These ideas I have learnt through personal experience, and surfing the internet:

  • Instead of buying brand new computers and gadgets such as cables, mobiles and tablets, you can buy them refurbished. No, not badly damaged, but showroom pieces such as a computer with a small scratch or chip on the corner of the casing, or buy from a stock clearance sale, or even a used mobile that is still up to date. You can buy cables from the Sunday markets for mobiles and computers, and save there too.
  • Don’t purchase appliances too cheap, such as microwaves, as they tend to need a lot of repairs and get replaced more regularly than good quality ones. Find a brand that is reputed to be enduring, but is also good on the pocket. One such example is a Dyson Hoover which if looked after can last five times longer or more than a cheap Hoover that fails in six months to function. It is worth paying that bit more on buying the item, than forking out for expensive repairs and replacements such as washing machine drums and electrics. Shop around various stores for price differences on the same item before buying as this will save you more.
  • When celebrations come around, they can be very expensive. Why not give a small present on Xmas or Eid, and save the rest of the money till the sales that always come a couple of days after the celebration? This will not only save you money, but will spread out the fun of the occasion for the family.
  • Many people may remember to turn off their lights at night but not many unplug. Did you know that electric is still flowing into your appliance even when it is turned off at the wall switch or appliance switch? The switch on the wall does not turn off the electric. It only neutralises the current to make it safe. Therefore the only way to save your money is to unplug all unnecessary appliances directly from their sources, before going out, or going for a safe sleep. Many fires are started overnight as a result of things left plugged in overnight. This is usually caused by the electrical charge building up in appliances.
  • Shutting your doors throughout the house, not only is a safety feature at night against possible fires, but through a whole 24 hours can cut your heating bills down.Teach kids this from a young age, and you will be rewarded in your pocket, as that way you can turn the heating down.
  • Learn free courses online, and at social groups, about how to do D.I.Y, or recycle old clothes and fabrics into new items and clothing. You can even learn how to cut your family’s hair and save the expense of hairdressers, or learn to repair every day tools such as lamps. Some courses are free at colleges that teach these things. There are Council tenant groups that teach things too. I found a few free courses on Futurelearn and at the local college.
  • Having a car nowadays when you have kids can work out cheaper than public transport, if you have the knowledge. Don’t buy a brand new car, but don’t buy a scrap one as that would need regular expensive repairs. The best places to get a car are from private owners selling on Auto Trader and the like. A car should run economically to make it worth it, so look online for cars that are the most economical in petrol consumption and are about 8-10 years old. A Nissan Micra was bought about a year ago for £1000, a very economic model, and it hasn’t had any repairs or problems so far. Yet a car bought for £750 needed repairs every six months and ended up as scrap. Do be careful and examine it for rust and weaknesses. Make sure you test drive it for any faults. Ask its fuel consumption rate and price of any recent repairs. All these will reduce the cost of running it.
  • You are probably thinking ‘what about the insurance?’ Yes car insurances are expensive but use a search engine such as to find the cheapest insurance. Some companies will ask you to put a tracker under your car to reduce the insurance. You can save about £100 a year by attaching a tracker alone.
  • Printing your photos and printouts can be expensive when done in libraries and shops, especially if you print a lot like me. Buy a printer and use photo paper bought in a pack from stationers to print your photos. For printing don’t use the same brand ink as your printer. It would cost you a fortune! Buy online and in some shops where you can buy a different brand worth £60 if the same brand as your printer, but for £7.50 if different. That is the cost of not just one cartridge but 4! Individual cartridges can be as low as £2. They have the same ink. If a sign comes up on your printer that the unrecognised ink could degrade print quality or damage the computer then ignore it. You will find evidence online to prove that this is just the printer manufacturer’s way of making you give more money to line their pockets with instead of your own!
  • Finally. How many days a week do you eat meat and potato of varying forms and skip the vegetables? Vegetables should for a healthy diet take up 1/3 of your plate in each meal. They help nutrients from other foods to be absorbed and balance moods. Try having a vegetable meal three times a week to reduce the meat bill and increase your well-being. Fried vegetable rice made in a little oil, or homemade quiche are examples. Another tip is to cut down takeaways and junk food as they are not only unhealthy, but also costly. Eating in more days a week will cut those food bills too. When out for a meal ask for tap water as bottled is expensive as are alcoholic drinks that damage your liver.

I hope you enjoyed learning these tips and apply them. Try for every saving action that kids do such as closing the door, or unplugging, by putting money in a piggy bank. Have one yourself too. If you are a smoker you can reward yourself with 10 pence every time you skip a cigarette. It soon mounts up. Then go and spend it on special day/days out, or that item you or the kids have longed for. Enjoy!

M. A. Fatta