Please note this post contains referral links which shall be marked with an asterisk (*). This means I will receive money off if you do purchase through any of these links at no extra cost to you. Read more on my disclaimer page.
January is often a month that I start to think about money. Christmas and New Year is often an expensive time for me as I’m likely to be eating out, buying gifts, and just generally spending more. When January hits I start the year by trying to consciously save a bit more. It can be difficult to get back into the habit of watching what I spend so I thought I’d share some of the ways I use to save money.
Leave Potential Purchases for 24-48 Hours
This is quite a big one for me. Particularly during the lockdowns and as I’m stuck in isolation whilst I write this, it’s very easy to impulse buy. I’ll often decide to browse online for no particular reason and end up adding a few things to my basket. However, instead of immediately buying items I deliberately try to leave my basket for 24-48 hours. As a rule, if I’m still thinking about buying whatever I’ve left behind then it’s probably something I will use/wear so I might allow myself to buy it. Sometimes if you leave things in your basket you might end up with a cheeky discount code in your inbox to inspire you to purchase so that can also help you to save a little bit of money!
Monitor Receipts and Expenses
A big way to save money is to monitor your spending. Keep track of your receipts and at the end of the month you can work out where your biggest spends are. Once you learn what you spend your money on, it’s much easier to know what to cut back on. I use Monzo as a bank account as it tells you at the end of each month which categories you have spent the most on. It also allows you to take pictures of your receipts, again making it easier to know where your money is going.
Use Discounts, Cashback and Referral Links
I always search for a discount before buying anything and often find some sort of discount or offer. Student discount is a great one but obviously isn’t available for everyone. However, a quick Google or installation of extensions like Honey takes the faff out of researching discounts and will often prove fruitful. I also use sites like Topcashback and Quidco to make purchases as you’ll receive a small percentage of your money back. To date, I’ve made over £100 through cashback and it hasn’t cost me anything and they were only on purchases I would’ve made anyway. Using referral codes is also a great way to get some money off. I like using sites like Reddit to find forums of people sharing referral codes and post mine in there too. Some good websites that use referral links are LookFantastic*, Papier*, and Hello Fresh*.
Set Yourself Achieveable Goals
If you want to save money you need to be realistic. There is no point in saying you’re going to save £50 a week when you’ve never done it before. Set yourself small goals for saving and work your way up. For example, I have three saving “pots”, one for holidays, one for gifts, and one for frivolous purchases. Every week £5 is added to each of these pots. By the time a holiday or occasion rolls around, I can then withdraw some money from these pots and it doesn’t completely wipe out my funds. In terms of wages, I try to put as much as possible into savings and only put a fraction into an accessible account for spending. Again, this encourages me to not spend as much as in my head I only have what’s in the easily accessible account.
Buying secondhand is not only a great thing to do environmentally but it also is a great way to save money. There’s been a huge increase in sites like Depop and Vinted for clothes selling and they are a fantastic way to buy certain items at a fraction of the price. Perhaps the OG of secondhand is eBay and over the past couple of years, I’ve purchased a fair few things off of there. For example, I bought my Kindle and Fitbit secondhand off of eBay and saved myself about £70 instead of buying new. Both items have been great purchases and I haven’t had any issues. Obviously if making electronic or bigger item purchases then do your research! Check the seller feedback, message any questions you might have, and check whether the item is a good deal.
Put yourself on a Spending Ban
I sometimes put myself on a spending ban in January or February to build up my savings again. This isn’t and doesn’t have to be a complete spending ban on everything, as obviously you need to eat, pay bills, and anything else that is an essential spend. However, putting yourself on a spending ban of “frivolous” or “non-essential” things can be incredibly useful. If you’re able to stop yourself making impulse buys, not purchasing clothes/makeup/skincare/books or anything else you like to spend money on, alongside not buying food out can make a real difference. Initially, it can be easier to do this for a week and then next time do it for two weeks and so on. If you’re serious about saving money and you purchase a lot of “non-essential” items then this is a great thing to try.
So those are some of my favourite ways to save money. Like I said, January is a time where I often start to think about my finances for the next year. I try to implement some of these methods throughout the year but most often in January and February. There’s something quite satisfying about saving a little bit of extra money or managing to get a discount when buying something. By using some of these practices I hope you’ll find some new ways of saving money and keeping track of your finances!
What methods do you use to save money? Do you think you’ll try any of these?