So every month, you’ve been spending the last week before payday down to your last few quid, surviving on beans and toast and turning down invites to the pub after work. Or perhaps, you need to boost your savings for a house deposit, new car or much-needed holiday.
You need to make your money go further – and the good news is, it’s not difficult to make small but meaningful savings here and there.
Here are ten tips for a more frugal lifestyle:
Let’s start with the obvious: you can’t see where you need to make changes to your spending if you don’t know exactly where your money is going. Download a budgeting app to your smartphone, or buy a notebook, and track every penny. The unnecessary costs should make themselves apparent.
#2: Plan your meals
Aimlessly wandering into the supermarket and throwing things into the trolley can lead to a shock at the checkout. Make a meal plan, write a shopping list detailing what you actually need and you won’t find yourself chucking out that veg you forgot to use a week later.
#3: Markets are your friend
You can have fresh fruit and vegetables and enjoy healthy, home cooked meals on a budget. Take a trip to your local market and you’ll probably find you can stock up for far less money that you’d spend in the supermarket or corner shop. Visit towards the end of the day and you might get even better deals as traders try to shift the last of their stock.
#4: Batch cook
Now you’ve bought all that bargainous fruit and veg, you don’t want it to rot away in your salad crisper, do you? Batch cooking is a great way to use up all your fresh ingredients and load your freezer with hassle-free tasty dinners at the same time. Curries, chillies, Bolognese, pasta sauces, pies – the possibilities are endless.
#5: BYO lunch
Even meal deals and reduced aisle ready meals can add up during the week – and the days of the sad looking sandwich are over. Plan ahead and make yourself tasty, home made (and cheap) lunches during the week, and you’ll soon save the pounds, with the added bonus of making your colleagues jealous.
#6: Use public transport – or even better, walk
While Uber has made it easier to snag a ride home without having to go to the cashpoint, it’s also easy to lose track of the fares coming off your debit card. Use trains and buses where possible, even if it means leaving earlier – or if your destination is in walking distance, walk! Think of it this way – the money you save could mean an extra pint on your night out.
#7: Embrace thrifty fashion
Second hand shops should not be sniffed at when it comes to clothes shopping – have a good rummage and you might find some absolute gems for a fraction of the price. And now that vintage fashion is back in, it’s even easier to pull off your thrifty outfits.
#8: Staying in is the new going out
We’re not saying you have to sacrifice your social life, but instead of spending you cash at a restaurant on a Saturday night, why not host a pot-luck dinner at your place instead? Everyone gets to eat tasty food, drink wine and catch up, and you even get to dodge the awkward debate about how to split the bill at the end of the night.
#9: Do you really need it?
That’s what you should be asking yourself with any big purchases, from gadgets to new clothes, video games or perfume. Give yourself a 24-hour cooling off window – if, at the end of the 24 hour period, you’re still desperate to purchase (and can afford it), go ahead. You’ll be surprised how many times you’re not that bothered after all.
#10: Sell things on
Instead of binning stuff you don’t want or need anymore, it’s worth a look online to see if you can convert it into cash. Electronics, CDs and DVDs, even clothes can be cashed in, or you might want to try your luck with an eBay listing. You might think you’re too old for your Kermit the Frog T-shirt, but you might make a fellow geek very, very happy.