If anyone knows how to save money, it’s Gemma Bird.
The influencer and social media star had paid off her mortgage by the time she was 38, and now enjoys a huge following online as the Money Mum, dishing out regular tips.
Money management for her is ‘never about highbrow financial things like Isas or stocks and shares. It was always about making those little cuts that actually go on to have a big impact on your monthly outgoings’.
In her twenties she worked for Halifax in the mortgage arrears department. ‘I used to pick up the phone and speak to people of all ages who were struggling. Their stories really stayed with me, because some were absolutely tragic.
‘There were couples who had lost their jobs, one partner who had cancer and couldn’t work, or a wife whose husband had walked out and she had never had to pay a bill in her life and simply didn’t understand the process. Nobody was to blame for the position they found themselves in.’
These stories are likely to become depressingly more familiar as the economic situation bites. Inflation is now at nine per cent, the highest level this country has seen for 40 years. With wage rises failing to keep pace, everyone is feeling the pinch.
‘Saving is more crucial than ever before — and saving on the price of food is massive as the cost of living has shot up,’ says Gemma.
Here, she shares her top ten tips…
1. Cut back on meat and bulk out your cooking with pulses and vegetables, because carrots are so much cheaper than mince.
2. Write everything down so you know what you have coming in and going out. Cancel any subscriptions you aren’t using — and check to see if there’s a pattern in your spending that you can change.
3. Do a cupboard and freezer rummage to see what food you have already got in the house, and what meals you can make with that. So many people end up re-stocking and pushing store cupboard items to the back of the larder. Once you know what you have already, you can write a meal plan around it.
4. Devising meal plans isn’t just about saving time — it saves money, too, because you can take a look online at the deals of the week, and if fish is reduced, base your meal plan around that.
5. Write out a shopping list and ban yourself from impulse buying when you get to the supermarket. It’s the unexpected extras we reach out for that send the bills soaring. I have also used the pre-scanners in Tesco, which means you can tell how much you’re spending as you walk around.
6. If you live by yourself or as a couple, don’t get tempted by the ‘buy one and get one free’ deals, because you won’t always be able to eat that much and it will go to waste. But if you do want to buy in bulk, then batch cook several meals in one go and freeze them. It saves electricity or gas, and means you always have food handy if you come in late.
7. Try to go unbranded for a week — so switch a normal brand-name product for a supermarket-own brand. There are great savings to be had, and some swaps make very little difference taste-wise.
8. Shop online for the best deals. This is something I do in the evenings, once the children have gone to bed. Then, you have time to really look for the deals that will help you. Things like Tesco Aldi Price Match are real-time savers, too.
9. Fashion does come at a price. But I look at high-end fashion accounts for inspiration and to see what’s on trend. Then, I go online to supermarket fashion lines, such as Tesco’s F&F, and buy lookalikes. Supermarket fashion has never been better — so it’s a great way to refill your wardrobe.
10. The heavier your car, the more fuel you will use. So take off the roof rack and unload the boot. Google petrol prices in your area, and arrange to do your trip to that garage when you are driving nearby, so that you won’t be wasting fuel in order to refuel.
Gemma Bird has partnered with Tesco to help customers save money and time on their regular shop using Tesco Aldi Price Match.
If you want more tips and tricks on saving money, as well as chat about cash and alerts on deals and discounts, join our Facebook Group, Money Pot.