Thursday, 23 July 2015

HOW TO: Save money daily

I always thought I was good at saving money until the mortgage man told us we failed on the 'affordability' part of getting a mortgage (see my last post on this subject here). Cue me introducing strict austerity guidelines into our home - and our spending.

Since really looking into our spending on the whole, I've seen a trend in the pits that our money falls into.

1. Take a packed lunch. Every. Day.
I always take a packed lunch, but the Lad did not. He was spending about £5 per day on a McDonalds sandwich and a coke. And although I was taking lunch, it wasn't filling so I'd come home and eat half the food cupboard snack. So, we now make a conscious effort to buy bread buns (usually 2 six-packs for £1) and some cheese or ham (we shop about for deals) and remember to make and take them to work. I make cookies or banana bread with food cupboard staples for a nice sweet treat. This is where we save the majority of our daily spending money.

2. Shop online.
It's all too easy to do a weekly shop just by walking down the deal section of the store and come out with a three packs of 24 penguin bars, some shaving foam, a bag of Haribo and a few packs of cider. It happens. But online, you really need to be focused and know what you need - otherwise you'd be grocery shopping for hours and hours, scrolling through the different types of products that have 'pasta' in the name. Write a list of all the meals you want to eat, break it down into what you need to make those meals, see what you already have and cross those bits off; then and only then sit down and start clicking. You'll find that it's hard to reach the £40 minimum order value if you do it properly.

3. Use loyalty schemes.
I get my groceries from Tesco usually. We get extras (only if we need to) from Sainsbury's (only because it's our closest shop). I walk into town and get all our home and health items from either Superdrug or Savers. I have a Tesco clubcard which I collect points on. I have a Superdrug card that I collect points on. I'm also signed up to their newsletters.
This month I'm featuring a lot of 'review:' posts, and all of the items I got were either majorly reduced or bought with points. 
I also got sent a email voucher code from Tesco for £12 off when I spent £60. on our last online shop, we bought monthly essentials - cat litter, cat food, toilet roll, washing powder -  and only reached £50. But with the code, I got a few sweet treats and managed to save £2 on our original spend.
I know Morrison's have introduced a loyalty card and other stores such as Waterstones have also jumped on the loyalty inducing bandwagon. It's becoming ever popular from a company point of view to get the consumer in - you just need to be picky with what you buy, which leads me neatly onto...

4. Do I Need This?
I'm a stickler for touching loads of clothes in a shop, trying them all on and then putting them all back. I do not spend for the sake of spending. The Lad does. Or did. He now uses the WWJD (what would Jo do?) tactics and it seems to be working. Touching, seeing and not spending on impulse means a) I don't spend as much when I don't need to b) If I actually do really like the item, its probably reduced before I get round to buying it c) I can think about the item and probably find it cheaper elsewhere, like on eBay/Amazon.

5. Plan for major outgoings.
My car needed it's MOT in April and to be taxed in May. Our home insurance was due in June. June also had two close relatives birthdays in it. Thankfully, July, August and September are clear of any major outgoings, but after that it's car insurance renewal, birthday central, then Christmas. Yupp, I mentioned it. In July. Sorrynotsorry. Christmas is really soon. It's only five paydays away. I'm normally a Christmas Eve shopper and will drop a huge amount of money, try to recoup, and then cry when my car MOT is due. Even if you don't have the outgoings that I do, it's always best to plan. I'm starting with the people I know what to get - so my Ma, Pa, brother and Grandma. I know what I want to get them (it's helpful all of them have major events going on this/next year, so I can get useful items), and then I can concentrate my efforts on the people not in my close family circle who might like a £20 iTunes voucher or something along those lines. Focus on the people who matter. Then focus on where to find the items you want for the best price. If you can't afford to get people outside of your close circle any presents, be honest and frank with them. Honesty is always the best policy, especially where money is concerned.

I really hope these help some of you. I've seen plenty of 'self help' posts around, but these five tips have really helped us save a lot of money in a short space of time and proved that we can afford to add another outgoing to our collection.

Fingers crossed we get to where we want to be, and fingers crossed for you too.


  1. This is SUCH a great post! I really need these tips as I sometimes have problems saving! Thanks for sharing!



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