Hi. I’m Johanna, and I’m here because I have a spending problem.
And this is where you get the chorus of “Hi Johanna”‘s.
But in all seriousness I do have a serious spending problem. Giving I’m only a full time student in the whole A-level/BTEC stage I only have a small part time job, so I don’t make the big bucks just yet. But what money I do earn always seems to be spent on pointless stuff. Though really it’s mostly spend on food that I don’t really need. However, I have got a lot better at trying save up those pennies. So far I have about £600 saved up from the past 2 or 3 months, which for someone who used to spend every penny they had over the month is good going. So for all you fellow spendaholics; these are my little tips and tricks on how to save some cash.
1. Open up a savings account.
This was more on the recommendation of an advisor at my bank when I told her I wanted to try and start saving money for uni and other future prospects, but it’s really helped me a lot. I’m not sure if this is the case with every single bank now, but with my bank and savings account can now only be used at a cash machine to withdraw money or by transferring the money from that account to another one of your own using your online banking. This way I can’t just randomly splash out a buck load of money on an item I don’t need with a card because the majority of my savings are in this account, and by the time I’ve gone to withdraw the cash or transfer the money online to my current account… I’ve already realised it is a waste of money. — However if it really is one of those rainy days and it’s something you do need but don’t have the cash in your current account, you are still able to access it.
Calculate how much of your wages you will need to cover any costs you need to cover (and maybe a few extra pounds for a small treat if it allows) for the following week, two weeks, or month depending on how often you get paid and transfer the rest over to the savings account. Savings accounts also have a slightly higher interest rate than usual current accounts so there is also that benefit too.
2. Take lunch with you to school/work.
I already said that most of my money was spend on food and it really wasn’t a joke. I was spending at least £20 a week on food at college, and baring in mind I’m only there for 3 days. I was also starting to make a bad habit of popping into Tesco after work as it’s conveniently right next door and buying food there too. Not only was it costing a lot money, but the food wasn’t as healthy as I would have liked it to be either, which was yet another reason as to why I made this change.
You may think packed lunches are a little lame, but they are so much cheaper than buying lunch and the school/work canteen or at a shop nearby. Salads at my college are at least £3 while a salad I brought with me from home are made with ingredients that add up to around about £2 give or take AND will last me the whole week. You won’t be thinking packed lunches are lame when you have all this extra money to spend on something nicer and more worthwhile than greasy canteen food, will you? No you won’t.
3. Instead of having a night out, have a night in.
Whenever I go out with my friends we usually result in having lunch/dinner are a restaurant and then going to watch a movie. Depending on where you go, this could be another £20-£40 out of your pocket when you really don’t need to.
I’m pretty sure everyone has a Netflix subscription these days. Your paying £6 a month for it, you might as well use it to it’s full potential. Invite you friend(s) round to your house, cook yourselves a meal (the total cost of the ingredients will probably be the same amount if not less than one of the meals on your final bill alone) and scroll through the endless archives of movies together until you find one that interests you. If you wanna throw in a bottle of wine as well, then go for it. It’s still going to cost less then if you ordered a bottle in a restaurant.
4. Buy frozen vegetables.
I know this may not be everyone’s cup of tea and frozen is simply not an option, but if it’s something you don’t mind then it’s totally worthwhile. I’m a vegetarian, but my mum is still a meat eater. So buying fresh vegetables isn’t always economical as I may not always be able to get through all of them before they start to go off. It’s much more easier for me to buy frozen packets of vegetables. Not only do they last longer, but there’s also usually more of the vegetable for less money as well. For example, a 1kg bag of mixed vegetables only costs £1 so it’s really worth looking into it if you don’t mind frozen veg. They also usually come pre-prepared as well, which is a bonus if you’re lazy like me when it comes to cooking.
Of course some vegetables you are probably still better of buying fresh. All me salad ingredients I buy fresh for the simple fact I have salads for lunch and therefore do get through them before they go off. Also since you don’t cook a salad I’d have to wait for it all to defrost before making a salad, which is just too long.
5. Buy tinned fruit.
Again it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but tinned fruit is once again so much more cheaper than fresh fruit. Similar to the vegetables I can never get through a pack of oranges before they go off, mainly because I have to be in the mood for fruit. So it’s so much better for me to buy it in tins where it’s kept preserved in either juice of syrup (if you’re wanting to be healthy, then go for the juice option) until I want it. And like I said it’s also so much cheaper. For example, a pack of fresh pears from Tesco is usually £1.50 whereas a tin of pears is 75p. Like the vegetables they’re also pre-prepared so it’s also a time saver.
Again, you may be better off getting some fruits fresh. Like bananas for example. In fact I’m not entirely sure they do tinned bananas. Might have to look into that one.
6. Buy in bulk where possible.
There are a lot of items of your grocery list that don’t spoil such was washing up tablets, toilet roll, tissues and yes… sanitary towels and tampons. With most of these items I try to buy in bulk whenever there is an offer on. Even if there isn’t an offer on at the time I need them, I buy in bulk anyway if I can afford it. Therefore I won’t have to worry about that item for a good few weeks/months.
7. Split costs with friends/family.
The standard Netflix package allows you to watch on two screens at the same time. So if you and a friend or family member both want a Netflix subscription, it makes sense to share an account/subscription and split the cost between the two of you. It’s the same product at half the price. The premium package is £8.99 and can be used on 4 devices at the same time, so if you have 3 other people who are willing to split the cost with you, that would be worthwhile too, and even cheaper.
Another thing you could split the costs with friends or family is petrol money. If you and another person you know go to the same college or work at the same place, then it could be wroth doing a car share and splitting the petrol money between however many people you are doing the car share with.
8. Student discount.
If you’re a student and own a student card then use it to it’s full potential. A lot of places have student concessions. Newlook, Topshop, River Island, Cineworld, Bowling, Frankie and Bennies, Paperchase, HMV…. the list is endless. There’s a handy little page here the shows what companies offer student discounts, though some may require a subscription. If you’re in doubt, you can always ask whoever is serving you at the till. The worst thing they can do if tell you that they don’t do a student discount. Just a quick tip, H&M don’t offer student discount. — Usually the discount is 10%, but it’s a lot better than 0% and leaves a little bit of money left in your pocket. Some places even raise the discount rate a bit during their sale periods as well so keep an eye out on that.
If you sign up to UNIdays as well with you student ID then you can also get even more discounts. Spotify’s premium charge is reduced by 50% if you sign up to UNIdays or NUS Extra. I’m not entirely sure about the latter, but UNIdays is free to sign up to so it’s totally worth it! That’s if your monthly data allowance won’t cover your music streaming using the free service… which mine doesn’t, and Spotify student is cheaper than getting more data for me.
You may also get student discounts at gyms… especially a gym that is associated with your college. My new gym membership only costs me £16 a month for completely unlimited use. If that’s still too much of a stretch then you can also look into work outs you can do at home and will be completely free of charge.
9. Ditch the brands and go for the supermarkets own.
A lot of people buy brand groceries because they think it’s better quality. But it’s really not the case. A lot of supermarkets have their own range of groceries that are the exact same quality in comparison to their brand counterparts. Not only that but they are also a lot cheaper. The amount of money you save from this will soon stack up.
10. Do research/shop around.
It’s rare to find a shop these days that is the cheapest for absolutely everything. Have a look at different shops and see what is the cheapest for different items and, if it economical to do so, buy them from the stores that are the cheapest.
Do any of you have any other tips that you use to save money? Let us know in the comments below!:)