You may have seen a blog I wrote back in May picking up on Nectar looking for the UK’s Savviest Family? Well after 11 weeks of trying to be thrifty and save money it seems they have found them.
Participating families, selected from over 700 applications, had to keep their thrifty saving and spending tips recorded via an online blog on the Nectar website.
Although each family’s blogs were different, they all shared a common theme: Families looking to survive the economic downturn are turning to simple, traditional household skills such as home cooking, growing vegetables and DIY to see them through tough financial times.
There really was a good combination of age-old home economics coupled with an expert eye for internet deals and sites to keep costs down and make the most of the family budget.
The Mills family from Bridgwater, Somerset impressed the judges enough to be crowned Nectar’s Savviest Family and were rewarded with with £1000 cash, four easyJet return flights to any destination, a Sainsbury’s gift card worth £600, up to £500 worth of free petrol from BP and 50,000 Nectar points.
So what were the top tips from these thrifty families?
The Pantings from Oxfordshire
“Avoid wasting food by finding ways to make it last longer. For instance, invest in a banana bag that will keep the fruit fresh for up to four weeks in the fridge.”
The Mortons from Cheshire
“You can buy, sell or swap unwanted items with on facebook and lots of areas already have a page set up. Search for yours and then upload a picture and some info and local people come and buy, there are no fees or long descriptions and people come and pick up.”
The Wilkinsons from South Wales
“When I make meals I always make too much, I then freeze the left-overs into portion sizes. On a Friday night we have a take out. The girls and I go in the freezer and take out whatever we fancy and of course all the meals are homemade. They always have a choice of things like curry, lasagne, chilli con carni, soup, stews, casseroles, bolognese and whatever else I’ve made over the last month or so.”
The Astburys from Cheltenham
“Visit the market stalls towards the end of the day as they reduce their prices and you can usually buy bags of fruit and veg for £1 per bag or less.”
The Owens from London
“A great, cheap alternative to children’s party bags is to turn the plastic trays you get with groceries into a cress letter. Simply line each tray with kitchen roll, pour on a little water and let the children sprinkle cress seeds onto it. Their only instructions after that are to keep the paper towel wet and watch the seeds grow. Edible, educational and fun – one pack of cress costs about £1 and will work for about 12 children.”
Jasmine Birtles, one of the Nectar Savvy Family competition judges and founder of Moneymagpie.com says: “The creativity and resourcefulness of all the families in the competition is very inspiring and their blog entries really demonstrated how simple it can be to make your household budget stretch further without compromising on the important things in life.
“We may be over a decade into the 21st century, but these families have shown that if you want to keep your costs down, the old methods are still the best.”
I think this competition has demonstrated just how resourceful families can be in their quest to save money.
We tend to focus on trying to cut costs on such as cheaper car insurance or energy deals or perhaps home in how we can save money with special offers and discount vouchers.
All absolutely vital of course but so too is recognising that with a bit more creative thinking the whole family can join in. They can actually enjoy the challenge and not think it’s a terrible chore and bordering on the impossible to do.
Clearly it is possible – well done to the UK’s Savviest Family, The Mills family from Bridgwater, Somerset
You can see all the eight families’ tips and find out how to make your own budget work harder, visit www.nectar.com/savvy2011.