There's an app called Moneybox that saves your spare change - e.g if your shop came to £10.70 it would round up, charge you £11 and save the 30p directly into a savings account - quite a cool idea I thought!
We just don't buy stuff we don't need. I think it really is as simple as really thinking through what you need and what you want.
We do spent probably more than most on food. I would say £500 a month on food, but that includes meals and drinks for when friends come over and we don't eat out, so we prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner and all snacks every day. We might have a rare meal out once every month or two. But I do plan every single meal, at least for myself and then family meals, every week. So I know what I'm having for breakfast on Friday on the Sunday before and I'll make a big batch of stew or something on the weekend to freeze for my lunches during the week. I also try to group meals, so if I need to buy a bag of carrots, I have two meals in the week that use carrots, so none goes to waste. We do have a few unplanned snacks and things we might get for a Saturday evening, but otherwise, the rest of the week is totally planned out and I don't buy extra stuff because it just ends up going in the bin because no one eats it.
We have mobile plans, but they are in the £20 range and we don't insure our phones. I generally think insurance on those sorts of things is a bit of a waste, if you are just careful with it.
We have BT internet, but just freeview, no Sky or anything like that. No Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. We don't have any pets as I can't justify the cost when we would rather be saving for a house or putting some money away so we could have a weekend away somewhere.
We don't shop for things. I have friends who literally go shopping for clothes and shoes and gadgets every weekend. Like I buy clothes when the old ones get holes or my daughter outgrows them and we have just enough that we can get through a few days before I need to do the wash again. We keep birthdays and Christmas simple with a few friends over and few small presents, but we don't spend like hundreds on it, so never any need to save up for it. Neither of us have credit cards. If we don't have it, we don't spend it, and we have a little bit of a cushion in case something catastrophic happened, like one of our cars broke down or something.
Mostly, our main expenses are, other than rent, nursery as we both work full-time and then food and my commuting costs (my husband is self-employed and largely works from near home, but I have a long commute by train, which isn't cheap). Really we just don't shop or buy things we don't need and though we do spend a lot on food, because I like to buy stuff that's really good quality and we buy lots of wine and stuff when friends come over, I try to batch cook and stretch things out and freeze meals, so we always have something to take for lunch and don't have to buy it. Literally, on my long days at work, I eat breakfast and dinner on the train and lunch at my office and I take it all with me from home, including my coffee, so I don't spend loads on starbucks or whatever. I am literally that person who drags the massive cool bag of frozen meals to work with them! That's really our biggest savings because I'd easily spend 20-30 quid a day otherwise buying 3 meals a day plus coffee on those days.
I love the change rounder idea .
I'm planning to save any £5 notes I get, also gives me an incentive to withdraw cash at the start of the week and pay with that rather than on card, so I can see how much I'm actually spending better.
I find that having a look at what you spend money on and looking at alternatives/ways to make it yourself really helps. From small things, like making up a really big batch of tomato sauce as a base for different dishes instead of buying jars of sauce (if you use jars) or buying a coffee machine and taking a travel mug of nice coffee on the drive to work instead of stopping for a coffee, to big things like taking up running, cycling and sea swimming as an alternative to paying for a gym & swimming pool membership. I'm planning to find more alternatives this year.
We're trying to eat less meat and that should make our meals cheaper too, so going veggie for a couple of meals a week (if you're normally a big meat eater) could help.
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