As part of of my ‘how I save money’ series, I decided to make this post describing some actions I take on a regular basis that save me some dollar dollar bills (or in reality- some poundy poundy pounds). I’m sure you have some amazing ways of saving money too so if you want to share, please let me know on Twitter @li_different.
Live in a HMO
Not everyone can stomach sharing a house with 6 strangers but I’m a huge fan of living in HMOs for many reasons but the main one really is that it’s SO much cheaper than living in rented accommodation- based on my calculations for our future house, it’s even cheaper than owning! We pay £350 a month between two of us including bills; for a typical house per month that cost would be a minimum of £600 each in the area including bills. I pay £206 of that £350 and so it saves me £394 month! Which makes £4,728 a year!
Cycling to piano lessons
I had weekly piano lessons last year before I moved house and to save money on the £7.50 it would cost to get the bus there each time I cycled the 14 miles and the 794ft climb up to my teacher’s house. A very tiring ride but also a very rewarding one- and by rewarding I mean I rewarded myself to a fist pump and a tall glass of water after every ride! I did this for eight months so £7.50 x 8 x 4=£240
Now we do something more modern- we do my lessons over Skype! My teacher is a musical genius and I can’t get away with making a wrong note even when she was a thousand miles away in Australia! She doesn’t need to see my hands to know I’ve made a mistake and I am improving vastly! For this she offers me a £2.50 discount every lesson as well so that’s another £130 a year.
Cooking in batches/ meal planning
I have a couple of blog posts where I talk about batch cooking and meal planning, the topic has been done by many other people and so I don’t feel the need to elaborate on the subject but you all get it! Make more food than you need when you cook easy meals and save the leftovers for lunch to help you avoid the dreaded lunchtime Meal Deal! I was never a person to get those meal deals but if I were, this would have saved me £3 a time on the meal and cost me around £0.50 for the ingredients. A grand yearly saving of £650!
You may have read my post about my October no-spend month and how one of the motivations was loosening the reins on holiday spending, well one thing that’s helping us to stay on track for this category is the fact that when we DO go away we camp or get an Airbnb instead of a fancy hotel. Even a budget hotel can be £75 a night whereas the dearest airbnb we have had has been £40 for both of us. We’ve stayed away for over 35 nights this year, 10 of those have been camping which is on average £6 each a night. that’s £630 saved by camping and even if we had bought very expensive Airbnbs every time that’s £875 saved. A comfortable bed is where holidays go to die so this kind of attitude towards holidays makes them more enjoyable because you’re not tempted to stay in your hotel all day and also means you can have more within your budget! This totals £1,505
Not using so much data
Hello 2018! Your bright lights dazzle me! There’s so much information available to us at all times of the day and to be honest most of it is completely useless! I found I was scrolling through social media, watching videos and burning through 10 gig of data every month but not benefitting from it in the slightest. So I decided to free up some of my time by reducing my data to 2 gig. Now I only search for things I actively want to know, and to keep in contact with all my lovely homies! This allowed me to go from a £32 a month contract to a £9.99 a month contract, saving £264.12 a year.
A tip for using less data is to only use Youtube and video services on Wifi. You can turn off auto play for videos on your Facebook feed in the settings which will make it a more economical way to catch up with friends.
One of my favourite frugal endeavours is testing out every own brand food to compare to named brand foods. Mainly because I get to eat a lot of food but ALSO because I get to see where savings can be made in my food budget. Almost every single own brand switch I have made has been just as good as the named brands. The ONLY exceptions are where I’ve switched from fairtrade teabags to own brand tea bags and that’s because the price weighs heavily on my conscience. I’d rather pay a little extra to support the people producing the food. Everything else from spices to chocolate to ginger nuts to chopped tomatoes are just as good as the named brands except almost 1/3rd of the price! You’re literally just paying for the advertising department when you pay for named brand goods. So you’re paying more for your food in order to waste more of your time watching advertising and visually polluting your cities… Nothxbye! I’m going to estimate £20 a week which is £1,040
Group up friend visits and chores
I now live near Manchester which is a lovely large city. A lot of my family live nearby so when I want to go see them I’ll usually go by train or metro in order to avoid being covered in bike grease and have helmet hair when I do see them! To make this as efficient as possible I will hoard up any jobs I want to do within the city and do them along the way. For each time I would have gotten the metro otherwise I save myself £6. The same goes for if you’re driving to see people! Lump a few journeys into one to save on petrol along the way. Total is £6 every two weeks so £156.
So the take away is that a lot of little actions will save you thousands of pounds over the course of a year. There’s always opportunities to save money if you’re flexible and open to the world around you. What you channel your energy into will become a reality; it’s like how when you buy a new car, you suddenly start seeing the same car everywhere