When it comes to saving money, there are lots of ways to save without any sacrifice at all, for example, swapping energy suppliers. Those types of savings are what I call the foundation savings, the ones that you should start with when you are first looking at ways to save money.
But what then? When you go further into your budget and you realise that you still need to make savings, what can you do after your saved on all the big stuff?
Perhaps you’ve had your hours cut at work, or all of your bills seem to have gone up, but your wages haven’t, or you want to save for a special event. It’s difficult to know how to save money when everything has already been cut back to the bone.
If you can’t increase your income, the only answer is to cut your spending in every little area that you can.
Most small savings may not even seem worth it, but combined together and over a period of months, they really do add up!
I wrote here about my 2 favourite ways to save money, which is a great start. But there is always more ways to save.
These are 7 of the things that I have stopped buying to save money.
After watching the news about the mountains of plastic that keep appearing in the sea, I am embarrassed to admit that I would buy bottles of water whenever I am out and about.
Whether I’m going to a gig or festival, or travelling on a long journey in the car, I always have a bottle of water handy.
But there’s no need to buy bottled water outside the home. It may be convenient but it’s not cheap if you add it up over a year and it is definitely not good for the planet.
If you have a tap (and water filter if your tap water tastes weird) you can buy a refillable water bottle and fill it up at home.
Bargains That I Don’t Need
This was a tough one for me. I love a bargain. No, I mean really LOVE a bargain.
It took me many years to realise that a bargain is not really a bargain, if you don’t need it or will not use it. I’m still trying to train my partner up about this rule!
Think of it this way, even if it was £100 reduced to a fiver. Rather than money save, that’s actually a wasted fiver if you don’t need it or will not use it.
If you wouldn’t buy it and use it when it cost £100, why would you use it if it only costs £5?
Gluten free, almond milk, anything that is ‘free from’ or an equivalent of a product that is the norm, but has to be bought in a health shop.
Unless you REALLY need to have gluten free pasta, do you need to buy it? NO!
We first started buying it because my eldest daughter cannot eat gluten. But she is 21 and rarely eats at home these days. And yet I was still chucking in the trolley mindlessly, because we’ve been buying it for years.
It costs 5 times more than normal pasta.
In my opinion, as there is one less ingredient, it should be CHEAPER? But apparently it doesn’t work like that.
Leave the ‘special’ foods for people who really need them, they make absolutely no difference to the rest of us, except making our wallets lighter.
This one speaks for itself. Who doesn’t love a takeaway? We all have our favourite. They are delicious (usually) but SO expensive. Are they really worth it?
If your budget is strained, this should be one of the first things to go.
If you are tempted to think “oh, but it’s only 20 quid”. Add that up over 3 months, or 6 months.
It will make your eyes water.
If you are craving the taste of a takeaway but want to keep the money in your pocket, have a look at Slimming World ‘Fakeaway’ recipes. Slimming World have come up with some brilliant alternative recipes to give their slimmers the taste of a take away without the fat (or the cost).
Too Much Food
This really all comes under the heading of grocery shopping/meal planning.
If you don’t use a list when you shop, not only will you not buy things that you need (not great when you are trying to cook from scratch) but you will also stick lots of things in the trolley that you don’t need.
Guess what happens to all of those extra items? They go out of date before you eat them and you end up throwing them in the bin!
I really hate food waste, so this was a massive wake up call for me.
After the third week in a row of throwing out almost half of the contents of the fridge, I had a full on tantrum and demanded that we start sitting down to make a shopping list and ONLY buy things on the list.
It hasn’t stopped it completely (my partner can’t seem to control his shopping impulses completely!) but it has reduced it dramatically.
To get my point across I said to him “take this £20 and put it in the bin”.
He thought I’d gone mad until I explained that this is what we were doing every week by buying food and then binning it.
He got the point and things have been a lot better ever since. I’m working on making sure we don’t throw out ANYTHING that has gone out of date.
Especially as most things that can be frozen or cooked and then frozen, there is no excuse but you have to keep your eye on the things stuffed at back of the fridge!
In my ‘2 favourite ways to save’ post* I wrote about giving up spending money on coffee (and shop bought sandwiches), the savings seem insignificant for one day, until you add them up over the course of a year.
*you can find that post here.
But I LOVE coffee, and as I barely drink alcohol and I don’t smoke, it’s my one vice and I am not about to give up coffee altogether for ANY amount of saving!
There are sacrifices that I will happily do to save money, even just a few quid, but giving up my morning coffee is going a step too far.
As much as I love coffee, paying just under £3 a day for one cup is ridiculous, but buying a box of 8 (Latte or Cappuccino) from our local supermarket for less than a £1, is completely doable and still gives me my much appreciated morning fix.
Added up over the year, this one small change in my daily habits saves me LOADS of dosh.
I know this is going to be a controversial one, which is why I saved it until last as I wanted to reel you in gently, before I hit you with it.
Some people think they HAVE to have their haircut regularly. But if you are one of those people, ask yourself honestly, is it really a necessity every few weeks or is it just a habit that you have got used to over the years?
My hair is thick. It grows outward, rather than downwards, so if I can go without a haircut for a few weeks or months, most people can.
I have my own hairdressing scissors which I bought cheaply on Amazon and the set includes a pair of thinning scissors. I use them every 4 or 5 weeks to make sure that my hair doesn’t start looking like a motorbike helmet!
But my hair is in good condition, so other than a quick trim with the thinning scissors does it really need anything else? A few years ago, I used to think so. But only because that was the habit I had fallen into.
And so far, after cutting my own hair for about the last 4 or 5 years, people are not pointing and staring at me as I walk down the street. It looks fine. Nobody can tell that I cut my own hair and I’m much happier.
I have two haircuts a year at the hairdressers to tidy it up professionally and the rest of the time, I trim it or thin it myself.
Going to the hairdressers has never been a pleasant experience for me. I never love my hair when they’ve finished. I once found a great hairdresser that made my hair look amazing and having a haircut from him was fabulous, but he moved abroad and other than him, I’ve never found one that listens to what I want.
The last time I went to the hairdressers, guess what she did? She got the thinning scissors out and put some layers through it to thin it out! I was gutted that I had paid out for that, when I could have done that at home and saved myself the cash.
For me, haircuts feel like a waste of money, but I realise that this is not the case for everyone.
I can totally understand that some people, especially mums, like the feeling of being pampered.
So if you pay for any regular pampering like this (a haircut, a manicure, a fake tan), ask yourself is it REALLY worth it to you?
If you feel that it isn’t, figure out a way to cut back. Do it yourself or go to another, cheaper provider to get what you need, but still save yourself some cash.
But if you feel that it is worth it to you, that’s great. Stick with it.
Yes, I am telling you to stick with it, rather than cut back and save money! There is more to this than just cutting back on costs.
This is about nurturing your money mindset
Some people think a haircut is just a waste of money, or it’s an inconvenient necessity. But for you, it may not just be about the haircut.
It’s not about the split ends being trimmed or having a new style, or a new colour.
It’s about how that haircut it makes you FEEL. If you feel the same about your haircut as I do about my morning coffee, don’t give it up!
How you think and feel about money is just as important, if not more important, than saving money, because if you love having this little treat but avoid doing it because you feel guilty about the cost – that is sending VERY negative message you are sending to yourself about your value and your abundance mindset.
So if having a haircut makes you feel good, valued, sexy, well-groomed or whatever good things you tell yourself after you see your new hair in the mirror. That feeling is MORE IMPORTANT than saving a few pounds. That feeling is priceless.
If this is you, be grateful when you hand over the money for your haircut. Give thanks for that positive feeling that you are experiencing. Really anchor that positive vibe.
Change to a cheaper hairdresser if you have to cut back or cut out something else if you have to, but don’t cut back on something that gives you a genuine feeling of happiness.
Can you think of something that you should give up to save money or something you are definitely not going to give up anytime soon? Let me know in the comments.