We are launching a new column How to save money – picking a different topic every week. We have teamed up with finance experts youraccounts2 for the latest ways to save you money. And let’s face it, we could all do with this right now.

Director Scott Sturrock from youraccounts2 gives his tips…

 

Five tips to save you money

1. It’s all in the planning.  Don’t just go to the shops and spend money. Lethal. Sit down and plan what you need. Check the cupboards and write a list. Plan on two major shops a month, with weekly visits for perishables. A recent study shows that impulse buys shoot up 23 percent on unplanned trips, and decrease 13 percent when planned.

Scott Sturrock of youraccounts2 says: “People who handle money well think ahead. Sometimes when you don’t have enough, you can panic and just put your groceries on your card. Don’t. It just leads to extra spending. Sit down and work it out. Take the time. It’s worth it. And don’t forget about your local stores and give the big supermarkets with all the tempting marketing a miss when you can. They have good offers too.” Think about what you need to feed your family and then start menu planning.

Leave your plastic at home.
Scott says: “It’s dangerous to take your plastic with you if you’re trying to cut back because it doesn’t give you a limit.

“Try to set aside around 15 percent of your weekly salary for groceries and then pay with cash. If you shop with your cash, it can save up to 25 percent per trip. Because once you’ve run out of money, that’s it and you’ve probably just been tempted by the stores’ marketing campaigns… buy two, get one free. But think about it, do you really need three?  It’s also harder to hand over cash than a credit card.”

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Go on line
Shopping should take no longer than 30 minutes a week. And when most of us go shopping at the supermarkets, we get distracted by the deals and tempting offers.

The longer you linger, the more you’ll probably spend. In a recent study, rapid shoppers were 82 percent less likely to impulse-buy than the average shopper. “Another trick is try to shop on-line. That way you only order what you are needing and aren’t seduced by all the advertising and marketing that goes on in the stores,” says Scott.

Leave the kids at home…

Don’t take the kids shopping. For two reasons. First of all you know you are going to be more stressed. You can’t shop clearly with all the ‘can i get this and I want that’ going on. So most of us rush round making quick impulse buys and agreeing to a lego this or a Peppa Pig that just for peace. But you’ll count the cost at the till.

Review your receipts.
In fact, hold on to a month’s worth. Cross off staples like milk and eggs and whatever’s left are extras you can live without when you have to. Try shopping on the weekend and consider shopping around – many of the less well stores really are good quality. Aldi won supermarket of the year – and they really do cost less.

 

Check out what the rest of the country think.. http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/aug/19/family-budget-q-and-a