It’s been a while! If I’m honest I haven’t been feeling very inspired to write anything, and although I’ve been keeping up to date (ish) on Instagram and Twitter, I haven’t felt like I’ve got anything worth sharing on here.
That said, it occurred to me how many savings pots I’ve got on the go and thought, in the run up to Christmas when we seem to haemorrhage money like no tomorrow, a post about money might not go amiss.
There are countless websites and blogs out there with money saving tips, not to mention the fact that the most valuable advice if the stuff you learn yourself over years of experience. That said, whilst I can’t recommend ways to find the best quotes on essential bills – utilities, insurance etc – I can provide a few tips that serve me well!
1. Buy second hand
With the emphasis on sustainability these days, this certainly isn’t a tricky thing to do. Charity shops, vintage stores and online forums are going strong, and not only is this a great way to save the planet, it’s also nicer to your bank account. It’s worth noting that a lot of items up for resale are nearly new, so you could find a product in perfect condition for a fraction of the original price. My town is absolutely full of charity shops and vintage shops, and although it can be difficult to find things in my size (im 5″1′ and very petite) it’s always worth looking, because you never know what you might find. Online, I recommend Depop and eBay for clothes and all sorts of household items. In terms of gifts, you’ve got to exercise careful judgement here. If you’re buying for someone who won’t mind a second hand gift, and if the item is nearly new or in good condition, it’s always a good alternative to paying full price, but be very careful not to cause offence!
2. Beg, borrow or steal
Disclaimer: don’t steal things please and thank you.
One step further than buying second hand products is simply to not buy them at all. If you need an item for one-time use, ask around family, friends and local businesses to see if you can borrow or hire it! This goes for party outfits, household appliances, travel gear…the list goes on.
3. Sell on
If you no longer use something that still has use left in it, try to sell it on! I’ve always sent old clothes to charity shops, but recently I’ve started using Depop to get money for those items of clothing that are still quite new and valuable. There are tons of online marketplaces, and lots of towns may have their own group on Facebook too. For household items and things such as books, there may be sales you can attend locally to sell your wares.
4. Remove the temptation
Since I decided to shop more sustainably I’ve found that I simply don’t go into shops anymore to look around. If I need something I look for it specifically but if I don’t, I just don’t look. This goes for online and traditional shopping, meaning that I’m no longer tempted to waste money on things I don’t need.
5. Find free activities
This is a great idea all year round but especially as Christmas is approaching. I love going out for a meal or to the cinema, but it’s just not feasible to do that often. Instead, I love visiting places in my local area and going out for walks, sightseeing or finding cheap/free museums or exhibitions. Living close to the Yorkshire Dales, a really nice day out is to go to somewhere like Malham or Grassington and enjoy the countryside, and I only need to pay travel expenses. This year, given that I’m saving for travelling and she’s now studying full time, my friend and I have decided to spend the day in Whitby together rather than giving Christmas presents.
6. Savings accounts
I personally love online banking as it’s super easy to open new savings accounts. You could have one for literally every expense if you wanted to – car and house emergency pots, holidays and more. If you’re not saving for anything in particular, it helps to open a savings account and put some of your income into it as soon as you earn it; that way, it’s put away for future use without ever getting to touch it. I personally have two jobs, so I have one paying into my travel savings account and one topping up my current account every month.
7. Track expenses
I’m quite a visual person so I find it useful to be able to see where my money is going. Speaking to a friend recently, I discovered that Monzo card is quite popular for that reason, as the app brekas down all the things your money is being spent on. I go through my statement every month and log on a spreadsheet how much I spend on food, clothes, transport, leisure and so on. Using excel I can put that into a graph and see where the bulk of my spending goes and decide whether it’s really necessary or needs to be cut down.
So there we are! These are hardly groundbreaking, but there may be something here you haven’t already thought of.
What are your strategies for saving money? Let me know!