Saving Money on Small Expenses
We talked previously about how it makes sense to try to save money on big expenses, like your mortgage or rent, your car, or your holidays, since saving 10% on rent represents much more money than saving 10% on a book. Still, saving money on small expenses can add up over time, and today we will cover all those daily expenses you can cut on to try to get more disposable income and pay off your debt or save towards something you really want to buy.
Saving money on food
Another topic we dedicated a post to was saving money on food, by cooking healthy, filling and delicious meals. Lots of dishes are very easy to prepare, and you can build your repertoire one dish at a time. Some websites will give you recipe ideas if you tell them what is in your cupboards or in your fridge.
At home, I decided to start a war against food waste. Not only is it bad to throw food away, but you also worked for nothing to earn the money to pay for that food! So I became an expert in food recycling. That includes:
‘Anything salad’, where you put any vegetable about to go bad into a big salad, add a can of tuna, or a boiled egg, or some cheese, and you are good to go! Spice it up with herbs de Provence or coriander.
‘Anything pasta’, and its cousin ‘anything fried rice’ are also super easy ways to prepare dinner in five minutes. To cooked rice or pasta, add the old vegetables that need to be cooked like courgette, eggplant, carrot, cauliflower, onion, garlic, etc. and if you wish you can add an egg or diced ham.
Another way to temporarily reduce your food bill is to shop your pantry for old cans of sardines, vegetables and other long shelf life food that you may have forgotten about.
Saving money on entertainment
Paying off debt is a long journey and can feel like a lot of deprivation if you stopped going out to movies, restaurants and bars. But the good news is, there are lots of ways to have fun without breaking the bank.
You can have people over and ask everyone to bring a dish or a drink. Entertainment can be sports on TV, board games, or simply a wine tasting or sampling of everyone’s signature dish.
Look at your council’s cultural calendar or events from the nearby university. You can enjoy lots of free concerts, art shows and cultural events. The adult learning centre also has affordable classes for all tastes.
Another free source of entertainment is the library, where you can not only borrow books but also movies, music, language learning DVDs or even join the book club.
Instead of the gym, let’s go outside! When was the last time you went to a national park or an RHS garden? Time to dust off the bicycles, the running shoes, and the rackets. Some councils have free tennis courses and very cheap golf courses.
Saving money on clothes
We all want to look good, but with a little creativity, there is no need to spend a lot to do so. You can start by shopping inside your closet for clothes you haven’t worn in a while. They may be back in style, and with the help of accessories you will feel like you just went shopping.
Thrift stores are a great option if you absolutely need a dress to attend a wedding, or a suit for a job interview.
Finally, you can commit to a spending freeze, and try to stop shopping for say 6 months. Let your friends and family know so they are on board. You can ask for clothes at Christmas or for your birthday. By delaying purchases for six months, you will only buy things you really want, so no remorse, and you may realize you don’t need as many clothes as you think.
Use our debt calculator to work out the monthly payments you could be making to help clear your debt.