116 money-saving tips for mums

We've come up with 116 clever things that will make a big difference to a busy mum's money!

Money saving tips for mums: Start a babysitting circle
(Image credit: Rex)

We've come up with 116 clever things that will make a big difference to a busy mum's money!

Do you throw out food if it's gone past its 'best before' date? This should only be used as a guide, so check the quality of the food before you chuck it. However, don't eat food that has gone past its 'use by' date.

Check out approvedfood.co.uk - a website that sells clearance dried food like biscuits, crisps and pasta that's past its best before date (but not past its 'use by') at massive reductions.

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Start a babysitting circle

Cut down the cost of babysitting by starting a babysitting circle. Basically each group of friends is called a 'circle'. Everyone in the group is given a token - you can exchange a token for a night of babysitting - so the more you babysit for other people, the more they'll babysit for you - and you'll save up to £20 per night out!

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Buy own brand

Money saving tips for mums: Buy own brand items

Most supermarkets will produce their own brand of food products, usually much cheaper than the more popular brands on sale. More often than not - though not always - you'll be hard pressed to notice any difference between the brands. If you switch all your products to own-brand, you could save more than a tenner a week.

Not sure which own brand products to try? We asked goodtoknow users to tell us the value products they love.

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Check your benefits

Money saving tips for mums: Check your benefits

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Are you getting everything you're entitled to? Check goodtoknow's guide to family benefits to find out.

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Label school uniforms

Money saving tips for mums: Label school clothes

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If you label the kids' uniforms they're less likely to get lost, or mistakenly picked up by someone else. You don't need to buy fancy name labels that need sewing or ironing in - a permanent marker will do the trick!

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Find a free swimming pool

Money saving tips for mums: Find a free swimming pool

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Hundreds of local councils are taking part in this government scheme which allows under 16s and over 60s to swim for free. Check the government's culture website to see which pools near you are taking part.

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Make your own playdough

Money saving tips for mums: Make your own playdough

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Use this recipe to make your own playdough:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp cream of tartar (which you can get in the baking aisle at the supermarket)
  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 to 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 cup water
  • food colouring

- Mix flour, cream of tartar and salt in a saucepan.

- Add the water and oil and cook over medium heat until thick.

- At this stage you can either add a few drops of food colouring to the mixture and kneed in. If you want two colours, split the mixture and add different colours to each half.

- Now it's over to the kids!

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Buy seasonal products

Money saving tips for mums: Buy seasonal fruit

Buying seasonal food is cheaper - not to mention tastier. Out-of-season food means it has to be shipped in from abroad, so it's more expensive. Staying in-season will ensure your food shopping remains cheaper all year round.

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Get kids to sell their old games

Money saving tips for mums: Get kids to sell their games

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Mum Karen says: 'Get your kids to sell their old games for Playstations and other video consoles - then they can put the money towards new games!'

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Where to next?

- Our discount vouchers

- More money-saving tips

- For more like this, sign up to our free family newsletter.

Make banana bread

Money saving tips for mums: Banana bread

If you have some leftover bananas, or even a few that haven't been eaten and are about to expire, why not have a go at making your own banana bread? It's cheap and easy to make, with many of the ingredients in your kitchen cupboard already. It makes a great lunchbox treat or afternoon snack.

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Go to National Childbirth Trust sales

Money saving tips for mums: Go to NCT sales

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Mum Vicky says: 'Attend National Childbirth Trust (NCT) nearly new sales in your local area for bargains. Make sure you get there 30 minutes to an hour before doors open because they are insanely popular.' Find out where sales are on near you.

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Look around

Money saving tips for mums: Shop around

When shopping, make sure to look around. Supermarkets often display the highest priced brands at eye level, as this where you're most likely to look and buy from.

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Shop at the local market

Money-saving tips for mums: Shop at the local market

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Buying your fruit and veg at your local market rather than the supermarket is almost always cheaper. For example, you'll find packs of strawberries, satsumas and other fruits for around £1 - these would usually cost £2-£3 in the supermarket. Not only that, but the food will be fresher and easier to select. But just buy what you need for the next few days so none of it will go off and need throwing away.

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Buy in bulk and freeze

Money saving tips for mums: Buy in bulk and freeze

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When doing your weekly food shop, buy bigger packs of fresh food (such as meat) and freeze what you don't need. Bigger packs give you more value for money.

Julie on facebook told us: 'I freeze anything that you possibly can, including yoghurts.'

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Don't go food shopping when you're hungry

Money saving tips for mums: Don't do a hungry shop

The classic mistake of the weekly food shopper is to hit the aisles on an empty stomach. Everything will look more appealing and worth buying if you're hungry - and instead of buying sensible food, you might find you come home with extra food and treats that you don't need. It's always better, and more cost-effective, to eat before you shop.

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Dry your clothes on the line

Money saving tips for mums: Dry your clothes on the line

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Tumble dryers use up loads of energy - and loads of money, too. When the weather is nice put your clothes on the line instead - and if you really want to save, you can buy racks to dry your clothes on inside the house as well. Just putting your clothes on the line during warmer months will save you £15.

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Save energy while cooking

Money saving tips for mums: Save energy while cooking

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If you're cooking on a gas hob, pick a saucepan that's the same size as the cooker ring to stop heat from being lost. Using a lid on your saucepan will also help to save energy as whatever's in your saucepan will heat up faster.

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Swap your online shopping

Money saving tips for mums: Swap your online shopping

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It's worth changing who you shop with from time to time, especially if you shop online.

Mum Vicky says: 'Swap online shopping between Ocado, Asda and Tesco. Ocado and Asda send £10 to £35 vouchers every few months if you haven't shopped with them for a while.'

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Swap toys with other families

Money saving tips: Swap toys with other families

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Do a toy-swap with your friends so your kids can get some exciting new toys without shelling out a small fortune. The same can be said for video games when they're a bit older.

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Use our cashback site

Money saving tips for mums: Use cashback sites

(Image credit: goodtoknow cashback with Quidco)

When you're buying things online, try using our cashback partner, Quidco - you'll earn money back while you shop and get great discount vouchers too. Jenni told us on facebook: 'If you're buying on the internet, always use cashback sites. Often they have discount codes plus a good % cashback.'

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Put on your wellies and go for a rain walk

Money-saving tips for mums: Go for a rain walk

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When it's raining outside and the kids are bored, don't be tempted to give in and take them out to the cinema or to a restaurant, instead wrap up warm, put on your wellies and go for a rain walk!

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Go on good value days out

Money saving tips for mums: Buy membership to your local wildlife trust

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Check websites like GoSeeDo.com for deals before forking out loads of cash for days out.

It's also worth buying a membership to your local wildlife trust for days out. Mum Vicky says: 'It's cheaper than occasional trips to big country parks, national trust properties and zoos, and it's much quieter.'

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Have leftovers

Money saving tips for mums: leftovers

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So much food is wasted in the UK every week, even when there's nothing wrong with it. One way to save money is to use your weekly leftovers, one night a week, to make a meal for all the family. There are lots of options available, including risotto, stir-fry and the always-easy omelette. This will probably save you around £6 a week. See all our ideas for leftovers.

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Sell unwanted stuff on eBay

Money saving tips for mums: Sell on ebay

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Make money and de-clutter your house at the same time by selling unwanted goods on eBay. You can buy and sell all kinds of things on here, from clothes to sofas. It's especially good for picking up and selling things like old Brownie uniforms and sports kits which are expensive and kids grow out of quickly.

See goodtoknow's mum's guide to buying on eBay

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Make more and freeze it

Money saving tips for mums: Make more and freeze it

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If you're going to buy in bulk then why not cook in bulk? Making more when cooking means you can freeze anything you don't eat and use for other meals throughout the week.

Julie told us on facebook: 'I always cook too much pasta with bolognese, so I make a pasta salad and chill it. You can also put leftover chicken in pitta bread or tortilla wraps with mayo for a light lunch or lunch boxes.'

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Shop at outlet stores

Money saving tips for mum: Shop at outlet stores

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Visit stores like Matalan when you need cheap, good quality clothes. They're good for bulk buying too. Or if you're after something special, you could visit an outlet village like Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth which has a range of designer shops, all full of discounted goods.

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Close your curtains to keep the heat in

Money saving tips for mums: Close your curtains to keep the heat in

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During the winter months when it's cold, closing your curtains will help to keep your house warm, meaning you won't need to turn the heating up so much. If your front or back door lets in a draft, consider putting up a curtain behind it to keep the cold air out too!

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Get kids involved at the supermarket

Money saving tips: Give kids a job at the supermarket

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Give kids a job at the supermarket, like looking after the shopping list or getting some of the items you need, so they don't get bored and start pestering you for treats!

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Buy second-hand games

Money-saving tips for mums

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Sue told us on Facebook: 'I buy second-hand games for the kids, for the Wii, DS and Xbox. Up to about 9 years old they don't notice that they aren't new. After 9 they figure out that you can get 2 for the price of 1 new.'

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Get free beauty treats for kids

Money-saving tips for mums

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Linda told us on Facebook: 'When you're at the counter buying your own usual full size branded perfumes and smellies, ask the assistant for little samples of any perfume or make-up they have that week. The staff are always happy to oblige. The samples usually come in their own branded little packets - just save them up all year long to make a little gift hamper for girls!'

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Do some baking

Money-saving tips for mums

Kirsty told us on Facebook: Me and my 2 little boys bake things for when

friends and family are getting together. They enjoy the time spent

making things with mummy and they get to give something they've made

themselves. I hope I'm giving them great memories too.'

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Shop in the January sales

Money-saving tips for mums

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Emma told us on Facebook: 'Start buying stuff in the January sales ready for next Christmas. Everything you need will be a third of the price. If you also buy in the sales throughout the year you'll save mega bucks and have a lot less to pay when next Christmas comes.'

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Buy reduced food

Money saving tips for mums: Buy reduced food

Supermarkets always have food reduced due to a looming expiry date, usually with the food due to expire that day. Keep an eye out for food marked for reduction, check the expiry date and, if the date is for that day, you can cook it as soon as you get home.

Jane shared this tip on Facebook: 'Always go to the reduced meats, fruits and veg. The meat you can freeze, the fruits you can make smoothies from and the veggies make a lovely veggie dinner for a change.'

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Turn off your TV

Money-saving tips for mums: Turn off your TV

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Save money and energy by turning off your TV when it's not in use. A TV that is left on standby uses 90% of the same energy as a switched on TV - so turning it off standby really does make a difference.

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Use our supermarket savers

Money-saving tips for mums: Use our supermarket savers

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Every week, we search the supermarkets to see who's doing the best BOGOF offers and price reductions. And we'll let you know the top offers in our supermarket savers.

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Keep food refrigerated

Money-saving tips for mums: Keep food refrigerated

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Another way to avoid waste and save money is to keep perishable food, such as fruit, refrigerated. Keeping foods such as apples, bananas and oranges fresh will stop them from rotting and going to waste, which stops you from having to spend money replacing them. You'll probably save a few pounds every week if you're committed to this - and every little helps!

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Turn the lights off

Money-saving tips for mums: Turn the lights off

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Make a habit of turning the lights off when you leave the room - and switch to energy-saving light bulbs too. It's said that compact fluorescent bulbs use two-thirds less energy than standard incandescent light bulbs, and last up to 10 times longer. Using a 13-watt compact fluorescent in place of a 60-watt incandescent could mean a saving of £15 in energy costs over the life of the bulb.Got a great money-saving tip? Share it with us on Facebook

Make packed lunches

Money-saving tips for mums: Packed lunches

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Why not take a packed lunch rather than buying a meal at work? If you're buying lunch every day, you could save around £15 per week. And, as long as you're clever about it, packed lunches can work out cheaper than school dinners for kids, too. See our simple lunch ideas.

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Put your savings in an ISA

Money-saving tips for mums: Put your savings in an ISA

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You can now put up to £5,100 per year into an ISA which is like a savings account, the only difference is that the interest you earn on your savings is tax free - so make the most of your savings by getting one! Cheltenham & Gloucester's cash ISA currently pays 2.7% interest on your savings including a 1.7% bonus for 12 months, and you can open an account with £1 only.

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Money saving tips for mums

Money saving tips for mums: Get dvds and books from the library

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Did you know that you can borrow CDs and DVDs from most libraries? You'll usually have to pay a small fee for them (books are still free though), but you'll save £2-£3 per time in comparison to renting them from a DVD rental shop, and up to £10 in comparison to buying! Lots of libraries let you borrow them for up to a week - check with your local council to see which libraries in your area have DVDs and CDs.

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Get your hair cut at a college

Money saving tips for mums: Get your haircut at a college

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It's not as scary as it sounds! Hairdressing colleges will offer haircuts really cheaply - often for under £10 - you just need to go during the day, and be prepared to spend some time there. The student cutting your hair will be watched carefully by a supervisor, so don't panic - you won't come out with an awful cut!

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Join the goodtoknow diet club

Money-saving tips for mums

If you want to lose a bit of weight, you don't need to join an expensive gym or weight-loss group. Here at goodtoknow we have our own diet club to help you achieve your goal weight. You'll receive a personalised calorie allowance, an online food and exercise diary, healthy recipe ideas, support from experts and other dieters - and loads more. PLUS if you sign up now for 3 months, you'll a 15% discount AND a free goodybag (while stocks last).

Sign up for a free 5-day trial

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Dilute fruit juice

Money saving tips for mums: Dilute fruit juice

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Diluting fruit juices with water makes them last longer, while also reducing the amount of calories each time you have a drink of it. So you're not only saving money, you're also keeping the calories down - it's win-win!

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Pay off your credit card

Money saving tips for mums: Pay off your credit card

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If you have to use a credit card, don't spend more than you can afford to pay off each month - otherwise you'll end up paying heaps in charges. Make sure you're always getting the best deals on your credit card too - often they offer a great deal at first and then they drop it, so don't be afraid to switch cards every few months to take advantage of these introductory offers.

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Use your loyalty cards wisely

Money saving tips for mums: Use your loyalty cards wisely

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Make good use of your Nectar card and Tesco Clubcard - you can often get great offers using these on days out. So instead of taking along your vouchers to the supermarket with you, check out where else you can use them, they're often worth much more elsewhere. Check out our advice on how to make the most of your loyalty cards here.

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Have a shower instead of a bath

Money saving tips for mums: Take a shower rather than a bath

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You use loads more water in a bath - so it takes up more energy (and money) to heat the water. If you really want a bath, you can still save a bit of money by not filling it up as much as usual.

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Insulate your house

Money saving tips for mums: Insulate your house

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If your house isn't properly insulated, you're probably spending a small fortune on heating in the winter - so getting insulated is a good investment. You might be able to get some money towards it - see if you're entitled to an insulation grant.

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Shop around for petrol

Money saving tips for mums: Get cheaper petrol

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Sign up to petrolprices.com to find the cheapest petrol or diesel near you. You enter your postcode and it'll search your area to find which prices are being offered at your local garages. However, make sure you're not driving much further to get cheaper petrol as you'll waste money on the drive there.

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Only use supermarket deals that are good value

Supermarket deals and offers

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We love supermarket deals, but remember they're only worth while if they're on something you'd usually buy or if it's a really great offer.

Consumer group Which? recently round that supermarkets often exaggerate offers to encourage you to buy, by putting the prices of products up just a few days before dropping them to 'half price'. So make sure you're getting a good deal before you reach for that offer!

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It's free, it's out every Monday and it promises the latest discounts, vouchers, cashback deals, competitions and useful articles from money experts. What's not to like? Sign up for goodtoknow's money-saver newsletter today

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Money saving tips for mums: Store offer

Money saving tips for mums: Stock up on shop offers

When shopping, if you see something you buy regularly on offer, why not stock up on it by buying a few? Just because something is two-for-one this month, doesn't mean it will be next month, so buy a few for the months ahead. You'll save so much more money in the long run and you'll have plenty of supplies for the future.

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Money saving tips for mums: Budget

Money saving tips for mums: Budget

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Sit down with your other half and a calculator. Work out how much money you have coming in and going out each month - then work out what you have left to spend on food, entertainment, clothes, treats for the kids etc. Sticking to your budget will make a big difference to your finances. If you struggle to keep track of your spending, consider setting up a new bank account that you can transfer your spending money to each month so you know exactly how much you have.

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Shopping lists

Money saving tips for mums: Shopping lists

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Making a shopping list before you visit the supermarket will always prove cheaper than not making one - just make sure you stick to it! It'll stop you from purchasing unnecessary treats and making impulse buys.

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Share delivery costs for an online shop

Money saving tips for mums

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Do your shopping online with a friend who lives nearby and split the delivery costs with them. Some supermarkets will charge you up to £8 for certain slots, so it's definitely worth the extra effort for the saving - especially when you consider that you'll be saving £104 per year!

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Hold a swish sale

Money saving tips for mums: Make your own money

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If you don't want the fuss or have the time to sell kids' clothes on eBay they've grown out of, hold a swish sale at your school or for your friends? Put out tables as 'stalls' and put on them anything your child no longer needs - get other mums to do the same and help yourself to clothes that fit your child or new toys they'll enjoy, for free!

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Grow your own veg

Grow your own carrots

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Did you know that just one courgette plant could keep a family of four in regular veg for about 3 months? You don't need loads of land or green fingers to plant a few seeds. A 6ftx6ft sized plot is plenty big enough.

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Use apps

Money saving tips for mums: Apps

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Smartphone like iPhones and Androids might be expensive, but if you've already got one you can download some clever apps to help you save money. Apps such as myvouchercodes, PetrolPrices Pro and Find Free Parking will all help you to get great deals.

See our top 10 money saving apps

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Sign up to Groupon

Money saving tips: Groupon

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Websites like Groupon and Wahanda offer some fab one day only offers. Recent offers include a £45 meal for just £18, a £39 glasses voucher for just £9 and a £100 facial for just £44. These offers can make great birthday presents and cheap treats. Sign up to their daily newsletters and you'll never miss a deal.

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Subscribe to your favourite magazine

Money saving tips for mums: Subscribe to your favourite magazine

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If you buy the same magazine, week in, week out, then subscribing will save you a fair amount - plus you might be entitled to a free gift! See which magazines you can subscribe to on goodtoknow.co.uk (including goodtoknow recipes, Woman and Woman's Own - for example, a subscription to Woman magazine will save you £10 per year and you'll get it delivered to your door!)

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Do some junk modelling

Money saving tips for mums: Do some junk modelling

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Collect old kitchen rolls, toilet rolls and plastic bottles for junk modelling. Try and get a large collection of items, in varied shapes and sizes along with glue, sticky tape and paints. Kids can make basic things like binoculars out of two cardboard rolls and it's a great way to inspire their creative skills and imagination.

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Shop around for your train tickets

Money saving tips: Shop around for your train tickets

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Rather than waiting until you get to the train station to buy your tickets, buy them online - and shop around for the best offers using websites like nationalrail.co.uk and thetrainline.com. You'll find that travelling at certain times can save you money and sometimes it's cheaper to buy 2 singles instead of a return.

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Get the kids to help you with the cooking

Money saving tips for mums: Get the kids to help you cook

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Not only will it provide free entertainment for the kids, it helps you out. Check out our other clever ways to entertain the kids for free here.

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Buy school clothes from supermarkets

Money saving tips for mums: Buy school clothes from Tesco or Asda

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Your school may recommend a particular stockist for the school uniform but it's also worth having a look when you're doing the food shop. Basic school uniform items like white shirts and grey trousers will be cheapest in the supermarkets.

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Use price comparison websites

Money saving tips for mums: Price compare

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When it comes to renewing your car insurance, mobile phone deal, broadband or anything else you can buy online - use price comparison websites like moneysupermarket.com to get the best deal. They're also really handy when booking holidays.

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Change your supermarket

Money saving tips for mums: Change your supermarket

Supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury's are great for food shopping and offer some great value deals, but there are alternatives. Outlets such as Aldi and Lidl are often cheaper than the bigger, mass-market stores and will usually offer you much better bargains for your money.

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Shop online

Money saving tips for mums: Shop online

Another way to avoid temptation is to stay out of supermarkets all together. Rather than be enticed by the smells and distractions of fresh food in store, why not jump on the computer and do your food shopping online? You're likely to find much better deals and you can have it delivered straight to your door, plus the kids won't be able to nag you for sweets.

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Freeze your bread

Money saving tips for mums: Freeze your own bread

It may sound obvious, but the best way to keep your bread fresh is to freeze it. If you use bread sparingly, or only once in a while, you're best freezing the loaf and then taking it out in advance, or just toasting it from frozen. You'll save a few pounds every month in comparison with leaving it on the side and having to throw some away - and you'll always have a slice handy if you need one.

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Don't overfill the kettle

Money saving tips for mums: Don't put too much water in the kettle

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The more water you put in the kettle, the more energy (and money) it needs to boil - so only put in what you need! It might sound small, but every little helps. If just 15 families filled their kettles with only the amount of water they need they would save one tonne of carbon every year.

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Wash at 30°

Money saving tips for mums: Wash at 30

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Switch the temperature of your washing machine from 40° to 30° - you'll save energy and you probably won't notice the difference in your clothes. If you want to wash a few items that have only been worn once, a quick wash will be fine and will also save loads of energy.

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Fly at off-peak times

Money saving tips: Consider flying at off peak times

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When you go on holiday, consider flying at more inconvenient times, it could save you a packet - possibly over £100 for a family of 4. High peak times, like weekends, can be really expensive. Check our our 10 ways to have a cheap family holiday for more tips on getting cheap travel.

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Use goodtoknow!

Money saving tips for mums: Use goodtoknow!

Stuck for a cheap and easy recipe when deciding what to cook? Why not jump online and visit goodtoknow? We've got so many recipes and ideas of cooking on a budget that you'll be spoilt for choice when looking for a cheap and easy meal.

Have a look at some of our recipes

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Buy in bulk

Money saving tips: Buy bigger bags

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Buy in bulk - crisps, biscuits, cans of drinks, whatever you can find. Bigger packets means they'll last longer and they're cheaper than individual sizes. For example, we looked at the cost of Skips Asda - an individual packet costs 30p, while a pack of 6 costs £1.38. This saves you 42p compared with buying 6 individual packets - not life-changing, but if you buy in bulk more often, the saving will be more.

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Go away with another family

Money saving tips: Go away with another family

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Go on holiday with another family to save on both accommodation and entertaining the kids. The kids will have lots more fun with friends there and the adults can share babysitting duties. That way you'll each get a night off to do something nice with your partner.

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Try camping

Money saving tips: Try camping

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Stay in the UK for your next holiday and give camping a go. It's fun and cheap - the kids will really love it. A week's camping for a family of 4 could cost as little as £77 - check our round-up of the UK's best campsites and don't forget your camping essentials.

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Get a railcard

Money saving tips: Get a railcard

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A Family and Friends Railcard costs £26 a year, but it means you save 60% on children's fares and 1/3 on adults' fares. For example, a return trip from Leeds to London for a weekend in August for a family of 4 would cost you £251.10 - but with a railcard it'd only be £142.30, a whooping saving of £108.80.

Up to 4 adults and 4 children can travel per card, so it's great for days out with friends or grandparents, too.

Get a railcard here

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Get an EHIC card

Money saving tips: Get an EHIC card

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A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) means that if you need medical care when you're visiting a European country, you'll be entitled to the same care that a local person would get - at the same price. The cards are free, you just need to apply for them.

Get your EHIC card

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Travel by coach

Money saving tips: Travel by bus

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Ever considered travelling by coach? Companies such as megabus or national express sometimes do special offers such as £1 for a trip to London. It will take you longer to get there, but could save you heaps compared to train journeys. (If you're children suffer from travel sickness, remember to pack the travel sickness medicine for them before you go).

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Stay in a hostel

Money saving tips: stay in a hostel

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Hostels have changed a lot over the last few years - they're not all grotty, noisy and filled with backpackers anymore. There are plenty that provide basic accommodation perfect for families, some even with special family rooms - for example, a private family room in Telescombe, East Sussex will cost £45 per night - compared with a hotel, this could save you over £100 for a weekend. Check out hostelworld.com or yha.org.uk for options.

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Shop around for your foreign money

Money saving tips: Shop around for your foreign money

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Don't go to the nearest money exchange you can find, check out the banks, post office and shops like Marks & Spencer to see who offers the most competitive rates. Leaving it until you get to the airport will cost you loads extra.

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Warm Front grants

Money saving tips for mums: Warm front grants

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It's worth finding out if you're entitled to a grant from the Government's Warm Front scheme. You could get up to £6,000 to use on things such as hot water tank insulation, a new boiler and draught-proofing. These grants usually go to people on benefits, but sometimes people not receiving benefits can be eligible - and you could even qualify if you live in rented accommodation - so it's worth checking.

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Book your holidays far in advance

Money saving tips: Book your holidays far in advance

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As soon as you know where you want to go and when, book it! Flights and accommodation can be booked up to 11 months in advance - booking this early could save you £100s.

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Get last-minute deals

Money saving tips: Get last minute deals

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Alternatively, if you've missed out on the early-bird fares, book your holidays really late to take advantage of last-minute deals. Lots of hotels and airlines will reduce their prices at the last minute to sell seats and rooms so you could find a good deal - but you'll need to be flexible about when you travel and where to go. Again, this could save you a few hundred quid on paying for a full-priced holiday.

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Stay in a bed & breakfast

Money saving tips: Stay in a bed and breakfast

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If you don't fancy a hostel or camping, try finding a B&B instead - they're usually cheaper than hotels and you'll have everything you need there.

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Find free activities in your area

Money saving tips for mums: Find free activities in your area

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Days out with the kids are a great idea, and sometimes you just need a bit of inspiration for what to do or where to go. So we've come up with a great activity planner that will give you some ideas of free things to do with the family.

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Discount vouchers

Money saving tips for mums

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Loads of shops and restaurants now have vouchers available - you just need to know where to find them! Use our discount voucher site to make sure you don't miss a good offer.

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Accept hand-me-downs

Money saving tips for mums: Accept hand-me-downs

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Don't be too proud to accept hand-me-downs. When it's summer your kids are likely to be outside, playing and getting grubby - so better they're in old clothes than new!

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Plant sunflower seeds

Money saving tips for mums: Plant sunflower seeds

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New research says that gardening makes kids happy and sunflowers are one of the easiest things you can grow. Your kids will love to see how tall they get! You can sow sunflower seeds straight into the ground and they tend to flower in August. See our other ways to have fun gardening with the kids.

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Take advantage of holiday offers

Money saving tips for mums: Take advantage of holiday offers

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Take advantage of holiday offers like kids' cinema tickets for only 95p (on certain screenings every Saturday and Sunday mornings, plus every morning in half term holidays) at Vue cinemas. Plus, get 1p morning bowling at Hollywood bowl during the school holidays when you book online.

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Free kids' events at your local council

Money saving tips for mums: Local council free kids' events

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Check your local council's website for free kids' events near you. For example, Nottingham City council is running 'Parklife 2010' which is a series of free community events in the city's parks and open spaces. It includes obstacle courses, bouncy castles and face painting.

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Pack your own snacks on long car trips

Money saving tips for mums: Pack your own snacks

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Going to see relatives or friends in another part of the country? Make sure you've got snacks to hand to dish out to hungry kids on long car journeys. Food in service stations is notoriously pricey so it's an easy way to save some dosh. If you're super organised, you can make the snacks healthy too - and we reckon it'll save you up to £10 per journey.

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Swap nights out for nights in with the kids or friends

Money saving tips for mums: Stay in with the kids

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Skip going out and spending money with a good evening at home. Invite friends over for drinks and a DVD, or make popcorn and have a board game night with the kids. You'll be surprised at how much fun it really is - and the saving (probably around £40 a time) will make it well worthwhile.

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Head to the beach

Money saving tips for mums: Head to the beach

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Wait until the sun's out, then pack a picnic for a trip to the coast! It's cheap too - the whole day should cost less than a tenner. Don't forget the bucket and spade!

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Play traditional games

Money saving tips for mums: Play traditional games

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Check out our top ten retro outdoor games and get your kids in the garden while the weather's nice. The best thing? They're all free or super cheap!

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Make your own rockery

Money saving tips for mums: Make a rookery

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Collect stones from your garden, the woods or the park, wash them and then get painting with the kids. Once they've dried, arrange them in the garden (maybe around a flower in a pot) and voila! You've got your own little rockery.

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Get kids' friends over on the weekend

Money saving tips for mums: Get your kids friends over

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Get your kids friends over in the school holidays, and you won't have to spend any money entertaining them - they'll make their own fun for free!

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Put money aside for Christmas

Money saving tips for mums: Put money aside for Christmas

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Try and put away a little money each month so you have a stash ready for your Christmas presents in December. You'll be surprised how quickly it rolls round...

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Make collages from old cards

Money saving tips for mums: Make collages from old cards

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Collect old birthday and Christmas cards and use them to make collages with the kids. Let them get creative! You could also use old wrapping paper and ribbons to decorate old boxes and photoframes with decoupage.

Watch our video on how to decoupage

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Do a DVD swap with neighbours

Money saving tips for mums: DVD exchange with neighbours

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Enlist your neighbours and friends for a DVD swap. That way you avoid renting or buying DVDs and you've got a recommendation from your friends that the film is worth seeing.

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Make your own birthday cakes

Money saving tips for mums: Make your own birthday cakes

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Don't fork out for an expensive cake from the baker's - make your own instead! The kids can get involved and you'll save a ton of money. Try our birthday cake recipes.

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Become the caterer

Money saving tips for mums: Make other party food

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If you're throwing a party, don't buy your snacks, make them yourself. We've got tons of ideas for savoury and sweet party food.

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Pack snacks

Money saving tips for mums: Pack snacks

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When you're picking your kids up from school, make sure you've got something with you to give them on the way home. It will stop them nagging you as you pass the sweet shop.

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Re-use wrapping paper, ribbons and old cards

Money saving tips for mums: Re-use wrapping paper, ribbons and old cards

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Keep the wrapping paper, ribbons, nice boxes and gift tags when you receive presents. You can re-use these at Christmas or for your kids' birthdays, they'll always come in handy.

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Host birthday parties in your own house...

Money saving tips for mums: Host birthday parties at home

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...and save loads! Cheap party games like pass the parcel and fun activities like icing cupcakes will go down a treat! Use our children's party planner to plan your child's big day.

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Don't buy too much school uniform kit

Money saving tips for mums: Don't buy too much school uniform kit

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Don't feel you need to do a huge shopping trip for clothes at the beginning of each school year - your kids will grow out of them very quickly! Just buy a few of each item, take good care of them and buy more as and when you need it through the year.

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Use freecycle

Money saving tips for mums: Use freecycle

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Get into the habit of checking freecycle.org - a website that people can use to give away things they don't need to others in their local area. You can often find bits of furniture and other goodies on there. It's amazing what people throw away!

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Save money on kids' stationary

Money saving tips for mums: Save on kids' stationery

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Primary school kids don't need as much as you think they do, the school provides most of the kit. Secondary school kids should only need a ruler, 5 HB pencils, 5 biros, a rubber, pencil sharpener, a stapler and clear hole punched wallets - so don't buy any more than is necessary.

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Take off unnecessary roof racks

Money saving tips for mums: Take off unnecessary roof racks from your car

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Having a roof rack on the car will make it use more petrol - so always take yours off when you're not using it. It's also worth checking the tyre pressure as this can mean you use more petrol as well.

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Secret santa

Money saving tips for mums: Secret santa

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When Christmas comes around, organise a Secret Santa with your friends. That way, you'll all save money and everyone will get one thoughtful present they'll really enjoy!

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Skip the gym and go jogging instead

Money saving tips for mums: Go jogging

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Cancel your pricey gym membership and go jogging instead. It'll save you about £40 a month!

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Buy own brand painkillers

Money saving tips for mums: Buy own brand painkillers

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Buying supermarket own brand painkillers works out a lot cheaper than the branded ones and they're just as effective. In Sainsbury's, Anadin paracetamol cost £1.31 per pack - while Sainsbury's own brand are only 20p - and you get the same number of tablets in each pack.

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Buy from charity shops

Money saving tips for mums: Buy from charity shops

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Visit charity shops and car boot sales for clothes and toys. Be prepared to have a good rummage around to find the bargains.

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Ask for vouchers as presents

Money saving tips for mums: Ask for vouchers

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If someone asks you what you want for your birthday or Christmas, ask for vouchers. That way you'll be able to spend them on something you really like, without it costing you a thing!

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Use vouchers for clothes shopping online

Money saving tips for mums: Use vouchers for clothes shopping

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Need a new outfit? Check if the shop you want to buy from has vouchers available online. Then, try on what you want in the shops to make sure you've got the sizes right and buy online. Just make sure that the money you're saving is more than the delivery cost. Find discount vouchers on goodtoknow and give websites like vouchercodes.co.uk and moneysavingexpert.com a try too.

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Switch providers

Money saving tips for mums: Compare prices on your bills

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Are you getting the best prices on your gas, water and electricity bills? Being loyal to one company might mean you're missing out on great offers - use websites like moneysupermarket.com to compare prices.

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Check your mobile phone deal

Money saving tips for mums: Check your mobile phone deal

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Have you got a good deal on your mobile phone? Don't feel you have to stay with the same provider for your whole life - change around to get the best offer. If you're still on pay-as-you-go but are spending a lot of money, consider switching to a low-cost contract. Or if you're on contract but don't use your phone a lot, consider switching back to pay as you go.

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Go to TK Maxx

Money saving tips for mums: Go to TK Maxx

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Mum Vicky says: 'It's a great place to go on a wet afternoon as kids love fiddling about with the vast selection of toys and clothes. Plus the warehouse setting means there's less potential for embarrassed parents to feel like they are being stared