I recently found out that the job I have been doing for the last 8 years is coming to an end. Not because of anything I’ve done or that I even wanted it to end but because the economy isn’t great and the smaller companies are finding it harder to survive. I’ve decided that I’m going to take this opportunity to re-evaluate what I want to do in life and take some time to rest, get as better as I can health wise and find something that I really love doing which works with who I am now illnesses and all.
I have been on a fairly healthy salary the last 5 or so years and I’ve become accustomed to living with this amount of money and having no kids and a fairly cheap mortgage. Changing my career focus and taking some time off means I am going to have to be more careful with money and scale back on my usual habits. I’ve put together a list of 10 ways I’m saving money and living a simpler life.
1. Need vs Want – We love in a consume more world, feel sad; go shopping. Had a great week; treat yourself to a new dress. I’m taking the time to really decide if I want something or I need it. Not everything we need has to be essential but if I have 3 pairs of black trainers do I need another one? If I have 4 foundations all that make me look semi flawless do I need to try out a new one because Jeffree Star approves it. Probably not to both of them so I’m taking the time to really think about these decisions before I impulsively spend.
2. Separating food money – This is something I have done for years and it works really well. Each week money goes from our main joint account into another account with no credit facilities just for food. If we want to eat out, do an online food shop or get a takeaway it comes out of this account. We no longer overspend on overpriced Waitrose cakes and treats as once that money and food is gone there is only the cupboard and freezer as an option.
3. Write down expiry dates – For so long we have been stuck in a cycle in our home of buying food for the week, not eating it and then throwing it away. We now put a sheet of paper on the fridge listing the expensive items like meat and desserts and their expiry dates. Every time someone goes to the fridge they see it and if it’s close to the date we either eat it that day / next day or put it in the freezer.
4. Cook in bulk – this is a super easy one and I know I’m not discovering fire but things like lasagnes, cottage pies and spaghetti bolognese can be made for 4 or 6 people and then eaten for lunch or dinner over 2 or 3 days and it doesn’t cost much more to do it. Plus the added bonus of only reheating food the next day is a dream.
5. Organise your clothes / makeup / etc – When I feel the urge to go online shopping I’ve started taking to my wardrobe or make up drawer and sorting through what I already have. I often find things I’ve forgotten about and putting everything neat and tidy brings a new love to items I may have got bored of. I love doing this and putting new outfits together and trying out new make up looks.
6. Stick to what you love – Another simple one and it goes similarly to if it’s not broken don’t fix it. If you find a product you love keep using it, there is no need to try something new if what you currently have is working well. Shop around and look for when your favourite shampoo is buy one get one free, you may even be able to buy it in bulk somewhere like Costco.
7. Plan out your money – I love being organised and excel sheets are a hidden passion of mine, I have a full excel spreadsheet that lists all of our incomings and outgoings, I put our savings on here and track how much they’ll be over 6 months and 12 months. Seeing what can be in our savings account if we do keep to the plan is really motivating to stick to it. It’s also then really easy to add in unexpected expenses so you can plan out if you need to be a bit more frugal in other areas that month. It’s a good idea to check through all of your direct debits and see if any can be scaled back, prime example is me having not one but 2 Netflix accounts (when most of the world is sharing passwords).
8. Set realistic savings goals – Leading on from the above it’s important to save money each month in case something expected comes up but it’s also important to budget enough for life as well. Set a realistic savings goal for each month that you know you’ll stick to and it’s not going to impact what you normally like to do. It may be good to cut down on certain areas but if your me going from spending a lot to being a minimalist is not going to happen and won’t make you happy.
9. Try cheaper products – You may only like a specific type of face cream but some items do not need to be branded. Try out cheaper and supermarket brand products and see if you can replace some items and save some money, it may only be 50p off your food shop but it all adds up.
10. Cut out the unnecessary items – A really good example here is my addiction to bottled water, it’s just not necessary. I replaced this with a filtered water bottle and it paid for itself in 2 weeks. Have a coffee on the way to work? Just get a travel cup and take it with you or if you like beauty treatments like me why not try some out at home and save loads of money. I actually bought a hot wax heater about 2 years ago and love spending the day once every few months doing it myself and it saves me a small fortune.
I’m sure as I delve deeper into exploring what my new more simple life looks like I’ll have more tips and will be sure to share them on here. If you have any good money saving tips please share them in the comments.
Thanks for reading!