Being spending savvy could cut your costs ; Families can save up to Pounds 4,000 a year simply by being savvy, promises an annual money-saving competition. FEW families have emerged from the recent economic downturn without making many financial cutbacks; but by being clever, experts say you can easily turn 'many' cutbacks into 'not so many'.
A new annual money-saving competition, Nectar Savvy Families, claims families can easily pocket almost Pounds 4,000 extra a year by simply watching the pennies and being more financially aware.
For this reason, they are looking for families across the country to share their top money-spinning tips, and the family deemed the 'savviest' will be treated to a Pounds 10,000 prize package.
One of the competition judges is property developer and television presenter
"It's a hard job juggling the purse strings and keeping the family happy, but I believe that you can have your cake and eat it," she says.
"I find that once a family gets behind being savvier with money, they start to enjoy it and everyone enjoys having a bit more money in their pocket."
Personal finance expert
"There's so much information around these days to make it much easier to save money without actually taking anything away from your lifestyle.
"It's about doing the same thing, but being smart about it.
For example, before you buy anything, always check if there's a voucher that will help you save money."
Sarah concludes: "The whole family needs to pull together to be savvier, teaching the next generation the importance of making savings and that looking after those pennies is so critical.
"Being a savvy family can be fun and so often, it isn't about the big changes, it is about the small things which really add up.
"It takes a bit of extra time, but the amount of money you can save is phenomenal."
And of course, the final words of advice must come from last year's competition winners, the Abell family from Oakham, Rutland; Julie, Woody and their four children offered tips that can help save other families a substantial Pounds 3,923 a year. They are: ? Use up leftovers from a roast by making sandwiches for lunch the next day (saving Pounds 70).
Buy magazines with free toiletries attached, reading and grooming in one (saving Pounds 34).
Make family members presents and cards (saving Pounds 58).
For a free treat, check TV websites for audience tickets to shows (saving more than Pounds 200).
Sign up to pub/restaurant mailing lists for free meals and drinks vouchers (saving Pounds 852).
Pick up board games cheaply at charity shops and car boot sales (saving Pounds 46).
Turn off appliances where possible when you aren't using them (saving Pounds 90).
Spread the cost of buying presents, buy in the sales and store them (saving Pounds 264).
Be savvy when buying new insurance and shop around (saving Pounds 137).
Just get a cut, not a cut and blow dry, at your hairdressers, and dry your hair at home, to reduce the cost (saving Pounds 500).
To find out more about the Nectar Savvy Family competition, visit www.nectar.com/savvy. Competition closing date is
PERSONAL finance expert
Swap presents you've made, such as jams, cakes, knitting and photographs, with other friends who can also make presents.
Do clothes swaps, both children's and adult clothes, with a group of friends - it can be a good social activity too.
Use home swap websites such as lovehomeswap.com and homeexchange.com to get a cheap holiday at home or abroad.
Bulk buy birthday presents and cards for children's friends in the sales.
ASK THE EXPERT Q"MY 12-YEAR-OLD daughter was bullied at school last year, and we're not sure whether it's stopped. Is bullying likely to cause her any lasting damage?"
She says: "This is a question many parents ask when they learn their child has been victimised by other students at school.
"According to our research, bullying has the worst effects when it's ongoing and continues across several school years. Children are best off when they haven't experienced any bullying, but it's important to know that bullying has much more lasting effects when children experience it repeatedly and in more than one school year.
"That said, if a child has ever been bullied, even if the bullying has stopped, parents should talk to them to check whether he or she is experiencing mental health issues such as anxiety, sadness, anger, or depression. If so, the parent should consult a mental health professional, such as a school counsellor, psychologist, or paediatrician, to determine whether counselling is needed.
"If the bullying involved extreme trauma such as severe physical injury, even if it only happened once, the psychological effects may continue well past the bullying event. In that case, it's best to seek mental health counselling for possible post-traumatic stress.
"Signs of post-traumatic stress could include negative emotions like anxiety and depression, problems staying or falling asleep, difficulty concentrating, and other kinds of mental health issues."
If you live near an attraction, consider becoming a member - although there's a heavy cost at first, it'll save money in the long- run if you use the attraction frequently.
Explore the outdoors with the kids - it's free!
Check websites like freecycle or freegle where people give away items free. Baby stuff, toys and clothes are an easy find.
Plan ahead when you visit the supermarket - Sarah says she does most of her food shopping online, following the same shopping list and sticking to buying the necessities.
As children often have different fads on activities, borrow any necessary kit or equipment for the first few weeks, then fork out for new if you see they will stick at something.
Check out big local sports teams' community pages on their websites and see if they offer Saturday coaching or holiday clubs. They won't be free but are good value, and a great way to introduce children to a sport.
Being spending savvy could cut your costs ; Families can save up to Pounds 4,000 a year simply by being savvy, promises an annual money-saving competition.
FEW families have emerged from the recent economic downturn without making many financial cutbacks; but by being clever, experts say you can easily turn 'many' cutbacks into 'not so many'.