Finances is yet another area I will admit I’m not really an expert in! But I do have a bunch of ways I *try* to save money. I’m always trying to squirrel away money for travelling, but often it ends up paying for other things instead. This post is going to be one of those where I really need to start taking my own advice!
Throughout my life I have gone through periods of time where money is scarce, but somehow I’ve always made it work. In fact it seems like the more money I have the less I seem to be able to save! Maybe starting off with more makes me less careful. Fortunately I’m in a financially alright place now, but it’s still good to be sensible with money. Besides, I want to travel EVERYWHERE ALL THE TIME which obviously requires vast sums of money.
My main aim at the moment is to boost my savings up again, but these tips will work whether you’re struggling to stay in the black each month, or if you’re just trying to have a bit left over here and there for nice things.
1. Leave the debit cards at home
If you don’t have the card with you, you can’t use it to spend money – simple! Withdraw a small amount of cash if you really feel you need some in case of emergencies, but just for the journey to and from work or going for a walk, money shouldn’t really be neccessary. To be honest, on the times I have consciously left my debit card at home, literally nothing has ever happened that’s meant I missed it. Maybe I’ve missed out on a few treats from the shop, but that is definitely not a bad thing.
2. If you use public transport, get a monthly/weekly ticket
Often these work out much better value for money than paying each day on the bus or train. Plus it puts you much more in control of what you spend. Buy a monthly ticket on pay day and that’s one essential spend done for the month. You know you won’t get caught out when you’re trying to travel places at the end of the month.
3. Plan your meals
One of my biggest money sinks is food. I LOVE food, but it does mean that when the money is all gone I have nothing to show for it except a slightly podgier physique. I find that planning my meals means I only buy what I need, and because I need it for a set meal I’m less likely to snack on those foods outside of meal time. Overeating isn’t just bad for your health, it’s bad for your wallet too. Trust me, I know a thing or two when it comes to eating!
4. Do your grocery shopping online
Once you’ve planned your meals, go online and order everything you need. Nothing else. If physically go into a supermarket I will easily double my food cost by throwing in a load of stuff I really don’t need. This month I did a £100 shop at the start of the month – inclusing all the cleaning products and stuff for a house with five people – and nearly four weeks later I’m only just starting to throw weird meals together with the odds and sods. £100 got me through an entire month pretty much.
5. Avoid going to the shops unless you really have to
Despite my £100 shop I have popped out to the shop a few times for perishables like milk, or the occasional treat. And when I have gone to the shop I’ve spent loads of money. Luckily my housemates bring the milk home most of the time, but you gotta spread the load. Next month I’m going to order a big milk in the shopping and that can be my milk contribution for the month. I know, I know, maybe I should get some willpower. But I know myself, and the easiest thing to do is avoid the situations that make me spend money.
6. Party at home
Socialising can eat into a budget in a big way. I can be a bit of a drinker, and when I go out I can spend a lot of money. As the weather gets a bit colder and more dismal people want to go out less, which is very good for my bank balance, In the summer things got a bit dire at some points. Thing is, we have a lovely home with a lovely garden, which we already pay rent for. May as well make the most of it. Inviting friends over instead is so much cheaper, especially if you ask them all to bring a bottle. Lay on a few bowls of crisps and you’ve got yourself a good, cheap night and you don’t have to miss out.
7. Ban yourself from takeaways
Currently I am in my thrid month of a three month takeaway ban. It was getting out of hand. In July – the last month before the ban – I spent £120 on takeaways. That’s ridiculous, and SO unhealthy, There was a point in my life long ago when I’d hear about these people spending a fortune on takeaway food and find it totally incredible. Then I BECAME one. Not anymore. After a few weeks I stopped even wanting takeaways. My housemates still get them, and I’m hardly tempted anymore. A three month bad was a good idea, and I don’t think I’ll even go back to my old ways at the end. Home cooked food is just so much better, and my bank balance is thanking me.
8. Keep a log of what you spend
I don’t mean all the time, that would suck and I definitely couldn’t keep that up. But for a couple of weeks, write down everything you spend and then look at where you’ve wasted money. You will probably be shocked. I did this for a week once, and yes I was shocked to learn where my money actually goes (hint: it was food). Once you know what the waste is, you’re in a much better position to stop it happening.
9. Try free exercises
Many of us these days have a gym membership, and that’s good because it means we’re trying to live healthier lives. However there are a bunch of exercises you can do without spending any money at all, or at the most a small outlay for things like trainers or a yoga mat. Running in your local area is a good one, and it gets you outside which is also good for wellbeing. In the drearier months inside exercise might be better, and you can find loads of videos from actual fitness people on youtube, with exercises you can do in your house. I personally love Yoga with Adrienne for my at-home yoga fix. Oh, and if you have access to a bike – get on it and use it! Cycling is awesome!
10. Savings then spendings
Instead of waiting till the end of the month to see what you have left, if you can afford to put money away at the start of the month instead. Once it’s out of your account it will out of your mind. Plus moving money back out of savings is much more effort than spending what’s already in your account. I’ve tried the “saving what I have left” approach and I just never worked. There was never anything left! So move your money to where it’s harder to get to it, and you’ll find it probably stays there much longer!
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image credit freeimages.com//Magda S