This post is brought to you by Elizabeth Finney

We all know how hard it is trying to save money and raise a family whilst keeping your work afloat. It doesn’t matter how big your family is, whether you’re a mother in business or simply working to make ends meet, everybody needs a little helping hand in terms of figuring out how to save money every now and again. You could take a course in financial planning and turn your money saving tactics into your next career move, but if that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea here are a few tips to help you turn those cents into dollars.

1. DIY Gifts, Garments & Games

This tip really follows the age old “make do and mend” concept. If a piece of clothing is broken, don’t just throw it away, repair or recycle it instead. Instead of forking out for expensive gifts and cards, get one of your little ones to draw a card and make a batch of tasty cookies. Don’t give in to every whim of your kids by buying them the latest “must have” toys every few weeks, but spend time coming up with fun games to play with them. Treasure hunts, hide and seek, pamper evenings or an obstacle course, with a bit of imagination the possibilities are endless and cheap as chips!

2. Do Your Shopping Research

Sales, deals, coupons and discounts… These words are your friends, but you need to do your research. Sign up to a load of money saving websites and remain strict in knowing what you really need. Sites like eBay and Gumtree are great for finding second hand goodies in all areas, and you might be surprised at how much you can find in your local chain supermarket other than food.
 
3. Plan your Meals

Meal planning can take some time, but it’s absolutely worth it in terms of budget. It’s possible to make delicious and healthy meals for less than $5, you just need to research the recipes and ingredients to do so more than an hour before you intent on making it. Leftovers are also an underrated entity…Fridge them, don’t bin them!

4. Join your Local Library

Free books, films and music CDs, joining your library is a brilliant way of providing top notch entertainment for all the family on the cheap. Instead of forking alarming amounts of money on the cinema, a rented movie will cost a fraction of the price.

5. Flick the Switch

Energy bills can rocket upwards when you don’t pay attention to the amount being used by you and your family. Turn the heating off and put on socks and a jumper, turn off the lights when you leave a room and don’t leave chargers plugged in all the time, as this uses a crazy amount of energy. In addition to this, turn off the television once in a while. This will give your electricity bill a break and will give your brain a rest from all those guilt-inducing adverts hoping to make you buy their products.
 
6. Green Thumb Up!

If you have a garden or balcony, it’s perfectly possible (and great fun) to start a mini fruit and vegetable patch with your kids. Seeds and bulbs are super cheap from all garden centres, and you can grow the ingredients for some of your meals! This is a brilliant pastime too, and will keep both you and your family busy for hours.

7. Write it All Down

Budgeting is boring as watching paint dry, but it will save you an absolute fortune in mere awareness. You’ll be shocked at what you’re capable of spending day to day! A quick coffee here, a cheeky taxi ride there… It all adds up. Once you see it down on paper, you’ll automatically start to cut back on your spending simply because you become more cost savvy.

I hope this has been helpful, so good luck! These tactics have all been tried and tested by yours truly, and though they require a lot of time and effort, the end results are worth it.

Elizabeth Finney  is a UK based blogger with a keen interest in bargain buying. She’s graduated from the University of Kent and after travelling India and America is now working in London.

Pennies Image: flickr.com/photos/76657755@N04/7027595009>

Groceries Image: flickr.com/photos/qmnonic

Vegetables Image: flickr.com/photos/46572862@N03>;