money can be through every day means. On your shopping, on clothing but even on big things such as holidays and appliances.

I started buying groceries online as that saved me bus and taxi fares but found that delivery charges kept rising. Asda have now brought out their 3 months delivery pass, which if you buy before the 10th February, will cost only £15. This covers grocery orders, Asda Direct and George. So far, since buying our delivery pass, I have had 5 different delivers so am now saving money. You can buy the delivery pass here.

Compare and Cashback
Always compare different websites when buying online. I am forever searching Google and comparison websites before purchasing large items. It's best to find the best deal for what suits me. Also, don't forget to use a cashback website such as Quidco to get money back when you spend online. I have saved up quite a bit of money by using Quidco every time I shop.

Websites, such as this blog, and other well known review sites will give full and honest reviews on products. Even shopping websites themselves usually have review pages. Always check them out, especially when buying expensive items.
No use spending hundreds on a washing machine that isn't up to standard so make sure you check out what others think about it first. 

Entering competitions is a hobby of mine and that is why I hold a lot of competitions here on my blog too. It's nice to give something back to my readers. It is also a way of saving money too.

Freebie Friday
This happens every week when a lot of companies will hold a competition either for the day or over the weekend. You will find that compers are very busy on this day as there are loads of competitions. Search #FreebieFriday on Twitter and this will show the mass amount that you can enter.

Follow blogger Given To Distracting Others also holds a weekly Freebie Friday which you can find on her blog every Friday. This gives a list of freebies, samples and current giveaways that she can find. There is also a linky underneath which others can link to with their competitions too and is usually a vast range of prizes on offer.

I make a list of everything that family and friends are wanting for Christmas and then search the internet to see if there are any competitions for those items. Many companies hold giveaways and you can win loads, it's just a question of weeding out what you want to win. Last year, I won over half of the presents I gave out saving myself a fortune.

Expensive Items
Follow and like all the big brands over on Facebook and Twitter. You will notice that most of them run competitions. In the past I have won an Acer Ultrabook worth about £700 and also a Samsung EcoBubble washing machine which was priced at £850.

I use The Prize Finder website to search for holiday competitions. Make sure you enter ones that are suitable for yourself and your family though as most big prizes are non transferable so it's no use winning a holiday for 2 if you have children and no one who could look after them.

I always use the Rafflecopter app when hosing my giveaways. This means that all entries are collected and sorted for me by a third party and it even picks the winner too. A lot of people don't like Rafflecopter because of all the entry mechanisms which usually means that there are less entries than other competitions. I always try to enter as many Rafflecopter competitions as possible and have won a fair bit from them.

All in all, be careful with your money, make sure you organise yourself up front and then have fun entering competitions an winning yourself some goodies.


  1. Good ideas, I will have a try at the #FreebieFriday next week on twitter. Thanks for the idea.

  2. I love rafflecopter for giveaways, a real simple method and I have quite a bit of luck with them, I also love the advents at christmas

  3. I try to enter to with for my children - every little helps these days!

  4. ASDA's delivery pass is a super idea and, like you have done, will save most people in the long run. I use Sainsbury's, and get free delivery by spending over £100 which is ideal for me as I combine my shopping with my elderly neighbour's.
    I save an awful lot by giving wins away as presents. Sometimes I feel that because I didn't BUY them anything they think I'm really tight.

  5. Love your ideas - I enter competitions and sometimes I'm lucky for things I was going to buy anyway :)

  6. Thanks for your tips. I have known neighbours, friends and family members buying offers which are e.g. Two for ??? and sharing /splitting goods and cost. Or taking it in turns to buy the offer which saves them money. Without overstocking or wastage due to the sharing, caring support of each other in regards to suitable offers.

  7. I do try to plan ahead, buy items for gifts when on offer etc. Whenever this is possible.

    Rachel Craig

  8. I loved your article on budgeting. Someone suggested we have separate bank accounts for bills and whatever is left a while ago, it's one of the best decisions we made on keeping bills under control. Making a list before shopping and also not hungry or sad helps me keep on track and being a new to comping is also fun. Ellen H

  9. Wow some fab ideas I had not even thought of, will look at those delivery saver options for groceries as I seem to be able to be so much more strict/in control of my groceries when I shop on-line

  10. Something I didn't realise until recently is that you can change your energy supplier even if you're renting - it doesn't matter what it says in the contract. Could have saved me loads had I realised earlier.

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