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itsmymarket.com's 30 ways to beat the credit crunch

Are you feeling the pinch? Have a look at some of the ways you can take a bite back against the effects of the credit crunch.

We've categorised our tips into 5 sections:

Food Shopping & Meal Times

Plan a weeks worth of meals, create a list of ingredients and only purchase these items. By sticking to this no food will go to waste and you will be less tempted to purchase extra goodies.

When you are in the supermarket where possible try to purchase "own brand" items. You'll find them much cheaper than leading brands and often the product tastes very similar if not exactly the same.

When you visit your supermarket don't go in hungry. Research suggests that you will spend around 20% more when you food shop hungry as apposed to shopping after a meal.

Buy in bulk. Markets and greengrocers will give good deals on produce if you buy in larger quantities. Supermarkets often have BOGOF (Buy One Get One Free) offers. Take advantage of these: freeze the extra items for use in the future.

Grow your own, find an allotment or convert part of your garden into a veg patch. You'll be surprised by the savings and how good home-grown produce tastes.

Buy local. It is estimated that for every £1 spent at a farmers market around £2.65 makes its way back to the local economy.

Try to cook just what you planned for in your recipe, this way you'll only use the ingredients you've bought and not extras.

Don't cook too larger a portion, when cooking pasta and rice use a mug to measure out the amount needed. Consider taking a packed lunch to work, cook up a bit more of an evening put it in Tupperware and freeze them.

Once you've finished cooking, use up the leftovers. The end of a chicken, cut offs of vegetables can be turned into stock or a tasty homemade soup.

Don't buy bottled water or soft drinks. Drink water! A Brita Filter will do wonders if your tap water isn't too nice or just leave a glass of tap water in a window for around 30 mins for the chlorine taste to go away.

Around the House and Home

Research things you want to buy. Find out as many details online, then visit a shop to see it in person and ensure its right for you. Then visit price comparison websites like www.savebuckets.com to take advantage of the internets best prices.
Laptops and the latest iPod models are higher price items that offer the greatest potential savings by comparing prices - you will even find bargains on luxury items and gifts such as cheap perfume and Wii games

Find out if you can get out of your mobile phone contract. If you can try to renew it for a cheaper more appropriate package, mobile packages are often changed during the period of a contract so ensure you get the best value for money. Even if you have to pay to get out of your current contract, spread over 12 months it may work out to be less if you move to a cheaper call package.

Go to your favourite high street newsagents. They often have DIY kits covering everything from Divorce to Residential Letting, Business Accounts, HIP's and Wedding Planning.

Get a lodger. They are often neat, tidy and if you target the business market your lodger is likely to be around for just a few days during the week.

Don't put the heating on, put another layer on. If you're cold with a sweatshirt and trousers on then use the heating!

Have a shop around for the best in household utility bills. We think that Martin Lewis's advice is the best: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities

Switch off computers, TV's DVD players, HiFi's, Ovens and other electrical items at the mains.

Have a clear out, there must be loads of unused stuff in the Attic, under your bed or in the garage - put it on itsmymarket.com here: http://www.itsmymarket.com/classifieds/create/. You'd be surprised what people buy!

Cancel your Sky subscription, use Digital Freeview or Free Sat - loads of free channels not much different to Sky!

Go to the cinema on a deal. Many big chains offer vouchers for family's and those visiting at weekends. If your mobile provider is Orange then they offer a 2 for 1 scheme on Wednesdays - check out the Orange website for details.

Want to give someone a fun gift that isn't going to break your wallet? Send them a penny gift (http://www.pennygifts.com) - a gift a day for £3.65 - that's 365 pennies for 365 gifts!

Getting About

Car Share. If you live in a city or if there's a few people in your office who live in the same area then share your car journeys - take it in turn to drive.

If you don't have to drive take public transport. Busses, trains, tubes and trams are often a cheaper and quicker alternative to the car.

Cancel your gym membership and ride to work. Urge your employer to join the http://www.cyclescheme.co.uk. It provides tax free bikes & equipment for those cycling to work.

If you are going abroad shop around for your flights and hotels, there are many websites such as http://www.lastminute.com that will compare travel prices and give you further options. Book in advance and be prepared to travel off peak - out of season, during the week and at lunch time to get the best deals.

Go to the cinema on a deal. Many big chains offer vouchers for family's and those visiting at weekends. If your mobile provider is Orange then they offer a 2 for 1 scheme on Wednesdays - check out the Orange website for details.

Home Energy

Insulate your loft. Shop around for deals, often your favourite big DIY store has deals on loft insulation.

As with loft insulation it is possible to get a grant for cavity wall insulation. http://www.government-grants.co.uk has more information.

Switch off lights when you leave a room. Rather that having the ceiling light on when watching TV have a table lamp on instead, they often consume less electricity - and give a better atmosphere for your evenings entertainment.

Switch to energy saving light bulbs. They do cost a bit more initially but will last around 8-10 times longer that a standard bulb.

Money

Be aware of when your mortgage is up for renewal. Start looking around 6 months before the renewal date, time really does fly!

Give up smoking - you can save an average months salary each year just by stopping!

How much do you spend - and on what? Workout your expenditure and give yourself a budget. Don't be unrealistic but ensure you stick to it.

Are you paying interest on your credit card? - don't! Transfer your balance to a zero percent offer. Check out http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/cards/balance-transfer-credit-cards for more information.

 
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