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Save money tips for beginners

In the current financial climate, many people are struggling to make ends meet, or would be grateful for some money saving tips and ideas.There are lots of ways to save money on everything from grocery shopping to household bills.

Budget

Work out your monthly or weekly budget. Record your income and outgoings so that you are familiar with what you are spending. If you pay by card and direct debit, it is too easy to lose track of what you are spending, so make an effort to keep track of your finances. If you feel in touch with your spending, you will be less tempted to spend money unnecessarily. Buy the things you need, not the things you want. Be strict with yourself. You can budget for treats, but stick to the amount you have allowed. Don't buy something that you didn't plan to. If you think you should buy something, wait a week or so and then make a decision. Shop around for every purchase. Make use of price comparison sites, and check out eBay and similar websites, as well as local shops, before making a purchase.

Groceries

Planning a weekly menu can save money by reducing wasted food, and by lessening temptation from products in store. Calculate what you and your household will need for meals, drinks and snacks. Make a shopping list from this menu and stick to it. Take a packed lunch to work or college, it works out far cheaper than buying sandwiches out each day. Make use of money off coupons that you find online, or are posted through the door. Look at bulk buy offers available, but make sure you calculate if they really do save you money. Drop a brand when you shop for groceries. If you usually get Heinz beans, then buy the supermarket's own. If you usually buy the supermarket's own brand, then buy the economy/ value brand. You will hardly notice the difference, and the savings will add up.

Save energy

Saving energy saves money. Insulate your house. Many local councils offer schemes to get reduced cost loft insulation. Look around your house to see where improvements could increase energy efficiency, for example fitting rubber seals under draughty doors. Turn off electical equipment that isn't being used. Don't leave things on standby. Some energy companies give away devices to allow you to monitor your energy use, and could help you save. You will be being environmentally friendly and saving money.

Transport

Don't drive if you don't have to. Walk, or use a bike where possible. Make use of local public transport to avoid fuel and parking costs. Don't let convenience stop you from saving cash.

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