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Friday, 13 October 2017 12:02

‘Make Do And Mend’ for your finances

During the austerity of the war years, people were taught to ‘Make Do And mend’. There was no spending and splurging on frivolities and unnecessary purchases. Into the 1950s, the UK survived by the “waste-not, want-not” ethos, which saw frugality at its heart. Now that we’re headed for the gloomiest of times amid prolonged austerity cuts, wage packets squeezed and household budgets taking a battering, one might wonder if there’s something to be said for these pearls of wisdom and their relevance today.

With a staggering half of the country struggling to get to the end of the month and looming price rises, thrifty living and a low-budget lifestyle is increasingly necessary as families look to cut costs during the economic downturn. Maybe this explains the biggest fall in UK retail sales in seven years as Brits tighten their belts. With that in mind, we’ve taken a financial approach to ‘Make Do And Mend’ and pulled together some savvy financial hints and tips to help make your money go further.

We all like to save money where we can, but money-off coupons and cashback sites only go so far. Two thirds of Britons who receive a freebie or bargain said they would feel “happy and cheerful” for the rest of the day. So, see how you can get things for free. Website Latest Free Stuff provides lists of items from household products to kids’ toys and chocolate you can get for nothing. Or, you can visit Freecycle, where people give away their unwanted items and get stuff for free.

As everyone is no doubt aware, the cost of the weekly shop has increased as supermarkets raise prices for the first time since 2014 and a sharp rise in food prices has added £21.31 to the average household shopping bill over the past three months. With supermarkets cutting multi-buy deals and other special offers, an alternative source for food and household bargains are cut price retailers B&M and Home Bargains. Approved Food also sell clearance food, drink and household items online.  

When it comes to clothes, we all like to splurge now and again. But what if we could do it for free? “Swishing”, is an organised clothes swapping event where each person attending must bring along one item of unwanted clothing and can take home another. Clothes swapping parties are designed to cut waste and give the thrill of retail therapy without the expense. With the average UK household owning around £4,000 worth of clothes, 30 per cent of which have not been worn for a year, host your own clothes swap party using this helpful guide.

If you really do want to go out and shop, create a “wait and see” list first. If you spot something you think you want to buy, write it down or take a picture of it. Then give yourself a “cooling off” period. Three days is good; three weeks even better. Then, ask yourself “Do I really need this?” Chances are pretty good that your passion for it will have cooled, and you’ll realise you can put the money to better use elsewhere.

Money is very hard to earn and very easy to spend, but you can still have amazing experiences, buy great things and go on fantastic holidays without breaking the bank. It’s easier than you think to make things go further, last longer and avoid unnecessary expense – it’s simply common sense.

If you want to see how you can ‘Make Do And Mend’ from the original book series, you can visit Amazon.

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