Welcome back to Every Penny Matters- limited edition posts dedicated to money management.
So, you have your goal, a deadline for it, and do the budgeting. Now you can put some money aside which is great, but probably you would like to know how to decrease your monthly spend on essentials, and how to spend wisely. Well, in my opinion, being organised is key, so maybe you should start with:
- Creating saving pots. I always had only one debit card and would keep all my money there and rarely reading my bank statement as it was just all messy and hectic. Over a year ago I have opened a Monzo account. It was free and I could do it from home. The first thing I loved about it is that when using abroad or transferring money internationally you pay very little to none charges- money saved. Also, they have mastered the saving pots option. You can create as many as you need, set up automatic money transfer, block the withdrawal until the desired date, you can add a custom pot picture to keep you motivated and clearly see what you’re saving up for, and many many more. Every time I receive my paycheck I transfer the desired amount to my Monzo account and spread it all to my saving pots. I have long-term goals pots, short-term, more serious and the ones I could change my mind any time. My point is, once you create saving pots you’re automatically more organised, you clearly see what you’re about to spend your money on, and it also gives you time to think whether you really want it or not. In the end, if you change your mind about one of the pots, you can delete it, split the money and transfer it to other, more important pots.
- Stick to your budget. Sticking to your budget is very important. Here come the self-discipline, self-control and determination. Sometimes when we know that we have a little extra money we might get carried away with, let’s say, food shopping and go over the amount we have budgeted for groceries, or simply just impulsively buy something new that we don’t really need at the moment. Keep track of what you’re spending your money for. Listing stuff gives you better control and clear insight. Many apps can help you do it however, my favourite is Snoop, which I’m talking about right below.
- Download Snoop app. It’s safe and just great! It tracks your spending and automatically searches for better deals. It does monthly or even yearly reports and tells you where you could spend your money wiser. It will show you how much exactly you spend on groceries, tracks your direct debits and reminds you about your regular payments. It also shares interesting articles about anything and everything related to money management. I’m a big fun and it definitely helped me create my budget in a better more realistic way.
- Resist online buying. This is a big and a little tricky one. With the pandemics and lockdowns in place, it either work in our favour or unfortunately, makes us spend more. Since everything is closed and we can’t socialise, ideally the money we spend should be only on bills, food and potential commute. So those are the things that should be included in your budget list, right? But here it comes… ONLINE SHOPPING.
We’re all guilty of buying stuff out of boredom or to make ourselves feel better. Well, guess what! Buying things brings you joy just for a little while. It’s all about the feeling of receiving a cute little package in the post, opening it, play with it two seconds and then adding it to the collection of unnecessary items in the dark corner of your room. And there the two-seconds of joy transforms to the feeling of guilt.
Why not distract yourself with something else rather than going to flashy online shops that are designed to make you crave everything you see there? Instead, perhaps you could do your own fashion show to see what you actually have in your wardrobe. I’m sure plenty of clothes there are cute and in a good condition but already forgotten… Yet you were ready to buy a new top. So silly, right? Grab a book (read below first though), watch a favourite tv show, go for a walk or call your friend. Distract yourself with things that don’t cost a thing. J.Lo would give me her blessing on that one ;).
Buying a new book? Well, this is my weakness. I would never say no to a new book, especially if the book is educational, my excuse is that you can never spend too much money on education. But ffs, how many of those books, that you didn’t even open, are living rent-free on your bookshelf? Just grab a book you bought a year ago, wipe this thick layer of dust off and read it.
If you really need THIS book try second hand. I know it doesn’t have that beautiful smell of a fresh print but think of the second-hand one as an item with history… Go crazy and create a story for your new-old book, that sounds fun right?… And at the same time, you are saving some trees.
New cosmetics? Why? Is there anything wrong with your current ones? Maybe consider giving your face a little break from makeup? Now is the perfect time for it, don’t you think? I’m still trying to find my perfect skincare or makeup and previously I would always buy a product first instead of checking opinions or if it’s actually suitable for me. The secret is to do the research. Even though this beautiful, cute and clean face cream pot that cost £40 looks like it would do wonders to your skin, and this £30 bronzer in a lovely golden case promises to give you perfect shade on your cheekbone…Remember-majority of what you see is just good marketing where in fact other, cheaper products can do the same thing! It is the brand you’re about to pay for. Do some bloody research. If you can spend hours on browsing all the fancy websites, you can spear some time to find relevant information- even scientifically proven- on what’s best for your skin or whatever you’re buying for. And if you really want this Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Kit, fine! Save up for it first, or use it as a reward for achieving a goal of yours- perhaps for when you pay your debt off. Just don’t impulsively buy stuff online because you’re bored.
New tech stuff? Those are the things that it’s worth waiting for reviews. Whether it’s a release of a new smartphone or video game console, camera or anything else you desire, you should really have started saving up for it the moment you first heard of the release date. If you’re new to the tech world and something simply sounds cool and the desire of owning it is stronger than common sense, maybe you should talk to your nerdy friends, or become one, by watching YouTube videos containing relevant information. Just because big companies promise you wonders it is not always the case, especially with tech. Often, they release the new product and learn on consumers feedback before they come up with a real star.
Once you put a lot of hard work, tears and sweat to saving up for that awesome camera or PS5, and you’ve done the research, that item you buy will suddenly gain more meaning and you will find so much more joy in using it.
*Not that PS5 wouldn’t bring you joy without waiting… but you know what I mean ;).
- Think quality over quantity. It is all connected. Instead of impulsively buying shit you see popping up on your IG feed or your favourite influencers are advertising, just take a deep breath and resist buying it right away. You probably don’t have money to buy it now so why would you risk getting into debt to buy shit because of a moment of weakness? Sounds silly right? But we’ve all done it at least once. Also, this is all marketing. Those people you follow are getting paid for selling this stuff to you. And the pop-ups are designed to tempt! Great to train your brain on self-discipline though!
- Unsubscribe all retailers from your email list to stop temptation. Another online temptation. I used to receive a minimum of five emails a day with discounts and sales info and everything that would just make me buy, buy and buy. I started unsubscribing all retailers one by one a long while ago and guess what, if I want to buy something from a certain retailer I go to their website and they have all these promotions there no matter if you are subscribing or not. They use emails to keep reminding you about their products so you eventually buy it because you’ve seen it so many times- every time you opened your mailbox- that your subconscious is desperate to actually buy it now. Trust me, you’re not missing out if you unsubscribe. If anything, you get rid of unnecessary temptation and gain nice and clean mailbox with important emails only.
- Unfollow accounts that tempt you to spend your money on things you can’t afford or don’t even need. Ok, ok… you like those people and you want to support them, but can you actually afford to do it? Follow them back once you’re confident that you can resist that desire of having everything that your favourite strangers do.
- Food shopping. Shop “own brand” instead of big famous brands. If you compare the ingredient’s list the high chance is that they’re the same. If you have Lidl or Aldi around you in for a treat. According to Mr Google, those two are top cheapest supermarkets and their own brand products are cheap, tasty and good quality. I compared some of them myself. The price difference is tremendous! My local shop, unfortunately, is Morrisson’s or Marks & Spencers, my partner’s however, is Lidl where I shop for essentials as often as possible and that saves me so much money. For example, Morrisons own-brand ketchup (470ml) cost 80p. Not bad right? Marks & Spencer own ketchup (495ml) cost £2.42 (WTF?) And now, Lidl’s own ketchup (500ml) costs 45p. And just to compare Heinz brand ketchup at Morrisons ON OFFER cost £2 for 500ml. And if your argument is taste… please, do yourself a favour and try Lidl’s own Ketchup as it is the best of all. Of course, everyone has a different taste but my point here is that there are always cheaper options for every product you buy at the supermarkets.
- Try a minimalistic lifestyle. Now, this is something I would love to master completely in a near future. It is not easy but with the right mindset definitely possible. The idea of a minimalistic lifestyle is to surround yourself with the items you love and bring you true joy only. Basically owning fewer possessions.
Having a wardrobe full of clothes that you may wear “one day”, where in fact you didn’t for the past couple of years, is just unnecessary clutter. Decluttering your space is like bringing order to your life. Owning fewer items doesn’t mean living poorly, it’s in fact meaningful and helps you focus on more important aspects of your life. Now, to me, it is highly connected to the decreasing amount of decisions we make every day.
For instance, If I have just enough simple outfits for every day of the week, I don’t have to spend ages deciding what to wear. By avoidance of making too many unnecessary decisions during the day like let’s say, picking an outfit, we increase our productivity and focus on more important stuff like your career, work project or perhaps how to save more money ;).
Remember why you’re trying to be better with money. What’s your motivation? Visualise it by putting up a picture of your goal on a bathroom mirror or above your desk or simply create your vision board. Imagine daily, what is it going to feel like when you achieve your goal. It might sound silly but it works because you suddenly realise how little, the item that you are about to impulsively buy, means to you.
This is it for now. Hope you enjoyed the read and if you have any suggestions or feedback please leave a comment below.
Sending love, Selfish Jo.