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Mission: Saving A Few Pennies

I want to start this post by saying I am not a ‘saver’…in fact quite the opposite! Before I had Emma, I was always astounded that every penny (and then some) of my salary would be eaten up. It’s funny as it always used to shock me that even if I got a pay rise, the same 0 would appear on my bank balance, and it’s all down to my day to day habits. Sometimes I choose not to think about it, but this week I have read 7 references to the Big C. Yes, Christmas is on its way and we have so much to buy for the kids and family that I’ve been trying to do small things to save a bit of money.

During my maternity leave, I was also spectacularly good at living in the moment and not thinking about the bank balance too much. Thankfully we live pretty frugally, especially now we don’t really go out in the evenings, but now I am back at work, it’s a real chance to get on top of the finances and see where we can save some money. For me, any changes have to be small ones, as I don’t like feeling like I’m deprived all of a sudden (any plans to reduce my Lion bar intake are a no go I’m afraid!). It’s all about balance and I’ve been testing out a few things that are making quite a difference.

pennies in a jar labelled 'save'

Getting the best travel deal

As geeky as it sounds, I did do a fair bit of research into train fares and worked out that at the moment it is better for me to get daily returns. Apparently Southern Rail are going to bring out a part time weekly season ticket, which would be amazing, but they have let me down on all other fronts, so I’ll believe it when I see it! When travelling at off peak times, you can also pre-book your ticket and get some amazing deals, though this is often not possible for commuters.

Bring Your Own Lunch

I can easily spend up to £10 a day on lunch as I am a bit of a snack fiend so lately I have been trying to recreate my favourite lunches and bring them into work. Lately I’ve been trying to get inventive and love bringing in wraps, soups and pasta concoctions too. The incentive for me is that it takes about 10 minutes to get out of the building so it’s actually a much quicker way for me to have my lunch! I do always make sure that I get a little something as a little treat in the afternoon…I’m loving a frozen yoghurt stand at the moment, which is the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.

Coffee On Tap

There is no way I could give up having my daily coffee as it really keeps me going during the day. I usually have my morning coffee on the way in and as it goes have been testing out coffees…the current verdict is that FCB (Flying Coffee Bean) is the best! The other day I had about 2-3 hours sleep and it felt like the cappucino was fed to me on a drip. Anyway after this, I also have a cafetiere to have a cheeky cup when I fancy, a whole pot all for me.

Late Night Dinners

This one is for my own sanity as much as anything else – there’s nothing more depressing than coming home late and having absolutely nothing to eat in the house. Until recently, we would stop off at M & S and get really quick and easy meals, but it does add up if you’re doing this all the time. So I’ve now decided to batch cook some hearty meals so we always have something we can quickly eat. Job done!

Being organised with bulk deals

Now don’t get me wrong, you won’t catch me with 400 rolls of toilet paper from Costco, but there are a few deals in the supermarkets that help from time to time. Especially with nappies, wipes and formula, I’ve managed to save a little by finding the best place to buy it from. The nappies we usually buy 3 packs for £10 from Asda and it’s great to save a little where we can! I also think that Poundland can have some great deals on household products, but equally can be cheaper than £1 elsewhere.

Remembering every little helps…

Someone once told me that with healthy eating, you should apply the 80% good and 20% a little bit naughty rule, and I try and do the same here. It would be utterly miserable to be penny pinching all day everyday, but a little bit here and there helps and it feels good to put a little bit aside for when the mass present-buying begins! We are also going on a big family holiday soon so even more little things to buy for the numerous family members that we hardly ever see. Do you try and save a little at this time of year? Let me know any tips in the comments below…




  1. October 25, 2016 / 8:27 am

    I’m rubbish at saving but I’m great at budgeting so we get along fine.

    I do worry about the big picture though.

  2. October 25, 2016 / 8:54 am

    Great tips and I agree with the healthy eating. I “try” and eat healthy during the weekend but then at the weekends I am more relaxed about it #DreamTeam

  3. October 25, 2016 / 9:23 am

    I’m definitely into trying to save money! I am a SAHM so only have one salary coming in. I make a packed lunch to take out with us every day, but once a week I’ll take us to a cafe for a treat! #DreamTeam

  4. October 25, 2016 / 9:29 am

    Great tips hun. I don;t batch make but I do definitely plan my dinners for the week and I find this helps us. I’m sure we have holes in our wallets as I have no idea what happens to our money! #DreamTeam

  5. October 25, 2016 / 10:08 am

    Good tips there. We have dropped from two t0 one income and we have had to change the way we spend dramatially. Like you, I don’t like cutting down in certain areas or depriving myself of the odd meal out or takeaway. It has made me realise how much money we were throwing away on stuff we absolutely didn’t need. Buying a Nespresso machine has saved us a fortune. I was spending at least 20 quid a week on takeaway coffee. Now it’s maybe once or twice a week, if even. I’ll never be a batch cooker but I do plan our weekly shop meticulously and set myself a budget which helps massively. #DreamTeam

  6. October 25, 2016 / 10:41 am

    Got to love the feeling of finding a good bargain! #dreamteam

  7. October 25, 2016 / 10:51 am

    I get a bit carried away in Poundland because I forget that some things are cheaper in the normal supermarket! I used to work in the muddle of Winchester and obliterate my salary each lunchtime, then my office moved right out into the sticks and so I turned to online shopping Great tips here xx

  8. October 25, 2016 / 12:16 pm

    I’m terrible about watching my spending, though I do almost always bring lunch to work – it’s cheaper (and often healthier) than the alternative! #DreamTeam

  9. October 25, 2016 / 12:59 pm

    Ahhhh! I like how many of these are food/coffee based! We spend sooo much on food, it’s our biggest extravagance since Baby J came along. We used to go out to eat a lot, now we get takeaways instead! Lunch out mounts up so much but finding time to make packed lunches isn’t fun! I’m still counting on a lottery win! #dreamteam

  10. October 25, 2016 / 2:10 pm

    It all adds up, doesn’t it? When we eat out as a family we try to use vouchers, or it becomes unaffordable. I always take my own popcorn to the cinema – not that I go very often! Free coffee at Waitrose, free paper – loving that now we have one in our town. Oh and I love a good rummage in a charity shop 🙂 Thank you for sharing your ideas. Alison x #DreamTeam

  11. October 25, 2016 / 3:07 pm

    I am kind of a bi polar saver- either I am amazing…or spending money like a rapstar with a hit single.


  12. October 25, 2016 / 4:26 pm

    When I was at my old job I used to get a £3 meal deal every day and it soon adds up. Making your own lunch is a easy way to save money!

    I’m not one for buying in bulk maybe I need to give that a go!


  13. October 25, 2016 / 6:18 pm

    I’m totally with you on this. We’ve started writing down everything that we spend. It definitely makes me a bit more mindful of where our money is going and it stops me splashing our limited cash around with quite so much abandon. Great tips here and I love the 80/20 rule – for both money and diets! Thanks for hosting #DreamTeam x

  14. October 25, 2016 / 6:57 pm

    Love these tips. Before having TM food and drink was definitely our biggest extravagance – maybe it still is but on a much smaller scale! B is the cook in our house so I tend to leave food shopping to him, he’s quite good at meal planning so we don’t have too much waste and don’t spend a fortune buying food each day. I only worked in an office for 6 months when I first left uni but when I did that I took my own lunch in as otherwise I’d have spent a huge chunk of my wages on food. I hated that job and used to buy a chocolate bar each afternoon so put on loads of weight, a frozen yogurt stand sounds PERFECT!! My other jobs have all been in hospitality so food has always been available.
    I definitely try not to worry too much about money to the point where it stops me enjoying things, I feel fortunate that we don’t really need to worry excessively as we have a house etc. I shall stop waffling now #DreamTeam

  15. October 25, 2016 / 7:18 pm

    great tips, everyone can always use a bit more moolah! #happynowlinkup

  16. October 25, 2016 / 8:01 pm

    I think just being organised full stop helps to save money. Not just with food and meals (although that’s a huge part of it!) but just with everything really. If you can plan things in advance you usually get better deals, if you give yourself more time in the morning to make a packed lunch or take snacks out, if you can be organised enough to know when the best sales are on and be ready to snap up bargains, it all helps! I blame the fact we are always skint of the fact I am so disorganised!! #dreamteam

  17. October 25, 2016 / 8:39 pm

    Such great tips. I make lunch for Hubs to take to work, it saves so much!


  18. October 25, 2016 / 9:30 pm

    I really do need to start saving. Literally have 0 left at the end of a month, but we don’t scrap. It’s just spend happy moments for me. But with Christmas, then January having Hub2B and my daughters birthday, then a new baby in April, all on top of wedding planning for 17 months down the line…I think I need to get saving haha! I do love batch cooking. I think it really helps! #dreamteam

  19. October 25, 2016 / 9:52 pm

    The Missus is always saying we need to budget and write everything down, I’m not good at it at all but I do think it’s a good exercise to do just to see what the hell you are blowing your cash on. Some good tips in your post which I’ll be adding to ours !!! #DreamTeam

  20. October 26, 2016 / 2:34 pm

    I’m not particularly great at saving but we do try to stick to a budget. We work out what we have for the month then split that into days and that’s our daily budget. If we have to fill the car up or do a big shop we have a few days of zero spending to get the budget back on track. We also have a contingency fund each month in case anything unexpected comes up, like vets bills or something. I also love Aldi for nappies and dishwasher tablets (better than finish and fairy in my opinion). And I’m afraid I am one of those people who stocks up on toilet roll and kitchen roll at Costco (although not 300), it’s also great for chicken breasts and pork chops as they’re not plumped up with water like supermarket ones.

  21. October 26, 2016 / 3:00 pm

    Love this, I try to save but it’s so hard when xmas is around the corner!

  22. October 26, 2016 / 4:03 pm

    Love these tips! We are recently on a huge budgeting mission in an attempt to finally purchase our own house, so we already practice most of these tips. Since going back to work I’m struggling to find time to make my own lunch and feel guilty every time I buy myself a sandwich from Boots! I really should start batch cooking again so I can use the leftovers for lunch! #DreamTeam

  23. October 26, 2016 / 4:26 pm

    It’s surprising how it all adds up isn’t it? I’m always trying to save a bit of money especially this time of year. I try to save some each month, I find budgeting our money helps. I give us an allowance each week so that we don’t get short at the end of the month either. #dreamteam

  24. October 26, 2016 / 4:36 pm

    Loved this post. I’m very much the same and don’t like to deprive completely, I decided from September to start picking things up as we go for Christmas and that’s made a huge difference as already we have so much!

    Emily – BabiesandBeauty #dreamteam

  25. October 26, 2016 / 8:41 pm

    I’ve found relying on hubby to do the shopping has saved us money. If I go shopping I tend to get tempted by the gorgeous baby outfits out there. #dreamteam

  26. October 27, 2016 / 2:35 am

    Saving is really something that I need to learn how to do better. I like a good deal, but I am no good at saving for the future. #dreamteam

  27. October 27, 2016 / 3:45 am

    You did a great job with an unpleasant topic! Very important suggestions. When I worked in the city before kids, I brought my lunch every day that I didn’t have prearranged lunch plans with a friend. Saved TONS of money. And time! I also hated the idea of spending my precious lunch hour waiting in a line for food.

    Only things I would add to your list are planning for Christmas shopping by capitalizing on sales like Black Friday/Cyber Monday.

    Thanks for posting this!

  28. October 27, 2016 / 1:33 pm

    These are great tips. I never used to be a saver but I am now, I’m so cautious with what I buy at times and always look for the best deal.

    Jordanne || Thelifeofaglasgowgirl.co.uk

  29. October 27, 2016 / 9:33 pm

    I really struggle with being organised, but it definitely is so helpful and I lost weight when I was being organised (pre-child!) That said, I have already started buying for christmas and have had quite a few bargains on ebay – woohoo! #dreamteam

  30. October 27, 2016 / 11:53 pm

    Great post! I love saving and think lots of these things will definitely help you save a few pennies here and there. I’m not one for restricting myself either so its all about being smarter and more organised with how, when and where you spend for me. Christmas is always a great motivator for saving too 🙂 Emily #DreamTeam

  31. October 28, 2016 / 8:41 am

    Yay! Money-saving tips! There are some really good ones here, and you’re so right….Every little helps. Those fresh coffees and ready meals and snacks all add up. Or going to town across a lunch hour and ending up buying something, rather than go to town after eating something at home. I think my weakness is ‘top-up’ shopping. I think I’ve only spent £100 on my big shop but then I keep popping to the shop during the week to get additional things and suddenly my groceries have cost me far more.

  32. October 28, 2016 / 7:19 pm

    You sound a bit like me. Any hint of feeling like I am having to cut corners to save makes me feel really rubbish. Oh the lunches *London has so many places to eat… this is my biggest downfall. I am going to take a leaf out of your book and think about making and bringing in my own. Thanks for the lovely tips. #DreamTeam xxx

  33. October 29, 2016 / 3:24 am

    These are great tips. We recently transitioned to a single income household and it had been a rough go sometimes, always managing but barely at times. #dreamteam

  34. October 29, 2016 / 8:51 pm

    I am so useless with saving money. I’m really trying lately but then I see chocolate or cake and we’re back to square one haha #DreamTeam

  35. October 30, 2016 / 6:53 pm

    I am rubbish at saving! And 2 x 1 year long maternity leaves has not helped. But we do lots of these too, meal planning, train ticket deals, making lunches etc… All excellent tips.

  36. October 30, 2016 / 10:42 pm

    These are some great tips! I love the idea of having a cafetière at work! #DreamTeam

  37. October 31, 2016 / 8:04 pm

    I do admire you for the batch cooking thing. I just can’t stand being in the kitchen and totally spent a good £15 a day as far as I recall back in my London prekids career girl days. Look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves as they say. #dreamteam

  38. November 1, 2016 / 9:08 am

    Oh I hear you on the M&S that’s us all over I really need to do something to sort it out. Love the idea of cooking up dinners to out in the freezer – that might be a new goal of mine for when I go back to work! Thanks for hosting #DreamTeam

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