Eleven killer tips on how to save money.

Debt management. Save money on just about everything through frugal living.

There can't be many worse feelings than knowing you are up to your eyeballs in debt. It is all too easy to become depressed and think that there is nothing to be done.

Don't give up, help is at hand, you can save money through frugal living and work your way out of debt. If you follow these simple rules you could find yourself debt free, it might take a little time but it can be done.

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1)With unemployment rates at an all time high saving money and deliverance from debt through frugal living is a high priority for most people, If you really need to manage your money a little better but still want to live well, just for less money, then you need to make a few changes. A few small changes can make a big difference to your household budget. Start saving on your household heating bills. Turn the central heating down a couple of degrees, you won’t notice the difference in the house but you will notice the difference when the bill comes and you see how much money you've saved. When I was young my mother always told me to put another layer of clothes on, not turn up the heating! Sound advice that I still follow to this day.

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2)Make a list when you go shopping and stick to it as much as possible. You can manage to save even more money if you switch from big brand names to stores own choice, you will find that they are pretty much the same product. Buy washing detergent and fabric conditioner combined not separately. Look out for special money saving offers in store but don’t be tempted to buy too many of the ‘buy one get one free’ type things unless you are sure you are going to be able to use the items or freeze them. A good way to take advantage of these offers is to share them with your friends or family. Share fuel costs too by shopping together. Don't just look at shelves at eye line, that's where supermarkets put the highest priced goods. Always check up high and down low, that's the place you are most likely to find the cheaper stuff, the stuff the supermarkets really don't want you to buy too much of because the mark ups arn't as high. Take your time when shopping and you will find the best deals.

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Lasagne, baked in the oven at the same time as dessert.
Lasagne, baked in the oven at the same time as dessert. | Source
Crumble.
Crumble. | Source

Forward planning of meals can help to save you money

3)Try not to cook just one thing in the oven, if you are using all that power to cook something, then why not use it to cook two or three things at the same time.

Cook things that can be easily re-heated in the microwave or frozen for future use.

Or cook the main course and the dessert at the same time, keep the second course in the turned off oven to keep warm.

Forward planning of meals can really help to save you money and energy.

Try cooking things like a lasagne and a fruit crumble at the same time.

Keep the crumble covered until you remove the lasagne from the oven, to stop transference of smells.

Vacations don't need to cost a fortune.

Palm trees at sunset.
Palm trees at sunset. | Source

4) Vacation/holiday time. Take a look at some of the home exchange sites, they can be a very good way to holiday for less and you know that your own home is occupied while you are away. This can save on pet boarding fees too.

If you really can’t afford a holiday this year why not think about taking time off work and exploring your home town.

We did this last summer and were amazed at some of the hidden gems we discovered, it gave us a new found appreciation for our own backyard.

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5) Throw away your credit cards. Okay, maybe that’s a bit extreme but you can hide them away somewhere and only use them in a real emergency. Shop around and get the best deal you can, many credit cards will give you interst free periods if you swop your balance to them.

Always pay off as much as you can each month and always pay at least the minimum amount on your statement to avoid extra interest costs.

Keep a firm eye on when your payments are due, don't incur extra charges because you are a day or two late paying your bill. It is best to set up a direct debit to pay the minimum amount each month, you can always pay extra if you have any spare cash.

If you do find that you can't afford to pay your bill one month then do get in contact with the credit card firm and let them know that you are having money troubles. You might be surprised just how willing they are to help you.

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6) Take a long hard look at your household expenses and try to work out where you can make cutbacks. Maybe you can do without your home phone line if you have a mobile phone too. Are you paying for an expensive tv package that includes movie channels or sports channels that you rarely, if ever, watch?

Can you downgrade to a basic package and still watch the things you want to? Sometimes just telling your service provider that you are thinking about downgrading can get you a better deal, it never hurts to ask.

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7) Need extra money quickly? Don’t even think about taking out expensive loans just yet. Have a good clearout and put any unwanted goods up for sale on eBay, or take them along to a table top sale or car boot. One persons trash is another’s treasure. There are also quite a few shops around that will sell your unwanted goods on a commission basis.

How about selling that spare car? If your houshold has two cars, one of which is hardly ever used, then think long and hard about whether you really need to run two. You could be saving the cost of all that extra insurance every year.

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8) Hold a clothes swapping party, it's a great way to recycle your unwanted items and pick up a few new to you things as well. It can also be a great social event, cheaper and more fun than a night out. Invite people from your childrens school and ask them to bring along any outgrown uniforms, it could save you a small fortune.

CUT DOWN ON WASTE FOOD.

9) Don’t throw food away if at all possible, it’s like throwing money in the bin. Live for less by using what you have. Here are some good recipes for turning leftovers into hearty, family meals.

Cooked veg

Put any leftover cooked veg such as carrots, parsnips, turnips, swede, potatoes, peas etc into a large pan, add a finely chopped onion and enough hot water to cover the veg, season, bring to the boil then reduce the heat for a few minutes and then blend it together to make a smooth soup. Adding a little curry powder really brings out the flavour of veg such as parsnips.

Mash together cooked cabbage, brussels’ sprouts and potatoes, add a little milk or cream, season and fry in a lightly greased pan until crispy on the bottom, turn over and crisp the other side. Serve with poached eggs.

Cooked meat

Most people will have made a cottage pie from leftover minced roast beef but a nice variation is to mix the meat with a few sliced mushrooms or peppers, or both if you have them, a diced onion and chopped tomatoes, alternate layers of this mixture in a pie dish with slices of cooked potatoes, ending with a potato layer. Sprinkle with some grated cheese and a few slices of tomato and bake for around thirty minutes in a moderate oven.

Leftover bread

Turn leftover bread that is going a little stale into a meal for the whole family.

BREAD AND BUTTER PUDDING.

Savoury

Ingredients

Slices of any leftover bread

Butter

3 medium eggs, beaten

¾ pint of milk

Grated cheese, use up whatever you have in the fridge.

1 onion, sliced

Salt, pepper, mustard to taste

Method

Butter the bread and using 2/3 of the grated cheese and most of the slices of onion, keep a few back for decoration, make sandwiches, cut these into quarters and lay them into a shallow ovenproof dish. Mix together the milk, eggs and mustard, season to taste and then pour this mixture over the bread in the dish. Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese and the onion slices over the top. Cook in a medium oven until the top is nicely browned, approximately thirty minutes. This tastes wonderful if made from a speciality loaf like olive bread or sun dried tomato bread. Serve this dish warm with a salad or a selection of cooked veg.

Sweet version.

To make a sweet version simply replace the grated cheese with whatever fruit you have, fresh, dried or tinned all work equally well. Don’t forget to leave out the salt, pepper and mustard. I did once and the pudding tasted awful! Add some sugar to the milk and egg mixture and some grated nutmeg, cinnamon or mixed spice.

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10) Think hard before jumping in the car. Is the trip really necessary? If it is, then can you walk? With fuel prices sky high save wherever you can and the exercise will do you good. If you run two cars do you really need them both? If you keep a second car for the occasional school run, or trip to the shops, then maybe you can manage with one. For longer journeys why not think about the bus, if you travel outside of peak times tickets can be very cheap.

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11) Take a packed lunch including a drink to work instead of eating in the canteen or buying something from a shop. It’s cheaper and you know exactly what’s in it. Even a small saving each day adds up over the course of a month.Try putting the money you would have spent on a shop bought lunch into a jar and let it build up.You will be surprised just how much money you can save.

Check out my blog for some great tasting recipies.

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