Tag Archives: save money

Free home insulation – do you qualify?

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You may have heard that free insulation is available from some of the big energy companies in the UK. Maybe you’d like to apply – we all like to save money where we can, after all. How do you know if you qualify? And if so, how simple is it to get the insulation installed? 

British Gas is providing loft and wall cavity insulation to households that meet the qualifying criteria, either for free or at a heavily discounted cost. Anyone can apply for free insulation regardless of their income or the utility provider they’re with. Apparently nine out of ten households will qualify, whether they’re working or on benefits.

This incentive is being carried out as part of the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) scheme the government has set in place for UK energy companies. We’re committed to helping you save money on your living costs, so find out if your household qualifies for the ECO scheme.

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9 cheap, easy and homemade hair rescue remedies

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Give your hair some loving!

Give your hair some loving!

With all these hectic festive goings on to contend with, you’d be forgiven for letting your hair fall prey to the elements. Winter is far from a follicle’s best friend, and can leave our locks looking dry and tired. With all the get-togethers we’ll be attending, this simply won’t do! 

But here’s the rub…all those fancy hair treatments we see in the shops can seem a bit of a frivolous purchase when you’re trying to stick to a budget.

It’s all very well for our hairdressers to insist we abstain from the cheap stuff with all its chemicals, but when things are tight, lustrous locks are the least of our problems.

I’ve been doing some internet detective work, and it turns out there are some fantastically thrifty home remedies to keep your tresses in check. I even have some of my own tricks of the trade to share too…

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This month’s top ten money-saving articles

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Who made our top ten this month?

Who made our top ten this month?

Can you believe it’s March already? The supermarket shelves of are buckling under the weight of chocolate Easter eggs, and everyone’s poised to don their shorts and skirts at the first hint of sunshine! 

Pollen might be tickling at our nostrils, but the efforts of this month’s bloggers are not to be sniffed at!

Take a look at these bloomin’ marvellous articles…

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Keeping fit on a budget

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Sally Crosland is a personal fitness trainer and life coach, specialising in outdoor fitness sessions and has written this guest blogpost to show you can lose those extra Christmas pounds without having to sign up to expensive gym memberships.

Woman on bike in city

A bike can work out cheaper than gym membership

When you’re watching your spending, the last thing on your mind can be fitness.

An expensive gym membership seems out of the question, and with all the equipment and clothing you have to buy, there’s no way to get fit on a budget, right?

Actually you can, and I can tell you how! Continue reading »


Twitter saves you money – or does it?

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Coupons, coupons!

Coupons, coupons! (thanks to sdc2027)

There have been arguments in the MoneyAware office this morning. Normally Pavan and I get on very well, but today we’ve had a heated debate about the benefits of being online, hooked up and connected to the social networks.

The result of the argument is that Pavan and I will both put our cases forward and allow you the MoneyAware readership to act as the jury in the case of…being online saves you £s vs. being online encourages you to spend…

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Coupon, money off?

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We’ve got another special treat for you this week with a guest post from eZonomics. eZonomics aims to present economic and financial information in easy-to-understand and engaging ways. Through polls and their analyses, articles and videos, eZonomics is a financial education resource funded by ING and produced in ING Commercial Bank’s global economics department.

The last time the eZonomics team went for lunch for a colleague’s birthday, we pulled out an online discount voucher when the bill came and got a very good deal on our pizzas (thank you very much!).

We strolled back to ING’s London offices and settled at our desks in the economics department happy in the glow that we’d saved a pound or two (in the monetary sense at least) and enjoyed ourselves along the way.

And it seems that when it comes to logging on to get a money saving deal, we’re not alone.

In a poll on eZonomics this week, 19% of more than 1,000 of the respondents from around the world said they had used an online discount voucher to try to save money. The remainder – about four-in-five – had not.

Are all vouchers equal?

It seems online discount vouchers are becoming more common.

Belt tightening in the recession and recovery is probably playing a part. Added to that is the fact technology means coupons are searchable online and people with smart phones can download vouchers on the go.

There are even reports of “extreme couponing” and coupon swap groups where (you guessed it) discount vouchers are swapped between members as they share their tips on being frugal.

Do I really need that teeth whitening treatment?

While all these cheap deals might sound wonderful on the surface, there is room for caution.

We might not part with our precious savings for a full price teeth whitening treatment. But with a voucher offering 67% off, sometimes even the pearliest of whites can start to look a little stained. The pressure of a deal being available for a short-time only often increases the temptation to buy.

Or the offer might only apply at a store 30 minutes away. Simple economics suggests it is wise to weigh up the discount with the time and cost of travel.

Likewise, personal finance website Mint says some shoppers who save money on groceries through coupon clipping may feel they deserve a reward for their hard work. But a meal out or fancy deli item “completely negates the whole purpose of using the coupons in the first place”, it says.

Be a savvy shopper

It can pay for shoppers on a budget to remember to watch their total spend when buying, even if they are getting a discount. Even on sale, goods and services cost.

And if we go into debt to seal the deal, the discount can be eaten away by interest payments.

In the case of the eZonomics lunch deal, we felt pleased because the voucher came in handy for a pre-planned celebration at the restaurant we wanted to go to. And we managed to resist splurging the savings on dessert!

Over to you – are coupons your friend or foe? And what tips do you have for their use?


The Tuesday choice: 9 frugal living blogs

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Frugal Gourmet book

Frugality (thanks to sweet mustache)

Problems with debt can often lead to difficulties with budgeting for food, leisure and general everyday life. Many people have developed ways of avoiding problems by getting more out of less and making supplies and money go further through living frugally.

You can learn more about frugal living by exploring the blogs below. These offer an excellent insight into the frugal way of life, written by people living frugally in the UK, detailing their experiences and sharing their knowledge along the way.

Frugaldom is the blog of a Scottish frugal entrepreneur where you can also get an insight into ‘frugalising’ your home insurance, installing a wood-burning stove, rearing your own animals and growing your own food. This blog is of particular interest to readers in rural areas living on a budget and in search of the good life.

Frugal ways – a frugal life is an easy life!
A large blog with several sections on different topics. Get advice on gardening, where to find free seeds, links to discounts and vouchers in UK shops, thrifty alternatives to traditional recipes and even ways to find free wood. Frugal Ways aims to show that being frugal can lead to a healthier and more enjoyable life.

The Frugal Gourmet
The Frugal Gourmet is Colin Dyson, whose interests are ‘wide and eclectic and encompass the use of wild produce, traditional recipes, Arabic cooking and Loire wines’. Learn how to make fruit syrup, bake your own artisan bread or master Oeufs à la Neige with Strawberry Soup. Not just a blog about food, Colin shares his insights into a frugal approach to life as well.

Becoming Domestic (Update September 2014 – Becoming domestic no longer available)
Written by a mother in a family that has swapped East London for a rural life in Worcestershire on a reduced income, this blog gives excellent advice on becoming self-sufficient and living a simple, frugal lifestyle. Alongside frugal recipes such as broccoli and Stilton soup, get organised with sample menu plans for kids and find out the pros and cons of washable baby wipes.

FruGal (Update November 2013 – FruGal no longer available)
FruGal is Iva Marjanovic, a personal finance writer by day and a blogger by night, who wants to help you live a big life on a little budget. Follow her ‘Five days to better finances’, get excellent resources on free activities and identify the top 5 food stuffs that you can’t afford to scrimp on.

Taste the Goode Life
Shirley Goode is the BBC’s cost-cutting cook and is the queen of making the most out of what you’ve got. Find out how to make chocolate bread and butter pudding without the butter or how to prepare a fruit cake for Christmas. She shows you how to make more delicious desserts with the leftover bits of fruit, as well as many other ways to make your food go further.

Frugal Missy (update 28/02/12: website no longer available)
With a mission to beat the credit crunch, save money and stay fashionable, Frugal Missy offers a personal insight into living on a budget. Through her blog you can get cheap DIY tips, learn how to spread cash over 5 birthdays in one month, and become a ‘Frugal Wedding Guest’ by revamping an old outfit.

Penny Golightly
Penny Golightly’s blog is for those who like enjoying the nicer things in life for less, the ‘bon viveurs on a budget’. An award-winning journalist and blogger, Ms Golightly covers everything from health and beauty, to leisure and travel. Be sure to keep an eye out for regular competitions as well as book reviews alongside her high-quality blogging on such things as kitchen gardening and budget catwalk make-up.

Five pence piece
Each Friday is ‘Frugal Friday’ where you can learn how to become more frugal with tips on reducing your grocery bill, electricity bill or how to buy Christmas gifts on a budget. This blog began as an account of living with debt and has developed into a guide to personal finance. From his own experience, the author has written a series of articles on how to dig yourself out of debt.