Nine clever tips to save money

WHEN money is tight you might be tempted to look for "big" ways to start saving more money each month.

WHEN money is tight you might be tempted to look for "big" ways to start saving more money each month.

But quite often you'll find that saving money in "little" ways every day eventually adds up to considerable savings.

Put these money-saving tips into practice and make a point of putting the money you save into the bank.

Money saving tip 1: Use inexpensive toiletries

Shop for toiletries in a supermarket or discount store. You might be surprised to learn how many different brand-name products are available at discounted prices.

Money saving tip 2: Use generic laundry detergents

You can save quite a bit of money each month just by buying the least expensive washing detergent available.

When you buy the house brand the money you can save really adds up by the end of the month when you consider how much laundry you do.

Money saving tip 3: Do not have your clothes dry cleaned:

There are two ways to go about this: either don't buy clothes that need to be dry cleaned or use the dry cleaning products and do your own dry cleaning.

Money saving tip 4: Drink water

How much money do we spend every week on fizzy and specialty drinks?

Making an effort to drink tap water during the day can really add up when you compare its cost - nothing at all - to what you typically spend on cold drinks, coffees and other drinks.

Money saving tip 6: Make your own snacks

It often surprises me how much of my regular grocery shopping is convenience snack food for the children.

Instead of buying individually-wrapped snacks, consider making your own snacks or buying snacks in bulk and storing them in handy snack-sized bags. The result is just as convenient, but costs you a lot less.

Money saving tip 6: Double your recipes when you cook your food

When you go grocery shopping plan to purchase twice the ingredients for one or two recipes.

Specifically as regards meat you'll pay less per kilogram when you purchase a larger amount and double your recipes

Then freeze the extra batch for an evening when you don't have time to cook a full meal. Not only will this strategy save you money on the cost of the ingredients, but it will prevent you from ordering take-outs when you do not have the time to cook.

The combination can lead to significant savings.

Money saving tip 7: Buy generic foods and staples

If you buy house-brand breakfast cereals, snack and other items, consider how much money you could save each month.

If you're concerned that your children "won't like" the house-brand foods, take a couple of weeks to gradually ease them into your family's routine. For example, mix half a box of Cheerios with half of a box of a similar house-brand cereal.

In a couple of weeks, your children will be accustomed to any variance in flavour or texture and they won't know the difference.

Money saving tip 8: Only buy used cars

Do you deserve a new car? Absolutely. But it isn't always the wisest decision. You can save more money over time by purchasing a decent "certified" used car from a dealer that you trust.

Money saving tip 9: Downgrade one luxury items

Think about how many luxuries we've become accustomed to. You probably don't go anywhere without your cellphone and we all seem to be convinced that we "have to have" satellite television.

Some of the items we once thought of as special treats have become the staples in our monthly budgets.

This is actually a big part of why there is too much month left at the end of our pay cheques. For starters, choose just one luxury to downgrade or eliminate. You will love the result at the end of the month. -