Welcome back to Broke in Bristol – the blog that helps you save money, make money and live life to the full on a budget. With less than four months to go until Christmas, it’s time to see if changing a few everyday habits could help you put that little bit extra away. Here are my top 10 tips that could save you money every week and help you stash some extra cash in time for Christmas.
Takeaway food and drink
If you need to tighten the purse-strings, the first thing you need to do right now is stop buying food and drink at work. If you spend just £3 every work day on sandwiches or coffee, you could save over £200 before Christmas. It takes just a few minutes to make a flask of tea or coffee in the morning. And although it takes longer to prepare your lunch, it’ll be worth it in the long run and it’s often healthier too. Make this your first commandment!
If like me, you tend to watch a DVD just once, resolve not to spend another penny on a DVD in 2016. Subscription services like LoveFilm, Netflix and NOW TV will set you back around £8.99 a month or sign up for a month’s free trial and keep rotating between the major subscription services for as long as you can get away with it.
Branded cleaning products
Opting for supermarket own brands could save you a fortune and, in my experience, they clean the house just as well. Try Asda’s 2l Smartprice bleach for 28p – it’ll last ‘til Christmas. Better still, make your own cleaning products (if you’ve got the time and patience!) Tips Bulletin has 27 Tips & Recipes for Cleaning with Vinegar. Washing powder and washing-up liquid are worth spending more money on though.
Brand name drugs
Supermarket own brand paracetamol costs a fraction of the price and it does exactly the same job. Don’t just take my word for it, ask your doctor or pharmacist next time you see them, and they’ll tell you exactly the same thing.
Ditch the costly slimming products and spend a few minutes reading the back of packets to weigh up the most nutritional options. You may be surprised, but even the cheap supermarket own food brands are sometimes just as healthy as the pricey ‘diet’ versions – something that was highlighted on last week’s Eat Well for Less (BBC 1).
If you’re paying pricey gym membership and you can get out of your contract – do it now! Save hundreds before Christmas by running in your local park or working out at home. If you lack get up and go, sign up to a free running community such as This Mum Runs. If you feel you must pay for gym membership, shop around. Workout Bristol in BS3 charges just £9.99 a month for off-peak use of its facilities. Or better still, shift the pounds at home for free, see Ms Skint Single Mum’s road-test of five free fitness apps.
Sell your stuff
You could make hundreds just from selling stuff lying around the house that you no longer use or need. I tend to donate clothes and teddy bears to charity, but things I might be able to make a bit of money on over the next few weeks include a bike trailer, a pair of heeleys, a bikestar scooter and a Babyliss Curl Secret that I’ve hardly ever used. I’ll be listing them on my local Facebook selling groups as you often find people like the convenience of buying local and as a bonus there’s no commission charge.
I’ve said it before but if you want to make a few extra quid for very little of your time, sign up to a market research company. Just last week Bristol-based Peopleforresearch were looking for people to take part in an online banking survey which was paying £50 per hour. Alternatively check out Podengo Research on Facebook.
Rent out your parking space
In some parts of the city you could make a tidy £100 per month for renting out your unused parking space. Often renters will only need it during office hours, so if your space is empty while you’re at work, check out YourParkingSpace and JustPark to see how much you could earn.
Sign up to a cashback site
Do this now before you start your Christmas shopping, especially if you do a lot of your shopping online. In my experience, it takes a few weeks to get into the habit of remembering to use your cashback site for all your shopping, so it’s good advice to get into the habit now.
That’s our 10 money-saving tips to help you save a couple of hundred quid before Christmas. If you hear of a cheap local deal or event please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to spread the word. Don’t forget to like our Facebook page, so that you never miss an update! We’ll be back on Thursday with our top picks of free and cheap things to do with or without the kids. See you then!