Start practising these seven habits now, and before you know it, they’ll be second nature. They’ll help you save money when the budget is tight (and even when it isn’t).

1. Plan your meals

Plan your meals for the week and use the ingredient list as a shopping list. Cooking your own food is cheaper (and healthier) than eating out, and if you’re prepared, you’re less likely to waste food and less likely to rely on takeaways. Bonus: if you make extra, you get to take food to work the next day, helping you save more money on lunch.

Read more: Check out our recipes section for family-friendly meal inspiration  

2. Get a travel mug …

… And make your own coffee. Investing in a travel mug not only helps you save the environment by not using a disposable cup each day, but it also saves you money on buying expensive coffees on the go.

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The same applies for water bottles. Just buy a cute reusable water bottle already! Your bank account and the earth will thank you.

3. Get energy-efficient light bulbs

Because when they save you electricity, they save you money, of course. We know that they can be expensive initially, so we don’t suggest going out and replacing your bulbs immediately. Rather replace your bulbs gradually as they burn out.

4. Start your own vegetable patch

If you are lucky enough to have a garden (or know someone who isn’t using theirs), start your own vegetable patch and save some money on fresh veg. You can even grow your own veggies if you don’t have a garden. Read this article to find out how. 

5. Join your local library

Believe it or not, but we have some pretty sweet municipal libraries, and chances are there is one close by. You can join for free, and then you have access to books, magazines, CDs, films, and more often than not, social activities. Many local libraries even host story readings for children – another free activity for the family.

6. Invite friends over for a potluck

Being on a budget doesn’t mean you don’t have to see your friends. Instead of going out to a restaurant to celebrate a special occasion (or just to hang out), rather invite friends to your house. If you really want to save money, host a potluck so that everyone contributes to the meal – all of you will save this way!

While we’re talking about home entertainment: Don’t spend money on lavish decorations. Instead, use your nice dishes and cutlery, get some flowers from the garden, or use things you already own or borrow stuff from friends.

7. Have a clothes swop

Invite some friends over and trade clothing that you don’t wear anymore. It’s a great way to refresh your wardrobe on the cheap!

Read more: 10 questions to ask yourself before spending money on new clothes