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MOSTAFFORDABLE!

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The Credit Crunch!

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We have had more than a few emails asking for advice on cheaper restaurants & food bills etc. So we have a new page for the website MOSTAFFORDABLE to help with you deal with the credit crunch!
Rising utility, food & travel bills mean that we all need to tighten our belts and look at what we can do to save money, our jobs, local businesses & shops.

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Credit Crunch Cook

Food Glorious Food!

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As our business awards have shown this month more & more of us are looking to the less frills side of food with Lidl & Iceland winning awards over the usual Sainsburys & Tesco.

  • Plan ahead & buy what you need, not what the supermarkets want you to buy. Set a budget & stick to it. Take cash instead of cards to help you stay within your budget.
  • Try a cheaper brand or the shops own version of what you would usually buy. Try it once & if there is no or little difference stick to it & save `s!!
  • Keep an eye out for reduced end of life items and check if they can be frozen. We recently we picked up Sainsbury’s “Taste The Difference” fillet steak for 50p instead of 8.78, a whopping 8.28 saving!
  • If you have a car & use it for shopping consider taking a friend or family member & take advantage of the 2 for one offers. Plan ahead and make sure you know what you both need! You can usually save up to 25% of your bill.
  • Use seasonal produce from farmers markets as it can usually be cheaper than the supermarkets & if it is locally produced you will be helping local farmers & businesses.
  • Make your own meals instead of buying ready meals. Buy mince from your local butcher & make a large cottage pie or & freeze some to use later. Again you save money while helping keeping money in the community. Also try thinking of ways to use up leftovers & save on waste!
  • Grow your own! Growing Tomatoes, Runner Beans, Strawberries & herbs is really easy in containers if you have a small garden. We have grown all of these this year & not only had fun but there is no better taste than home grown produce with no food miles, helping to reduce our carbon footprint.
  • If you have an empty freezer & no car then go to Iceland and spend 25.00 or more to get free delivery to your door. Don’t forget to take your shopping list & plan ahead meals & save money with their ever changing offers. They do a lot more than frozen food so take a look around before buying.
  • If you want to check out what the various offers from Asda, Sainsburys, Tesco, & Waitrose then www.mysupermarket.com compares you shopping list against all these to see who is the cheapest. We tried this and it does save you money if you have a little bit of free time.
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Utility Bills!

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It’s also possible to save on your utility bills, by being careful & shopping around for the best deals.

  • Check your Gas, Electric & phone line provider & see if you can save at www.uswitch.com or phone them on 0800 011 13 95.
  • Drop your boiler thermostat down by 1C & save money all year round (about 30). We tried this & haven’t noticed the drop in temperature.
  • Check your washing powder! Certain brands now claim you can do your laundry at 30C & still get a good result. This can save up to 35-40% on your energy costs.
  • If there is only one or two of you living in your building you can save money by changing to a water meter if you don’t already have one.
  • Consider a pay as you go mobile instead of a contract for 12-18 months & save 100`s. Try not use your phone unless it is absolutely necessary.
  • Use only Energy saving light bulbs & save approximately 6-7 per light bulb per year. This is a no brainer, JUST DO IT! (However DON’T use them in fittings with dimmer switches.)
  • Loft insulation is a must & `The Home Heat Helpline` can offer help & advice on 0800 33 66 99.
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Travel!

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Walk or cycle to work & save money on petrol, get fit & help the environment. Car share if you need to travel whether it’s for getting to work, shopping or going out.

  • Shop locally, use your local shops & services. This means travelling less, keeping money in your community & maybe even keeping a friend or relative in a job!
  • Cheaper breakdown cover can be compared at www.breakdowncover.co.uk
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Weddings, Birthdays & Special Occasions!

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It’s nice to know we can still enjoy ourselves while trying to save money just by being a bit imaginative!

  • Getting married in a year or two? Spread the cost of the venue or service by paying a little each month.
  • Let your guests help pay for the wedding buy giving a donation to the wedding or honeymoon instead of the 10 toasters you don’t really need! Try www.youbuymywedding.com for ideas.
  • www.lastminute.com has great prices for theme parks & theatres.
  • Thinking of next Christmas or a Birthday? See if your local shop will allow you to pay a little each month for that special gift or treat. Helps with budgeting & spreads the cost.
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Budgeting, Credit Cards & the Rest!

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It’s easy to forget all the little things that we fritter our money away on, not to mention credit cards & loans that need paying off but budgeting is easier than you think!

  • Set a budget for the month & stick to it! Try to put a little aside each month for emergencies & your future (education, pensions). Try budgeting for just one month & you will be very surprised. That odd pint, takeaway, new shoes or magazine all add up!
  • Smoke or drink often? Work out what you REALLY spend on this! Try halving what you usually buy for one month. If you can stick to this you can save 100`s a year. It may be hard but the health & the extra money are great incentives.
  • If you have a credit card or loan transfer your balance to one with as low an interest rate as you can find, not easy at the moment we know but you could be paying more than you need to & it is definitely worth looking around.

So there you are, just a few tips on how to survive the credit crunch, we hope they are helpful! Of course if you have any more suggestions we would love to hear about them just e-mail us at sarah@stafford247.info & help keep things MOSTAFFORDABLE!!!!

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