How I saved £12,000 in 12 months

Sit tight. I’m going to tell you some secrets to saving money. Right here. In black and white.

If you live in the UK you’ll know it’s a little harder to save money than in the states where their minimum wage is close to our average wage! Saving large sums of money in a short space of time however is possible! These are things that I personally have done over the past year and therefore there are no excuses as to why you can’t be doing them too. Not only have they saved me money but I’ve also learned a lot of skills, lost weight and generally become a happier person as a result and that’s something I want for you!

Unfortunately, though some adverts would make you think otherwise, the answer isn’t as easy as drinking a special skinny/rich tea.

Not T but maybe B! 😉

B is for budget

To start off with I made a budget, I found out exactly what I was making and paying for each month. This helped me for two reasons. A) I knew that I had enough money to cover basic expenses – food, housing, transport etc. B) I could see all the frivolous places my money was really going! A budget really clears things up for you with your money, along with a kick up the ass it also gives you an action plan!

With that budget I realised my big expenses were mainly housing and my car, but there were a ton of£20/£20/£50 expenses dotted around that I really didn’t care for at all! Think gym, tv insurance, high phone bill etc. which I decided id be better off without!

Bunkering down in a rented room-not a house.

This may be a shocking one to start with and yeah excuses are acceptable on this one but I sacrificed space and a bit of privacy for a £280 a month all bills included single room to rest my head. It didn’t take long to adapt at all and in the end it was plenty of space for me! I’ve recently upgraded to a £250 double room instead since the owner was selling my old place, proving it’s very doable if you’re willing to realign your priorities!

Biking – AutoNObile. GASP!

I do all of my personal travelling by foot, bike, train, bus or friends. I am very fortunate to get a business vehicle for work and I’m not telling you to cycle to work every day (although proven possible by Different-P kudos to him!) but to make better decisions about all of your short  public transport, exercise or car pooling are all awesome frugal ways to get about! I even carry my weekly shops up a mile hill to my house! 💪

Be more minimalistic

A great way to save money on things is to not buy them in the first place! Start thinking about all the things you have in your home and whether they bring anything extra to your life. If they don’t get rid of them! You’ll find when you’re not squandering your money on things you don’t need that you won’t be wondering where all of your money went and you won’t regret spending it on items that reduce in value immediately, take up space and bring you no value.

Battle all subscriptions!

Look at all of your direct debits and ask yourself whether they really improve your life at all! Would you be a cooler, fitter, happier person without them? Put them all into three  categories – Wasteful, work on and worth it! The ‘wasteful’ ones should be cancelled immediately, no questions asked. ‘Work on’ require some effort to find more frugal alternatives but ultimately would be rubbish without them completely – expensive phone bills, little used gym memberships, eating out, excessive shopping bills etc. spend time making them cheaper or less often. ‘Worth it’ are the ones that make life better and are necessities, food, shelter, education, hobbies, family. The trick is not to cheapen the meaning of important by letting everything in this category!

Become a batch cooking maestro!

This one might be my favourite. I make 98% of my meals myself and I make most of them in batches of 6-10 meals. When the cooking is done, I eat my delicious healthy meal and leave the rest to cool before storing them in Tupperware in the freezer. That way I always have a home cooked meal for lunch in work and don’t have to spend £5 and half of my lunch break on a meal deal! When the time comes the meals can be microwaved in a safe dish. I also eat beans and lentils in lieu of meat for a healthy source of protein and a lower shopping bill – dried and soaked over night for bonus points!

Being a basics bitch.

Speaking of food – buy shop brands like Asda’s own or Tesco basics. I’ve found that usually they’re lower in salt and sugar and  preservatives ON TOP of being hella cheap! Don’t pay for their advertising and branding department. Go simple on things like baked beans, tinned tomatoes, nachos, frozen fruits and biscuits etc.

Bank account automation.

This one I think is THE most effective. We all know about automating our direct debits and never using paper bills and risking late fees again right?

Good, glad that’s out of the way.

I suggest having two bank accounts at least. One for savings and one for spending. Easy. I have irregular overtime payments in work so to remove the temptation to spend that overtime I pay my wages straight into a current account that acts as my savings. I then calculate what I spend weekly on food, travel, hobbies etc. and have a standing order to my spending account of that much every Monday. My savings card stays in a safe place in case of emergency and my spending card comes with me! It’s basically an adult pocket-money. My savings have always been better when I’m paid weekly which is why I chose this way rather than a big lump sum on pay-day! Plus less money worries because if you go over budget, you’re never more than six days away from salvation!

Beauty and Superficiality sabbatical

I don’t spend money on my appearance or shopping. Seriously, those places are deviously designed to make you feel inadequate and I’m not buying it! I am a cool human with awesome friends and family who love me despite the fact I’ve bought one item of clothing in twelve months and don’t dye my hair or wear make up on a regular basis. I practice gratitude and perspective and I feel so lucky to have all of the things in my life, I consider every superficial purchase carefully because the world is always trying to define me by my outside to shake my self-worth and offer me a pricey fix, but I know the answer is free!

Build more of a community

Go see your friends at their home or your home to build deeper more meaningful connections. You can both cook a great meal together that costs very little but means a lot! Babysit for your friends to save them money when they want to go out, go jogging with a local group instead of at the gym, join your local community supported agricultural group and learn to plant vegetables then receive food for your time. There is a great strength in a community and when you start to build your own you’ll realise other people have a better capacity to save money in certain areas. When you all join up to help each other you can all save more -and keep yourself so busy you have no time to shop 😉

Bring your own snacks everywhere

There’s  lot of money to be saved on snacks and food in general. We all know not to get a daily Starbucks/Nero/Costa/whatever because it’s expensive. But also stop buying individual snack sized items like chocolate bars or crisps or pre-cut fruit! They’re far more expensive than the multipack versions and are much easier to resist if you already have some food with you.

The same goes for drinks. You should never be buying bottled water! It could cost you 50p for a litre of water that would cost you 0.2p at home depending on the area you live. That’s an insane mark up and the water isn’t even disinfected so it’s likely to have live Coliforms that can make you ill plus plastic toxins leaking into the water. If you drink fizzy drinks or juices from shops instead. STOP.THAT.NOW. Don’t drink sugar and calories! Especially not synthetic and expensive ones, it’s better to be miserable for four weeks while you cold turkey on them than to slowly bleed money and gain weight. There’s a reason the UK government wants to tax sugary drinks and that’s because they are devastating for your health!

Instead take a bottle of water and a snack everywhere you go so you’re never caught out.

Buy reusable items

There are some things in life that we can’t reuse- toothpaste, food, toilet paper- mostly because you wouldn’t want to! There are however many things you can reuse! In my house we always had kitchen towels and I remember being very confused as to why my friends had paper towels in their kitchen. The same goes for paper plates and plastic forks at birthday parties or barbecues, there is no need to create such waste when you can wash the dishes afterwards! You can use reusable nappies, sanitary products for your ‘lovely lady time’, cleaning supplies, Tupperware, handkerchiefs, bottles etc. Keep a look out for a reusable version of a disposable item you’re using and make the switch.
What do you do that saves you money? I’m always looking for ways to reduce my expenses and impact on the planet!

6 Replies to “How I saved £12,000 in 12 months”

  1. Great tips on how to save!
    The big ones are indeed the no car and renting a room in a shared house.
    We did that years ago, yep two of us in a shared room, so it worked out at like £140 a month (+ bills though). We saved up about £8000 in about 6 months and went travelling for 4 months. I kinda wish I could pull that off for a year now just to juice our savings but with a baby it is probably not viable (mainly for your house mates rather than yourself! 🙂 )

    1. That is great! I’d love to go travelling! Debating it at the minute as I’m still ‘young’ but I have such a good paying job I fear having to work my way back up once I return!
      Oh the baby would love it! Imagine all of the cooing the little one would get! Ha, how very thoughtful. How long ago did you start your FIRE?

      1. Discovered MMM approx 4.5 years ago and set up my own blog about 6 months later. So still quite early into it but I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that my life has changed massively for the better in those short years. It’s not about the destination it’s the journey as they say!

        Going traveling even for a short term could impact your career for sure. I was lucky enough to have my job kept open for me and I think it still set me back a year or two, not only for the time missed at work but when I come back it was really hard to motivate myself back into the whole working thing, which was surely noticed by managers and I could have been passed up for a promotion etc. Of course I’ll never know for sure as we only get one shot at this thing called life, so je ne regret rien, but it’s an extra thing to think about if you are thinking about it.

        On the flip side, go while you are still young! Believe me when I say when you get a bit older you just can’t be arsed with 12 hour bus journeys and loud hostels etc, while back then that was all part of the fun. Plus no one likes that weird late 30s / early 40s traveller on their own 🙂

  2. Ha yes all the cliche’s are relevant in ER! I don’t think you’re new to it at all I’d say you’re an early retirement teenager by now, have you hit the plateau where you’re struggling to save any more on your expenses and trying to find enjoyable ways of earning more instead?

    Oh wow so that was a big adjustment for you then do you ever regret it? Companies thrive on employees who need them. The more financially dependent an employee is, the more willing they are to bend over backwards in search of a promotion. I’ve noticed this in my company at least, big cats have big bills.

    Ha point taken! I’m off on a two week hiking trip soon and i’m afraid that when I come back I’ll have no interest in work. I have enough money saved to support me for a few years of travelling already and oh man is it tempting!

    1. I imagine it is tempting, I was like “we can go for 4 months let’s blow all that money now” haha.
      Very controlled of you having 2 years saved up, but you have the advantage of knowing that FI is actually a *thing* which I didn’t back then in all fairness 🙂

      “do you ever regret it?” – Nope not a bit, the best 4 months of my life without fail.
      “trying to find enjoyable ways of earning more instead?” – I’d say that is a pretty accurate assessment of where we’re at yea. Although not necessarily earn more I’m looking to earn enough to get by and save in less time, so earn more efficiently (which I guess equates to earning more, in terms of £/Hour so yea it is exactly what you said 😉 )

      1. Hey TFS,

        Yes! The instant gratification monkey really would enjoy an adventure!
        It’s been a great source of resolve actually when people question my spending to know that I’m working towards a greater freedom than just buying whatever I like right now!

        Oh great! Good luck! I know a lot of ER blogs talk about matched betting which is interesting! A very stick-it-to-the-man way to earn side money! Haha

        DifferentLi.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *