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When you first get into the money-saving mindset, you jump headfirst attacking the budget items that will save you the most money – switching your energy suppliers and cancelling gym memberships, but what about when you’ve made all the big changes? Well then it’s time to assess your day to day spending. What small changes can you make to create big savings? You might not think that those little spends here and then are worth looking at, but added together they can actually amount to a big figure over the course of the year. What could that money be spent on instead? It could go towards Christmas, a holiday or just your rainy day fund. What swaps could you make to save money?
Swapping buying a coffee every for bringing your own can save you a fortune. Even an unfancy flat white can cost £3. If you buy one on your way to work every day that’s £15 a week, which equates to £780 a year! You might even find you buy more than one a day. Luke would sometimes buy coffee at uni several times a day at £2.10 a pop, it quickly adds up. I bought him a personalised travel mug to take with him, and a flask for his backpack which he can top it up with throughout the day.
On the same vein, buying bottled water is another needless expense. Our local gym doesn’t have a water fountain and instead sells small bottles of water for 50p each. I drink at least 2 of these in a session. If I was to buy 2 bottles a water for 4 gym sessions a week it would cost me £17 a month – which is pretty much the cost of my membership! I’m literally doubling the cost of my membership just to keep hydrated! Instead I now take one of these large bottles with me.
I also keep a reusable water bottle on my desk in work. Not only does it mean I’m not tempted by the vending machines but I am much more aware of my water intake.
Buying lunch is so expensive! Even if you got a £3 meal ‘deal’, that is still £15 a week when you could pack your own equivalent for a fraction of that cost. Personally, I like to cook enough food to feed four people for tea – Luke and I will eat a portion each, then box one up for lunch the next day too.
I also bulk prep on a Sunday, make stashes of freezer sandwiches and keep tinned soup in my desk for days I forget my lunch so that I’m not tempted to go out and buy something.
I wrote a post about the Best Time Saving Meal Hacks which is full of ideas!
Luckily, I don’t go to too many places which require paid parking – work has free onsite parking, but Luke will often find himself stumping up £3-5 for costly carparks on the days he is in uni.
He has started parking slightly further away in a free car park and walking the rest of the way. Not only does this save us a fortune, he is getting his steps for the day in too.
Paid parking is a convenience, unless you need to be close by you can quite often find somewhere free to park if you don’t mind a little walk.
The bag charge in Wales came into force long before in England so you’d think by now I’d have it sussed, but nope – sometimes I’m caught short and end up buying a bag. 5p here and there might not seem like a lot, but if you’re doing a food shop for example the cheap bags are rubbish and you might find yourself scanning a couple of more expensive reusable ones.
Try to keep a stash of these in your car for such eventualities. I also like to keep a canvas shopper in my handbag as it folds down small and doesn’t take up much space. Then if I need a carrier bag, I’m always prepared – just remember to return it to your bag when you’ve unpacked your shopping!
I started Katie Saves while on Maternity Leave to document our adjustment to living on less. Now back in work - I blog about making extra money, saving money, getting my life organised and being a new mum. Join me!