Don't ignore the small amounts of money, remember : Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves'.
1. When you buy a reduced/yellow sticker item and it costs (say) 50p but the original price was £1.00, put the money you saved into a jar i.e. 50p saved. Do this with everything you don't pay full price for, you'll be surprised just how quickly your 'savings' will add up, and actually 'seeing' what you have saved is a great motivational way to encourage you to keep doing it.
2. Don't knock this one until you've tried it ! use your tea-bags twice (at least). When you've made your cuppa, put the used tea bag into a small pot by the kettle, then next time you make tea, don't reach into the canister marked 'Tea', get out that used teabag and use it again - recycle your teabags ! Most tea bags are much too strong for one cup anyway, so do this and get twice the amount of cuppas out of your teabags.
Then cut it up or tear it and put it into the compost.
3. Use your steamer ! Why use 2/3 cooker rings when you can use one ? this can really help keep hour energy bills down. I have 2 steamers, one that sits on the cooker and an electric one. I use both, but can get more 'mileage' out of the non-electric one by adding a metal colander on the top, thus making an extra tier for steaming.
4. Get even more savings from your steamer by placing gravies/sauces etc., into the steaming water whilst your veggies are being cooked, just make sure to use a heat-resistant one such as Pyrex.
5. Do you use a lot of boiled eggs in a week for sandwiches/salads etc., ? it can cost a lot of gas/electricity to cook them especially if they are the large size. Again using the steamer, next time you use it, place half a dozen eggs (or more) in the steaming water to boil them, then just store them in the fridge until you need them.
You can use this method to cook a sponge pudding in a small basin, the whole meal cooked in the steamer.
6. Overcook. Yes that's right, cook more than you need, then store in the fridge for the next day or in the freezer for longer keeping. Things like mashed potato, rice, pasta, cooked fruit such as apples ready to be made into puddings.
7. When you see an offer you can't refuse, do the same, use what you want and freeze the rest and remember to put your 'savings' into your jar.
8. It's great to give to charity shops but remember charity begins at home. Make absolutely certain you can't do anything with those things you are donating first. Most things can be upcycled/recycled. Be creative.
If you have hand knitted sweaters, unpick them, steam the yarn and reknit.
Odd saucers can be put underneath plant pots.
Pringles canisters make great knitting needle holders (I've had mine over 20 years)
Dresses can be cut down into skirts.
Denim jeans have zillions of ways to be upcycled - just google it.
Old towels can be cut into floor cloths and other clothing items into cleaning rags.
This list could go on and on, but I'm sure you're getting the message.
9. Have one day a week when you don't cook. I don't mean let your family starve, I mean serve sandwiches with tasty fillings, and desserts like fruits with yoghurt. Save fuel and give yourself a day off.
10. Follow on from number 9 - have one day when you don't serve meat. Vegetarian meals are extremely tasty and can be made really cheaply. If you make something like a lentil loaf, it will last you 2/3 days with enough to make into sandwiches as well.
So there's the first 10 in this series, I hope you have found some things you can start doing right away.
Another 10 tips - 30.11.2015
I have another 10 hints and tips here for you, using/reusing/upcycling what you already have, so no need to buy anything in order to save some pennies.
First of all an apology - I had some lovely replies giving some great suggestions, but they have been deleted in error ! so if your idea isn't mentioned here, if you would like to resend it, I'll print it next time.
1. Angela suggest putting potatos onto metal skewers in order to better distribute the heat for even and quicker cooking. I've tried this using two lots of skewers - it works, even if the potatos are a little 'holey'.
2. Kim&Him reminds us to make all repairs to clothes before washing, thus avoiding the risk of the job getting bigger. I must admit, that had not occurred to me.
3. Anonymous reminds us that Christmas is coming so don't tear that lovely paper off your pressies too quickly, carefully unwrap it, iron it and save it for next year.
4. Anon again, saves all envelopes and re-uses them.
5. Sarah suggests that we re-use the reverse side of sheets of paper when printing.
6. Also on this note, when the paper can't be used anymore, shred it for firelighters or packing if you use Ebay etc., DON'T however use this shredded paper for pet bedding, the chemicals in the inks can have an adverse affect on them and could even cause death. Computer paper is not meant for pets.
7. Someone (?) says that leaving the water in the bath can provide extra warmth. Whilst this is true and I do this myself, please don't do this one if you have small children around the house, or small inquisitive pets either.
8. After making a huge pot of stew, which I'm sure we all do, and stretch it from here to infinity (and beyond) we are sometimes left with a small amount, too small to be used on it's own, but if you blitz it and freeze it, it will be just the thing to transform a baked potato (cooked on skewers of course) into a tasty meal/snack.
9. When you have cooked a whole chicken, don't throw out the carcase, boil it up with some carrots/onions etc., to make a delicious stock which can be used for soups or a base for casseroles or stews.
10. If you really have to buy something new, then make sure you are getting something extra too. By that I mean extra points on your storecards, Nectar points, or some other sort of reward for your money, and always try Ebay first - chances are you will get what you are looking for at a much reduced price. Even then, before parting with your hard earned/saved cash, try Freecycle and/or Freegle.
Until next time ............ keep saving !