"Look after the pennies..."

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2016 is well under way and I am sure you all have had many new year's resolutions fall by the wayside. I'm willing to bet many of these failed intentions centred around saving more of that hard earned cash, and trying to avoid spending money on things you don't really need. Well... I didn't make any resolutions this year, because as soon as I say I'm not going to do anything, my brain will turn to reverse psychology and I will want to do it even more. For this reason, the intention to save money has stayed alive well into the month of April, so I thought I'd share my methods with you.

Make lists and stick to them. I write shopping lists, not so I know what I'm buying but also so I don't end up filling up my trolley or basket with things I don't need. I have even started writing a little note on my list just as a friendly reminder 'Do you really need that?' and it really does work. It helps you think twice before grabbing that buy-one-get-one-free deal that you don't really need.

Don't forget your bags. So simple but it's very easy to forget to take a few carriers out with you, and with the new 5p charge for every bag these pennies can soon add up. (If you're reading this post in Wales, I'm sure you have already got used to this a long time ago). I make a little note to remember my bags on my list and keep a stash in the boot of the car just in case. I also tend to keep a couple in my bag as I do forget to put them back after I have used them.

Plan your meals. This one sounds a little boring but it can save so much money where your weekly food shop is concerned. I plan all my meals and snacks for the week ahead so I don't end up spending extra money on food at work or when I'm out and about. If you are buying individual meals or snacks when you are hungry you will end up paying far more than if you buy just what you need at the supermarket. This also helps me eat less, and more healthily as I'm not picking up that sugary drink with my lunch or cake for something sweet.

Don't be pressured into buying. This is my biggest downfall, I am sucker for a friendly face offering a deal at the last minute (Superdrug is a particular offender, or the beauty counter in a department store). When you are at the shop and the assistant tries to sell you something extra to pop into your basket; say 'NO', as you probably don't need this. You would have picked it up already if you did.

One course meals. This is a savy tip as it can help with your healthy eating habits too. When going out for a meal with your friends or family, just have a main and not the three course meal that you probably don't really need. I have thought about this a lot before and it is easier said than done when a dessert menu gets shoved in your face, but it really can help save some dollar. The best way to think about this is, if you were at home you wouldn't have a starter, big main dinner and a dessert, so why not just have a main?

Plan in advance. I know again this might sound a little boring, but think about it. Is it cheaper for me to leave a little earlier and get the bus rather than spending money on a taxi, or perhaps stick to the soft drinks once in a while and drive home. Spend less by not spending more money on that pizza that you don't really need on the way home!

Let me know what you think, or if you have any other tips.
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