Can you believe the £1 coin is 30 years old? Me neither. I can still clearly remember getting crisp £1 notes inside birthday cards and thinking I was stinking rich, so the knowledge that the pound coin has been around for three decades was a bit of a shock. It made me feel quite old! But while I was crying into my coffee about my vanished (and mis-spent) youth, MoneySupermarket on the otherhand were celebrating that little gold coin's maturity by running a competition, and as I'm not one to ignore a competition (especially when there is £1,000 up for grabs) I'm going to pretend I'm not as old as I feel and join in the fun.
£1 today won't buy the dizzying excitement of toy, sweets and icecream, or later, make-up, magazine and coffee, that those birthday pounds could but it's still worth hanging on to and saving as many of the shiney little darlings as you can so if you want to join in with the celebrations too, visit MoneySupermarket to find out more (don't forget to read the t&c's).
1) Grow your own. Don't worry if you haven't got a garden or an allotment, all you need are a few pots and a window ledge. Imagine how much just one packet of lettuce seeds, sown at intervals, could save you through the summer months. Add a tomato plant and a few spring onions and the savings really start to mount up.
2) Dilute shampoo and shower gel etc. It will still foam up and still get you clean, I promise.
3) Don't buy toilet cleaner. Instead buy a two litre bottle of thin bleach for pennies and decant into a clean spray bottle. It will keep the loo clean and shiny and last for months and months.
4) Walk as often as you can. It's not always possible but think 'do I really need to take the bus/car?'
5) Cut out the pictures from birthday/christmas cards to use as gift tags.
6) Don't be afraid to 're-gift' unwanted presents. It might not be to your taste but it might be perfect for someone else (just remember to always make a note of where it came from originally!)
7) Always take a drink and snack out with you, not just on days out but always. We never go anywhere without at least a small flask of coffee or a couple of bottles we've filled up at home and maybe a bit of fruit. You never know when plans might change unexpectedly. Be prepared and you'll never have to spend more than you need to.
8) Always eat before you visit the supermarket. It's much easier to stick to your list if you aren't hungry.
9)Make winter linings for your curtains (old blankets are great for this). They can be attached with velcro and removed when the weather warms up, but they really help keep the heat in when you need it.
10) Make draft excluders for all your doors and hang curtains over all external ones. Keep that heat where it belongs!
11) Turn down your thermostat and turn off the timer, you don't want your heating coming on if you've nipped out, or it's milder than expected.
12) Hold a swap shop with friends. This is a great way to recycle and replace kids clothes and toys as they outgrow them.
13) Instead of buying presents, give the gift of time instead. A few hours babysitting, gardening or even cleaning can be much appreciated giftsand won't cost you anything.
14) Recycle old clothes. If they are beyond swapping or selling, cut them up to use for rags or craft projects.
15) Always try bootsales, charity shops and freecycle first before you head to the shops to buy something new.
16) If you absolutely have to buy something new, do your research first. Look for special offers and read reviews, it may be worth paying a few pounds more for something that will last longer.
17) When shopping ask yourself the question 'Do I need this, or do I just want it beacuse it looks nice/everyone else has one?' What would happen if you didn't have it?
18) Look after your clothes. Polish your shoes regularly, get heels repaired. Replace buttons. A little bit of care and you'll need to buy a lot less.
19) Ditch the cleaning products and use microfibre cloths with plain water. Clean is clean, we don't need all that chemical gunk.
20) Find out about free days out in your area. You don't need to spend a fortune on day trips to expensive places, there will be a lot going on for nothing if you just do a bit of research. Even places that usually charge will often have special 'open days' (I met my husband at one of these so I guess he was the bargain of the century. lol)
21) Cut down on meat. Meat free days are a great idea but you can still save even if you're cooking for a fussy carnivore if you swap out half the meat for veggies. In something like a cottage pie or lasagne they probably won't even notice (my husband never has. Just chop the veg extra fine and add a stock cube of whatever meat you are replacing. As long as the taste is there, they aren't going to scrutinise the contents).
22) Home Brew! This is my favourite. I make homemade wine from all sorts of things, vegetable peelings, the water from boiling potatoes, hedgerow fruit and flowers, oak leaves, even marmite (careful with that one, it's like rocket fuel!) It works out at just pennies a bottle and tastes much better than supermarket plonk.
23) Don't throw food away. Use things up in the order they will go off in. If something will only last a day or two in the fridge, use that up before something that will last a fortnight. And use up those leftovers too, even the tiniest portions can be frozen and added to something else later.
24) If you're tired of the clothes in your wardrobe, don't just hit the shops. Look at how they can be altered first. Just changing the buttons on a coat, for example, can give it a smart new look. If there is still wear in it, find a new way to wear it.
25) When planning a special occaision such as a wedding, christening, or even just a birthday party remember friends and family are often happy to pay for items such as flowers, cake, or photographs instead of buying a present.
26) Turn off lights when you aren't using them, and if you can't remember to turn them off, take the bulb out! You'll be surprised how quickly that helps you pick up the habit.
27) Plan your journeys, even the shortest ones. Don't waste petrol zig-zagging across town, plan your route. Find out in advance about any roadworks and plan around them too.
28) Fit water saving devices to taps and in the cistern. Use bath water to flush the loo or water the garden.
29) If you can't already cook, learn. Then batch cook to make the most of the space in your oven and stock up the freezer.
30) Adapt recipes. Many modern recipes, especially those by popular chefs, have loooooong lists of ingredients but often you can still make a very tasty version with a fraction of what they suggest. Don't be affraid to experiment, miss things out, add cheeper alternatives. You aren't going for a Michelin star. As long as you and your family enjoy it, that's all that matters.