Saving money whilst out and about

Recently, I asked the facebook group for their top money saving tips whilst out and about. I know that for me, there’s a real danger of going over budget when I’m not at home.

Like many others on the group, taking a snack – either dried fruit, decanted from a large pack into a container, or something that’s cheaper as part of a multipack (like a cereal bar) – and a drink in their own bottle is one of the best things that I can recommend. It does take some getting into the habit, but imagine how much money you save over the course of a year, just by having a bottle of water on you at all times? I’ve always been one for buying a drink while I’m out – especially if I’m on a long drive – but using my own metal bottle means that if I stop for a cuppa, I can ask for a tap water to refill my flask with.

Another tip for long journeys is to take note of your route before hand and look at which supermarkets are conveniently located on the trip. Not only can you save a bit on fuel, but with service station prices being higher than nearly anywhere else for food and snacks, you’re almost guaranteed a saving. On our long drives, we tend to pack enough for one meal and have that first, then stop at a supermarket further along the route for our second meal. We don’t buy the pre-packed sandwiches/other lunchy bits from the ailse near the door, though – purchasing from the deli counter instead usually saves a few pence, and if we do just want an old-fashioned sarny, we buy individual rolls from the bakery and a pack of pre-sliced topping. i.e. cheese/ham. We can feed all of us in this way for the cost of a single ready-made sandwich.

Others recommended freezing cartons of juice to use as ice packs on a picnic, taking them along as well as your regular drink – that way, you’ve got cool food, and an extra beverage for when you’re heading home. In fact, after the water-bottle, picnics were the most popular way that group members saved money. Thermos flasks were another common tip, saving members around £2.50 per large Americano coffee*, every time they took a hot drink with them from home. For people sticking to the £1 per day budget, that’s enough to pay for two and a half days of food! Drinkers of herbal tea stood to save an average of £1.95* by taking their own hot beverage and whilst it’s possible for those who love a builders brew to take their own too, I have to say I wouldn’t recommend it. Something about milk in tea makes it taste weird in a flask…

My final piece of advice would be to remind you that if you do eat out, you’ve paid for the food. Ask for a container to take your leftovers home in and treat them as creatively as you would as if you’d cooked them yourself.

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*Prices from London Toolkit, citing Starbucks, Costa and Cafe Nero.

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