Category: Save Money

SAVE-MONEY

15 things to quit buying to save money!

Do you waste money buying things you don’t need? I do! In this article, I will show you 10 things to quit buying to save money.

Advertisements and tv commercials continuously bombard us with stupid things to waste money on.

With our hectic schedules, we are not always aware of the many ways that we are throwing money down the toilet.

If you want to be smart with your money and learn how to spend less and save more, you’ll need to figure out what you are wasting your money on.

Now let’s talk about where your money actually is going and some the changes you can make right now to stop wasting money on things you just don’t need.

Here’s my list of 15 things you should stop buying right now to save money:

 

 

15 things to quit buying to save money

Sky/Cable TV

When I was first learning how to live on a budget, Sky TV was one of the first expenses I cut.

The truth is, most of the time with Sky you’re paying for a bunch of channels you don’t watch. Streaming means you’re more likely to use what you pay for every month.

For example, we have:

Altogether, I pay about £25 for these channels compared to the £75 I used to pay for Sky. That’s a massive saving if £600 per year!

If you haven’t made the switch from Sky/cable to streaming yet, that’s 600 reasons to give it a shot.

Related post:

Would you like to cut back your expenses, to save money? but don’t know where to start? Then see the post below:

 

 

Gym membership

I have been guilty of this, having a gym membership I never used.

The money would be coming out my bank account every month, while I’m trying to convince myself I would start to use it.

You need to get rid of it – ASAP

If you haven’t been using it regularly and consistently for months on end you are not going to do it now.

According to This Is Money, Brits waste a collective £25billion a month each year on subscriptions they don’t use or want, and a massive 12% of that is on gym memberships alone!

That’s a whole lot of money!

If you don’t use your gym membership, look at alternative ways of exercise instead. I have invested in resistant bands and an exercise bike. I prefer this way, and there are plenty of workout tutorials on YouTube to follow.

If your finances are tight, then this one has to go!

 

Branded food/drinks

People love brands names, but in my opinion, the majority of the time, you are paying just for the name!

I have ditched name products and shop at Aldi and sometimes Lidl majority of time. There are alternative items of food/drink, are just as good if not better in some cases.

15-things-to-quit-to-save-money

The money you save week in week out is massive!

The Same goes with clothes, I use to buy brand and designer all the time. Not anymore, there are cheaper alternatives out there, such as Boohoo, Primark and ASOS where you can look smart for cheaper.

As long as I look good and feel comfortable in my clothes and shoes, that’s all that matters to me, not what branded name I’m wearing.

Top tip:

See my post on cutting back grocery spending:

 

 

Bottled water

We tend to not notice how expensive and how much it adds up when we are constantly buying bottled water.

A lot of us are also brought up believing that tap water is less healthy and more poisonous because of the smell of chlorine but there is a simple solution to changing that.

if you put a jug of water covered in fridge the chlorine taste will disappear, you just need to make sure that you replace it every 24 hours because there wouldn’t be enough chlorine to prevent bacteria growing if you keep it in the fridge for longer without changing it.

I used to love sparkling water and it had to be a particular brand because of the bubbles, it cost £1 per litre plus the average bottle of water is about 80p.

If you drink about 5lts a day on average as a household and each bottle cost 50p that means you will spend £2.50 a day on water. That is £17.50 a week, £70 a month and a whopping £840 a year.

 

Eating out

Eating out is a nice treat for every now and again, but when you get into the habit of dining out because you can’t be bother to cook, it becomes and expense game.

After a long day a work, when you’re tired, it’s just the easier option. I’ve done it before, we’ve all done it at one point of time. The thought of cooking after a stressful day is a chore, but there are ways around this.

Batch cooking food is a great way to give yourself a break from the kitchen. For example, you could cook a batch of meals at the weekend and then freeze them. Each day you will then have a meal prepared without having to cook from scratch.

I do this with my workout meals for the week, it saves me a lot of time.

For a family of four, just by eating out a few times a month, you are talking about a few hundred pounds/dollars per month, if not more.

Top tip:

Supercooks is a website that helps you re-create recipes from leftovers.

Just list out the ingredients and let SuperCooks tell you what to cook! Never again will you have to stare at those leftovers in the fridge and wonder what to do with it.

 

 

Branded fizzy drinks

I know fizzy drinks aren’t the healthiest and I’ll admit to drinking more of them than I probably should. However, I don’t drink alcohol anymore, so it’s nice having something I really like to sip on of an evening.

I know plenty of people that will only drink one of the other of the leading brands of fizzy drink, especially cola, but with the introduction of the sugar tax and supermarket offers seeming to be less frequent we found we were paying between £1.50 and £2.00 a bottle.

Giving up fizzy drinks completely would, of course, have been the most frugal thing to do – but we found this ended up making it a sort of forbidden fruit and we’d end up popping to the corner shop and getting some even though the prices were crazy expensive just because we were craving.

So as a money-saving compromise we decided to try and find an alternative that was reasonably palatable. I’ll be honest, nothing does taste quite as good as the branded ones but we have got used the cheaper version and the savings are worth it.

Our favourite is Aldi’s own brand Lemonade and Orangeade. At around 40p a bottle it’s about a 3rd of the price of the real thing.

 

Pre-packed/ prepped fruit and vegetables

It comes as no surprise that convenience cost more money. supermarkets charge you to cut your products for you. Prime example:  FRUIT; you buy a whole pineapple (800g and peeled yourself) and it will cost you £1, you buy pre-packed chopped pineapple and for the equivalent size you will pay £4 meaning you are being charged £3 for conveniences. This premium expense goes across most pre-packed products.

vegetables

Solution: Buy food that is fresh and whole and pay yourself the premium and chop it up yourself. This goes for microwave meals and grated cheese as well.

Savings: Using the pineapple theory as an example, if you a super pineapple fan and you buy it twice a week which is equivalent to buying one big one. That is £4 a week, £16 a month, £192 a year

Just to add up the total savings just from the three items above before we continue, we have saved a grand total of £1542/ $2000.

 

 

Brand named medication/drugs

From allergy pills to pain relief and everything in between, the brand-named versions of over-the-counter medication/drugs are sometimes up to four times more expensive than their generic counterparts. That’s insanity!

When looking for tablets and medicines, check the active ingredients on the side of the box to help you find a cheaper alternative to the expensive branded versions.

medication

You can even go one step further and check the PL Code, which is a unique number given to each drug on the market.

Sometimes the exact same tablets made by the exact same manufacturers are packaged in different boxes and sold at very different prices.

Find out more from the Money Saving Expert.

 

Items just because they on sale

In the past, the sale section used to be my weakness. I would buy items just because they were on sale. I thought the deals were too good to pass up. Even if I didn’t really need the item, I convinced myself to buy it by saying “I might use/wear this someday”.

Now when I think about my previous spending habits, that logic seems kind of silly. Today I stopped buying items just because they are on sale. Instead, I only buy items if I need them or I have the money available in my budget to purchase them.

 

Starbucks/fancy coffee

Oh, who doesn’t love a fancy coffee? But seriously, if you’re a bit of a coffee addict and find yourself popping into your favourite coffee shop on your way to work every day, think about how much the cost of those coffees is adding up over a month!

Cutting down the coffees so it’s an occasional treat rather than an everyday thing can make huge savings.

You don’t have to give up coffee of course – invest in a good thermos or travel mug and bring your own with you.

 

Takeaways

This one is hard; I’m a total sucker for a takeaway! Especially when you’ve had a hard day and you just don’t have the energy to cook. The option of someone else cooking your food and bringing it to your door is just so tempting!

They are expensive though, so trying to reduce the number of takeaways you buy can really save money on your budget.

A great idea is to make sure you include some really easy meal options when you go shopping, so that when you’re feeling exhausted you still have something super easy you can just throw in the oven.

 

Impulse purchases

As a former shopaholic, I know all about making impulse purchases. That rush of excitement when something catches your eye and the instant feeling of gratification when you’re about to make a purchase.

But after the purchase has been made, those happy feelings seem to disappear as quickly as they came. Soon they’re replaced by feelings of guilt or frustration regarding the impulse buy.

One of the ways I’ve been able to improve my spending habits is by asking myself the following questions before making a purchase:

  • Why am I here?
    Am I here because I’m bored? Is it because I’m sad or feeling lonely? Did I have a bad day?
  • How will I pay for it?
    Can I afford to pay for this using cash today? Do I need to put it on credit?
  • What if I wait?
    Do I really need this? Will I still want this a month from now? Does this purchase align with my spending goals and values?
  • What else can I do with this money?
    Is this the best way to spend this money? Can I use it for something else? Can I put it into my savings or towards paying off debt?

 

Impulse items near the checkout

The checkout lane at the grocery store is a danger zone, my friend. The aisles are filled with crap that you don’t need but is oh-so-tempting, am I right?

There are two ways to avoid falling into the impulse buy trap when checking out.

One, commit to developing serious tunnel vision when it’s time to pay. Or two, take advantage of your grocery store’s pick-up service.

Most of the time pick-up is free when you have a minimum dollar amount on your order. Letting someone else shop for you means you don’t have to worry about spending on impulse.

 

Uber-ing everywhere

You may think that getting around isn’t too expensive, but if you do it enough times, it can be. It might be like a reflex for you at this point, but if where you’re going isn’t too far, try to resist the impulse of using that all too familiar app.

 

Gadgets

Nowadays, the gadgets we own have become a status symbol; if you don’t own the latest iPhone, then that’s just sad. Here’s the truth: that kind of thinking is not only shallow, but laughably immature. As early as now, you should have the mindset that your material possessions are good for as long as they serve their purpose.

 

15 things to quit to save money – Final thought

Making small changes to your shopping habits is one of the best money saving ideas out there.

These might only be small purchases and a few pounds here and there, but it makes a difference and it all adds up pretty quickly.

Just by cutting out these unnecessary purchases, you could save thousands in a year. I don’t know about you, but I’d say that’s worth giving up my daily Starbucks for.

What are your money saving tips? I would love to hear them.

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Save Money board for later!

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heating

Reduce Heating Bill – Simple Guide!

Today I will be talking about how to reduce your heating bill.

While I love and appreciate the warmth of our home during these cold months, I do not love the bill!

As the temperatures plummet, heating costs keep rising.

It can get so expensive to heat a house. There are simple ways to save money on your heating bill, and with just a little effort you can make a difference!

Since heating bills are often a large financial burden for every household, anything that can be done to reduce them is surely worthwhile

Here are some easy ways to cut heating costs and save you some cash.

 

 

Reduce heating bill

Change provider

Some energy providers are more expensive than others. By shopping around, you can save yourself quite a bit! The same applies to fixed tariffs, which offer protection against energy-price fluctuations.

It’s definitely worth a few phone calls to bring together a few quotes, and then ask your existing provider if they can lower their rate. If they can’t, then it may be time to jump ship.

 

Pay via direct debit

If you’re paying for your heating via cash or cheque, then the chances are that you’re paying over the odds. Talk to your provider about switching to direct debit, and ask how much you could save.

Some providers will also offer an additional discount to customers who choose to opt out of paper bills and do everything via the internet instead.

 

Double glazing

To reduce heating costs, you could replace older double-glazed windows with newer and more efficient designs, particularly if the seal around the window has broken.

A double-glazed window comprises of two glass panels, and sandwiched between them is a layer of inert gas, typically argon.

This arrangement drastically limits the window’s ability to conduct heat out of the building. So, upgrading to double (or triple) glazed windows can make a significant dent in your energy expenditure.

 

Insulation

Since heat rises through any property, the loft is where most of us concentrate our insulation efforts. By laying thick foam sheets across the floor there, it’s possible to save hundreds of pounds each year.

Homes built after the 1920s come with two sets of walls, between which is a gap cavity. By filling this space with foam, it’s possible to considerably limit the transmission of heat from the interior to the exterior (and vice versa).

 

Ditch electric heating

Of all the different sorts of heating available, electricity is the least efficient. And if you’re using a portable electric heater, this inefficiency is going to be even more glaring.

Get rid of any such devices in favour of efficient fixed radiators.

 

Seal out any draughts

Cold breezes from outside the house can be a bit chilly, not only that but they’ll place a strain on your heating bills too.

It’s important to track them down and seal them before they’ve had a chance to do so. You can get specialised devices that do this job – you simply scan them across the edges of your doors and windows, and they beep when the temperature drops.

Draughts beneath doors can be sealed up temporarily with a long draught-excluder, and permanently by adjusting (or replacing) the door in question.

Related posts:

Want to learn about how living a frugal lifestyle can save you thousands per year? Read more about frugal living in the posts below:

 

 

Keep your boiler filter clean

Regularly changing your boiler filter is important to keep the boiler running efficiently. You can get inexpensive ones if you make sure to change them once a month.

However, if you want to change them a little less often, spring for a better filter. It is so easy to forget to change these filters but doing so really helps the furnace run efficiently.

Little habits now help to prevent larger more expensive problems in the future.

 

Wrap up warm

When we say wrap up warm, we’re not suggesting that you turn off your heating and sit around a freezing interior in winter coats and blankets.

reduce-heating-bills

But a minor adjustment can make an appreciable difference over the course of a year. Put on a jumper and lower the thermostat to below 20°C.

Those few degrees each winter will add up to hundreds of pounds over the years.

 

Install door guards

Another way heat seeps out is through gaps under doors. Door guards are an inexpensive and simple way to stop the heat from escaping and keep cold air out.

This is one of my favourite ways on how to save on heating bill. The selection has come a long way from years past.

Many of these blend right into the door frame so it is hardly noticeable at all. Plus, they are very simple to put on. Anyone can use weather stripping.

 

Replace your boiler

A significant portion of the energy used in your home will go through your boiler. If it hasn’t been replaced in decades, then it’s likely to be hideously inefficient.

You can help matters by getting an entirely new boiler installed. It will take a decade or more to break even on a decent boiler, and thus this is a long-term means of saving money on heating.

Families first moving into a home might consider it; for pensioners and those looking to move on within a few years, other energy-saving measures might be more appropriate.

 

 

Close your curtains

When the warm air in your home is allowed to circulate across the cold glass of your windows, it’ll get much colder.

reduce-heating-bill

You can limit this circulation by drawing your curtains at night-time. If your windows face the sun, then drawing the curtains will allow sunlight to heat the interior.

The heavier the curtains, the better they’ll be at insulating.

 

Close off unused rooms

This one’s pretty simple: Keep doors closed to any rooms that aren’t being used. This prevents cold air from going through the rest of the house.

Plus, it keeps the heat contained in a smaller area, so your heater won’t have to work as hard to warm up the entire house.

 

Monitor your energy usage

It’s easy to lose track of how much you’re spending on energy, especially if you’re busy with other things.

By investing in an energy monitor, you’ll be able to see exactly what times of day your home is using the most energy.

This information will allow you to make the tiny changes that add up over long stretches of time!

Other solutions could include upgrading your heating controls, adding thermostatic valves in each room – or simply turn your thermostat down by one degree.

It all helps!

 

 

Reduce heating bill – Final thought

Heating your home doesn’t have to be an expensive effort. With the right tricks like these, you’ll be comfortable all winter while not breaking the bank.

Try some of these and see how much lower your heating bill gets!

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Save Money board for later!

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frugal-habits

Frugal Habits – Simple Guide!

Today I will be talking about frugal habits.

There’s a big movement towards frugality afoot these days. The wisest families are paying attention to what’s going on in the world.

The rest of the folks are blithely going on as they always have, wondering why on earth they keep spending more money each week at the store.

If you are just beginning to move towards a thriftier lifestyle, you might be looking at the big picture.

You could be asking yourself things like; how can I save money on my car? or how can I pay less for that new laptop?

These are all fine things to do – paying less is great, but shopping for a bargain is actually not the key to a frugal lifestyle.

 

 

It’s all about the little habits.

Living a life of thrift and frugality is all about the little habits. It’s about your mindset.

Saving money on enormous expenditures is great, but it is the small daily actions that add up and change your life.

Truly frugal people absolutely LOVE saving money. Embrace these daily habits and make them your own.

You’ll soon see an incredible difference in the way you look at pretty much everything.

Here are 10 frugal habits.

 

Frugal Habits

Frugal people are cost conscious when they shop

Frugal people work hard at spending their money consciously. This includes techniques such as:

  • Know the prices of things they buy regularly, whether by memorisation or by keeping a list
  • Keeping an eye out for sales on things they use regularly or know they will need in the near future
  • Being willing to buy an item used instead of new if it makes sense

Frugal people work to stay cost conscious by thinking carefully before they buy. For instance, if they need a household item such as a ladder, could they find one on Fb market or Gumtree for cheaper than they would by purchasing new?

Can they wait until an item is on sale before they buy it? Can they borrow the item from a friend or relative if it’s something they’ll only need to use once?

frugal-habits

Being cost conscious means thinking carefully before laying down your cash for something, whether it’s a necessity or not.

It involves learning to almost subconsciously ask yourself before every purchase whether or not there is a way you can get the item or experience you are about to spend money on for less.

When it comes to groceries, this might mean menu planning around the sales or using coupons. It might mean buying generic as opposed to buying name brand.

When it comes to entertainment costs such as eating out it might mean only buying the happy hour specials, sharing a meal or finding a 2-for-1 dinner coupon.

Being cost conscious when it comes to vacationing might mean staying at a cheaper hotel or an Airbnb residence that costs less.

It might mean foregoing expensive attractions and taking advantage of the natural scenery at your vacation destination instead.

Cost conscious people work to spend money smarter instead of just for the sake of saving.

 

 

They tell themselves no often

People who are successful at being frugal have learned the art of discipline. In other words, they’ve learned how to tell themselves no.

In today’s instant gratification society that can be a tough habit to pin down. Many people have become used to following their desires up with instant purchases.

Online shopping conveniences means you don’t have that extra time to get in the car and drive to the store as you are considering purchasing that new TV you want. You just add the TV to your online shopping cart, check out and it’s on its way.

The same goes for restaurant meals. Most chain restaurants will deliver your favourite meal on their menu with one quick phone call.

The lack of work needed to buy stuff and spend money these days has lulled many people into a lack of discipline when it comes to spending.

Frugal people work hard to exercise and practice that discipline, though. They take the time to think about their purchases and whether or not those purchases are the best use of their money.

They consider whether the purchase will bring them closer to their financial goals or take them further away from those goals. They think about how much value a purchase will bring to their life: Will the purchase provide lasting value or happiness, or will the joy from the purchase be short lived?

Using Visualisation to Stay Disciplined

Telling yourself no about a lot of purchases can be difficult. One of the tools we use to help us stay on track and avoid unnecessary purchases is the tool of visualisation.

For example, the main car you drive is twelve years old. Sometimes you get so sick and tired of driving that thing. Sometimes it’s tough when loved ones get new cars.

However, when you take the time to envision how you would feel if we were burdened with a huge car payment (the average car payment these days is a whopping £402 a month), it suddenly becomes much easier to avoid buying a newer car.

You focus on the fact that our car is in really good shape for its age. It runs well, has minimal rust and was a top-of-the-line model in its day. You might have bought it used for £/$8,000 and paid cash.

You would need to get used to the wonderful feeling of not having a car payment, and using visualisation to help us stay away from taking on another one really helps us avoid those times when you get drawn into wanting shiny stuff.

Telling yourself no about purchases that don’t truly bring value to your life might not be easy at first, but over time it will become a habit you’ll likely learn to embrace if you are willing to practice it.

They will sacrifice quality – when it makes sense

Some people confuse being frugal with being cheap. The truth is there is a major difference between the two.

Cheap people sacrifice quality at every turn. Frugal people know when to sacrifice quality and know when it’s better to spend more.

For instance, many frugal people – although they stick to a budget – won’t sacrifice quality when it comes to gift giving. They also won’t sacrifice quality when it comes to a purchase, they’ll use long-term.

If the purchase is a household item such as a table for instance, they may buy a quality product knowing they’ll keep that table for a good twenty years.

In our family one of the ways, we’ve learned to know when to sacrifice quality and when not to is in terms of eating out. We used to eat out a lot.

Now when we eat out, we’re willing to go to a higher quality restaurant, but we only do it two or three times a year.

On the other hand, we won’t spend a lot of money on things such as school supplies. We buy the cheap notebooks and the budget folders knowing they’ll serve the kids just as well as the expensive stuff.

Sacrificing quality when purchasing a product that you’ll use for a long time or use a lot will probably just end up costing you more money in the long run.

However, sacrificing quality on an item that is for short-term use or that just doesn’t need to be a quality item is often worth the savings.

Learning the difference might take some trial and error on your part, but with a little experimentation you can learn what items are worth buying for less and what items are worth spending more on.

 

They value their money down to the penny

Frugal people understand that every penny counts. My husband and I got into tens of thousands of dollars of debt with an It’s only (5, 10, 20, 50 or any random number that fit the purchase) dollars/pounds attitude.

There were no huge purchases or vacations – It was that revelation that made us understand that every penny really does count when it comes to living a life where we’re spending our money on what is most important to us.

Today we routinely work to save pennies (as long as it doesn’t take too much time or effort) on nearly everything we buy in order to free up money for meeting our goals of debt freedom.

We also routinely put extra pennies and pounds into our savings and toward our mortgage.

Sometimes it feels pointless to add an extra few quid to a loan payment or savings deposit, but after nearly five years of understanding the value of a penny, we’ve learned that those extra little bits of cash can really add up.

As an example, let’s say you take out a $/£200,000 mortgage on a thirty-year note with a four percent interest rate.

If you pay an additional $/£1 per day on that mortgage note as an additional principal payment, you’ll shave 1 year and 8 months off of your mortgage, paying it off in 28 years and 4 months instead of thirty years.

While that may not seem like a lot of time when you are looking at a thirty-year mortgage, you’ll be glad when you get to year 28 and you’ve only got four months to pay instead of two more full years.

Start taking your spare coins and dollars/pounds and saving them for a financial goal such as saving for a vacation or using them to put toward early debt payoff. I’ll bet you’ll save more than you thought you would.

Related posts:

Learn more about what a money mindset is below, and how to achieve one:

 

 

They save their money consistently – and Save First

Having a consistent savings plan is highly important to many frugal people. They believe firmly in developing a habit of saving money.

For many frugal gurus, this usually means having an automatic transfer made into their savings account each and every payday. In other words, treat your savings just as you would any other bill.

Another part of saving money that is important to frugal people is paying themselves first. That means they put money into savings (and leave it there) before they pay anything else – including their rent or mortgage.

By learning to develop a habit of paying yourself first and paying yourself every payday without fail, you get used to learning to live on your post-savings income.

frugal-living

This is set it and forget attitude will help you spend less and grow your savings almost effortlessly, and before you know it, you’ll have a nice-sized pile of cash with which to cover emergencies or pay cash for an important purchase.

Your employer may be able to help you save first by putting a percentage of your pay into a separate savings account, or your bank may be able to help you by scheduling an automatic transfer each week or month from checking to savings.

Another way you might follow the frugal people and make saving easier is to open a savings account at a different bank, such as:

Some banks offer high interest savings accounts that can pay 1% and sometimes even more – a much higher savings account interest rate than you’ll find at most other financial institutions.

By having your savings account at a separate bank from your checking account, you’ll be less likely to dip into it than you would if it was at the same bank you have your checking account at.

 

 

They work to make things last by repairing before buying

Frugal people are great at working to make things last as long as they can before they spend the money to replace them. As you saw in the story I mentioned earlier, back in the days of the Great Depression that meant placing cardboard inserts in shoes to prolong their use.

You don’t have to go that far to be considered frugal, but learning to repair things or make due even if they’re not perfect will help you save money.

For example: You could have a garage that is heated by a big propane gas heater. A part goes in it. You call the local repair shop to get an estimate for our make and model of heater, they quoted you a price of nearly $/£250.

Replacing the large heater would cost almost $/£1,000.

If you did a little online research you could find the part for $/£47 at a shop about 25 miles from your house.

You find a YouTube video that showed it could be done pretty easily. So, you decide to try and do the repair yourself.

You complete the repair and save a lot of money on the process.

Many times, things break and can be repaired, or don’t necessarily need to be repaired.

It’s tough to go against the grain sometimes: many other families don’t. But frugal people don’t let appearance dictate how they spend; instead, they live with imperfect stuff for the sake of reaching their financial goals.

 

They take advantage of community resources

In many communities, there is a plethora of community resources that make for free entertainment or help in other ways.

Frugal people keep abreast of these resources and how they can utilise them in order to save money. Here is a short list of some of the free resource’s communities share with their citizens.

The library

Your local public library likely has a large selection of books you can read (either for education or entertainment purposes), movies you can rent or social events you can attend. Taking advantage of these resources can save bundles of cash.

Local entertainment

Many cities and towns show free movies, put on free concerts or other free shows and put together other free events in the name of unity and fun. The best part about many of these events is that they are FREE.

Check out your local community paper or city website to see what types of free entertainment your city offers.

Free or cheap housing maintenance items

Many cities and counties offer freebies or items at terrific cost savings to help you maintain your home.  In my county, they regularly send out coupons for large discounts at the recycling centre.

They also have occasional days where you can bring in recyclable items such as electronics or hazardous materials for free (If you want to take a bit of extra time, however, you can actually earn money and get paid to recycle computers or other types of electronics).

In addition, every spring our county offers residents the chance to buy a wide variety of trees at a deeply discounted price. Everything from fruit trees to maples, oaks and more are available to help landscape yards and provide self-sufficient food supplies at a very affordable price.

Local newspapers and city and county websites are great resources for being able to find free or cheap solutions for caring for your house and yard.

Check out the many community resources in your area that can help you save money.

 

They keep long term money goals in mind

Another habit of frugal people is that they keep their long-term money goals at the forefront of their mind. Staying aware of long-term money goals means less temptation to spend.

It’s well known that keeping on track with long-term money goals can be tough. It can be difficult to avoid frivolous spending when you’ve still got to save another $/£150,000 to pay off your mortgage or another /£$400,000 in order to reach your early retirement goal.

One way frugal people help stay aware of their long-term goals is to use visualisation. Some people create a poster board that represents their financial dreams and goals.

Other people keep a list in their wallet of what they’ll do when they reach debt freedom or financial independence.

And still other people use mentors and accountability partners to help keep them strong when they’re tempted to spend on something that isn’t in line with their goals.

frugal-living

Have you taken some time to figure out what your long-term money goals are? What money milestones would bring serious peace and joy to your life?

Would you like to be mortgage free? Pay cash for your kid’s college/university education? Save enough money that you could live off of the interest it earns?

If you haven’t done so already, make a list of your short, medium and long-term financial goals and how you can modify your budget to reach them.

For example, you could increase your extra income by cutting expenses and then open an investment account.

Investing your money may help it grow faster, which means you can reach your goals faster. Then make sure to use one of the ways mentioned above to help keep yourself focused on staying the course and achieving your goals.

Related post:

Would you like to know how to set SMART financial goals, but don’t know where to start? Then see the post below:

 

 

They seek out frugal fun

Fun doesn’t have to be costly, and frugal people are often geniuses at finding free or frugal fun. Here are some ideas for fun activities that won’t break your budget.

  • Spend the day at the beach
  • Plan a hiking, biking or walking excursion
  • Call some loved ones and plan a picnic or BBQ
  • Have a weekly or monthly game night at your house
  • See an outdoor concert, movie or other event
  • Go ice skating at a local park that has an ice rink
  • Go camping, fishing or both!

The possibilities for free and inexpensive fun are everywhere. Sit down with loved ones and make a list of things you can do for fun that don’t cost a lot (or anything) and use the list to plan your weekly entertainment schedule.

 

They consistently practice self-development

In Tom Corley’s book, Rich Habits, he outlines many of the habits that rich people share. While not all frugal people are rich, most rich people are frugal.

One of the other habits of frugal people is that they are continually practicing self-development in order to excel both personally and professionally.

Many people who are good with money read non-fiction nearly every day, exercise every day, practice self-education on topics that are important to them and practice living a life of integrity.

In other words, they consistently practice improving themselves.

Are any of the habits listed above habits that you do practice or could practice on a regular basis? And more importantly, are the habits worth it?

 

 

Is being frugal worth it?

I suppose the answer to that question depends on the individual person, but in order to help you answer that question for yourself, you should probably ask yourself a few other questions, such as:

Am I currently spending in a way that is hindering me from living the life I want to live?

Do I have unmet financial goals that could change my life if I reached them?

Would I be unhappy if I was in the same money situation five years from now that I’m in today?

If the answer to any of those questions is yes, adopting the habits of frugal people in order to find more money to save and invest toward your goals can help you go from financially so-so to financially great.

What are your frugal habits? I would love to hear them.

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Frugal Living board for later!

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save-money-on-utilities

Save Money on Utilities – Simple Guide of 20 Tips

Today I will be talking through how to save money on utilities.

Paying for utilities is a necessary evil, but that doesn’t mean we are powerless (pardon the pun!).

If your utility bills are high, there might be things you can do about it.

The first thing you can do is to read the mail from your utility company. I know it’s easier to toss it in the recycling bin, but many utility companies provide tips on how to reduce your usage as well as info on any available rebates or rewards programs they may be offering. Their websites can be another resource.

 

 

Save money on utilities

If you’re looking to lower your utility bill, whether you rent or own your home, here are 20 simple tips I learned over the years that can help you save hundreds of pounds/dollars on utilities each year. You can then save and put that money to good use elsewhere.

 

Switch providers

The simplest way to save money on your bill is to go online and switch to a different provider who offers better value. There are lots of websites that can help you to do this, and it’s not as difficult as you might think. Look into how much you can save today.

 

Use energy efficient appliances

Appliances are rated for efficiency, between A+++ (the best) and D being the worst. Replacing old appliances with A+++ can save you money. But how much?

Well, that depends on what you are replacing.

The top 4 energy consuming appliances are fridge freezers, fridges, tumble dryers, dishwashers, then washing machines.

A house with A+++ rated appliances would save around £275 per year over a house with C or D rated appliances.

Therefore, over the lifetime of the products the savings add up.

But be careful, I am not suggesting running out and replacing all your appliances, as the payback on the savings can vary between 5-10 years.  My advice is, when choosing your new appliances, go for the best rating you can afford, and sometimes it’s worth paying that little extra, as it will pay you back in the long run.

Top tip:

  • Read the leaflets that come with these new appliances for energy-saving tips, such as washing at 20 degree C, setting the fridge and freezer temps for efficiency, washing and drying at night if you have a cheaper electricity rate between midnight and 5 am.

 

 

Switch off unnecessary lights

Now that you have energy-efficient light bulbs it is still important to switch those off when not in use.

As a parent, you have three ways to handle this challenge.

  1. Ask your child if they switched off the lights
  2. Do a check every 1-2 hours to see what needs to switch off
  3. Install motion sensor lights in the kid’s bedrooms

Getting them to adopt better habits might be the best solution but you can decide what works best.

 

Install dimmer switches

Light dimmers save energy by reducing the flow of electricity to the bulb and allowing lights to operate with lower power outputs. Since lights under less stress shine longer, dimmers are known to extend the life span of your bulbs, too.

But, if you’re planning to keep the lights down low 24/7, simple math suggests that you should opt for low wattage lights instead. Low wattage light bulbs use less energy at full power than dimmed high wattage lights.

 

Switch off appliances when you’re not using them

This is the simplest tip when it comes to saving money on your utility bills. Do you know some electronics still draw electricity even though they’re turned off?

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This involves things like computers, lamps, coffee makers, etc. The best thing to do here is to unplug electronics when it is not being used.

Something that can be convenient and inexpensive is to use a smart power strip. Besides, protecting electronics from occasionally power outages or voltages spikes, a smart power strip could help you to quickly cut power and conserve energy when your electronics aren’t in use.

 

Set your water heater temperature lower

Not only does it prevent scalding burns to yourself and your little ones, but it saves money too, since the water heater doesn’t have to work as hard to heat up the water.

Keep it as hot as you need it to thoroughly clean your dishes and sterilise your laundry. Each home is different, so keep adjusting the temperature until you find what’s right for you.

 

Wash at lower temperatures

Did you know that washing at 30 degrees can be a third cheaper than at 40 degrees? Moneysupermarket believes it could lower your electricity bill by around £52 a year.

 

Use cold water to wash clothes

Very simply, washing clothes on cold saves energy, saves your clothes and saves money.

Here’s an interesting article from ColdWaterSaves.org that breaks it down for you and also dispels the misinformation floating around out there that says using warm/hot water is the only way to get your clothes clean.

That’s simply not true.

 

Air drying laundry 

Tumble dryers are one of the most expensive appliances to run in your household.

According to energytrust.co.org, “line drying your clothes outside during the summer can save on average £30 a year on your electricity bill and 90kg CO2 in emissions.

But what about for those cold and rainy days in the winter?

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You can still air dry your clothes inside, near the radiator. An added benefit of drying clothes inside in the winter, it increases the humidity indoors which can avoid dry nasal passages that are more receptive to viruses.

In addition, air drying clothes will help your clothes last longer as it’s gentler to the fabric. For even bigger causes, it reduces the carbon footprint thus, saving our environment.

 

Run full loads of laundry

Full loads will consume less energy than washing two half loads. In case you just need to get small batches of clothes wash, wash them by hand. By doing this, you will save money on your electric and water bill.

 

Give maintenance to your dryer.

Your dryer machine will work more efficiently by giving it the proper maintenance. This includes keeping the lint trap clean after each time you dry your clothes.

Also, don’t forget about the dryer’s vent, clean it at least every four to six months. You will use less energy, and your utility monthly bill will be reduced.

 

Use appliances off-peak 

If you’re using large appliances that suck up a lot of energy, aim to use them during off-peak hours. Off-peak fees are much cheaper than peak times, and the savings will add up. Each supplier will have different hours, so make sure you check your suppliers’ peak schedule. Generally, off-peak hours are in the evening. Do your loads of laundry, or run dishwashers during those off-peak hours and avoid using them in the day time.

 

Program your thermostat

There’s no reason to be heating your home when no one is there. If there are certain times of the day when no one is in your house, turn your heating down.

You can program your thermostat to kick back on an hour before you get home so you can still come home to a warm house. Secondly, turn it down while you’re sleeping.

When you’re asleep, you’ll be warm under the covers and don’t need the same level of heat. Even lowering it by a few degrees will reduce your energy bill substantially.

 

Check your vents

Many people don’t know that some of their vents might be clogged or closed. However, clogged or closed vents can put a toll on your AC system. AC systems work optimally when all vents are cleaned and opened.

Closed vents demand a lot more energy from your HVAC system and checking your vents on takes a few minutes. You should also check if the filters are clean as well.

 

Weatherise your home

This is one of my favourite energy saving tips at home!

Air escapes your home through cracks and small holes throughout your home, such as door frames, windows, and the like.

Weather-stripping places where air can escape will keep your home warmer in the winter and colder in the summer, thus keeping your energy costs lower.

 

Make your blinds work for you

In the summer months, keep the blinds or curtains closed – especially on the windows where there is direct sun exposure.  However, in the winter months, open them to allow the heat to flow into your house.

 

Install water efficient toilets and shower heads

Another great way to save money on your water bill is to install a low-flow toilet.

These toilet bowls reduce the amount of water you flush down and this can really help reduce your water bill over time.

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There are also toilets that have different types of flushing options so that the amount of water used will be much less if you’re just doing a number one compared to a number two.

Installing a water-efficient shower head is also an option to save money when you take a shower.

Combining this type of shower head with taking shorter showers can do wonders to save money on utilities over time!

 

Avoid the dishwasher

Although I talked about only using high electricity appliances during off-peak hours, if you really want to be frugal, you can avoid using the dishwasher altogether if you don’t have a high-efficiency dishwasher.

Dishwashers use a lot of heat and water so depending on how many dishes you have; it might be best to stick to washing your dishes by hand especially if you’re only home during on-peak hours.

If you really must use a dishwasher, make sure you use it as efficiently as possible by only turning it on when it’s fully loaded and using the ‘eco-setting’ if it has that feature.

 

Take shorter showers

One of my favourite things in the world, especially during the winters here in UK, is a long, hot shower.  But with lengthy, hot showers comes a price.

If you’re like me, you may find that you spend a ton of money on water and water heating.  This can easily be avoided.

If you want to save money on your water bill, shorten your showers.

Keeping your showers to a maximum of around 10 minutes is a good middle ground.  You can still enjoy your shower but save money on utilities and water resources at the same time.

And if you’re even more adventurous, start taking short, cold showers (apparently this is a thing and has many benefits to it!)

 

Check for leaks

Hidden water leaks can result in abnormally high-water bills, and none of us want to pay for something we’re not even using!

If you’re not sure why your bill is so high, do a leak test by checking your water meter right before bedtime and then as soon as you wake up.

If the numbers have changed, you may have a leak somewhere. Try these six tips for finding it yourself, or else call a plumber.

 

 

Save money on utilities – Final thought

Saving money on your utility bills is possible by just being conscious of the usage and identifying any potential waste of water, energy and other things around your home.

Probably, at first some adjustments will require adding a small investment, but this will pay for itself by lowering your utility bills.

Not only that but shrinking your phone bill and eliminating cable or satellite will also help with the overall reduction of your utility bills and monthly expenses at home

What are your tips for saving money on utilities? I would love to hear them below.

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Save Money board for for later!

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reduce-your-expenses

Reduce Your Expenses – Simple Guide!

Are you looking for ways to reduce expenses so you can spend less and save more?

If at the end of a day, week, or month you think where did all my money go then you need to start looking at your spending and see where you can cut expenses.

Living payday to payday is not fun!

You want to be able to have some money left over at the end of the month so that you can save it for more important things like an emergency fund, retirement or even a vacation.

Most of us don’t realise just how much money we’re wasting on a daily basis. Many unnecessary costs can actually be reduced or cut altogether.

 

 

Write down all your expenses

First of all, you want to know what your monthly expenses is to figure out exactly what your current monthly expenses are.

Many people don’t realize how much they’re spending. That’s because it’s easy to spend £1 here or £5 there and not think anything of it. We may not think we’re buying anything lavish, but at the end of the month we’re left wondering – where did all of my money go?

If you want to learn how to drastically cut expenses, the first step is to write down ALL your fixed and variable (discretionary) spending.

An easy way to figure this out is to look at your previous bank statements to see what you spent. Or you can simply track your spending for the next month.

Fixed expenses – These are expenses that you MUST pay each month, such as rent / mortgage, electricity, gas, water, savings plans, debt payments (credit card, car payments, student loan, personal loan) and so on.

Variable spending – These are non-essential expenses, such as dining out, vacations, entertainment, lunch with friends, gifts, clothes, manicures and pedicures, and so on.

If you’re currently having trouble paying your monthly bills, you’ll want to figure out the absolute minimum amount of money you need to cover your essential living costs.

This includes:

  • Food
  • Utilities
  • Shelter
  • Transportation

If you are currently working towards paying off debt, then you’ll want to include debt payments in your essential living costs too.

I know it’s not easy to cut your monthly expenses and it can be tempting to stop debt repayments. But try to make at least the minimum payments on your debt. Continuing to pay down debt can help reduce your monthly debt payments.

Once you’ve determined your monthly fixed and variable expenses, compare this with your household’s income. If you’re currently living without a source of income, see how much cash you have set aside in your savings account or emergency fund.

 

Determine your financial goals

Most people want to reduce their monthly expenses because they want to save and accomplish more with their money. Knowing your goals can help you align your budget around achieving them.

The best part is your goals can be anything you want. Perhaps you want to pay off credit card debt, save money to purchase a car, or build an emergency fund. The more specific you can get, the easier it will be to break down your goals into manageable steps.

Ask yourself – what do I want my finances to look like a year from now? But starting today, you’ll begin planting the seeds for a successful financial future.

Related post:

Want help setting goals? See my post for setting SMART financial goals:

 

 

Create a realistic monthly budget

Now that you’ve determined your essential living costs and figured out ways to reduce your non-essential spending, it’s time to create a new monthly budget.

For those who currently don’t have an income, you’ll need to see how much cash you have set aside to make sure it’s enough to cover your essential living costs.

Related posts:

Would you like to know more about creating a budget? Then see our post below:

 

Reduce your expenses

Now you have followed the above steps, here’s are 10 tips to help you curb your spending, cut your expenses and live on less than you make.

 

Negotiate your bills

Unfortunately, you can’t cut them completely but chances are you can lower them. Most people miss this one because they think bills are bills and there’s nothing you can do about them, but that is the farthest thing from the truth.

Start by calling around to make sure you have the best deal. 

reduce-your-expenses

You can also cut your heating bill by 3% for every degree you move your thermostat.

Many companies offer a discount if you sign up for autopay. Make sure to ask because sometimes they only apply the discount if you ask for it.

We also cut our internet bill in half by asking about their current promotions. This alone saved us £360 this year. Once you start adding up all savings you found on bills, you’ll find several hundred pounds/dollars in savings

 

Sky/Cable TV

When I was first learning how to live on a budget, Sky TV was one of the first expenses I cut.

The truth is, most of the time with Sky you’re paying for a bunch of channels you don’t watch. Streaming means you’re more likely to use what you pay for every month.

For example, we have:

Altogether, I pay about £25 for these channels compared to the £75 I used to pay for Sky. That’s a massive saving if £600 per year!

If you haven’t made the switch from Sky/cable to streaming yet, that’s 600 reasons to give it a shot.

 

Gym membership

I have been guilty of this, having a gym membership I never used.

The money would be coming out my bank account every month, while I’m trying to convince myself I would start to use it.

You need to get rid of it – ASAP

If you haven’t been using it regularly and consistently for months on end you are not going to do it now.

According to This Is Money, Brits waste a collective £25billion a month each year on subscriptions they don’t use or want, and a massive 12% of that is on gym memberships alone!

That’s a whole lot of money!

If you don’t use your gym membership, look at alternative ways of exercise instead. I have invested in resistant bands and an exercise bike. I prefer this way, and there are plenty of workout tutorials on YouTube to follow.

If your finances are tight, then this one has to go!

 

Stop paying credit card interest

If you’ve got credit card debt with an interest rate – ditch it right now. Get it switched to a 0% deal like yesterday! Credit card interest rates are extortionate if you don’t manage them right.

That being said, 0% credit card deals are great for slashing the costs of any debt you have if you use them properly.

Just make sure if you’re switching to pay it off – cut the new card up and set up a monthly payment to make sure you clear the balance by the end of the term.

I used this trick for years as a gradually cleared the debt I built up at Uni and didn’t have to pay a penny of interest on it as a result. If I couldn’t clear the debt by the end of the term, I switched to another deal to avoid paying interest.

Take a look at this page on Money Saving Expert to find the best current deals.

 

Shop with a plan

If you head to the grocery store with a plan in mind, your shopping trip will be more successful and less expensive.

Many people are unsure of what they have in their cabinets and fridge, let alone what to make for dinner. Make a list of meals to have for the week. Then, see what you need to complete those recipes in your kitchen and pantry.

It’s also a good idea to stock your pantry with essentials when sales are going on.

Supermarket ads can also be incredibly useful. You might have to store hop on a weekly basis, but shopping with the sales can save you a lot of money in the long term.

 

Branded food/drinks

People love brands names, but in my opinion, the majority of the time, you are paying just for the name!

I have ditched name products and shop at Aldi and sometimes Lidl majority of time. There are alternative items of food/drink, are just as good if not better in some cases.

The money you save week in week out is massive!

The Same goes with clothes, I use to buy brand and designer all the time. Not anymore, there are cheaper alternatives out there, such as Boohoo, Primark and ASOS where you can look smart for cheaper.

As long as I look good and feel comfortable in my clothes and shoes, that’s all that matters to me, not what branded name I’m wearing.

Related posts:

Want to know more about saving money with groceries? Then see my posts on cutting back grocery spending:

 

 

Resist impulse purchases

Have you ever walked into a shop to get something small, such as shampoo and you ended up leaving with a bunch of items that weren’t on your shopping list?

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Don’t feel bad if you said yes. It’s called impulse spending and marketers are really good at encouraging consumers to make impulse purchases. This is an unplanned decision to buy a product (or service) right before the purchase is made.

Nearly 78.2% of Brits have succumbed to the temptation to impulse online shopping, according to a recent survey. While it might seem like an impulse buy here and there is harmless, it can sabotage your goals such as paying off debt, building your emergency fund, or saving for a large purchase.

Related post:

Want to know more information on how to complete a no spend month and save a huge chunk of money? See the below post:

 

 

Mobile phone

We have all been caught out on this one. Mobile phone companies offer free phones to entice you into a two-year contract that you are then bound to. Emails flooding your inbox trying to persuade you to upgrade to the latest smartphone can be oh so tempting, but before you succumb, as yourself the following questions.

Do I really need a new phone? (Need, not want!)

What will it really cost me over the course of two years?

Do I really need 100GB of data a month?

Would a prepaid mobile phone be the better financial option?

You’ll know from your answers, what you should really do. It’s all about being sensible and not living above your means for the sake of having the latest smartphone.

 

Eat at home as much as possible

Eating out is a nice treat for every now and again, but when you get into the habit of dining out because you can’t be bother to cook, it becomes and expense game.

After a long day a work, when you’re tired, it’s just the easier option. I’ve done it before, we’ve all done it at one point of time. The thought of cooking after a stressful day is a chore, but there are ways around this.

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Batch cooking food is a great way to give yourself a break from the kitchen. For example, you could cook a batch of meals at the weekend and then freeze them. Each day you will then have a meal prepared without having to cook from scratch.

I do this with my workout meals for the week, it saves me a lot of time.

For a family of four, just by eating out a few times a month, you are talking about a few hundred pounds/dollars per month, if not more.

Top tip:

Supercooks is a website that helps you re-create recipes from leftovers.

Just list out the ingredients and let SuperCooks tell you what to cook! Never again will you have to stare at those leftovers in the fridge and wonder what to do with it.

 

 

Stop using disposable items

Some of the products you use from day to day are only used once, then thrown away. Paper towels, for example, are handy when you want to clean up a mess in a hurry, but reaching for one after every spill can become an expensive habit.

I don’t know about you but when there is a roll of paper towels in my house, I go through it like crazy, I wash my hands A LOT (a habit from working in the hospital years ago) and if I had to dry on a paper towel at home daily, I would be buying tons of paper towels.

Instead of paper towels or napkins, use hand towels. Using them will create a bit of extra dirty laundry, but will also cut out the cost of these disposable ones altogether.

You can also eliminate other items like dryer sheets by switching to wool dryer balls and sandwich bags by switching to reusable sandwich bags.

 

Bottled water

Bottled water is expensive! Spending £4-£5 on water every week when you could be using tap water/filtered water, will lead to savings that could be used towards something else.

Buy this reusable bottle and use it at work too.

It is mind boggling how expensive bottled water can get. If you have a fridge that has filtered water then even better, if not, tap water is great too!

If you are family of four getting through a 24 pack of water in less than a week is probably the norm. You could be saving £10 a week on just water.

 

 

Reduce your expenses – Final thought

Whilst these items individually may not seem like they can make big changes to your monthly budget, making small changes can, in fact, help you to save a few hundred extra dollars each month.

Those extra pounds/dollars can really help you make a dent in your debts.

Don’t be discouraged by having to cut back on expenses.

It’s better to look at your long-term goals and use that as your motivation to keep pushing forward to your financial freedom.

One thing I have realised is that you should never turn your nose up at small savings because eventually, they do add up to make a considerable difference.

Let me know what tips you have for cutting down on expenses!

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Save Money board for for later!

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smart-grocery-tips

Smart grocery shopping tips – Simple Guide!

Today I will be talking about smart grocery shopping tips.

Whether you’re budgeting newbie or pro, one of the hardest categories to budget is food. Unlike other fixed expenses (like Sky or cable), you can’t easily compare prices to see if you are spending too much.

Yet it’s a category that obviously can’t be overlooked. Here’s a compilation of hacks and tricks to help reduce your grocery bill and making grocery shopping on a budget easy.

 

 

Why would you want to save money on groceries?

For most people, food is the second largest expense every month. You have to have it to live. But you don’t have to spend a fortune on it.

Most people think that you have to buy cheap, processed foods to save money on groceries. But it is quite the opposite. Fresh (even frozen) foods and foods in bulk can save you quite a chunk of change.

The more money you save on groceries (and eating out), the more money you will have to save for other things. Like that big project around the house that’s been waiting to be finished, or a nice family vacation, or you can stash that cash in an investment account and earn money.

Read on for ways to help your wallet and save money on groceries.

 

Smart grocery shopping tips

These 15 tips for saving money on groceries are subtle and simple changes you can make, which can really add up to big savings over the course of a month.

By implementing these it’s likely that you’ll hardly feel the pinch at all!

 

Make a grocery list and stick to it

Creating a grocery list is going to be a crucial step in you saving money on food each month. There is nothing worse for your budget than when you walk into a grocery store without a list.

Without the guidance of a grocery list, you might remember everything you needed but, I bet you come out with a bunch of stuff you don’t need.

When you create a list, you can see what you need and avoid the things you don’t. Next time you go grocery shopping, make a list and stick to it. I think you’ll be surprised at how big of a difference it will make.

 

Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry

I’m guilty of doing this from time to time, and my budget suffers every time I do. It turns out that when you go to the grocery store hungry, everything looks delicious.

You end up buying things you don’t need because your brain tells you it looks good.

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Make sure you eat a snack before you go grocery shopping. Your stomach and your budget will thank you after.

If you absolutely have to go shopping while you’re hungry, make sure you have a grocery list and stick to it!

 

Shop during the sales

One of the best ways to save money on groceries is to shop for grocery items when they are on sale. Buying toiletries during grocery store sales can save you a huge chunk of money.

These items are generally overused at home and can be expensive. Besides, kitchen items like cooking oil, spices, cereals and other things that can be used over a few weeks should be bought on store sales to save you some extra amount.

Always make it a point to prepare a list of grocery items you need before you step out for shopping and use an expense tracker to keep a track of your grocery spending.

 

 

Buy in bulk

One budget grocery shopping trick to consider is buying certain items in bulk.

Analyse a few of your recent meal plans. Do you see a few recurring meals that appear often in your meal plan?

Consider purchasing some of the non-perishable items for these meals in bulk. In this way, you can end up saving hundreds of pounds/dollars on your groceries!

Some common items that can be bought in bulk include rice, canned foods such as sardines, vegetables, tuna, etc.

Buying in bulk is perfect because the unit price of each item is way less (sometimes less than half of the usual price!) than if you purchase one or two cans per week.

 

Also, bulk buy your meat

Personally, I tend to buy meat when I see it reduced in the supermarket but I know others aren’t always able to get there in the evenings when there are bargains to be had.

One of the best ways to stock up on meat for less is using a company like Muscle Foods. Muscle Foods  started out being aimed at those on high protein diet – but the prices are so good that many families have started ordering from them too.

It’s always worth comparing with supermarket prices to make sure you really are getting the best deal, but generally speaking, they have some fantastic deals. Just make sure there’s plenty of room in your freezer!

 

Use leftover to prepare next meal

Using leftover food can easily save you a lot of time and money. Food that doesn’t make enough servings can easily be reused for your next meal instead of getting wasted.

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I sometimes make some extra rice just so I can use it as leftover for my next meal. You can also create new meals out of leftover chicken, bread and boiled rice.

You’ll be surprised to know that leftovers can sometimes provide for an entire meal of yours, if done effectively.

Top tip:

Supercooks is a website that helps you re-create recipes from leftovers.

Just list out the ingredients and let SuperCooks tell you what to cook! Never again will you have to stare at those leftovers in the fridge and wonder what to do with it.

 

 

Pay with cash

Avoid carrying your credit cards to the store and pay only with cash. This is what a lot of people call the cash envelope method. This method includes setting money aside in an envelope every month for different spending such as food, gas, clothes, etc. So, you will pay your expenses with the cash that is inside the envelope.

By only spending what is in the envelope for that particular expense such as groceries then, you will stick to your budget and it will force you to save money immediately.

Believe it or not this method works and it would save you a good amount of money. This is because you don’t have another except paying with cash rather than credit cards.

Related post:

Want to find out more about the cash envelope system? Then see our post below:

 

 

Cashback sites

Cashback sites are way of earning money while you spend money on shopping.

Some good sites are Topcashback, Quidco and Boom25.

The cashback site will earn a percentage for referring you to the retailer through their website, and you take a cut of the profits.

It’s an easy way to earn some extra money while making a purchase you were planning to make anyway.

Here’s my posts with all the details of exactly how Quidco, Topcashback and BOOM25 work.

 

Buy seasonal produce

Seasonal produce is cheaper than produce that is out of season period. This is because most of the time seasonal produce is grown locally and they are in abundance.

smart-grocery-tips

Besides, the cost of shipping for seasonal produce is not as much as the produce that is out of season. So, when you see a sale on seasonal produce buy it and use it in your meals.

If you still have some produce that is not being used you can always preserve, freeze, and use it for later in other meals. This would be a great advantage and serious savings on your grocery bill.

 

Try generic brands

Usually, generic brands are cheaper compared to products with a well-known name. You can save money on your groceries by just buying the store generic brand.

Sometimes, you will find generic brands 20% to 30 % cheaper compared to name-brand products. For instance, Costco sells their signature store brand products for around 20% less than other brands.

Try to check out the product’s label and you will notice that most of the time the ingredients are the same and even better with less amount of chemicals! I’ve been using Aldi’s own products for a while, and they’re amazing and very cheap too!

 

Plastic grocery bags

Instead of wasting money when we go grocery shopping, we decided to purchase reusable shopping bags that we now bring with us when we go shopping.

These reusable shopping bags aren’t only good for saving money at the grocery store, they’re also great to just have at home.

If you’re going away, you can use them to pack clothes, toiletries, games, and snacks in as well. The reusable shopping bags I use have many more purposes than simply being used at the grocery store, so you can bet they have more than paid for themselves many times over.

 

Use vouchers and deals

Honey is a great website for finding vouchers from thousands of retailers online.

I have saved money when making purchases on clothes through Honey on several occasions.

Also, Latest Deals is great website for bargains and deals.

While saving money you also earn points though the above sites, which can them be redeemed into a giftcard of your choice.

These sites are no brainer!

 

 

Stick to real processed food

Avoid the meals with pre-packaged pasta, sauce and spices just add a pound of meat. It really doesn’t take any longer to open a bag of pasta, a can of tomatoes or spaghetti sauce, chop an onion and some garlic while the meat is browning.

You save money and the environment by avoiding all that packaging. Stick as much as possible to things your great-grandmother would recognize and if you read the ingredients and it sounds like a chemical it probably is.

Pass on the chemicals and get something closer to real food saving money and eating healthier.

 

Get to know the markdown schedule

Take some time to talk to the employees! They will let you know when meat will be marked down.

You can get a heads up for the best time to raid the clearance rack for produce! I know that at my local store Wednesdays at 5pm is when they mark down meat.

 

Reduce your number of shopping trips.

One of the best things you can do to save money on groceries is to shop less oftenThe less often you’re in the store, the less often you’re tempted to buy more than you intended.

And the best way to do that is to start planning your meals and to shop for what you can online (more on that below).

 

 

Smart grocery shopping tips – Final thought

Budgeting your food and grocery expenses doesn’t have to be really hard and complicated as long as you know what options are available to you. You can keep your expenses to a minimum & keep more money when you try the options mentioned above.

Let me know what you think. What options have you already tried or willing to try? Which of these do you think will help you keep more?

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Save Money board for later!

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how-budget-on-low-income

How to budget on low income – Simple Guide!

How to budget money on low income? Money certainly does not grow on trees and that means we all need to be a little clever with the cash we have, to try and make it go that little bit further.

In addition to this rather annoying lack of a money tree situation, it’s also a truth that most of us aren’t earning as much as we want to, or as much as we believe we deserve.

For most of my young adult life I was living with little money due to me drowning in debt! This was because of my lifestyle at the time, I was living the highlife and spending money like it didn’t exist.

Over time I learned how to budget myself and adapt to my situation. I have paid a big chunk of debt off and now I’m in a much better place financially.

Living on a small budget is possible and many people do it. With prices of literally everything on the rise and minimum wage not keeping up, more people are looking to find ways to live with less money.

Today I will be talking you through 10 tips on how to budget on low income.

 

 

How to budget on low income

Honesty is the best policy

It’s no-good setting a budget and not being honest. That would be a complete waste of time!

Sure, it might be painful to sit down and write how much money you have coming in, how much money you have going out, and then trying to divide up the bit that’s left, but it’s a necessary evil if you want the whole process to work for you.

Nobody else has to see your budget, so make sure that you’re honest with yourself.

Many people also find the process of writing these figures down to be quite cathartic and it often proves to be a wake-up call – it might be a rather shocking wakeup call – but it works nonetheless!

 

Set Up a Budget

Secondly, you need to think about setting up a budget.

Making a budget is fairly simple. It’s following it that becomes difficult.

For example, you would first write down your income for a month at the top. Next list every single expense that needs to be paid monthly. So that includes, rent or mortgage, electricity, water, and even groceries, car payment, and car insurance.

The list goes on. Everyone has different expenses so be sure to list yours and the expected amount of that expense.

Next, you simply subtract all of your expenses from your monthly income and you will have your final amount. By writing everything down on paper you get a very good visual of where all of your money is going and if you need to make any changes to your expenses.

Related posts:

Would you like to know more about creating a budget? Then see our post below:

 

 

Track your expenses

No, I don’t mean keep a mental log in your head (although I’m totally guilty of doing that sometimes). I mean actually tracking your expenses – this is an absolute must when you’re trying to save on a low income.

You need to know where your money is going before you can actually start saving.

If you’ve never done this before, this advice applies to you. Track your expenses for one month, starting today.

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Tracking your spending for even just a month will give you a far clearer picture of where your money is going and what you need to work on in your budgeting plan.

I’ve listed a few awesome Money Trackers below for both UK and US readers:

These are all completely free to sign up to, so take advantage of the software and have a go at tracking your spending and finances for the month.

Related posts:

Would you like to cut back your expenses, to save money? but don’t know where to start? Then see the post below:

 

 

Analyse your spending

First, learn how much you spend each month, and then use that data. Identify where you probably spend more money than you should and work to reduce the spending in that area.

Small changes, one after the other, is what really starts a frugal habit.

Analysing your spending will make living on low income possible. You know how much we earn, how much you spend each month and what your limit is.

Sure, your spending isn’t always going to be0 perfect and things won’t always go to plan – but arming yourself with some knowledge about your spending is the best first step.

Always, always shop with intention. This is where the list and weekly meal plan comes in. I’ve realised that going grocery shopping without really knowing what we’ll be cooking for the rest of the week, just leads to me over buying.

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We pretty much always end up wasting food, which means, we’re wasting money.

Now, before we go grocery shopping, we always make sure to create a weekly meal plan, make a list of what we need and always stick to it. That’s the most important part – sticking with the list!

If you want to start cutting your spending and save more money, you always have to look at what you’re buying. Be aware of where your money is going and make smart choices.

Saving money and living with one income is not easy but it’s also not impossible. I’ve learned that with just a few tweaks and changes in our spending habit, we can even end up saving more money than we anticipated.

 

Set financial goals

Not only do you need to know why you want to start budgeting in the first place, but it’s also very important to think in terms of specific numbers.

How much debt are you hoping to pay off each month? How much money do you want to put aside in your emergency fund? How much will you be saving to go toward your retirement?

You cannot budget with the vague idea that you want to “save up some money”. Focus on numbers and focus on facts.

Related post:

Want help setting goals? See my post for setting SMART financial goals:

 

 

Eat at home as much as possible

Eating out is a nice treat for every now and again, but when you get into the habit of dining out because you can’t be bother to cook, it becomes and expense game.

After a long day a work, when you’re tired, it’s just the easier option. I’ve done it before, we’ve all done it at one point of time. The thought of cooking after a stressful day is a chore, but there are ways around this.

Batch cooking food is a great way to give yourself a break from the kitchen. For example, you could cook a batch of meals at the weekend and then freeze them. Each day you will then have a meal prepared without having to cook from scratch.

I do this with my workout meals for the week, it saves me a lot of time.

For a family of four, just by eating out a few times a month, you are talking about a few hundred pounds/dollars per month, if not more.

Top tip:

Supercooks is a website that helps you re-create recipes from leftovers.

Just list out the ingredients and let SuperCooks tell you what to cook! Never again will you have to stare at those leftovers in the fridge and wonder what to do with it.

 

 

Resist impulse purchases

Have you ever walked into a shop to get something small, such as shampoo and you ended up leaving with a bunch of items that weren’t on your shopping list?

Don’t feel bad if you said yes. It’s called impulse spending and marketers are really good at encouraging consumers to make impulse purchases. This is an unplanned decision to buy a product (or service) right before the purchase is made.

Nearly 78.2% of Brits have succumbed to the temptation to impulse online shopping, according to a recent survey. While it might seem like an impulse buy here and there is harmless, it can sabotage your goals such as paying off debt, building your emergency fund, or saving for a large purchase.

 

Use vouchers/coupons

Take advantage of coupons/vouchers to save money.

Honey is a great website for finding vouchers from thousands of retailers online. I have saved money when making purchases on clothes through Honey on several occasions.

Also, Latest Deals is great website for bargains and deals.

While saving money you also earn points though the above sites, which can them be redeemed into a giftcard of your choice.

These sites are no brainer!

Want to find out more about these two sites? here is my posts for Honey and Latest Deals.

 

 

Cancel unnecessary subscriptions

Have you ever fell into the trap of starting a trial and then you forgot to cancel your subscription at the end of the week or month? Me too! Companies prey on those who are forgetful! Don’t get me wrong, if I love their service and it’s something I need, I will absolutely pay!

Sometimes, unnecessary subscriptions can be magazines, tv show/movie services, shopping and delivery services or educational programs. Analyse and decide if you really need each.

For example, I have decided that I no longer need to pay a membership fee to get certain products in two days.

I’ve also decided that my subscription for Shutter was not necessary as I wasn’t watching it anymore! Therefore, I cancelled them both. Simple living to save money!

 

 

Use cashback shopping sites

I use cashback shopping sites such as TopCashback or Quidco for my online purchases. Cashback sites are a way for you to save money every time you shop online at one of its partner retailers using a link from the cashback website.

A percentage of the purchase is returned to you as a cash back rebate when you complete your purchase. Cashback shopping sites offer cash back at thousands of stores and they are free to use.

cashback

I use both TopCashback and Quidco to shop online and like them both. I usually check to see which of the cashback sites will give me more money back on my purchase and then shop through that cashback site for my specific purchase.

Rakuten is a great cash back site for those over in the US. In addition, you’ll find thousands of coupons and promo codes from Rakuten. Every quarter Rakuten mails you a cheque or PayPal payment with the cash back you received from shopping online through them.

 

How to budget on low income – Final thought

So that’s it! These are the actions I recommend to live on low. By putting this into practice, you will definitely start to see the pounds/dollars adding up at the end of the month. And who doesn’t like extra money in their pocket?

What about you? Are you trying to achieve financial freedom? Are you working towards becoming debt free? Is there anything else you’d add to this list? Share with us in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Finance board for later!

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12-extreme-frugal-tips

12 Extreme Frugality Tips – Simple Guide!

Today I will discussing extreme frugality and everything about the practice.

When your finances are in a deep decline, going all out for extreme frugality can help you stay on budget.

You can find plenty of advice about how to be frugal and how to save money. But advice on extreme frugality with the emphasis on extremely cheap living can be harder to find.

Sometimes saving money like other people do is just not enough.

If you’ve tried all the mainstream frugal tips but your finances are still not going in the right direction then perhaps it’s time to look at what extremely frugal people do.

Maybe you’ve just lost your job or maybe you’ve had your light-bulb moment and are determined to learn how to pay off debt fast as possible.

There are ways to ramp up your money saving attempts if you are prepared to go where others fear to tread.

 

 

What is extreme frugality?

Extreme frugality is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of sticking to the usual money-saving tips like everyone else, extremely frugal people find ways to save money that most people would never even consider.

In fact, even if you think you live an extremely frugal life, you’re probably not taking it anywhere near as far as some of the extreme frugal living tips below go.

So, the question becomes:

Why would anyone live such an extremely frugal life anyway? Well, I think there are two main reasons:

  1. They like to be resourceful
  2. They need to in order to survive

If you’re person #1 and you learned how to live super frugally just because you love being resourceful, keep doing you! As long as you’re happy, who cares what anyone else thinks.

However, if you’re person #3 and you’ve learned how to be extremely frugal just to get by (but you’re completely miserable), keep on reading until the end of the post. I’ll talk about how you can escape the extreme frugality life for good.

But first, let’s get into some of these tips to see what extreme frugal living is really about.

Warning though, some of these are crazy!

 

12 Extreme Frugality Tips

Live in your car

This is another one that is pretty common and not too extreme. It also has the potential to save you the most money as you won’t have to pay rent! Just shower at the local gym and you’re good to go.

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If you want to really embrace car living, join the RV Life movement and live in a small RV or van. It’ll be a lot better than living in a coupe. There’s actually a skateboarder I follow on Instagram that lives in a refurbished ambulance which I think is pretty cool.

You could also potentially turn this into a side gig (if you wanted to) by starting a blog. People love reading about RV extreme frugal living. I’ve seen some RV bloggers making over $100,000/month (not a typo).

 

Raise your own farm animals

We all know hunting is a good way to supply meat in the freezer for months. You can buy a young calf and have a farmer raise it, and you can triple your investment and eat good, quality grass-fed beef for months off of that single purchase.

Likewise, I know someone who has a chicken farm and raise hens for eggs!

You’ll definitely need a deep freeze for storage, and Amazon Prime has several options to choose from with free shipping (especially handy if you don’t have access to a van)!

 

Eat out of date food

In day’s gone past the money mantra was waste not, want not.

If food has a small amount of mould on it, does it mean all of that food is now inedible and off?

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If you want to reach the heights of extreme frugality then using mouldy food can definitely help you save money.

I account my cast iron stomach (no food poisoning for me) with having been given food that had the mould cut off when I was a child.

My Mother’s response to our disgust at this practice was to point out the premium people pay for blue cheeses like Stilton – mouldy cheese!

 

Dumpster living

This one is actually quite popular.

Basically, people will go to grocery stores to find tossed out food and they’ll take it home for themselves. I’ve seen people get some pretty good hauls doing this too:

Honestly, it’s mind-blowing how much fresh food gets thrown out every day. I’ve seen it myself too, I have friends that work in grocery stores, and they have told me they’re constantly told to throw out perfectly fine food just because it was past its date.

Oh, and it’s not just food either. I’ve also seen people have some pretty good finds dumpster diving at electronics stores! My girlfriend told me people do it at makeup stores too.

 

Shower less often

Filling the tub is a no-no when you’re practicing extreme frugality. You’ve got to take showers only and limit to once every few days (at most). Been to the gym? Apologise to your significant other for me!

Do you stink? No problem! Take a sponge bath!

Yes, I’m cringing as I’m writing this, but there are people who practice this method of frugality. I will admit I take 2 showers a day, this sounds like an absolute nightmare to me!

 

Road kill

Another example of extreme frugality food is to eat the road kill you may come across on your travels.

In the UK it is widely accepted that if you accidentally run over an animal you cannot pick it up as road kill. However, the person behind you can.

I have no idea whether this is an urban myth or buried in some law. But what I do know is there are people who supplement their protein intake with road kill.

Not my thing, but there are people out there that do!

 

Flush less

This is a pretty common one. There’s an old saying that goes something like, if it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down. That’s the soft version.

The real hardcore people treat their toilet like an outhouse and at most flush once a day. Doesn’t matter if it’s brown, yellow, chunky or soft.

Errrgggggh.

 

Take cold showers

For me, this one isn’t actually that extreme. I actually take cold showers just for the benefits but it’s also a good way to save money as you won’t have to heat any water.

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After doing it for a while, you actually get used to the cold pretty fast. It will surely wake you up in the morning too, so maybe you’ll save some money on coffee as well.

You could also just shower less to save money, that would be pretty extreme.

 

Stop shaving!

Beards are very much in fashion these days so no shaving for men is not difficult to achieve.

Nor is it extreme. You won’t seem different from many others around you, indeed you’ll blend right in.

But how about no shaving, waxing or hair removal for women? Are you willing to be more extreme with your personal care in order save money?

 

Don’t wash off you makeup

Another way to save money for women (or men if you’re into that kind of thing!) is to not wash makeup off your face.

Sound crazy?

Makeup is expensive and wearing it every day will make your supply go down super-fast.

Instead of washing your makeup off your face at the end of the day, just skip it, so you can stretch your makeup wear a bit further.

This one sounds pretty crazy but it’s a way to keep your makeup longer and people really do this!

 

Live in a Storage Unit

Similar to living in a car, living in a storage unit is another extremely frugal way to save money on rent.

I saw a video from a guy who did this and he actually had a pretty decent setup in his locker. He had running water, electricity, a bed, a TV, and more.

The only problem is that living in a storage unit is illegal, and the guy in the video ended up getting kicked out after 2 months!

 

Collect and reuse grey water

There are plenty of typically normal ways to save money on your water bill.

But how about reusing your bath water to flush your loo?

Or using water from your washing machine to water your plants?

When you are going all out to learn how to be as frugal as possible, reusing your grey water makes financial sense.

 

 

12 extreme frugality tips – Final thought

Even if you could follow some of the extreme saving tips above, how long could it really last? Some of them are just so extreme that I don’t know how you couldn’t get burnt out eventually.

By adopting these extreme frugal living tips, you can hang with the cheapest of the cheap. But at what cost? There are many other ways to live frugally without sacrificing your quality of life.

I can see why some people resort to the extreme frugality tips above. It’s resourceful, it can help the environment, and the savings are there. If you’re doing any of the things above because you actually want to and they work for you, then I see no problem with that. You do you.

Now I want to hear from you and your opinions on extreme frugal living

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Frugal Living board for later!

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SAVE-MONEY-TIPS

10 Things to Stop Buying to Save Money – Simple Guide to Save Thousands!

As I was going through really hard financial times, I kept asking myself two questions “What are the things I should stop buying to save money?” and “How can I save money?”

After looking and analysing my spending habits, I realised I was wasting my budget on items I did not need.

There are so many things we buy all the time that at first glance doesn’t seem like a big deal. Even though these items hardly make an impact on our budgets, over time these things add up. Every single penny counts when it comes to saving money.

I am always looking for tips to save money. Another major shift that happened to me was that I stopped buying things to impress other people.

I started focusing more on the things that I really need instead. We all go through times in our lives when we need more money.

Today I will share with you the things I stopped buying that allowed me to save more money.

Not only did I save money but it also simplified my life.

 

 

Not sure what to cut from your budget?

Saving money can be hard at any time, but it is particularly difficult when you’re broke or living payday to payday. If you can barely pay your bills, saving money is probably one of the last things you can afford.

I save A LOT by being mindful and thoughtful about my spending. But I don’t cut off the things I enjoy, living life this way doesn’t mean you have to stay inside all day and can never enjoy life.

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Instead, I pay attention to the unnecessary purchases that don’t make me feel happy and cost a lot.

So, here are the things I stopped buying to save money every day!

Related posts:

Would you like to know how to create a budget, but don’t know where to start? Then see the post below:

 

 

Bottled water

We tend to not notice how expensive and how much it adds up when we are constantly buying bottled water.

A lot of us are also brought up believing that tap water is less healthy and more poisonous because of the smell of chlorine but there is a simple solution to changing that.

if you put a jug of water covered in fridge the chlorine taste will disappear, you just need to make sure that you replace it every 24 hours because there wouldn’t be enough chlorine to prevent bacteria growing if you keep it in the fridge for longer without changing it.

I used to love sparkling water and it had to be a particular brand because of the bubbles, it cost £1 per litre plus the average bottle of water is about 80p.

If you drink about 5lts a day on average as a household and each bottle cost 50p that means you will spend £2.50 a day on water. That is £17.50 a week, £70 a month and a whopping £840 a year.

 

Cut Sky/cable

This year we decided to cut or Sky/cable, by doing this we are saving £50 per month.

I thought getting rid of this would be brutal, and I would miss it, but that’s not the case at all.

Most of the time the TV was just on as background noise, we only actually sit down and watch TV for about two hours daily in the week, and a bit longer at weekends.

save-money

You can cut back your package to save money, or get rid of it all together and use a subscription service such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. I have both of these; they are excellent value for money.

You might find this work out to be much cheaper for you.

There is always new TV shows and movies being added and the back catalogue on just these pair are huge. You will always discover something new to watch!

These are just two available, there is also Hulu, Disney+ and much more if you search online.

You are never tied in to a subscription service such as these, they can be cancelled at anytime you like.

Related posts:

Would you like to cut back your expenses, to save money? but don’t know where to start? Then see the post below:

 

 

 Branded fizzy drinks

I know fizzy drinks aren’t the healthiest and I’ll admit to drinking more of them than I probably should. However, I don’t drink alcohol anymore, so it’s nice having something I really like to sip on of an evening.

I know plenty of people that will only drink one of the other of the leading brands of fizzy drink, especially cola, but with the introduction of the sugar tax and supermarket offers seeming to be less frequent we found we were paying between £1.50 and £2.00 a bottle.

Giving up fizzy drinks completely would, of course, have been the most frugal thing to do – but we found this ended up making it a sort of forbidden fruit and we’d end up popping to the corner shop and getting some even though the prices were crazy expensive just because we were craving.

So as a money-saving compromise we decided to try and find an alternative that was reasonably palatable. I’ll be honest, nothing does taste quite as good as the branded ones but we have got used the cheaper version and the savings are worth it.

Our favourite is Aldi’s own brand Lemonade and Orangeade. At around 40p a bottle it’s about a 3rd of the price of the real thing.

 

Pre-packed/ prepped fruit and vegetables

It comes as no surprise that convenience cost more money. supermarkets charge you to cut your products for you. Prime example:  FRUIT; you buy a whole pineapple (800g and peeled yourself) and it will cost you £1, you buy pre-packed chopped pineapple and for the equivalent size you will pay £4 meaning you are being charged £3 for conveniences. This premium expense goes across most pre-packed products.

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Solution: Buy food that is fresh and whole and pay yourself the premium and chop it up yourself. This goes for microwave meals and grated cheese as well.

Savings: Using the pineapple theory as an example, if you a super pineapple fan and you buy it twice a week which is equivalent to buying one big one. That is £4 a week, £16 a month, £192 a year

Just to add up the total savings just from the three items above before we continue, we have saved a grand total of £1542/ $2000.

Related posts:

Would like to learn how living frugally can save you thousands every year? Then see the post below:

 

 

Stopped buying takeaways

One of my biggest downfalls used to be buying takeaways far more than we really should – often two or three times a week despite the fact I’m a decent cook when I put my mind to it (not sure my partner would agree!). Working long hours meant that I often didn’t feel like cooking when I got home. By the time I’d got home, showered, relaxed a little I just couldn’t be bothered.

Since leaving that job I now cook almost every night. Meal planning for the week has helped considerably with this and we now have a takeaway as a treat only once or twice a month. I’ve also started learning to cook various fakeaways – our favourites are orange chicken and homemade KFC – these really help when we fancy a particular fast food but don’t want to spend lots of money on it.

 

Impulse items near the checkout

The checkout lane at the grocery store is a danger zone, my friend. The aisles are filled with crap that you don’t need but is oh-so-tempting, am I right?

There are two ways to avoid falling into the impulse buy trap when checking out.

One, commit to developing serious tunnel vision when it’s time to pay. Or two, take advantage of your grocery store’s pick-up service.

Most of the time pick-up is free when you have a minimum dollar amount on your order. Letting someone else shop for you means you don’t have to worry about spending on impulse.

Related posts:

Would you like to stick to a grocery budget? but don’t know where to start? Then see the post below:

 

 

Gym membership

If you are like many people, you may have signed up for a membership at your local gym during January as the result of a New Year’s resolution. Only to realise by June, you are no longer going to the gym to workout.

Ditch the gym membership if you are not using it fully. This is one of the easiest things to stop buying to save money.

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There are many ways you can get in a great workout at your home. You can take a bike ride at the local park, take a walk or hike. Some people say gym memberships are one of the most stupid things to waste money on.

 

Stop being brand specific

I was seriously guilty of this! I’m not going to lie, I’m still brand specific when it comes to a few products that I really need (items that are really working for me) but for other things, like things that we use frequently, I opt for store brands or basically anything that is on sale or if I have a coupon for it.

I was so surprised by the amount of money that we are saving on our groceries every month by doing this.

 

Toys

Our kids have WAY TOO MANY toys right now. As we adopted our new frugal lifestyle, we opted to stop buying toys. They can use what they already have and get creative instead.

They already have all the basics such as Lego, dolls, cars, trucks, figures and so many more! Again, a more minimalist and simple living to save money.

Top tip:

  •  Have a car-boot sale or sell online the extra toys that your kids have outgrown to save even more money!

 

 

Coffee

Coffee is a must in my household so we have not completely eliminated it from our budget but we have stopped buying expensive coffee from coffeehouses. Instead, we brew our own at home and we stick to cheaper (but still nice!) brands.

This has helped us save tons! Of course, if you can see yourself cutting off coffee completely from your life, by all means, go ahead!

 

10 things to stop buying to save money – Final thought

Making some simple cuts can really free up a sizable portion of your budget. I am willing to bet a family would save a hell of a lot of money over a year if they put these 10 tips into practice.

What about you? Are you trying to achieve financial freedom? Are you working towards becoming debt free? Is there anything else you’d add to this list? Share with us in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

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How to Create an Emergency Fund – Simple Guide!

One of the best pieces of advice we received before we started our debt free journey was to build an emergency fund.

When I first committed to paying down my debt, I was overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start. It was a lot of debt and it seemed like our budget would never allow for me to make even the smallest dent in it.

But time and time again I read about the importance of having an emergency fund.

And I’m so glad that this was the first step I took.

It seems counter intuitive to save money when you want to pay off debt. But trust me (and countless personal finance experts) when I say it is crucial to your success.

There were several times while I was focused on paying off debt, that I would have been side-tracked if I didn’t have an emergency fund.

For example, there were emergencies including a plumber for a leak, washing machine repair and other costs that add up.

These were all funded from the emergency fund, allowing me to continue to make progress towards paying down my debt.

I never had to take on additional debt to cover these expenses, nor did we come up short at the end of the month because of these expenses.

The emergency fund was a great tool to rely on when paying down debt and staying debt free.

Lets break down how to create an emergency fund!

 

 

What is an emergency fund?

An emergency fund is an easily-accessible pool of money that you keep for life’s emergencies.

Common emergencies that have financial impacts are:

  • Losing a job or needing to quit a job
  • Car repairs
  • Illnesses
  • Unexpected home repairs or home loss
  • Dog visit to the vets

The idea is that you set aside an amount of money so that if an emergency occurs, you have the cash to pay for the emergency.

If you don’t have the money for an emergency you might have to pay for the emergency using debt (like a credit card) or pull money out of retirement savings.

Each emergency can range in cost.

So, if you lose your job and you expect it would take you 6 months to find a job, you may want a fund that would cover 6 months of expenses.

This compares to lower-cost emergencies like repairing your house or car.

Essentially, the fund serves as a buffer so that if an emergency happens, you do not face additional hardship.

 

Why do I need an emergency fund?

Life is unpredictable and unexpected events can catch us by surprise, your car has unexpected repairs needed on your car, the washing machine stops working, or you lose your job!

Without money set aside to cover emergency costs, you could be forced to pay bills with a credit card, loan, or line of credit.

All these options can easily end up costing you more than the initial bill because of high interest payments.

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Choosing high-interest loans can leave you in a hole you can’t get out of! You’ll have to pay them back right away to avoid interest charges and making the required payments may leave you short – resulting in the need to borrow money.

This creates a cycle which can drown a family in debt.

Building an emergency fund for yourself makes it possible to:

  • pay for an unexpected expense without going into debt
  • avoid high-cost loans and cash advances
  • have financial control and peace of mind

Related post:

Want know how to create a budget, but don’t know where to start? Then see the post below:

 

 

How much should I have in my emergency fund?

I think a better question is:

How much helps you sleep better at night?

Everyone has a different answer to this question. Depending on your life circumstances, this answer may vary.

But what do the experts say?

Many financial gurus recommend saving £1,000/$1000 in your emergency fund before tackling your debt, then raising that amount to 3-6 months of expenses after your debt is paid off.

Some say you need as much as 8 months of expenses set aside.

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I think £1,000 is far too little to deal with a real emergency. But I also don’t think you need 6 months of savings sitting there, untouched, until later.

Personally, I recommend having 2-Month of expenses set aside in your Emergency Fund.

This amount serves 2 purposes:

  1. It gives you a few thousand pounds/dollars to deal with larger emergencies (car repairs, house repairs, vet bills)
  2. It gives you the ability to have ALL your money for the next 2 months saved up BEFORE the month begins.

The goal is to be able to absorb the cost of life’s fun little “financial detours”, without affecting your monthly budget, or your goals.

But…

Having 2 months of expenses is hardly enough if something serious occurs. For example: Job loss, or something similar.

I believe you should save 2 months of expenses, and then pay off debt, before building a larger emergency fund.

Once you are debt free, I recommend saving (up to) 12 months of expenses in your Emergency Fund

Again, the exact amount here is a general guideline, but the real answer is what makes YOU feel comfortable.

For some, 3 months is just fine, for others, they NEED 12 months to enjoy life.

Whatever that number is, just make sure it suits you and gives you that peace of mind to fall back on.

Related post:

Want some ideas on how to cut your monthly expenses? Then see the post below:

 

 

Develop emergency fund goal

Once you have identified how much you want to be in your emergency fund, you need to set you goals to achieve.

With specific goals and objectives for your emergency fund, you will be much more excited and motivated to save money and develop an emergency fund.

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They also make sure that you are making progress in terms of creating a fund. For instance, you can create the following goals:

  • Goal 1: Save 1-month living expenses by July.
  • Goal 2: Save 2-month living expenses by September.
  • Goal 3: Save 6-month living expenses by February 2021.

Such goals should be written and kept insight to ensure you are making progress to achieve them.

Typically, people choose to put their different types of goals, including emergency saving goals, on their fridges.

Similarly, many new smart devices applications allow people to write their aims, set reminders, and track progress towards these goals.

Related posts:

Want to learn more and setting SMART financial goals? Then see the post below:

 

 

Open a savings account

I don’t recommend putting your emergency fund in your current account or a savings account linked to your current account.  You want to be able to easily access the money in case of an emergency but not such that you are able to withdraw or transfer money at any time.

I recommend opening an online savings account because:

  • It is free to open a savings account
  • There may be a bonus for opening a new account
  • There are no fees
  • You can transfer money easily
  • It takes 2-3 business days to transfer money into your regular account

If you don’t want to open an online savings account, try another bank or a credit union. Look for:

  • A savings account at a different institution than your checking account.
  • There are no fees
  • No minimum balance required
  • Compare interest rates

From experience, I would not recommend having an emergency fund account tied to your current account.  It is easy to access that money with your debit card.  My emergency fund savings account is at a different bank, plus I declined to have an ATM card.  To withdraw money from this bank, it is too much hassle for me.

 

How to start an emergency fund with no money?

If you are the person who gets to the end of their month with pennies leftover, I hear you!

But the honest truth is you are the type of families who need these accounts the most.

So, let’s talk about ways to save or make money to start supplementing your emergency fund.

Don’t worry, there is more in there than cut out Starbucks– I know you probably have already thought of that on your own!

I promise, there is something in there that can save you money.

If you have mastered being frugal and there isn’t one more penny to cut from your budget, let’s consider making a little money on the side.

Top tip:

Want to earn some extra money straight away with a side-hustle? Then see the posts below:

 

 

How to create an emergency fund – Final thoughts

The unemployment rate has reached an alarming rate. People who have emergency funds will be able to manage things, depending on the size of their emergency fund.

Hence, creating an emergency fund is essential and vital.

An emergency fund should not be taken as an option. In the time of financial distress, one can take the shade of the emergency fund.

In a nutshell, make a clear plan for your emergency savings. It would provide you comfort and solace at one point in time.

Do you have an emergency fund? How much do you have saved? Let me know in the comment section.

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