I think 2020 was quite a wake-up call for many of us in terms of the way we live, spend and consume. Having changed our lives to live more sustainably over the last couple of years, my mindset had already begun to change to think about consumerism and last year made us change even further. Due to this, we have saved far more money, we’ve had fewer financial worries and I am finally staying well above my overdraft which has been something I have always had to rely upon. So what can you do to make positive steps towards having a healthier bank balance? Here are my 11 ways that should help you to save money this year…
I had to start here really, didn’t I? If you have been around for a while or follow me on social media, you will know that I love a good reusable product. I have so many items that I can reuse in my life now that I cannot believe I used to use disposable ones! Cloth nappies, reusable wipes, CSP, menstrual cup, reusable kitchen roll, beeswax wraps, reusable tea bags, water bottles, coffee/tea cups, sandwich bags, picnic containers/tubs, cleaning cloths… Just to name some.
Now I know that reusables cost more upfront and that this can be off-putting but I promise that you do not have to buy everything at once – I certainly didn’t. This has been a work in progress over the course of 2 years and I am still finding new products, learning new ways to reuse and more companies are bringing us great items all of the time. My top tips would be to purchase what you need as you need it or as you can afford to. The biggest talking point I cover most frequently is the cost of cloth/reusable nappies but do not fear because I have an entire blog post here on how you can afford to do this. What you will begin to notice over time though is that these reusables will end up saving you money as they get reused year after year after year. No buying to throw away, to buy again and throw away again, save those pennies as well as the planet.
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Avoid The Coffee Shops
This is the perfect pointer to follow on from the above because with all your reusables you can quite easily avoid those coffee shops when out and about. Take your picnic with you, take snacks and water plus a flask for tea/coffee/hot chocolate and you won’t even need to think about purchasing those overpriced items. You will be amazed at how much you will save. If you are brave enough, go to your bank statement and check how often your favourite coffee shop name appears on there and tally those amounts up… I bet it’s more than you were expecting (I know, I’ve done it!)
Hair and Beauty
One thing that a pandemic showed us was that we can all survive without our regular hair and beauty treatments and that, with a little practise, we can even do them ourselves! I taught myself to cut the boys hair, I trimmed my own, I had a go at taming the hubby’s lockdown beard and did my own nails. If we all took a little more time at home to do these things ourselves rather than paying for it, we could make some more great savings.
Unsubscribe To Those Emails!
Take away any temptation and unsubscribe to those sales emails that come through on almost a daily basis. If you want a product, you will actively go and seek it out, you don’t need the stuff that is being dangled in front of your nose in your inbox. Unsubscribing can be so cathartic too. No more endless mail to open or bin, no more alerts, a clearer email system to look at and work through plus you will be cutting your carbon footprint because each of those spammy emails has to be stored in huge warehouses on systems that eat through electricity.
Purchase Annual Passes
If you enjoy visiting particular attractions on a regular basis, you will be saving yourself a LOT of money by purchasing an annual pass rather than paying in full each time. And if you can get a relative to help pay towards these for Christmas or Birthdays, even better!!
Secondhand shopping has had a bad view in the past but I am now completely converted. I mean why would I spend full price on an item that I could get far cheaper from a charity shop or secondhand site? In the last year, I have found great gifts for the kids, video games, clothing, furniture, kitchen items and books, and each time I see the savings I get a far bigger buzz than I ever used to when on a big shopping spree. For more tips on shopping secondhand check out this blog post here.
When purchasing secondhand furniture or before you throw out your old furniture, make sure you consider all options of how it COULD look. A quick lick of paint, sanding down and varnishing or altering handles can make the world of difference. Not only will you be saving money, you will also be helping the environment by reusing and not buying new.
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Enjoy The Free Things In Life
One of the things that helped us last year was not being able to go to many places which made us really appreciate our local area, the free walks, the beauty spots and being outdoors. We also took part in the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge which made us far more aware of spending more time outside and being together as a family. Take a look at what is in your area, you may be surprised by how much you’ve never explored before.
Compare and Switch
Every single year we make sure that we compare our energy supplier, car insurance, home insurance etc and switch to the best deals. There is no room for loyalty here, if your current supplier isn’t loyal to you and raises their rates then why should you continue to shop with them? You can always contact them to see if they will match or better a quote you have been given but never feel bad for doing what is best for your wallet.
Only Buy What You Need
Impulse buying can lead to an unhealthy habit and an unhappy bank balance. What you need to be able to do is stand back and ask yourself do I really need this? Is it something that will help you at home? Is it something that will be used time and time again? Is it something you could possibly source secondhand instead? We all buy far too many items that we don’t actually need and most of the time it is purely because it is there, we like the feeling that shopping gives us and we like new things but this is precisely what gets so many of us into money problems. So before you commit to buying, walk away, think about it, check if you can get it cheaper somewhere else and, if you can’t, and are still thinking about it a few weeks later perhaps then make that purchase. I can guarantee that the majority of the time you will have forgotten about it!
Mend and Make-Do
A term that we are all very familiar with and one that has served us all well in the past so why not do more of this? Instead of throwing out and buying new, mend clothes, glue that broken vase back together, rewire that plug, YouTube how to fix certain items and give things a new lease of life.
This list could have gone on and on I’m sure and I expect you have lots of other areas that you could think about working on so do let me know in the comments if you have more to add. Hopefully, these 11 ways to save money are enough to get you started for now and they will help you to get your finances looking a little more happy and healthy this year.
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