Five thrifty tips guaranteed to save you money

Published by Nathalie Bonney on 24 September 2009.
Last updated on 19 July 2012

Safety pins

Decades of consumerism mean many of us have forgotten some basic principles that can save us money. But the thrifty attitude of yesteryear is back in vogue, so see if you can avoid the high street and 'make do and mend' instead.

1. House proud

Take care of your furniture and ensure it lasts longer by rubbing wax into wood to stop it drying out, or applying leather conditioner with a soft rag to stop your leather armchair looking worn and cracked.

If your upholstery is looking a little faded, consider getting settees and armchairs recovered or re-upholstered by a local specialist service rather than heading to the shops to buy a new suite.

2. Keep your clothes in mint condition

Keep knitwear looking smart by shaving off bobbles with a blunt razor and keep your outdoor apparel looking well-groomed  by using a clothes brush on coats and jackets to pick up bits of fluff.

According to retailer John Lewis, you can also use banana skins to add some shine to your shoes or bicarbonate of soda to refresh smelly trainers.

3. Transform old into new has step-by-step instructions on how to repair old clothes suffering from pulled hems or frayed edges, as well as advice on how to transform your old clothes into new items.

Unfortunately, we aren't all so handy with a needle and thread, so consider investing in a basic "how-to" book, such as Sewing for Dummies by Janice Saunders Maresh, which teaches readers the basic stitches, and how to sew buttonholes and add zips.

4. Don't waste food

British households throw away billions of pounds of uneaten food each year. Stick to a strict list while doing your weekly shop and turn your leftovers into a meal for tomorrow. Other top tips include freezing unused fresh herbs and chillies, and turning stale bread into breadcrumbs.

5. Clean without the cost

Don't waste money on a cupboard full of cleaning products. Bicarbonate of soda will leave worktops spotless, white wine vinegar lifts limescale from sinks, and half a lemon heated for a few minutes in the microwave will banish lingering smells.

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