Cost of Living Tips

Hello everyone,

We are looking for tips around the cost of living!

Please feel free to reply with tips that might be helpful to everyone in the forum :slight_smile:

Warm wishes,

As I’m in the New Forest, no shops near enough to walk to, the cost of fuel is a major consideration. So is my time.

Shopping online is really good for basics, usually very good prices delivered to your door.
I’ve been using Ocado recently, who gave me a £2 refund for giving their carrier bags back!
Lots of VERY good offers too.

I have a Christmas shopping Master List. It started years ago when mum was very late, Christmas was 2 weeks away, and in that time I had to do EVERYTHING!

I wrote a computer list of what we were going to eat during the holiday, and the ingredients they would need.
Fortunately, I’m a touch typist and used to write a magazine, so my list is in table form, subdivided into Veg, Dairy, etc. etc.
It was one of the best ideas I’ve ever had. As it’s on the computer, I use the same basic list year after year, with little tweaks to reflect changing tastes. We all seem to have gone off beetroot and pickled onions now.

I’ve already made the Christmas Cake and Mincemeat.
Mince Pie making soon, they’ll be frozen raw, cooked to order.

I still shop locally for the veg and odds and ends, but my arthritic shoulders really appreciate having the bulk of my shopping delivered to my conservatory door.

An elderly friend told me of an idea she and her friends developed. Long ago they all worked together, and kept in touch, but with the cost of presents and postage, it was getting expensive. Then they decided that they would each buy themselves a present every year, and tell the others what they had bought with the money they would have spent on presents and postage to each other.

My sons and I now limit our gifts to each other to and write a present list. Mine usually has something sewing related, last year my eldest gave me some folding Fiskars scissors for my handbag.

Another good idea was agreeing with extended family that their presence, not their presents, was all we needed, after one Christmas when we exchanged an awful lot of alcohol because we didn’t know what they wanted. None of us drink much and a lot of it became tombola presents later!!

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Look for free books.

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Energy Savings

  1. Heat the person not the room ! I frequently wear my fleecy dressing gown over my (warm) jogging pants and sweatshirt when sitting watching TV, plus fluffy warm socks rather than upping the heating

  2. If you have a fan assisted oven are you aware that it continues to cook for 10 minutes AFTER it’s switched off ? So switch it off 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

  3. It’s cheaper to use a microwave rather than an oven (a jacket potato in a microwave costs about 16p).

  4. When you use your oven think about cooking more than one meal at a time - you can always freeze the second meal and reheat in the microwave at a later date.

  5. Consider investing in an air fryer - of all the cooking appliances they use the least energy and are, therefore, the cheapest to run.

  6. Think about the number of items you leave on “stand by” - TV, computer etc. They’re all using power.

  7. Even turning down your heating by 1 or 2 degrees will make a considerable saving but you’ll hardly notice the difference in the ambient temperature. Ditto turning down the thermostat for your hot water.


  1. Do your food shop one day later each week - after 7 weeks you will have saved the cost of one week’s shopping.

  2. Try out supermarkets own budget ranges instead of branded ones - they are usually just as tasty and nutritious but much cheaper. Especially for things like cereals, jam, tinned vegetables, biscuits.

  3. Make use of your local Charity shops. They often have new and nearly new clothing at a fraction of the price they would cost new - especially children’s clothing (my local charity shops sells kids t-shirts for around £1.50 each; kids jeans for about £2.50 and kids winter coats for £5 or less). Books, DVDs and CDs are all priced at £1 each.

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Brilliant tips, thank you very much for sharing!

We look forward to hearing more tips :slight_smile:

Haybox / wonderbag slow cooking

Start off a stew/casserole in a steel or cast iron pot and then put it into a thermal box/bag to cook for a few hours - do online search or try in facebook. If you only have lidded pans, then you need to adapt a box or make a bag to accommodate for the handle to inside or to stick outside and insulate around it.

Haybox is a box lined with old cushions/duvet/sleeping bag and then again on top of the lidded pot to keep the heat in and slow cook the food without the need for electricity or gas to do it.

Wonderbags are the same principal - bags made out of high insulating fillings.

I have a slow cooker but going to give this a try - even if only to have hot water on hand for any needs for washing caree if there there are any planned power cuts - I can get hot water in a pot and keep it warm for the duration. (we also have bed bath wipes and foam cleanser but sometimes you just need water).

Susieq #6 - guilty!

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Great tips!

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Don’t use a tumble dryer unless absolutely essential. They gobble up your electricity.
My friend has bought an airfryer recently (£100+) and also uses her slow cooker and says she hasn’t used her cooker once in a month BUT her tumble dryer is on every day and I pointed out that it’s using far more leccy than she thinks she’s saving. :rofl::rofl:

She has a large garden so no idea why she doesn’t hang her washing out.

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Hot water bottles

This is a recycled tip from an exchange with a forum member years ago (she has left, now). If you have an old kettle, use it exclusively for your hot water bottle. Pour the tepid water in and heat it, though not to boiling as that damages the rubber of the bottle. This uses less leccy than heating cold water from the tap.

Of course, never make tea from that kettle!

Another idea is a “hottie” microwaveable pack. Excellent for backache, but beware it can be pierced by sharp feathers if you use feather-filled pillows or duvets.

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I have a cup of before bed time, boil the kettle, some goes in the tea pot, the rest goes in the hot water bottle. I don’t like my HWB roasting hot, so it’s a third full of cold water when I pour the hot it. Under normal circumstances, I’d say just use hot water from the tap, but my ensuite is furtest away from the combi boiler.

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I use my microwave wheat bag. Put it over my lamp under throw and it keeps me warm I my feet are cold I place it there for a few mins. Good for backache or if have bit of IBS flare up.

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This is a list of festive money saving tips. Instead of shopping late at night at festive markets, make your themed crackers and even create your own Xmas experiences and memories. Look at the cheaper or free alternative options. See if you can find cheaper stuff in the local town shops instead of online. Try your blind luck at car boot sales and at charity shops.
Make your own festive wreaths. Also sit down in order to design your own table
decorations, and even invent your own fun cool games and tell stories. Buy all festive food on the cheap or do it at home. Think about going to the free or reduced price festive experiences and make many everlasting memories too. Festive carol, mince pie/Christmas cake and mulled wine night anyone.
Attend some craft fairs to buy required handy items like seasonal cards and so on. Avoid the temptation. Use the Internet to find other things to do. Often times places of interest may organise seasonal themed events. Do your own research to find out all about them. Make brief summary notes on your findings. Best of luck.
Reuse old stuff and reduce your spending costs as far as possible. You can even buy recommended cheaper and smaller cuts of meats at garden centre farm shops. Choose wisely. Borrow free stuff from family members with permission. Pick out things that matter to you. Leave the rest. When it comes to owning things like advent calendars so tread very lightly. In other simpler words only buy a cheap one. Have fun. You can find stuff online so do feel free to take a careful look.
Traditions should matter. Start making up your own. Or adapt existing ones. Learn to say no as well as yes sometimes. Talk about what Xmas day really means to you. Delegate the tasks as and when required. Prepare lists and refer back to them constantly. Think of other ways to have fun at Xmas time.


Free cycle is a great idea, advertising stuff you don’t want for free, and advertising for things you would like. I’ve had some lovely things, an almost new folding bike being the best! Regular members know I like sewing. I save hundreds of pounds a year mending things that would otherwise be binned. If you don’t have a machine, ask friends and family? My mum had four machines when she died.

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