I know, it’s very difficult to get into saving money mode when you still study or just finished uni and paid loads of money for your renting deposit. Believe me, I was there. Last year, I have thrown all my frustration in my post The reality of living in a rented apartment. It’s not easy to save money while renting, especially when you are paying your high rent, get graduate salary and there is literally nothing you can save up from. You end up with a circle of earning, spending and overdraft.
Last year, I have joined LiveLagom project and only managed to pay off my student overdraft and only thanks to this project I have really started paying attention to my spendings.
Currently, I am trying to save up the money myself( or rather survive while looking for a job). Being freelancer it’s not easy, it’s very difficult actually and not many people realise that. It’s not like a job salary where you know you get the money on a certain day. Here, it’s just any day and I really had to push all my survival skills.
Once you get used to a certain standard, it’s quite difficult to suddenly cut that and live on a lower one. It’s possible, but you will be missing a lot and I don’t blame you for that. However, there are ways of cutting your spending and still enjoy life. Thanks to LiveLagom I have really learned the lesson and looking for ways to live a normal lifestyle and JustTherightAmount lifestyle without sacrificing everything, after all, we are young and while saving is one thing, you still want to really do stuff so I have prepared for you a guide to save up, and enjoy life.
1. Save up money. The biggest secret to saving up money it’s not spending money. I know I am not a Columbus and I didn’t discover an America but there are few bits you need to know how to avoid spendings and actually save up here and there.
A) Pay your bills online with Direct Debit or standing order. My biggest mistake was trying to remember when to pay and if you miss you facing the fees. Also, some electricity providers offer the discount if you pay DD so worth to speak to them.
B) Take 3 months electricity and water measures and apply them. Our biggest mistake of our life was not paying attention to electricity. We didn’t provide 3 months readings and they took advantage of us! Despite my monthly pay is now £28 (from £47) we have to pay off an extra from previous years what was estimated ( we don’t have proof now) so need to soak it off a payoff, so don’t make our mistakes.
C) Switch to LED & use free water saving pack. As mentioned above switching to electricity lowered our monthly rate, however, pay attention of your usage and watch your bills online. You can also order your free saving water pack to get cool stuff to help you make savings.
D) Put your money into ISA account. If you are saving up for your deposit, do this smartly. Forget piggy bank or hiding in socks in a drawer, you are not 8 years old. Be an adult and put your money into saving the account, where you either don’t need to pay tax or get actual percentage of to yourself, or government put the rest. Speak to your bank about it.
E) Unexpected spendings. If you are saving money on ISA bank account and have a large spending like car break repair or your dropped your phone in a toilet and need new one taking money from you ISA is not getting choice. You will loose rights of either free tax or the free government help percentage. If you watch your spendings carefully, you can try companies like Cash lady for a Quick Loans. If you pay this off on time this shouldn’t have any bad impact on your credit score. Be reasonable and don’t use quick payday loans for things like new clothes or night out as it will only harm. Use them as the quick help and pay off on time. Always!
F) Vouchers. You know you get these vouchers in shops that goes to the bin? Check them carefully. If is a voucher that actually makes you spend money, bin it but watches out for free credit vouchers. Look for discounts cards like boots or Debenhams and collect your points. If you shop online, use Quidco to pay for your eBay or electric and start collecting money. It’s simple, register, and just click via the website. I travel to London often and I already got £50 cash back on my train tickets!Use them as the quick help and pay off on time. Always!
G) Repair rather buy. Things get broken, it’s normal. Before you open your wallet and run to quick buy a new item, simply check if you can just repair or change a part. Last year, I nearly bought new hoover for £150 thinking mine got broken, and only just though I may try to repair first. I found a part online and repaired the hoover for £5!This is a simple old school method and believe me still works, simply google your local area or check websites like Service force and make a saving, not spending.
H) Have a bit of free time? Register to online surveys, as a mystery shopper or mystery dinner. These won’t bring you millions and we talking really around £0.50 or £1 per survey or just free meals, however, it’s a good way to utilise your free time. You can do surveys while watching TV, and use they free meal trips for meet up with friends.
“I am always looking for new ways to save money, whether it is on my food shopping, clothing or bills. Saving money on the essentials means that I can spend my money where I want to spend it, and not on the daily necessities. ” Emma Drew, money saving blogger
2. Food. How to Eat Healthy and Fresh. This was one of my biggest sins. I have spent an enormous amount of food and there are few certain ways you can save up. Make a list of what you will be cooking for an entire week. Start on Sunday as you will be more relax and ‘’ready’ to hit the week. I usually write 3/4 main dishes and 2/3 snacks dishes for example:
A) (Main dishes) chicken soup, mushroom & cream pasta, Chinese stir fry, spaghetti, roasted chicken tights & with roasted potatoes, fish fillets with mash potatoes and steamed veg. (Snacks/sides) Greek salad, stuffed peppers, courgettes rosti, potatoes rosti, (breakfasts) veg smoothie, fruit smoothie, natural yoghurt & muesli, scrambled eggs, banana pancakes, avocado eggs, eggs soldiers.
B) Multiuse. Once you wrote what you need then try to calculate your shopping list considering you ca Re-use’ one item multiple times. For example Chicken, I buy whole large chicken instead small portion as I spend £5 ( which is a similar price to 3 chicken fillets). from 1 whole chicken, I have 4 main dishes already ( 1 large chicken breast for pasta, second for stir fry, drumsticks and wings to roast and rest of body for a soup. if I buy mincemeat, I use 80% for my spaghetti but raining 20% I use to my stuffed peppers, mixed with rice. ( while buying peppers I use the for spaghetti & greek salad) Same with potatoes, use them this week for roast, fish and potato rosti. So try to multiply and carefully spend 30min planning what you will cook but what you can use where so you don’t need to buy a large quantity that will rot in a fridge or overspend on the smaller portion.
C) Write your shopping list, right under your menu. If you use ant ingredients or cooked dish, cross it. Use this list to create a new menu for a next week, this way you know what you have run off, what you already ate and you can create a full fresh menu without a boring repetition. You eat fresh and healthy!
D) Avoid packed plastic vegetables and ready meals. Plastic veg tastes awful, you get spiders and all the crap you read in newspapers plus you help produce tonnes of rubbish. Loose vegetables are far cheaper.
E) Buy cheaper in places like Aldi, Lidl & Asda. If you must buy online, use places like Quidco or Topcashback for Asda so you get money back.
F) Cat & pet food. Order online in places like Zooplus. You get much cheaper and healthier food. I buy usually Cosma ( equivalent to very expensive Applaws) and 50% meat contain Animonda Carny as you pay £7 for 6 x 200grams cans! ! That’s a 2 weeks food guys! My cats are very fussy so I recommend to get them Miamor sauce with that and mix. Plus you get to collect points you can exchange for free treats. Litter and dry food is also far cheaper!
For more info read my post how to save up on food.
3. Households. How to save up on chemical products. This is probably the most costly thing as imagining the prices on all air fresheners, liquid soaps or washing powders. This is certainly not cheap! I remember when I used to live in Germany, everyone was asking me to bring them washing powder. I know sounds funny, but you would be surprised to hear that buying such a large 5/6KG box was so much cheaper and better quality than the products available back home then. So here, we kind of has to apply similar mindset. Cleaning products cost a fortune in my opinion and I used to buy products for each different task, wasting so much money.
A) Dilute bleach. Buy a large bottle of bleach and pour half of it into a spray bottle and top up with water. A Large bottle cost as nearly as smaller one and you get twice of the product. use your spray bottle to clean products for toilet spray etc. so ou don’t to work of spending extra for the bottle with corner tip ( large bottle have scroll cap and difficult to clean toilet)
B) Avoid using many products to clean surfaces. It’s not only healthy spraying so many chemicals but also, do you really need kitchen spray, bathroom spray, oven spray, sink spray, dust spray? Come on! Baking soda & vinegar will do better than any of these to clean up your sink and oven! Use warm soapy water to dust and washing liquid to clean up floors. If you leave baking soda & vinegar in your oven overnight just wipe up in the morning. If you burned your pan, sprinkle soda around it and pour a bit of vinegar and water and leave overnight. You will be in shock the result in the morning. New pans!
C) Make your own air freshener. There are various ways. You can leave lemon on your window sill, you can pour few drops of essential oil on your radiators or use an empty spray bottle to pour few drops of essential oil & water to have the sprayable one. Use your drying granules to refresh sofa or drying sheets under your pillow.
Read more about useful home hacks to detox your home.
4. Beauty. How to make your own cosmetics. Sometimes far better results you get by using natural products than chemical packed ones and I am not talking about putting a mayonnaise on your hair 😉
A) Make your own clay mask by mixing Calcium bentonite clay in powder form, Tea tree oil, Oatmeal & Water or use fresh cucumber or ice cube in the morning to open your eyes instead of expensive eye pads. There are so many ideas to make a simple homemade facial masks or hair masks by using coconut oil or eggs.
B) Make your own bath bombs or DIY bath salts instead of spending money. The Internet is literally full of recipes of these. If I can make it, so you can do. Check my DIY bath salts post.
C) You can extend the life of your mascara by adding a bit of coconut oil to it. I add slightly warm oil, shake it and apply. It takes slightly longer to dry but once dried it’s fine. Works for me perfectly as I don’t like cheap mascaras.
D) Before a night out, make an appointment in beauty counter in your local Boots or Debenhams to ‘try’ cosmetics. I always do that. Sometimes if I like the used product, I’ll buy it sometimes I don’t.
E) Get a sample of your foundations. If days are tough, and I run of foundations and my limit of my overdraft was already reach to zero, I would go to a local place and ask for a sample.The samples are big enough to carry on until you get paid and can actually buy the product. This also can be a solution before paydays if you just saving up and don’t want to use your credit card.
5. Fashion. Saving money on fashion is the hardest thing for me. I am a girl and I like to look pretty. Clothes these days are so expensive it’s unreal.
A) Create capsule wardrobe. I know, not a rocket science but if you get a few key items and physically seat down and match them including accessories and shoes, like a night out then dinner etc. then you will have a much easier life. My capsule wardrobe post.
B) Avoid Primark for a work outfit. It’s hard to do, I know. When I worked in an office, I would pop on my lunch break just to pick up something and walk off with a whole new next day office outfit. Shirts got damaged after the first wash, so I was unable to wear this anymore. I usually love Primark, don’t get me wrong but their Blouse and delicate fabric quality it’s not great and avoids these try Mango sale instead, for a white blouse you will pay £12 on sale which is same as Primark and I have 3 that I wore so many times and not from Primark left.
C) Upcycle your own clothes. Sometimes it’s just a few items you need to add to make the most amazing fashion statement. You can add funky pompons ( £0.30 on eBay or £2.50 for a pack of 10!) or buy embroidery pads and make your own jacket.
D) Buy in second-hand shops rather in vintage stores. I find vintage shops more expensive than some high streets stores these days! I know clothes look prettier in a upcycled industrial bookshelf surrounded with funky lights than a massive Oxfam green signed wall next to simple shelf but I personally see very similar items! My top tip on buying in second hands, avoid seconds hands on main streets in big sites and try t rather make a trip to a smaller town. For example, I would rather go to Altrincham/Hale rather shop in the city centre as it’s more likely to spot a designer bag or designer label than in a city centre of a busy town. Google for sample sales in your town as well.
For a home saving money, it’s a whole new story guys and I am wrong the post so bear with me. This post already have 2000 words and I really don’t want to overwhelm you 🙂