It is the hardest time of the year for me and for many others I am sure, being freelance and self-employed a break over the festive period was lovely and very much needed however while I was enjoying the family time I of course wasn’t being paid. When self-employed there is no sick or holiday pay and we are kind of left in limbo as all the businesses/companies we work with shut down for the festive period – they however are being paid, we don’t.
Of course I know this happens every January and I try to make plans for this as the world keeps on turning and bills need paying and birthdays happen ever single year (although as I start ticking closer to 40 I really wish they didn’t!).
Here are a few ways I have still managed to get all the things we’ve needed this January without breaking the bank:
- Food shopping: Back in November and December I started stocking the freezer with extra food. It was a good time to clear out the food which had been in there far too long (even frozen food has an life span), then each week when shopping I would grab things which were in the reduced aisles – mince, beef, pork – these were near the end of their expiry dates but I placed them straight into the freezer so it wasn’t a problem. I would chose items which were half price or less, and if you time it right you actually have a great selection to choose from in the supermarkets (4.30pm on a Sunday I usually find many more reduced items, on very late at night just before the stores close). I also switched my main food shop from Tesco to Lidl as I could get a trolley of food to feed the whole family for less than £50, which is around half of what I would spend in Tesco.
- Batch cooking – If I was making a Chilli, Bolognese or even a Stew I would make double the amount and freeze a portion (or two depending on if it was to feed all 4 of us or just the children), by doing this and stocking the freezer in advance I am able to go a whole week at least once a month without doing a food shop – this can save up to £60 (if shopping in Lidl, or £100 if I go to Tesco), I then needed to only grab bread and milk throughout the week
- Birthday presents – it is Emmy’s birthday on 4th February as well as my Nieces 1st birthday yesterday, my Nephews, my Dads and friends birthdays coming up next month too. As regular readers will have read I have taken up using a site called – this is where I can watch videos, answer surveys and gain cash back on my purchases. Once I have gained enough SB (Swagbucks) I’ve been redeeming them for vouchers of my choice – this means essentially not only have I managed to get all of the birthday presents for free (using the vouchers), I them have gained cashback from shopping through partnered stores online such as John Lewis, Boots and Argos!
- Regifting – For Christmas the children got a couple of presents which they already had, now no-one needs 4 Monopoly sets of 2 of the same family game so these have gone into my ‘present cupboard’ ready for their friends birthdays. Emmy has a party to go to this weekend and I don’t have to worry about buying a present now.
- Voucher codes – I always search out voucher codes for anything I purchase online as with so many stores there is always a sale of an offer to be had somewhere. I had friend to buy for and I’d seen a lovely Cath Kidston purse in the sale so managed to look around and find voucher codes for varing amounts – you can see those for yourself: www.myfavouritevouchercodes.co.uk/cath-kidston-voucher-codes
- Takeaways – Now these are obviously a little luxury which when I’ve not worked for over 2 weeks we can’t really afford, but cutting them out entirely didn’t need to happen as we just made our own – you can read the recipe for Fakeaway Donor Kebabs here.
- Eating less – I don’t do new years resolutions as I always break them but I did want to lose some weight and get healthier, January is a depressing month however so I’ve not done too much on that front except for increasing the of water I drink, this in turn has mean I have eaten less and really cut back on the evening snacks as I am full and rehydrated from the water.
- No magazines for the kids – every Friday they usually get a magazine each, they play with the plastic tat on the front and bin the magazine unread. This month we have been busy most Fridays with friends over for playdates so the children haven’t even noticed they have missed their weekly treat – that’s £10 a week saved and less plastic tat too!
Those are just a few ways I have managed to save money this month, and despite not working over the festive period I have still managed to put some (not a lot) away into my savings account.
What are your tips for money saving when times are a little harder?
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