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Learning how to budget


With the house move coming up I have been thinking of ways to budget as our monthly bills will be increasing. I will need to use the "Do I really NEED this" or is it because "I WANT it?"method when buying things. Either way I need to start being careful with money especially as we will be starting to save for our own house. This means reducing our monthly costs and being sensible with what I buy! 

Saving 

I have never been much of a saver to be honest and don't have any whatsoever however, I can save if there's something I really want and can put my mind to it. What I have found that is a great way of saving are these money tins that you can only open with a tin opener. A few years ago before I went abroad to work I managed to save over £1000 in less than two months from tips at work. I find that using these tins makes me want to save and not open them until they are full. If you put notes in them you will save more. So I recently bought a few of these and have labeled each one for a different thing I am saving for. One is for new furniture and bits and pieces for the new home, one is for Amelia's savings and the other is for other random expense that may come up, for example if the car was to break down. I will continue to save until they are full or I know there is enough in there for each thing then either put it into my online bank account or spend it and then start a new tin. 

Meal planning 

This is something I am terrible for! We spend £60-£80 a week on the food shop on two of us! Amelia doesn't eat too much so I won't count her, but we waste so much food in this house. Andy works all week so he doesn't even eat at home only on his days off so basically what I spend is all for me!!! God I sound greedy! But honestly half of it ends up in the bin as it has gone off before I've had a chance to use it. I really need to start meal planning and writing down each meal for the week and then buying just the ingredients for the meals. I bet I could cut my costs down to half! I just buy too much random crap which we don't need.

Making lists

I like to be organised but these are usually just to-do lists. I have recently starting jotting down lists of items that I actually need instead of items that I want or actually making sure I save up for the items. I then go down the list purchasing each item in order of importance.

Making the most of bargains

Previously I was never a bargain hunter, I would throw vouchers in the bin and not take up offers that smacked me in the face. Now I get a ton of vouchers through the post for supermarkets and boots and I put them towards the weekly shop or if I need some baby items for Amelia. I also search for cheaper bargains online where as before I would just buy the first item I saw even if it was the most expensive. Also a fellow blogger has been very helpful introducing me to the world of bargain hunting!

Have you got any tips on how to budget? Especially with meal planning as that's my downfall. 

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115 comments

  1. I budget all year but my favourite thing to do is save all my coppers in a jar all year, I put them in the coinstar in Dec and use the voucher to cover the cost of christmas dinner.

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  2. Hey :) as for the meal planning/food shopping - I shop monthly now instead of weekly! That way I make sure what I bought will stretch. I of course do weekly top up shops for fresh milk, bread & fruit but all in all this has saved me most money. I can't meal plan, but I just buy loads of stuff, then when I get home as I'm packing it away I make a note of what meals I can make out of what I bought. Then when I'm stuck for what to cook or forget whats in my cupboards I can just look at the list, without being set to a meal plan.
    I spend around £200 a month for me, other half, Jacob, 4 dogs and 4 cats!
    Dayle @ swingsandstrawberries.blogspot.com
    xxx

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  3. Excellent post with great tips - those money tins/jars really are a great way to stop temptation because you waste money by needlessly breaking the container itself and some of them are really pretty/make great ornaments.

    My tip is cashback and point systems e.g. sites like Quidco, TopCashBack, Greasy Palm, Nectar, MaxiMiles etc there's so many with lot's of ways to get money back or vouchers/gifts. Quidco and TCB also do shopping lists where each week or bi-week they have a list of grocery items which you can get a good rate of cashback for by scanning in your receipt; excellent if you buy those items and the rates these sites offer tend to be much better than the ones advertised by credit cards.

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    1. Thanks for sharing! I must look into the cashback sites :)

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  4. I'm dreadful at meal planning, and spend far too much on wine. :(

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  5. Meal planning is the best way to save money when you're spending too much on your food - and if you're not already doing so, I'd highly recommend buying your fruits and vegetables (and frozen fishes!) in Aldi, if you have one nearby. They're a lot cheaper, and of as good a quality as the major supermarkets. Maybe a wee bit misshapen, though! But I like the idea of those saver tins. I might look into getting myself one or two of those.

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  6. I love a bargain, so tend to buy what is on special offer. As long as I like it of course. When planning meals tend to try to consider what is in cupboard, fridge etc. As it can be so easy to over shop, need to bear in mind use by dates, and consider how long fresh foodstuffs are likely to last.

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  7. Great post.

    Pay for things annually - car, house insurance etc - it is cheaper. You can always put a bit away each week/month and tell yourself it's gone to pay the bills if that makes it easier. Also make sure things such as tvs/kettles etc and switched off at the plug to save on electricity - it's all the small things that add up.

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    Thanks!

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  9. With having such a large family we have to budget for holidays and Christmas. It is a great feeling to put a bit aside in a Tontine account each month knowing that we can draw it out in November for all our Christmas presents.

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  10. I need to start to plan my meals for the week better too! Its hard though as sometimes i really crave something thats not on my plan

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  11. when i make a sunday dinner i make extra veg and fry it up next day

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  12. i try to use all leftovers

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  13. I find that the more I stay out of the shops, the less I spend, so I prefer doing supermarket shopping online. That way you avoid all the extra bits and bobs you might see in the supermarket and can stick to the list more easily. Also I use any supermarket coupons for extra points as they all add up and can come in handy closer to Christmas. Nectar points can be converted to Amazon tokens and Tesco usually have an offer where you can exchange points tokens for double their face value.

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  14. Dave Ramesy. No credit cards. The YNAB (You Need A Budget) app is awesome. Emeals is great. My blog is about family staycations now, but I plan on expanding into budgeting. With the help of the above my husband and I and our three kids are debt free. It's www.familyof5onthego.blogspot.com.

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  15. We have just started doing this xx

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  16. Hi ! Lovely blog, i am entering the giveaway ! Kisses

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  17. Pay for things annually - it gives you more freedom with what you have left

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  18. We are forever budgeting in our house,thanks for the tips

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  19. I cook in batches and freeze left over food. I also include the boys in the cooking and shopping so they are aware of how much things cost.

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  20. I try and budget but my husband makes it very hard for me to do so! He just wants and wants!

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  21. I do a tour of my local town I know where all the best bargains are and visit about 5 different shops (all within walking distance of each other) for my food shop, it helps me save about £30 a week :)

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  22. I'm absolutely awful at budgeting. I could probably do with making some tins up like this.

    So glad I dont have credit cards...

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  23. I find meal planning difficult too. I'd suggest coming up with a range of stuff that you like and you cook regularly, plus a few things that you cook less regularly. Maybe make a two/three or even four week rotation list (a bit like schools do with their dinners) with some seasonal variations: salads in summer, stews in winter.

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  24. I've been trying to cut down on our weekly food budget recently and also try to cut out wastage. I make sure I freeze any fresh items that we haven't used. Even small bits of veg add up and are usually enough to make a lovely big veg soup every week or so. I've also been adding grated carrot to bulk out minced beef in dinners like spag bol or shepherds pie. It tastes yum and the extra veg is always good!

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  25. Good post, will definately come in handy

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  26. Great tips as always! Thank you!

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  27. I shall have to get some of those sealed money boxes, they sound like a great idea! We used to waste a lot on food as well but we batch cook now and have managed to save a lot of money that way. Meal planning is definitely the way forward!

    Hele

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  28. Weekly meal plan works well for me. I have set meals that i cook at leat one a week every two weeks. So you need to have 8-10 meals up your sleeve.
    Also cook a lot so it can be re heated the next day or can be used for lunch!
    Look out for coupons and discounts as well when shopping!

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  29. we budget everything. I only buy the things from the list and I am saving quite a bit!

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  30. I try to budget, but fail sometimes. The important thing is not be defeated about things you can't afford - try to ask yourself how you can afford it.

    I often see something that I want, but think there's no money available for it - I then brainstorm to think of quick (legal) ways to earn the money I need.

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  31. Never had much need for budgetting advice myself, I'm a bit of a skinflint ;)

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  32. i tend to shop for my meals for every two days. i find weekly shopping ends up with alot of food being chuck out due to out of date. also shopping after five oclock alot of supermarkets mark down there prices

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  33. I hate budgeting but I need to for my family of five and three dogs. It also helps to shop sales for items you are going to need later in the year, such as birthdays and holidays!

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  34. I also need to start budgeting, I started saving once my daughter was born. It does make a nice safety net :)

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  35. I make lists all the time, do cash flows, stick to my shopping lists except if I see some reduced bargains that can be frozen! I enjoy it and it means we can have more treats!

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  36. I'm just starting to do meal planning and reading up on batch cooking, great post :) x

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  37. Elizabeth Williams19 August 2013 at 18:23

    I need to start meal planning but struggle as we live so far from the shops I buy so much to last but so much gets wasted in the end but if I don't get it we run out and can't get to the shops

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  38. Phone apps where you can track your spendning are a godsend! I always know exactly how much i've got in my account at all times so there's no nasty surspises when I check my bank balance online! :-)

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  39. I love shopping in charity shops, especially as I collect vintage items. I like that even though I'm spending the money is going to a good cause and items are being recycled.

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  40. Do your food shop online, much less likely to overspend.

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  41. I know they say you should stick to a shopping list when shopping, but I think you can miss bargains then- Need to go at the time they are reducing products and then cook meals based on what you have just bought or else look at what is on offer and cook with that (only works if you actually use the stuff though)

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  42. I never buy lunches at work, always take my own! My boyfriend and I are saving for our first flat and also a holiday with my family next April so we are SAVING SAVING SAVING! :P

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  43. Great post! My blog is all about money and budgeting. Meal planning has been a lifesaver for us!

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  44. Some great tips there! I'm not too brilliant at budgeting.

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  45. I put away a lot of money during the year, although thats more for short term (since i'm a student and only have income for 9 months of the year). I think i might be a bit useless when it comes to long term but i've never had to do so so far.

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  46. I try to cook food in batches and freeze meals like Shepherds pies etc. Does save money!!

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  47. We are trying to move as you know and I have no idea how to budget!
    'I want it I want it now' - Thanks me LOL

    Lotte xo

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  48. I was always really good at budgeting at work, with a £1m budget to manage, but never could at home. However, now I have less money coming in I have to really understand budgeting at home, & your tips will help - thanks !!

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  49. Budgeting always seems to be one of those things I'll "start doing tomorrow"! Ooops :D Thanks for the post!

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  50. I am going to be bookmarking this page as I never budget. I wouldn't know where to start. My partner and I just blow our money on silly things with no thought. That will all have to change when our boy is here!

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  51. most of mine and my sons clothes are preloved that saves me alot of money

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  52. A brilliant post thank you. I never meal plan to be honest, as when I used to, when it came down to it, the kids kept changing their minds on what they wanted to eat on what day! I

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  53. Thinking carefully about what we will eat each week - making sure nothing gets wasted.

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  54. some good advice i need to learn to budget better

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  55. I have started using the internet to find the cheapest option for anything I purchase, there is a lot to be saved by shopping around

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  56. I buy lots of vegetables when they are on offer and make yummy homemade soup

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  57. Great tips, and like you I have jars that I put money in sometimes to save. I have had emergencies so I have had to take all of the money out to help me. I find that the tins/jars really help as sometimes I tend to forget them and realize that I have money in them and can be quite handy for emergencies. Love your great tips and so glad I stopped by.
    Wishing you and your family well x

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  58. These are some handy tips! I dont want to think of all the food i have wasted over the years

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  59. i need to get me some of them tins so i can put the money in them for my car after i pass :)

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  60. I love the money tin / bank. It is quite appropriate. As a lot of us women do just love shopping.

    Rachel Craig

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  61. any leftovers in fridge turn to soup. So easy to do too!

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  62. I am terrible for budgeting, so i'll be taking these tips into account

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  63. buy what is on special offer.

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  64. I'm not great at saving but recently I've been de-cluttering big style, selling lots of unwanted (for me) items which are very much wanted for others on both Ebay and my local Facebook selling page. Result decluttered house and extra money too, result!

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  65. Firstly make a planner for meals for the week. Make a shopping list and stick to it. If you have the room in your garden buy some hens, saves a fortune on eggs and if you have time plant some veg.
    I know this isn't for everyone but is has reduced my shopping bill and the hens eat anything we don't which had really helped with waste. :-)
    Karen Meudell

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  66. I was discussing meal planning with my husband last night because our food shopping bill is ridiculous. I find it really difficult to plan out what we're going to want to eat in advance though. I do tend to have a walk to our local Tesco each day at "reductions time" to pick up bargains If I can.

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  67. These are all great money saving tips. I really struggle with impulse buying... not extravagant purchases, just a lot of little purchases that add up in a big way. I love the idea of sticking to a list. I really need to work on being more frugal when I spend.

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  68. i am always budgeting what i do to save money on food shop is i write all the meals for the week down that way i never over buy :)

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  69. Trying to save by bulk buying when items are on offer.

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  70. It is amazing what you can save just be making small changes!

    Good luck with the house move :)

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  71. My budget saviour was the budgeting software YNAB, from www.ynab.com. You do need to pay for it as a one-off but it has really helped me - especially because you can have it as an app on your phone and just write onto it what you spend actually when you're out, if I try and keep a paper copy or an excel spreadsheet I always end up forgetting by the time I get home.

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  72. Always been a bargain hunter even when I have the money, just love to get more and then have something left over is my thrill :-) Meals have always been easy to plan and budget for as I grew up in the countryside and my Mum showed us how to make meals go further to last till next shop, she even used to cut 1 Mars bar up into small pieces to share between 3 of us as a treat!! lol But we loved it that way and so do my young children too :-)

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  73. I love the tip about the tins and labelling them. So simple but such a great idea!

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  74. I love bargain hunting and have had to become even more savvy as my maternity allowance has stopped and baby 2 is due in January....eeeekkkk

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  75. I am a coupon and yardsaler. I am going to a 6 week financial seminar after Labor Day to try to do even better.

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  76. I'm not that great with budgets! I love baragins, but am a bit rubbish sticking to a budget.

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  77. I've only recently started meal planning-great tip to save money

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  78. we all have to learn how to budget our money, we have started to source the internet much more now to find those bargains and started to use cash back sites such as Quidco for the larger and more expensive items we need to buy. We have been very wasteful in the past but not now, those left overs are now kept and made into another meal, we can no longer be wasteful and have to pull in the purse strings even tighter. And with christmas drawing closer these are the times that we spend more than we ought to and need to learn to set a budget plan into action and keep to it. xx

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  79. I've recently got into the whole Dave Ramsey thing. He has radio show in the US all about getting yourself sorted financially, whether it means working your way out of debt, or planning for an amazing financial future. Seriously, how ever much you earn, you are able to plan for an incredible lifestyle in the future.
    A lot of the info on his site is free, if you get a chance do go and take a look.
    Janie x
    PS GOOD LUCK!

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  80. our favorite budgeting tool is an ap called EEBA - it's like a digital envelope type thing - syncs between our phones & computers & is sooo helpful!

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  81. great interesting post and have loved reading everyone else's tips too. thank you. my tips are basically the same as already posted. i use any vouchers i can find from papers and magazines, use the freebie sites online and use the cash loyalty cards in whichever shop we are in that has a bargain! We use quidco too and have earnt a lot from that and they are constantly bringing in more sites with cashback online. Also you can use the store cards for cashback with quidco in stores and this will register cashback now in your online account too.

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  82. I find it easier to budget when i shop online as I tend not to impulse buy

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  83. Caroline Mortimer21 August 2013 at 19:54

    I budget for everything but I do have an allocation for miscellaneous things too so we can buy treats or things that are bargains! :-0

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  84. I plan and plan but still don't succeed

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  85. I've started using a lot of coupons and then planning to use them before each shop so they don't just sit in my handbag gathering fluff!

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  86. Georgia McAllister21 August 2013 at 21:00

    I steer clear of the shops and try to go just once a week.

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  87. I love cooking and am very good at budgeting on meals and my family are happy so its win win

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  88. Great guide

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  89. Thanks for the guide,it really helped me

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  90. I find that we spend much less on food when I take the time to plan our meals. I've recently started reading healthy food guide to improve the family's diet and it has lots of great ideas for making extra at dinner time then turning it into tasty lunches.

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  91. I found that to successfully meal plan it worked so much better when everyone in the family told us their favourite meals and then we did a plan for 3 weeks at a time

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  92. Nectar points are great and really add up, we also look for offers on insurance through the supermarkets as they usually give you a £50 card for taking them out, plus the nectar/clubcard points and sometimes extra if you go through a Cashback site too.

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  93. i think people should budget more & not use credit cards is hard paying back then & interest on top

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  94. Planning meals ahead is definitely a great way to budget and save.

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  95. Elizabeth Williams21 August 2013 at 23:41

    I need to be more organised and plan meals to save some money

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  96. i try to budget whenever i can with 5 kids it helps a lot :)

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  97. Some great money saving tips again!

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  98. I have a saving tine ready for Christmas all change goes in it at the end of the day and the end of the month we take it to the bank its surprising how much you can save that way

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  99. Great money saving tips there, I need all the no-spending help I can find!!

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  100. Really helpful tips. Thank you!

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  101. I found this info very interesting and useful, I save all my copper and 5p suprising how much is there after a year, I find meal planning a great idea however it never seems to work for me

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