Money saving tips for your home

With the economy still in the doldrums and householders facing ever-increasing bills, now more than ever we Brits are looking to save money. If you are struggling to make ends meet, it's time to really tighten those belts and start making the most of what you have with these scrimping tips.

money saving tips around the home
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Eke it out
It's no secret how much food we throw away here in the UK but it is possible to eke many household items out.

For instance, those hard-to-reach remainders of mayonnaise or ketchup can be used in your next meal. Instead of throwing out that nearly-finished mayo jar, add a few drops of white wine vinegar and some herbs, shake it up and you've got a ready-made salad dressing. The same goes for the ketchup, where a little extra red wine vinegar can add a new flavour dimension to a stew or bolognese without wastage.

Coffee and tea can also be stretched if you're savvy. Tea bags WILL make more than one cup, and if you favour a proper coffee in the morning, leave half the grounds in the machine and top up the next time you use it.

Elsewhere, if you just can't bear to be parted with your expensive face cream, try mixing it with a cheaper variety to make it last longer. You might even be able to save on batteries - those that are on their last legs in the camera might still have enough energy to give life to an alarm clock. Just be careful not to mix old and new.

Make your own
Instead of spending your hard-earned on expensive shop-bought items, start thinking about how you can make your own. Cleaning products, for example, are particularly pricey even in the supermarkets. But if you stock up on a few simple household items you'll have no need for the branded variety.

In fact, if you buy one item to save money, make it distilled white vinegar. When it comes to cleaning, just mixing two parts of the white stuff with three parts water allows you to conquer most household dirt and grime (you can squeeze a little lemon in if the odour offends you). It'll even get rid of hard-water limescale build-up - simply lay tissue over the affected area and pour vinegar over. Leave for five minutes and just rinse away. If you've got a particularly tough cleaning job to do, try sprinkling baking soda onto the stain, dampen with vinegar and wait for the fizz to stop. Then just scrub and rinse.

It's also worth considering making your own beauty products. For an easy-to-make chemical free face pack, mix grated cucumber or honey with yoghurt - great for sensitive skin.

Customise and update
Clothes shopping can be an expensive business, particularly with tempting deals and offers that seem too good to miss. Avoid the high street altogether and take a look at what's already in your wardrobe.

With a little imagination you can turn those old favourites into new clobber. Cut old jeans to make shorts, create your own design for an old t-shirt or hoodie and use fabric paint or pens to make it unique, or pop down to your nearest craft shop to add studs, buttons, flowers or rhinestones and embellish anything from cardigans to dresses.

And since a survey by QVC last year revealed that the average woman has 22 items of clothing that she has never worn hidden away in her wardrobe, why not give those garments a good home and sell them on eBay?

Just about any household item you can think of can be recycled or reused. Turn old margarine tubs into containers for bits and bobs, old worn-out t-shirts make for great window or car-cleaning rags, glass jars are excellent airtight containers for rice, pasta, sugar or flour, and tin cans make great plant pots for growing herbs.

So before you chuck anything in the bin, just stop for a moment and use your imagination.

Are you a super scrimper? What are your top tips for saving money around the home? Leave your comments below...
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