If anyone invites me for a hangout in the next couple of months and I decline, don't think I'm being anti social or cold. But if it requires spending money, I'm going to be snoozing at home, right on the couch! It's bad enough that when I had free tickets to the Orchestra, I chose to sleep!
Okay I'm exaggerating.
But I was thinking recently how I had to cut down on daily expenditure and do more to save. In fact recently, I blurted out "I think I should cancel my Netflix subscription. £6.99 is a lot you know. I hardly watch Netflix". My husband looked at me from across the room and said "Kach Kach, what of that one day we or maybe a guest just want to watch it. Okay transfer it to my card". He essentially called me a cheap-skate so I left it on. And then my mum visited a few days and we wanted her to watch The Wedding Party movie which was only on Netflix, so I guess that came in handy.
That said, I've been doing a through review of practical and real ways to cut down spending and save more!
So, viola: let me share these with you:
1. Food Expenses
No no, I'm not saying we should starve. You probably know I'm the number one foodie. But eating out takes up so much more than we realise. In particular, buying lunch at work! I'm mostly good at packing my own lunch, but every time I'm unable to, and have to stroll down the corner to buy a bowl of £7, it almost hurts my soul. £7 would buy all of the ingredients needed to make enough pasta that would last me a week! And I'm sure a number of you can relate with this. So please if possible, pack your own lunch!
The same applies to breakfast, and of course dinner. Essentially, it's easier to cook and eat your own food. I prefer this so much that even when on holiday, we prefer to opt for self catering apartments. Because sometimes you just want to feel at home and make your own food, like how I made my own eggs (with lots of chilli) during our Barbados vacation.
2. Shopping Hacks
After food, it's probably shopping that takes all our money. Clothes shopping, grocery shopping or just all-the-other-things-we-don't-need shopping. So you already know what to do to eliminate that last category. Simply don't buy it. But in relation to the first two, there are a few hacks.
Consider online shopping & discount codes:
For some reason the exact items could be cheaper online. So be sure to check there first, where possible. And of course never pay full price! Okay, I kid. But consider discount code sites and all available discounts. i.e. student discounts.
We recently wanted to buy a new gadget in store, and first hurriedly checked online. We found the item for the same price but then found discount codes that took £50 off! The store attendant understandably couldn't take £50 off the price, so we sadly bid him farewell and ordered it online!
Re online shopping still, I'm really not a fan of paying for delivery (and I don't know why!). So if there's another option I'll consider it. This usually involves delivery to store or a near by pick up place. And it saves me my pennies (which is a lot of £££ in the long run!) It's okay if you're laughing at me in your mind. I also laugh every time the news is on and finance experts say "oh by saving 2 pence on a pint of beer, British households could save up to £10,000 a year". We may laugh, but that's kinda the reality.
Don't be afraid to negotiate
In relation to in store shopping, don't be afraid to negotiate if possible. That top has got a stain on it? Ask for a discount. The funniest one I pulled has to be the day I asked for a huge discount because the shoes were mismatched - they were a size 5&6! But what they didn't know was because my left foot is smaller, the size 5 fit perfectly! Haha. Be careful in such situations though, as many times you can't return the item if these further discounts are applied.
It's great to see that a lot of people are embracing this openly. I remember being much younger & thrift shopping but people thought it was so uncool. For some reason, I'm not great at thrift shopping (rather impatient to find steals) but maybe I can get a hang of it soon. And then good ol' eBay, I hear can be a good mine. I might need a personal tutor on how to navigate it. Asides thrift buying, also thrift sell maybe? Lots of people sell their clothes online - especially fashion bloggers (yep that's how many of them seem to have a million clothes!). Personally, and still on some of the thoughts I had during my wedding, I'm still wondering if to sell my wedding dress - might make a few bucks.
Consider the stores you shop & brands you buy
When shopping for groceries or household items, it's often better to buy in bulk. It's usually cheaper and saves you the stress of running back to the stores frequently. Now, I know it's so much easier to simply buy everything from one store or shop. But many times it's not easier on your pocket.
While product A might be more expensive in Shop 1, it might always be cheaper in Shop 2. So it's helpful to decide where to buy what. For example while we always buy eggs from a certain store A, we buy water from another store as water is much more expensive in Shop A. You don't have to go to a million shops, but having a broad idea is helpful.
I remember the story of man who always bought vegetables and food items from a certain woman in a stall because she called him "my customer" and joked with him. He never bothered to explore. One day the woman didn't open and he had to go elsewhere - he realised he had been paying almost double the price!
Finally, the battle between known brands and less known brands. Sometimes we are just paying a premium for the brand name! So don't be shy to delve into a few brands that are not as popular. You may be surprised what you find.
3. Leisure Subscriptions & Payments
All work and no chill ain't cool! But when your 'play' threatens to render your account balance red, it's time to rethink honey! If you're not using it, cancel!
Once I thought I had cancelled my Netflix subscription, but apparently I was still billed. To make up, I think I watched something on Netflix every single day that month! Yes yes. On another occasion we had our friend's kids visit and then realised we had no children channels on TV. So we updated our package to provide for all children's station. Since then about 8 months we've only had children come to visit a maximum of two times! I wonder if we still need it, because all we really watch are the news stations!
Paid for a gym but hardly go? Reminds me of Ross in FRIENDS and when he attempted to cancel his gym membership but ended up paying more! Don't be like him. Cancel!
Lover of books? If you really like to read, but couldn't care less about owning them, then quit buying and consider your local libraries. Recently on holiday in Boston, we learnt that a registered member of the public library could borrow up to 75 books!! Some people never even read that much in that lifetime. You could also swap with friends or read online versions for cheaper.
Can you get your nails polished at home yourself? Do that once in a while and save. I used to pay £6 to take off my gel nail polish. Had no clue that I could simply buy a bottle gel polish remover for £2 or less. Similarly, how about you invest and learn how to apply professional makeup if that's your thing, as opposed to spending so much weekly on a weekend 'face beat'.
Last leisure activity! Night outs, just like food gulp money! So consider buying your own beer or drinks, playing your own music and most of all, dancing in comfy clothes right there in your living room. You get the picture.
4. Electricity & Fuel
I'm including this category for completeness sake. And also because just yesterday I realised I had left the iron on the whole day! Now asides the fact that our house could have burned down, I probably added £5 to our electricity bill. So be wary of these. Turn off lights and sockets when not in use. And if you can walk, do so as opposed to using the car! (My husband must be very proud of me for including this paragraph, as I was the queen of leaving lights on and asking for a car ride. I'm improving babe!)
While on holiday recently, a sign on the guest house said "conserve water and take shorter showers or don't shower at all if possible"! Ehm, no. Some people are really extreme! I love long showers so I will try to cut down savings in some other ways, thank you!
And there, you made it to the end!
But this is really just an overview. There's a lot more ways we can cut down on our daily spend! What are your challenges in saving money, what ways are you hoping to cut down and what are your top secrets? Share with the clique!
pS: Are you secretely wondering if I'm such a cheap skate? Lol. It's okay, I wonder myself too!