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15 Money-Saving Hacks We Can All Learn From Our Mums

15 Money-Saving Hacks We Can All Learn From Our Mums

1. Make do and mend

My mum is a one for making weird tube tops and horribly unfashionable dresses (or sacks…) out of old sheets. Maybe you’re not a dab hand with a needle and thread but I bet you can cut your old jeans into a new pair of hawt to trawt shorts, eh? They look way more unique, no one else will be wearing them, you’ve saved an arm and a leg and you’ve been a green citizen, all in a stroke of the scissors.

2. Bulk buy

Remember rolling your eyes at the pack of 15 toilet rolls your mum stuffed into the car boot? Well you may be the new nutter on the block with your crate deliveries of 50 tins of beans, but you’ll have more money in your pocket and you’ll never be caught short on the loo again.

3. Just keep walking

Remember those endless journeys, Mum’s empty promises of ‘just around the corner’, the constant ‘are we there yet?’s as you trekked towards a destination that should have been a ten minute drive? These days, we jump on a tube for one stop on the line (it’s genuinely quicker just to walk down the road most of the time) and that’s an expensive trip. So get your free on and take a walk in your mum’s footsteps.

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4. Nom nom, time for some tasty leftovers

The phrase ‘waste not want not’ is a permanent motto in my mum’s kitchen and bread mould is no match for a sharp knife. There’s something to be said for leftovers, ladies and gents. Don’t throw them away – drag out your golden god pasta bakes and your meatilicious lasagnas for lunches and dinners all week long if you want to avoid the dreaded total on your supermarket receipt.

5. A little bit of Lidl

I think every mum has a soft spot for a bit of bargain hunting, an excitement overload when the shelf price is below a pound, and all mum’s are fools for 3for2s and half price deals. We all love those crazy German cereals, those big yellow prices on the shelves, the questionable vodka bottles for under £5 (it all tastes the same once you’ve added some fifty pence a litre cola). And I’m only exaggerating a little folks. Lidl is the place to save your pennies.

6. Share your baths

We’ve all screamed at our mums for plonking our naked siblings in the bath beside us in those long lost times of yore, but did she have it right? I know, we’re not in the Victorian times, but I mean come on, how dirty are you? Leave the bath in for your housemates or, hey, why not have a sexy naked night in with your partner? Either way, forget about those water bill nerves.

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7. Bodge it

My mum with a screwdriver is a scary sight – so why not provide some free entertainment, and potentially, if you’re really really lucky, a free fix, and do it yourself? Sometimes, the perfections lie in the imperfections (or maybe that’s just how I like to think of it…) But folks, if you can fix it yourself, do it – save money, make your house your home, have pride in your work. And if it all goes to hell, well, it’s a funny story for later.

8. Make friends

My mum happens to be very good at this one. The ex husband’s sister’s boyfriend of Mary wotsit down the road is a painter, and he’s doing the house on the cheap because good old Mum is such an old friend… kinda… Isn’t that nice of him? Isn’t that nice for your bank account, too?

9. Show some self-restraint

Now this is a quality my mum entirely lacks, and hence the lesson that has stuck with me the hardest. When your mum comes home with a new handbag every day, a different pair of boots in a slightly different shade of black to the last pair, it’s all alarm bells that echo way into your adult life. Don’t throw your money away.

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10. Grow your own

Maybe your mum’s not as hipster as mine, but a herb box is always part of her garden. And it always saves us on ingredients. Grow your own veg and herbs and never go without again – it’s always economical when you can sustain yourself. Bear Grylls style, eh?

11. Pay your belongings some respect

My mum is always gasping when I drop my phone (which happens a few times a day) and rarely lends me her stuff (I wonder why…) She treats her books like prized artifacts, refusing to throw any away (EVER) and has trinkets and earrings that have survived even the eighties (a feat in itself). Unlike half of my friends, she will never, ever leave her phone in a taxi. And this will save her lots of money (oh how we have all learnt that the hard way…)

12. Manage your own books

It’s definitely a mum thing – a little notebook with numbers scribbled all over. Yours can be a spreadsheet on Excel but my mum will always be a pen and paper gal. She notes down every single transaction she makes and checks the figures against her bank statement. Good luck, fraudsters and con artists. My mum is on your case.

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13. A holiday is only a click, another click and a few hundred more websites away

Research can be key to saving your pennies. My savvy mother has trawled the internet for the cheapest getaways many a time. There’s a World Wide Web out there, folks, full of comparison sites and Google Shopping pages (sort by lowest price first? Yes please). So don’t splash out on the first thing you see, follow Mum’s virtual footsteps and do your research.

14. Be generous

This one may seem counterproductive, but mums everywhere will preach the same old pearls of wisdom: you get back what you put in. Help a friend in need with a cash loan and you never know how grateful they’ll be a few years down the line. Invest a large sum across companies and you could earn some impressive profits. Life’s a lottery so let’s give it all we’ve got.

15. Don’t forget that the best things in life are free

If my mum taught me anything, it was not to worry about money. Go for a picnic if you can’t afford a big meal. Enjoy the little things in life and remember – you can always make more money. It’s those memories rather than the pounds that will keep you going when you’re old and grey, and remembering all that sound advice your dear mum passed on. So thanks for all the help, my wise old ma, who has never cost me a single penny but is worth a million and more.

Featured photo credit: Compfight via static.flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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