Saving money is something I’ve always struggled with. I love a bargain and spent a lot of my wages in my teens on DVDs in the bargain bin at Woolworths… or Blockbuster (showing my age here! 😅). Since moving out of my parents house two years ago I’ve been cutting down on my expenses and saving money each month.
Of course there are items that I have to pay for each month, the non negotiable outgoings such as rent, utilities, insurance, groceries etc but everything else I’m trying to cut back on.
Saving Money – Where to start?
Before I started cutting back on my expenses I had to figure out where my money was going. I looked at my bank statements for the past two months and popped everything into an Excel spreadsheet under the following categories:
- Housing, e.g. rent, council tax, home insurance etc.
- Entertainment, e.g. Cinema trips, hobbies costs (for me that’s baking supplies), DVD / Blu Ray purchases, tickets to events (like comic con) etc.
- Transportation, e.g. car insurance, fuel, any taxi / bus fees etc.
- Health, e.g. prescriptions etc.
- Investments, e.g. Money added to savings accounts, pensions etc.
- Food, e.g. grocery shopping, take away meals, dining out etc.
- Pets, e.g. food – we have a small aquarium.
- Personal Care, e.g. hair cuts, clothing etc.
- Loans, e.g. Credit cards etc.
- Gifts or donations, e.g. Charitable.
Once I could see where my money was going I looked at where I could cut down on my spending and start saving money!
I reviewed my phone contract with my service provider and was able to save £15 a month by switching networks. Not only did I save money on my phone bill I was able get more mobile data with my new package.
Broadband and TV package
After a lengthy phone call with Sky they were able to offer me a huge saving on my broadband and TV package. Another option for saving money is to shop around – there are other companies that offer complete packages and some great streaming services (we’ve just started using Netflix).
Saving money by shopping around for your groceries would be my top tip. The majority of our groceries come from Tesco (as that’s the closest large supermarket we have), but for some staple foods we also shop in Lidl or Aldi. You can find some great deals there and I love the middle section full of homeware goods!
Another way of saving money of your grocery shopping is by giving up brand names. A lot of the food we buy now is a stores own brand and the only thing I won’t change is Heinz tinned spaghetti! I’ve tried various store brands but haven’t found a good alternative (yet).
Sweet treats are a problem for me and I can’t resist the bakery section! To help myself with this I’m trying to bake more often instead of paying for things such as cakes, cookies and pizza.
Returning unwanted purchases!
Practically all purchases you make, besides some Ebay auctions, will be returnable within a certain period. Why keep something that you’re not going to wear or use?
Selling or donating unwanted items
From Ebay to car boot sellers and Facebook “for sale or wanted” pages there are many options available to get rid of things that no longer hold value to you and make a little extra money. I pop all the money I make in a little savings her (well, technically a BFG dream jar I picked up at the cinema).
Use comparison websites
Whenever my car or home insurance is up for renewal I’ll compare prices through comparison websites which is a great way of saving money each year. My go to is Compare the Market as I love their 241 rewards which is another way I’ve been saving money!
Reward schemes and loyalty cards
As mentioned above – take advantage of reward schemes like Meekat movies, Tesco Clubcard, Boots Advantage card etc. My purse is full of loyalty cards!
Most days I’ve been buying Tesco meal deals for my lunch at work and at £3 a day really mounts up! By meal planning I’m able to prepare my meals in advance and take my own lunch to work. Which saves me money and is a lot healthier.
What are your tips for saving money?