Feeling the pinch? Try these money saving ideas to beat the credit crunch
With economic gloom upon us, Marie Claire has complied some money saving tips to keep you out of the red
Dont automatically book a restaurant for a gathering. Ask people round and cook at home instead. Its cheaper, cosier, friendlier and more appreciated by guests. You can also get a makeshift bar set up for homemade cocktails: when you compare the price of a whole bottle of vodka with what youd pay for a single cocktail in a bar, its a no-brainer.
Swapping parties as in dresses, not husbands are all the rage in the States, and becoming popular here, too. Check out whatsmineisyours.com for ideas, and host your own swishing parties with friends (making sure you always have three or more people who are the same dress size, to maximise choice and minimise embarrassment).
We all know about vintage, which can be very rewarding but also boringly time-consuming. Happily, there are websites where all the hard work has been done for you, such as beyondretro.com. Remember that eBay is your friend, too, and the relaunch of Oxfam shops as newly fashionable destinations make them a must-visit.
You'll save yourself a fortune and youll know exactly whats going in your mouth. And drink tap water (free and good for you) rather than fizzy drinks (expensive, fattening and bad for you).
Just dont buy it too often. Shop in the sales, but only for classics: high-fashion items are drastically reduced in the sales because theyre past their sell-by date.
Remember youre a biped! Walking not only gets you from A to B cheaply but its a brilliant form of exercise. Who needs a treadmill?
Tell mysupermarket.co.uk whats on your shopping list, and it will then work out whether youd be better off shopping at Tesco, Sainsburys, Ocado (Waitrose) or Asda. The differences can be surprising, to say the least.
Youd be amazed at the amount of home-swaps available out there, and at how many people want to visit Blighty, even if it means staying in your little semi. Sign up with homeexchange.com and start planning.
Scan the fashion magazines to discover what the key looks are and then search for high-street copies. For example, the Prada show was almost exclusively lace, and pretty much the whole high street has done a version of the look. Our favourite is Reisss black party dress with lace detail.
Recycling has never been easier. To find new furniture for free, and get rid of stuff you dont want, log on to freecycle.org. Also, try the furniture sections of swapping sites such as swapz.co.uk.