5 Ways to Save Money This Winter

supermarket shopping trolley in aisle

Summer is now a distant memory, and we're well into autumn. The leaves are starting to fall, the obligatory tins of sweets adorn the supermarket shelves, and there's undoubtedly a chill in the air. Yep, autumn and winter mean expensive times ahead. With the temperatures dropping, the heating goes on, and whether you want to think about it or not, Christmas is right around the corner.

Fuel costs have been soaring for all of us and energy prices are rising faster than we can gas. There's now added uncertainty surrounding interest rates too. For many of us, this time of the year can feel pretty bleak. What steps can we take to ensure any unexpected bills don't dampen the festive cheer? We share some tips and suggestions for saving money and budgeting this autumn and winter.

Turn Stuff Off

It's a no-brainer but switching electrical items off properly rather than leaving them on standby can help reduce electricity costs. In fact, the National Energy Trust estimates we can save £55 a year by remembering to turn appliances off standby mode. It may not seem much, but it all adds up and is the equivalent of a few Christmas gifts or four months of Netflix.

Turning lights off when you leave a room is another quick win. My kids are terrible for leaving every luminous device on possible. I have to remind them that every time I catch another light left on, it costs them 500 Fortnite V-Bucks. They soon get the message.

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Shop Smart

There are so many options now for shoppers to save on weekly groceries. And it pays to shop around rather than stick to one supermarket because it's convenient. Take advantage of multibuy deals and discounts, and don't dismiss frozen food. I find frozen veg is ideal for winter stews and soups. And we love to bulk out meals using lentils. Cheap, nutritious and tasty.

Keep it in Perspective

There can be so much pressure from the kids and society to have it "all" and do "everything". It seems Christmas isn't Christmas without a pricey advent calendar, a trip on a festive steam train or a National Trust light show. Then there is pantomime, the circus, and visits to Santa. The list goes on and on! Oh, and don't forget Christmas Eve boxes and matching PJs. Honestly, it's become crazy. Don't feel you have to keep up with everyone else. My advice is to delete social media apps and stop comparing ourselves to everyone else who appears to be having the most amazing time. They've only shared a snippet of their lives, and chances are they've left their budgets dwindling. You don't have to do it all to have a meaningful Christmas time with your loved ones. We started a new tradition which costs almost zero in terms of money. We wrap up warm and head into the woods with a Thermos of hot chocolate and a bag full of marshmallows and flakes. There's a small open area with logs where we park up for a warm treat. One of the adults walks ahead and hides some candy canes around the vicinity for the kids to find. They love it, and it costs pretty much nothing.

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Start Early

Once the kids return to school, I start thinking about prep for Christmas. We don't go crazy by any means with gifts, and I often pick things up second-hand on Marketplace, in charity shops and at car boot sales. It's incredible what trinkets and treasures you can find for literally pennies. My favourite is a car boot sale. Over the summer, I picked up a coat for my youngest - John Lewis, padded, hardly worn - 20p. Plan ahead and don't discount second-hand.

Review your Spending

It takes time and isn't very exciting, but it definitely pays to review your outgoings. Do you need every TV subscription available? Are you making good use of your gym membership? We used to have Netflix, Prime, and Now TV, but we've been using and subscribing to one at a time and trying to find the hidden gems. We've had an Apple TV trial for five months and only watched Apple TV. We've discovered some brilliant series that we'd probably have discounted had we had the other subscriptions. Less is indeed more!

Are you worried about the cost of winter this year? Will you be cutting back on spending? Share with us your tips for saving the pennies.

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