January can be tough as many people balance the books after an indulgent December - whether that be overeating or overspending.
For most it's the time to be be frugal and make every penny count.
Here are some top tips, that can help save you pounds. Every little helps.
Ok. Everyone says this. But it's actually a top tip and worth doing. Bulk buy products from dishwasher tablets to pasta. Online shopping is a great way of doing this because you can compare sites and weight.
Looking at the weight of the product and the brand are key things to bear in mind.
Compare brand for brand. If you're a brand snob, then compare sites by brand or what's wrong with buying a supermarket brand?
We looked at 3kg penne pasta supermarket brand and the difference in price was interesting.
Sainsbury's don't sell a 3kg pack. However they sell "Sainsbury's pasta shapes" 500g bag, highly recommended on site for £0.30. 3x6 = £1.80 for £3kg
The product received 4.6 out of 5 on the site, with one reviewer commenting "Struggling to taste the difference between this pasta and more expensive brands. Children prefer this - now a firm favourite thank you!"
Prices were accurate 10/1/18
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A full freezer is more economical to run as the cold air doesn't need to circulate so much, so less power is needed
Frozen vegetable are brilliant and last a long time. Stock up on large bags of veg in the freezer and
Batch and freeze
Mince-based products are the obvious favourite. They freeze well.
Most foods can be frozen.
Here is a list of products that can't be frozen:
- salad greens such as cucumbers
- Yoghurt (with high water content)
- Eggs in their shell
Here are some top tips for freezing
Only refreeze food if you're cooking it in between:
if you cook the food in between eg thawing beef mince, turning it into bolognese and then refreezing, it's not a problem as the bacteria will have been killed off in the cooking process.
Wrap food properly
...otherwise your food can get freezer-burn.
Portion up your products
It's easier to thaw.. A top tip is to use freezer bags.
Cool foods before you freeze them.
Defrosting is a must
Make sure you defrost your freezer if ice builds up. Don't worry about the food; most things will remain frozen in the fridge for a couple of hours while the freezer defrosts.
Don't be afraid of using the reduced aisle
If you visit most supermarkets, you’ll find a reduced aisle. Most of the content there is safe and fine to eat, but is very cheap. You can also freeze some of it.
Write a meal plan
The best way to make your shopping list super-effective is by writing a meal plan for the week/month. That way you can work out what you're going to eat every day, incorporating the ingredients you already have, recommends Martin Lewis from Moneysavingexpert.com . .
To help, there's an amazing resource where thrifty MoneySaving Old-Stylers have put together menu planners of various thrift levels to copy and download.
Okay so you have to pay a delivery charge. But, the great thing about shopping online is setting a budget and checking in and out of your trolley to see if you've kept to that budget.
So if you're worried about overspending, take an item out and see if you can do better.
Never shop when hungry
OK, so it may sound obvious, but it's true: if you're hungry, you're more likely to buy things you don't need, recommends Martin Lewis from Moneysavingexpert.com .
Plus beware pick-up shops. If you pop into your local shop on your way home to buy a pint of milk as a catch-up midweek, don't pick up a basket. Do that, and you'll generally fill it. If you want a pint of milk, buy a pint of milk then leave.