Save Money by Cutting £100 From Your Budget this Month. Sometimes, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.
When it comes to saving money or overpaying debts, watching what you spend is as valuable as what you earn.
During my debt payoff, I started by focusing on increasing my income until I realised that the more I earned, the more I spent. It took me a while to realise that saving money was key to getting out of debt.
By focusing on my expenses, I could find a lot more money in my existing budget that was being wasted on impulse buying, over-purchasing and reckless spending. With a good, clear budget, it’s easy to see your expenses and start to give yourself a goal to reduce your spending. Here’s the budget I use, which really helped me to get a clear idea of how much I was spending on variable costs, which I was then able to reduce.
When I adapted my approach to focusing on our spending, we upped our debt overpayments from £100 to £600 per month, which enabled us to pay off our £16k debt in one year.
So here are just a few tips to enable you to save money by finding an extra £100 in your monthly budget.
1.Budget less for groceries and stick to it
Most of us overspend on groceries; in fact, my grocery spends nearly halved over the course of my debt free journey. This is symptomatic of so many issues, such as lack of planning, a bland meal-plan that serves no purpose other than to persuade you to order a takeaway, or just overbuying food that ends up getting thrown out.
To save money on groceries, you need to meal-plan like a boss, include all meals in your plan (not just dinner), and then do your shopping for the entire week. Cut out those impromptu trips to the supermarket for one thing that turns into a full basket of miscellaneous items by telling yourself that once you’ve run out of something, you can’t replace it until your next shop.
To get the most for your money, drop a brand on everything you can (there are reviews on most of the supermarket sites that’ll give you an idea of how a supermarket own-brand item measures up). Brand loyalty rarely pays off for consumers, nor does an item being branded denote quality. The idea that non-branded items are inferior to branded is outdated, usually perpetuated by those who haven’t tried non-branded, or those who profit from branded items.
When shopping, you can also download the Shopmium app that offers free or discounted products to users.
On your meal plan itself, go for low-cost meals you can batch cook, which usually works out a lot cheaper than having different meals every night. On your meal plan, plot in a leftover night before your next shop comes, which is your night to use up those leftovers and fresh items that you would otherwise have chucked.
And speaking of food, here’s my next tip…
2.Cut out takeaways entirely
Make this month takeaway-free. On those nights where you’d relent and order in, you need to have a plan of action. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just something quick and easy that also feels like a treat to rival the lure of fast food. Easy alternatives are a supermarket pizza and garlic bread, one of those £10 Indian cuisine packs or frozen chips smothered in your usual chip shop toppings. You can always try to make a fakeaway at home, too.
I think the issue is that many of us buy our groceries aspirationally, in that we don’t prepare to have a blip or a moment of weakness. When these inevitably occur, we shell out a lot more than we need to on takeaways. So do yourself a favour and prepare for that exhausted Friday or a lazy Sunday- you’ve earned it!
And if you must order a takeaway, use Topcashback to get some of your purchase reimbursed as cashback. Topcashback are offering 100% cashback up to £15 off PizzaHut for new customers, so you can treat yourself and save at the same time.
3.Swap your next night out for a night in
Bear with me on this. I’m not telling you to cancel your plans; just change the location. Whether you have a date night coming up or a night with friends, suggest doing something at home instead. You could grab a few supermarket nibbles and a bottle of wine and split the cost, plan a game night or make a bit of food as you catch up.
I think adult life can sometimes tend to be lonely, and particularly when paying off debt we can become isolated when we can’t afford to socialise that much. But the key to saving money is changing how you socialise and incorporating lower-cost activities, or cutting down on nights out, rather than cutting them out completely. A girl’s gotta live TBF.
4.Start a clothing challenge
Let’s be honest, clothes are fucking expensive. When you have bills to pay, a mortgage or kids, those days when you used to be able to afford a shopping spree seem like a lifetime ago. Despite the amount of targeted ads trying to persuade you to actually buy those items you put into an online basket for fun, and your own constant reinforcement that you ‘have nothing to wear’, I bet you have everything you could possibly need right now in your wardrobe.
So what I propose is this: save money by starting a clothing challenge where you pledge not to buy anything new for at least one month. Swap the time you would have spent shopping and browsing this month (including online scrolling) actually taking stock of what you do have and organising your wardrobe (who else is itching to KonMari their whole house these days?). Ironically, the feeling that your wardrobe is complete and taking pride in your clothes can’t begin until you actually stop spending because constantly spending and looking for the ‘next thing’ is only sending yourself signals that what you currently have is deficient.
5. Use what you have
Just like with clothes, make this the month that you don’t buy toiletries, make up, home items or whatever is currently eating away at your disposable income. Save money by raiding your current supplies, and refuse to buy anything else until they are depleted. I don’t think many of us make it out of a spontaneous trip to Superdrug without spending at least 20 quid on ‘essentials’ (ironically, all gratuitous purchases), so avoid doing that this month by setting yourself the target to use what’s already there. Your purse, and cupboards, will thank you.
For more ways to cut down and save, check out this post from RhianWestbury.com- Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget.
So by adopting a few of these, I bet you’ll easily find an extra £100 in your budget that you can use to overpay debt and save money. Let me know below if you are already doing any of these, or any other easy ways you trim down your spending 🙂
Lady Janey says
These are brilliant tips. I do meal plan so think my grocery shopping is already well thought out but I must admit I do pop the odd extra item into the basket- like discounted wine- so a bit more discipline would certainly be a good plan. I’ll also definitely be looking into those cupboards and my wardrobe to see if I can use what I already have instead of buying more! Thanks for the tips.
Thank you so much for your lovely comment!
Elaine Fitzpatrick says
Wise words. Recently I decluttered my wardrobe and found 3 ‘New’ pairs of shoes plus unworn jeans and tops!
Its amazing what you find and save money too
Wow, isn’t that amazing? I think decluttering is the key, it means you know exactly what you have and maximise your use of everything!
Francesca - From Pennies to Pounds says
Love all of these tips 🙂 a clothing challenge is a good idea!
Thank you Francesca 🙂