The first thing you need to do is earn some money! Get a job, and make sure you put away a portion of your earnings each month. I physically moved money into a separate bank account so that I wouldn’t ‘accidentally’ spend it or lose track of how much I’m meant to be saving. Perhaps think about having multiple incomes – anything helps when you’re saving! I had a 9-5 job and also played gigs every now and then for extra cash.
So you’ve got an income and are saving a portion of your earnings each month – what else can you do? I’ve written down a few things that I spend my money on, with alternatives on how you can minimise these costs:
Is there any way you can rent out your room when you’re away/choose a cheaper house when renting?
For things like bills, you can save money by being sparing – with water, electricity and heating – to save some extra pennies.
This can range from anything like clothes and books to a new iPod or a magazine. This year, I’ve tried to not buy clothes unless it was essential, or splash out on anything. If you do want to buy a new book or some new clothes, head to the nearest charity shop and it’ll be much cheaper.
Why not sell some of your stuff? I did a big sort out of my clothes, gave some to charity and sold a dress. It wasn’t too time consuming – you can use websites such as eBay or Depop to quickly sell things. You can even do it from your own smartphone.
Eating out costs significantly more than cooking your own meals. You can eat out every now and then for a treat, but cooking for yourself, and particularly if you cook in bulk, can save you lots of money
A few things you can do to minimise food costs are:
Breakfast – don’t pick up a quick bite on the way to somewhere from a café – make a big bowl of cereal in the morning or toast. Breakfast can be very cheap, and it’s good to fill yourself up for the morning
Lunch – don’t buy a meal deal for lunch – £3 Monday-Friday adds up to £15 a week, when you could make your own sandwiches for much cheaper. I bought cheap sandwiches and bought multipacks of snacks so that I could disperse them over a few days for my lunches.
Dinner – make a big dinner, and put the rest in the fridge, it will last you a few days and you can have the leftovers for dinner another day. Buy cheap ingredients if possible – foods like cheese and meat are often overpriced.
Coffee – this is a major one! I’m not a coffee drinker myself, but so many people I know buy £2.50 coffees from Starbucks – if you do this regularly it’ll add up big time. Instead, make your own coffee and carry it around in a flask.
Snacks – buy multipacks of things like raisins, chocolate, crisps or whatever you like to snack on, rather than picking up one offs from vending machines and shops, as you’d end up paying much more.
Alcohol is probably one of the biggest expenses, it’s easy to fritter away £4 a go on a pint or glass of wine. Try to cut back on buying alcohol when you’re out – perhaps you can invite friends over for drinks and buy a bottle of wine from the shop.
Have nights in instead of paying for activities – so many are free such as watching films, playing board games, reading, watching youtube, reading blogs – the list goes on.
Invite your friends round and make a big dinner. You can then take it in turns – me and my friends did a ‘Come Dine With Me’ series and took it in turns to invite each other over and cook for each other – much cheaper than going out as a group but still a great social activity.
Finally – if you find yourself doubting whether you should buy something or not, ask yourself if you’d rather spend that money on travelling or spend it right now. Quite often you’ll find the answer is that you’d rather save it!