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A question I’m often being asked at the moment is what I do differently in order to live without worrying about money to look after my family and what tools I have that mean I don’t need to think too hard about it and those people are right – there are things I have invested in to save me money in the long run.
So here’s my 5 “Essentials” List of things you could buy to save you money long term and make your life simpler.
1. Meal Planner
I have tried writing it in my diary, I’ve tried making electronic notes on my phone, I’ve tried making a template on my computer and printing it off but an easier and cheaper option is a Meal Planner Pad.
This has been the only way I can sit down with my husband and plan out our meals for the week and therefore our shopping list and also avoid that dreaded daily question of “What’s for tea tonight?” This meal planner pad has a magnet on the back to you can add it to your fridge or just prop it up in the kitchen. It’s great to get a glance of it and remember you need to get the next day’s item out to defrost.
2. Coupon Purse
Although I haven’t really had the time to do any “extreme couponing” recently, I still use vouchers to pick up various freebies and money-off things I would buy anyway even though a lot of my grocery costs are reduced by apps on my phone. I love to go through all the junk mail I get and cut out the coupons from there before they go in the recycling bin. It’s amazing the savings I’ve made through doing this. Recently we even got sent vouchers for a free eye test for my husband and I.
I like this type of coupon file as you can separate them all into categories or for different shops so you’re less likely to let them expire before using them. It’s a cute size too so leaves plenty of room in your handbag for all the other things you need to carry around!
3. Lunch Boxes
On a day out during the May Bank Holiday weekend these lunch boxes were so useful. We went with friends who bought their lunch from the cafe at the zoo we visited and although their food looked yummy, saving our money on food because we took our own means we can afford more days out and experiences which is what I would rather spend my money on.
I bought these as they’re a pack of ten and stack really neatly and I’m going to improve my lunch time meal planning and prepare them at the beginning of the week and then stack them in the fridge ready for my husband and I to pick one out everyday. ThriftyBaby has started the weaning process and I think these are going to be ideal for picky foods he can handle and feed himself and as we’re out and about most days I can take his food with us in one of these. They also come in multicolours which I might buy for ThriftyBaby. It breaks my heart to see other people buying full meals for their children which they only have a few mouthfuls of and then leave. At least if any food is left using these, it can be taken home and eaten later or I can ensure its going to be composted.
4. Trolley Bags
So much tidier and simpler than a load of mis-matched “bags for life”, these trolley bags are perfect, especially when you’re trying to keep up with the checkout assistants at Aldi. It’s like they’re on speed! Plus they’re colour coded so you can put all your veg together, then frozen stuff separate and it will make unpacking at home much easier.
Keep them in your car and save yourself paying the UK Government bag charge of 5p each time which you’re probably only going to use to line your kitchen bin afterwards.
5. Coffee Maker
I was lucky enough to win a Tassimo coffee maker last year and it’s only since having ThriftyBaby have I unpacked it and started using it. We’ve actually go it on a bedside cabinet and using it on a morning like a Teasmade! But it’s fabulous and the pods are very reasonably priced. I get mine from Asda as they’re on permanent RollBack.
The reason I got it unpacked and started to use it though was because I found I was spending up from £5 each time I met a friend for a coffee and catch up (not so thrifty!) and I simply wasn’t prepared to whittle my maternity pay away on just coffees and cake. I love supporting local businesses especially little tea rooms but where I can I make a Costa coffee at home in my machine and take it with me and suggest we meet in a park instead. Taking a flask or reusable coffee cup with my own drink has saved me so much more than the cost of a coffee machine, especially as this Tassimo is currently half price on Amazon.
Let me know if you have any other things in your home which have saved you money in the long run – I’d love to hear about them!!
*Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links