Saturday, 2 February 2013

My Money Saver Guide.

Earlier this week I was confronted with a less than pleasant amount of savings.

If I aspire to travel the world after my graduation, I need a lot more than I have right now. I've been shocked into making changes and to help you too, I'm sharing some of the changes I've already implemented or am going to implement to keep more money in my pocket.

1. Paying by cash only.

Paying by card is easy. All you do is swipe or insert your card, type in your pin and voila, you've made a purchase (unless it's been declined and the cashier clocks the look of embarrassment written all over your face).

Your card is not real money. Therefore whatever purchase you're making, you're not exchanging money, you're just exchanging some digits of your bank account.

Also even if you run out of money, you don't know until you get an alert from your bank or your card is declined. All in all, you're not really keeping up with how much you're spending when using a card.

2. Cutting the coffee.
I'm a coffee lover. Like I have always said, it's my fuel. I visit any coffee chain on a daily basis. If I want something fancy, it can easily set me back £2.95. If I want something simple, it's £2.15. Either way, it's a lot of money if you tally up how much I'm spending a week/month/year. If you're a coffee addict like me, let me shock you into dropping it like a bad habit:


Note that I don't know if I spend £621p/a but I'm just saying that if I continued this addiction, that is how much I would have spend on coffee this time next year.

Course of action

I will:

  1. Minimise the amount of coffee I drink, reducing it to once or twice a week.
  2. Use it as an emergency energy boost and not as an everyday pick me up.
  3. Make more use of instant coffee; cheaper and 'homemade'! 
If I want to buy hot chocolate/coffee from a coffee chain, I will go to one where I have some benefits, such as Caffe Nero (they have a stamp card, the tenth coffee is free) or Costa Coffee (points card with added benefits).

3. Continue my self-imposed product buying ban.
I made some exceptions when purchasing hair products; i.e my birthday.

Other than that, I have only purchased anything that I really needed (i.e. lip balm from ImanMade a few weeks ago).

I've been really good with not buying any hair products though. I aim to continue giving away products and using them up as detailed here.

4. Eat breakfast at home and budget lunch.
I sometimes don't eat breakfast at home and so I buy a lot of food that I can eat on my way to university. My problem is that I usually end up not eating it so I'm wasting my money.

I've started having breakfast at home and I'm loving it; it saves money, it's healthier and I am guaranteed to actually have my breakfast. I do have to get up a little bit earlier than usual though =/

As for lunch, I can get carried away buying my favourite sandwiches/toasties/soup from Eat (ultra expensive, but they're oh so yummy!!!). I don't need anything fancy for now. A sandwich from Greggs will do.

5. Take advantage of deals.
1/2 price, 2 for 1's and more will be my best friends.

I'll also take advantage of Poundland/99P Stores (£1 for a pack of five orange Caprisun drinks, why not?!), my NUS card, O2 Priorities and Vouchercloud.

I'm on a mission to save, save and save!

6. Don't go over any limits on my phone; free minutes, texts or data.
Ok this isn't really that much of an issue now that I have the perfect plan with T-Mobile/EE. However, in case I get too talkative, I need to remind myself that maybe giving missed calls to the people I want to speak to the most and waiting for them to ring back, isn't such a cheapskate bad idea after all.

7. Control my book buying habit.
I blame the simplicity of Amazon. Click, click and click and you've ordered a book.

From now on, I have to read all the books in my possession before I buy a new one.

8. Stay off Etsy.
I've made a few cool and awesome mobile phone case purchases, this is a recent one:

Seller: EmiSoul

Etsy is the unique and cool stuff marketplace. It can become extremely addictive though. I'm not going to use it for a while. 

9. Less lending. 
I am going to lend less money and only lend if it's emergency, emergency.

10. Become a bailiff. 
If I've lend you money and you have the money to do this and that, I will chase you up for what you owe me!

11. Check my balance on a regular basis.
Some people are too afraid to check their balance. I admit, I was for a while. Now I'm going to become very familiar with my bank account. I have to see where my money is going to and where it is coming from. This way I can see:

  1. Whether any unexplained amount of money is leaving my account
  2. Whether there is a double charge in expenditure
  3. Whether any purchases online have been subtracted from my account (thereby preventing overdrafts)

12. Book early. 
If I want a weekend break in London* or Manchester, I better check at least a week in advance. If there's nothing decently priced available, I should reach for cheaper alternatives such as traveling by coach.

I will also use the 'book early method' for flights in my post-graduation travels. I'll also profusely check for the best times to travel so I can get the best deals.

*London is expensive. Whenever I go, I budget and I strive to stick to my budget. I also familiarise myself with the buses when I'm there. The Underground is a fast and easy way to travel but it's expensive.

13. Buy what I need, not what I want.
When I walk into Boots, I go in with knowing what I need and I leave with what I need and not with what I want.

You just have to ask yourself 'do I really need this?', if not, don't buy it.

14. Cheaper socialising.
Less cinema. Less eating out.

Sometimes staying in and cooking dinner is better than eating out. I actually did this for my birthday celebration!

This is a mocktail from Bodega Birmingham which I visited with Hunii and Kadian in December. They sell delicious Mexican food. I will miss this type of socialising =(
These are my money saving changes. What are yours? Please share any other ideas that you may have!