So, last year, I started saving up for a mortgage. I set up a mortgage account, set up a monthly transfer and began building up funds for the future. And, being the dreamer I am, I imagined coming out of 2016 with enough money for my own house and more.
Unfortunately, this dream did not become a reality. Instead of saving properly, I became addicted to Pokemon cards, spent what I wanted and didn’t set a budget for anything. And, I somehow managed to squander a large portion of my savings on Christmas, even though I have no idea what I actually bought. Do I have a box of gold I’ve forgotten about somewhere? I bloody hope so.
Because of this epic fail, I decided that I was going to take saving a lot more seriously in 2017. I decided that I was going to manage my money properly and give myself real goals, so I wouldn’t have the “fuck it” mentality I had last year. Even if that mentality did buy me lots of cool stuff!
Saving has also become so much more important now, as I’ve just booked a second holiday for this year. I’m off to Scotland in June and London in September, which means I’ll need to tighten my belt if I’m going to be able to afford everything and still meet my mortgage goals. Wow, this is going to be hard.
Anyway, without further ado, here’s a list of the things I’m doing to save money in 2017!
Monthly Bus Passes
Instead of paying bus fare on a weekly basis, I’ve started paying it monthly, which saves me between £10 and £30 a month. I was hoping to switch to yearly, which is even cheaper, but don’t trust myself to keep a pass safe for that long!
Savvy Food Shopping
Up until recently, every meal I made was unnecessarily huge, which resulted in lots of food being thrown away. Obviously, this also wasn’t great for my bank account so, over the past few months, I’ve had a look at some recipes to help me understand how much of each ingredient I actually need. This has resulted in the weekly shop being much easier and much cheaper. Yay!
Last year, I bought the majority of my lunches on the way to work. While I tried to set myself a £3 budget, most days I’d just spend whatever I liked, filling my bag with expensive sandwiches, pastries and snacks. Some weeks I’d spend over £35, which was definitely not good for my bank balance. This year, I’ve started taking sandwiches, and I rarely buy anything at the shop anymore, decreasing the weekly spend from £35 to £4. Yes!
Cutting Down My Subscriptions
I love comics, which means I like to follow lots of different series’. At the end of December, my monthly expenditure was ridiculous and I’d subscribed to so many that I didn’t even have enough time to read them all! I’ve since culled this list, and I’m still trying to cut it further! £30 off so far, let’s see what else we can drop!
Trimming the Bills
I’d like to take credit for this, but Andy was actually the mastermind behind trimming our bills. While working on gas and electricity comparison at work, he realised that simply changing to a different tariff could save a lot of money, and also make it easier to regulate your payments. We now pay a set monthly price for gas and electric, which is so much cheaper than what we used to pay. And all it took was one phone call!
Looking for Deals
Now I’m taking saving more seriously, I’ve started researching how I can get things at a lower cost. If I want something, instead of going for the quickest and easier option, I visit lots of different shops and websites before making the purchase. I also look through my emails, to see if any shops have offers on, or to see if they have any codes for free delivery. It might be more effort, but it’s definitely great to get the same item at half the price!
Having a Treat Budget
So I don’t feel like I’m restricting myself too much, I set myself a “treat” budget for each month. With this I can buy anything I want, be that clothes, books or theatre trips. Having this set amount means I don’t go overboard on shopping sprees, and also makes me think a lot more carefully about whether I really want something. Before I make a purchase I now ask myself whether I’m going to use the item in question, which is something I should have been doing in the first place!
Are you good with money? Do you have any tips for saving?