As well as an actual hangover, the New Year can bring with it a financial hangover. Overspending at Christmas is all too easily done and January can feel like a long month of pain with parents worrying about money and looking for ways to save or make money.

 Here are five money saving tips to help you keep the wolf from the door.  

  1. Switch energy suppliers. You know doing this can save money. We all know doing this can save us money yet here we are, still with the same suppliers we’ve had for yonks. We don’t do it because it sounds like an almighty administrative faff and let’s face it, we have long to do lists.   But go to the website www.moneysavingexpert.com and join their Cheap Energy Club and all the research is done for you. They monitor the tariffs and best deals and email those to you.They’ve promised it’s easy so let’s hold hands and do it together.
  2. Sell stuff or swap stuff.  Post Christmas is a great time of year to have a clear out. If you can’t face listing multiple things on Ebay then have a look at www.loopster.co.uk.  You order a clear out bag from the website and send them your good quality children’s clothes. If it makes the grade, they will pay you for it. The rest gets returned to you or, if you agree, donated to the charity, Traid. Alternatively check if there’s a www.mum2mummarket.co.uk in your area and sell your children’s toys, books and clothes all in one go. It’ll all be done in one morning and you’ll have targeted buyers (and it’s better than freezing at a car boot sale). You can also avoid buying new things, and have a clear out at the same time, by holding a swishing party.
  3. Food. If you’re taking a financial hit anywhere it’s probably at the supermarket. Food prices rose at their fastest rate in four years in October 2017 (source FT.com) and staples like milk and butter have seen massive increases. This trend is set to continue so it makes sense to start some money saving habits now. Planning meals will not only reduce waste but help you decide on budget meals in advance. Websites such as www.jamieoliver.com and www.mumsnet.com both have budget recipe sections so there’s no need to buy any new books. Batch cooking, opting for vegetarian meals and investing in a slow cooker are all top tips. Think of the little saves. Swap to a cheaper brand; if you’re in the supermarket look at the products placed on the high and low shelves, that’s where the cheaper ones are most likely to be. A £2 coffee on your way to work can become a £500 annual spend.  Looking after the pennies can make a big difference.
  4. Family Days Out. These can be traumatic enough without blowing vast sums of money. Planning, again, is your frugal friend. Museums and galleries are usually free but check there are no hidden costs (like the best parts charging an entrance fee). Early morning showings at the cinema are often cut price. If you want a big family day out at a main attraction check www.lastminute.com for deals. Give your child their spending cash for the day. They pick what they buy but once it’s gone it’s gone and you don’t find yourself bullied into forking out daft amounts in the overpriced shops.
  5. Set up a babysitting circle.  Download our free app to organise and coordinate a babysitting circle. This doesn’t just have to be just evening babysitting. Freelance and home workers can help each other out by sharing school pick ups and after school cover. The app will keep track of all of your sits and you earn and pay with virtual tokens. Last year Sitster users arranged approximately 6900 hours of free babysitting between them. Kerching.

 Happy New Year everyone. Let us know any of the top ways you save money and we’ll include it in our next round up.  

By Emilie Silverwood-Cope

Sitster is a mobile app to help friends organise a babysitting circle. Sitster makes it quick and easy to arrange babysitting amongst a group of your trusted friends, using a points system so it’s completely free and fair.