Have you got any tips for a frugal February? I've gone back to basics foodwise and am cooking from scratch more, rather than relying on ready-meals, which is better for the waistline and the pocket (plus at least you know what you're eating, as the recent horsemeat instead of beef scandal has really brought home). I do make the kids share their bathwater too ! There's a very attractive prize package on offer for the savvy-minded if you enter the Nectar competition so get your thinking caps on and good luck !
Fakeaways and Joint Baths To Beat Frugal February
DIY Takeaways and Doubling Up Bath Water Help Brits Get Through Toughest Financial Month
Money savvy Brits are sharing bath water and recreating costly takeaways with home-made ‘Fakeaways’ as they tighten their belts for Frugal February, according to new research.
While January is typically considered the worst offender when it comes to the financial blues, the findings show that February is just as crippling, if not worse when it comes to managing the family budget and leaves many with ‘empty pocket syndrome’ – where there is no budget left to cover daily expenditure.
This month sees the arrival of higher winter utility bills and credit card statements containing the majority of Christmas spend – two key reasons why 78% of families are attempting to cut domestic costs in February, according to loyalty card Nectar, as they launch their annual ‘Savvy Family’ campaign.
And while 30% of families admit they are still paying for Christmas spending, the research shows that the average parent has just £273.17 of disposable income a month, or £68.25 per week - and will have exhausted this seven days before their next pay day. Over 15% even admit to spending their entire disposable income half way through the month.
As a result, 35% of Brits have undertaken a review of their finances, with a further 43% planning to do so in the coming weeks; the top five expenses they are looking to reduce in February are groceries (57%), restaurant meals (53%), nights out (46%), clothing (42%) and alcohol (40%). Around one in ten (12%) also say they are spending less on playing the lottery and a similar number are seeking alternatives to paying for public transport.
Encouragingly, two thirds of families polled claim to be savvy when it comes to money and finances, and the research uncovers a number of ways the nation is saving valuable pennies this month:
· Fakeaways: rather than paying for costly takeaway meals, 35% are making their own replica Chinese and Indian banquets at home for a fraction of the cost
· Sharing it: 12% of families save money on their household bills by sharing bath water, while 5% do their weekly food shop with a friend or neighbour to take advantage of special offers
· Bringing Hollywood home: with 26% of families cutting back on cinema visits this month, 17% are recreating the experience at home with a DVD, dim lighting and microwaved popcorn
· Bargain hunters: exactly 50% of respondents are heading straight to the reduced items section at the supermarket, 42% are relying on loyalty points and vouchers, and a thrifty 17% make purchases at charity shops
· Food for thought: rather than simply eating less, families are using other tactics to keep stomachs full without emptying their wallets - 21% cook a big meal in bulk and freeze portions to eat throughout the week, and 40% avoid expensive cafes and take a packed, home-made lunch to work
When it comes to financial advice, most families prefer to seek help close to home rather than trust more traditional guidance routes - almost a quarter (24%) say they are most likely to look for savvy money tips from a family member, as opposed to just 4% who would speak to their banks.
TV presenter and property developer Sarah Beeny, who will be helping Nectar find the nation’s Savviest Family, said: "Many people breathe a sigh of relief when the January payday comes around - but a lot of people are still picking up the financial slack in February and struggling even more for cash.
"The lack of financial wiggle room in February has led to an increase in families finding more creative ways to enjoy their time together without stretching their budgets. Working together to save costs is a great way for families to bond while teaching children about the value of money. There's a real hunger for this type of advice as the family budget continues to be squeezed.”
This Easter, a selection of families from across the UK will be blogging on nectar.com about their money-saving tips in a bid to be crowned the UK's Savviest Family.
James Frost, Nectar Marketing Director, added: "We know that many of our customers are on the lookout for new and clever ways to save a bit of cash here and there, which is why Nectar is searching for the UK’s Savviest Family. We’re looking forward to seeing what our eight participating families do to cut family spend during the competition and what helpful tips and advice are unearthed along the way.”
Families wishing to enter Savvy Family 2013 can apply now at www.nectar.com/savvy.
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