Readers reveal their six INGENIOUS tips to beat the squeeze: Bulk bake, dye your sofa – and cook pheasant!
When we asked for your moneysaving tips in our recent Wealth special (see link below), scores of you rose to the challenge.
Readers from up and down the country came forward to share the ideas that have helped them to make the most of their money – in the hope that it could help other readers as well.
Here are a few of the best ideas – some weird, all wonderful.
Tasty advice:Gamekeepers sometimes give pheasants away free
Do all baking on same day
Carolyn Beech, 74, from Winchester in Hampshire, says: ‘Getting your oven up to the required temperature for baking requires a great deal of costly energy.
‘So I try to plan ahead and do all of my baking for the week at once. I might bake potatoes, a cake, cheesecake, quiche and a plum crumble all in the one session.’
She adds: ‘Once the oven is hot, I will cook items together if possible, or do those that need the same temperature in one go and then turn the oven down for the next batch. Then I just chill or freeze everything and heat it in the microwave when I’m ready to eat it.’
Dye your furniture
Heather Salmon, 53, from Hampshire, says: ‘My sofa was starting to look old and tired and the colour was fading. I was just about to spend £150 on new covers when I suddenly thought I could try dyeing the old ones first – I had nothing to lose.’
She continues: ‘I dyed them from pale grey to a light sage and the sofa now looks as good as new. The dye cost just £35, so it represented a huge saving.
‘Now I dye all sorts to give items a new lease of life – cardigans, towels, curtains – anything so long as it is made of natural fabrics. I reckon I save hundreds of pounds a year by not buying new.’
George Drabbits, 38, from Wiltshire, says: ‘Pheasant is much cheaper at the moment than chicken. At my local butcher, you can get a pheasant for £3.50. You know it has had a better and longer life than a supermarket chicken.
Sometimes you can even get them for free. Thousands of pheasants are shot each year, but those taking part in the shoot often don’t want to take them all away and pluck and eat them themselves.’
He adds: ‘Sometimes, the shoot organisers even pay the gamekeeper to take them away. So get friendly with your local gamekeeper if you live somewhere where shoots take place. They may well be happy for locals to take them off their hands for nothing.
‘Venison is also incredibly cheap at the moment and one of the healthiest meats out there.’
Meal plan for five days a week
Lynn Waddicor, 60, from Dorking in Surrey, says: ‘I always plan my meals for the week ahead. That means I don’t buy more than I need and it helps to keep my shopping bill down.
‘But, instead of planning for seven days, I plan for five. Then on the remaining two days I have what I call a ‘what’s left in the cupboard day’. It means I use up all of the leftovers. I cook for me and my husband, so this trick saves us around £10 or £12 a week.
‘I’ve found many ways to save costs on food. When I take my grandchildren out on day trips, such as to the farm, we always have lunch before we go, or take sandwiches.
‘My daughter recently said to me: ‘When I was growing up, I thought you were a bit tight, but now I understand. It saves so much money’.’
Play firms against each other
Sue Stokes, 70, from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, says: ‘My friend had a gold watch to sell, so we went together to the antique dealers in Harrogate.
‘The first said he would offer us £39, so we told a white lie and said another dealer had offered us £45. They promptly upped their offer. We did this four more times until the last dealer offered £143.’
She adds: ‘I don’t feel bad because they only offered what it was worth to them – we were just testing their authenticity.
‘I have also used this technique with cruise companies. I say another company has offered a similar trip £100 cheaper and ask them whether they can they match it. Invariably, they usually do.’
Freeze pesto in ice cube trays
Anne Steele, 69, from Nottinghamshire, says: ‘Pesto and other sauces go off quickly once opened.
‘So I pour what I don’t use into ice cube trays and freeze it for another day. I find three ice cubes of homemade passata is the perfect amount to coat a dish of pasta for one.’