Did you know that a third of Brits now believe it’s harder than ever to get a good deal when shopping around? A few weeks ago I was asked to take part in a fun shopping challenge with E.ON. This email couldn’t have landed in my inbox at a better time. I find the school holidays a little stressful money-wise. The children eat a lot, seem to grow out of all their clothes (or go through the knees!) and demand a lot of day trips and days out.
Despite your best planning I think good intentions can go out of the window during the school holidays. Although you can save, you can’t always anticipate every item of expenditure. So I was more than happy for the kids to go back to school and start managing a budget again.
Before I started the challenge I did everything as normal but made sure to keep my receipts when I did my shopping. Our food bill is one of our biggest expenditures (and one I’m responsible for!). It was an expensive week as the kids after school clubs started so I had to pay for term subscriptions, as well as food for packed lunches. I generally do food shopping as and when we need it, which can be an expensive way to shop.
The next week I started off by reading a set of top tips from Jasmine Birtle, these were full of practical advice on managing finances by spending less. The tips were a timely reminder and included haggling on and off the high street, to be clever with coupons, if it looks too good – it probably is!, to buy in bulk where possible, time your purchases (i.e. purchase against the season) and to switch and save.
E.ON recently launched their Cap and Track 1 Year tariff which is a new dual fuel, fixed monthly Direct Debit tariff, which tracks the average price of all energy tariffs on the market and currently guarantees to be priced £100 below the market average. This aims to remove the hassle for people who don’t want to shop around but want reassurance that their prices are fair and stable. You can find out more on the E.ON site.
I started the week with a clear head of some ways to save money. Thanks to the top tips I started the week by planning all our meals, and followed this up with an online shop. Sometimes this feels like an extravagance but it actually saves me stress and money – those top up shops are always a lot more expensive than they should be. I managed to save money by buying in bulk for packed lunches, and managed to add a money off voucher I found stuck on the fridge! My shopping bill was cheaper than the previous week, and despite some bulk buys I managed to save over £20!
We’re saving for a big holiday adventure next year so I really need to cut back on our food shopping bill every week. We’ve also discussed a few other ways to cut back, from saving money on Christmas presents by buying around Black Friday, to looking to switching energy suppliers to get a better deal.
I love saving money – who doesn’t! – so it’s brilliant that anyone can save money with a few tweaks to their shopping habits.